Saturday, 4 August 2012

Franchise necromancy - good games that need to return

Recently I have noticed that big gaming sites like IGN, Gametrailers and Eurogamer have been all nostalgic and talking about their own top 10 gaming franchises that either need a refresh or a reboot.  I can understand some and completely disagree with others, but they do have a point here, these old franchises of the past could really inject some much needed sales in todays economy.  So since everyone else is doing it (three websites?) I thought I would do my own top 10 game series that need to come back.

  1. Ring of Red - This game was so cool back in the PS2 days.  Set in the aftermatch of an alternate world war 2 japan where the A bomb wasn't dropped and japan was instead invaded by US forces in the south and Russian forces in the north.  Now in the 1950's the country is split much like modern day Korea with a communist north and democratic south.  Oh and it has huge world war 2 style mechs.  The game was developed by Konami and played out on a grid map, tasking you with different objectives from capturing bases, destroying all enemies and defending key locations.  When you engage in combat you switched to a strategic battle mode where your mech and infantry battle against the opponents mechs and infantry in a 90 second battle.  You could use numerous special abilties and even aim and fire the main weapon.  Recently it was released on the US playstation store as a PS2 classic download, but I really think a modern reimagining of this game would be a big success and look amazing in HD.

  2. Urban Reign - This arena brawler also on the PS2 was released by Tekken creators Namco and was freaking awesome.  It had a tonne of characters, several fighting styles, wince inducing tag team attacks and a fluid combat system based on tekkens juggle mechanics.  It wasn't the deepest game around, but with todays online focus the arean fighter could see a huge revival.  DLC would be a massive money maker and fighters from other franchises could always make an appearance from other namco games.  The reason it was so good was its pick up and play controls and just the sheer craziness that would happen on screen.

  3. NBA Street - Another PS2 era title that saw a sequel or two in its day.  It was developed by EA BIG, the label that dealt in sports titles that had a more over the top flair, like SSX and FIFA Street.  NBA street was brilliant because of its easy controls and addictive team creation mechanics.  For all intents and purposes it was a standard three on three street baller, but it was a combination of several factors that really made this game memorable for me.  The music was great, the characters were interesting and all had their pros and cons, the unlockables where plenty and it had replay value.

  4. Shadow Hearts - This series had a good run on PS2, garnering two sequels (although the third game was by a different developer) and a healthy fanbase, the game simply ceased after the third game was something of a mixed bag.  The first two games though had some really good writing and combat mechanics for a JRPG.  The setting was different, being set in the late 1800's and going into the early 1900's and had that mix of the modern world still being mixed with the old world and its monsters.  The judgement ring system was inspired for a combat mechanic and really required quick reactions from the player.  If remade today it would be a hit no doubt, especially when the JRPG is suffering somewhat on the main consoles.

  5. The Last Remnant - This Square enix title was sorely under-appreciated by the gaming public and really it deserved better.  As players become bored of the tired old three of four man party system, here we had a game that allowed for sixteen or twenty man parties, built around large combat strategies instead of the more tradtitional methods.  The graphics where great, the combat was fun and the story was ok, I just think it got washed away with the monster titles of the year on Xbox and may have done better had it been released on PS3 and PC at the same time.  I genuinely believe that this game could come back strong with a sequel.

  6. Folklore - One the PS3's first original titles, this game had a nice mix of motion control and traditional gameplay mechanics.  Sadly its developer hit hard times, but that doesn't mean another developer couldn't bring it back with a vengeance.  The story was interesting and the fantastical folks you encountered really stood out for their unusual design.  There were more than fifty of them to recruit without DLC.  The DLC for the title expanded on the story and added more hours of play.

  7. X-WING vs Tie Fighter - Lucasarts was once the daddy of space games because of the obvious.  The space combat sim was one of the kings of PC gaming when I was younger and I couldn't get enough of the X-wing, Tie fighter and X-wing alliance series of games.  They had great original stories, allowed you to fly your favourite ships from Star wars and later on you could fly co-op or competitively online or LAN.  For some reason Lucasarts abandoned this series of awesome games in favour of crap the force unleashed 2, star wars starfighter and bombad racing.  If they brought this series back as a multi-platform released with an epic story spanning the film series, featured huge online battles and cooperative play, this would be one of lucasarts most successful releases of all time.

  8. Bladestorm: the hundred years war - Not the most technically impressive title to leave Koei's doors, but one of the biggest and more enjoyable titles.  Set during the hundred years war between france and britain, this game went all out with the crazy.  Elephant cavalry, roman soldiers, wizards, gun slingers along with ninjas and the more realistic soldiery of the time, this game was really good fun.  You played as a mercenary taking on jobs for either side to advance the story and fill up your purse.  The maps where huge and allowed you to go anywhere to capture villages, towns and even cities alongside AI units.  Combat was fun, utilising a system where you attached your character to a unit to direct its attacks.  You could also upgrade every unit type and increase their stats to make them stronger throughout the game.  TecmoKoei really need to release a sequel to this as it was some the best gaming memories for me on the PS3 to date.

  9. Chaos Legion - Capcom released this in a fairly quiet manner for some unknown reason because its a great game.  The story is completely mental and difficult to follow, but the basics are that the levels are full of monstrous creatures and you need to kill them all.  But the twist here is the chaos legion, a set of varied monsters you can summon yourself to attack the enemies alongside you.  There were several legions to command and each had different uses, such as shielding you from attack, focusing on single targets, acting as suicide bombers, shooting targets from range or even summoning a massive monster that just kicked everythings ass on screen.  Capcom need to bring this game back with a sequel and expand on those legions with more variety and on screen numbers, maybe even stick a load of the DLC on the disc for later purchase :p

  10. Jade Empire - Bioware have been under alot of pressure recently with the whole Mass effect ending furor and its failure with the old republic, but really Bioware need to go back to basics and focus on its existing franchies once more.  Jade empire was a really fun fantasy chinese martial arts game that had some unqiue combat mechanics.  The ability to fight your opponents with your fists in a RPG was a real change and Bioware did a great job with the good and evil mechanics once again.  Jade empire 2 would be interesting to see and even better to play i imagine.
 So there you have it, my top ten list of games that either need a sequel, rebirth or reboot.  Tell me what you think and or post your own in the comments.  Thanks for reading.


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