OK, so let me clarify a single point here, I love my ps4 as a console. It does what I need it to do; plays games, adequate online experience, great indies on PSN, I can watch anime on Kissanime through the Internet browser and it functions perfectly fine. My problem doesn’t lie with the console per say, it’s more to do with the software. This seems to be my issue with the entire new state of gaming.
If you read my Top 5 Games of 2015 list, you’ll understand that I didn’t really enjoy that many of the AAA games that were released recently, not to say that they were all bad, I just didn’t feel like they engaged me very much. You had sequels to games that either broke the mechanics that made that series amazing in the first place, or just run of the mill gaming (I’ll go into more detail on that when I post my biggest disappointments of 2015 list), but they’ve not blown me away basically. The indies, however, have done something that gaming used to do; made fun games.
I can trace this back to the amount of times I played through classics like Streets of Rage 1 & 2, Sonic, Desert Strike, Micro Machines, Golden Axe, Thunder Force IV…the list goes on. These games were FUN. They weren’t necessarily ground breaking, or mind blowing in their use of innovation (probably were actually), but they were just plain fun. Games that are released now seem to be centred on something different. Fun seems to be a lost facet that is only considered after they have made a game that breaks some boundaries, makes people salivate over the quality of the graphics or the ability to actually see glass breaking as it does in real life. All valid and cool features, of course, but none that add to the fun experienced in the actual playing of the game.
When I was younger, I would have a single game, mainly because I came from a…let’s say reasonably poor family, and also because I could replay that game over and over and OVER again, without getting bored. Flash forward to now, and I have to buy a new game every three to four weeks. If I don’t, my fatigue with the game grows to such a point that I start to question whether gaming is actually for me anymore. This seems insane to me, as these new games are humongous in comparison to things like streets of rage, but there just seems to be something missing.
I think a lot of the problem lies with a few major issues, one of which is the need to make all gaming multiplayer equipped. Just recently I’ve been playing Rainbow Six Siege, quite a lot I may add (level 62 at the moment) and I just hit a brick wall with the game. Not only am I getting frustrated with idiotic teammates who don’t know what the hell they’re doing, even though they’re level 50+, but also, there is no real drive to play the game anymore. There’s nothing to discover, nothing to truly achieve, other than another level and some pointless renown. The game depends SOLELY on having a fun interaction with other people. As we all know, people online have a tendency to be complete dickheads…or just absolutely imbecilic.
Don’t get me wrong here, I enjoy the ability to play a game with a friend from the comfort of our own homes (I do miss couch co-op a lot, but adult life means I just wouldn’t have the time to do that anymore anyway). I think it’s great to have that ability, but as an added feature, not the main aspect. Siege has no other possible way of interacting with the game, and I know, ‘it’s an online only game, so what did you expect?’ thoughts will run through the minds of some of you readers, but regardless, I’m making a point here.
This factor of gaming is bleeding over to all kinds of games. When I heard rumours of there being no story mode for Street Fighter V, my heart sank. Luckily, this was not true. I know a story mode for a fighting game seems irrelevant in most instances, but I like to have some base purpose to what I’m doing. The story doesn’t need to be ground breaking…just there. It can be added after the gameplay is solidified. That’s fine with me, because, as I said earlier, fun and enjoyment should be the first and foremost factor for a games developer to consider.
Too many games are going down this rabbit hole, or the more annoying rabbit hole of, what I’m calling OW Syndrome (Open World). This new ailment has infected so many games lately that the CDC should add it to their list of known sicknesses. All designers are shoe horning this new feature into games that don’t need or benefit from having it. Games such as GTA have always benefitted from this feature. Even Mercenaries on the PS2 and Xbox utilised this feature, as well as RPG’s like Final Fantasy VII…but Metal Gear Solid?! (Yet again, I’ll go into deeper depth with this in my disappointments list).
Some things should not be messed with. Problem here is, there’s big money in the open world structure. People go crazy at the thought of open world gaming. I have to admit that, when I first heard about an open world MGS, I also got ridiculously excited. I actually don’t know why. I would have preferred the usual structure.
Another issue is the need for instant gratification. Looking at you Fallout 4 (again, my upcoming list will explain in greater detail). It feels like this new generation of twenty-second-attention-span-having people has reduced games to snapshots of what they used to be. I’m all for explosive gaming. I loved Luftrausers for example, just insane gaming, but Fallout was something different. You needed patience and tactics to survive.
My final gripe would come from the need to make money. I know everyone needs money in the society we live in, but this drive to make as much profit from games has tainted the industry in my opinion. The people making the overriding decisions are most likely people who know how to make cash, not how to make a fun game.
To summarise, gaming has changed, and in a lot of ways, it’s changed for the worse. The only saving grace for me is the indie scene. They are keeping gaming alive for me. I can, and do play almost all of the latest games that come out on the current generation of gaming, but they lose me, and become increasingly boring after a while. It’s possible that I’m getting too old for gaming now, or it just doesn’t suit me anymore…higher chance is that they’re just not as good. My two pence.