Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: The Year of Disappointment. 2012: The Year of Redemption?

2011 was a very disappointing year for videogames; for me, at least. The main reason being not just my disappointment in the quality of the games released, but what the games showed me about the game industry. To put it simply, in my opinion, videogames are in a rut. Nothing is really changing. Skyward Sword showed no initiative or unique style, Uncharted 3 didn't try to bring more to the series at all, Batman: Arkham City was just more Assassin's Creed, and Kirby was just more Kirby. It's not that these games are bad, but there is just a complete lack of initiative and drive to create new things in these games; furthermore, this is something this entire generation has shown (with some notable exceptions, of course). And if people wonder what I'm comparing my criticisms to; just think back to every other previous console generation and the creativity and drive of the games of those generations.

I won't delve much on this subject, but I will say that it is becoming more clear to me that if videogames remain in this rut, my increasing dissatisfaction with games will only grow. This is why I'm hoping 2012 revitalizes my love for videogames by proving that games can be creative and unique in their execution. I want to go back to the aura of the SNES/Genesis era where gamers didn't really know what was going to come next. I'm hoping for games like Asura's Wrath, Dragon's Crown, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and, most of all, Final Fantasy Versus XIII to do this.

With all of that said, I do want to say that one developer who has been very creative in their development processes throughout their existence still remains in great form, even if they don't develop as many games as they used to: Square-Enix. The games from Square have been risk-takers and, imo, have benefited from it. The Kingdom Hearts games continue to evolve the action-RPG genre, Dissidia brought a new execution to the 3D-space fighter, and FFXIII evolved the turn-based RPG to a new level; and all of these games display some of the highest quality and production values one got in games this gen. I'm hoping for all of this to come to a powerful climax with the release of Final Fantasy Versus XIII, which looks to be Tetsuya Nomura and Square-Enix Production Team 1's ultimate vision for a videogame.

I'm trying my best not to lower my standards when it comes to what I expect from videogames, but this generation is making it hard. Satisfying games like Bayonetta, Dissidia, and Vanquish keep me happy, and risk-takers like FFXIII and Metroid: Other M keep me optimistic that creativity isn't dead. Still, I want more from my games; much, much more, especially after the disappointing 2011 year. Hopefully, 2012 will deliver.


  1. Do you think the global economic downturn as well as the longer console lifespans have anything to do with this lack of creative output?

    I haven't played enough new games this year to feel disappointed, and I know I hold games to my own different set of standards, butI am looking forward to seeing what the mobile space comes up with especially after we have all the new handhelds out worldwide. I have high hopes for the Vita specifically but I think games on 3DS and even mobile devices will benefit from teh competition.

  2. In my opinion, handhelds provide very little that home consoles cannot. The only big difference being the touch controls of the handhelds, and that's something that few developers use very well. So, yeah, I'm not looking at handhelds to blow me away with their games, but handhelds are the usual place for developers to experiment with their game design because its cheaper.

    And, yeah, the economy has to do with my disappointment because now developers are afraid to take risks because it might cost them a lot of money; as a result, game developers are playing it WAY too safe, imo. But that's just how it is; videogames are a business after all.