4th January 2012


Is it too much to ask for something a little different ? After all if everything is the same over and over again it all becomes a bit safe and predictable. After casting an eye over some of 2012’s big game releases, RetroBear sharpens his claws once again for another attack on modern gaming….


Now wouldn't that be something ?

I did something rather naughty over Christmas and as such I am here to repent my sins. Yes, for one of the very few times in recent memory, I purchased games that were not of the retro variety. Shock ! Horror ! Gasp ! I should be paraded through the local village and pelted with fruit for committing such a crime. However there was indeed method to my madness. Firstly one was a game I had developed a rather unhealthy fetish for and the other seemed to be very appealing and as such seemed worth a go at the price it was offered at.


About as un-Disney a game as you can get


The first game was Epic Mickey for the Wii. The old white wonder has gradually been turning grey due to all the dust it has been gathering since we were kindly gifted it 2 years ago, and I felt it deserved a new game (not that I play any of the ones I already have for it). Ever since I saw the trailer last year for Epic Mickey I was intrigued by the dark approach to a Disney game, and as the price had plummeted it was worth the gamble. All I need now are some batteries for the controllers……


The second game was L A Noire on the PS3, which is essentially Grand Theft Auto but with more trilby hats. This detective romp had caught my eye when it came out and was recommended to me as an essential purchase. I stood 40 minutes in the queue to buy the game 2nd hand, and then found out it had all the DLC with it as well. Unfortunately an ear infection and limited hearing has meant I have spent more time saying “Eh” and a lot and less time beating confessions out of dodgy looking 1940’s gangsters.


Can't wait to slap on a trilby and get interrogating


The big question I have been asking myself over Christmas though is where is the originality in the games market at the moment ? Casting an eye over the new releases due this year, the answer is a pretty resounding “Not to be seen”. It was whilst playing Sonic Generations that I found myself wondering if this constant regurgitation and repetition is coming to an end. Sonic Generations is a fine game, but it is essentially bog standard Sonic with a twist. Having said that, at least Sega have tried (and failed miserably) in recent years to move Sonic away from ring collecting.


So looking ahead to 2012 here are some of the things that you can look forward to :


RESIDENT EVIL : REVELATIONS – Resident Evil in 3D ? That might be new if we hadn’t had all those first person games from the PS1 onwards. Resident Evil on a handheld however ? Hmmm no it’s been done before on the Game Boy Color, so I am afraid not many marks for originality there.


FINAL FANTASY XIII-2 – Oh joy another FF game to add to the multitudes I have already not played. This is a direct sequel to FFXIII which makes you wonder why it’s not called FFXIV. Now if they made a FF curling simulator that might be a bit different. After all it would be a sort of turn-based-combat…..


SOUL CALIBUR V – Now featuring the dude from Assassin’s Creed, which means no place for Darth Vader or Yoda this time around. It also doesn’t sound a whole lot different either.


THE DARKNESS II – I thought they had split up ? Anyway, no marks for originality as it is a sequel with the added bonus of a 4 player co-op option. So maybe a little different, but not much.


SSX – The snowboarding series gets the next gen makeover. Will it be any good ? I quite enjoyed the old SSX games so it will be interesting to see how this turns out, but where all else fails dust off an old classic, tart it up and watch the wonga roll in i.e. not very original.


Now those are just 5 games I have picked from a list I found on Digital Spy, but aside from SSX they all appear to be sequels. Now unless these are packed with radical new improvements, they are likely to be the same thing aren’t they ? Soul Calibur is going to rely on you kicking the shit out of your opponent unless they have included a supermarket trolley dash as a hidden level. Resident Evil is going to be about gunning down zombies as opposed to forming a close harmony choir and getting a date booked at the Proms.


I haven’t even mentioned the planned update of Amiga classic Syndicate, another installment of Mass Effect, a further volume in the Grand Theft Auto and Mario finally kicking the 3DS into shape with his first 3D true adventure and Mario Kart 7. Yes there is no denying there is public appetite for these games and they will all sell well (Mario is breaking all kinds of records if reports are to be believed). It just makes me sad that the best the industry can do right now is make easy money with sequels.


That'll wipe the silly grin of that plumber's face


It makes me long for the days of original games like Head Over Heels, Saboteur and Wizball, games that were totally different from anything you had seen or played before. Is it because all the good ideas have been done ? Is it because no one wants to take the risk with a bold new title ? I guess the only way we will see any changes is if any of these, and the other major titles, tank on release. If they don’t, expect Mario Kart 35 sometime in the near future.


Never has a truer word been spoken - although I would have had the violence as the biggest share from experience