Every now and then, as a personal service to developers, publishers and the industry at large, I take it upon myself to speak on behalf of all gamers and air our grievances. I am, after all, if nothing else, a man of the people.
This week then I have decided to say what we’ve all been thinking. What we’ve all known in our hearts for some time, but didn’t want to admit. These then, are the certain types of popular games that have existed for far too long, and need to be thrown into a digital wood chipper.
I’m pretty convinced that pretty much every FIFA game since 2002 is essentially just DLC. That may be because that was the last FIFA game I played, but since soccer is a game for the simple-minded anyway I can’t imagine that much has changed.
Aside from a graphical overhaul every five years or so, these guys are making money off all you chumps by running out the same game every year with a different box cover and with the names on different jerseys.
I’m proposing FIFA Legacy, where you buy the game once and every year it gets an update so that all the people with bad haircuts who get paid millions to hold their shins and cry can switch the colours of their outfits.
With Battlefield One’s release, we’ve finally run the gambit from clanking carbines to robot exosuits, and come full circle once again.
Every year, anyone hoping to put out a competitive FPS gets sand kicked in their face by the two big swinging dicks of Activision and EA who bury anything new or original in millions of dollars of dude-in-camo-shoots-people-on-jetski marketing.
We’ve been stuck with the same options for mainstream multiplayer FPS for so long we’ve forgotten what other games even look like. Overwatch was a massive success not only because it’s a great game, but also because it’s the first time in years we’ve had a decent arena shooter come along that was doing something different.
I talk a lot of smack about Pokemon Go, but that’s only because it’s an awful, awful excuse for a game. It taps into people’s obsessive collecting tendencies and checks actual gameplay at the door. Lame.
The actual Pokemon games, however, the ones that Nintendo puts out for the 3DS, are actually pretty good. The problem is, they’re all kind of the same game. They change the story (lol) and throw in a couple new pocket-size un-Christian abominations and bam, we’re printing money.
Yeah there’s new features and whatever but really, we’re just in it to move up an arbitrary level and stat track with dangerous, unethical pit-fights where we force two innocent creatures we snatched out of the long grass to duel until one of them is unconscious.
The pasted-on story is mostly irrelevant, you might as well just wipe your save at the end of the game and start levelling up again. There’s like 600 of these absurd anime-animals running around at this point, give the poor bastards some peace.
Competitive, online, multiplayer clones
Yeah I know, it’s a mouthful. For whatever reason, these are always the game that everybody decides the world needs six of for maximum enjoyment. They’re also usually the games that the rest of the world have already that we’re good with one.
Where do I even start with this? Overwatch is a massive success, and somehow around the exact same time we get Battleborn. Now we’re stuck with Paladins, which is such an unabashedly shameless Overwatch rip-off I’m surprised they don’t sell it at the robots.
The same thing happened with the DotA and League of Legends phenomenon, which spawned an entire range of MOBAs – everything from Heroes of Newerth (an unapologetic DotA clone that was pretty good until DotA 2 arrived) to some absurd Dead Island MOBA attempt. There was also a Marvel one in there somewhere, and even Blizzard’s Heroes of the Storm attempting to muscle in on the space. Hell, the term “MOBA” is absurd in itself because really, there’s two of them. Perhaps the mistake made was trying to turn a game into a genre.
Don’t even get me started on Hearthstone’s success and all the garbage digital CCGs that seems to have spawned along with it. The things all these clones seem to have in common is that they’re wildly unpopular and ultimately, financial black holes that swallow investor money like its Matthew McConaughey (seriously, how does this guy spell his OWN name?).
It’s not that these games are even bad – I’ve heard Battleborn is decent (… um, it’s not so much. – Ed), I’ve played and enjoyed Heroes of the Storm. It’s just that nobody wants or needs them, because the other game fills that niche better.
When you’re looking at competitive multiplayer games, there’s no campaign. It’s all about getting better through mastering the skills, learning the metagame, optimising what you’re doing. Doing that means sinking a lot of hours into the same game, and people generally don’t want to split that time between multiple different games that are doing the same thing.
I’m just waiting for publishers to realise that ripping off other people’s stuff doesn’t make money. Unless, of course, you’re King.com.
Generic fantasy RPG
I’ll probably not get too much agreement here, but I’m just so freakin’ bored of goblins and elves and people with long hair. I’ll admit I’m not a huge RPG guy at the best of times, but the whole space honestly feels so mundane and unexplored.
It feels like 90% of the RPGs I’ve played are some kind of fantasy/medieval setting with wizards and swords and mean reptilian monsters and whenever I play any of them I tend to just run around pissing off the locals and killing their chickens for thirty minutes and then throwing myself off a cliff.
These games frequently have fantastic story and gameplay, so I wish a studio would take a risk and do something that isn’t fantasy/space opera/sci-fi/zombies. We just keep wheeling out the same geek tropes and it’s BORING. I know The Witcher 3 is a sacred cow and it’s a great game and all, but the theme is about as interesting as decoupage. Do you know what decoupage is? Boring. Boring as fuck.
Someone needs to make me an RPG like Max Payne. Then I’d probably be happy.