Unexpected Pleasures in Saint’s Row 3

Saints Row the Third

As many of you may know, I am the proud owner of a new gaming PC, so naturally I’ve been digging through my backlog of Steam games to put the new machine through its paces. Thanks to various sales, I have a pretty sizable collection of games despite not having a rig worthy of running them until now. One of the games I’ve been playing the most is Saints Row: The Third, which I bought as part of the THQ Humble Bundle. The funny thing, though, is that I didn’t buy the bundle thinking I’d end up playing much Saints Row; it was more that I’m a sucker for a sale price and thought some of the other games in the bundle might be worth checking out.

Part of the fun of my new machine is launching games and seeing how they run with all settings maxed out, so I spent most of one Saturday launching one game after another and playing with the settings. Much to my surprise, Saints Row is actually a gorgeous game, especially on the highest settings. Once that sank in, I realized that I was also having a hell of a lot of fun playing the opening set piece during a bank robbery gone wrong. Pretty soon after that, the game had its hooks in me, and I ended up playing it for a good six hour session the following weekend.

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WWE ’12 Is Stone Cold Stunning

In my misspent youth, I was a huge wrestling fan. To this day, I can name who held the WWE title starting with Bob Backlund all the way up to when Stone Cold Steve Austin won it. After that, it changed hands every other week and I couldn’t keep up anymore. I stopped watching in 2000, but have recently started again. So naturally, like any nerd, I’ve been wanting to play a wrestling video game.

Thankfully, THQ has been working on a brand new revamp of their WWE franchise, now called WWE ’12. Judging from the video below, which showcases a full match with commentary from the developers, it looks like it’s going to be pretty special. Barring horrible reviews, I am almost guaranteed to pick this one. So hit the video below and take a look at CM Punk (yay!) vs. John Cena (boo!).

What do you think? Anyone play the Raw vs. Smackdown games? Does this look like an improvement to you? Do you smell what THQ is cookin? Can I be anymore of a dork? GO!

GamerSushi Asks: Can You Attach a Number to Art?

Homefront

Ouch. Someone might be sore from a few reviews.

While this post is not going to be another in the inexorably long discussion of whether or not games are art, it does apply to the discussion about how we view art in general. You see, THQ EVP Danny Bilson recently shared some thoughts with IGN about Homefront’s review scores. When asked what he thought of them, Bilson had this to say:

If we were universally panned, I would say “Yeah I guess it didn’t work.” I think the idea of 50 reviews that are so radically spread says that we made a game that has a point of view and that you might even argue is controversial…

Do I prefer that it’s controversial? No, I’d prefer if everybody in the world loved it. But there are 20+ reviews that are over 80, there are some haters, and there are some mid-range ones. Do I read them all to see what we can do better next time and have every review be 100? Of course, our goal is always that. What I will say pretty clearly is the game is not a “71.” You can’t apply math to art.

I haven’t played Homefront, so I’m not going to comment on whether or not Homefront is in fact art, or not. However, this does bring an issue up about how video games are reviewed and scored. Do you guys think that in an artistic medium, it’s alright to attach hard numbers to these games? I mean, Shadow of the Colossus has a 91 attached to it on Metacritic, which to me just seems silly for something that I actually do consider art.

So what do you guys think? Go!

Source – IGN

THQ’s Danny Bilson to Publishers: Make New IPs

THQ New IP
It’s always refreshing to see someone high up in the games industry look at things the way we do. While there are going to be some people who won’t feel the same, we bemoaned the lack of original games in a recent podcast (and many times before) because we’re getting a little tired of spending our money on the same thing every year.

At the recent opening of their Montreal studio, THQ’s Executive VP of Core Games Danny Bilson talked with IndustryGamers about a variety of things, one of them being the importance of new intellectual properties, or IPs. While most publishers seem to be content to push out a new title in a franchise every year with little experimentation because it’s safer, Bilson argues that this could be more harmful in the long run. See his reasoning after the jump: Continue reading THQ’s Danny Bilson to Publishers: Make New IPs

PAX: Saint’s Row 2

Even though I’m a bit of an XBox junkie, I’ve never actually played the original Saint’s Row for the 360, though I’ve consistently heard good things about it. The Saint’s Row 2 booth at PAX is almost impossible to miss, given that it’s got a giant gangsta’s head about twenty feet in the air, with 3 large HDTV’s plastered to the walls for people to play.

I’m a fan of open world games (too much of a fan), so I was pretty excited to see this one here. I stepped up to an open controller, wondering if it was going to be a thugarific good time, or just a GTA clone. I got a little bit of both.

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