By VintAge68 1 Comments
In the 21st century we are yet closer to the centenaries of World War I & II than to the historic events themselves; so posting two reviews on MoH Heroes (http://www.gamespot.com/medal-of-honor-heroes/user-reviews/797130/) & Heroes 2 (http://www.gamespot.com/medal-of-honor-heroes-2/user-reviews/797289/platform/psp/), for PSP, on GameSpot this week for me raises the necessary question: what will the future of historical military shooters be?
At the End of History with no further wars to come, and given that US publishers release only games about battlegrounds Americans have been fighting on, is there any future for series featuring historic military events like Medal of Honor? Up to which point World War II still contains stuff to be exploited in video games the kind of sniping on Hitler or sabotaging local Nazi facilities?
One interest of historical military games yet consists just in this: the possibility to reproduce past contemporaneous circumstances and conditions having their impact also on the gameplay: so no superpowers are available to the common soldier who has to fight "his" (there weren't women on the battlefield) war with traditional non-upgradable weapons limited in impact and ammunition while no special nanosuit or bionic implant grants him temporal invisibility or invincibility, permits to jump three meters high or to sprint without fatigue. And curiously, there are also post-apocalyptic games like Metro 2033 that take up the idea of the future sending us back to the past in terms of emergency combat situations.
Future wars, if any, will be more futuristic, and so are the video games featuring them: Battlefield 2142 already showed us a possibility of robot machinery employed in a yet rather traditional assault context, and another "Battlefield 2184" is probably still to come, along with Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Call of Duty: Black Ops II attributing enhanced combat abilities also to the more mortals among the special forces.
Or will there be (games about) powerful private military corporations "selling" war in order to make profit, the style of Army of Two, Alpha Protocol, or Syndicate?
On thing is sure: the paradigm shift after World War II --over Vietnam to Afghanistan and Irak-- changed our view on military matters from traditionally fought assault wars not counting the sacrifices to those minimizing victims (on either side) while maximizing efficiency thanks to the use of future combat methods including, perhaps, forms of psychological warfare inverting enemy soldiers through mind-hacking in order to bringing them to shoot each other, or themselves --a somewhat cynical way too to economize ammunition in situ.
This specifically "human" paradigm one sees but extrapolated also on a universal scale, since the days of Captain Kirk and his crew's respect for other-than-human civilizations populating the borderless space, to Mass Effect's recruiting non-human (mainly) organic species for a common cause, and probably those alien wars are also the only ones possible to justify for a globally fraternized humanity (in the Universal Republic any war will be a civil war). --But in the present? Even North Korea seems to begin renouncing its anti-vital communist ideology now...
This brings me back to the question of future story backgrounds for historical military games: retrospectively invent belligerent conflicts, given that Medal of Honor heroes like Jimmy Patterson or William Holt are purely fictional placeholders, too, or concentrate on real conflicts fought without American participation (after buying the rights?), considering that I played those aforementioned PSP games in French and Spanish --a curious fact by the way seeing Spanish (speaking) soldiers fighting Nazi forces in Italy since franquist Spain has been Axis-friendly.
As well as to the fact that I as a traditional Medal of Honor devotee would love to see a PS Vita version of the game (without owning a Vita yet), combining some of the historical and gameplay elements used on the PSP. --But who does yet invest in the past?