The Downfall Of Modern Gaming
Gamers’ Need To Be Provided With Games That Offer Truly Memorable Moments And Experiences That Stick With Them
Speaking as a gamer that has been playing games since the Sega Master System and pretty much every console since I have definitely noticed some annoying little developments that seem to plague modern gaming. I remember on the original Playstation it would took a good few days to complete any game and the difficulty in general was much more challenging, granted this may have been because I was younger, but I’ve played enough games since to know that there is a definite difference. I talk about this in my Dark Souls review, Dark Souls stands out in modern gaming as a challenging game and like the old Playstation and Playstation 2 games the game is primarily focused on gameplay, there are few cut scenes, no tutorials and certainly no hand holding to guide you along. It’s an old school gaming experience that is so refreshing amongst the vast amount of modern games that now put cut scenes, set pieces, and online gaming above everything else. An example of this that absolutely enrages me to the point of bursting blood vessels is quick time events in games. Quick time events might look nice sometimes but it’s basically just an interactive cut scene and it speaks volumes about the developers. They are just lazily put together to make it feel like you’re still playing something, when really all you’re doing is watching all the amazing things that you could be doing if they bothered to put in the game and pressing certain buttons instead, usually to finish of a boss or to make a tiny little choice in a cut scene.
There are just too many games today that are afraid of making things challenging or mixing up things a bit because game developers think the only games that sell are games like Call of Duty, FIFA and Forza Motorsport. Well that’s fine if you like those games it’s not an issue but there are so many gamers, me included, who feel undercut by the immensely popular games because developers don’t risk making genres of games that might not sell very well. I remember when I played Playstation 2 and I could walk into any game shop and there would be a wealth of selection to choose from I would often walk out with plenty of hidden gems that I hadn’t heard of in the pre-owned section. I’m talking about games like the absolutely brilliant Dark Chronicle/ Dark Cloud 2 and the relatively unknown Steambot Chronicles. These games were so original and still are today. Dark Chronicle had many interesting and fun features such as your choices having a direct influence on the future, you could plant trees and build houses and when you returned in the future a whole village or city would have developed. It also had a unique creation system where players could take pictures of different things around a town and then combine them to create tonnes of different items. For example combining pictures of a wooden box, window and fountain would allow you to create a fish tank and you could then catch different fish to put in there, make them fight, breed them and even enter them in races. There are also many other features in the game but I won’t list them all.
Steambot Chronicles was big on customisation and player choices, nearly every conversation you had ends with you making a choice. This would lead to you building relationships with characters; you could be a total ass to your companions or even develop a love interest. You also primarily played inside a large robot that you could completely customise and enter in combat arenas; players could also even enter in pool tournaments and unlock different pool cues each with their own special ability. There aren’t really any games like these in modern gaming that offer so much variety within a single experience, sure games like Mass Effect have a great storyline, apart from the atrocity that is Mass Effect 3’s ending, and definitely contained developed characters that players actually cared about, but these types of games are way too few and when you strip away this the actual gameplay is a pretty basic third person shooter experience.
Just look at the death of the survival horror game, traditional kings of the survival horror genre such as Silent Hill and Resident Evil are now unrecognisable. I completely understand adapting a game series to keep up with other games, but Resident Evil is no longer a survival horror game it’s an action game full of explosions and surprise, surprise my arch nemesis quick time. Dead Space is another name in the genre that still doesn’t quite provide you with a scary, isolated and desperate experience that you would expect from a survival horror. Granted there are a few jumpy moments but it gets predictable very fast, you know one of those dead bodies is really a necromorph, you expect it and you’re right every time. Also any sense of isolation and fear is destroyed when you click in the analogue stick to see a lovely light trail across the floor that guides you wherever your objective is. Hand holding has no place in a survival horror game, you need to be confused and not completely aware of where you’re going so that things become unexpected and therefore more atmospheric and scary, instead of following a line to your objective where you know you will be ambushed.
One of the best horror experiences I had in a game was in Thief Deadly Shadows on the original Xbox, this game isn’t even a survival horror and yet it still contains one of the scariest levels I have ever played in a game. The level is called The Cradle, which was an insane asylum before it was an orphanage. All throughout the level you can hear strange noises and see flickers of movement and the visuals look dark and faded. The creatures you see in there are indescribable they are bounded and constricted and move unnaturally and all you can do is try and avoid them. As I played this I found myself rushing around frantically in the shadows to try and finish the level as quickly as I could to get out of the creepy and confined atmosphere. I’ve never experienced fear like that in a game before and it was truly something special. The closest thing to that today would be games like Bioshock which definitely has atmosphere and creepy insane enemies; Condemned also placed players in a dark and dirty world where insane maniacs would charge at you from the shadows, while you pick up the nearest object on the floor to defend yourself with, you don’t really learn why everyone’s acting insane until Condemned 2 and this lack of knowledge just makes things much more engaging.
I have always been interested in games that attempt to do something different and don’t think that I don’t like many modern games because there are still plenty of great games out there they are often just too few and far between. It seems that developers think that playing it safe is what gamers want, so they focus on making every game online and full of cinematics and accursed quick time events, or making sure the graphics are nice and shiny to make up for the poor gameplay that is often copied and pasted from a game that made it original 10 years ago. Sure it’s hard to be original with all the games out there at the moment but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying and make your own version of what’s popular.
Gamers’ need to be provided with games that offer truly memorable moments and experiences that stick with them. How many moments from today’s games stand out to you as unique and engaging compared to years ago? The answer is probably not many. However I’m always looking for new games to try out and there is still hope for the future when we have games such as Mass Effect, Grand Theft Auto, Bioshock, Dark Souls, Skyrim and the revival of truly fun platforming with Rayman Origins. If anything is to be taken away from this article then I hope it encourages gamers to try something different, instead of sticking to what they know and therefore creating a demand for more variety.
To Game, Or Not To Game.
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