Arnold's Press Pause and Rewind: October 21st
The unfortunate thing is that this isn't the end of it. Games will keep forcing concepts on gamers without offering the option of a standard/classic mode. SKATE is another example. While it's a really good game, the fact that you can't switch camera views is pretty ridiculous. After a while, the game's default camera view becomes a bit nauseating, as it's too focused on the skater, pans around violently, and impairs your judgment of distance.
Furthermore, when sports games begin to make radical changes, they too should offer a classic mode. Some sports games do this, some don't. FIFA is one of those games that doesn't. FIFA 08 is far more sim than the series has ever been, and, quite honestly, I'm feeling a little alienated. The game almost feels a little too hard, as even on an amateur difficulty I can't score a goal - and I've never been a bad FIFA player.
And while it's not a sports game, per se, it seems like Polyphony is well aware of this kind of concern, by implementing two physics types into Gran Turismo 5 - professional and standard. The method of not alienating a fanbase after a radical change is a fantastic way of retaining the proper accessibility, and I fear that the more this generation progresses, the less of that we will see.
Another qualm is controller configurations. In adventure games I don't really mind not being able to configure the controls on my own - largely because action/adventure games don't really have very complex setups. But if it isn't offered in racing games and sports games, that's just about the worst decision a gameplay can make. Different people prefer different setups for their racers. I know I like using the triggers to accelerate and brake, as opposed to the analog stick or X and Square buttons. But I know many others that don't prefer to drive that way.
Furthermore, it's pivotal in sports games because I frequently find the control setup in a new iteration to have changed over a past entry, which forces me to get used to a new configuration. In that case, I'd like to just go to the options menu and re-configure the pad to my liking. Again, some games allow for this, some don't.
A word to all developers: don't make decisions like that for us. The gamers pays $60 and they shouldn't have to be limited in how they play a game, be it a controller gimmick, a lack of configurations, or an intended gameplay mechanic.
10/21/2007 Arnold Katayev