My new years resolution was to play fewer video games.
I realized this wouldn’t be impossible unless I simply loaned out my game consoles. So I did. I got a lot done. And now I got my stuff back because the holiday bum rush of triple-A games are upon us and I couldn’t resist. My gold membership has expired since that time obviously so I am just playing single player games at the moment.
I recently got done playing Assassins Creed Brotherhood, followed by Batman Arkham City, and finally a little Gears of War 3. There was a constant theme I noticed throughout the games that has been coursing through games the past few years, so to most of you this won’t be any great revelation.
1) Since when did every hero, assassin, adventurer, etc learn parkour.
If you aren’t familiar with parkour go ahead and watch this video (or any other one) and catch yourself up a little.
Seriously. I know parkour blew up a few years ago in the states and then what? Game developers saw it and said, “Well since everything else in our game is complete fantasy and entirely impossible, we should at least make them move realistically. I mean come on… the fans will absolutely tear us to pieces if we don’t give our billionaire superheros and ancestral-dna-time-travelers parkour to ground them in reality“???
Prototype, Infamous, Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Red Dead Redemption, Saints Row, Just Cause, Assassins Creed (1,2, Brotherhood, Revelations, and 3), Mirrors Edge, Crackdown, and even upcoming games like Resident Evil 6 and Prey 2. I swear if the next Mario game trades in the Tanooki suit for parkour I will be done. Just done.
2) When did the game industry decide ripping off Hans Zimmer and John Williams was the way to go with soundtracks now?
Remember when you could hum your favorite video game tunes. Try humming a new triple A title. Unless you can hum with the might of the Transatlantic Orchestra you are probably out of luck. And I can’t even say that all games rip off Hans Zimmer. Some games like Crysis 2 are actually composed by Hans Zimmer.
I get it. I think… Our games need to have the same dramatic tension in them as movies.
WE ARE DEFINITELY ON THE CUSP OF GAMES BEING SEEN AS LEGITIMATE ART. Definitely…..
….As we beat people with dildo bats.
Split people in half with samurai swords
Teabag each other in Halo
And score bonus points for shooting up an anus
Step aside F. Scott Fitzgerald. Video games are here to show you real art.
Look, I’m not saying games shouldn’t have dramatic music ever, but what I am saying is that it shouldn’t be the standard. Use it when necessary, which is not all the time. Taking a crappy melody and playing it with a violin doesn’t make it good. It just makes it a crappy melody on a grand scale.
3) TAKE COVER!! TAKE COVER!! TAKE COVER!!
Look. When Gears of War hit the scene it changed the game. Even though the change was the most obvious thing in the world. Should I stand in front of my opponent as we both unload a machine gun into each other or take cover. Duh. Now… Time Crisis did the cover system wayyyyyyyy before Gears of War, but Time Crisis was also an on rails shooter. To some degree Metal Gear Solid and Killswitch helped push the cover system even farther, but not until Gears of War came out did every game and it’s dog decide it too wanted a highly polished cover system.
Problem being, most games that aren’t Gears of War have a polished terd cover system. Most of these cover systems are terrible. And on top of that, cover systems are kind of a broken mechanic in third person, giving advantage to those behind cover by letting them see around corners without actually exposing their characters and penalizing mobile characters. I would list a game with a cover system, but hell, you are probably playing one right now. Developers just stop… please? And use the money you saved on a sub par cover system and design something that will really separate your game from the flock and make it memorable. Innovate a little, ya know?
As much as I liked the Mass Effect series, it’s cover system was a steaming pile of poop. For all the novelty of the games they couldn’t come up with something more interesting? Batman Arkham Asylum/City found a way to incorporate it in its stealth segments without it being needed for the majority of combat. Comparing apples and oranges I know, but still, I really feel the cover system is becoming a crutch and a cash in to certain games.
Some games do it right I feel, like Uncharted 2 and 3 and the above mentioned Batman. It might not be the most inspired cover system, but it fit with the game and didn’t take away from it.
When all is said and done, it feels like I am playing the same hero over and over again in these games, just re-skinned. I’d love some new game heroes =/
RANT MODE: DEACTIVATE.