Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Warp Whistle: September

Each month Ben blows on his magic warp whistle and takes a look at the (immediate) future of video games.  These were his findings.

I spent more time playing video games in August than I have for probably the three previous months combined, and this is thanks in large part to the latest Madden offering which I have surprisingly little to bitch about.  Meanwhile, Jeff and Jeremiah have been playing a lot of Madden ’93, when Buffalo actually had an NFL franchise.  Otherwise, August was a pretty quiet month for video game releases.  September seems to be a bit better.  There’s some Halo game coming out, I guess.  Let’s take a look!

Prison Tycoon Alcatraz, September 1st (Windows): So basically in this game you build a prison or something, I don’t know.  That’s not the point.  I wanted to use this space to just say how much I would like to play a really hardcore prison sim.  You know, make friends, sell drugs, shiv people, pay off guards, etc.  There are some elements of this in the fantastic Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay game but I really want more grit.

I told you it was pretty

Tom Clancy’s H.A.W.X 2, September 7th (Xbox 360, PS3): Tom Clancy, in a really bizarre turn of events, has become a pretty reliable name in the world of video games.  I’ve always thought Splinter Cell was underrated and oh boy do I enjoy me some Rainbow Six. This game doesn’t interest me in the slightest, as I loathe flying games other than a select few arcade classics.  But even if you did enjoy this genre, this might be one to stay away from.  Some of the hands-on reports are documenting problems with frame rates and animation.  If they get some of this squared away it could be a solid title, but I’m not holding my breath.  It sure does look pretty though.

NHL ’11, September 7th (Xbox 360, PS3): For years, hockey was my 2nd favorite sport to watch.  This is probably not true anymore, but I still think the game is much more enjoyable than most people give it credit for.  I got into it mainly because of the old school NHL hockey games for Sega Genesis.  In the last couple years, EA has really re-dedicated themselves to making this series worthwhile.  Recent editions have been some of the best reviewed sports games period.  This year there is a new physics engine and face-off system.  One of my favorite features for ’11 has to be the fact that you can break your stick with a wicked slapshot, and still stay in the play and kick the puck to your teammates.  The online mode has received some presentation tune-ups as well, including a banner raising ceremony.  If you like hockey and video games, this is a sure thing.  You’ll play it more than one-timer.  Little bit of hockey humor for you there.  Yeah.

NHL Slapshot Bundle, September 7th (Nintendo Wii):  A controller that looks like a hockey stick!?!  Oh my god!  Fuck off, Wii.

"Fucking ragequitters!"

Halo Reach, September 14th (Xbox 360): It seems like I’m one of the only first person shooter fans who would rather play the single player or campaign mode than play multi-player online.  This is what attracted me to the original Halo years ago.  Yes, the multi-player was fun, but the story mode was simply brilliant.  That’s one thing that has always kept me interested in this series, even if I’m not its biggest fan.  Halo Reach is a grim story of humanity’s last stand on the planet Reach, and by all accounts looks like it’s going to be an amazing game.  New enemies, vehicles, guns, etc.  I consulted with Matt K, a first person shooter enthusiast and Culture Blues reader, who pointed out some new features for this incarnation of Microsoft’s favorite gaming franchise.

-Bungie is planning on more severe penalties for “Ragequitters,” basically people who frequently quit in the middle of multi-player rounds.  In the past it just dropped your ranking a tad, but now if you do it enough you might be banned.

-They are making Reach somewhat class based.  There are characters with jetpacks, characters with advanced sprinting abilities, and a fun little toy called “Armor Lock” where you are indestructible for a few seconds but can’t move.  There is also active camo.  Think Predator.

-If you have a headset, you can get called a fag by a whole new generation of twelve year olds on the internet.

Greg Hastings Paintball 2, September 14th (Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii): Are we supposed to know who Greg Hastings is?  Again, just like the Little League World Series game they put out every year, this just baffles me.  If you are a paintball player, playing it on a video game console just can’t really seem that fun.  And if you aren’t a paintball player, why would you ever remotely care?  It is a game with no audience.

It almost kind of makes you wish for a zombie apocolypse.

Dead Rising 2, September 28th (Xbox 360, PS3): The first Dead Rising game was ridiculously fun.  They are releasing a prologue game exclusively for Xbox Live ahead of time, a nice approach or blatant cash grab depending on your outlook, but it will certainly generate some interest.  As far as the sequel itself, expect a lot more zombies and ridiculous props.  You can use duct tape to tie these items together for more fun and creative kills.  Make the undead feel the wrath of the paddlesaw!  Drinking can help or hurt your character, depending on the extent of your indulgence.  Capcom has been pretty tight lipped about this one, but I will go ahead and guarantee that this will at least be worth a rental for zombie fans.

FIFA ’11, September 28th (Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PSP): The World Cup is over, which means I have no interest in soccer.  I’m sure the game is great though, and if you are a big time soccer fan I’m certainly not going to tell you anything about this title you don’t already know, cause you’re all goddamn crazy about this stuff.  So let’s just end this little sham and move on.

Your parents were right about rock and roll

Guitar Hero – Warriors of Rock, September 28th (Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo Wii): Boasting a 90 song track list and the franchise’s first ever story mode, this is sure to sell a bajillion copies.  The game seems to have borrowed some inspiration from Brutal Legend with a lot of over the top heavy metal fantasy images and storylines.  It's a pretty dramatic departure for the series, we’ll see if it pays off.

Well, we’ve taken a look at the future, now its time to go to go backwards yet again with this month’s blast from the past.  If we can find anyone that has played this game, I will be more than intrigued to hear their comments.

Spaceship Warlock, 1990 (Windows, Mac): Where to even begin with this one?  It features a standard sci-fi plotline.  A rag-tag group of space pirates must save the universe from a cruel empire.  But that’s about the only cliché thing about this game.  It had an interactive dialogue system where you could literally type whatever the hell you wanted to any character you came across, and the characters would understand certain buzz words.  I mean, it wasn’t perfect, but if you approached a female character and said something like “nice butt” she would usually become offended.  After you defeat the game, you get to deliver a speech to your adoring masses and it was always fun to push their buttons and make them ultimately hate you, the savior of the universe.  The fight scenes weren’t anything to write home about, but for its time this was an incredibly unique game.

What games are you going to pick up this month?  Any thoughts on Microsoft raising the price of Xbox Live?  Let us know in the comments section.

Be Sociable, Share!

Tagged as: , , , , ,

1 Responses »

  1. You are not alone. I, too, prefer the campaign mode.( I don't really do shooters on Live- mostly only Magic the Gathering and Guitar games. And while I've never been called a fag while playing Live, I do have other stupid boy bullshit to deal with.)
    Anyway, I wanted to say I've read Halo:Reach more than once, and was therefore expecting to know what would happen in the game (you know, more than just that shit would get bad and Spartan117 would end up on a Halo sometime later), and I was totally wrong.
    That game is AMAZING.
    I miss John terribly, but it's still amazing.
    So if you haven't already gotten it, get it.