I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a fan of Sony. Ever since seeing Final Fantasy VII being played on the original PlayStation, I’ve been enamoured with Sony’s gaming prowess. They lost me for a bit with their early pitches of the PS3 and subsequently the Vita, but both grew on me the more they were refined. They recently did a bang-up job of convincing me of how awesome the PS4 was; so much so, I pre-ordered the thing almost a year ago and never looked back. To date, I’ve had plenty of fun with my PS4, but it’s not perfect – there’s a few things I’d like Sony to improve on, or in some cases, just done differently in the first place.
So, in an attempt to take a step back from the fanboy precipice, here are my top three gripes with Sony’s parallelepiped.
Alright folks, listen up.
By now, you should all have heard at least in passing about this Heartbleed bug that’s cropped up over the last few days. If you haven’t, then you’ve all the more reason to read on. Hell, even if you have and you think it doesn’t matter, read this article. It’s short, mostly because I’ve been using all of my free time getting my shit in order as a direct result of this mess. But it’s also purposely designed to be concise. Less waffling, more info, quicker action. Let’s get down to business.
There are few truly excellent indie games out there, in my opinion. Too many are simply bland and uninteresting, or rip-offs of existing successes. I say this without meaning to disparage those developers that make original works: hell, I’m a writer and I harbour no illusions of being anywhere near “talented”. Whether it’s amateur novels or my standard games journalism fare, there’s a difference between what I can produce and what is well-received by the masses. Sometimes, this is simply due to noise – like indie games, there are just far too many articles out there for every author to be noticed.
So even if you make a cracker of a game, chances are slim that it’s going to get the attention it deserves. Luckily, there are some that make it through the storm to bask in the clement weather of public adoration. One such game is FTL: Faster Than Light.
From the moment that I first heard about it – saw the first trailer for it – I have been eager to play Goat Simulator. On the 1st of April, my wait was over. I loaded up Steam and downloaded my pre-ordered copy. Within minutes, I was up and running. I could live the dream. I could be a goat.
In what must be one of the finest examples of something you never thought you’d miss until it was gone, I’ve found myself oddly nostalgic this week. Literally a couple of hours ago from the time I wrote this article, I watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier. For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, please rest assured that this article is entirely spoiler-free. But for anyone that has, you might share the same feeling I do at the moment.
I miss the obligatory AAA movie tie-in game.
Even the newer generation of gamers among us should be familiar with the wonders of the movie tie-in. For the most part, these games were a blatant cash-in on the movie in question, usually not that great, having been rushed through development to be released normally slightly before the movie itself. I’ve spoken before about my unpopular opinion of liking one or two of these games, most notably the Iron Man games for the 360. I said then (and shall repeat now) that most movie tie-in games are abominable. Most should have been left in the development oven for another few months or, in some cases, never released at all. But there were a few that did really well.
In fact, if you go back far enough, there was a golden age of excellence when it came to movie tie-ins. I remember loving Aladdin and The Lion King on my MegaDrive; even Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker was excellent, though I didn’t know it was a movie at the time. Past the 16-bit era, we still had games like GoldenEye for the N64 and Spider-Man 2 for the PS2 showing us that you could enjoy yourself just as much (if not more) in the game as you did in the cinema.
But those times were not to last. With the advent of the past generation – the 360 and the PS3 – our fortunes began to change for the worse.
Just when the movies themselves started to get more and more awesome, the developers began to drop the ball on a regular basis. Sure, I liked the Iron Man games. I actually really loved The Matrix games as well, specifically The Path of Neo. I could even stand to play the original Transformers movie tie-in, but not without gritting my teeth at some of the gameplay elements and ignoring the horrible, horrible story.
Aliens: Colonial Marines was the nail in the coffin. It’s almost indefensible as a game and is a real spit in the face to any fan of the movies. Despite planned redemption in the form of a newer, better Alien game on the horizon, the damage was done. It had been done for some time, to be fair, but never that blatantly. We all expected movie tie-ins to be shoddy and mediocre until proven otherwise, but I don’t think any of us expected Colonial Marines to be an outright lie.
Now, we’re stuck with crappy Lego versions of my favourite movies, or so-so adaptations by Telltale Games (I’m looking at you, Back to the Future). I hate the Lego games with a passion that I can’t wholly explain, but you’ll never find me enjoying a single minute of any of the shit they put out. It recently came full circle with The Lego Movie, which ripped off almost every other popular movie and in turn achieved rip-off-ception with its inevitable tie-in game.
But hey, at least that’s an actual game: most developers don’t even bother with consoles or PC anymore for their movie games. A special tier of hell awaits those who make crappy mobile games.
I’m not saying that a potential AAA Captain America game would necessarily have been great. In fact, I can’t think of a scenario where it would have been anything more than Iron Man in quality; i.e. acceptably mediocre. I’m just sad that there’s not even the chance of another Spider-Man 2 or GoldenEye, with developers moving away from proper development in the quest for casual cash via the hordes of mobile users.
It’s like they’ve given up the pretence of even trying. “Hey, we want your cash and we don’t want to spend any money getting it. Have this shitty ‘game’, tap here to buy 1000 Gems and not wait 24 hours to continue.” It’s sickening in one sense, but moreover, it’s disappointing. When’s the next time I’ll be able to play as the superhero of the hour? Why must mobile gaming ruin everything, even things that were perfectly fine being mediocre on their own?
Anyway, go see Winter Soldier, it’s amazing.