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access_time July 7, 2012 at 12:00 AM in Features by Drew Robbins

Buzzwords (July 7)

We live in a time of excess and instant gratification, but, above all else, we live in a time of buzzwords. Buzzwords control the landscape of the world; politics, sports, and, of course, video games are all manipulated by these simple words and phrases. As a result of their power, Buzzwords must be embraced. This is where the embracing begins.

In accordance with the holiday, I’m using this week to declare my independence from the tyrants that have been leading my life for the past twenty years: ants. In between bouts of Diablo III and the woeful truth known as reality, I’ve been forced to battle back a horde of these insects so tremendous in size that they dwarf even the most brash collection of Pikmin. I’ve seen Antz and A Bug’s Life, but neither of those could prepare me for this particular brand of terror.

Here’s to a small reprieve from ants and a long journey into the dark underbelly of gaming; let’s get to the buzzing.

“Final Fantasy VII is Coming to PC” – IGN

If the cries of Reggie Fils-Aime are to be believed, then the type of person that plays video games is the same type of person that spends the entirety of their life whining, complaining, and demanding more from the corporations that fill the void of their empty existence. Though Reggie may be sensationalizing the issue, there certainly is some merit to the argument declaring a nerd’s desire to be insatiable, a sentiment perhaps best exemplified by the constant clamoring of Final Fantasy fans for a remake of Final Fantasy VII. Speaking to the issue, Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada cited the lack of a next-generation upgrade for the title as a product of the lack of anything better being made since its original release. Taking it even further, Wada issued a statement at the company’s annual shareholder meeting that, in my eyes, rings with a certain level of dissonance.

If the team were to remake Final Fantasy VII now, then the Final Fantasy franchise “would be done with”. – IGN’s Luke Karmali quoting Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada

There are more than a few reasons that I find this quote to be dissonant, but, as the headline leading off this segment implies, chief among them is the fact that Square Enix this week announced that Final Fantasy VII would be returning to the PC with achievements and upgrades exclusive to the platform. While this isn’t quite a remake, it is a slew of enhancements being allotted to a game that is as old as it is iconic. If Wada’s reasoning is to be believed, then why would Square Enix devote so much time and energy to returning their most popular game to hardware that most fans of the series forgot it was ever on in the first place?

Compounding the dissonance is the fact that Square Enix is known for remaking ancient properties. In fact, it was only a few years ago that the studio completely redesigned Final Fantasy IV for the Nintendo DS. A few years before that, they gave the same treatment to Final Fantasy III. This year, Square Enix is touting a high-definition port of Final Fantasy X. Clearly, the company is not above marking a return of their library’s most prominent entries.

I’ve never been as crazy about Final Fantasy VII as my peers, but, at this point, even I want to see the game remade. There is nary a person alive that doesn’t want to see it at this point, and the continued excuses made by Square Enix to avoid the project entirely are becoming as tiring as fireworks displays on Independence Day.

“Your Health Will Regenerate in Resident Evil 6” – The Escapist

Gear, in this case, stands for Gears of War while the Z stands for zombies, an enemy type of which I feel it safe to assume there are many in Resident Evil 6.

When the year began, Resident Evil 6 was among my most anticipated games. As the year progressed, though, my excitement gradually waned as further details emerged revealing the title to be one more in line with modern-action properties than with those belonging to its own franchise. Said in an easier to read, more pleasant way: Resident Evil 6 is a misnomer; a more proper name might be Gears of Generic Action Property 6: World at War.

In general, I’m not opposed to regenerating health. I think that it’s a mechanic which fits well within the bounds of a more cinematic video game like Uncharted. For those games with intentions elsewhere, it feels out of place to have a mechanic which artificially ensures the player’s success in battle. Resident Evil has, as a franchise, tended to side more with a typical game design that punishes players and demands more of them; Resident Evil 6, as is evidenced by this latest concession to the action genre, seems to be making a transition to the other end of the spectrum.

Though Resident Evil 5 wasn’t exactly original in its construction, it stopped short of completely abandoning the formula that had made the franchise to which it belonged a household commodity. Yes, there was plenty of ammunition, a competent partner, and a streamlined inventory management system, but that was as accessible as it got. Players still had to stand in place as they aimed their gun, a fact that was especially troubling for users given that they also could not hide behind cover to avoid the constant onslaught of battle. These design decisions may not have made for the easiest of experiences, but they did go a long way in preserving the distinct feel that only a Resident Evil game could have.

Resident Evil 6 does not have that distinct feeling. As was seen at E3 and has been since proven in the demo released this week, Resident Evil 6 is just another action game with cover-based mechanics and regenerating health. The game even allows the player to move whilst shooting, roll, and employ a variety of other tactics that only serve to shatter the illusion of survival horror that the series was already struggling to maintain.

“JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle on the way from Asura’s Wrath dev” – Joystiq

I’m not afraid to admit it before the entirety of the world or whatever small segment of it that I actually reach: I’ve been trolled. Namco, you got me. Not only did you get me, but I’m fairly certain that you got the entirety of the demographic that purports to love Nintendo and can’t wait for even the slightest drop of news regarding the whereabouts of the next Super Smash Bros. game.

Earlier this week, a teaser site appeared touting an All Star Battle being developed by Namco Bandai. With last week’s news that the studio would be in charge of the new Super Smash Bros. heading to the Wii U, many reasonably assumed that this page was soon to become home to the major unveiling of the highly-anticipated entry into the premiere brawler franchise. Last night, the timer that had taken up residence on the website at last concluded and prompted an instantaneous realization: we, as a collective, had assumed wrong.

All Star Battle was not a phrase being used in reference to Super Smash Bros., but was instead meant as a hint at the return of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All Star Battle. I’m not sure there was a person alive that had this result projected.

In any other situation, a sequel to JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure would have been welcome news. This week, though, it has left me and a large majority of the gaming landscape a disappointed mess. I look forward to seeing Namco Bandai’s direction with what was once a stellar fighting game developed by Capcom, but I am far more eager to see Namco Bandai’s direction with what was once a stellar fighting game developed internally at Nintendo.

Drew Robbins – Blizzdrone Through and Through


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