Monday, November 05, 2007

Sony Ads and Timeshift

Someone must have awoken the sleeping giant. After screwing up time and time again Sony actually has a, dare I say it, great ad campaign going on. After last year's launch campaign with the crying baby ad, exploding Rubix Cubead , and the crazy Sixaxis egg ad. The only good ad to come out was the one for MLB 07.

Sony now has brought an ad campaign that is truly the best they've had in a long time. Here is the 60 and 30 second commercial that shows off first party games via the Playstation Blog. In the 60-second commercial they show off Gran Turismo 5, Ratchet and Clank Future, Uncharted, Warhawk, Heavenly Sword, Spider-Man 3 on Blu-Ray, the upcoming Home and the Playstation Network. That is the way to make a commercial that gets people excited about a system. I already own the PS3, but man that commercial jazzed me up. I'm a big fan of the Saliva song used here, but I know many people don't like it.

Also, while watching football yesterday I saw commercials for Assassin's Creed, The Simpsons Game and Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. The funny thing about the first two is that they were PS3 ads where only the PS3 logo was shown even though both games are out for the 360 and other systems in the case of The Simpsons Game. Sony must have paid big money to advertise these games and make the illusion that they are PS3 only. I thought the Ratchet and Clank one was very funny. Maybe the new $399 price was the catalyst for Sony actually making great synergistic commercials (since they all end with the PS3 w/appendages turning into a regular PS3). All I can say is Sony has certainly brought its A game to the arena for the holiday and maybe this will finally spark some sales.

Even though they took out Backwards Compatibility, dropped the hard drive down to 40GB, took out the memory card readers and eliminated a couple USB ports the PS3 is very attractive at $399 with the Spider-Man 3 Blu-Ray movie included. It's amazing how far Sony has come since last year's $599 release at 60GB and $499 at 20GB. Now they are more in line with the 360 and even though the 360 has more software choices I think Sony is on the right track. It's just too bad it took them to wake up to reality.

OK, enough about that, let's talk about Timeshift for the 360. I will be reviewing it for GameShark and I'm close to being done with the game and then trying out the multiplayer side of things. I have not read any reviews (I like to come at my reviews from a clean perspective), but I have seen the scores. They seem to be squarely in the 7s and in the case of Gamespot a 6.5. Then again this is Aaron Thomas writing again, the guy who gave Ratchet and Clank Future a 7.5 while other sites are handing it scores in the 9s.

Just given the scores for Timeshift I have to say I largely don't agree with them. I am going to guess that many of these reviews are probably comparing this game to the ones that it is sandwiched between: Halo 3, The Orange Box and the upcoming Call of Duty 4. It's unfortunate that this game comes out in the middle of those three, but come on! This game is really good and I personally am surprised how good it is. The graphics are really good (with a little tearing here and there if you move the camera slowly), the puzzles are not too hard, the time powers are cool and the game is pretty lengthy. If there are weak points it is in the story itself and the AI is pretty dumb. The story is told through flashbacks and really doesn't get you at all interested in it. It is the standard time-travel sci-fi mumbo jumbo. At one point before the game was bought by Vivendi the main character actually had a name and I believe was going to be voiced by Randy Quaid. Now you are just an unnamed physicist who is going after the other time suit that the overall leader of the experiment stole and went back in time to change the past. The other problem is the dumb AI. You can really trick them into coming at you in smaller groups than one big group where you have to be on your toes. They are pretty good shots, but they'll stand in the middle of the road shooting at you, making them easy targets for a time freeze and kill.

Unless the game falls apart in the last 1.5 levels I just don't see this game being in the 6 or possibly even the 7 category. It is unfair to rank a game given the other games out there. Timeshift cannot compete with the total number of games in The Orange Box and it cannot compete with already established franchises (Halo 3, Call of Duty 4), so why even bring them into the review? Let the game stand on its own. It is a really good FPS game that is a sleeper in my mind, but it obviously won't get much business with it coming out this time of year and so many other games out there competing for our gaming dollar. Would it have helped to hold the game back to early next year? Well, it was already a pretty late game as it is, but what would have hurt other than the financial quarter to bring it out early next year? It could have been another success like Lost Planet was.