Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Current State of Genres

It's after E3 and we've seen what developers are bringing in the future. So, I'll look at each genre and say a bit about what I think it's becoming.

3D-Action: QTEs are definitely making their way into this genre more and more, to some that's a bad thing, but, personally, I see a lot of potential in QTEs, so much so that I believe they are the key to advancing the 3D action genre; developers simply have to find the right balance between straight-up gameplay and QTEs. Bayonetta already did a lot for executing QTEs in 3D action games. Ninja Gaiden 3 looks to be balancing them well so far, but Asura's Wrath seems to be implementing them a bit too much. In fact, I lost a bit of hype for Asura's Wrath after E3, mainly because the boss battle that was shown was not impressive from a gameplay standpoint, as it looked entirely too easy and focused too much on QTEs; I hope they implement for ideas from Naruto Storm 2. Other than QTEs, developers can implement some new ideas, like Dragon's Dogma and its team-based mechanics.

2D action: Only one of these was at the show, but it was also my favorite surprise of the show: Dragon's Crown. It's developed by Vanillaware, so graphics and originality are already a given. And since it's Vanillaware, I'm hoping to see some unique elements implemented into the classic 2D beat-em-up formula. We know RPG elements will be implemented, so here's hoping to be blown away by DC as much as I was when I played Odin's Sphere.

JRPG: Still a genre that has titles being released few and far between. Final Fantasy dominates this genre at the moment with FFXIII-2, FF Type-0, and FF Versus XIII. XIII-2 is an enigma at the moment; on one hand, it's probably my most anticipated game because it looks to have a lot of potential, especially with it's cinematic direction coming into the battles with dynamic scenarios and QTEs, plus it's the sequel to my favorite RPG of this gen; but, on the other hand, there's a good amount of change being made to the game, and whether these changes turn out to be good will probably have to wait until I actually play the game. FF Type-0 looks to be quite innovative in all categories, and I'm really hoping for a western release. Versus XIII was a no-show once again, but that's to be expected; still, I see so much potential in Versus XIII that I'll wait as long I need too. The JRPG isn't as strong as it used to be, but at least developers are trying new things with the genre without being sell-outs.

WRPG: still not interested in these games. From their presentation to their game mechanics, everything just looks so familiar that I just don't care. These games can play as well as they want, but I can never find myself to enjoy them.

FPS: I was kinda hoping for a teaser announcement for Bulletstorm 2, but that's OK. This genre still can't get me excited (well, except for Bulletstorm). The FPS really needs to evolve past doing the same thing over and over but just in different scenarios. The gameplay itself needs to be diverse and ever-changing throughout the campaign. Bulletstorm did a good job at this with it's melee and grappling abilities; it just needed more guns to keep things fresh on multiple playthroughs. I hope something else comes along before Bulletstorm 2, because I see a lot of potential satisfaction out this genre, and I hope it is realized soon.

TPS: Binary Domain was a big surprise at the show, and I see a lot of potential in the game on all fronts, especially gameplay, story, and presentation. The team-based mechanics are very interesting, and it seems to be doing something similar to Dragon's Dogma, where it's bringing a new element into an old formula and it's like it's making it new again. This genre is usually not very exciting, but I'm really looking forward to Binary Domain.

Fighting: I'm beginning to fall out of love with the fighting genre. It's becoming dominated by Capcom and their so-so fighting mechanics so much that everyone is copying them, resulting in more so-so fighters. KOF XIII and SoulCalibur V are still two of my most anticipated games though. I will never abandon these two series because they remain the epitome of the fighting genre for me. I'm looking forward to the changes being made for SCV, and any console exclusive KOFXIII brings.

Action-Adventure: Zelda: Skyward Sword of course. But I can't help but not get too excited over this game. I suppose the familiarity of the Zelda formula finally caught up with me in Twilight Princess, so I certainly hope that SS makes some strong changes to the formula while still keeping the series' quality. SS could be a truly amazing game, but it's going to take a lot of innovation to put Zelda back on top. Wind Waker was a great step forward for the series; it;s a shame Nintendo listened to the fan's whining and took a step back with TP.

Platformer: Nintendo is once again the main force here with their Mario games, and the new 3DS Mario game looks amazing. Rayman Origins looks to be a great platformer as well; the key will be longevity for Rayman though, for it's level structure looks to be that of a rather short game.

I guess that's about it. At this point, there are many games that look to have a lot of potential, but can also end up being disappointing. Asura's Wrath and FFXIII-2 looking to be the biggest enigmas. Still, with this generation drawing to a close within the next 2-3 years, I hope that we get some great swan songs.