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"Hey, you created me. I didn't create some loser alter-ego to make myself feel better. Take some responsibility! "
A lot of folks out there are arguing that Bioshock Infinite is too violent. Sites like Polygon and Kotaku are frowning upon the gory aspects of the games combat. Since Infinite released Ive seen a growing amount of people on Twitter complaining about how reliant the game is on you not simply shooting dudes but cooking them alive, unleashing flesh eating ravens, and electrocuting them until their heads blow off. I think a lot of our gaming community is growing war weary of violent games.
At first I snickered at these comments, it seemed to me that is just folks finding something to bitch about for the sake of doing so. For lack of better phrasing, I wanted to sweep this issue under the rug, think everyone is just a giant vagina and move on with my life. Yet after playing through Tomb Raider and Bioshock Infinite I find myself crossing the fence. Videogames have a massive creativity issue right now.
Right now I share the same complaints as a lot of you probably have. It doesnt make sense why Lara is mowing down dudes by the dozen. I mean, how many of those guys are on that island? Thats what turned me off to the game. Why cant we have engagements against one or two guys but make those engagements more enticing? Heavy Rain has the player kill less than a handful of people and those were powerful moments. Im no game developer. I dont know how you solve this issue. I saw an article about Infinite asking why it couldnt just be a puzzle game. However, thats equally stupid. How many times in your life have you opened a door by solving a rubix cube?
I want the combat to remain but have it be more meaningful. Take The Walking Dead for example. That game was fantastic because you werent killing thousands of zombies. Every violent encounter in that game mattered. There was a high level of tension anytime you were thrown into a fight with the undead or even another human because the player never became desensitized to violence. The moments that stuck with me from The Walking Dead were scenes such as Lee and Clementine bonding or the suicide at the end of the first episode. Thankfully TellTale didnt feel the need to throw in a dumb action scene with Lee getting behind a .50 cal.
The issue seems to be that narrative in games is growing faster than the videogame part. Columbia is a fully realized place with a rich back history and breath-taking aesthetics. Infinite sets itself to be a super serious game tackling powerful issues and even being one of the first games to examine religions place in society. I took Infinite very seriously whenever it was time for the plot to develop. Then unfortunately, I walked out a door and into some massive war against me. Its jarring that such a cartoonish level of violence coexists with such serious subject matter. Hysterically the people in the slums opened fire on me for walking too close to their merchandise. The one time the game seemed to break away from fighting, theres an unexplained contrivance forcing the player to engage what are supposed to be allies.
I tolerated it because the combat is fun in Bioshock Infinite and Tomb Raider. Laras bow is one of the most satisfying weapons Ive used in a game in a long time. The juxtaposition of the videogame part doesnt match the maturity of the narrative. This didnt matter with older games because the plot was just an excuse to get into another room full of dudes to murder. But enemies cant be treated like targets anymore. Lara is a struggling survivor and like Booker is merely defending herself. Games are at the point where the plot is the game and thats making the shooting guys element feel dumb.
Dont ditch the combat and make games strictly an interactive story. At that point I might as well get into movies or books. However, the days of facing waves of nameless enemies have to go. Videogames have evolved beyond needing that. Its time to grow up. I still want my mindless Gears of Wars and Call of Dutys but when a developer wants to make a serious commitment to communicating a message or story, they cant follow the path of the mindless shooter.
Perhaps this is just an audience issue. Do people like you and me just want something from games the masses don't? I'm sure there are plenty of folks that bought Bioshock Infinite not giving a rat's ass about the plot, Elizabeth, or even the setting. Average Joe that shops at GameStop has a specific idea of what a videogame is and doesn't think about what they actually are or can be. But I'm also the kind of guy that paid to see Evil Dead (and loved it) instead of going to the Shakespeare playing downtown.
The first season of The Walking Dead is going to have a legacy. This is simply where videogames are going from a storytelling standpoint. I may be jumping the gun, but this game will probably go down as a modern classic. If I had to write down my Top 10 moments in videogames, half of those would come from this game alone. Thats how much of an impact The Walking Dead has had on me. Ive never been as emotionally invested in fiction before. Characters I met in this game were people that felt real, and I connected with theme on an emotional level. Certain moments like the suicide and Kennys story arc were **** up in ways that were never over-the-top and after many turning points in an episodes plot, I had to seriously consider taking a break. I was emotionally exhausted after completing each of the games five episodes.
What makes this game phenomenal is the writing and characters. The Zombie part of the Zombie Apocalypse doesnt matter too much. This is a group of normal people thrown into extreme situations. It casts a light on both extremes of humanity. By focusing on a small cast, the writing remained tight and focused. The game never painted a picture of the rest of the world or even what was going on down the road from the cast. This was a tale about Lee, Clementine, and the rest of the survivors.
It takes talented voice performers and incredible writing to invest players on this level and treat them like an adult. Every time a character said something to me, one of the response choices is the reaction I thought of in my head. There were few good and bad choices or responses. Every situation in this game is dark. I played Lee how I believe I wouldve reacted in real life. I wouldve given the food to the men performing the hard labor and the children. Sometimes silence was the only reaction I had. Other times, I backed up my best friend. And there were instances I had to square someone away or threaten them for the good of the group.
Clementine was a true connection to innocence. She is the resemblance of purity in a world gone mad. I made it Lees mission to revolve life around her. Protecting her was my watchword. Every action was done in her best interest. That moment in the farm when I stabbed the man and she gasped after seeing my actions, I felt horrible. In later moments in which I was tempted to do some morally grey things, I held back in fear of her witnessing any negative actions on my part. I trained her to shoot and brought her to Crawfords in hopes of training her to deal with realities of the apocalypse for I came to the realization that I couldnt be there for her forever. I honestly cared about this little girl and sought her satisfaction. That alone is beyond powerful for a work of fiction. I made sure she took care of me at the end and that she kept her hair short.
***End of Major Spoilers***
I wouldnt say The Walking Dead is the watershed moment that halts the videogame train and changes everything. But it has certainly made an impact. I think this is a game well look back on years from now and remember characters like Kenny and the dark moments of Episode 3. For the first time, a videogame has treated me like an adult. Ive never been so interested in a games choices and possibilities. The Walking Dead is about the journey. This is a journey that has cemented itself in my mind and is crazy enough for me to have long conversations about it with total strangers. I went on an emotional ride with these characters, and while that ride was mostly depressing it was a powerful experience that wont leave my mind anytime soon.
Theres no doubt in my mind that the next generation of consoles come out next year. Games like Star Wars 1313 that are convincingly meant for future consoles only further back up the case for new hardware in the next 15 months. Not to mention that the entire year of 2013 is going to feel like a runner with an unexpected lap. Gears of War: Judgment and God of War: Ascension appear like totally unnecessary fillers in an already long generation. Remember Kameo and Call of Duty 2? That felt like forever ago!
This begs several important questions on what is going on with the rest of the PS3 and 360s lifecycle. Where the hell are high-profile titles like The Last Guardian and Final Fantasy Verses XIII? Are these games simply going to translate to new hardware? Is that why theyve gone dark for so long? Regardless on whats going on with dumb over-dramatic anime games, Im more concerned with how the new consoles will work and how soft the transition form the Xbox 360 to the Durango will be. To be honest, I think using fake code-names for things that havent been confirmed to exist is totally dumb. For the purpose of writing, I guess I have to call the next Xbox something. Achievements are my biggest question. Right now, Im just shy of 70,000 points. Not to say Im playing games on harder difficulties to boost my scores anymore, but its something Im not comfortable with being completely ignored. Some sort of progression that covers every game someone plays on a central profile will exist. When I boot up my Durango and recover my profile will I have 70,000 points? Can I compare my Borderlands achievements wit friends? Would that be fair to new players? The guy who just gets on the Xbox wagon or cant recover his profile for whatever reason starts with zero points. At some point in the Durangos lifecycle the average Gamer Score would probably be like 500,000 points, who the hell is going to care about 10 point achievements? Then what the hell does Microsoft do with the next-next Xbox? Simply transferring Gamer Score isnt the answer, but I also dont want my profile completely ignored.
Rumors have been swirling around a Kinect 2 for the Durango for a while. Since the Kinects launch, it has felt like more of a market interest test than a real piece of hardware anyone is going to seriously back up. Sonys Move is just a depressing lack of vision. Im curious how much longer companies are going to think motion control is a thing people are into. Im not convinced that folks want to stand up to play games. Yes, mom bought a Wii Fit because she thought she wanted to lose weight, but whens the last time she busted it out? Happy Action Theater and Dance Central are great to have on standby, but anything beyond that, Im not interested. Is Kinect 2 going to be packed with all systems? Is Sony just saying **** this motion stuff!? Im looking forward to having new shiny things under my TV. Im sure the new consoles will deliver great games. With the current hardware being built back in 2004, I cant imagine what well see with modern tech. Too bad the Wii U will probably be extremely outdated next year.
Also i posted a review of Max Payne 3
do check it out
My Recent Reviews
May 11, 2013 6:24 am GMTadit942 posted a new blog entry entitled Is Narrative more important than Gameplay ?
Apr 8, 2013 12:59 pm GMTadit942 began Following Deadpool
Mar 31, 2013 4:43 pm GMTadit942 gave Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel a score of 1.0
Mar 29, 2013 5:09 am GMTadit942 began Following GRID 2
Mar 25, 2013 2:43 pm GMTadit942 gave Gears of War: Judgment a score of 7.5
Mar 9, 2013 2:23 am GMTadit942 reviewed Tomb Raider and gave it a score of 9.5
Mar 8, 2013 9:44 pm GMTadit942 gave Tomb Raider a score of 9.5