Ben's Week In Review: January 6
The first week of the New Year is over and already people are anticipating significant reviews...don't worry, I'll be on top of them. ;)
Is the violence in The Last Of Us REALLY warranted?
I completely understand Naughty Dog's explanation concerning the graphic and brutal violence in The Last Of Us. It makes perfect sense. You're in a post-apocalyptic kill-or-be-killed survival situation so of course, violence is inevitable. It's the way humans are; when reduced to a state of animalism, brutality will automatically ensue. However, I do question if the shocking violence we may see in Naughty Dog's hotly anticipated adventure is warranted from a presentation standpoint. I wonder about this in all forms of violent media these days. I.e., does the camera really have to be in that position to convey the appropriate tone and theme?
I'm not so sure we need to see absolutely everything at point-blank range, nor am I even sure that's more effective. The reason gory movies aren't scary is because they're merely disgusting, while the masters of terror know that the majority of all our fear originates with our imagination. What we can imagine is ten times worse than what it actually is, as Alfred Hitchcock well understood, and as many gamers understand from the Silent Hill franchise. And if you want to produce violence that is necessary for the setting, then so be it. I just don't think you need to show it in the way you do.
The word "accessibility" doesn't go over well with the hardcore crowd
The Dark Souls fans didn't like to hear about the sequel becoming more "accessible" and the Devil May Cry followers don't want to hear that word associated with the upcoming reboot. Ninja Theory has said the combat mechanic in DMC will satisfy both the casual and the hardcore, because it's designed for all types of players. In other words, those new to the franchise - and to the action genre - will still be able to pull off some seriously flashy combos, while the more dedicated and skilled can still attempt the super difficult maneuvers (and get rewarded for executing them). However, I'm getting the feeling that the hardcore never believe developers when they say something like this; the die-hard fans just go, "Bah, that just means the game will be easier."
I'm probably the wrong person to ask about this, though, because I don't mind if my action games are a little easier. The difficulty of something like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is fine for me, and I usually find the God of War games to be pretty tough. I can finish them but it takes a lot of effort. Therefore, if DMC isn't quite as hard as DMC4, I'd be happy with that. ...I may, however, be in the minority.
Personal gaming update
I'm still trying to get 100% full synchronization on all the main missions in Assassin's Creed III and I'll be starting Halo 4 at some point. I expect to see DMC at some point here and after that, there's Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I haven't gotten the chance to play the demo just yet, but I hear people liked it. My only problem is time (not sure I've got enough of it to complete long RPGs anymore). Beyond this, February is absolutely packed so I need to try and finish everything I can this month.
I'm not going to comment on the whole PS4 blocking used games thing, because A. We're really not sure that's what's going to happen, and B. It's a highly volatile conversation and I've extricated myself from such discussions because it's just better that way. All I can say is that I want the PS4 to have great games that I want to play. Simple as that. :)
1/5/2013 Ben Dutka