On The Radar: September 2007<ADMINNICENAME>

Posted on August 31st, 2007 in Gaming, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Opinion, Wii by
In this monthly feature, the 5WG Collective will take a look at upcoming games and highlight what we’re most looking forward to over the next 30 days. As always, release dates are subject to change.

Ohhhh …. so that’s what an 800-pound gorilla looks like up close. I’ve always wondered.

Halo 3

Mark Fossen: Though pictured to the left of me, that’s about as close as I plan to get to the Legendary Edition, which is primarily “legendary” for its sheer gratuitousness. I don’t plan to caress a replica helmet, I plan to play what is promoted as the defining shooter of the “new generation”. If I were a betting man, I’d start the over/under on minutes after release before the backlash starts: as good as Bungie is, I don’t know any developer can deliver on the expectations that have been placed on Master Chief’s admittedly broad armored shoulders. All I’m asking is a better ending than the second installment brought us … is that too much to ask?

Chris Sullivan: Is it me, or is Halo 3 lacking the hype that surrounded its Xbox predecessor? I vaguely remember Halo 2 being plastered everywhere I looked 6 months prior to its release. With that said, Halo 3 is guaranteed to be everything a twitch-shooting fanatic dreams of. Their multiplayer formula is the standard by which we compare all other online games to. From their convenient matchmaking system to the complete in-game customization, no other game comes close. Halo 3 takes aim on setting the bar even higher. Oh, and I hear the single player campaign isn’t too shabby…

Shawn Drotar: At this point, you’d have to be living under a rock to miss Halo 3’s release. Bungie looks to be on the cutting edge of… well, just about everything with this release. Online options up the wazoo, four-player online co-op (drool), and another epic storyline… with an ending this time, I hope. Now, if they’d only tone down the advantage for players who hop around like jackrabbits, I’d be in gaming heaven. You’re right, Mark - there’s a bigger risk of disappointment here than ever before, but quite frankly, I’m willing to bet on Bungie. I think they’ll come through with flying colors.

NHL 08

Mark Fossen: Shawn and I have written extensively about how impressed we are with this game, and though it’s been a few weeks now since I was playing the game… my enthusiasm has not dimmed one bit. It’s a good sim engine wrapped in a damn fun game, and I can’t think of many sports titles in recent memory that have delivered a cocktail as potent as that. It’s an easy contender for the best sports game of the year, and if you have even a passing interest in great sports gaming, you should give it a try.

Shawn Drotar: You nailed it. It’s an addictive, fun video game with smarts - the kind that even non-sports gamers could get into. I’ve played almost every sports game that’s come out in the last decade, and this game immediately hops to the front of the pack - along with Sony’s MLB 07: The Show - as the best in years. EA Canada’s committed itself to quality online play, as well, including EA’s first online leagues. Unlike the problems that EA Tiburon seems to have online (Tiger Woods 08 essentially broke EASportsworld.com), EA Canada’s history suggests that they’ll do better. Go download the demo on Xbox Live now… here’s betting you’ll buy it and have a blast. I know I will.

Chris Sullivan: Ok, Shawn, I downloaded the demo, and I absolutely loved it. Then again, you two had already sold me on this game with your Community Day impressions. Last year’s game reeked of potential, but some brain-dead AI left me with an empty feeling. Still, it was tough to recall any other franchise making such immense improvement in one calendar year that EA made with NHL 07. After putting some time in with the demo last night, I was ecstatic to see that the development team didn’t rest on their laurels, and are determined to make this the best console hockey game - if not the best sports game - ever. I know those words carry a lot of weight, but sometimes you just know when a game’s got it. I’ll catch you guys on the ice come September 11th.

Heavenly Sword

Shawn Drotar: Heavenly Sword’s a major release for Sony, but unless the game itself is far better than the button-masher with questionable control in the demo, this one could land with a thud on store shelves. I’m still intrigued by it. but at the moment, I have my doubts. Veering off-topic a little bit, this seems like a good opportunity to mention that it still seems like women in action games are designed by 15-year old boys. The lead character, Nariko, is basically planning to take on an army by herself. So, naturally, she’ll wear a few flowing, diaphanous strips of fabric to go along with her six-foot long braid and outlandishly large sword. I know the game is fantasy, but… can’t we grow up? Just a little?

Chris Sullivan: Shawn, if monotonous gameplay isn’t going to draw you in, perhaps a scantily clad feminine bad-ass will? Considering that the demo was so short, I’m not going to pass judgment until I’ve had a sample of a much more significant size. While the gameplay screams God Of War knockoff, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially when you consider that SCEA’s epic has yet to grace the PlayStation 3. I’m cautiously optimistic that Heavenly Sword will deliver.

Mark Fossen: I think that SCEA and I share a common dream: that Heavenly Sword is a next-gen God Of War with just a soupçon of “hot chick” thrown in for good measure. The recently-released demo dashed those hopes a bit, but rumors that it was an ancient build stoked the dream of seeing “PS3″ and “AAA title” in the same sentence in my blogging lifetime. What’s up with the constant refrain of “it’s an old build”, anyways? This shouldn’t come as a shock: demos are marketing, and the idiocy of intentionally releasing old code that shows your game in a bad and/or inaccurate light astounds me.

My Sims

Mark Fossen: That 800 lb. gorilla I mentioned? …. Did you think I meant Halo 3? My Sims could make that look like a niche title, Mountain Dew and Slurpees be damned. This is like a Frankenstein monster born in the depths of “casual gaming hell”, but instead of lightning, they used sheer market research to electrify this behemoth. Take the freakish power of The Sims and add a bit of waggle… it’s a license to print money, and could easily push the Wii to whole new heights just in time for the holiday season.

Shawn Drotar: I’m not going to pass judgment on anyone who enjoys The Sims. It’s a creative, unique series that’s a perennial crowd-pleaser for seemingly anyone and everyone. That said, it’s also often tedious (to me, at least), and there’s enough sugary cuteness on that box that I need to go to the dentist after looking at it. Plus, that guy on the front is trying a bit too hard to look like former Soundgarden and Audioslave front-man Chris Cornell. Otherwise… well, just be sure to say it’s for your kid.

4 Responses to 'On The Radar: September 2007'

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  1. PRBoom said,

    on August 31st, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    What, no skate???!!!

  2. Scott said,

    on August 31st, 2007 at 2:56 pm

    Prediction that My Sims will be a big hit, but critics and “hardcore” gamers will trash it.

    Three games not on your list that I’m really looking forward to next month are Medal of Honor Airborne, skate, and Stranglehold. All 3 should be major titles.

  3. Shawn Drotar said,

    on August 31st, 2007 at 3:23 pm

    Yeah. It’s tough to pick in these later months - there’s so much coming out.

    I assure you… you’ll hear more about Skate on these pages soon enough. ;)

  4. on September 20th, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    […] Just a few weeks back, I mentioned that there seemed to be a lack of hype surrounding the release of Halo 3.  Well, things have changed.  Just this past week, a $10 million television ad campaign was launched, which is peanuts when compared to the amount of dough Halo 3 is expected to rake in before Christmas of this year.  In fact, Halo 3 is expected to sell more than 4 million copies by the end of October.  To put things into perspective, Gears of War sold roughly 1.8 million in the first two months after its release, while Madden NFL 08 sold just under 900,000 copies in its first month. […]

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