Welcome to 5×5, a list of a different sort. It’s really two lists in one. The first five are things we’re excited about, and the last five are things we are less thrilled to see. This week we’re talking upcoming video games (there’s a shocker for me), and I can tell you I had a little trouble limiting the first five and a little more trouble filling out the last five. Perhaps I’m just an optimist. Without further ado, here we go.
1. Batman : Arkham Asylum. This is one of those titles that could completely fly under my radar normally, mostly because I’ve yet to play a licensed game of any kind that really got me excited. (I understand Wolverine may be an exception) But every time I see a game play video of this game, I get a little more frantically excited. The fact that they pushed the release date back makes me sad, but hopefully it means that they will have all of the kinks worked out and this game will really be as great as it looks like it can be. It feels like Rocksteady Studios is doing for the Batman game franchise what Chris Nolan did for the movies.
2. Ghostbusters: The Video Game. This one seems like it’s been “coming” for a long long time, but that’s mostly due to the strange way that it started. There was that video a couple of years ago showing exciting and fun looking game play of a Ghostbusters game. Those videos usually come out towards the end of the development cycle rather than the start. It seems these guys are doing it right. They brought in Ackroyd and Ramis to help write it, and they got the original cast to voice it. I’m curious to see how this does with the younger gamers out there, but the people in my age group will be thrilled revisit these characters again.
3. Beatles Rock Band. Okay, there’s not a a lot of “new” here. It’s Rock Band with The Beatles music and special instruments. But I haven’t picked up Rock Band 2 yet, and I was raised loving The Beatles from a very early age. Maybe we can find out just how good a drummer Ringo really was in this game. I’ll admit, this one is a little selfish and I can see some other people putting it in the bottom five. But I’ll buy it and play it and I’m excited about doing so, so here it is in the top five.
4. Tiger Woods 10 (Wii). I’ll admit it, I’m sometimes a sucker for peripherals. The Wii Motion add on is an odd one. Part of me is excited that the Wii may get a lot more accurate, part of me is more irritated that they’re adding on something that seems it should have gone into the controllers in the first place. As far as the game itself is concerned, you know what you’re getting from the Tiger Woods series. Accurate realistic courses and good game play. Will the Wii Motion finally fix the issues that I’ve always had with golf games on the Wii? Here’s hoping. (See also Virtua Tennis 09.)
5. Fight Night Round 4. My dad was a boxing fan back when boxing was a real sport, and I’ve been a boxing fan all my life. Round 3 was a great game. I can’t think of many games with controls as perfect as that game. Keep the controls, improve the graphics and add some multi-player love? This one can’t really miss.
* Honorable Mention – Dead Rising 2, Bioshock 2
And the dreaded other five :
1. DJ Hero. I’m sorry. Maybe I’m reading this one wrong. It took me a while to warm up to the first Guitar Hero, so perhaps I can come around on this one too. Maybe it’s just so far outside my area of interest that I can’t get into the whole “DJ” culture. I cannot find a single ounce of interest in playing this game. I understand that rhythm games are the new “sure thing” and that they sell, but this feels like a bit of a stretch to me.
2. Red Steel 2. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me. I have seen nothing at all that leads me to believe that Red Steel 2 is going to improve on what made a great idea a mediocre (at best) game. I might pick this up in a bargain bin in a year or two. Yes, I know, I extolled the virtues of the Wii Motion Plus before, but I never really felt that it was the motions that ruined Red Steel for me. It was the gameplay itself.
3. Champions Online. I’m an RPG player. I love them, I always have. I played City of Heroes for a long time and while it had numerous faults, it was a fun game. Champions Online is already getting the first big MMO “oh no” as it’s been pushed back from July 14 to September 1. The superhero MMO concept has been done and DC Universe Online is coming as well. City of Heroes already has a following and DC has a big leg up because they’re going to be able to use actual known characters in the game. All in all, it sounds like Champions Online could be the low man on the totem pole.
4. Assassin’s Creed 2. Assassin’s Creed was a wonderful level. There were several things to do and you could be sneaky and you could run away if you got in trouble and you could kill people or pick pockets or eavesdrop, but then in the next level you did the same thing. Again. And again. And again. Eventually everything that made the game fun became irritating and tired. The game looked great and played great, but it felt like it was one great level that was copy/pasted with cut scenes in between.
5. Tony Hawk’s Ride. I know that I said I’m a sucker for peripherals. I suppose I should have mentioned that they needed to be useful peripherals. The Tony Hawk series is great. I have no doubt that the game itself will be a tremendous amount of fun. I could see this game being more fun if it cost the usual $50 and you stood on the Wii Balance Board. I’ve already made that particular mistake and I have a balance board that lives under my couch with the dropped Cheerios and the dust bunnies. But I don’t see paying an extra $50-$75 (just guessing there) to get my balance board a buddy. I also don’t really see the skateboard add on having much life beyond this individual game.
So there you have it. Five games I’m getting really excited about and five that I’m not very interested in at all. What did I miss and what was I totally wrong about? Drop a comment and let me know.