Video games are still a relatively young medium, and as such the vocabulary that we've developed to describe them is similarly immature. Nowhere does this seem more apparent to me than in the way the term gameplay is used. Most people who play and read about games probably have the same general sense of what the term means. As I understand it, gameplay refers to the experience of playing or interacting with a game without reference to things like graphics and sound. This seems pretty straight forward. But the more I read and write about games, the more I find the use of this term problematic.
While I never read previews, it's rare that I make it through a week without checking on The Magic Box a few times. As a result, 99 percent of my information about upcoming games from a few isolated screenshots, often blurry scans from Japanese magazines.
Most of the time, I don't draw anything but the broadest conclusions about a game from these pictures, but today I came across shots so bewildering that I found myself compelled to share them with you, the person reading this blog post.
I present Splatterhouse 2009: The Screenshots, and the snarky comments that accompany them.
Oh good, it's a generic monster with grey skin and tubes sticking out of his back. Because that went so famously well in The Suffering, Van Helsing, and Resistance.
Do you like to shoot things? We do! This week the crew engages in vigorous debate over two new run-and-gun games: Little Red Riding Hood's Zombie BBQ and Weapon of Choice. Find out if 2D shooters still have a place in a 3D world.
Plus, the premiere of our new segment "What Do You Think?" (complete with swanky echo effect) where YOU tell US what you think of Fallout 3: Operation Anchorage, and that...unique...control scheme in the Resident Evil 5 demo.
New York Comic Con is in full swing, and I’m still bummed that I’m not there (a golden opportunity to meet Takashi Miike has now passed me by…)
Despite that, I’m still scouring the interweb for any interesting news that happens at the show. The first really cool thing I’ve found is this trailer for the new Splatterhouse game courtesy of GameTrailers.
The game looks pretty impressive—sort of like a horrific God of War. You can see some Prince of Persia-esque platforming sequences in the trailer, as well as a ton of gruesomely imagined brawler-styled melee combat.
I’m optimistic that this game might actually be, you know, good. We’ll know for sure come April 28th, when the game debuts on the PS3 and Xbox 360 and hits retailers nationwide.
Variety is reporting that the video game version of the Saw films isn’t as dead as we thought it was.
Brash Entertainment had been originally handling Jigsaw’s first foray into the digital universe when the company abruptly closed up shop a few months back. The game appeared all but dead at that point, with the rights winding up in Lionsgate’s hands. Things have now changed though, with Lionsgate teaming up with Konami to resurrect the title. The game is still slated for a fall release (keeping it in line to appear around the same time as the sixth film in the franchise).
I wasn’t particularly interested in a Saw game prior to this point (it seems like its ripe with the potential to suck balls), but Konami stepping in gives me a slightly more positive outlook. Konami has a decent track record with horror games (they’re the guys behind Silent Hill and Castlevania) and maybe they can bring some interesting elements to the project. My area of concern, though, remains the fact that the release date is still this fall–meaning they’re probably taking what Brash had already created and just finishing the project as opposed to building a game from the ground up.
I guess we’ll all find out if the game is worth playing before the end of 2009.
I was going to write this week's blog entry about the general topic of "gameplay" and how it's defined (exciting, I know), but instead I've decided to shelve that idea in favor of something much more topical: namely, the new Killzone 2 demo, which I just had the unexpected pleasure of downloading and playing, thanks to some PSN trickery. Here are my initial thoughts.
Yes, the graphics are very good. In fact, these might be the best graphics I've seen in a game. (Before people start bringing up Crysis or whatever other graphics-heavy PC game they like to jerk off to, just bear in mind that I don't play PC games, so that's not what I'm talking about here.) The gritty atmosphere, the wind and dust, the explosions, the sunlight breaking through the hazy sky, all of it looks fantastic. The visuals aren't so much a giant leap above competitors like Gears of War 2 and Call of Duty 4 as they are a small step. But it's definitely a noticeable step.
It's not a good sign when a 2008 release date, slips to 2009 and now 2010. Making things worse is the exclusivity deal Square-Enix struck with Microsoft—FFXIII would be released simultaneously on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 outside of Japan—Square-Enix has announced that development wouldn't even begin on the 360 version until the PS3 version was finished. How much does that add to development time?
Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Someone or someones decided he or she or they didn't like playing Mirror's Edge in the first-person and hacked the game (PC version) so that it could be played from an over-the-shoulder viewpoint. That's all well and good as long additional steps were taken to fix any side-effects of the switch. But none were. Instead, we see a character model that was never made to be seen during normal gameplay instances and as a result looks pretty laughable.
Polished off Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this afternoon, and it was a pretty fun thrill ride from start to finish.
I have to admit that I had heard the gameplay had some problems before I started it, so I set the thing to Easy and I'm glad I did. The developers have a real over-reliance on snipers and people firing from a distance which wouldn't be so bad except that it's far too easy to get knocked down and fall into a gang rape as you bounce back and forth between enemies. There's nothing more frustrating than getting ping-ponged without the chance to really do anything, and even on Easy it happened to me more than I like.
I'm still catching up with games from 2008 that I never got a chance to get around to… this week, I'm trying Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on the 360. I'm definitely a Star Wars fan (although less so since the new trilogy ruined everything) but I've got to say that so far, this one fits into the canon pretty well and I really like the tone. Playing as Darth Vader's secret apprentice is a neat concept, and LucasArts nailed his character design—his costumes all exude a sort of low-level wraith-like quality, and although I'm sure that there are only a finite number of ways to carry a lightsaber, this new "behind the back" style is pretty hot.
Comments are subject to approval/deletion based on the following criteria:
1) Treat all users with respect.
2) Post with an open-mind.
3) Do not insult and/or harass users.
4) Do not incite flame wars.
5) Do not troll and/or feed the trolls.
6) No excessive whining and/or complaining.