What’s up every body? This week we’ll be talking about the concept of the hype train and how it has taken shape today!
Something I’ve been noticing since the new console releases (Wii U, Xbone, PS4) is that new games have been receiving tons of hype through web sites, advertising, and various consumer speculation. Now I don’t necessarily think hype is a bad thing. How else can you get people excited to try and buy your product? And we, as consumers of the gaming industry, we love to speculate what will be released with the new game. “Wouldn’t it be cool if the robot shot giant lasers out of BOTH hands?!? What if the main character can fly? Super powers? Frost breath?” I’m not going to act without sin, as I’m CONSTANTLY guilty of having these types of conversations with my friends. My personal favorite game is Darksiders (Praying to God Almighty that a third is released!) and I always wonder what could make the games better. The more I play it the more I realize it was a simple wish list for an already fantastic game.
However, recently playing some of the games released on the new gen systems for the first time, one of which was TitanFall, I felt a resounding sense of… meh. I wish I could think of a better word but really, “meh” sums up my feelings perfectly. TitanFall is a visually pleasing game: controls are tight, environments range from high tech urban feel to out in the grasslands where nothing but nature reigns supreme. The game really showcased what the new Xbone could do performance wise. The game play for me left something to be desired. Once I saw the reviews highlighting the ability to wall run, my thoughts immediately trailed to games like Prince of Persia (love it) or Brink (which didn’t do so hot) where they tried to implement that mechanic before. Brink did not find much success, but because it was being done on the Xbone people assumed it would be more refined and, thankfully, they were right.
TitanFall nailed the fast-paced combat feeling they promised to deliver. But as I played, I couldn’t help but feel like the combat being so fast paced took any kind of strategy or positioning out of the equation when fighting, which I did not expect from a game in partner published by EA which also brought us the Battlefield series. After a few rounds I did fairly well and the Titans were a ton of fun, admittedly a bit strong for my liking. The game felt fast paced but relatively dry in terms of earning my kills. I either got the drop on another player or blew them away with the Titan, and the same went for my deaths. The combat at the end of the day felt rather cut and dry instead of the levels of complexity hype surrounding the game seemed to portray. Other big releases seemed to suffer the same fate, some worse than others.
Destiny and Assassin’s Creed: Unity fell victim to the hype train as well. Some might argue both titles were thrown screaming from the train while moving at full speed. Destiny was and is still being put through the ringer by players and critics alike; no visible story line, broken game mechanics, exploitable raid and strikes, lack of a trade system, need of larger vault space, and other complains of the like. The game feels rushed, almost a cash-grab attempt unlike that of Bungie to perform. Some blame Activision for cutting content, others think Bungie is simply past their prime out of the Halo franchise. As for Assassin’s Creed: Unity, the reactions were a little more blunt and from some first-hand experience with the game, I can’t really blame them. Character model glitches, movement bugs, and other crazy moments in the game seemed to happen due to a lack of inspection before the game was shipped. At some point we have to wonder as consumers, what exactly are we buying?
I won’t sit here and bash the creative works of any of these companies. They’re an art form and as such, attract criticism from all angles. The game development process is insanely time consuming and difficult and something that I also have no experience in doing. Looking at timelines and behind-the-scenes videos of developers working on games is simply mind-boggling and I salute them for it.
However, what the underlying message we’re trying to get across is not to simply boycott all new games, but to certainly let the buyer beware. Opinions are like assholes, and they all stink. By all means play these games as they come out but just keep in mind that any media hype about the game may not be lived up to. Some of these titles are put on too high of a pedestal and simply cannot perform up to expectations.
With that being said, good luck and game on RagTag Nation! And remember, play for fun and you will never truly lose!