Not Buying It

call of duty

As the year turns towards autumn and gamers minds’ turn to the big new releases, there are several things I am not buying. The most obvious is Modern Warfare 2: Call Of Duty. It will probably turn out to be one of the biggest selling releases of all time, but it’s not for me.

There are two main reasons for that. The first is I’ve not played the previous game in the series, and that would seem to put me at an immediate disadvantage, tutorials and manuals not withstanding. The other is the ludicrous “special edition” pack with its night vision goggles. If ever there was an over-marketed idea it’s that one. At some level the Halo 3 pack with its Master Chief helmet still seems appealing (despite many claims of discs being scratched), yet this seems to be one step too far for Modern Warfare 2. I’m not buying Halo 3: ODST either, with or without the Halo: Reach beta – I’ll probably look at that in a few months’ time.

I’m also not buying a PS3 Slim. Sony’s strategy is bizarre – losing even more money per console, not including an HDMI cable as standard and again refusing to include decent backwards compatibility. I’m not buying the argument that the new wave of people buying the machine will only be hooking it up to an older TV in the bedroom and hence don’t need HD input. (Microsoft’s decision to drop the HDMI cable is baffling too, and while the changes are being widely reported as a price cut for the Elite model, it actually represents a drastic increase for the Arcade). Uncharted 2, Katamari Forever and Heavy Rain are starting to look like reasons for joining the PS3 brigade though…

I’m not buying Beatles: Rock Band. Not straight away – I still have a lot of mileage to get out of the original Rock Band, and am thinking of picking up at least one of the recent Guitar Hero packages (World Tour or Greatest Hits) before I get the Beatles game. After a brief playing session with the game at the Retro Reunited event, it is definitely a progression and improvement on earlier titles and it looks amazing. It can survive on its wave of hype without my purchase in the first few weeks. The same applies to Guitar Hero 5, which managed to beat the Beatles to number one in the UK software charts in its first week.

I’m not buying Wii Sports Resort. It will be a long-term purchase, but I still have several Wii games (purchased in a cheap buying spree at Easter) to play through. I’m not knocking the game itself, or the MotionPlus add-on – my hands-on experience with Tiger Woods 10 proves it works really well – but to get the best out of it I need to buy TWO MotionPlus units and that is quite an outlay.

I’m not buying Sega’s announcement about Project Needlemouse either. This is apparently the “critical first step” in returning Sonic the Hedgehog to his 2D roots. Sonic’s 2D games gradually progressed away from the core idea of a fast-moving character, and the poor blue hedgehog never really had a 3D epiphany as great as Mario 64. But if this is only a first step, then there is going to be a lot of pitfalls (if you’ll pardon the pun) until the “new old Sonic” gets to his goal. Why not follow Mega Man’s example and go the whole hog (if you’ll pardon another pun) by commissioning a truly 2D game with retro-style visuals? I personally enjoyed the Sonic RPG on the DS with its blend of polygonal characters and cartoon backgrounds. More experimentation on the lines of that title and the excellent Sonic Rush would be better appreciated by Sonic fans.

Since I have got some money in my PayPal account at the moment, I probably will buy some retro stuff on Ebay instead, such as controllers for older machines, a memory cartridge for my Saturn and so on. With several key titles dropping back to 2010 to avoid Modern Warfare 2, it looks like I might be on a buying spree early in the New Year…

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