I'm a mid-twenties, indiscriminate gamer who runs a geek website with my girlfriend, Nicole. You can check it out at http://www.geekspodcast.com if you'd like, but I admit we've grown a bit lazy and haven't actually, you know, podcasted in a while! Regardless, I'm a down to earth kind of guy who enjoys a variety of games, though I have a special place in my heart for Silent Hill 2, just like Nicole does. Right now I'm recovering from the midnight launch for Modern Warfare 2 and waiting to get off work so I can work on the site, play some MW2/Borderlands, and possibly research amateur taxidermy on my collection of cellar rats. Just kidding- I don't have Borderlands ;)
I've said this before, I realize, but I really do love my girlfriend very much. However, much as I love her, I don't so much love when she sneaks the 360 harddrive out of the house for a girl's night out with her friends and leaves me unable to continue my Mass Effect playthrough. So yes, she stole it again last night but almost gave herself a heart attack in the process.
You see, Nicole's been playing through the original Bioshock on hard to try and complete all her achievements. She's diligently been going through the entire strategy guide with a sharpie, marking off every single audio log, desperately trying to milk the game for all its worth before Bioshock 2's launch next week. Being the sneaky little minx she is, she went to her friend's house and popped in Bioshock and the now curiously absent from my system harddrive to continue her trek through Olympic Heights.
This is where it got comical for me. I didn't have much to do while she was gone so I just messed around with our website. Well, I was in the middle of that right when she called me, panicked, explaining that her save that she'd probably put 20 hours into this week was gone after plugging our harddrive into another 360. I tried my best to calm her down, explaining that we'd pop it in when she got home to assess the damage.
Well, as it turns out she got herself all fussy for nothing. Apparently her friend's 360 had been a refurbed unit, which didn't have the correct system time set. Consequently, instead of appearing at the top of her list of Bioshock saves, it was all the way at the bottom with a 2006 save date. Funny, considering the game didn't come out until 2007, but it makes sense that the system time is how save dates are calculated. So yeah, she was pretty relieved and promised(again) not to sneak off with the harddrive anymore...we'll see how that goes.
The other night I was up until about 2 in the morning with Nicole and our friend, Jon watching Tombstone, one of my favorite movies of all time. Prior to seeing it I'd never been one for westerns and didn't see the appeal. However, after checking it out for the first time I couldn't stop spouting Doc Holiday quotes for weeks and ever since it's held a high spot on my list of top films. Maybe it's the talk of the forthcoming Red Dead Redemption, but while watching it I realized what a fantastic translation it would make into an open-ended, sandbox style game a la Gun (but much better). So below I will list the top 5 reasons Tombstone would likely make an excellent video game.
1. It'd be a great opportunity to further flesh out the excellent characters and expand the Tombstone universe.
I realize there isn't a Tombstone 'universe' per se, but stay with me. From the outset of the film, Wyatt, Virgil, Doc, and Morgan enjoy an immediate chemistry. They're fantastic performances and given the right voice talent (preferably the original actors), it'd be fantastic if you had the choice of which of the four characters to play from the outset, chronicling exactly what happens before arriving in Tombstone. If you chose Wyatt Earp you could have a prologue exploring your adventures as a U.S. Marshall in Kansas City before making your way out west. More of a Doc Holiday type? Then spend the first hour or so riding from town to town with Kate by your side, cleaning up at poker. While it's rare for developers to put this much replayability into a game, it'd still be a fantastic mechanic fans of the film who want even more of the characters that left such an impact back in 1993.
2. It Wouldn't be the first time an older film is given some new twists
I'm not lobbying for key points in the movie to be redone in the game, but if the developers did choose to do this, it's not like they'd be taking a bold, inexcusable risk. We've already seen these types of liberties taken in games like Scarface, Ghostbusters, and The Godfather, so why not through Tombstone into the mix? What if Wyatt changes his mind and decides to stay in Tombstone? What if a gang more treacherous than the Cowboys roll into town? Sure, some purists might be offended at story modifications, but if handled properly and given enough care, it might open up some surprising new possibilities.
3. The Sandbox Potential is Palpable
Open world games have historically been characterized by a variety of side-quests and mini-games scattered throughout their particular world. This is understandable considering that a large, sprawling landscape devoid of anything to well, DO would be quite boring! That's why Niko Bellick can take a night off once in a while to go bowling or Ezio can just go free running to his heart's content to check out the beautiful views high above Venice.
For the Tombstone treatment, why not have side quests hunting down Cowboys? We already know from the film (and history) that Wyatt ruthlessly hunted down many of these vagrants and that they wore red sashes to identify themselves. Why not make optional Cowboy Hunting a side-quest of sorts where red sashes you retrieve can be used to unlock better firearms, faster horses, or maybe just a few shots of bourbon at the saloon?
More than just hunting down Cowboys as a side quest, with the prevalence of casinos in Tombstone, a variety of gambling mini-games (and subsequent showdowns rising from disputes) would be a given.
4. We Already Know Westerns Can Work
No, I'm not talking about Custer's Revenge
But rather, we've already established that there's at least some desire for Western themed shooters as evidenced by the relative success of games like Gun, Red Dead Revolver, and Call of Juarez. I mean, Red Dead Redemption is already on its way (hopefully), and if there were no demand whatsoever for these type of games then publishers wouldn't even bother. Sure some of the Western's we've already seen are good, but I would venture to say that none of them have the kind of riveting narrative as Tombstone.
5. A Mutliplayer Component Isn't Completely Out of the Question
Sure, it seems like every game has a multiplayer component tacked onto it now adays with your standard FPS options and a handful of maps, but Tombstone could take this opportunity to set itself apart. Perhaps in a Gears of War co-op style or a mode whereby 4 players take on the roles of the protagonists and in an open-world map where the goal is to return as many Cowboy sashes as possible to the local Sheriff. Or perhaps in Left 4 Dead style you could pit our heroes against wave after wave of Cowboys either AI controlled or manned by an opposing team online.
Maybe it's just my love of the film or my imagination running away with me, but if done properly I think a Tombstone game would be a blast to play. What do you all think? Could it be successful?
While initially I prided myself on completing the game on veteran, I see now that my neglecting multiplayer has caught up to me. You see, this goofy kid from work I hang out with from time to time finally got his shit together and got a 360. On my recommendation he picked up MW2 and I finally got my chance to play with him online tonight. As I'm sitting here typing this, he is positively cleaning up with 19 kills and 2 deaths while I'm sitting, well, 2 kills and 9 deaths. Yes, it's degrading, but I assure you all I really am better than my level 13 would indicate.
Anyways, I suppose the real reason I haven't excelled like my colleagues is that I've just been too wrapped up in Bayonetta/Army of Two lately. Both of which are good games, but sadly it has detracted from multiplayer usefulness in this particular shooter.
What vices have you all had that have kept you from being all that you can be to your online teammates?
I've spent the past few days immersed in Bayonetta and I have to say, I'm rather impressed! Sure, it feels like Devil May Cry in skin-tight latex and I'm not sure why with all of her magical witch powers she can't concoct a good pair of vision-correcting contacts, but I'm invested, nonetheless.
While the gameplay's more than solid and I certainly appreciate the ability to practice combos at loading screens, I do have one gripe about it- the awful J-pop soundtrack. Oddly enough, in some games I don't mind this type of music (The World Ends With You comes to mind), but even with Bayonetta's over-the-top presentation it just feels...awkward. It's not a huge deal though considering you can turn the music off, but it just seemed oddly out of place in the midst of some of the amazing boss battles I've seen thus far.
Speaking of music, while the score doesn't necessarily sit well with me, the voice acting is at least passable. The sound effects are punchy too, though a few of them sound eerily familiar.
What about you all? Is there anything that irks you about Bayonetta or is it just as flawless as Famitsu would have us believe?
In one of my previous posts I'd talked about how Nicole was going to draw the Left 4 Dead hand on my back if I got a number of comments on the post over at our site. Well, I'm happy to report that she's completed the deed and here's a pic:
If you want to see some more of Nicole and also of the awesome drawing she did, check out the post at our website and please, continue with your suggestions for the one I draw on her back which will be fantastically sh*tty.
I haven't gotten all of the achievements yet, but I did 'complete' the game in that I put a righteous hurtin' on the final boss. Speaking of which, while I find the game to be totally rad I was disappointed in the ending. It just kind of came off as weak sauce. I'm glad this IP was successful enough that they're looking into a sequel and all, but I wish this one would've been a bit less cliff-hanger-y. Just the same, I'll still keep fighting to level 50 for the sheer enjoyment of finding more phat lootz and I'm still not finished with The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned yet. Although, I do think it would've been more fitting to release that DLC around Halloween given the aesthetics and all. How many of you beat Borderlands and what do you think they could have improved?