Thursday, March 01, 2012

Video Games

One of my favourite pastimes is video games. The technology, artwork, level design, gameplay mechanics, etc., fascinate me no end.  I wish, though, I could say the same for video game storylines. Mostly, they are mediocre and forgettable, and usually are overshadowed by spectacle, graphics, and multiplayer considerations. There have been a few bright spots since the beginning of the current generation way back in 2005 --- Portal, Bioshock, Assassin's Creed, for example --- but, for the most part, the big studios have been releasing a steady stream of samey games and undifferentiated sequels (some of which, I must admit, I have enjoyed).

I used to think it would be quite a while before the video games industry matured enough to develop solid, memorable stories. But, after looking through Gamesradar's 100 Most anticipated games of 2012, I am hopeful this will happen sooner than I expected.  Titles such as I Am AliveThe Last of UsPapo y Yo, and The Last Guardian look quite interesting from a story point of view, and also seem to employ some very cool gameplay mechanics.

Of course I'm also looking forward to Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and Halo 4, as I am a long time fan of both franchises, and I'm very curious about Quantum Conundrum, a game developed by Kim Swift, the lead designer on the original Portal. Much like Portal, its gameplay mechanics are physics-based, and I can't wait to see how they are employed in puzzle-solving, without the assistance of portals. I'm also excited about Metro: Last Light, the sequel to Metro 2033, a solid FPS, with some excruciating stealth sections, a pretty tough ammo conservation mechanic, and a wonderful, creepy atmosphere. Even though it taxed my GTX560Ti, I loved it. (I recommend playing it with the Russian audio and English subtitles for that extra, realistic grittiness.)

Before I found Gamesradar's list, I had my own list of 4 or 5 games to play this year. Now, that list has ballooned to 14. It looks to be a busy, expensive year of gaming for me.

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