Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Limit to Satisfaction?

[Written in April 2010]

When i look at games to day and compare them to games of the past, I am annoyed by how the increase in tech hasn't benefitted games nearly as much as I thought it would in the past. What I see in modern day games is that they are limiting themselves. Uncharted 2 for example had some great action scenarios that pushed one's adrenline levels. Too bad there were only around 3 of them. Why weren't there more? Did Naughty Dog think that was enough and that filling the game with cut and paste gameplay from Uncharted 1 was fine? Games should fully satisfy a player, and to do that developers need to transcend these "limits". Limits are everywhere. Some games are limited by their specific genre, their audience, their themes, or even their stories.

One game that always comes to mind when I think of games trancending their genres is SoulCalibur. Before SC, fighting games just took the simple route of cool characters, cool theme songs, and crazy powers. SoulCalibur took the foundation of games like The Last Blade and Tekken and took the genre to new hieghts with mind-blowing graphics that most wouldn't try so hard for in a fighting game, and a truly epic soundtrack that sounded like it should be in a major RPG. Furthermore, the SC games have a pretty strong story element to them too. These are all things one wouldn't expect from a fighting game, but it had it, and that's what makes SC so amazing.

Then there are games that laugh at limits and just blow minds. Muramasa: The Demon Blade is an artistic masterpiece that shows the power of 2D graphics on modern day systems. Muramasa, as well as Odin Sphere and Grimgrimoire, are the games that I dreamed about as a kid when first looking at sprite-based games like Fatal Fury and King of Fighters. Okami is yet another game that just destorys the limits of what people thought were capable with graphics.

Then, of course, there's Bayonetta, which laughs at limits. Bayonetta is everything an action game should be, because it pushed not only how insane an action game could be, but how much of that insanity could be in control of the player.

I suppose this argument comes from my disappointment with God of War 3. God of War 3 showed a lot of graphical potential, but failed to execute it in any impressive way. This is extremely evident in the game's final boss battle, which couldn't have been more underwhelming and dull. Muramasa had more intense action than God of War 3, and it was made by only 21 people. GoW3 had a multi-million dollar budget and years of development time. It really goes to show that it isn't about what a game looks like, but how much passion you put into the project.

Games like Bayonetta, Muramasa, and Final Fantasy XIII have shown me just how capable modern-day games are as a medium. But a handful of games can't satisfy me forever. C'mon developers, show me something!

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