I'm a pretty stupid guy. The thoughts that form in my head are - more often than not - complete and utter nonsense. For example, one time I thought it would be a good idea to ride my bike into a fence. That's not even a joke. A younger me genuinely thought that would be a good idea. In another display of unimaginable ignorance, I once watched the movie Space Jam all the way through. I wish I was kidding.
I had one such thought the other day. I was on the bus.
Now, usually, I keep these thoughts hidden away like the shameful Golden Girls DVD in the grimy abyss of my DVD collection(that I totally don't even own....whatever.....It's not even a big deal) Goodness knows that saying them aloud would only end in pain. However, every now and then one of them bypasses my filters (my better judgement) and is spluttered from my mouth in what appears, to me at least, to be a moment of pure clarity and genius.
Sitting on the bus, staring out the window, the following the words erupted from the vacuous cave some refer to as "my mouth":
Dishonored And Pikmin 3 are basically the same game!
A cursory examination of that statement would, for most people, be enough to acknowledge it for exactly what it is: crazy-talk. But I'm not most people. I'm pretty stupid. I watched Space Jam all the way through. So I let the thought mull in my head, and came up with a few things I really like about those games. Then I made a few neat little comparisons between the two.
You know what's exciting? Talking about the structure of a video game. That was sarcasm. I did a sarcasm.
The thing I love the most about Dishonored, is the way it dumps you in a level; gives you a vague approximation of the location of your target; and then just lets you basically do whatever you want. This means you can choose not only HOW you play the level (we'll talk about that later) but also the pace at which you want to play the level. Rather than a linear corridor, each of the levels is like a mini sandbox.
Pikmin 3 is very similar. You can go get some fruit if you want to. You can go fight a boss if you want to. You can just take a look around if you want to. You can get half way to your objective then turn around and go back and do something else if you want to.
It takes the best from both linear and sandbox games!
You know which movie has a terrible structure? Space Jam. I should know, I watched Space Jam all the way through. Christ almighty.
Player choice. Everyone is always talking about player choice. I like making choices, you like making choices. Choice's are great, but in games they - more often than not - amount to little more than a black and white "Be a good guy!" or "Be a bad guy!" cut scene scenario. You know what's awesome? Being able to actually choose how you PLAY the game. Pikmin 3 and Dishonored totally nail this.
In Dishonored you can play stealthily, or you can run, guns blazing, into a room of dudes and knife the shit out of them. You can even do a little of both if you so desire! The game accommodates for basically any style of play you wish to pursue.
Choices are awesome! I remember a choice I once made. I decided to watch Space Jam all the way through. It was awful.
Now, in Pikmin 3 you can take a huge legion of Pikmin and attempt to swarm your enemy OR you can opt for a leaner, meaner, more manoeuvrable group and aim for a strategic attack.
The best part, is that the different play styles create different feelings. A small team of Pikmin creates tension and makes speed and austerity a goal. A large group, on the other hand, basically becomes a game of numbers. You gain strength, but must sacrifice more of your troops.
For me, that sort of choice is so much more cooler than a silly "Moral choice" that the game blatantly signposts.
Moral and ethical stuff!
Gameplay choice is awesome, but both Pikmin 3 and Dishonored also use the way you play to make moral and ethical statements.
Dishonored is perhaps a little heavy handed in this respect. You get the bad ending if you kill everyone. That's pretty obvious. Killing people is bad. If you kill people you get a shitty ending.
Pikmin 3 on the other hand is very subtle. If your play style causes a mass Pikmin slaughter, you are treated to the heartbreaking sound of their death screams and the soul crushing sight of their adorable ghosts floating upwards into the ether. Moreover, if you play recklessly and leave stragglers behind, you are shown - in suitably depressing fashion - the harsh realities of your actions.
You know what was neither moral, nor ethical? My friends and family just sitting by and letting me watch motherfucking Space Jam all the way through. Lord, give me strength.
Also, you don't actually need to get all of the fruit to beat Pikmin 3. However nabbing more of the native flora can make the whole experience a little less stressful. Do you ruthlessly harvest the entire planet, leaving its inhabitants to slowly starve? Or, do you only take what you need to survive?
Moral and ethical comments like this - that are linked back to the gameplay choices we were discussing earlier - are really interesting to me.
In conclusion, Space Jam is the worst movie I have ever seen. Oh, and Pikmin 3 and Dishonored are kinda similar I guess.
As always, I'd be very interested to hear what you guys think.
I went for a slightly sillier tone in this one. What did ya'll think? Too much?
Incidentally, I was thinking about making a series out of this idea. If I were to do that, the next one would either be "Luigi's Mansion 2 and Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons are basically the same game!" OR "Papers, Please and The Swapper are basically the same game!"