Wednesday, May 19

So its up to a vote

This week sees the release of several high profile titles including: the already critically successful, Red Dead Redemption; franchise reboot; Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands; Xbox 360 exclusive, Alan Wake; PS3 exclusive cart racer, Modnation Racers; and explosive Disney racer, Split/Second. Also for consideration are several high profile games that were released last week: the sequel to the frost-bitten sleeper hit, Lost Planet 2; old-school RPG throwback 3D Dot Game Heroes; and the third game in a franchise that I have so far been uninterested in, Skate 3.

I'm picking up Red Dead for sure. I was huge fan of the first one (AND its local multiplayer), and it seems as though every game critic and their dog is jumping on the wild west bandwagon. I will leave it up to you, my beloved readers, to put your case forward for what should be my other purchase this week.

Why can't I make the decision myself?
That's easy. Lost Planet 2 has been critically savaged, however Penny Arcade and Kotaku have thrown their conditional support behind the Capcom battler. I appreciate the views of these websites for two reasons:
1) Krahulik and Holkins (Penny Arcade) are hilarious and if you aren't reading their web comic you're doing yourself a disservice;
2) Both teams play devil's advocate well. Kotaku is one of the few gaming publications which has abandoned the redundant practice of assigning quantitative scores to videogames.

I know what you're thinking: You (as in I, Tristan Damen) assign scores (out of 10) to games. As a smaller opinion provider, I believe a score allows me to summarize and legitimise my opinion. Once there are branches of Unbearable Dutch in multiple regions and I have several talented, credible authors keeping it Dutch I promise I will ditch review scores. Back on point, with nothing but raw opinion, and no score to dilute their evaluation, the Kotaku team (and scheme) are a valuable purchase evaluation tool. If you can't tell, I am so far most interested in Lost Planet 2 when compared to the competition, but due to severe critical backlash I have been forced to weigh up my options.

The 3D Prince of Persia games are starting to feel a bit old-hat, and, after the 2008 meh-fest, I have only slight interest in the lastest iteration of the classic franchise. Modnation Racers sounds interesting, and the user-friendly track editor is bound to add longevity, but I have trouble playing any kart racer that doesn't feature Mario (or at least blue sparks). Carly has thrown her support behind Alan Wake as she loves the opportunity to watch me play survival horror games. The combat looks fluid, but from all accounts the character of Alan Wake is unlikable at best. Split/Second looks beautiful, but consensus is that the core mechanic makes the game feel very one dimensional. As a Dutch fan (ha!), the new World Cup game gets a quick mention. I have fond memories playing the mediocre 2002 iteration with friends on the Gamecube. There are others, but the last that warrants a mention is Splinter Cell: Conviction. Sam Fisher is the dark horse, as his new adventure isn't shiny new, hasn't been showered in unbridled praise and features a comprehensive suite of multiplayer modes.

With great power, comes great responsibility. Please peruse the list below and make your recommendation.
  • Skate 3 (PS3/360)
  • Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands (PS3/360/PSP)
  • Lost Planet 2 (PS3/360)
  • Alan Wake (360)
  • 3D Dot Game Heroes (PS3)
  • Modnation Racers (PS3)
  • Split/Second (PS3/360)
  • World Cup 2010: South Africa (360/PS3/PSP)
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction (360)
  • Mass Effect 2 (360), please note that I refuse to play through the first chapter again (zzzzzzzzzzzz)
Thanks in advance for your valuable opinions. Is everyone picking up Red Dead Redemption?

As a post-script to Monday's post: The Halo:Reach experience has well and truly fizzled. While the new abilities do serve to add some variety and unpredictability to the conflict, the lack of vehicles (that truly differentiate Halo from its competitors) has meant that any further time spent with the beta has been unmemorable.


  1. I am indeed picking up RDR - the PS3 version, as sole console ownership dictates.

    My vote goes to Lost Planet 2, mostly due to it being so wonderfully different to everything bar its predecessor. Massive replay value, a swathe of unlockables, that unique movement and emphasis on inertia, coop-centric design, VS suits up the whazoo, ridiculously massive boss battles and more variety than your average bear. Also, it's nice to support the underdog!

    My runner-up might goes to either ModNation Racers (it's a kart game, only scrooges hate kart games!) or the PSP version of Forgotten Sands - as it looks like a strange successor to the GBA version of Sands of Time.

  2. Quick and the dead with you Taz. A compelling argument for a game that has been unable to garner much support. I'm more interested in the competitive multiplayer offered in Lost Planet 2 as it was the main reason I loved the original.

    I'll be picking up the PS3 version of RDR as well. We can't form a cross-platform posse now can we? Same deal would apply to Lost Planet 2 if that were to be my choice.

    I participated in the Modnation Racers beta and I was none too impressed with the load times and frame-rate. Hopefully things have changed with the retail version. Plus to mix it up you've nominated a PSP game! I am sure you will be the only person to do so.

    Prove me wrong people!

  3. Well, there's plenty more excitement on the LP2 competitive multiplayer scene to be had, so you'd know what you'd be getting with that. Times ten, with all the VS action and ridiculous stat leveling, unlockables and loadouts up for configuring.

    I didn't think much of the ModNation Racers beta either. Found the drift a little...I was a little too touchy for my tastes, and the only redeeming feature of the game would be the track creator.

    If you WERE in the mood for a great kart-racer, I'd definitely recommend Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. Didn't think I'd ever bother with any mascot-related game, but this - in my humble opinion - beats the pants off any Mario Kart. Great tracks, SEGA love, bright, bouncy and fast. So, I'd put that out there for consideration.

  4. I forgot to add another option. On Steam this weak you can get the SEGA complete pack for PC which includes:
    *SEGA All-Stars Racing
    *Aliens VS Predator (latest iteration)
    *Napoleon: Total War
    *Empire: Total War
    *Virtua Tennis 2009
    *The Club (It rewards stylish kills!!!)
    *Every other Total War game
    *Universe at War
    *Space Siege
    *Outrun 2006: Coast 2 Coast
    *Vancouver 2010
    *Believe it or not, MORE
    All for $89.99 USD, a saving of nearly $500!!!!

  5. I think you should go with Alan Wake, as per your comment above :)

    However, I think it would be incredibly short-sighted to pass up the Sega package that is being advertised on Steam. It does say that you can save almost $500! I guess the issue there is whether or not the computer will have a coronary trying to hold/run them all.

  6. I'm going to say think hard about that SEGA pack...speaking from experience, you'd be picking up a lot of dross with a few gems hidden in there. The utter garbage titles in there are the strategically defunct Total War games (gone downhill faster than a bobsled, they have), as well as the ill-conceived Stormrise. Universe at War is a bit iffy, too...more of a pulpy RTS than anything else. Space Siege was a missed opportunity at a sci-fi Diablo.

    I hear the new AvP is solid, but somewhat uninspired next to the original Rebellion FPS. While the deal is indeed a saving, how many of those titles would you be likely to ever play? I say quality over quantity!

    If you go the Alan Wake road, the DLC content set for June or July is worth holding on for before the inevitable trade-in (little to no replay value, from what I hear, though a very good game).

    My extra cents.

  7. Taz, once again your rational input has come to the rescue. See you in hell, SEGA pack! Alan Wake is still in the running though.

  8. Alan Wake is indeed a contender. After all, the devs ARE the Max Payne guys, and that's quite possibly one of the biggest seminal third-person action games of this era.

    Decisions, decisions!

  9. I will be RDR on PS3 on friday, cannot wait. Preordering today to get my warhorse for our posse.

    Secondly if you arent going to redo ME1 dont bother with ME2.

    Alan Wake seems rad beans, but HKofferhouse has it for 44US i recommend getting it there, they are reliable as i have purchased from them before.

    But you did pick up on the rad dark horse that is splintercell. May i add drop down kills from pipes! that is so rad, plus interigations can be awesomely brutal, face in toilet seat anyone lol. So far i havent finished it but am enjoying the snot out of it. plus it has multi and deniable ops mode which is huge levels with objectives as either us or ruski operatives. mad fun.

    if all else fails lost planet 2, you can be frank from dead rising with a teddy bear on your back!

    Taz whats you psn id so we can posse it up!

  10. Oh and love the logo Taz, although having a cartoon Arnie from Predator stragling that guy would have been word!

  11. Ruebes, my PSN is "Pylon_Command". Hopefully my net gets back up to a decent speed for the weekend, but who knows what is happening with the service.

  12. mine is not running the fastest at the moment either but good enough to dick around in a posse, lol.

  13. It's official, next month I will have 150gb!!! I am downloading so many demos.

    I didn't know Frank West was in LP2 (let alone with a teddy on his back). I knew he was in the Colonies edition of the original LP.

    If there is no clear winner I will probably grab both Alan Wake and LP2 via Play-Asia or HKofferhourse. Probably work out to be about $110 with sliding AU dollar.

  14. I would suggest SKate 3, purely because I love that game so very very much! Skate 2 was one of the most fun experiences I have had in a video game in a long time.

    And I will be pre-ordering RDR today, but won't pick it up till next pay, unless Lisa feels like getting it for me! I want my Assassins Kit and the War Horse! Which I will name Peggy!

  15. F***ing best name ever for a horse, Im gonna call mine Bessy cause shes a real cow.

    Cant wait to saddle up the Gbung posse (Taz is an honourary member)

  16. I've got mine coming in from Play-Asia, so it might be a little while. Otherwise, good to go with the G-Bungers.

    As far as horse names...damn. I'm sort of set on the donkey, so I'll have to honour history and name it Simpson.

  17. Theres a donkey!!! screw the war horse

  18. If I had a donkey I would name it Warhorse.

    As for my horse, I'm thinking Mr Beau Jangles for our brother stranded in near war-torn Thailand.

    What does everybody think about Limited Editions which offer DLC that make the game easier? Back in the old days we used to call them cheats, and they were included on the cartridge/disc.

  19. From what I hear, it's the first steed in the game! I think I'll get too attached to Simpson...and in the event that I run into too many objects and tongues of flame start to sprout from beneath Simpson's bonnet, I will cry.

    And then jack another donkey.

    Hang on, we need to help Trits work out this problem of his!

  20. Too right you all do! I've already picked up Red Dead, so what will the next one be friends?

  21. I'd say go with Carls' suggestion and pick up Alan Wake, then somehow grab Lost Planet 2.

  22. I held Alan Wake in my hands for a while last night. I ddn't get that loving feeling. The same can be said for Lost Planet 2. I did think long and hard about Splinter Cell, plus a new contender: Blazblue - Calamity Trigger. I found it for half off, and am asking myself if my heart has room for 3 fighting games: SSFIV, Tekken 6 and Blazblue?

  23. I hear Blazblue has a netcode unsurpassed, if that makes it any easier. But were you a fan of Guilty Gear?

    And while I can't further vouch for Alan Wake, I will keep backing Lost Planet 2. Especially with comrades-in-arms, such as PA's Tycho and his NEW paragraph of support:

    "This is a game that needs to be batted back up into the air, reintroduced to the discussion. I've had experiences in Lost Planet 2 that put it very near the top of this year's releases, though I don't see why we should limit the scope to this year. Distinct and stylish, their characters are steeped in some bizarre, nanopunk aesthetic that is wholly their own. Beautiful cutscenes show your bad-ass quartet from the best possible angle. Then, you're tasked with broad objectives in far-flung locales that satisfy night after night.

    The Apparatus is returning a nebulous result on Lost Planet 2, but most of the things I've read about the game are irrelevant to me. I happen to like the weird stories in Japanese games, and hearing that a co-op game is best played in co-op ain't exactly front page material. "We" have "said" for years that we want meaningful co-op experiences, but when they're delivered to us, they must give an impeccable single-player performance as well?
    Here's what I do know. Out of nowhere, this supposed "shooter" became a bizarre puzzle game in the middle of the desert, where my friends and I had to learn to crew a massive, train-driven deck gun. We failed our first attempt, but in the best possible way - considering the problem for days, until reuniting to claim victory.

    It has grand ideas, and longs to show you them. No, it's not perfect. How could it be? This is how the future happens, sometimes; it comes in fits and starts."

  24. That has pretty much sold me. Good work Taz, a passionate and well researched argument.

    WINNER!!!! Wish I had some confetti

  25. Well, know that in Lost Planet 2, an unlockable weapon is exactly that - a confetti shotgun! See, it has you all covered!

  26. I would like all to be aware that the Donkey is not avaiable in Single player, much to my dismay, only a Mule is available in Single Player, no they are not the same.

    A Donkey is a small equine. Both Parents are a DOnkey.

    A Mule is a medium sized equine. One parent is a Horse and the other a donkey.

    Still when i find my mule it is mine!

    I would like all to know i was savagely attacked by a cougar that tackled me off of my horse and then tried to eat my horse. I had to shoot and kill the cougar. Lets just say while playing RDR there is a lot of Avatar type praying going on letting it know that the people will benefit from its life and that they will carry on its spirit.

    In short ive only played 3 hours and the game has surpassed every thing i expected, i saw a dude push a prostitute off of a saloon balcony then run down and stab her to death, it was brutal.

    in short rad game.

  27. Confetti shotgun? Why didn't you say that earlier? I would have been sold days ago if you had said that.

    While sex workers being killed is not cool, cougars attacking horses is mad reality show business. Did you do anything to prompt either attack? If not, it sounds great that the game has its own inhabitants that act independent to the player unless you directly involve them. Fascinating.

  28. I did nothing I was actually tracking a deer then BAM! cougar attack mother f**ker.

    The game is crazy alive, some of the stuff that goes on is amazing.

    Saw a dude getting chased by Coyotes, i didnt save him in time though.

  29. Gah, what a crazy year 2010 has been thus far for gaming! This year is set to be a killer...wallet and fun-wise, at least.

  30. Wallet is already dead, but it has so far been a great year. Bioshock 2, Just Cause 2 and Super Street Fighter IV have been the highlights so far for me.

  31. Mass Effect 2 so far has been the real stand out for me, Red Dead looks like its gonna claim the overall game of the year title for me.