By Sweep 17 Comments
Many years ago Call Of Duty 1 ignited a strange appreciation for Artificial Intelligence in computer games that I search for continually.I remember crouching in the trench while Sgt. Moody dashed through enemy fire to save a wounded soldier. If you don't give adequate covering fire, he collapses. The mission is far from failed, but goddamn I did not want that man to fall. After battling our way through the previous mission I wanted that guy to stick around. With him out, that just left me and Private Elder - and Private Elder was a bit of a pussy. Group dynamics have since been of great importance to me - something which the Call Of Duty franchise has always accomplished with startling prowess. It's not simply how a character contributes to the success or failure of a mission, but how the intentions of a non-playable character can influence your actions as a player.
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The simple way of making this happen is to simply substitute players for NPC's. That's how you get Left 4 Dead - a game with subtle group dynamics that is perhaps a little too lacking in structure to successfully tell a full story - which is, admittedly, not really what Valve were aiming at. The subtlety sort of works to the games advantage.
Considering it's history it's understandable the latest trailer for the Kane and Lynch sequel was met with hostility here on giantbomb. Understandable, but not really necessary. Whatever transpired at Gamespot concerning Jeff, Eidos, Kayne and Lynch resulted in Giantbomb. So... I'm kind of ok with it. Politics aside, I thought the latest K&L trailer was pretty interesting. It looks to be focusing more on the relationships between the two protagonists, prioritizing the emotional interactions between the two complex characters - let's not fuck about, the guy is a psychopath. If Eidos can find a balance between fear, friendship and respect for your AI counterpart, Kane and Lynch could demonstrate a much more interesting couple dynamic than the fist-bumping action of Army Of Two. The concept, if nothing else, appears to have potential.
Having heard repeatedlythat the characters in Dragon Age origins are as fickle as they are violent, i'm also interested to see how this evolution within Bioware will be reflected in Mass Effect 2. Your party members have seemed fairly disposable in Dragon Age - whereas the characters in Mass Effect always seemed to have much more meaningful character interactions with your group - perhaps a result of them being better realized and slightly more stereotyped: Wrex the brute, Garrus the by-the-book police officer, Tali the literal robo-smoke lady, and Liara the hippy. When Wrex was killed I was heartbroken - not to mention left with a large hole in my battle strategy. Giving you a wider variety of team members in Mass Effect 2 implies that there will be more room for similar dramatic exits - if Dragon Age Origins is anything to go by.
Anyways, thanks to the ongoing shenanigans in MW2's multiplayer i'm taking a bit of a break to play some more Company Of Heroes. I am addicted. Fuck rehab, I love this shit.
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