New directions that francises need
The video game industry, probably more than any other form of media, suffers from a severe case of “sequelitis.” For last several years the biggest games released had some number attached to the name (or even worst when developers take a misguided cue from the Resident Evil movie franchise and add some vague “edgey” subtitle like revengence or ascension, looking at you Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.) Developing games is an enormously costly affair and the most likely reason for so many sequels is that developers and publishers are unwilling to pour money and resources in an unproven IP. As the cost of making a triple-A game is constantly rises, we as gamers must accept the fact that sequels are going to become the norm.
Yet this is not inherently a bad thing. Yes it seems that we get sequels that only provide marginal improvements to the previous title (still looking Assassin’s Creed: Revelations) but every now and then we get a sequel that takes the franchise in a whole new direction. One example of this could be the hotly anticipated Bioshock: Infinite that takes some concepts from the beloved Bioshock series and puts in a whole new area. We’ve been contemplating where some of gaming biggest series, some of which desperately need a new spin, could go in order to give the heavily sequeled out industry more fresh big name titles.
God of War needs a new mythology to tackle
I don’t care what anyone says, I love the hell outta God Of War. I’ve murdered all gods and banged all the sluts hiding behind breakable objects in the ancient Greece the series created. Yet after God of War 3, I got the feeling that the series had run its course through Greek mythology (especially because everyone was pretty much dead.) So when God of War: Ascension was announced I was hoping for a reboot that took place in another mythology but, alas, we’re getting another prequel with the Ghost of Sparta.
I’m really hoping that eventually Santa Monica will take the God of War gameplay and set into the Norse legends. The Norse mythology is filled to the brim with some of the same evil gods, violent battles, and sex that the Greece deities had that should led to some excellent stories to set a gory hack-and-slash title in. Hopefully if this does happen, the story would be a bit better than: Gods screws man; man gets pissed and kills all of them while yelling a lot. At the very least, can we not have the majority of dialogue consisting of:
(yes I know that Marvel’s Yhor, i just don’t care)
Persona needs to get away from Japan, and high school.
In the past year my gaming life has changed greatly. I picked up several of the Shin Megami Tensei series on Parker’s recommendation and I’ve grown to love the series especially Persona. I completed Persona 3 (One of my favorite games of all time, and definitely my favorite JRPG) and I’m currently going through Persona 4 and 2 concurrently. And while I love almost everything about the series (except the lack of an autosave, damn you JRPGs!!!!) I feel that the similar settings of each game in the series are starting to wear a bit thin. Don’t get me wrong, there is a big difference in setting between Persona 3’s city and Persona 4’s rural settings but both stories still revolve around teenage Japanese High Schoolers.
To solve this problem I believe that Atlas must move the series out of Japan. You could say that the Japanese developers should only stick to what they know but I find that argument a little weak. Yet look at companies like Ubisoft, makers of the Assassin’s Creed series that pours hours of research in a culture or time period to get it right. With the right research, Atlas can produce a unique Persona that shows us a bit of an another society. I vote for an European setting, French specifically, for two reasons, first I think Atlas owes them after the borderline racist French foreign exchange student in P 3 and secondly because I am partial to Paris because of a recent trip there).
Also ditch the High School and create characters a bit older. Maybe use a University as the backdrop. A collegiate setting would allow for a more diverse set of character with completely different backgrounds that are more mature than the characters in the earlier titles. This would hopefully allow Atlas to fully explore the sexual and other darker themes that they touch on in previous title but always seem to play pussyfoot with.
The Elder Scrolls never advances in technology???
I’ve spent countless hours in Bethesda’s Elder Scrolls games. I love the sense of scale and immersion that only those games can provide. Yet one thing has always bothered me about the world of Tamerial. If the games are set 100’s of years apart, why aren’t there major advances in technology? In fact there only seems to be relapses in science as evident that the lost civilization of the Dwarves made all kinds of machines and robots but I got to ride a damn horse.
I say pull a page from the Fable series and advance the world from the Middle Ages to the Industrial age. Instead of bows and arrows how about muskets and blunderbuss? We can keep the magical elements and the swords but I want to see the world change significantly in the next game. Seriously just imagine Orcs in tri-cornered hats and tell me you don’t want to play it.
Resident Evil……. Reboot
You read that in the Resident Evil announcer guy’s voice didn’t you? Anyways, I can’t claim to have played RE 6 so I can’t follow suit of so many other gamers and reviewers and drop trou and shit all over it. I can say however that the series has strayed a bit too far from the survival horror elements that made it the success it was (and this is coming from someone who loved RE 5.)
So I would love to see a reboot of the series. I don’t mean just make the series over in better graphics, (they already did that with the phenomenal Remake for the Gamecube) but actually restart the series fresh. What I want from this reboot is simple: Zombies, underpowered players, and the true feeling of tension that was provided in the early games. I think that if Capcom took more pages from the Amenisa and Slender games that create dark tension and under equipped characters and less from the Gears of War style then they can save this lost series.
Harvest Moon needs to get back to farming
So what’s missing from Harvest Moon games nowadays? I mean, all you do is farm. But that’s just the thing. Kind of like how Pokemon games introduce a new gimmick that everyone will ignore every game (fashion shows, movie studio, etc), HM games seem to shift the focus a bit in one direction each time for their semi-regular releases. “There’s two towns!” or “Animals are a bit more important!” or what-have-you. I got far more enjoyment out of the entries that keep the focus where it’s supposed to be: raising crops, raising animals, befriending townspeople, and just living the farm life in general. This is why I come back to HM64 and play through it again every year (I almost got the full photo album last time, if not for one day of rain), and found FOMT, BTN, and even MM more fun.
I’m not saying it should be a realistic farm simulator or something (please no, there’s John Deere games for that), but more steps can be taken to stay true to the core gameplay. Give the villagers lots of varying dialogue so talking to them every day isn’t a chore. Give expanded farm/field options (Magical Melody was a good start to this). I don’t think larger fields are the answer, as I kind of like my little plots of crops to be disconnected from reality a bit. Animal improvements shouldn’t be that hard either. Lots of little things, but the little things matter.
No, the “Valley of the Flood” image is not real. It’s neat though, right? Right. There’s a gap in the Zelda timeline between OoT and WW, detailing how exactly Hyrule became so desperate that the King decided to flood the place. Twilight Princess and [especially] Majora’s Mask delve into a darker Zelda world and their reception has been nothing else but great.
The steampunk-ish look of the picture would be a great touch too (although a bit of an inconsistency, as none of that was seen when visiting old Hyrule in WW, but that WAS only the castle, who knows). Nobody questions the hookshot and how it works so effectively or the Spinner, why should we get all bothered about a slight change in technology around Hyrule? It’s all getting wiped out later anyway, might as well have fun with it until then. I’m picturing some intricate dungeon mechanics and towering bosses. Finding some explanation as to why firearms are ignored shouldn’t be too hard. And maybe the trains will be fun this time around (I’m looking at you, Spirit Tracks).
Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow was the first game in the series I played. The main character Soma Cruz turns out to be SPOILERSanincarnationofDraculaorsomething/SPOILERS and faces off against Julius Belmont near the end. Julius is supposedly the strongest Belmont to date, sealing Dracula inside an eclipse (sweet!) back in 1999. It gets talked up a bit in Aria/Dawn of Sorrow. After that, I went on to play the other GBA/DS castlevanias, the PSP Rondo of Blood, some older SNES ones, and the newer reboot. But mysteriously MIA was ANY mention of Julius Belmont.
Konami, I know you like your new series continuity, and the LoS2 looks alright (the 3DS game, not so much). But can you please provide us some answers here? I love me some Metroidvania, filling out those maps to 100% is some kind of addiction. And DS entries were all great fun, especially the latest Order of Eclessia. I was under the impression the goal was to have the LoS games and the main Castlevania entries remain separate but equal, but it seems like the focus has shifted a bit much. Lets try to stay objective here and give both continuities their fair share.