Sunday, December 5, 2010

PS3 Purchasing Plan

Around 4 and a half years ago I finally had a reliable cash income, and therefore had plenty of money to purchase a PS3, if I so desired. However, something stayed my hand at the time, and in retrospect it was an outstanding decision to wait until just a few months ago. What was it? Well, I decided to not purchase a PS3 until at least 10 objectively good games came out for it. 10 is a small enough number right? I mean the PS2 alone has 50+ good games for it, how could it take so long for the PS3 to produce merely 10? The answer is quite simple. In this article it is suggested that the baseline price of the average game is anywhere between 10 million - 50 million, depending on number of platforms and development scale. Very few games are exclusive compared to the past 2 console generations (well, between the 360 and PS3, I wouldn't really consider the Wii a legitimate console), so that puts the vast majority of games' budgets at $28-$40 million.

That is about 20 times as much as it used to be, and independent development of games is all but impossible as a result. The industry itself is afraid to toss around that much money while taking any risks. The ridiculous preponderance of FPS's is rather saddening. Unfortunately the legions of "halo kiddies" don't seem to have much taste for variety. Or you know, a single player game lasting longer than 6-8 hours... Black Ops has sold 18 million copies in just a couple of weeks, and is essentially the same exact game as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare. Modern Warfare 2 sold about as many copies. This is sort of what happens when the market is dominated by just a few developers making extremely similar games, for whatever strange reason no one seems to care that there are so few halfway decent games. This hilarious review of Black Ops pretty much sums up my feelings on the Call of Duty verse, Yahtzee refuses to crush it since he's now being paid off by Treyarch to keep his mouth shut.

Aside: MMOs have a much higher baseline, somewhere around 100 million, and given their very high rate of failure (and even less risk taking) the chance of an actually good, competitive MMO coming out are slim to none until Blizzard releases their next one.

So, with the accepted good length of a game falling from 40 hours to 10 hours and every game becoming a "cinematic experience" instead of being enjoyable on their own merits, I despaired. However, having now purchased a PS3 and those 10 good games, I can say it was definitely worth waiting. I'm playing them in sequence from earliest release to newest, and I'll go back through on a harder difficulty after a while (at which point I'll post reviews), but playing a sequence of reliably good-great games is quite fun. The PS2 held up for about 10 years for me, being that it's essentially the God of the Console wars.* Every game is extremely cinematic, which I certainly can enjoy provided the gameplay is still competent, and certain ridiculously hyped games like Uncharted 2 are actually pretty damn good. For the time being I'll pretty much just be playing the PS3 (and D2 in random spurts I suppose).
*Seriously, just think of the top 10 games for any genre except First Person Shooter and at least 50% were released for the PS2, it was an absurdly successful masterpiece. However, being so successful indirectly cause the PS3's colossal failure at launch, though it has since recovered to respectable levels.

I intend to post reviews alternating retro and recent, perhaps starting with a PSX/PS2 dichotomy before switching to PS2/PS3 reviews entirely. Much like movie reviews if possible I'll replay them a bit prior to posting reviews, just to refresh my old memories. Square Enix still seems to have a stranglehold on making the best particular JRPGs, and maybe this has finally come to represent Final Fantasy titles as well as off titles (Vagrant Story, Front Mission 3, Star Ocean 2, Chrono Trigger, Chrono Cross, and Valkyrie Profile 2 are all top 10 RPGs in my book), we shall see. Fear the power of J-Rock

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