Second Chance Saloon: Issue II

Second Chance Saloon: Issue II

In this segment we will be discussing games that deserve another shot at glory, whether that is a sequel or a reboot. We’re not talking about the games that were commercial hits but remain without sequels such as Red Dead Redemption. We’re talking about games that had very good ideas but were not entirely well executed or received mixed critical and user receptions, and therefore weren’t commercially successful enough to warrant a sequel. We’ll also include games that were mostly considered good, but for some reason didn’t hit the sales targets to activate a follow up being developed.

Now we’re not going to simply say that we want a sequel/reboot because we want one. We’ll tell you why we think it deserves it as well as who we think should develop it.

Vanquish


Vanquish-Review-2
Platinum Games and gaming industry legend Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil creator) can lay claim to one the sleeper hits of 2010 with Vanquish. The game received positive critical reviews and currently sits with a metacritic score of 84/100. Set in the near future, the third-person shooter see’s you take control of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) agent, Sam Gideon. Gideon is fitted with a piece of equipment called the Augmented Reaction Suit, which has several unique features. The suit allows Sam use boosters on the suit to slide along the ground at a fast pace, helping him to dodge bullets and other attacks. The suit also has the ability to slow down time once Sam’s health levels get too low.

Sam Gideon’s role is to help defend America and prevent further attacks from The Order of the Russian Star, who have already stolen an American space station and razed San Francisco. Not only was Vanquish a very fun and satisfying game to play, it was also quite challenging in certain parts. This was good to see as most games released in this generation (PS3/XB360) had far too much hand-holding in regards to difficulty. Its fast-paced, non-stop action gameplay was refreshing and at very few times did it feel stagnant.

Gideon: Heavy smoker. Professional flog

Gideon: Heavy smoker. Professional flog

Given that the game isn’t all that old and the game received critical acclaim, a sequel is the best move to continue the franchise. I would like to see Platinum Games remain attached to the project and develop the second instalment. Yet I would like to see some changes and some new features implemented. Firstly, Sam Gideon has to be replaced, he is a huge flog. He is probably one of my least favourite main characters in a game ever. His voice sounds like he smokes 15 packs of cigarettes a day, and it just doesn’t suit his appearance. This is not easily achievable because the game’s ending was a fairly big setup for a future sequel.   Secondly, the majority of the games dialogue is rubbish which isn’t helped by a second-rate plot. So, whoever is in charge of this aspect needs to lift their game.

Vanquish: As cool as this screenshot suggests

Vanquish: As cool as this screenshot suggests

I think campaign co-op, limited to a total of two players would be a solid addition to the sequel. This might work similarly to the Gears of Wars series, where you can play single player and have an AI partner, or you can have someone join your session. Additional modes that would increase the longevity of the game would also be welcome. This might include something similar to the mercenaries mode in Resident Evil 4 or a battle arena where up to four players can fight it out and complete challenges (5 kill streak, hold this point, etc..) as they play a variety of characters from the campaign. It might also be worth a look at a customisable suit upgrade, like in the Dead Space series.

If you use the ol’google machine, you’ll find that a lot of gamers are hoping for another iteration of Vanquish. With Platinum Games are currently working on the Xbox One exclusive, Scalebound, it’s hard to see a sequel announced anytime soon.

If you haven’t played the first one, do yourself a favour and pick it up. It’s one of the most underrated games and a game that fans of third person shooters should experience.

Rage


Rage_cover
Rage was a first-person shooter released in 2011 from id Software, the developers responsible for the very birth of the genre. Heavy is the head that wears the crown though; expectations were high for this game and when it did finally drop, it seemed people weren’t overly enthused about id’s labours. Personally I thought this game was excellent and I have fond memories of the title.

It was by far the best looking game of last-gen at the time, and was powered by proprietary tech developed by id, namely id Tech 5.  This set it apart from other FPS that all seemed to be using Unreal Engine (such as Homefront and Duke Nukem Forever *shudder*) and weren’t really pushing the boundaries. While at its heart it was an FPS, it mixed other features like open-world gameplay (although this aspect excited me the least), combat racing and a very addicting card game. Its mechanics were slick, enemy design excellent and weapons varied and fun and to use. You could craft weapons like elemental bolts for your crossbow or my personal favourite: Wingsticks. Perhaps it was the Aussie in me but I never tired of lopping the heads off lesser enemies with these deadly tri-bladed boomerangs. There was also a chance it would come back too if you scored a headshot. Nice.

Seriously these wingsticks took no prisoners

Seriously these wingsticks took no prisoners

So what the hell happened? Why isn’t this a classic for the ages? In short, I don’t know. It had very warm critical reception and currently sits on a very respectable Metacritic score of 79, however the user score (based on over 1500 ratings) is 5.1. Although I believe Metacritic ratings (especially the user reviews which tend to be a lot of 10s and 1s) should be taken with a grain of salt, it definitely seemed at the time that it was liked by critics but hated by the everyday gamer. I’ll admit, the game’s story was quite flat and the characters, while appearing interesting on the surface from a visual standpoint, were in reality a little 2-dimensional. The ending was a complete farce too and at no point was there any real sense of who you were as a character. I was able to overlook these things (a lot like how the entire Internet overlooks how awful the Uncharted series is), and instead focused on the polished shooter experience, fun arcade car combat and challenging card game. It seems I was in the minority though, many were quick to jump on this game’s flaws and it was unceremoniously tossed aside to make way for bigger and better things.

Despite all his Rage...

Despite all his Rage…

Although the likelihood of a sequel to Rage is low, with id currently focussing on Doom 4 (where the hell is that game anyway?), I think it greatly deserves it nonetheless. If a sequel were able to retain the original’s flawless shooting mechanics, superb graphics, fantastic enemy/level design and fun gameplay variations, while actually giving us a reason to actually care about the setting, I think you would have a timeless classic on your hands. In terms of developers, id may want to pass this one on to MachineGames too, like they did with another one of their franchises: Wolfenstein. Machine Games did a commendable job with Wolfenstein: The New Order (which used id Tech 5 coincidentally), and I’m sure they could breathe some life back into Rage given the creative freedom. Here’s hoping id Software haven’t buried this one just yet…


In the meantime check out Zackssgamertag’s video of wingstick supremacy below!

(Sidebar – Intermission  image stolen fair and square from http://stanleykubrick.neocities.org/intermission.jpg, credit where credit is due.)