Flamethrowers in the jungle. The Coffee Break 16 April 2015.
Far Cry 3; the thought of reinstalling the game never really crossed my mind until I discovered that there was a flamethrower available in the game. Afterwards it has been a steady progression of developing equipment needed to hold more flamethrower fuel, along with setting half the countryside on fire. Suffice it to say I am very thankful that the bush fires in-game do not burn beyond 50 meters from the center of where the fire started – I tend to use the weapon a lot more often than necessary.
Well it has been a rather odd first quarter of 2015. Regarding the games industry, titles like Evolve and Battlefield: Hardline have been met with mixed to negative reviews. Observing Youtubers like AngryJoe it has become clear that the first half of 2015 has not been as good for gaming as years past. Games like The Order: 1886 has such promise to them and high hopes – such raw potential. Yet when it came time to deliver the end product, the fuel in the flamethrower tank was near empty – the fire only lasted for about a few bursts before it was time to change tanks so to speak. Now it is abundantly clear that the developers of The Order: 1886 wanted a more cinematic experience, and yet I find myself questioning their motive despite enjoying the game cutscene movies available on Youtube. Like Hardline, the fresh ideas were executed in a mediocre fashion; these games seem to not want to embrace new ideas and stick to traditional films, or – in the case of Hardline – a pre-existing formula.
Maybe Visceral Games was scared that they would lose support if their title went downhill and thus opted to remain along the traditional Battlefield path. Multiplayer – as stated in a previous post – is the same old Battlefield multiplayer, except without tanks and helicopter gunships. Instead you have civilian equipment with some military hardware latched on, and out-of-place wargear given to both sides to give the feeling that it is a Battlefield game. Yes I still enjoyed the story, and no this does not mean I will overlook the multiplayer.
What brings me back to Bad Company 2 over and over is not the singleplayer story (hell I have not touched the singleplayer story for a few months now), it is the multiplayer gameplay. Watching destruction created by human players rather than scripted AI, and playing with a team of living, breathing people has a certain appeal over fighting bots and AI-controlled characters. Indeed this is another reason why I have opted to go PC gaming instead of console – paying for the privilege of using a key feature to a game series like Battlefield is about as ridiculous as paying to use a toilet.
Finally we come to Evolve; interesting skeleton, but needs more meat. Yes there are a few characters I like, and yes I would be interested in the game for its multiplayer component. Yet here are the problem(s) that come up according to reviewers like AngryJoe: No campaign (evacuation mode is passable at best), and the price point (they could have done a thirty-dollar game and left it at that). A title that focuses on multiplayer ought to keep the price point down as there was no money put in to make a campaign. Sure the man-hours is how things are calculated when it comes to cost of production, but if you want to justify to the consumer that a game is worth the money, actually make it worth the money – real effort pays off. When it came to Evolve, the only bit I found enjoyable was the intro cutscene with the unit preparing to land on Shear and engage the monsters. The interaction and bits of character was interesting, and it left me wanting more.
Speaking of wanting more, why did the developers not flush out a backstory? The Mutagen Wars seems like an interesting topic; people splicing their DNA with creatures to make themselves different from baseline humans, and then declaring independence from the core worlds. The classic: “child wants independence so they move out and never phone home again” scenario is appealing to an audience member such as myself, and I want to actually witness the war itself, rather than hear about it through banter and dialogue. There is nothing in-game that gives us lore, nothing. What a crying shame it is that games are given this appetizer of a story arc, and the rest of the meal is just some plain bread with butter – I want my prime ribs, I want my roast duck, not plain bread and butter.
Hopefully the next three quarters of 2015 will be better; I really hope it is because there are some decent titles coming our way. Though titles like Halo 5 Guardians are not new titles unlike The Order: 1886, if the game is good, then it is good – one can only go so far with originality. Eventually there comes a time when re-inventing something is less productive than upgrading or heavily modifying the product – take what works and augment it, not throw it out for the sake of creativity. With that I will conclude this coffee break; I’ll see you next time.
Battlefield Hardline Angry Review:
Evolve Angry Review:
The Order: 1886 Angry Review: