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Defunct Games Vs.
Defunct Games vs. E3 2012 Game Revivals
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on June 11, 2012   |   Episode 15 (Show Archive)  


Yet another year where Capcom doesn't show off Strider at E3!
Between the 15 minute long demonstration of Wonderbooks and Microsoft unveiling SmartGlass, there wasn't a whole lot at E3 2012 that caught my eye. Sequel after sequel, one familiar trope after another; this was the worst E3 in years. Just as I was about to lose all hope, I remembered that this is the year of the Pikmin. And that X-COM sequel I've been dreaming of? It turns out that's coming, too. In fact, everybody from Sega to Nintendo to Disney have video game revivals planned for the next few
months. Maybe this is a good time to explore the pros and cons of these exciting new games.

Before we begin, let's make up some arbitrary rules that get me out of doing a lot of work. For the sake of this article, a "revival" is a game that has been absent for at least one generation. Pikmin 3 is a revival because the last game was released on the GameCube. I am not counting games that are reboots/sequels/remakes to a game that has come out in this generation cycle. This rules out Devil May Cry, Tomb Raider and Need for Speed: Most Wanted (all released on the Xbox 360). This isn't a perfect system and I'm sure purists will compare this to the nearly identical E3 2010 article. Let them hate. Everybody else should check out this year's anemic selection of video game revivals.

Jet Set Radio (Sega)
[ Console: XBLA, PSN & Vita | Last Installment: Jet Set Radio Future (2002) ]

Crazy system mod not included!
How Long Has It Been? Jet Set Radio (known in the States as Jet Grind Radio) has a storied history. Released exclusively on the Dreamcast, the original game was a quirky action game that quickly gained a cult following. The sequel was released on the Microsoft Xbox ten years ago as one of Sega's earliest third-party games. Thankfully Microsoft pushed the game, bundling it in with some versions of the Xbox. Even with the help from Microsoft, it has taken Sega a decade to announce another Jet Set Radio game.

Why Should You Care? Don't let the outrageously colorful visuals throw you off; Jet Set Radio is one of Sega's best games. This remake brings the magic to life in full HD, complete with new content, the Japanese soundtrack and improved camera controls. PS Vita owners are also in store for a good time, complete with console-exclusive bonuses, touchscreen support and more. The short levels also work to the handheld's advantage, making this a serious game to consider this summer.

What Could Go Wrong? No matter how many times Sega talks about improved camera controls and HD graphics; I can't help but be disappointed that this is a remake and not a sequel/reboot. Hopefully this is Sega testing the waters for a proper Jet Set Radio 3. I'm anxious to see how well the game performs; it's hard to imagine this quirky niche product breaking out into the mainstream. Then again, stranger things have happened.

Pikmin 3 (Nintendo)
[ Console: Wii U | Last Installment: Pikmin 2 (2004) ]

But the internet tells me that Pikmin 3 is already on the Nintendo DS!
How Long Has It Been? Now that they've satisfied Kid Icarus fans, Nintendo is looking to hush the vocal supporters of Pikmin. It has been eight years since we last checked in with Nintendo's own brand of real-time strategy. In that time Big N released Wii Fit, Wii Sports, Wii Play and Wii Music, much to the chagrin of core gamers around the world. For what it's worth, Nintendo has released updated versions of both Pikmin games for the Wii, including one that came out as recently as yesterday.

Why Should You Care? It turns out that Pikmin 3 is the perfect game to show off the Wii U's brand new touchscreen-enabled gamepad, as well the Wii's standard remote control. This time around up to one hundred little Pikmin creatures can get in on the action. Best of all, the photo-realistic graphics finally bring to life what the GameCube could only dream of. Plus, the ability to have your pikmin move objects in the environment could potentially change the way you complete challenges. It's definitely nice to see an old friend again.

What Could Go Wrong? Everything Nintendo says about Pikmin 3 sounds incredible from a technical point of view, but I fear the game will be just another lackluster sequel. It's great that players can control the action with the Wii's standard controllers, but I worry the touchscreen's lack of multi-touch will ultimately get in the way. I also fear that Pikmin 3 will get lost in a sea of Mario games. Regardless of how the title turns out, one thing is painfully clear: Shigeru Miyamoto is a better programmer than actor!

X-COM: Enemy Unknown (Firaxis)
[ Console: PC, 360 & PS3 | Last Installment: X-COM: Interceptor (1998) ]

Some aliens are just asking to be swatted!
How Long Has It Been? X-COM doesn't get enough credit for being as prolific as it was. Between 1994 and 2001, three different publishers took a stab at six X-COM variations. Beyond the traditional turn-based iterations, we also saw a third-person shooter and a flying game. The final game, Enforcer, was published eleven years ago by Infogrames. Sadly, only one X-COM game has made it to a home console (UFO Defense was an early PlayStation title).

Why Should You Care? Because this is a return to form for the turn-based PC game. Forget the first-person shooter announced two years ago, Enemy Unknown promises to bring the tactical gameplay you loved from the original game and mix in just enough cinematic flair to impress new players. The result seems to be working, with a lot of people buzzing about 2K's X-COM booth. This reboot is being worked on by Firaxis, Sid Meier's world-renowned studio. Needless to say, X-COM is in good hands.

What Could Go Wrong? Turn-based strategy games aren't always easy to make work on a home console. Even X-COM on the original PlayStation used the mouse peripheral. No matter how explosive the gameplay is, there will be people who will balk at the price of a disc-based game. This is the type of thing many gamers expect on the Xbox Live Arcade and PSN, so I'm curious to see if it can catch on at a retail level.



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