Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Matter of Taste

If there is something I've come to notice over the course of this past decade of gaming, it's that many peoples opinions of games is highly dependent upon their taste and preferences.

I am no different. I highly prefer Japanese developed games, mainly because they do not use realistic graphics, usually have a lot of color, and outlandish storylines and style. I just like all that stuff. But, of course, there are people who do not, and it's all perfectly understandable. I've come to fully understand that people will push a game aside simply because it doesn't appeal to them. Take Bayonetta for example, the game has a female protagonist, outlandish style, and a jazzy/pop battle theme. Those elements alone are enough to push people away. But it's those same elements that make me love Bayonetta.

I kind of wish that I didn't have such strict tastes in games, because it keeps me from playing many gems. For example, there's Mass Effect 2, which is getting rave reviews and is recommended for everyone to play it, but I just can't find anything I really like about the game. Sure, the graphics are increidble, and there is the story, but gameplay is what appeals to me most, and it just seems like the gameplay portions are just like a 3rd-person shooter. That's just been a part of my criticisms with games; even if there is a fantastic story, I need some engaging gameplay to back it up, otherwise the game just feels like a chore. I am by no means saying Mass Effect 2's gameplay is bad, but I will say that it lacks innovation. Truly the only innovation that Mass Effect 2 has, is how the player causes impact on the story through selecting choices. Personally, I don't find that nearly enough for me to play the game. In my opinion, a better choice would have been to have the choices be involved in the gameplay more, instead of choices on the wheel. Such as putting the player in a battlefield where I can kill anyone, the enemy or my allies, and have the player play it out himself/herself.

But, enough about my criticisms, back to teh matter of taste. The market as I see it, has practically split into a Western side or a Japanese side, and the players preferences lie in one of the two. Of course, there are many people who play both types of games, including myself, but those people usually have a preference with either side, like myself. This wasn't always the case. For in the 90s, everyone enjoyed all types of games, although they all mainly came out of Japan. It was around the time when the PS2 and Xbox came along that the western market grew and a new audience was made. This is the audience that grew up to now play GTA and Call of Duty. And it's those types of games they prefer. This market is growing at a fast rate, and it seems the Japanese-interest market is shrinking. Hence why we see many Japanese developers making games that they hope will appeal to the western market, such as Capcom and their Lost Planet, Dead Rising, and Bionic Commando franchises.

Where this all will lead I can't be sure. I just hope it doesn't lead to an even greater deterioration of the Japanese market that has already occurred. It seems each year I am getting less and less Japanese-made games. It was only 3 years ago that we got Okami, Odin Sphere, Shadow of the Colossus, Metal Gear Solid 3, Twilight Princess, and many more. I love the gems of the past, but I don't want them to be the best forever. New kings must be made, but so few games seem to be up to the task. Only Bayonetta and Super Mario Galaxy have truly impressed me this generation, and even they could have been better.

What I truly want is an RPG to finally top Chrono Trigger for me. That's what I look forward to the most.

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