March is the end of the first quarter, in 2007 we saw the building on, and the creation of, a couple of classic franchises. Welcome to the party, chums. Grab a beer and settle on in; here are the Games Turning 10 March… It’s a good one for Sony.
Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection (PS3): March 1st
Tekken 5: Dark Resurrection was an update to Tekken 5. It was originally released as a PSP exclusive title and was ported to PS3 after players were disappointed that it was not available on a Sony home console.
Tekken is a well-known and well-loved franchise, there is no doubt about it. I owned this game on both of the available platforms and played it to death. I’d (of course) played Streetfighter previous to this title… But this is what I deem my introduction to the fighting genre.
This game added 12 titles to online play, it introduced a whole bunch of customisation options, for the first time arcade mode kept a track of your statistics.
At the time I remember this looking incredible… The graphics were still at that not-quite-perfect next-gen stage where the limits of the console were not yet being pushed so yes, the definition was somewhat lacking and the textures weren’t perfect… But honestly, I wasn’t too bothered. This game is great fun and with the disappointment Tekken 6 turned out to be, 5 is definitely one still worth playing. This PS3 port scored a reasonable 82/100 on Metacritic, which is totally fair.
Motorstorm (PS3): 3rd March
A pretty big deal in march of 2007 is the birth of the Motorstorm franchise. This came speeding onto PS3 with gusto and holds the Guinness World Record for number of vehicles in a racing game. Crazy stuff.
In hindsight, this is a truly great looking game, and before you tell me that all racing games look good, this one is different because of the setting. What I will say is that looking back now a lot of the textures look a little watered down and washed out, the controls don’t feel as tight as I’d like, and there’s no ‘quick play’ mode which I really think is a shame for a game you might just want to jump on and play 5 minutes of.
But, y’know, Motorstorm has a lot of good points too… The sheer variety of transport options is one, the Metacritic aggregate score of 84 is another.
God of War II (PS2): 13th March
God of War. I can’t really say much about this franchise that hasn’t been said before, what I will say, however, is: why the hell was this released on PS2 and not PS3? This game (and it’s predecessor) weren’t ported to PS3 until 2009. Pretty shocking if you ask me, especially for something which is now so highly regarded. I’m not being funny, but we aren’t gonna see God of War in all its modern glory released on last-gen later this year, are we?
Being released on PS2 did gain this game a lot of attention, however. Being released at what was considered the end of the PS2 era meant that this game has since been dubbed the “swan song” of the console. That is to say the best final addition which shone brighter than the light of the sun… Sort of. It was awarded “Playstation game of the year” at the 2007 Golden Joystick Awards and basically wiped the floor with it’s competition.
This second addition to the already well-loved franchise saw 4 times the amount of bosses and refined puzzles, basically: what you would expect from a sequel.. People were impressed. So impressed that this is the 14th best-selling PS2 game of all time.
Oh yeh, critics were impressed too, aggregate scores? 93. You go, God (of War II).
Resistance: Fall of Man (PS3): March 23rd
Published by Insomniac, Resistance was yet another birth of a new IP for Sony. With split-screen gaming in its PS3 peak at this time, I remember playing this WW2-era shooter with my sister vividly. She was one for going in all guns blazing, screaming out her little lungs as she jumped and dodged around the lounge as though this would help her advance more smoothly in the game.
As is the case with most early PS3 FPS’ the graphics are not great, we are still in that low poly era, but I remember looking at this game and seeing a huge step up in terms of quality here. I can’t say that I was a huge FPS fan in my youth but if anything took me down that road and set me up to be the FPS ho that I am today, it was this game. This was the good stuff they gave you to get you hooked.
There were a subsequent 2 games for the home console and another on PSP, so this testifies for the fact it was fairly well received. But what sets this game apart from the other FPS’ available on the market at the time is the setting. As I mentioned this is a WW2 era game, nothing major, but the battlefield is Great Britain and the enemy? Not Nazi’s my friend, but Aliens who go by the name of the chimera BUT there is another twist: Most of the chimera are abducted and mutated humans.
You play as the American soldier Nathan Hale who becomes infected by the chimera virus early in the game but who does not succumb quite as fast as others who have contracted it… That pretty much sums it up, honestly.
Because I have my vision clouded by nostalgia goggles it’s difficult for me to look at this game subjectively, that said I have made my other half play it and she has, so far, thoroughly enjoyed herself. For me, this means it withstands the test of time.
As usual, I’ve gone to Metacritic for my aggregate score on this one. Resistance is sitting at a very respectable 86.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent (PS3): 30th March
Double Agent is the 4th installment in the Splinter Cell series and as expected, being one of Ubisoft’s flagship franchises, received great reviews all-round. The game is the first in the series to introduce a ‘hub area’ which allowed protagonist Sam to explore and complete objectives between missions. It also introduced the new ‘trust system’ which presented the player with moral dilemmas throughout. On top of these major changes, the game also had multiple endings… Only one of these actually advanced the story, though.
This game has nice graphics, smooth controls, a fairly well-received story… Overall this went down very well with fans of the franchise. While the PS3 port was a year later than the original 360 release the original was the winner of 6 different awards.
There is little more I can say about such an iconic franchise, but what I can leave you with is the Metacritic score for the PS3 version which sits at a 78.
March was maybe a slow month for games in general, but with so many good titles released I doubt people were too worried… Meanwhile April sees in even less in the way of big titles and forces me to focus on smaller (and handheld) titles.
See you next time, I can barely contain my excitement(!)