Monday, 1 April 2013

Bored with Combat: Part 1

Bioshock: Infinite may be the last action orientated game I play. I seem to be far more interested (but not distracted) by the sky-hooks that take you around the place, while all the shooting is just so par-for-course that it's become boring. I still remember fondly the intense action scene in Dead Space 2 when Isaac is riding on top of the giant drill and having to fight off a constant barrage of necromorphs, but that was kind of a special moment amongst quite a lot of action that probably wasn't necessary, but was still fun. In such a visually impressive environment, I wish Bioshock: Infinite had taken the Prince of Persia (2008) route and delivered a more relaxed journey with less frequent combat.
But the sad fact is that most video games are specifically built around combat. Game mechanics may be first on the list, and these may vary from travel mechanics, to weapon mechanics, to puzzle solving mechanics; but invariably they are melded with combat to create action.
Of course, it's not my goal to disparage combat, only to question whether it should be so prevalent. We know it's prevalent because of the amount of 'war-shooters' that continuously are made at the same rate that barrages of enemies are launched at players in-game, and also, because that's about the same rate that they get purchased on. There will always be a market for that. I think, due to younger players requiring action to constantly feed their rate of imagery intake, whereas, perhaps, us older generations don't need to feel hammered over the head constantly by gunfire and explosions. The younger generation will always have the numbers.
But when will game designers make the games that they want to make and nothing else? No publisher breathing down their necks demanding that the game needs to reach a wider audience, therefore needs to be simplified... Obviously I'm no longer talking about Irrational Games, since apparently they were given free-reign by 2K Games.
Hopefully with the intervention of Sony aligning the PS4 with Indie developers, games will become exactly what the developers intended. That would be a grand old thing to see.

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