Reflection of mediocrity?

One important cog of my Happy? Index has been, in recent times, my pursuit of videogaming fun. But when the ‘fun’ turns into a puddle of mediocrity you really have to begin to ask questions. Other than enjoying the recent Walking Dead XBL game and spurts of FIFA 12, I am left with too many games that try pandering to a wider audience than can be maintained . So it’s no surprise then that I’m enjoying games that know what they are and know not to step past their limitations.

A recent example of a game that started well but then lost me due to the developers losing course was Assassin’s Creed Revelations. I cannot fathom why a game that is all about allowing the player so much freedom with its fluid movement would want to detour into a Tower Defence game? I hated how it made me feel about the game and how it took me away from the hub of what makes an Assassin’s Creed game what it is. The game remains unfinished for that very reason.

My fear for videogaming as a whole is the easy path of appealing to the masses will undermine any real progress for the industry. With this years retail market at a all-time low, I do hope developers take stock and understand that a videogame doesn’t need every little element thrown at it, to be a success. Just because your Modern Warfare’s have multiplayer doesn’t mean multiplayer has to be included in every single title that is ever released. You only need look to Telltale Games to appreciate that.

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Three from the E3 hype

While E3 is big on gamers minds this week, I’ve kept my distance from the hype. E3 is all about the stirring as much hype in your product as possible – it is what it is. And although I’ve been away celebrating a family birthday, a few gaming nuggets have impressed me.

I’m happy to see that Assassin’s Creed 3 historical backdrop – the American revolution – is looking lively. It’s a period of history I enjoy when played out in fiction. OK the naval combat has been exaggerated for the game design. For anyone who has done any sailing will know that no sail ship, even from that period of history, can respond that quickly from port to starboard. I do like how it looks but can imagine it’s not a big part of the game and has to be better than the tower defence mini-game in the last outing.

I admit I’ve enjoyed the Halo universe of games but hadn’t been concerned with what Halo 4 would be dishing up. The first gameplay video from 343 Industries shown at E3 has some nice reworkings of combat which I kinda like. The new villain of the piece feels fresh too.

I like Naughty Dog. The Uncharted series of games has been the only reason I’ve turned on my PS3 over the last few years. For that reason alone I should thank them. 2013 looks to be the next time I boot my PS3 up. If I’m lucky The Last of Us could still possibly work its way into the end of 2012.

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