Special: PlayStation 2 who?
Here I sit, in front of my television set, PS2 controller in hand wondering why I am not excited about playing this gaming machine. The PlayStation 2 was hyped as the be-all-end-all of gaming enjoyment, and it failed. Sure there have been some great games (SSX for sure), but it is limited to just that, a few great games. There are a few games coming to the system that have my interest, but ever since Sega's announcement that it is leaving the videogame hardware business and going third party, my excitement around a specific platform has plummeted. Until now.
November the 15th marks the debut of Microsoft's entry into the home console market, with the Xbox. Those of you living under a rock for the last year will have missed the fact that not one, but two consoles are being launched in November. Both have me excited. Nintendo's GameCube has me drooling with anticipation for obvious reasons, but it is the Xbox that has me interested in videogames as an industry, and pulls at a deeper, perhaps even intellectual level.
The games that are coming to Xbox may seem like ordinary videogames. Dead or Alive 3 could pass for any common fighting game. Look deeper, and you will see features that no other fighting game has been able to accomplish before. Project Gotham Racing isn't just another racing game; it is one of the most beautiful and realistic driving experiences coming to a home console ? ever. Of course there will be a major number of ?ordinary? games. Not every game can be a major blockbuster. No, it is the ordinary games that make the shining stars of Xbox truly stand out.
It is, of course, how these games stand out that has me excited. The Xbox has enabled developers to deliver near photo-realistic textures during in-game play, not just during the cut-scenes. This is perhaps one of the greatest achievements the powerful hardware has accomplished. There are other great things about the Xbox (hard drive included, the DVD remote coming less than a year after launch, etc.), but it is of course the games that will be played on it (or any console for that matter) that truly make it stand out. One of the games that we can look forward to in the new year is Unreal Championship. An online multi-player FPS game with a real plot, not just some scribbled backstory as an afterthought. This will be made possible by the built-in broadband adapter, something that will cost extra on Sony's machine. It would appear that Microsoft is finally going to deliver on the promise that was SegaNet.
There are some great games coming before the end of the year as well. Perhaps the three most anticipated games are Halo, Dead or Alive 3, and Oddworld: Munch's Oddysee. Each is worthy of praise from what we have seen so far. To have these three major titles coming exclusively to a console, and at launch, is really something special. When was the last time any console launched with this many high profile must-have games? There are a lot of other games of personal interest that will sway gamers one way or another. Microsoft has done a fairly good job of making sure that each major gaming genre is being represented (and well) at the console's launch. I look forward to November 15, because there are some games coming that truly look amazing, and I just have to play them.