Friday, November 23, 2012

"D" for Destiny

Hey!  I got five aces!!
You are the chosen one. You have a prototype suit of power armor. You are gifted with super-human abilities. Divine or mundane, games are very fond of these classic wish fulfillment scenarios. From a gameplay standpoint I can see why, but as of late I think it's rapidly becoming an overused theme. Dragon's Dogma, Dishonored and Assassin's Creed 3 are just a few recent titles I can name off the top of my head that make heavy use of this storytelling device. Not a problem for me except that this cliche has begun to infest IPs it has no business being in.

I liked Issac Clark a lot better before he became the James Bond of space engineers. I also preferred it when there was some in game justification for rebounding life bars. It made sense for Halo because your character had a rechargeable energy shield. But in the Killzone sequels? Or any military FPS really, it seems that your character is just assumed to be Wolverine without the retractable claws. More oddly still, nobody in the game seems to ever notice your character's unique ability to sponge up bullets. "It's not fun to play unless your a total badass!" is probably the must common counter point, but I have to ask; Is it really?

If you ever played poker (digitally) you might notice that good cards aren't dealt to ever round. That's not a bug, it's a feature. If you got good cards all the time it wouldn't require much skill to win. A talented player can win the pot with a crap hand through bluffing. Alternatively, the player can fold and save their chips for the next deal. That's a big part of what makes poker interesting. Sadly, in the video game industry, their is a school of thought that assumes players should be given a royal flush every time.  And in that case I think the "D" is really for Dumb.

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