Games (and, to be fair, movies) tend to lack somewhat in the originality department. Developers find something that works and stick to it, and frankly it’s all gotten a little monotonous for me. I don’t mean broad strokes such as FPS (or what my dad calls “walking gun games” #dadjokes) or elves and dwarves in fantasy games, but more the various gimmicks, styles and trends which show up consistently in those genres. This is a list of my five worst, but there are many, many more. So, I show you mine you show me yours. Deal?
Okay, I have to admit, kicking a first aid kick with a steel-toed boot while getting shot in the back with a rocket launcher isn’t exactly the most realistic portrayal of healing, but it does beat the hell out of sitting behind a tree for 7 seconds.
The good old days of collecting health and armour are gone, now every modern soldier is apparently also Wolverine. The bad-ass Hugh Jackman variety too, not the hobo in yellow pyjamas.
I will admit that a game in which you take 50 damage and have to take two weeks off for a virtual recovery isn’t ideal (if I wanted to wait several days every time I died I’d just play Counter-Strike), but surely someone can think of something a little better.
Worst offender: Call of Duty
Come on guys, it’s time for a little honesty. Yes, we all really liked Wii Tennis for about four days. We all wanted the Kinect to have more use to us than it does the NSA. We probably all want to forget about the Playstation Move. But we all wanted motion control to be good, we really, really did.
But it’s not, is it?
It’s awkward, it’s boring, it’s for the most part poorly utilised and it just all seems like too much effort. We want to sit on a couch, controller in hand, TV to the front. Almost everything that’s attempted to mess with that formula has ended poorly – just ask Nintendo how that whole tablet screen-in-your-controller thing is working out for them.
Worst offender: Pretty much all of them
Seriously, who actually ever wants to play one of these? Even if you don’t know a damned thing about the game, these are generally overly long, tedious and straight up boring.
They’re also generally unskippable. No, I really don’t need you to teach me to jump, crawl through a tunnel and shoot little cardboard cutouts.
Hell, even if it takes me seven clips to barely nick two of the cardboard men, somehow I’m still ready for a highly specialised tactical mission minutes later.
I suppose as long as there’s something sturdy to hide behind, I’ll be okay.
Worst offender: DotA 2
Okay, let’s get one thing straight – when Half-Life did this it was cool. It’s every game after that killed it.
These are the people you see sharing coffee and a joke behind the office window. The group of people huddled together singing songs in a sealed room as you roam a post-apocalyptic wasteland. That creepy ghost girl fingerpainting on that mirror in blood.
And you. Trudging along without even so much as a nod of appreciation for your hard efforts in saving the world and all of its inhabitants.
It was interesting when we first saw it in Half-Life, seeing the environment and its various interactions playing out around us. It was original and it added to the immersion.
Now it’s kind of just annoying, just a bunch of people who can likely help us who can’t be bothered to open the door or so much as acknowledge our existence.
Worst offender: Half-Life series (but they’re still allowed to do it)
Magic, Magic Everywhere
I’ve never really been much of a fantasy guy. Or, to tell you the truth, that much of an RPG guy, except for a few gems that really take hold.
One thing I have noticed, however, is that basically every character from the barbarian type to the legit mages can shoot fireballs out of their asses. It doesn’t really matter if you kill things with an axe, magic is everywhere and thus you’ll absorb some of it.
It wasn’t until I read a fantasy novel like Game of Thrones that I realised magic can actually be a lot more awesome when it’s not so heavy-handed. For those of you familiar with the TV series/novels, you’ll notice that magic is rare and revered, something unique and special.
In games it often just feels like lazy design – when possibilities are infinite as they are with magic, it’s easy to come up with a new spell or ability. Pick the stats you want for it, then attach some arbitrary animation. Done.
I’d like to see a game that makes very minimal use of magic, so that when we do see it, it’s a pretty damned big deal.