While I’m not the type of person who subscribes to the idea that a gaming system or company has to have a mascot to survive, it certainly doesn’t hurt. Despite its tremendous stable of long-running characters, Mario will always be identified as the true symbol of Nintendo. Sega, for better (the ’90s) or worse (the ’00s), will always have Sonic standing at the forefront of its stable of games (maybe the angry fella at the center of MadWorld can take over next year). At one point, Sony had Crash Bandicoot out front, but his star has lost a bit of its luster over the last 10 years or so. So who’s taken over in the Sony stable?
Some might say that the torch bearer of the Sony brand has now become Solid Snake of the Metal Gear Solid series, and that’s not a bad guess — Snake’s current incarnation of the old man showing the kids how things are done seems particularly à propos for the place that Sony is attempting to take in the modern gaming market. Still, no series has offered the sort of consistency and quality (not to mention a whole pile of releases) as Ratchet & Clank. The two of them combined may well be the current face(s) of Sony; immense firepower, copious cunning, and Ratchet’s ever-present smirk seem as though they would serve Sony well, if Sony were ever to push them to the front of a marketing campaign. They’re even kid-friendly, at least in image, which would help the company cut into the Wii family market. Are you listening, Sony? Everyone who was going to buy the PS3 because it’s also a Blu-Ray player has already bought the thing. It’s time to shift your target.
The Ratchet & Clank series is relevant right now, because the latest iteration of the series is on its way this Thursday as a PlayStation Network download. I’ve spent a lot of time this month extolling the virtues of the Xbox Live Arcade, so it’s almost as if it only seems fair that I would highlight a PlayStation Network game this week; Ratchet & Clank surely gets the nod over an(other) updated version of Galaga no matter what the updates to the latter.
Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty isn’t so much a new game as it is an episode in the mythology of the duo. as it’s only a three-to-four-hour game. Still, despite the short length, the consensus so far is that it continues the traditionally consistent and engrossing experience of its predecessors, and that anyone who still likes to play the old pseudo-platforming action/adventure style of game will be richly rewarded by the game, even if the high won’t last all that long.
Too Human: Baldur vs. the Spider-Thing
Elsewhere, the ever-controversial Too Human is on its way this Tuesday, a game whose controversy stems not from any objectionable content, but from the tremendous length of its development cycle. Advance word says that the roundabout way that it eventually came to be may have hurt the play experience, but it still seems like an interesting (and graphically impressive) enough experience to warrant a look, even if it might be destined for bargain bins sooner than later. Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm makes its weekly appearance on the PC release schedule (perhaps it’s time to let it go…), and hey! It’s Anibus, for the Wii, which surely must be a…sequel? Prequel? Who knows? But chances are, it has something to do with last year’s shovelware stink fest Anubis II. So there’s that.
Looking forward to anything else this week? The full release list, and a trailer for Quest for Booty, are after the jump.
Super Pick Ups (19 August)
Anibus (21 August)
Smash Court Tennis 3 (19 August)
Too Human (19 August)
Galaga Legions (Xbox Live Arcade, 20 August)
Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (21 August)
Commando: Steel Disaster (19 August)
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm (19 August)
Shattered Suns (19 August)
MindHabits (20 August)
Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon (21 August)
Sinking Island (21 August)
Tank Universal: Challenger Eight (21 August)
We can wait ’til next week.
Not today, son.