I’ve been on quite a journey. The last eighteen months have been a complete rollercoaster while I try to maintain Nidzumi. I’ve been lucky enough to sample a lot more games than before and I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity. Its come at a cost though as I feel like I’m starting too lose touch with the “common-gamer” when it comes to these, so called, AAA titles.
When Modern Warfare 2 was announced I should have joined in with my fellow gamer and get giddy for the next round of Call of Duty. In fact it was the opposite as I was overcome by a sense of apathy. Infinity Ward has clearly created a brilliant game but I was left thinking, “it’s just another shooter”. How much is it going to revolutionise or even slightly push forward the medium we follow and love?
Take Killzone 2 as a great case in point. For all intents and purposes Killzone 2 was a brilliantly polished title that really showed off the graphical power of the system. But after a few hours of mindless shooting while observing the generically unreleatable and meat headed characters awkwardly ‘act’ in-between the constant swarms of enemies, I felt lethargic and bored.
Now I can understand while people gravitate towards these experiences, as you know where you are with them. You know that every time you pop in a Gears of War, Killzone or Call of Duty you’ll be getting a solid game. But apart from a few technical accomplishments, how have these games moved our medium forward in anyway?
Despite the few moments in Modern Warfare, I barely felt any emotion towards the characters or the setting. I’ve never been in a war or anything close in this sunny suburb of good old England, so I’ve never really related or felt anything for these boilerplate characters. But then again these games have never really showed any emotion or humanistic traits except for Bro-ness and an incredibly over the top love of killing things.
It can be done though, don’t give up hope. Games like Bioshock use this accessible interface of a first person shooter incredibly well. They told an incredibly subtle narrative with unique and likeable characters inside an original setting.
You’ve got to wonder though, when will shooting someone or killing someone in a game actually mean something? That’s why I’m excited for games like Heavy Rain. Something that makes the characters and narrative the focal point rather than the amount of levels or weaponry on show. I’m not saying that all experiences should be like this but as far as I can see there isn’t a place for it in today’s market.
It just makes you think that despite all the advancements we’ve made within the medium with story, acting and graphics, we’ve still got a long way to go. There has to be a place for both types of action based content and thoughtout content as there is within the Movie Industry. You’ve got to wonder when will that happen to Video Games?
Maybe this is just a result of me becoming older. But I know for a fact I’m not the only one who is put off by developers playing it safe and making another muscle-bound shooter. Meaningful and thought provoke content is still only a small segment of video games and maybe there is a reason for that. But as a majority of gamers mature and get older, shouldn’t the content?