Now, I’ve been a big fan of gaming for a long time. My tastes generally don’t discriminate unless it is to support my idea of gaming (such as my limited purchase of EA games). Lately, I have been very excited for Saints Row 2 (publisher THQ).
For those that do not know, Saints Row 2 is a direct sequel to Saints Row, for the Xbox 360. The game followed your created nameless character as they started as a low level street thug and grew the gang they joined (Saints Row) into the biggest gang in Stillwater. Not the most original game in the world I know. It ripped of GTA in terms of gang sandbox style game play, tried to be gansta (not gangster), and its comedy styling was that of a sledge hammer to the face (The name of the fast food chain was “Freckle” and term for female dog).
But for all its ham and cheesy-ness, it had some surprisingly good qualities as well. As one of the first sandboxes on the 360, it contained some beautiful graphics, far beyond the traditional crapola of the time. It pegged the shooting controls for a game of its type, instead of using lock on like GTA, it allowed for free aiming with tight controls. It introduced GPS mapping into the mini map to help move around the city. A car garage that would hold something like 50 cars, and cars that were totaled or left would reappear in the garage so as to keep cool cars (instead of sitting on them like I would do in GTA). They also had an mp3 player for your character to carry.
With the next iteration of Saints Row, they are changing things up to help differentiate itself from GTA IV. GTA IV, while containing much of its humor, has gone the route of realistic and gritty. So Volition (developer of SR) is going the route of completely off the top antics. You select your characters gender based on a slider, not a switch. The various costumes you can wear are over the top (giant walking hotdog for instance). Some of the side missions you can do are hilarious (fun with sewage), and the weapons are getting interesting with new items like defibrillator paddles.
Now the problem is twofold. First, people are having problems coming to terms with what Volition is attempting to make, which is kinda understandable. The second, and the one that gets me confused, is the people going after it because it is a gangster sandbox. For the first one, it all depends on your cup of tea due to the story line/point of the game.
As for the other issue, I just don’t get it. I’m willing to be that most of these people who complain about Saints Row 2, are practitioners of their own complaint. More than likely they have more than one Space FPS. Or more than one survival horror. More than one fighter, or racing sim, or RPG, or RTS, or etc. In other words, they complain about a game that seems to be copying, and yet more than likely they have multiple copy cat type products sitting on their shelf.
With Call of Duty 4 coming to us in a few days it brings to mind that shocking piece of news from a few weeks ago. That the single player campaign is short. Really short. 4-6 hours on normal difficulty short.
The general response from the gaming community from what I can tell has been a resounding "Meh." And this brings up a serious issue. Is multi-player starting to trump the single-player in the world of gaming? Now this isn't necessarily a rant about length of games, but so far I haven't heard a single person say that 4-6 hours is a good thing. They are just saying that they don't care. They say that as long as the multiplayer is good then it doesn't matter.
Not only this, but the gaming mags (flawed to begin with) seem to be giving more and more creedence to multiplayer. The top three things they are rating on look to be 1) Gameplay 2) Multiplayer 3) Singleplayer.
I can't help but feel as if singleplayer is becoming more and more of an afterthought. The big shooter games (Bioshock excluded) are giving more and more emphasis to multiplayer, while leaving their singleplayer products behind.