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YEAR THREE KICK OFF

27 September 2006

Confounded? Confused? Conundrummed? This first episode of Year Three certainly has some explaining to do. Some of you may recognize what's happening, some of you may not. You may even have an idea of where this is going, in which case I salute you for your sight beyond sight (to the people whom I told it beforehand: you're disqualified). If you don't really understand what's happening yet, stick with me. All will become clear in a few episodes. What you've been given today is only a taste of what is to come. I wasn't lying when I said there were more than a few surprises in store, the effects of which will turn the whole table upside down. I'm a regular Miyamoto that way.

Speaking of gaming: our more than a bit more successful colleagues of Penny Arcade expressed their fondness of an announced game for the PS3 called White Knight Story, of which you can view a trailer here. Apparently they are lauding this as the game to save the PS3 from total mediocrity and, basically, lack of interest. I usually find myself in agreement with most of the things PA say, but the sudden love for this game puzzled me.

After watching the trailer, I didn't really know why anyone would be specifically interested in it. Not that it seems to be shaping up badly, it just doesn't seem to be anything special. The rather nice animations help make the characters feel realistic, something which can't be said for the plasticky feel of their visual design and moreover, which is undone by their unwillingness to blend into the atmospheric environment very well. Looking further into the trailer, I see some small new iterations of the same tired, old gameplay, another take on the same tired, old setting and story and more than a few gameplay clich,s with characters breaking the immersion by leaping into the air to cast dramatic fireballs.

That's not to say that the game may not be important to the genre, especially because of the highly improved way characters interact in combat: a deflected blow will actually repel the sword and the collision is sophisticated and believable. But exactly where does this game take on aspects of the saviour?

If anything will save the PS3 -and god forbid; because Sony desperately needs to be humbled in order to become healthy and charismatic instead of staying the supremely arrogant techmongerers they are today- it's not going to be another evolutionary but predictable fantasy RPG. I understand that it may tickle the fancy of a share of connoisseurs, but in claiming it to be the one title the PS3 desperately needed to become interesting seems to me a slight exaggeration on Penny Arcade's side.

Roderick.