New console generations open up new ways of thinking about gaming, or least they should. Not everything changes as much as we would like it to sometimes.
The current generation gave us a pretty solid graphical leap, not instantly but over time. Artificial intelligence advanced as well, so much so that developers got a little bit out of control with their addition of AI partners in my opinion. Still though, you can’t dismiss how much trickier some of the enemies have gotten. You can add physics and storytelling to that list as well. A few stubborn issues are still hanging around bothering me though. Here are a few of the things that need to go away, be re-imagined, or significantly updated.
Contra on the NES was a fantastic game. It was a side-scroller with shootemup elements of bullet-dodging that was a great balance for an excitable kid. The bosses were big imaginative aliens that all required the same basic formula: dodge attacks and shoot weak spots to open up weaker spots. Over 20 years later we are doing the exact same thing! Whether you are climbing and poking a colossus in Lord of Shadows, gunning down a bright yellow bubble on a super zombie in Resident Evil, or swinging into place behind a giant nasty in DmC it’s still the same thing. I’m not saying I have the answers but some smart people somewhere have got to at least figure out some way to update the experience of boss fights. Today’s baddies deserve something a little more modern.
The QTE was a pretty neat idea last generation. You really had to be on the ball to get Ryo in Shenmue reacting in time to unfold the proper cinematics. It made Kratos’ finishers on skyscraper-sized haters all the more epic. But was I the only one who thought that it felt extremely tired in God of War: Ascension? I doubt it. When I saw the footage for RYSE I thought that the game looked great except who wants to have that prompt pop up in every single battle? Not this guy. I still think they can be used as a part of a total gameplay picture but leaning on it as a mainstay as if it were clever makes me yawn. There has got to be a better way to draw the player into intense encounters.
Quantic Dream’s Heavy Rain got a lot of flak for being QTE heavy but if you actually played it you’d see that they used it creatively in that the movements you made on the controller were intuitive interpretations of what the character would do in their world. The prompts were an approximate representation of the action. I think we need more of that. Pressing a random button to do something isn’t quite the same as using the button or a button sequence to enhance the gameplay.
In a Post-Apocalyptic Wasteland…
This has just got to stop at some point. It has to right? Seriously, there are other settings. Fallout was already there so it kind of gets a pass. There was also Rage, Enslaved, I Am Alive, The Last of Us, Gears of War, Anarchy Reigns, Borderlands, Metro, any zombie game, and whatever else you can think of that I forgot. Look at the things that Irrational Games has dreamed up for their Bioshock series. It’s time to think up some new settings people. I’ll let these established ones fly (you can’t very well change the Borderlands into an urban shooter now) but some new setting ideas next gen would be appreciated.
This one story:
“A long time ago there was a prophecy that a chosen one would be born…” No, just stop every story that begins that way before it can be continued. Knock it off, think harder.