Ben's Week In Review: October 18
We didn't really need Uncharted 4: A Thief's End for the holiday season, did we? Plenty to play.
To clarify, I like what CD Projekt Red did with The Witcher 3's accessibility
Is it feasible that the title enjoyed widespread popularity because the default difficulty was actually pretty easy? I said in that editorial that a player could probably breeze through the game without really bothering with the deeper aspects, and I knew someone who never used bombs and treated the adventure more like an action game. But it's hardly a bad thing. The developers did give the hardcore the option to make the game hard, what with two higher difficulty settings. On top of which, they managed to turn what is normally an experience geared exclusively toward core gamers into a pseudo-mainstream title. Provided you can satisfy multiple groups of consumers, what's the problem? It doesn't really hurt the quality of the product, does it?
However, some think things are going too far. For instance, I've heard people criticize the simplicity and accessibility of Star Wars: Battlefront, in that it's not very demanding at all. I.e., you don't have to think or plan as much as some would've anticipated. But as mainstream/casual gamers are by far the biggest group in the industry right now, you really have no choice as a developer. Yes, things have to be faster and dumber if you want to sell lots of copies. But at the same time, how can the core group complain with the likes of Bloodborne out there? And Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain isn't exactly for dummies, either. The bottom line is that I think there's enough for everyone and The Witcher 3 does a nice job of trying to cross hardcore/casual boundaries.
Well, EA, you really don't have anything I want you to remake or update, anyway
I was a little surprised when I read EA COO Peter Moore's comments concerning remakes and remasters. He says his company is more about "forward progress" and even said that the practice makes it seem like "you've run out of ideas." Firstly, that's really not fair, as the developers and publishers that have produced most remakes and remasters have lots of new projects in the hopper. One could claim they're trying to milk certain franchises but honestly, that's not what I see when I look at stuff like the Uncharted Collection, The Last Of Us: Remastered and Resident Evil HD Remaster. I just see updated games on new platforms that might cater to those who never played the original productions. "Milking" in my eyes is when meaningless and mediocre sequels keep showing up, year after year.
Actually, as I don't care much about Mass Effect, there aren't too many EA franchises I'd really care to revisit. Remakes and remasters might not be "in their culture" but repeated entries in the Madden and Battlefield franchises obviously are. Not sure that's any better.
Personal gaming update
Dragon Quest Heroes is a straight-up waste of my time. And as I explained in the review, it has nothing to do with what I want or what I think a DQ game should be. If you want to turn it into Dynasty Warriors, fine; you'll piss off just about every Dragon Quest lover in existence but hey, no skin of my teeth. If you still manage to make a good game, then I'll tell you it's a good game. But it isn't and that's that. As for Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, it's great but I really would like to play other video games before 2017. It's just way too huge but I imagine the die-hard strategy/RPG fans will love it to pieces.
I'm enjoying the Hearts of Stone expansion for The Witcher 3 and I'll probably deliver a review when I'm done. In regards to my previous reservations, I'm happy to report that thus far, I haven't run into any glitches or other serious problems. However, I still have to be careful; I've already had to do the first few missions without getting any experience because they were more than five levels below Geralt's level. I like the new enchantment system, even if I'm not a big fan of even the mastercrafted enchantments you can use, and the stories are interesting. I'll definitely play next year's Blood and Wine whenever it arrives.
10/17/2015 Ben Dutka