Thursday, July 20, 2006

So my new issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly came in today right? I found this issue to be particularly informative as it gave the low-down on all of the current-gen platforms. This should help me decide which systems to keep, which ones to upgrade, and which ones to totally not buy. Prepare to be amazed...

PLAYSTATION 2:
  • Pros: Games are looking better; Lots of killer exclusives; Tons of RPGs
  • Cons: Multiplatform games look better on XB/XB360; Online gameplay still clunky; PSP to PS2 ports
  • Notable Exclusives: ATV Offroad Fury 4; Dawn of Mana; FFVII Dirge of Cerberus; God of War II; FFXII
  • Overall: Sony's current-gen platform isn't about to bow out and let its successor hog the limelight. RPG fans get especially lucky this fall on PS2.
  • Grade: B+

XBOX:

  • Pros: Multiplatform games look better here than on PS2; Better online network than PS2
  • Cons: Absolutely no first-party support; No new exclusive titles to speak of
  • Notable Exclusives: Destroy All Humans 2; Marvel: Ultimate Alliance; Mortal Kombat: Armageddon
  • Overall: While the PS2 enjoys its golden years, the original Xbox lies forgotten, wasting away. Microsoft abandoned the console a full year ago, leaving third-parties to pick up the slack with PS2 ports.
  • Grade: D

GAMECUBE:

  • Pros: Cheap, available in purple; Nintendo still making games for it
  • Cons: Absolutely no third-party support; You can play the few remaining good games on the Wii
  • Notable Exclusives: DK Bongo Blast; Zelda: Twilight Princess (also on Wii); Super Paper Mario; Baten Kaitos Origins
  • Overall: The the GBA, the GameCube was mysteriously absent from the E3 show floor. We find Nintendo's lack of faith in its own console troubling, yet at least they still plan on releasing four new games for it this fall. Of these, Zelda and Super Paper Mario look like winners
  • Grade: D-

NINTENDO DS:

  • Pros: Great mix of classic franchises and quirky new games; Everyone loves the sophisticated DS Lite redesign; Web browser coming this fall
  • Cons: Wi-Fi online play still hampered by "friend codes"; Most 3D games look pretty janky
  • Notable Exclusives: Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin; Death Jr.: Science Fair of Doom; Diddy Kong Racing; Final Fantasy III; FF Crystal Chronicals 2; Kirby DS; Zelda: Phantom Hourglass; Lunar Knights; Mario Hoops 3-on-3; Mega Man ZX; Star Fox DS; Yoshi's Island 2
  • Overall: One again, Nintendo's unassuming portable topples its technologically superior rival by offering a mix of triple-A franchises and experimental software that utilizes the system's unique features.
  • Grade: A

PLAYSTATION PORTABLE:

  • Pros: Some games that arn't PS2 ports!; Downloadable PS1 games this fall; Cool accessories like EyeToy and GPS unit on the way
  • Cons: Games still suffer from horrendous load times; Publishers still squeezing ill-fitting PS2 control schemes onto PSP.
  • Notable Exclusives: Crisis Core: FFVII; Killzone: Liberation; LocoRoco; Lumines 2; Metal Gear Solid; Portable Ops; Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stores; Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters; Silent Hill: Origins; Sonic Rivals; Tekken: Dark Resurrection
  • Overall: A few titles inject some much-needed pizzazz into an othwise predictable lineup of ports and sequels. The 2007 lineup looks promising at least.
  • Grade: C+

GAME BOY ADVANCE:

  • Pros: You probably already own one.
  • Cons: Very few games aimed at kids above age 12; Severely outdated technology; Nintendo's commitment to the platform diminishing.
  • Notable Exclusives: FFV Advance; FFVI Advance; Pokemon Dungeon: Red Rescue Team; Super Robot Wars
  • Overall: Wait, they're still making GBA games?! You wouldn't necessarily know that, since Nintendo opted not to case the GBA at its E3 booth. Besides a duo of Super NES-era Final Fantasy ports, everything else in the console remains squarely for the pre-pubescent set.
  • Grade: SEE ME AFTER CLASS!

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