5 franchises that need facelifts

Guns, lots of guns. Bullet-time. Flying/zero G fights. Kung-Fu. Deadpan acting, “Whoa.”

Copy Mirror’s Edge.

Above: Actual screen from Mirror’s Edge – fits perfectly!

Give us a chance to steer this ship around. The Matrix trilogy/franchise/whatever was considered awesome when it played homage to cyberpunk novels and existential anime. Why not return to the first film’s insanely cool, yet easily digestible formula without being bogged down in religious/Big Brother Psychobabble? Here’s what should happen first: restart the Matrix. Remember the Architect? The Col Sanders-looking fella who explained the multiple versions of the Matrix in Reloaded?

Above: What a kindly old man

In short, he boringly explained the Matrix of the films as the latest version or construct of the program that enslaved the human race. The One (played by wooden mannequin Keanu Reeves) was an anomaly of said Matrix program. WAKE UP, READER! Essentially Neo was prophesized to return to the program source to “further perfect the code,” so the machines could release a newer, better Matrix.

Let this new game take place in the newest version of the Matrix, with you controlling the new “One.” Follow the same revelations and twists from the franchise (they’re all roughly the same if the characters are following a prophecy, right?) This way you can relive and relearn everything that made the Matrix cool in the first place. Perform balletic bullet time, hyper-choreographed martial arts, weapons expertise, driving, flying, CALM LIKE A BOMB - and do it all like Mirror’s Edge. ME is about getting from point A to point B quickly. Edge already has bullet time and disarms in place. Just take it a few steps further.

How do you evade your first Agent? Bolt at super speeds along the rooftops of a pristine city to an exit (phone). How do you get to that building across the street? Leap 200 feet. And so on. Soon you’ll fly to new cityscapes and free more humans. Basically, just take the Matrix back to its roots, while slowly peeling back the layers for the inevitable twists. Just make it way cooler this time.

Combat system, magic upgrades, um…

Nuanced environments worth exploring

The quest for a “good” three-dimensional Castlevania has eluded Konami for years. Unlike Retro Studio’s masterful Metroid Prime series, translating the Dracula-hunting, castle-exploring franchise for the Z-axis has met the player with a mixture of wonky gameplay and great ambition. Even if Castlevania 64 was trash and the PS2 titles were relatively okay, they were considered missteps towards a potentially worthy successor.

Above: Good start

Translating what works amazingly well with the 2D series (classic, GBA, DS or whatever) to 3D is easier said than done, but here’s what we know: the game has progressed from linear level progression to large, explorable environments (usually involving a castle, har har). Combat is a mixture of whip/sword based melee combat, mixed with good ol’ magic and light RPG essentials (armor, perks). Here’s what Konami should do: keep all that. The only decent element kept in the shift was combat. Here’s what you ditch: monotonous environments, which are the most noted failure.

Granted, when we think about castles, our eyes glaze over and we strain to keep consciousness. We’re not bored of the 2D DS games, and those are released almost annually. Think BioShock or to an extent, Metal Gear Solid: a completely nuanced world that you want to explore every nook and cranny of. Keep the third-person perspective, but give us large, themed sub-levels and not the same ol’ concrete corridors and library interiors.

Above: It’s in the details

Of course these levels would have to be slightly larger to account for the action, but the other 3D Castlevanias never really suffered from terrible combat (except Judgment… eesh). Oh, and we could totally do without terrible platforming segments. Even though Capcom’s Devil May Cry series stole Castlevania’s 3D thunder, we’re sure Konami can steal away the former’s fanbase now that DMC has gotten a bit stale.