Let’s Take a More Detailed Look at the Destiny Beta: The Locations

DestinyContinuing from where we left off yesterday, today I want to take a little bit closer look at the different places we got to explore in the Destiny beta. I’m just going to focus on the locations available outside of the Crucible – I’ll hit them tomorrow when I talk about the Crucible in general. Instead, I’m going to look at the different aspects of Old Russia, The Tower and The Moon.

OLD RUSSIA
The only place in the beta where missions and Strikes took place, with the exception of one limited time mission on the moon; Old Russia is an area that I think players will be very familiar with come September. This is where your Ghost finds you and brings you back, it’s where the first chunk of missions happen, and it’s the first free-roam area as well, allowing you to delve into all sorts of caves and buildings. In the beta we were able to really go through a few different areas in the Cosmodrome – the Steppes, the Divide, the Moth-Yards, the Forgotten Shore, the Rocketyard and Skywatch. They all are basically the same interconnected area, but they do manage to have different feels to them. The Steppes, which is the first area that you will really get the chance to explore, are fairly wide open, with a couple peaks with hidden caves hiding chests or enemies. I was also able to come across a couple of high level enemies tucked below the Steppes that couldn’t be hurt by anything I had in my possession, even at level 8, which makes me think that there’s plenty more to see here.

Old Russia Map

The Moth-Yards will be the next major area to explore, a section of hills and cliffs strewn with destroyed planes from the Golden Age that contain Fallen as well as possibly some chests. This was my preferred spot to grind out some experience early on, right around level 3/4 or so. There are some level 11 enemies here to give level 8 characters something that could drop good engrams. This area also connects to both the Skywatch through the Lunar Complex, which is where you will first encounter the Hive; as well as the Forbidden Shore, which is a ruined area filled with ships that have run aground. Skywatch was a great place to complete missions in Explore mode, while the Forbidden Shores were perfect for bounties. The last of the major areas in the Cosmodrome is the Rocketyard, which is the starting area for the Devil’s Lair strike. This was probably the best high level area to be, since most of the enemies were level 8 or 9. Overall, I think Old Russia will end up being a really cool area to run around, tackling raids and strikes – the team at Bungie has done an incredible job creating a game world that looks about as beautiful as possible, especially the sky boxes.

THE TOWER
The Tower might only be a social zone full of merchants and other players loading up for adventure, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an important area. It’s important that Bungie was able to make the Tower feel like a place that is filled with life, albeit a tired life, but life nonetheless. Little touches like the soccer ball that can be kicked around, the larger rubber balls and a number of A.I characters going about their daily lives gives the Tower a sense of life, and a spark of hope. It’s also important that the layout makes sense for navigation – which, even though it might take a few minutes, I think it does. The more important merchants are right in the main courtyard, while the other merchants and faction representatives are throughout the Tower. I think a good way to tell that Bungie really felt like the Tower is a full, unique area is that they added in a couple hidden dead Ghosts to collect for the Grimoire.

Destiny Moon Concept Art

THE MOON
Even though we only got a very small taste of the moon, I think it was good at giving us a sense of what the moon is going to be like in the full game. It feels similar to Earth, which makes sense from a gameplay mechanic – both are Human worlds, they should feel similar, at least in architecture and tone. Bungie has been playing a lot of their cards close to their chest when it comes to any real details involving story elements and locations, but I think we got a nice tease of where we can expect the missions on the moon to go – under the surface. The end of the moon mission in the beta featured a pretty difficult fight with a huge number of Hive enemies of all sorts of different classes. What I found most impressive was the numbers of little details Bungie put into making the moon feel like a different world – looking up into the sky it was possible to see satellites flying by, or perhaps even shooting stars. That said, the most impressive detail was looking at Earth and watching the clouds move and how the light interacted with the planet off in the distance.

Bungie said this week that Earth, Mars, Venus and the Moon would be the only places to visit in Destiny. However, Bungie has a habit of keeping secrets, especially big details like that, so while I do believe that, I am holding on to hope that there’s more than that, especially when the Grimoire had cards in it for Saturn and Jupiter. Perhaps we’ll only see those planets in the Crucible, only time will tell.

Advertisements

Let’s Take A More Detailed Look at the Destiny Beta: The Classes

DestinyEven though the Beta for Destiny ended this past weekend, it’s still right at the front of my mind. I was thoroughly impressed with the product that Bungie put out there as a Beta, and it really solidified my belief that Destiny is a strong contender for game of the year. I thought that the rest of the week I would go over in a little be more detail some of the things we got in the beta, as well as touching on some of the new info that Bungie has released this week for the full game. I want to start by looking at each class individually today, then diving into the different locations we got tomorrow, before finally specifically talking Crucible.

Underneath the armor your Guardian equips, there are three other stats – armor, recovery and agility – each impacting the base behavior of your character. Armor determines how much health your Guardian has, which determines how durable he or she is once their shield is broken. Recovery determines how fast your grenades, melee and shield recharge during combat. Agility covers your Guardian’s speed, and I believe your jump height as well.

Destiny Titan

THE TITAN
The Titan was the first class I selected for the beta, originally because my fireteam of friends had picked the Warlock and Hunter already. In the broadest sense, the Titan acts as the tank in a fireteam, using the base character stats as the basis for classification.  Just using those stats, the Titan has the highest base armor rating, which lets you get away with a little bit more reckless tactics with no shield. In the Beta we only got to play as one Subclass for each of the primary classes, and the Titan’s was the Striker subclass. Striker let’s you act as even more of a close range tank by granting the Fist of Havoc super ability. Using this power, your Guardian will hammer the ground with both fists, creating a pretty good size explosion of Arc Light, great for clearing out swarms of lower rank enemies or dealing some massive damage to higher rank ones, as well as being a fantastic option in the Crucible for clearing off control points. The only major downside is that even during the Fist of Havoc, you are still vulnerable to incoming damage, which can be mitigated a bit through the Unstoppable ability modifier upgrade. The other direct upgrades for Fist of Havoc are Aftermath, which creates a field of Arc Light that persists after the initial strike, Death from Above, which gives you more control over your aim after jumping, and Shockwave, which gives the attack a shockwave that travels on the ground.

Titan Fist of Havoc Gameplay Clip – Crucible Control – Played by Me:

Each subclass also offers three different grenades to choose from. The Striker initial grenade, the Flashbang Grenade, despite its sound as an attack with no damage, does indeed deal decent damage, but also has the benefit of stunning/blinding any enemy it hits and doesn’t kill. The Flashbang is a great option while playing with a Fireteam, allowing your other teammates to get in a few free shots while the enemy is stunned; while also working well in the Crucible to stun enemies long enough for follow up shots. The second grenade is the Pulse Grenade, which explodes on contact, and then produces a few more pulses of damage in the blast radius. This grenade is a better pure damage option, but takes a little getting used to since it’s a contact grenade. It’s great for area control, putting up a damage field for a few seconds, and works well in conjunction with the Aftermath ability modifier to extend it’s duration. Finally, the Striker unlocks the Lightning Grenade, which acts similar to the Pulse grenade, except that is sticks to any surface, and jets out bolts of lightning for a period of time. This is another good area control grenade, especially since it can be put in spots that a player might not expect, or where A.I. will walk through.

Finally, each subclass has a melee ability that boosts the base melee attack. The Titan has Storm Fist, a more powerful melee attack, that deals some serious Arc Damage. Going down the Storm Fist upgrade tree we first get Overlord, which has a chance to instantly reset the cooldown, Discharge, which gives it area of effect damage, and Illuminated, which makes kills with Storm Fist greatly reduce the Fist of Havoc cooldown. There are also a few other good upgrades on the Striker tree – including Headstrong, which makes Fist of Havoc’s leap longer if activated while sprinting, Transfusion, making kills with melee attacks trigger health regen, Shoulder Charge, giving you a unique melee attack after sprinting for a distance and Juggernaut, which grants you a protective shield after sprinting for a bit.

Titan Melee Kills – Crucible Control Gameplay Clip – Played by Me:

While playing the beta, we could also take a look at the level 15 subclass for each primary class, but nothing more. Titans gain access to the Defender subclass at that level, and looking at the super ability and upgrades, this looks like a primarily defense oriented class, along with a few other buffs for teammates. We’ll have to wait till the full game to see exactly how many subclasses exist for each primary class, since you can carry up to 3 total.

Destiny Hunter

THE HUNTER
If the Titan is the tank of the group, the Hunter would act as the ranger – a mid-long range specialist with high speed stats, with a super ability that is focused on precision attacks that deal massive damage, along with a powerful unique melee weapon in case enemies get too close. In the beta, we only got the chance to play as the Gunslinger subclass, focused around the Golden Gun super ability. The Golden Gun only has 3 shots after you activate it, and only lasts for a few seconds, or those 3 shots are used. Each shot deals a huge amount of Solar damage, which could ignite enemies. While it might deal a ton of damage, there are a few downsides to it – first, when activating it, the Hunter is really vulnerable for a second or two, which could be fatal; add in the fact that you only get those three shots, hit or miss, and that they don’t cause critical hits, and against some enemies, the Golden Gun might be more trouble than it’s worth. That said, once you get the hang of it, it’s got the potential to be a really powerful ability, especially in the Crucible, killing in one shot. The upgrades for Golden Gun include Deadeye, which greatly increases the accuracy of the Gun; Combustion, which makes enemies explode if they are killed with the Gun; and Gunfighter, which reduces the cooldown, making it available more often.

The Gunslinger has a pretty unique selection of grenades, not really sticking with one prevalent theme along the course of the three choices. The initial grenade option is Incendiary Grenade, which acts just like you would expect. I will say it takes a little bit to get used to it – it’s behavior when it’s thrown as well as the timing on the explosion and blast radius all are a little off the norm I would say. That said, since it’s an Incendiary Grenade, it also offers damage over time to enemies that survive the first explosion, and I’ve found is really useful against Hive enemies. Secondly the Gunslinger unlocks the Swarm Grenade, which explodes on contact, releasing a number of smaller explosives that seek out any nearby enemies. The Swarm definitely takes a little time to get used to as well, learning that the child grenades are the main damage source. It is good for groups though, as it spreads the damage around and makes mopping up easier. Finally, the Gunslinger unlocks the Tripmine Grenade, which again acts just like it sounds. It’s explosive damage, not Solar, so no DoT, but can be used to help control the direction that enemies have to come from.

The Gunslinger has, at least in my opinion, the most difficult to use, but satisfying melee ability of the three subclasses in the beta – a Throwing Knife. This lets the Hunter throw the knife to hit enemies at a distance, while still dealing the full melee damage. However, it’s a precision attack, and has a real long cooldown, regardless of whether you hit or not. This can make for some real “make-or-break” moments in the Crucible. Now, you don’t actually lose the knife for regular melee attacks though, which is a mystery to me, but I’m glad it’s the case. In regards to the upgrades for it, the melee tree itself offers the usual 3 upgrades: Circle of Life, which makes it so killing an enemy with the Throwing Knife while Golden Gun is active extends Golden Gun’s duration; Incendiary Blade, which add Solar damage to Throwing Knife attacks, and Knife Juggler, which makes precision kills with the Throwing Knife instantly reset the cooldown.

There are a few more upgrades spread across the trees that affect the Throwing Knife or the Golden Gun. Scavenger makes it so any ammo you pick up reduces the cooldown of the Throwing Knife, which is a nice boost to have. Keyhole makes the Golden Gun shoot through targets to hit multiple targets that are lined up. Gunslinger’s Trance is a skill that stacks up to 3 times, doing so with precision kills, which increase weapon stability. Chain of Woe is another stacking skill, again with precision kills, this time increasing reload speed, also up to 3 times. Over the Horizon increases the range of Golden Gun and Gambler’s Dagger grants you an addition Throwing Knife.

The Hunter’s knife plays a major role in the level 15 subclass, Bladedancer. Again, we couldn’t actually play as it in the beta, but based on the upgrades, which we could look at, it appears to be focused more around stealth and chaining melee attacks together.

Destiny Warlock

THE WARLOCK
Going with the traditional classifications of Tank (Titan) and Ranger (Hunter), the Warlock acts closer to a Mage, one that is focused around dealing damage, not healing. It’s a bit of a glass cannon, since it can dish out damage, but with a low armor stat, can’t necessarily survive long with no shield. However, it does boost a good recovery stat, getting it back in the fight quickly. We saw that with the Voidwalker subclass we got to play as, especially with the super ability – Nova Bomb. The Nova Bomb is essentially a super powered grenade, dealing a ton of Void Damage and having a pretty good size blast radius. Using it properly takes a few minutes, just to get used to jumping into the air to fire it and aiming it well. Once you have the hang of it, it can be a great crowd control ability, as well as a great PvP power too. The upgrades along the tree include Vortex, which grants a damage over time field; Shatter, which splits the Nova Bomb into 3 projectiles; and Lance, which makes the Nova Bomb travel farther and faster. It’s a powerful attack, but like the Fist of Havoc, you are open to attack while aiming it in the air, so it’s good to be quick with it.

The nice thing about the Voidwalkers grenades is that, since they’re the first ability you unlock, you get good with them quickly, and they behave similar to Nova Bomb. The initial grenade, the Vortex Grenade, acts as a mini-Nova Bomb, with a DoT field and Void Damage. The Scatter Grenade, which splits up almost immediately into lots of little explosives to cover a bigger blast area, I found to be relatively ineffective ultimately. Granted I didn’t have a ton of time to get used to it, as the Warlock was my last class I played, but it seemed like it was limited in effectiveness. Finally, the Voidwalker gets Axion Bolt, which acts similar to the Hunter’s Swarm grenade, but deals Arc Damage.

The Voidwalker’s melee ability might be my favorite one, simply for the boost that it gives the melee attack. Once you unlock Energy Drain, melee will quickly be a major part of combat for a Warlock. Energy Drain makes melee attacks drain energy from enemies and reduces the cooldown on grenades. The upgrades for it increase the effectiveness of it. Surge makes kills from it increase your movement speed; Life Steal makes kills from it restore a large amount of health and Soul Rip turns kills from Energy Drain into reduced cooldown on Nova Bomb. It’s an ability that’s totally built around getting your abilities back faster, allowing you to deal more damage to groups of enemies.

The other upgrades spread in the two ability trees are all about making your Voidwalker even more dangerous. Vortex Mastery increases the range on Axion Bolt seekers, as well as increasing the duration of Vortex for Nova Bomb and Vortex Grenades. Bent Gravity lets you throw your grenades and Nova Bomb farther. The Hunger increases the duration of the Energy Drain effect, making it even more effective. Angry Magic makes the Nova Bomb track enemies, reducing the chances of misses. Embrace the Void makes it so any damage from Nova Bomb or grenades trigger the Energy Drain effect, further increasing its effectiveness. Bloom makes it so any enemy killed by an ability explodes, turning your explosives potentially into chain attacks. Again, overall, the Voidwalker is all about dealing damage as quick as possible, but is pretty fragile as a result.

The level 15 subclass, which we could look through, but not play as for the Warlock is Sunsinger. From what I could tell, Sunsinger is the opposite of Voidwalker, turning your Warlock into a support class, including the ability to revive allies. I think this ultimately makes it a better pick for Fireteams or large groups of players.

Overall, I think Bungie has done a really good job of not making one class clearly better than any other. Each fills an important role in the PvE setting, and they all work well in the Crucible; while at the same time they play differently enough from each other where it takes a bit of time to learn each classes’ behaviors. As I said earlier, I’m curious to see just how many subclasses each primary class will have available in the full game, since there are three slots to fill, but in most cases in games, there’s less inventory space than actual items to fill it with. It’s a long wait till September, but we really don’t have any choice.

Destiny Beta: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Now that the Beta for Destiny has run it’s full course, I thought I’d offer my take on what I thought excelled in the beta, what was rough and some stuff somewhere in the middle. Bottom line though is that I am now even more excited for the full retail release than I already was.

Destiny Beta

THE GOOD

The most important test that the beta had to pass in my eyes was ensuring that Destiny felt totally unique, even though it is drawing on a number of high-profile inspirations. I would describe Destiny as Borderlands/Mass Effect/Halo/WoW all mashed up together – and yet it doesn’t feel or play exactly like any of them. The influences are there for sure, but that’s not a bad thing at all – especially since Bungie manages to tweak them just enough to be unique. Even though Destiny owes a lot to those games, it really manages to stand out.

Secondly, the gameplay has to actually feel satisfying, not just unique. I never really had any doubts here, Bungie hasn’t let me down with gameplay yet. The different weapons each behave differently enough to the extent that players can pretty easily pick a favorite, although I will say that the Hand Cannons need a little attention for the retail release. Each class also feels just different enough so they can fill roles, but similar enough so that a player can switch between classes with no issues. All of the systems in play work, and the work well: the tracker works to eliminate camping with constant pings, but by not directly pinpointing position, stealth still works well, the Sparrows are not only functional to get you from place to place quickly, but are just a lot of fun to boost through canyons and off hills (I would like to see a bit more splatter damage in PvE though), the menus are all clean and easy to read, and I like the use of a cursor instead of just selections.

In regards to the classes, I played each class through the story missions, got them all to level 8, and I think with my personal play style, I have to go with the Titan being my favorite. However, that said, I think that the best way to go about it with a fireteam is to have one of each – the classes each balance each other really well. The Titan can tank well, boasting a high armor rating for after his shields break, plus a great super ability for crowd-control (at least with the Striker sub-class we got to play in the beta), the Warlock is a bit of a glass cannon, able to dish out some serious damage with supers and grenades, but once the shields go, the health isn’t particularly strong, and the Hunter fits well as a longer range sniper – the golden gun ability is wonderful for dropping strong enemies in the three shots, plus a Damage over Time grenade is a great benefit at early stages.

Image from Bungie.net

THE BAD

There really isn’t much that I would classify as actually being “bad” that I saw in the beta, but there were a few things that I felt definitely needed addressing before the final release. First and foremost is the Interceptor in the Crucible, the tank that was present on First Light. Far too often I saw the players in Interceptors not engage each other, instead focusing on the squishier guardians, which fell way too easily. Luckily, Bungie has already said that they’ve addressed this in their internal builds and it won’t behave the same way in the retail game.

Still on the topic of The Crucible, there were a few times where the spawns were just terrible. The most egregious example came in an Iron Banner match on the map Blind Watch on Mars. On that map, there is a circular room that overlooks the C control point – two lives in a row I spawned just to the side of that room, on ground level with an enemy looking right at me through the open windows. That in and of itself would be bad enough, but he was able to start shooting me before I actually had control of my character – I spawned and fell over, then did the same thing maybe 50 feet to my left. Spawns are one of those things that are always being tweaked throughout the course of a shooter’s lifespan, so I fully expect these to get addressed.

The last thing that I experienced that I would call “bad” was the way that Hand Cannons behave. As they exist now, they really aren’t an option to use as a true primary weapon. They do have good attack and impact stats usually, along with good accuracy, but they are hampered with small magazines, along with a terribly slow reload speed. I made the mistake of trying one with my Hunter during The Dark Within mission – which was fine, until I got to the first room with Hive enemies. There are just too many Thralls and Acolytes for Hand Cannons to handle – even with grenades and a super I was quickly overwhelmed a couple times (playing on Hard of course). That is just in PvE too, I didn’t dare try one in The Crucible, and I don’t recall ever seeing one being used. I’m not really sure how to fix them, other than really speeding up the reload, but I do think they need some attention.

Destiny Tower

THE UGLY

Again, there really wasn’t anything that I would call “ugly” at all – other than playing it on last-gen consoles the water effects take a big step back. Instead, here I’ll mention some of a few little details that definitely aren’t deal breakers, but I think could maybe use a little attention before the full launch in September.

Firstly, the Iron Banner – as it stands now, I really don’t see how a lower leveled character would ever expect to survive in any Iron Banner matches. My fireteam made it a point of only going in at Level 8 and we still faced some real struggles with people having better gear. I can’t imagine going in as a Level 5 character, with Level 5 gear. I can’t call this bad, because I have no way of knowing if that’s how it will behave in the full release – it could just be a +/-3 Level hopper system. But if it’s just a straight matchmaking system, I really don’t see any point in heading to the Iron Banner until you hit the level cap, which from the Beta seems to be 20.

Secondly, the Hunter class – specifically for solo PvE settings. I think the Hunter actually excels in PvP – the Golden Gun ability lets you get three free kills, that don’t need to be grouped up tightly like the Titan and Warlock’s supers do; plus the double jump the Hunter has is a great, quick option for verticality. However, in a solo PvE setting, they suffer a little bit – their special, being a precision strike, really limits the effectiveness to hitting boss enemies or small groups of them. Add in a grenade that doesn’t have a particularly big blast radius, and a melee ability that has a long recharge, even if you miss with it, and Hunters are at a pretty noticeable disadvantage to large groups of enemies.

One other little thing that I hope we see more of in the retail release is in the character creation. I like the three races, but I kind of want a little bit more control over exactly how my characters look. I don’t need it to be the most in depth creator out there, but I would like a little bit more in the full game.

Finally, I think that the merchants on the tower need a little bit of a tweak. Some of the merchants need a faster inventory reset – namely the Guardian Outfitter and partially the Shipwright. The Guardian Outfitter for sure, since all she offers are cosmetic items – Emblems and Shaders; The Shipwright only partially since the Sparrows actually impact gameplay, but the star ships are purely cosmetic options. As for the other merchants, I think the bounty robot could also stand to refresh a bit more frequently, or have the option after all are completed to refresh. The Gunsmith I think needs more slots to show wares – at least one option for each weapon type. The Cryptarch I think is pretty much fine, maybe similar to the Gunsmith. As for the faction vendors, it’s hard to say at this point since all of their gear was pretty much unobtainable during the beta.

Overall, I think this was about as good a beta as you can have. There were a few server/connection issues, but for the most part it ran smoothly, which is a good sign for the retail release; and most importantly, the game itself plays awesome. I was already pretty excited for Destiny but this beta solidified my belief that Bungie might have the Game of the Year on their hands. We’ll have to wait through the fall to see for sure, but I do know that August is going to feel like it’s going so slowly now.

More Classic Series That Deserve Some Attention

Last week I talked about 10 specific series that I feel really need a new entry. Continuing that thought process a little more today, I have a few more franchises that haven’t seen action in at least a couple years, and deserve to get new games or in some cases, remakes/HD updates. There really isn’t any order with these, just games I enjoy playing, even today.

Dishonored

Dishonored
This is probably the closest to a cop-out I have – there was DLC for this game within the last year after all. But for my purposes here, I am disappointed that there hasn’t been any real talk of a true sequel yet. Bethesda mentioned back in 2012, after the sales were strong, that they intended to develop the game into a franchise – two years later (which seems like an eternity in gaming these days) and still no news. I was hoping maybe at E3 to see something, but I think we’re stuck waiting at least another year for news.

Decap Attack

Decap Attack
Decap Attack is a weird one to explain – it’s a platformer about a mummy with no head, but a face in his chest, doing the usual platformer fair – saving the world. The art style was really cool, there was the right style of humor to go along, and the gameplay itself was really strong. It was included in Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection on the 360, which is great, but I think it needs a true HD update, like what Earthworm Jim got, and a solo release on the digital markets (PSN, XBLA, and Virtual Console) to get the ball rolling on maybe a sequel.

Vectorman

Vectorman
Another fantastic game from the Genesis, this game actually did get a sequel that was just as good as the first. Both are also included on that Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, but again, I’d really like to see them on the Arcade for download separate from the collection. They’re good examples of platformer/shooters that had really unique art direction, and had great gameplay to back it up. I think they would look pretty incredible with an HD update, and thanks to the revival of classic 2D games, I think a third game would do well.

Gunstar Heroes

Gunstar Heroes
One of my all time favorite games, and my favorite game on the Genesis hands down. Treasure had a really great gameplay system in place with this one – switching weapons and combining the different shot types let you fine-tune the way you play. Plus, in typical shoot-em-up fashion, there are a ton of enemies on screen at a time, and lots of bosses to fight through. Add in a great soundtrack, and I still say you have an all time classic. The good news is that it is available on the 360, PS3 and Wii’s digital marketplaces, for a good price no less. There’s a GBA remake/sequel out there too, but no true sequel, which is a travesty.

Bloody Roar

Bloody Roar
While I’m not a huge fighting game fan, mainly because I’m pretty bad at them, I do have a fondness for the old Bloody Roar series. As far as fighting games go, they weren’t the smoothest combo based games, nor were they the best special move based ones. What they had was a pretty neat gimmick where each character can transform into an anthropomorphic creature, with a good variety in the animals they can change into. The last installment came out in 2003, and while Hudson Soft closed down a few years back, I think there’s probably an audience for a reboot of the series, especially if they approach it similar to how Killer Instinct did on the Xbox One.

Shadows Of The Damned

Shadows of the Damned
Another pretty strange game, but one with really great gameplay behind it. The story is a little odd, and full of more dick jokes than any game outside of Saints Row; but the game still somehow manages to be serious enough to really dig into it. The oddness really shouldn’t be a surprise though, since it’s a Suda 51 game. I had never played this game until Ray from Achievement Hunter talked it up a lot, and I’m very glad I played it. With Suda busy working on his new zombie game, it’ s unlikely we’ll see a sequel anytime soon, which is already rare with Suda games.

There are a ton more games and series out there that I know need to see a little more updated attention, but these were the ones that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Next week’s post will probably be Wednesday or Thursday, as I will be playing the Destiny Beta starting Wednesday and want to sink my teeth in it before I put any words to print about it.

10 Franchises That Need New Entries

E3 this year was a unique blend of new IP’s and the return of some old fan favorites. So now that we’ve all had plenty of time to digest the convention, and get our plans set for this fall’s release schedule, I thought a lot about other franchises that I feel really need a new entry as soon as possible. Some actually were answered at E3 – Battlefront, Star Fox and Mario Party – all come to mind. For my purposes here, I’m defining a franchise as a series with at least two entries already – so no Beyond Good and Evil or Dishonored, as much as I think they deserve them. I also am excluding franchises that are still being supported relatively well – The Elder Scrolls, Fallout – both had games come out recently, or have one in development. So let’s dive in, shall we?

Megaman 4

10. Mega Man
This is probably the most cop-out answer I have on the list, but that’s just because I’m a huge fan of the whole universe of Mega Man. The last new Mega Man game was technically the free Street Fighter X Mega Man from 2012, but before that it was Mega Man 10 way back in 2010. It’s a franchise that has a lot of options for expansion – l think the audience is there for pretty much every one of the different sub-franchises, in particular, the X series. It was a huge deal when Capcom cancelled Mega Man Legends 3 last year. I really think that Capcom just has to look at the response that Mega Man got with his introduction in Super Smash Bros. to see that the Blue Bomber still has a really strong fanbase – yours truly included.

Knights of the Old Republic

9. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
I’m not talking about the MMO that came out a couple years back – I want a proper Knights of the Old Republic 3, developed by BioWare. The last entry was way back in 2004, ten years ago, which in this day and age might as well be ancient history. While I am certain that the market for a new KOTOR game is there in spades, I just think the timing doesn’t look good for one anytime soon. BioWare has Dragon Age: Inquisition this fall, and a new Mass Effect in development along with a new mystery IP, so any chance of a new KOTOR is slim at this point. Maybe in a couple years.

G.I. Joe NES

8. G.I. Joe
Here’s one that newer games might scratch their heads at a bit. I’m not talking about games based around the movies from the last few years, I want a new game based around the 80’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon that a lot of us grew up on. I think that the universe is tailor made for a great game, it just needs the right studio. I was thinking someone like High Moon Studios, after their success with the Transformers: War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron games. And before anyone thinks this is a BS entry, there were two games (G.I. Joe and G.I. Joe: The Atlantis Factor) way back on the NES in 1991 and 92 respectively.

Final Fantasy Tactics

7. Final Fantasy Tactics
While the main Final Fantasy series is getting some much needed love in the next couple years, the Tactics sub-series hasn’t seen a new game since 2008. While it’s a major shift in style from the standard JRPG Original series, I think with the success of the 3DS, the platform for a new Tactical RPG style FF game is definitely there. I think the audience is there – Tactics is one of those “cult” classics that is well loved, but never really got the commercial success it deserved. Plus the success of this could convince Nintendo to get on a new Advance Wars game finally too.

Rock Band Blitz

6. Rock Band
Maybe a little bit of a cop-out, but it’s been four years since we saw Rock Band 3’s release, plus it’s been over a year since the weekly DLC was stopped. The issue is that Harmonix is hard at work on multiple projects – Fantasia, Dance Central, Amplitude – and I just think we have to keep waiting a little bit longer. Maybe once the new gen consoles have a bigger instal base the demand will be there. Luckily, this is a series that never loses fun, so I can still hop on RB3 and enjoy it like day one.

Metroid Logo

5. Metroid
I really hope that Nintendo feels that they’ve put enough distance between them and Other M to start working on a new Metroid game soon. I know that the desire is there from the fans – Kotaku recently had an article answering Miyamoto’s question as to what we wanted, and Metroid was the number one answer – we just need Nintendo to listen now. I think fans would be more than happy to take a new 2D, Super Metroid style game, or a new Metroid Prime game as well. Plus with the whole industry finally taking gender seriously and trying to have more strong female heroes, Samus stands out as being the OG (Other M excluded of course). I think this is a question of when, not if.

Battletoads Cover

4. Battletoads
It’s become a bit of a joke on the web, but honestly, it’s a fantastic series that I think would totally benefit from a new game. The original is still one of the hardest games I’ve ever played, and the spin-off with Double Dragon remains one of my favorite games from that era. It’s also been dormant for a long time – with the last home console game in 1994. That said, there’s a lot of fan support for the game, and RARE is well aware of it, adding in a Battletoads suit for Kinect Sports Rivals, which of course just fuels rumors. I think an ideal plan would be to release on the Xbox Live Arcade the previous games in a bundle to help introduce younger gamers, then work on a new Xbox One game, similar to the new Strider game.

ToeJam & Earl

3. Toejam & Earl
Another classic from that mid-early 90’s era of gaming, the two Toejam and Earl games that I think of came out in 1991 and 1993 respectively. They’re both great examples of how a game can be wacky and out-there and still be a lot of fun and, most importantly, sell well. I know there was a third game released on the Original Xbox in 2002, but it just didn’t have quite the same feeling to it as the originals did. With the resurgence of “old-school” style visuals all the rage now in games, I think the timing is great to do an Arcade release of a new game.

Earthworm Jim

2. Earthworm Jim
Sticking with the classics from the SNES/Genesis era that I loved growing up, Earthworm Jim might be my favorite of the bunch. The whole vibe of the game was like Ninja Turtles on crack, taking nothing too serious – a goldfish as a boss that you just tip over?! – while still delivering awesome gameplay, it struck a chord with me as a young gamer, and as stuck with me over the years. The HD remake on the XBLA a few years back was a welcome addition, but what I really want is a true sequel to the series – again, the time is perfect; games like this, that are self-aware, while still solid games are “in” now. Plus the TV show was freaking awesome.

Timesplitters

1. Timesplitters
There’s no series from the PS2 that I want to see brought back more than the Timesplitters, and it kills me, because when Free Radical closed, they were working on Timesplitters 4 and it just got swept up in the dust. The sad thing is that it’s a series that is well-loved, but misunderstood by the suits. After Crytek bought Free Radical, I think there was hesitation to put out a game that’s so far from their norm – no one could call the TS games serious shooters at all. While there’s been some rumblings of a fan-made Timesplitters 4 in the works, I really want to see Crytek take a chance and run with this, or sell the rights to a studio that can do it right; Insomniac Games jumps to my mind as a studio that could definitely do the series justice. I just think that it’s too fun a series to let waste away as a remnant of that generation.

That’s my list – and I know right away that I missed a few, especially big ones like Half-Life or Left 4 Dead, mainly because they’re so well-documented. I wanted to hit the ones that maybe get passed over these days. Do I think we’ll see these games – I never say never, this is probably the best time to be a gamer, especially one that loves the classic games of yesterday. Who knows – maybe by this time next year we’ll have some answers.