Hitman is a game for which until recently, I had never experienced. For good or bad, I started with Absolution. While this shouldn't be intended to be read as a review, as I haven't finished the game, it will likely end up sounding just as much. Absolution, is a game I can say however, with the most fervent belief, that tried to be something ground-breaking, problem is in trying to remain a Hitman game, it may have broken itself.
Now I can understand that Absolution on the lower difficulties isn't a hard game, and it was designed for those in mind, the problems however with Absolution, I feel are truly exacerbated on the higher difficulties. With stealth games, and particularly Stealth assassination games, we feel rewarded when we complete a mission, flawless and silently, the problem is, Hitman feels, this is all it needed to make a good game.
Purist seems to truly show the brunt of the issues that Absolution was designed with. By all means in Absolution, I have no problem that loudly killing people can cause the player to lose points, and briefly cause some chaos until the player can hide. Issue is, Absolution has been almost seemingly made so if the player makes any noise, or attempts to take down any enemy whether target or not in a lethal way, the player is instantly screwed. While on lower difficulties you may be able to get away with these blunders using instinct, on the higher difficulties, it's impossible.
It Took 1000+ Dead Cops and 100+ Tries Until I Got To The This Part And The End
I understand that the game heavily focuses on instinct, but I do not feel it was the way, the game should have gone. But this is not the only offense for which I feel Hitman seemingly has shot itself silently in the foot. In the fact you cannot hide, and disguises are virtually useless in a large portion of Hitman, if you are seen, and then hide, the AI will begin patrolling, the problem with Hitman is the AI has been designed to essentially terminate the player if they take cover inside a object, for if the player attempts to exit the box, the AI sees them at once midway in exiting due to the way they are patrolling, and they will be caught and forced into a gunfight or just plain killed upon exiting.
This is where another massive problem stems from Hitman for which purist shows, in which by essentially whenever the player is spotted, forcing them into a gunfight, another issue being the hostage mechanic which is activated whenever the AI gets suspicious (about 95% of the time) has made it so a player, cannot strategically place themselves, without being forced into a extremely poor designed (at least on the PC) fist-fight. This itself would at least be tolerable, even if being knocked out in about 2 punches by any enemy despite being a battle-hardened and engineered assassin like 47. Yet the problem is, the fist-fight into trying to maintain the idea of "silent" attracts enemies, and if you get into a fist-fight, you are instantly shot at, essentially forcing the player into pretending to surrender every time and automatically taking a hostage or if luck will have it, shanking them with a knife before they can, then attracting more enemies, to repeat the stupid process until one side exhausts itself.
Somethings Can't Be Explained In Hitman
With this it brings up the true issue for which Absolution failed to save itself, for despite perhaps just being purist, Absolutions gun fights seem to truly have been designed to rely on Instinct, and the generic, lame, and even pandering rather console mechanic of point shooting truly rears its ugly head here. For those less in the know, Point Shooting is where you use your "instinct" to go into a sort of matrix bullet time and mark multiple targets for kill shots in about a span of a second, while executing these killshots 47 is invincible.
This is where I found myself rather disgusted, I never back down from a challenge, and I will beat Hitman on Purist, but the shoddy attention put into essentially "forced" gunfights is extremely frustrating, i'm no professional gamer, but when it comes to a mouse and FPS mechanics, i'm fairly top tier. I can say with rather fair affirmation, that aside from forced, and near un-survivable gunfights due to the AI (which I will talk about soon), the guns themselves, while feeling nice, do not necessarily handle perfectly. Which while perhaps the intent, doesn't seem proper. While it may not be as tell-tale with a controller, the weird way bullets seem to hit targets is especially noticeable on moving targets, time and time again, I know I will have shot a kill-shot, only to see my target tank a bullet to the head and keep on running, or have it seemingly miss.
Yet as I said, the true issue Hitman suffers from is some of the most frustratingly, and poorly designed/semi-scripted AI i've had the joy of nearly ruining a other-wise fantastic game. The AI are simply the worst and most exampled part of Purist due to the idiotic tactics your forced to brute-force your way through a level with. In most cases upon entering a gunfight with the AI as mentioned before, your death is imminent, yet as I said, i'm fairly skilled with a mouse, but the problem is the AI, i've had many battles with the AI, (the memorable one being the Train Station
As Detailed Here
where you can kill ~50 of the enemies, and after surviving this onslaught (if you're lucky) the game will go silent and give a sound hint that you're clear and not suspected, yet, the second you leave a room or turn your back, or just let go of the controls for a few seconds, EVERY time, a AI will walk around the corner, and immediately, no questions asked, just shoot and instantly kill you before you can respond.
So essentially knowing you cannot take the AI in a gunfight, you try to trick them, distract them, in my case tossing objects, and this is where Hitman just felt, Purist or not, degrading like it dropped the ball, frequently a player is forced to listen over and over to AI exchanges, and then, after sneaking through, your only choice to get out is to grab a wrench, or a screwdriver, and throw it, over, and over. The AI in Hitman have supernatural hearing, and can hear a wrench being tossed, 2 stories below them. Yet sadly, in the case of Hitman, frequently, this is the only way through which a player can get through a level on Purist.
Purist itself, is not hard, it's the crutch or perhaps the flaw, that Hitman was designed only for instinct, that the true flaws in a fantastic game show, Hitman is in my opinion a text-book example of neglect for true game mechanics, consisting of AI which forces the player to abuse a mechanic built in just for the sake of abusing, to make the player feel clever, in cases where the mechanic is absent, the player must make do building his own form of abused game mechanic, and because you cannot be spotted, and cannot be in a disguise, Hitman pretends to be open and creative, while forcing the player down less enjoyable, linear roots.
But The Jump Is Still Worth It
Yet overall, let me just say, even with how heavily flawed it is, if you're getting Hitman on a strong PC, it truly does stand out as a impressive testament to the competence of the Glacier 2 engine, as it's one of the most visually satisfying games i've played in a long time, and one of the few to have managed to create proper shadows. And even then, Hitman, when behaving nicely, is truly one of the more enjoyable games in recent years.
Games will always fail, this is simply a fact of the universe and when they do, it's never pretty. There's nothing worse then seeing the smoldering rubble of a series we love after being butchered with careless neglect, and realizing that it may be yelling its death knell. Then, there's the games which were never meant to succeed, the failures not due to a lack of effort, but simply due to a lack of want or resources needed, perhaps staff. Then finally, there are the games which fail, not because of a lack of want, or a lack of effort, but because of a want to improve.
In many cases, you can probably find plenty of games which fit these categories, the smoldering rubble of Resident Evil 6 however, is a prime example.
Yet it came to my mind, and nothing more or less poetic, and no less inspired by Destructoid, then the thought, are we again taking video-games too seriously? Not in a category of crude humor, or mindless FPS killing fields. But in dismissing the efforts, no matter how paltry, or bought off, of our failures.
Resident Evil 6 was, viewed by all, and understandably, as a disaster. The game abandoned its fanbase, it suffered in quality of its controls and in its design, how can a game which takes a step backward on every front, be commended. In short, it can't it's horribly designed, linear, and lacks emotion. Yet we seemed to have glossed over the fact, we blamed Capcom's failure on too many chefs, on the glut of AAA game development, of over-stepping its budget, and all of these claims are not necessarily wrong, in fact they're spot on.
So what is it we glossed over, why are video-games in a seemingly lukewarm pool of creativity at the moment? We blame AAA budgets, AAA development, and AAA staffing.Yet, have we been wrong this whole time? Why were both Call of Duty and a Halo 4 a success, yet Resident Evil 6 wasn't? Yes, both games stuck to a formula, and both games were already fantastic, mindless FPS games. They had massive staff and massive budgets, and yet they did not fail as Resident Evil 6 did.
It's because, by perhaps wanting, or need, Resident Evil 6 put all of it's budget, not in trying to fine-tune itself, but in trying to change to what we have been asking, it tried to evolve into something better. Why would Capcom put all of it's effort into Resident Evil 6? Capcom never intended to have Resident Evil 6 be bad, and neither did the director, the problem is pedigree.
If you cross-breed an inferior class with what we could call a "pedigree" game, gamers consider it polluted and shameful, this is what happened with not only Resident Evil 6, but many games, Resident Evil 6 tried to cross it's pedigree with other game's, yet in trying to create a new class of a game, we only saw it for what it once was, we called it polluted, a sloppy and clunky FPS, a scatter-brained TPS, and a messy ill written plothole.
Problem is, it wasn't RE6 fault it necessarily turned out like this, in fact, it seems more natural RE6 failed, we graded RE6 on how much of the original pedigree it had, we failed to see, it was imperfect, because it reached for change as much as possible. RE6 was flawed because a large group people, while dedicated in trying to change it they simply weren't familiar with how to translate what they were reading into, it's why Capcom wasn't able to pull a miracle off an make what is called a "Blockbuster" hit, and we shouldn't blame them for not making a block-buster.
In this case, we failed to see the new life which RE could have after being burned to the ground, much like with keeping a forest healthy, it's necessary no matter what the industry, for it to suffer a crash, to fall into ashes, only to rise again. We put the old games on a pedestal for all they did right, yet we should have blessed them for all they did wrong. Yet the game industry isn't as simple as nature, because we refuse to let most games which crash, to heal.
In an Industry, which now seems to be ruled by stocks, by review scores, and by user reception, we're not letting it properly evolve, there was a similar time where we began seeing big-budget, big staff games begin failing, although I, and many others weren't around during the time, it was the North American video game crash of 1983, where videogame popularity and revenue had hit an all-time high before dropping to near extinction. What is cited as causing the crash most importantly, is two, big budget titles with a large pedigree behind them and many tiny games, which led to the downfall of a giant. The most specific reason however, is consumers lost confidence in the gaming market.
While there will always be publishers who have warranted the hate against them, and while the industry will always have filthy, and even offensive behavior. We need to support AAA publishers, when they take a big risk, while we always view ourselves as almost oppressed peasants by AAA monopoly development, we need to fix the mindset, we have a say in games now, and they will fail if we let them, but in our glee over toppling a giant,we will fail to notice the vacuum it may leave for the rest of the industry, and I don't want to see another crash, because of this vacuum.
Role models can always have flaws
If we constantly lampoon, and humiliate AAA games which role-model the industry for being slightly different, or for failing from these differences, the future will be a homogenous mix of AAA games, much as we've been starting to see now. Yes, RE6 was imperfect, and even with all the money in the world, there will be errors, there will be poor decisions, and there most importantly, will be bad games from AAA publishers. But we still need to support them.
In our blind-side of criticism, we've had many developers be killed because we attacked the games of which they made, because we took videogames too seriously, in the case of Mass Effect 3, we had everywhere from death threats to law-suits, all over a video-game? Even though it's owned by EA, and even though EA itself may be clumsy, even corrupt to a certain degree, even though Bioware may be bought out, we shouldn't try to change gaming this way. There won't come any good from killing Bioware, if you want revenge because they made a bad-game, you want them shut-down because they made a mistake, it's not the way a mature industry should act, and even if we kill EA, it won't necessarily benefit the industry.
Even through everything that's happened, we still need to remember what they've made possible, even if they ended it
Likewise, if you want revenge on Capcom for ruining RE for you or because they're obsessed with releasing games filled with DLC, if you want to kill Capcom because they did horribly and you want RE6 and the developers expunged from the industry, just remember, while there may be more funds for other games, in killing the risk and negatives of the industry, we won't necessarily create positives, just empty space.
Perhaps you want to kill Bioware and Capcom, or perhaps EA because they've catered to what you believe the industry has begun standing for, homogenous dosages of FPS and violence without concise story or purpose, with generic controls and questionable concepts. Yes, maybe you seek to eliminate them because that's all they do, they cling to a pedigree, and simply release the same game, over, and over. Yet the reason is because in a industry which cringes, and contorts when anything not fitting a perfect mold is released, it's all they can do to keep employed.
If we want the industry to grow, we need to treat it as more of a partnership, in a way we need to treat gaming, like art, but not as art. We shouldn't blame a game when it's not perfect, and doesn't fit the same style as before, we shouldn't react when a game changes from what was the expected norm. If we want gaming to change, we need to embrace the bad, just as much if not more then the good, we need to embrace the Van Gogh's who may later chop off an ear, we need to embrace the Picasso's who create questionable and possibly borderline works, it's the only way an industry can evolve. Even if we may not understand the purpose in the beginning, even if we don't understand for years why something may have happened, if we want videogames to truly evolve, we need to embrace the industry, flaws and all.
How's it going Dtoid, I don't normally do much (if any) posts in the fashion of just sharing random thoughts on random things,, but after finishing Hotline Miami, and with so many things having gone by. I was considering giving Miami a review, but I tended to agree strongly with Alistair, hence I opted for the less formal style, and just to share my thoughts on what's happened in the last month or two around here. I decided this is a good choice, as i've had plenty of thoughts, but haven't felt they warranted a full blog on their own, or that the effort was worth the result I was probably going to get. So enjoy a random spiel of miniature reviews, complete absurdity, and criticisms, because we're about to get started.
Starting, off, those site updates
Don't you mock me foe Ah yes, the new site, still slightly eye-burning, and not quite a fan of the gray gradient, hence I keep it white, it's grown on me, but I still miss the old toilet-toid. There's nothing inherently wrong with the new site, and part of my fault is the refusal to turn f.lux on again, under penalty of laziness. Yet that's more minor, still, the site update has taken me aback a bit, simply so I can scope out how the scenery has changed, and to see when it would settle down and become more like home again. We're pretty close to there, although, I still dream of having a classic Dtoid skin option, or at least toilet-toid classic. But these are petty wishes, and I enjoy the new ease of adding images to comments, and the blog function has been nicely improved. Over-all good functionality, slightly dislike the new coat of paint though.
Dishonored, First, Among Others
I hear they're casting in the Sound of Music Remake
Dishonored was quite the fantastic game, although I was originally a tad skeptical (but still quite excited) I was glad to see it met, if not exceeded my expectations, to be honest I found Dishonored quite the experience, and I loved the detail payed to a very interesting, stylized, yet colorful version of the art, which keeps having me come back for more. But, despite the quality of the game, and the reasonable nice controls, I can't help but feel, while fantastic, it's replay value is a bit over-hyped, if you happened to do the pacifist run on the hardest difficulty for the first playthrough.
Still a fantastic game, and quite the good story, what I was disappointed with slightly, was despite all the effort they put into making the beautiful environment of Dunwall, I was disappointed at some of the attention to detail, which in games like this, complete the experience for me. I loved how they did the immersive environment, I just wish there had been more incentive to explore, tiny things, jokes, easter-eggs, posters, those are what I live for in games with such great art and environment direction as this, Minor details besides power-ups or more coins for power-ups. One of the things which I do feel a bit shameful of, but have quite the respect for is the sheer amount of lore written into the game, it's honestly quite surprising, considering the games scale.
Then we have XCOM:EU
Energy, how does it work?!
Being someone who had never played the original XCOM, I had heard many good things about the upcoming one, while there was skepticism, the propoganda had got me sold, and more importantly, the legend of it's replay value length. When XCOM finally came out, I was extremely excited to finally play it, as I had been waiting with it pre-ordered for almost a week at that point and couldn't get it off my head, needless to say, I had certain expectations going in, and mostly, felt these were met, and more importantly, there was many things that both surprised and impressed me. What impressed me the most is the art-direction in XCOM more specifically for the aliens, the aliens aren't made to feel disgusting or like macho-machines of death, but they carry a certain, creepy, charm about them, and I can only call it fantastic character design, of my particular favorites are the Chryssalid, Cyberdisk, and Muton Elite. Likewise, while slightly over-used, the cut-scenes are pretty high quality, the only complaint I have with the game in regards to the audio and visuals is that certain voice actors, clearly sound of a lower quality then others, and some just don't fit in, what comes to mind specifically is the escort missions where you have a soldier who's been in a Alien Warzone, with the most nasally, and upbeat way of talking you would never expect. Although I still must give credit to whoever voices the council, they are, although rather comical of the reasons I bought XCOM, their voice simply sounds like Optimus Prime.
Hello, Commander (I love that, I really do, it's just so epic)
XCOM's gameplay itself is quite top-notch, but what frustrated me extremely, is, as others have said, but been disregarded, I wouldn't necessarily say you can call it true "tactical strategy". Frequently, when playing on Classic, and to a certain degree on normal, the number generator just feels, (and is) biased against you, while this wouldn't be a problem, in addition, frequently even if you used something like the Archangel Armor for a sniper who missed the shot the first time with a 87% chance to hit, and now it says 95%, you will miss, every, time, while the Aliens hit using pistols and get 10 damage criticals across the map from the grunts, needless to say, it's even more frustrating when if you get a jump on the aliens, they will immediately move, and more frustrating is how the aliens can sometimes use their turn to move, then be detected, and move again.
Finally, while XCOM still comes off as very fresh, and I doubt that I won't be giving it a second playthrough when I finally finish the long campaign, I do feel, that more should have been done to prevent the gameplay getting a bit "stale" while free aim keeps it fresh for "tactics" I feel more should definitely have been done, instead of having the game rely so heavily on the number generator for most normal combat.
Hotline Miami(Big Thanks to Destructoid, Andy Dixon, and Devolver Digital)
Hotline Miami is one of the most pleasant surprises to come my way in the last 2 months, and more is that the developers were so kind to give us Dtoider's a chance to get copies of it, simply for submitting (albeit, rather bad) fan-art. While i'll share my thoughts, I will say that Alistair's review about my grievances with Hotline is about on par, I shared the same frustrations as he did in my playthrough (only through the main story)
Being honest though, i've never actually been a massive fan of "retro" games, I enjoy watching them, and I wish I had the knack to enjoy playing some of the classics more, but my eyes tend to disagree after a period, but Hotline Miami, thanks to a weird, yet fitting stylization of Retro, wins me over in this case, of what I have the greatest praise for is the music, it's quite simply fantastic. I found that the top down sprite shooters, are often not all they chalk up to be, and sometimes sub-par, but in part thanks to the masks, and more importantly the scoring, Hotline Miami makes it quite fun, with quick loading after a death, Hotline doesn't just say, "enjoy" but it actually encourages you trying to be as reckless as possible to win in as many ways possible, there's nothing quite like the feeling after-all of taking down Russian Mobsters with m16's and shotguns by running into a room with a katana blindly swinging, while wearing a giraffe mask.
Strange, I swear I saw you yesterday, working every shop in Miami
Of slightly humorous but interesting to note, was Jasper Byrne I noticed in the credits contributed to this game, and more was that Edmund Mcmillan was a playtester, not massive things, but still, I can understand how a game could be so twisted, into a beautiful form. While I did glaze over the story for the most part, it was understandable, and I probably will, if eventually, revisit the game, and pay more detail to the wording used as to truly get the gist as the character is always one-foot into insanity one foot out. Ironically, despite the praise Dishonored gets for the complexity of it's freedom of choice, I feel Hotline needs to be commended, for the freedom of choice it brings, in its medium of choice. If you have the 10$ regardless to spend, your money is well spent on the soundtrack alone for Hotline, the game however, makes it just so sweeter.
The Failures and Disappointments Corner
That expression sums the situation up quite well
Finally I bring you to my rage, the boiling blood, and the pure disgust of which i've been witness to on my end, the first although perhaps (we will see but for now) slightly unwarranted at the moment backhand goes to Prototype, for which I recently bought on sale during Halloween for 5$. While I respect the now debunct makers for their tenacity with a new IP, upon loading up the game, I was quite enjoying the cut-scenes, but then upon seeing the game switch to the actual game, was appalled by what I consider, development no-no #1, when making a game, nice cut-scenes are always appreciated, but if they don't fit the true graphical quality of your game, then don't use them. It feels, speaking plainly, like making a new friend, only to promptly have them turn around, and give you a quick kick to the gems.
The second offense of which I was upset with however, was the flaunting of how Prototype is, for all concerned a console port, for when trying to play with a Mouse and Keyboard, as is typical, the lack of refinement or care, was evident. The third, of which I feel was over-hyped is how amazing Prototype is to kill and destroy stuff, now if I had not played The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction as a kid on the gamecube, I could have let it slide. But from what I could tell, this feels fairly close in play, to just a watered down carbon copy, of a far more enjoyable original. Now yes, I will admit, I was so disgusted, I turned it off only about 5 minutes after I had started playing, but at the same time, first impressions mean a lot, and this was not a good one.
Finally, Life Itself Life has been an interesting one, grades and classes have intensified, or perhaps, gotten more random. Naturally, i've been devoting my time to this work, and more specifically to my hobby(ies) outside of videogames, so I haven't gotten in as much play as I normally do (although it sorta feels nice not to have the embarassment when a school friend looks at your profile and you have 72-100+ hours of gaming in the last 2 weeks)
On a more flip-side, didn't do much for Halloween, just chilled, I did buy into the Bundle of the Damned, which seems to be quite an interesting deal, and I have picked up the Penumbra Collection and re-bought the Bioshock Franchise for my PC.
I suppose the only interesting side-note is going to be how contacts are going to feel as opposed to the standard eyeglasses next week, hopefully it'll be a change for the best. Anyway, that's all for now Dtoid, if you read this congratulations, I give you my own fapulations, hand delivered at that. I know it's long, but I appreciate it in all seriousness.
A PSA For The Otherwise Minded It may not be trending as much lately, but I for one have felt that for far too long, crimes about frame-rate have existed, and specifically in both the publishers side, the gamers side, and even on our own side. I won't claim to have all the answers, but there's something which has been frustrating me lately, as you know, I won't attempt to come off as pretentious, but as a PC Gamer, frame-rate does matter.
Now sure you may be thinking of your stock argument, and well of course it matters, but who wants to pay (insert generally incorrect amount of cash here). But let me say, this is first off, and most importantly, not my point, I personally don't care if you prefer playing 30FPS or 60FPS+ on console or PC, what does matter to me lately, is all the false understandings of FPS.
Just recently a mod for the PC's notoriousDark Souls port was released, enabling it to run at 60FPS, and the difference was breath-taking in both how fluid, and surprisingly, how much easier it made the game to play. However, there began something of an inkling of anger, as false rumors began circulating. Rumors such as "60 FPS will get you banned from GFWL and Dark Souls" "60 FPS is a speedhack making you move twice as fast" and frankly, this is bullshit I hate with a passion.
Yet hear I am, doing close to that exact thing
The sad part is for a bit I was driven to question if this drivel could be a legitimate claim, and this was where, regardless of real or not, I have an issue. The first issue being that is our understanding of frame-rate really this shoddy and pathetic yet so important to enjoyment of our games, whenever we fix it, we question if we'll get banned? The second being, in question, when a developer says we can't run a game at 60FPS or it'll break it or it'll become a hack, and yet we do exactly that, where to question both integrity, and the whole system at large.
For those of you with a less then stellar understanding of frame-rate, I won't claim to be perfectly understanding of it, but I will say, it's really not what you think it's, you're wrong.
Now you might be wanting me to indulge you in my understanding of frame-rate, and as I said, it's not fantastic but it's enough to get myself by. If you were to ask me off-hand, frame rate is how many times a game re-draws your screen, it allows for quicker command inputs, and less experienced lag, and a overall smoother feel, while there are times, and albeit, a very few where frame-rate can in fact cause game mechanics to break, it's surprisingly, surprisingly, low.
Similar is a game, which gave Rockstar a bit of a black eye, both in how they managed the release of the game, how the studio managed the game, and how the PC release of the game was managed, that's right L.A Noire. L.A Noire, also happens to be one of the few games a large number of misconceptions also arised, and surprisingly, while some mechanics did break when we forced it into 60FPS on PC, the majority of what the developers, even the publishers told us, was a lie.
If you want the news as I heard it, Rockstar said when related to L.A Noire and the locked frames it would cause a de-sync of the facial animations and there would be massive graphical glitches as the game had been "made for 30 FPS" as such Rockstar released our ported version also at 30FPS. The crime comes from the fact however, when we did in fact hack 60FPS, the only thing wrong with the game, was the driving mechanics were a bit funny, but no facial desyncing issues, no massive graphical glitches, no, just the car-driving.
It's pretty clear we're being lied to, and more importantly with disrespect
If you read the fantastic blog by Jinx 01 a while back on bullshot backlashes, i'm sure you felt insulted that developers could just make fake images, images not capable of the version of the game you got, and overall just plain disrespect. I feel frame-rate needs to be taken in the same light, when a developer says "they can't" we shouldn't just lie down and say "ok" we should demand why, because i'm sick of playing an inferior game, because the developers weren't unable too, but were too lazy to. As a gamer, who expects to get an honest and quality game, I find this plain disrespectful.
It would be the same to going to an official developer preview at E3, having them give a massive presentation about all the features the game will have, and yet, where the game ships, all of the amazing features everyone bought the game for, aren't even in the game. You could liken it to watch_dogs having none of the hacking and in it's place is a generic cover shooter.
Integrity and truth are something we need both more of in the industry, and at the same time, we seem to get very little of. I want this to change, developers can pretend for all of their petty reasons that it would be too complicated for us to understand, but in the end, and especially with this Dark Souls port, it's very important that we keep developers honest. Even if you're not on a PC, with next gen around the corner we need to keep them trustworthy, but more importantly we need to come clear, and just ask, if and when they make a claim, if they're just plain lieing.
Just a minor foreword, but this is half speculation and the other opinion, take it with a grain of salt As some of you may have noticed, although it largely seems to have gone under the radar for a deal of the month, Steam Greenlight is a thing, and it finally released, however is Greenlight truly capable of prime-time? For those of you unfamiliar with Steam Greenlight it's Valve's newest attempt at giving users a real say for games which get on Steam, without Steam requiring interviews with the developers and a stack of legal papers for both sides to fill.
What's the Danger? At the moment, I won't say Steam Greenlight is a danger, more or less it feels Valve has sent a open beta for allowing games on Steam. what could be considered scary, is the fact "anyone" can submit a game, regardless of who they are, while this is one of the most fantastic things to happen in a long time, I feel it's not a long-shot to also call it one of the more risky. While Valve is doing a observably good job of preventing false games and projects from appearing on Greenlight, or taking them down swiftly, it still holds to the fact, Greenlight isn't presently what could be called a professional part of steam, it's the steam workshop of the steam store. And with this workshop, there holds one large, and noticeable flaw, the amount of users vs the amount of actually finished content.
Yes I know it seemed like a good idea at the time
Is Mob Mentality Ready for Gaming I don't wish to invoke a incredible degree of hate by saying this, but frequently and because of different interests, it's hard for gamers as a whole to agree on many subjects without starting a few arguments, when the results of these arguments settle however, sometimes, the results aren't always what we may necessarily want, and when it comes to gaming, the minority does in fact have just as much say as the majority.
Sometimes, small groups aren't our friends
This is the problem I have with fully embracing Steam Greenlight, while I love what I see, and I love indie games just as much (if not more) then the next guy, Greenlight could potentially pose problems, noticeably is the fact a good deal of the games on Greenlight are not even necessarily games, as much as demos. While I welcome indie dev's to put their games on Steam, I fear that unless Steam manages to keep a good handle on the flux of games, we may soon find that the steam store is full of games which may never be finished, never started, or, end up canceled, and at the moment with Steams user-base capable of breaking 5 million daily, but only an estimated 500000 positive votes needed to get a game approved, there's a good chance every game will have a certifiable minority to back it up getting on steam.
The Issue, Quantity vs Quality While Steam itself has an already fantastic selection of games, Steam Greenlight itself is already proving to be no slouch in this category, with a present rate of this writing of almost 15-30 games an hour, it's rather intimidating to individually review all of them for just a single user, even if that user is a steam power-user. The second point, the Steam Store itself can already prove overwhelming in choice, and while the addition of more never hurts, the addition of games which may have a distinguishably lower quality is a concern of mine, while Steam is definitely with this attempt pushing the industry out of stagnation, (for that you get a cake Valve, and it's not a lie) I am concerned we may have an issue from this push for more originality, more similarity.
Stop!Sheath your sword steam! Every game on steam was picked to be on steam for a reason, and with Greenlight games can be picked without a necessary reason at all. While I would love to play window washing simulator, and dry cleaning simulator all day, I don't want the steam store being filled with games if almost each game is the same amateur indie dev style, I love indie games, but they're like the fine wine of gaming. Binge-drinking indie games, will not end well, for you, myself, or steam.
Piece of Cake? Why No Piece of Lead? While not everybody immediately buys a game, and decides to beat it on the hardest difficulty unlocked on their first and afterward second+ playthroughs, I do. Yet It's been coming to my attention, as of late a increasing number of newer games have seemingly made hard mode a parody of what it once was.
Ikaruga, one of the greatest, games to ever grace the "Hard Mode Gamer"
While fan made games based off I want to be the guy still maintain, our love of stupid hard games, I find it pitiful that game developers feel not enough players would benefit from, or even want a "Hard Mode". Perhaps however I should give a better definition as to my term of "Hard Mode"
The Definition Hard Mode: Difficulty which nearly exceeds the ability of human reflexes and a games built in mechanics, while many never use it certain gamers enjoy an increased challenge both for longer playtime, more strategy, tighter windows of opportunity, and bragging rights, while possible for a player to abide by a certain set of rules they set themselves, many enjoy a clear-cut built in choice. A Hard-Mode needs not be intended to be short, and is fine if it's more time-consuming, slow or buggy controls do not qualify as being part of what can be said to make a hard-mode, unless the game is Retro, or it brings a different play-style to the game in question. For more information see [Insane, Masochist, Speedrun, No-Save Run, No-Death Run]
Continuing however, a hard-mode should not be considered a "Arcade-Mode" by most standards unless the game is originally of an Arcade Style (Retro doesn't count think instead Guitar Hero, DDR, or Streetfigher, etc), while it can be seen as a way to compete, it doesn't ultimately make the game a greater challenge to get through, rather it's just a incentive for more players to revisit the game for a second playthrough, and this is what I feel is part of the parody of hard-mode as of late.
This is what a "Arcade Mode" should feel like
There's been an outpouring argument, that enemies with increased health and your gun doing lesser damage is stupid, and to a certain point, I do agree, ironically however, it seems this is what most developers feel is considered Hard-Mode presently. The less people who enjoy it the harder, right, just throw a few sleazy achievements in there so we can warrant doing a shoddy job. As for poking fingers, a game I have yet to try on it's hardest setting as it was "locked" but which definitely follows this concept is the recent, Spec Ops: The Line, which felt at the ignorance of gameplay and difficulty, it could get by on a fantastic story (which it somewhat does). It also happens to fall under one of the greatest stereotypes against hard-mode lately, the aimbotting, always know where you are 5000000 HP, first person shooter AI.
We're killing a genre, which nobody even knows if it's a genre anymore
Don't Let It Go Extinct! Somewhere along the line however (probably Spec Op's) we seemed to have gotten confused about why we give enemies HP, it's not to make them bullet sponges but to have the player actually have to maneuver and think how to dodge instead of just blasting them 12 times with the magnum and winning the game.
I feel this misconception probably comes from RPG's where insanely hard was considered giving the boss a stupid amount of HP and the player gambling on luck to win, but to be honest, when was the last time we actually felt amazing from a boss-fight? My answer to that question is recently, Deus Ex: HR, which ironically the developers apologized for making the bosses so hard.
Despite all the swearing, and the raging after having died 100's of times (yet finally having used the environment effectively, trapping him, but also trapping you), and yet when you're about to be slaughtered by a boss as you see his minigun around the corner. You have one bullet in the chamber, a tranquilizer dart, you rush out, aim wildly and hit them dead center in the head, winning the fight, that's when a game feels truly great. It scares me, that the idea of such feelings of pride, and true satisfaction may die off, for the tacked on multiplayer, or arcade mode. So please if anything don't let hard-mode die off, despite how stupid it may look from the outside for others.