In preparation for the glorious release of Mass Effect 3, gamers everywhere are enjoying a taste of the game’s demo tonight and throughout the rest of the week. With an offering of both single player and multiplayer, it’s giving everyone a chance to see what all the hype (and in some cases, the fuss) is about. To join the Shepard spirit, we thought we’d debut a new feature, a brainchild of the good sir Anthony Taylor. Because he’s cool like that.
This feature, titled Renegade/Paragon, is a look at the video games industry through the brutal cut-and-dry scope of the Mass Effect universe. Here, we grade certain entities and rate them as either Paragons — bastions of light and purveyors of all that is good and true — or Renegades — bringers of gloom, doom and every corridor of evil in between those two. Afterwards, you get to make your own calls on the situations.
Let’s get started. Who are the current Paragons and Renegades in the industry? Continue reading Renegade/Paragon
Much like The Legend of Zelda a few months ago, another one of Nintendo’s long-running franchises is celebrating twenty-five years in existence this week. This particular game is the company’s sci-fi dark horse Metroid, best known for its more mature feel and its female protagonist.
While Metroid is far from Nintendo’s most lucrative franchise, it was no less important than Zelda or Mario in forming the gaming landscape back in the early days. Besides the aforementioned gender bender it pulled, it was also played its part in the advent of the “Metroidvania” style of games where players would start off strong and lose their items to some unforeseen circumstances.
The Metroid series has also given me one of my favorite games ever, Metroid Prime. The first game in the franchise since Super Metroid in 1994, Metroid Prime took some early flak from fans because of the transition to First-Person-Shooter. Despite the nay-saying, the game was very well received, holding a 97/100 rating on Metacritic, one of the very few games in existence to do so. The game did see a couple of sequels, but the original Metroid Prime will always stand as the greatest game in the series to me. While this may not be a surprise to anyone, I did 100% the game and see the real ending.
Another thing that can’t be overlooked about the Metroid series is the music. Even though the themes are not as iconic as Zelda or Mario, the music in Metroid has always been one of my favorites, mostly because of its haunting nature. The music added to the lonely feeling of the games and has given rise to quite a few fan interpretations as well. Seriously, look up Metroid Metal if you don’t believe me.
It’s a shame that Metroid’s 25 anniversary is being a little over-looked by Nintendo, but after Metroid: Other M’s reception, I can’t really blame them. Do you guys have any memories of Metroid? What’s your favorite game in the series? Will we see another Metroid game?
Nintendo and Team Ninja’s collaborative efforts on Metroid: Other M are coming to fruition at the end of August, and the game is going to be a bit different than what fans of the series are used to. Typically, Metroid games play up the feeling of loneliness and desolation on hostile alien worlds, but this time around Samus is going to be a lot more vocal and she’ll have a few characters backing her up. Because the game is focusing more on character interactions, Other M will feature almost two hours of cut scenes. Since you’ll probably spend most of your time looking for hidden items and blasting creepy bad guys, Team Ninja is doing you a service by giving you the option to watch Other M’s video segments strung together in a sort of “theater mode” once you’ve finished your playthrough.
A very nice gesture on the developer’s part, but I can’t help but feel that they’ve missed what makes Metroid the unique series that it is, outside of the whole being-hit-so-hard-your-items-fall-off gameplay mechanic. Metroid isn’t about long winded cut-scenes or being told hold Samus feels. Part of her mystery is that you don’t know anything about her, her motivations or what goes on inside her head. She’s a bounty hunter and a warrior. Do people want to know more about Samus? I might be alone in this, but I like Metroid when it’s dark and enigmatic, not when it’s beating you over the head with narrative. What about you guys? Are you down for some cinematic action, or are you a bit wary?
I’ve always thought that the strongest aspect of Metroid was the franchise’s unique take on narrative; specifically the feeling of loneliness on a hostile alien world. As a series, Metroid hasn’t been stuffed with ancillary characters; it’s all been about Samus and her conflict with the Space Pirates. That being said, the Metroid does have some interesting sci-fi, and I’ve been curious as to what other types of characters inhabit this futuristic series.
It looks like Team Ninja and Metroid co-creator Yoshio Sakamoto were thinking along the same lines for the new entry as they recently told Famitsu magazine that Other M will be “[Different] from the rest of the series, this time we’re strongly depicting the human side of Samus through such things as movies,” obviously referring to the smattering of CG-based cut-scenes shown in the Other M announcement trailer at last year’s E3.
While what we can expect from the title gameplay wise still seems to be a mystery given the cryptic answers given in the interview, but Mr. Sakamoto is insistent that the game will have a clear emotional side in addition to being an action title.
What do you guys think? There are a lot of games from Nintendo’s staple franchises on the way, and I’ve been clamoring for a new Metroid for a while. I didn’t get around to playing Prime 2 and 3, but the original Metroid Prime is one of my favorite games of all time. Do you think that the new Metroid should focus on a more human story, or is the stark alien-ness of the previous games more your style?
Not to be lewd, but I imagine the current relationship between enthusiast gamers and Nintendo to be comparable to a young man and some sort of harlot. She keeps giving you tantalizing glimpses of her ankle while all the while promising that more is coming.
To continue with this tortured analogy, the “ankle” here is the concept art that Miyamoto was parading around at E3 ’09 depicting Link and some sort of ethereal being that looked vaguely like the Master Sword. In a recent interview with UK’s Official Nintendo Magazine, Zelda series producer Eiji Aonuma says he hopes to show something “surprising” at E3 ’10, thus completing the promise of “more”.
Nintendo proved recently with Super Mario Bros. Wii that it still knows how to make titles for its old-school fans, and with Metroid: Other M on the horizon I think we can take this as a sign that Ninty is finally starting to show appreciation for the “hardcore”. Though the company is often criticized for its constant rehash of the same tired franchises, there’s no doubt that gamers everywhere still clamor for these titles. The question is, how much longer will we get strung along before we see some actual gameplay? What’s your opinion, though? Are you pumped for a new Zelda, and what do you expect from it?