For a while there, it appeared that the sequel to our old friend Perfect Dark was going to join the ranks of Duke Nukem Forever as the most oft-delayed games in history… An early-generation GameCube title that never came, Rare’s fall from grace, the Microsoft buyout, being stripped down and rebuilt for the Xbox, more waiting around, and finally, re-stripped down and rebuilt once again, this time as the flagship of the Next-Next generation Xbox 360. What a saga! But the end result? Well, that’s what we’re about to find out, now isn’t it?
The Perfect Dark Zero era begins in a mere three days; Tuesday, November 22nd is the North American launch date for the 360 (Friday, December 2nd for our Euro friends). And the question on everyone’s mind (aside from “where the duce am I going to come up with $450?”) is, will the-elite.net continue its Rare FPS tradition by hosting PDZ World Rankings? The answer, I’m happy to announce, is yes. Current Elite updater Your Eliteness is well on his way to developing a very user friendy, PHP-driven rankings system that will allow for painless nightly updates. As we’re still working out some details, these ranks themselves might not be online for a few days yet; until that time, everyone is welcome to post their new personal records on our new Perfect Dark Zero board.
Obviously, many questions still remain. With all the delays and system switches, and with much of the original GE and PD teams having been released to form Free Radical Design (the guys responsible for TimeSplitters), are we going to be dealing with the next Perfect Dark, or the next… *gulp*… TWINE? From the hands-on reviews I’ve seen so far, things appear to be leaning in the direction of PD, but it’s still hard to say. The other big issue is Xbox Live, which is apparently going to be used to create Live rankings based on any number of multiplayer (and single player?) statistics. As the original Xbox proved, however, automated and unproven worldwide rankings are often not to be trusted; given the choice, I think that many gamers will choose to compete at a site that demands, and hosts, full video proof for every last world record.
In other news, PDZ isn’t the only new videogame on the block this holiday season! The latest in the ever-popular Kart series, Mario Kart DS, has been released to rave reviews from all corners, including our own Mark Jones! TOC got his first taste of Nintendo’s free Wi-Fi connection tonight, using it to do battle with fellow Karters across the globe and apparently experiencing “No lag. Zero.” while doing so. If VS mode against anyone anywhere isn’t enough to peak your interest, perhaps the new official MKDS Rankings from our friends at MK64.com will do the trick.
Any way you slice it, it’s a heck of a time to be a gamer. And on that note, this Ngamer is… out!