Games are about freedom. Whether that means killing hordes of hookers in Grand Theft Auto because you don’t have to deal with the consequences, soaring above city skyscrapers and the confines of mortality in superhero titles like Spider-man 2 and Prototype, or in the case of today’s typical RPG, making the simple choice to say something you would never say to anyone in real life; it’s abundantly clear that we play video games because of a primal passion to sherk our societal bonds and become the absolute embodiment of self-determination without the slightest slap of the wrist.
Looks can be deceiving. Take SEGA’s squad-based third-person shooter Binary Domain for example. On first appearance, we’ve seen it all before: Big genetic monsters of men wielding oversized weapons, blurting out a handful of expletives without any justification; a horde of never-ending enemies trudge forward with reckless abandon, halted only by a barricade of bullets. It’s gritty action injected with more testosterone than a doped up athlete, with bullish bravado and male chauvinism flaunted at every possible opportunity.
Grab a sword, a quiver of arrows and your finest Elven armour. Cancel all social engagements, stock up on food supplies and kiss your loved ones goodbye. It’s time to embark on a heroic journey, one which will be carved by your own two hands; a glorious tale retold through hearsay, legend and the musical stylings of a local town bard.
Ah, Mr. Ezio Auditore da Firenze. It’s good to see you again. Why it feels as if it was only yesterday that we accompanied each other through the cultured streets of Rome, murdering and pillaging those Templar scoundrels along the way. I fondly recall the time when we scaled countless magnificent monuments, recklessly swan diving to an almost certain demise, only to land playfully in a coincidentally placed cart of hay.
After surviving an unforeseeable in-house dispute between certain ex-employees of Infinity Ward and the powers that be at Activision, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 suffered a relatively turbulent beginning. The loss of a number of high profile, key members of staff was an unfortunate predicament; though the initial uproar and debate as to whether this signalled the demise of the Modern Warfare franchise was perhaps somewhat over-exaggerated.
“All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.”
As a self-touted AAA title, RAGE subsequently received the typical fanfare and media bravado which is predictably lavished upon any potential big hitter in the video games market. Unlike the abundance of multi-million-dollar big budget games however, RAGE entered the spotlight for one reason and one reason only; the studio behind it.
Modern-day technological advancements occur at a remarkable and often frightening rate. Technology has revolutionised the world we live in today, from the way we interact with each other (be it through the world of social medial), how we go about our daily routines (Internet, personal computers, smart phones) to simply finding out where we need to go (via GPS).
Generally, when a game is developed to coincide with a blockbuster movie it’s almost a cruel guarantee that the game will be dreadful. Rushed gameplay, bland graphics and a rehash of a films storyline is usually a staple of the final product. There have of course been some outstanding exceptions to this disappointing cycle (Goldeneye on the N64 is a prime example), but the reason these games succeed is that they identify and apply the strengths of the film, whilst making sure that it’s first and foremost, a good game.