On ODST (And Other Ventures)…

I’ve only dabbled with the first few levels of ODST at the moment, to which I herald as the unofficial second coming of Joss Whedon’s Firefly series. By merely glancing at Buck’s overall demeanor and chiseled cheek bone structure, I wouldn’t say Nathan had a hard time filling the role especially considering most Halo fans are coming from a story centered around a soldier who utters a little under 100 words over the course of 7 years.  But that’s neither here nor there…

I applaud Bungie for admitting to the similarities to their pride and joy franchise, while at the same time tweaking certain elements vital to pushing the Halo canon upon a different path. My near frantic search for ammo or, at the very least, a new gun while armored covenant keep me in their crosshairs is a change I heartily welcome that I believed to be non-existent for the great Master Chief. As much as I may enjoy my pulse rifle, I only get 5 or 6 reloads, after which I have to find a new favorite while longing for Master Chief’s regenerative shield as grenades appear to stick to just about any surface I come across. In more ways than one, this fight is not about defense or counter offensive strategy; it’s sheer survival.

But celebrity similarities aside, I don’t believe ODST will be long remembered as its forerunners have been. As we crest my favorite month of the year (weather wise), the gaming community is on the brink of an onslaught of video game creativity from all genres: Nathan Drake from Naughty Dog is set to give us a vastly improved sophomore effort in early October with Uncharted 2: Among Theives; DJ Hero has shaped up into an impressive but familiar cousin to the rest of the music genre, and will still be overshadowed by Jack Black’s Brutal Legend; and we haven’t even started on November’s big hitters cloaked in a white hood or holding a scoped AK-47.

While several titles were disappointingly moved into 2010 to compete with the likes of God of War 3, Dante’s Inferno and Darksiders: Wrath of War (I’m sensing a pattern here), I’m also taken aback by the total saturation of talent we’ll be seeing in the coming months; so much so that I fear most of these new IP’s wont receive the amount of attention they’re due. To fully appreciate the unique offerings of Uncharted 2 or Brutal Legend, I will need total monogomy with each well into November, at which point I have Modern Warfare 2’s brilliant multi-player to dive into as well as Assassin Creed 2’s expanded mission and currency system. I’m afraid that what developers were trying to avoid by delaying their games is exactly what they’ve brought to fruition—players will have to choose between games. And that’s wrong.

Competition is one thing, but no gamer enthusiast will admit they fully enjoy having developers vie for their affection. I haven’t had any first person experience with AC2 or MW2, but odds are they will both be stellar titles that deserve every penny they’re worth. Unfortunately, for more than just myself, this economy has left me less than capable of dropping 60 dollars a game, and without a supply of jobs to help me procure said financing, I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know many will respond that I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth by condemning all of these potentially great games in such a short time frame, and to be fair, I believe I am doing that to a degree. What I am trying to argue, though, is that given this stage of economic rebound and the sheer amount of variety at our disposal, I hope that most people won’t be surprised to see less-than-knockout sales numbers for any title. I know I won’t be able to afford six games in the next two months, and I doubt many others will either.

See you in the next level,

Gray

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