Monday, June 2, 2008

Third Time Is A Charm?

It has been an awesome few weeks lately for me and gaming news. Two games were announced that I was not expecting at all and yet my excitement and anticipation for both games are as high as my anticipation was for GTA IV. The games?

Beyond Good and Evil 2 and the new Oddworld game.

Sure, Beyond Good and Evil was pretty much guaranteed when it was revealed that Michel Ancel and his team had been working on it for quite some time but it was never confirmed as going to happen until Ubisoft decided on it. They made the right decision and announced it at their 'Ubidays' event that just recently happened. The new Oddworld game on the other hand completely came out of the blue and was especially surprising considering that Lorne Lanning and the developers of the previous Oddworld games were meant to be working on other unrelated to gaming projects. Both announcements were welcomed with a jump for joy from yours truly and I now look forward to seeing how these games pan out in the course of their development and of course I await the day I can play both.

Why is my anticipation so high for both titles? Well put simply, I absolutely love the previous games in the two franchises. Beyond Good and Evil was such a unique experience and a breath of fresh air at the time when I had played quite a few FPS games and a couple of big RPGs as well. Having a game focus on a conspiracy and even a journalistic side was such a nice change from shooting anything that moved or fighting battle after battle and I was immersed in the world of Hillys and Jade's adventure from start to finish. Not even the short length of the game could detract from the fun I was having and I have finished it many times just because it's a great game to go to when I feel like a change in my gaming habits. The soundtrack was also absolute bliss and complimented the game perfectly.

I'm anticipating the latest Oddworld game because I loved the side scrolling games of the PS1 days and I also loved the two games that came out last gen, Munch's Odyssey and Stranger's Wrath. I won't go into detail like I did for BG&E but simply put, the Oddworld story was never completed as far as I am concerned and it is great to know that it will finally be continued on through this new game. Will it be a side scrolling game like the old days, or similar to the most recent Stranger's Wrath? Perhaps neither and perhaps something completely different again. I can't wait to find out.

As the title of this entry alludes to, the third time is a charm. What am I referring to? Well I guess you could say that it refers to two things; one being some other game announcements that happened recently or the second being that another announcement is perhaps due (these things always happen in threes don't they?) in the near future.

I'm hoping that it is the latter and that I can be absolutely shocked and surprised again, but if not I am quite happy to settle for BG&E2 and the new Oddworld game. So that leaves me with the other games I'm happy to see announced recently.

Banjo Kazooie: Nuts and Bolts was announced last year but it was only recently that more information was revealed about it. As far as I'm concerned, what was shown is the Banjo of old that everyone loves with the addition of vehicles and the creation of them to provide a new and unique experience that is still similar at the same time. A lot of people don't seem to like this new direction that the game is taking and while that's their opinion, I feel they perhaps jumped the gun a bit too quickly and made their decision hastily as they saw the vehicle concept. I'm content to sit it out and wait until I see more before I decide whether the addition is a welcome one or not, but from what I saw in the recent reveal it is still a game that I am anticipating. The Banjo games rock, after all.

Another Rare game was announced recently and that is Viva Pinata 2: Trouble In Paradise. Personally I am anticipating this more than the Banjo game (and I absolutely love Banjo) so that is saying something about my appreciation and admiration for unique games with beautiful art directions. The original Viva Pinata was fantastic; it was simple in style and execution and yet rather complex when it came to maximising the potential of your garden. It was also a great game to play to unwind after some intense Gears of War play as I went for the Seriously achievement. I spent hours enticing the little Pinatas to enter my garden, watching them interact with each other and of course mating them as well. Viva Pinata 2 looks like it will continue the brilliant and simple fun of the original game while adding some new Pinata species to the mix, co-op play and a few other additions. I'm really looking forward to the game and can't wait for it to be released.

And that's the game announcements that have made me one happy gamer in the recent past. As I said above, I'm quietly hoping that another game announcement happens in the near future that excites me as much as the Oddworld and Beyond Good and Evil 2 announcements did. If it happens I'll blog about it here (proving that things really do happen in threes) and if it doesn't happen, well I'm content in knowing that not only will I be playing a new Banjo and Pinata game soon, but that I will also be playing a new Oddworld and Beyond Good and Evil game in the future as well.


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