Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Games I Miss

Today felt like a good day to reminisce. While people continue their debate on why the Playstation 4 is going to blow the XboxOne away at release, it’s a good time to take a step back and remember the days of old. There are a number of games, series, and franchises that, more often than not, are no longer their former selves. Or they were only given one shot to make a stance and were shelved before they had a chance to blossom into something more. So here are a few of my favorites, that are infamously being remade into crap knows what, or they have fallen to the way-side.

Sonic the Hedgehog

Basically anything past Sonic 3 is questionable. The images released for Sonic: Lost World, the newest in the series is what prompted me to write this blog piece today. Because Sonic is in a world of donuts. I really don’t know what to make of it. The charm and grit that Sonic brought to the Sega Genesis is long gone. The hedgehog is a shell of his former-self. While him and Mario still duke it out at the Olympics, Sonic is no longer…well, Sonic.

I’d pinpoint the downfall around Sonic Adventure. It was a push to get more DreamCast systems out of the store and while it’s not a bad game, it changed the way we looked at Sonic. He started talking. He was more flippant, more relaxed, and trying way too hard to appeal to kids and being “cool.” His realm had from the multi-tiered flat background to a full 3D landscape and Sonic just felt slower. The pace, the excitement, everything that made Sonic who he was somehow vanished when he changed dimensions. I don’t know how that was possible, but it was. And the stories became overly complicated. It wasn’t the simple good vs. evil, stop the Eggman and get the Chaos Emeralds back. Now there were plots and sub plots and extra characters and…too much for anyone to handle. It took away the fun of being Sonic, zipping across a level and snatching rings. Now it’s donuts. Pass.

Crash Bandicoot

This is one of those where I don’t know what happened and why Sony dropped Crash. He was the response for Mario and Sonic. He was the Playstation mascot. Even now when I think of the PS and PS2, I think of Crash.

His descent from the golden years felt forced. I think it was a combo of the developers not wanting to release a bunch of crappy games and end up like Sonic, and the system moving into a new direction to capture more mature audiences. Funny enough, a lot of us “mature” adults love Crash for his zaniness and the unique gameplay.

Crash really started to dissapate when the reigns were handed over to Vivendi: Crash: Twinsanity, which takes place 3 years after Wrath of Cortex, but the gameplay and style were altered in a way that the fun of Crash wasn’t fully there. The levels were better and the humor was over-the-top, some may say too much, but the essence of Crash was at a lost. And it’s been downhill since then. Now granted, Crash hasn’t been repurposed like Sonic so many times that he can’t be saved. It’s very possible for Naughty Dog to take back the reigns and make a proper Crash game again. He can have his cameos for now. It’s possible to save Crash.

Beyond Good and Evil

I’ll start off by saying that yes, I’m fully aware that Ubisoft is developing a sequel. I’m not fully convinced on it yet because the art style looks so different (one of the defining characteristics of the original was the cartoonish textures), but I’ll keep an open mind. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beyond_Good_%26_Evil_2

BGE was one of the few games that brought us genre mixing that worked so well together that you had to enjoy. It was action-adventure with puzzle solving, and stealth. And the idea behind the game was so pure and simple that I fell in love with it: design a meaningful story amid player freedom. The game isn’t about the main plot but the in-between moments. Everything that Jade says, does, or how she interacts creates the universe. Many of today’s games (see anything BioWare related) follows this formula, and we can thank BGE for that. I’ll be interested to see what Ubisoft does with 2, even if I don’t agree with the visuals. But I miss this game because it took them nearly a decade to crop up with a squeal, will the charm and magic of the first one be returned?

NiGHTS

My beloved NiGHTS…your sequal sucked. The only upgrade to that was your collar looked like it was more appropriately attached to your neck. I’m a huge fan of the first game, and it will always be my favorite. So when I heard about the sequel, of course I flipped out! But then it was released, and the voice acting was terrible (when did NiGHTS become a British woman? It’s suppose to be this androgynous character), and the controls were choppy, and the levels were meaningless. Okay well the levels in the first game were kind of silly too, but they had a thread of connection that made much more sense then what Journey of Dreams was trying to convey. NiGHTS 2 became more about colors and tricking  the eye to overlook the fact that the game is not so good. I’ll just continue playing the updated version of the original. A million times better.

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