Posted by MMMman (118 posts) -

(4x4) (And away we go)

As people who obviously like technology, the games-playing public are at a disadvantage. They will instinctively gravitate to a new device regardless of its merits or otherwise. This is, generally, all right. These are the people who blaze trails; create ‘memes’; own the newest, shit, iteration of a phone; or are guinea pigs when a game needs to raise funds and QA at the same time. In essence, these people are both pioneers and, quite often, mindless idiots.

I’m not having unfounded beef here, though; don’t you worry. In the year of our Lord two thousand and seven I was witness to Motorstorm. It instantly changed my opinion to the - then - new consoles. I rushed out and purchased a Playstation 3 (Three) almost - but not quite - the same day. After that I was FUCKING disappointed. And significantly poorer.

I didn’t even buy Motorstorm because I heard from the very same friend that it was lacking in content. I played Call of Duty III, Resistance and Fight Night instead. Looking back they were all enjoyable experiences, but what really stands out is that they were all things I’d played before, but with better visuals and presentation. I'd been robbed through a doctrine.

Video games don’t get better the more beautiful they look, nor do they improve with their mechanical trivialities. New consoles obfuscate the discussion we need to have about video game development. As we currently exist, more care needs to be taken about rabid industry fandom; lest it degenerates into a self-flagellating mess.

Most video games - populous, contemporary ones, at least - perpetuate the notion that bigger is better. Our new console brothers are contributing to the notion of bigger/faster/better. Where does that leave art or storytelling? Technology alone cannot inspire greatness: it can only assist in its rise.

Video games are shit: prove me wrong; (give me another Flower).

#1 Posted by YukoAsho (2021 posts) -

Honestly, I was impressed by Resistance, simply because of its single player difficulty and the ludicrous (for the time) 60 player multiplayer.

Also, I have to take issue with the idea that buying a new console when it comes out is perpetuating some sort of problem. People buy them because they're excited about what the next generation of games will bring, not because of mindless sheepdom (as "I'd been robbed through a doctrine" suggests).

Furthermore, I have to take issue with the idea that tech can't inspire greatness. While it can't be all that inspires it, there's certainly an element of "Holy shit, we have these new tools, let's make something cool with 'em!" in any transition to new tech. You may dismiss the improvements made to Super Mario World over the NES games as "trivialities," but there's no denying that expanding Mario's abilities made the game a much richer experience, something that couldn't have happened on the NES, if only because we moved from two buttons to six.

Also, you undermine your point that "video games don't get better the more beautiful they look" only to later on suggest that Flower, a "game" that offers nothing but aesthetic beauty, is some sort of moment of genius.

Mind you, I'm not entirely convinced we were quite done with the the previous generation of consoles. I think this generation was a tad bit rushed, brought on more by increased cynicism than actual technological need. However, the eighth generation is here now, and rather than cry over people who want to be first to check it out, I'm joining them in their excitement. There's lots of potential here.

#2 Posted by Jeust (10552 posts) -

Our new console brothers are contributing to the notion of bigger/faster/better. Where does that leave art or storytelling? Technology alone cannot inspire greatness: it can only assist in its rise.

I agree. For the most part games this generation look almost exactly like last generation, with a small (big for publishers and developers) difference: it's almost all multiplayer online.

Maybe this generation will get stale in terms of evolution, as we are past the point where the hardware provides new dimensions to explore, or a definitive improvement in definition. This just leaves us with multiplayer, which will probably be exploited in almost every game. I don't see much greatness, and I think it will be hard to find a game we didn't player earlier, in some form, in the last or even prior generations.

#3 Posted by MMMman (118 posts) -

@yukoasho: I completely agree with you on the Super Mario World angle, but that sort of mechanical improvement - in that a fair amount was meaningfully added/tweaked - doesn't happen quite as often these days, even in marquee titles. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or just dryly scientific, but Geoff's review of CoD Ghosts was hilarious reading for me. That the first third of the piece was just a run down of the little changes made to the multiplayer rules, without anything meaningful seemingly coming about because of them, is kind of emblematic of what I'm trying to say. Though maybe I'm just reading it that way because I've not been keeping up with the series myself, so don't really see the merit of all the tinkering like I would if I played it year on year.

As for Flower, I disagree that it's entirely an aesthetic experience, though it might be less effective if it weren't quite as pretty. I've not played Proteus yet, but I gather they're a little similar in their contemplative, exploratory nature. While it is undeniably a game about beauty, I also really liked its lazy pacing and ham-fisted 'technology bad, nature good' didacticism. For me, the act of being the wind and the mechanics associated with it are what I found the most rewarding. Clearly though, that game couldn't exist without the technology inside the PS3 and a sixaxis; so maybe I've been a little too selective with my reasoning!

#4 Posted by Matt_F606 (306 posts) -

I think this gen we will see even more great $15 games on the online services (PSN/XBGS). There will always be room for the $60 games with massive explosions but the industry will find a good balance as not very developer has the budget to make those kind of games.

#5 Posted by Veektarius (4772 posts) -

If we define

x= quality of everything about a game except graphics

y = quality of graphics

w = some weighting factor associated with the relative importance of x with regards to y that is between and not equal to 0 or 1

q=the overall quality of a game

Then we can calculate that q= w*x + (1-w)*y. Therefore, if x remains constant, then an increase in y results in an increase in q. Ergo, better graphics make for better games.

#6 Posted by TheHBK (5474 posts) -

I got my Xbox 360 in January of 2006, 2 months after launch. I played the hell out of NBA2k6 as it felt so much better than the last gen, Then GRAW came out and that was so much fun for years after too playing with friends. Then there was Oblivion, that came out a couple months after. And with those 3 games I was busy until Gears of War came out.

#7 Posted by YukoAsho (2021 posts) -

@mmmman said:

@yukoasho: I completely agree with you on the Super Mario World angle, but that sort of mechanical improvement - in that a fair amount was meaningfully added/tweaked - doesn't happen quite as often these days, even in marquee titles. I'm not sure if he was trying to be funny or just dryly scientific, but Geoff's review of CoD Ghosts was hilarious reading for me. That the first third of the piece was just a run down of the little changes made to the multiplayer rules, without anything meaningful seemingly coming about because of them, is kind of emblematic of what I'm trying to say. Though maybe I'm just reading it that way because I've not been keeping up with the series myself, so don't really see the merit of all the tinkering like I would if I played it year on year.

As for Flower, I disagree that it's entirely an aesthetic experience, though it might be less effective if it weren't quite as pretty. I've not played Proteus yet, but I gather they're a little similar in their contemplative, exploratory nature. While it is undeniably a game about beauty, I also really liked its lazy pacing and ham-fisted 'technology bad, nature good' didacticism. For me, the act of being the wind and the mechanics associated with it are what I found the most rewarding. Clearly though, that game couldn't exist without the technology inside the PS3 and a sixaxis; so maybe I've been a little too selective with my reasoning!

I think speaking of any perceived gaming industry trends based on Call of Duty is a bit of a fallacy, as it's an annualized title. Of course there's no room for evolution, the two developers on the series only have two years apiece to get the damned thing out! Ghosts is double-damned because of the turmoil at Infinity Ward and the sudden and inelegant shoe-horning of Raven to fill the hole left by the post MW2 mass-exodus. Really, anyone expecting anything truly great from Activision is deluding themselves. I mean, hell, at least Treyarch is still whole!

And "ham-fisted" anything is bad for any story or mood in anything ever, at least I don't think. It was actually gnawing at me the entire time I was playing Killzone: Shadow Fall. I was expecting that turn for the hokey, and while it's not Shakespeare, it plays the story with surprisingly little preachiness.

I also disagree highly that Flower couldn't have been done without motion controls. Flying games have existed long before, even "artsy" ones, and they've worked well with mouse and keyboard or controller before.

#8 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3229 posts) -

Frankly, I think your mostly full of shit..

Sorry bro!

Most of the "big populous" games or whatever smarty-pants words you used are actually excellent games. People like you need to just grow up and accept that Coll of Duty is popular because IT FEELS GOOD. The majority of players don't even play it for the campaign (this is your biggger is better argument falling to pieces). And then you have ultra expensive games like BioShock which do have great stories/atmosphere as well as that mechanical something.

So what exactly is your point? That you don't play enough games to actually know what's going on? There are amazing stories everywhere. Sure, the big budget games are often just action movies, but go play the independent games if you want real story. I mean, isn't that almost exactly how Hollywood is? How many 200 million dollar block busters are about, I dunno, something deep. Compare games to Hollywood. Not 1 of the top 10 best selling games is bad. They are well made, Feel Great (again, the most important part of a video game) and aren't sold by using some lame hot babe/dude. AAA is only half the equation anyway, they don't exist in a vacuum where Hotline Miami and Guacamelee! never came out.

#9 Posted by PandaBear (1357 posts) -

You want story? Read a book. Frankly I love some video game stories, but my all-time favourite games are, you know, games. Give me 32vs32 multiplayer shooting, a racing sim with 1000 cars, an turn-based RPG with a deep leveling system, an open-world action game or experimental rhythm game over another head-up-its-own-arse art game, pandering story about 'feelings' or the 1millionth indie game where the only lesson is EVERYONE DIES/LOSES/GETS GAME OVER.

I don't need a game "to make me cry" or feel "feelings". Real life is filled with enough ups and downs. This isn't a blanket rule, but there should be room for both.

#10 Posted by wewantsthering (1564 posts) -

"Get off my lawn," says the crotchety old man.

Do launch titles usually suck? Yes!

Are there plenty of other awesome new games you could play and stop whining? Yes!

Check out Eldritch, The Stanley Parable, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and many others. Buying consoles at launch is for suckers, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't come out with new consoles. The early PS3 games weren't so hot, but then we got Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and The Last of Us. Just give it time.

#11 Posted by MMMman (118 posts) -

@yukoasho: A game like Flower could exist with almost any control configuration, but as I said, I liked the lazy pace of it and I think the fluid imprecision of the sixaxis added a lot to the player embodying the wind.


Mostly full of shit is fine @geraltitude, at least I'm not completely damned. I do play a fair amount of games, but I'm spouting off specifically about new console launch titles, most of which offer very little over previous generation titles and rarely have. I understand that hardware is only finalised, dev kits are only delivered etc on a pretty tight schedule and this doesn't create the optimum conditions for making huge leaps in game quality. At the same time, however, as people who follow and are invested in the industry, we're barraged with rhetoric ramming it home that these new boxes are the shit, without there being many actual products that confirm this. It seems that we all appreciate - or at least somewhat understand - that first year games are going to be sub-standard and that we'll have to wait a while for the truly new experiences, though very few people are willing to acknowledge it out loud.
As for the CoD aspect; I'm perfectly happy for people to like it lots - I'm pretty sure I was rather apologetic when I used it as an example anyway - when I only like it a bit. If my 'bigger/better' argument falls apart then all we're really left with is a 'let's tweak it a little and call it a day' situation, which I personally find even worse.

I'm glad you seem to appreciate where I'm coming from a little more, @wewantsthering , maybe I was just a little heavy-handed with my moaning. I'll certainly be waiting this go around, because time and time again I've seen first years/eighteen months to be lacklustre, while titles do keep getting better the longer teams have with hardware. I just find it strange that the people who shell out the most money for a box get somewhat shit on ever cycle, yet are happy to pick apart my very general - if a bit too much so - complaint, looking for contradictions and holes in my knowledge or understanding of Video Games In General. Communities were up in arms about a load of 'problems' this time, complaining about genuine improvements in hardware and consumer experiences; yes, Id've been fine with always on if I didn't need discs. I find it fascinating that it is these things that people rally around and moan about, but games that often offer very little in the way of improvements for a year or more aren't considered problems. Maybe it all boils down to people not liking their changes to occur too quickly full stop.
I played the SP mod, though haven't had the time to get to any of the full titles you mentioned. I probably should before I air any more of my grievances in public.

#12 Posted by TowerSixteen (542 posts) -

Mediocre, unremarkable launch titles still mediocre, unremarkable. News at eleven.

Sarcasm aside, while I do think that new hardware is a good thing in the long term- if for no other reason that it very much tends to correspond with a surge of new IPs, and a greater willingness in the public to actually try those new IPs- I fully understand bafflement at why anyone would buy the new hardware until there was at least one reallly awesome game that you couldn't wait to play. But I've never understood living on the cutting edge of new gadgets and tech anyway, so eh. Besides, it's not just new graphics- worth keeping in mind that the PS3's Cell architecture apparently wasn't a great design environment, and a better design environment benefits everybody.