In the week where I experienced weak AI and the broken gameplay that peppers Thief came an understanding that I shouldn’t accept second best. Why had I been playing something that felt so very much like yesterday’s game? Had gaming advanced so little in this next step? Now that I’ve sold on my copy of Thief I’m left scratching my head wondering why developers are choosing to produce games on so many varying formats. It smacks so much of trying to please everyone and in doing so pleasing no one.
When I buy a next-gen game I don’t want to feel the chains of the previous generation dragging back on the heels of invention. When Watch Dogs got pushed back from the next-gen launch was the exact moment I began to worry. Not that Watch Dogs would get canned, no I feared developers would scale back their ambition because the outgoing generation of gaming console still needed to be addressed. Since then I’ve not been wholly impressed with what I have played on my PlayStation 4. Killzone Shadow Fall showed a few flashes of what can be done but truly not enough to mesmerise. Only FIFA 14 has shown that gameplay and AI can be improved hand in hand with a graphical glossy finish.
Looks aren’t everything
There’s been a preoccupation with just how good the next-gen games will and can look; fps rates have been the heated talking points. What looks better doesn’t always equate to what plays best and as gamers we always seem slow to recognise this – is it no wonder that the indie game scene has suffered from poor representation over the years?
Innovation in gameplay, AI or world-design, even in the smallest of steps, should be celebrated and encouraged. A game’s look is always going to be the first thing to show the affects of ageing. A blockbuster movie without a decent story or great performances from the cast is soon forgotten once the special effects become dated. So why should such vacuous attention on style over substance be continuously heeded in videogames?
Holding my breath
Infamous Second Son is out this month and as an exclusive to PS4 it’s sure to be the measuring stick for the exclusives that follow it, at least for this year. While pre-order sales have now given Sucker Punch a title that has gone gold it will come as some welcome relief to me if Infamous Second Son sets the bar high. If I’m again disappointed then I do fear for my pre-order list.
Here’s looking to you March 21st…