Ben's Week In Review: July 12
I haven't had a problem with the summer drought in years. Who the hell doesn't have stuff in their back-logs to play?
Lovin' that Horizon: Zero Dawn info
I've always respected Guerrilla Games as a developer, as Killzone 2 and Killzone 3 are still a couple of my favorite shooters ever. I always wanted them to try something different and now, I'm super pumped for Horizon: Zero Dawn.
The gameplay demo during E3 was pretty amazing but now we've got some concrete design details that are awfully encouraging. Firstly, I really like the idea of being able to explore everywhere; if you're going to make a sandbox game (which, unfortunately, appears to be the only type of game developers are going to make in the future), you may as well go nuts. Why restrict any aspect of the world you present to the gamer? I love The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt but even there, I'll stumble across areas they just won't let me explore (why do I have to "turn back?" What's the problem?). Secondly, the three distinct gameplay styles indicate a deep and diverse mechanic, and one that will allow the player to experiment and customize to his or her heart's content.
Oh, and no competitive multiplayer. I really don't care what anyone says; if a studio wants to dedicate all their time and resources to the single-player adventure, fine. It'll probably turn out better. I never have any inclination to play multiplayer in The Witcher 3 (or really, any open-world game, for some reason), so I've got no problem with this choice. All it tells me is that we'll probably end up with a massive, wildly immersive single-player experience, which I can't wait to try.
I wonder if Corvo and Emily will get different storylines, too
We just heard that there will be two playable characters in the upcoming Dishonored 2: The protagonist from the first game, Corvo, and Emily Kaldwin, the daughter of the late Empress. It's cool that they'll play very differently from one another, and I'm anticipating wanting to play through as both. However, I wonder if the writers are penning slightly different stories for each...I mean, I doubt they can be completely different, but shouldn't we expect to see some new scenes based on the fresh perspective? Actually, wouldn't it make perfect sense to implement such a feature, as it makes a second play-through a lot more appealing? I still remember wishing there were more Rena-specific scenes in Star Ocean: The 2nd Story; there were a few, but her story wasn't much different than Claude's. It's probably why I never finished the second play-through.
Anyway, I'm really hoping we see some gameplay for the Dishonored sequel. I think Gamescom is too close but perhaps Arkane and Bethesda will release something before the summer is over. Don't forget that the original was one of the very best games of the previous generation. If you missed it, you must remedy that.
Personal gaming update
I had very high hopes for Whispering Willows but it was another textbook example of "great idea, not so great execution." It's nice to put all these indies up on pedestals - "yeah, not beaten down by orders from publishers!" - but in reality, tiny teams with tiny budgets have extreme difficulty following through on their lofty ideas. This is a game that needed more time, more money, and quite frankly, more effort. I don't want to say more talent because if the developers were simply constrained by money and manpower issues, it's not a question of talent. But regardless, such unique and wonderful concepts sometimes need more to push them forward and we need to remember that.
Still savoring The Witcher 3 and playing a bit of Rory McIlroy PGA Tour; look for the review early this week.
7/11/2015 Ben Dutka