Ben's Week In Review: April 14
It's already mid-April. ...is everyone aware that the PlayStation 4 should be here in only 7 or 8 months? Hard to fathom, really.
Here's your problem, Crytek
When I read Crytek CEO Cevat Yerli's comments concerning graphics superseding gameplay, I wasn't surprised. I don't think anyone who follows industry news was surprised. The popular Crysis series is often in the headlines, so we're all used to Yerli's statements concerning graphics by now. And the reason for that is because he doesn't ever talk about anything else. Yes, I'm aware he probably addresses a lot of other topics during interviews, and it's partly the media's fault for always turning his graphics-related comments into headlines. But can you blame the journalists when Yerli is always saying the new Crysis will be the best-looking game ever created in history? If you check the records, he has said that with every last franchise installment.
And when he says that the visual presentation is important, and that immersion is largely reliant upon a believable atmosphere, he isn't wrong. What's wrong is his "graphics are 60% of a game" comment. His problem and his studio's problem has always been the same- They really do put a premium on graphics and as such, it's almost always evident that - at least in some small capacity - the gameplay takes a backseat to the visuals. Crysis 3 is a perfect example. If "graphics drive gameplay," Cevat, why did the vast majority of critics and gamers consider your latest title to be a step back? I'd love an explanation for that.
This is an interactive entertainment medium. This will always, always mean that gameplay is by far the most critical element.
A couple franchises we may never see again...
I've been thinking about one every since it flopped: Duke Nukem Forever. It was just nominated for Japan's "Sh** Game of the Year, and that's because it was an absolute travesty. The question now is whether or not Duke will ever return...who out there is willing to try to rejuvenate the series, which has basically failed? Growing up with Duke Nukem, it's difficult to picture an industry when we're not at least talking about a new game. Yeah, we spent 13 years talking about one without ever actually seeing it, but it was still a part of the industry, wasn't it? Another series I really used to like was Red Faction; the original on the PS2 is still one of my favorite games of all time. This is one instance where I think the franchise should've remained an FPS. Yes, Guerrilla was good but I honestly think an updated FPS with that GeoMod (environment destruction) technology would be great.
But it seems inevitable that most publishers will see Red Faction as a dead IP, especially after several failed attempts from a financial standpoint. It also didn't help that critics weren't wholeheartedly backing a few of those games. I just wish the series hadn't fallen; it had a ton of potential and every once in a while, I get the urge to play the original again (as outdated as it would seem by today's standards).
Personal gaming update
I'm savoring every minute of Bioshock Infinite, and then I'll restart Tomb Raider and play it all the way through. That's a game I would also like to savor, and I didn't really get the chance when I reviewed it. My girlfriend and I are closing in on the end of the co-op campaign in Portal 2, which is cool, and I'm sorta looking forward to trying out Dead Island Riptide. The first one didn't really do it for me but I'm hoping the sequel will represent a significant step forward. Oh, and I should also be trying to put up a Guacamelee! review at some point this week, if I can get to it. I've heard good things about that one. :)
I almost picked up Halo 4 again because I feel bad that I got so close to finishing it, and I've completed every other Halo. The problem is that I get pissed the instant I start to think about it; it's just hard for me to forgive such a blatant flaw. Saving in a spot that results in no options and immediate death? Please. I'd much rather keep playing Infinite.
4/13/2013 Ben Dutka