Welcome one and all to part two of this months Hype Machine. Since we've taken a look
at how January's games stood up to their hype, it's now time to see what all the fuss is over the games coming out in February. The way this will work is I'll run down the hype of the top games for the month and give a few predictions at the end of each one.
February offers a few more hyped games then January (where I was forced to call KUF
a hyped game). So I have narrowed it down to what I believe to be the most hyped games that also represent a variety of game types. You'll notice that Turok,
one of the most hyped games of the year so far, isn't on the list. This is simply because I'm a bit late here and we've already found out
how the game is. Still, there is plenty of hype swirling around our heads as we speak, so strap yourself in and get ready to ride the roller coaster of PR speak and doctored screenshots. This is The Hype Machine.
Lost Odyssey Release Date: Feb. 12 The Game: Lost Odyssey
is a massive, classic style RPG for the XBox 360. The game is contained on four DVDs and features pretty straight forward turn based battles and an epic plot involving immortals and a battle for the world. You play as Kaim, a man who's been sentenced to live for 1,000 years. The game's storyline takes you through Kaim's life as he lives through multiple generations, becomes a part of many families, falls in and out of love and gets into conflicts. All this is set in a world that is on the verge of a "mystical industrial revolution," where mankind has attained dark powers.
This is the second JRPG style game from Mystwalker on the 360 and you'd be hard pressed to find a site that doesn't mention that Final Fantasy
producer Hironobu Sakaguchi is heading up this project not to mention famed gaming composer Nobuo Uematsu (aslo of FF
fame) is doing the score. Yea, the guys at Microsoft want everyone to know that this game is coming from JRPG greatness. As GameStop put it "It's hard to dismiss the pedigree of Lost Odyssey...Little wonder, then, that despite being powered by the Xbox 360, the nuts and bolts of Lost Odyssey feel very familiar." As in Final Fantasy, classic RPG, dear god, Japan, please love me, familiar. Of course with Blue Dragon
(Mystwalker's previous 360 JRPG) being only semi-succesful in it's launch the guys working on Lost Odyssey
are distancing themselves a bit, especially where pacing is concerned. They told IGN that, "The pacing will be very different. We are not disclosing how it will be, as we are still tuning and balancing many aspects." Despite the classic RPG format of the game a Paper Mario
like timing system has been implemented in hopes of delivering a bit more interactivity to the turn based battles and an interesting ring system has been added that causes the effects of your good timing to change.
This is going to be the game that rescues 360 owners from the lack of straightforward Japanese RPGs. It will be epic in proportion and classic in it's gameplay, we'll finally have a game on the 360 that challenges the quality of JRPGs on the PS2.
Why It Might Fail:
For one, it's a JRPG on an American system. History doesn't really support it's success. Let's all remember that despite the big names behind Blue Dragon
it was far from perfect. JRPGs can fail in so many ways it's impossible to list. From uninteresting story to tiresome battles there is plenty that could fail here.
Devil May Cry 4 Release Date: Feb 5 The Game:
The fourth game in the Devil May Cry series (thus the apt name Devil May Cry 4
). This time though the game has a new lead character named Nero who has a mechanical arm allowing for some changes in the gameplay. Don't worry Dante is still in the game too. The game is still full of the action filled combat that the previous games had allowing you to pull off awesome combos and beat up bad guys in amazing ways.
If you can find a site that doesn't list this game as one of the top ten reasons to own a PS3 I'd like to see it (of course now it's coming out for the 360 too, but still). With the addition of a new character with new abilities the game is going to offer a bit more then the previous ones too, especially since you'll be fighting with different styles. 1up.com says, "The addition of new characters with new abilities (like Nero's God Hand-like arm of power) might even add a layer of (gasp!
) depth." That's right, depth in a Devil May Cry
game. Beyond the new features DMC4
is going to truly tighten up the already tight controls of the series and present everyone with the best experience ever in a DMC
game. The games designer, Hideaki Itsuno, believes that they really nailed the Devil May Cry
gameplay this time around, saying, "I really feel that we have offered up the best Devil May Cry
gameplay yet. The combat is deeper and more interesting than it has ever been in the series. This time we were able to really get the enemies fine-tuned as well."
A new character and new fighting mechanics make this the best Devil May Cry
game yet and one that will have some good depth in its gameplay.
Why It Might Fail: Devil May Cry 2 Dragon Quest Swords Release Date: Feb 26 The Game:
Not the next official installment in the Dragon Quest
series, but more of a side quest. Dragon Quest swords is a first person sword fighting RPG that uses the Wiimote motion sensors as your sword. The game features simple controls that work with only the Wiimote and two buttons and simple straight forward levels. A party system allows for multiple types of attacks.
This is the kind of RPG that the Wii was born to make. The game is easy to get into and easy to play yet still a Dragon Quest
game. Plus the game offers the sword fight gameplay we've all been clamoring for since the Wii was first announced. Everything has been streamlined to make this game more accessible for the mainstream. As IGN points out, "even the equipment and item management has been made easy to use for mainstream gamers." But don't worry all you hardcore RPG and DQ
fans, because GameSpot says, "If this all sounds too simple, don't fret--the game has some depth to its systems to keep things interesting." They're referring too the fact that the game has a full party system to offer different battle strategies, upgradeable weapons and a forge mode that allows you to give weapons different powers. Still the key word here is simple, which is the exact opposite of Lost Odyssey
and might actually be great for bringing some of those Wii Sports
gamers further into the fold so that they can upgrade to games like the afformentioned Lost Odyssey. Barebones Hype:
Simple, fun and easy to get into. This is RPG light, which isn't a bad thing but a good way to get people deeper into games. Plus, Wiimote as a sword.
Why It Might Fail:
The sword controls could really suck, completely ruining the game. Also, who wants a simplified Dragon Quest
? Don't we play JRPGs for their depth?
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Release Date: Feb 19 The Game:
The fourth entry into the Ace Attorney
series Apollo Justice
introduces us to a new leading man (Apollo Justice) and a new cast of crazy characters. The game is the first in the series to be designed ground up for the DS and thus features many new aspects that utilize the DS's unique features. Playing consists of investigating the cases you're assigned and then winning the trail via examination of witnesses. Quirky dialogue and oddball characters galore.
A year ago a game in this series would have been seriously under hyped, but now you can't find to many DSs that Phoenix Wright hasn't shouted "OBJECTION" out of. Since this is the first game in the series that was built for the DS the game is going to offer a whole lot more features that will liven up the gameplay a bit; just in case you were getting bored with old in the first three games. Finding evidence will be far more interactive and examining items will also play a larger role. But don't worry the classic writing and insanely odd cases will all be returning and the game will feel and play (for the most part) like it's predecessors. As 1up.com said, "Zany courtroom drama is always in season." The general hype on this game is that you're going to be getting more of the same but not the same, basically a promise of everything you ever wanted out of your courtroom adventure games. It's a great series and now you "throw in the addition of sharper graphics, new music, and levels of interactivity simply not seen in any of the Phoenix Wright titles," as IGN put it. Sounds like even those people who found Phoenix Wright 3
to be getting boring will gladly be jumping back into this game.
It's Phoenix Wright
, but now new and improved with better graphics and controls (if controls is the right word here).
Why It May Fail:
While new features are great and the stories are always funny, we're really getting the same thing again. The new interactivity might not make the game interesting enough and, though unlikely, the cases could just fall flat.
Well there you have this months hype. There are plenty more hyped games coming out this month like The Club, LOST
and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty
to name a few but I am hoping to give a wide variety of games and hype so I went with these four. Tune in next month when we see if these games actually stood up to all the hype around them. This has been The Hype Train.