Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why Dragon's Crown is the only game I'm currently excited for.

Now, E3 is in only a few days, so the statement made in the title may be changed within a few days, but as of this writing, I stand by my title.

So, why am I only excited for Dragon's Crown? Well, it actually doesn't have to do much with DC itself, but all the other games out there. Simply put, in my opinion, no developers other than Vanillaware (at the moment) are trying to do anything new with their game design and execution.

To make myself clear, I'll use some examples: Let's look at PlatinumGames' Anarchy Reigns: there is very little originality to this game. It's simply a 3D brawler with mediocre character and world design, standard 3D brawler gameplay, and just nothing beyond what one would expect from the genre. And that's where my problem lies: I'm not finding any developers who are trying to exceed expectations, rather, I find most are just making the games that the mass public would expect from the respective genre and just make that. Personality is also something I find many games are lacking, there's just a huge lack of creator's personal touches these days. Thank goodness for Kirby's Return to Dreamland and Skullgirls, as they've both showed me that creative visions in games are still existent.

Now, lets get to Dragon's Crown, and why I'm excited for it. First, I'll get the elephant in the room out of the way: yes, we know very little about the game. And, yet, with just the little we know about the game, I can't help  but be excited. First thing apparent is Vanillaware's beautiful art style, and it is perhaps more apparent in Dc than any of their previous games. The environments are incredibly detailed and beautiful, and I can't wait to see them moving. Then there are characters, each having a strong and distinctive look and presence, but most apparent is how they are more anatomically correct than previous Vanillaware character sprites, by which I mean they aren't "chibi" in their look. And finally, the promises of gameplay. The character descriptions on the website already promise unique and interesting playing styles for each character, and the genre being a 2D beat-em-up practically guarantees a high replay value. Furthermore, unlike other classic 2D beat-em-ups, DC will use a mission structure, thus allowing a more casual and enjoyable execution to the gameplay.

I think I'll stop there. What I'm trying to get at here is that Vanillaware is really advancing the 2D-beat-em-up genre while providing their own unique visual and gameplay style. The end result is a game that is both familiar and unique. When it comes to all the other future releases, they all simply feel like the same thing I've played before; even the more bigger titles. Look at Metal Gear Rising. Yes, it looks amazing, and it's almost guaranteed to have some great gameplay. But it just looks like another great 3D-action game from PlatinumGames, and that's it. This is why I need Kamiya to give us another Okami-esque game; something that's just so different in execution, but still plays to a developers strengths. This is perhaps why I like Vanillaware so much; each one of their games, excluding Grimgrimoire, is essentially an Action-RPG, but they're all very distinct from one another in their execution. And that's what I want more of: developers who aren't afraid to try new things and attempt to create new worlds, new stories, new visions. It's not as if they cannot create something new without playing to their strengths; just look at Okami, Metroid: Other M, Super Mario Galaxy, and Kid Icarus: Uprising.

Of course, I know every videogame is made with a lot of hard work, and that in the videogame business, it's very risky to try new things, but I still wish there were more developers like Vanillaware and Reverge Labs out there.

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