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.

Advertisements

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.

How Megaman is an Example of Perfect Game Design

It struck me as I was planning what to write about this week that I had never touched on my favorite series of games – the Mega Man games. The classic series were the very first set of games I can remember clearly loving over other games. As I got older, I played the Mega Man X games, as well the Legends games, and have since played through most of the games. I recently pulled out my X Collection so I could go ahead and replay the older games in the series. One thing that I have been paying attention to ever since I started covering video games is how specific games go about their design. As I have been playing the older games it was pretty awesome to note just how beautiful the gameplay design is in the traditional 2D Mega Man games. So I thought a good topic this week would be to go through and look at just how they do such a good job.

Megaman PAL

First of all, we’ll start with the Classic series – Mega Man through Mega Man 10. I’m including the two new titles, but really all we need to look at are the first few games. The basic tenets of the Mega Man formula allow you to choose the order that you play the levels, which lets you learn the levels at your own pace, making a large portion of the gameplay dependent on the player’s skill. Once you’ve beaten your first boss, you can learn that each new weapon behaves differently, and affects each boss in different ways. As the series progressed, new abilities were added, like the ability to slide in Mega Man 3, which the player can learn will let them traverse through small sections, as well as move quickly – which will let them tackle the bosses using different tactics. In the next game, they gave Mega Man the ability to charge his blaster – which of course lets you do more damage per shot. In game – none of these abilities are explicitly stated to you, but through experimenting the player can learn on their own, which I think is much more satisfying in the end.

Mega Man X

Now ultimately, the Mega Man X series I think has an even more clear example of perfect level/game design. The very first level of Mega Man X does a perfect job of showing the player how the Mega Man X games will work. The very first section of the level introduces enemies that are weak enough to kill with single shots, before introducing a larger enemy that will allow the player to learn that X can charge his blaster by holding the shoot button. As the player traverses the level, he fights a large bee enemy that destroys a section of the bridge, seemingly trapping X at the bottom. It’s here that the player is shown that X can grab onto the walls and climb them with wall jumps. All these little details will be used in every other level to create extra challenges, which the player is prepared for thanks to the design of the intro level. Essentially it amounts to a tutorial level, but without actually spelling it out to the player. As the player progresses, he can add extra abilities through the use of the Dr. Light capsules – again, one is basically given to the player in Chill Penguin’s stage, while the others are of course hidden in the levels.

It’s this beautiful game design that is incredibly informative, while also intuitive and non-intrusive, that allows players to gain an incredible amount of skill playing the game. That’s why players are able to speed run the games in unbelievable times – they know exactly how Mega Man will move and can move him incredibly precisely. It’s because of this level of control and design that make the entire franchise my absolute favorite games.