AAA Games and Me

I recently watched a video by a YouTube game reviewer who I find rather odd.  His show is called Super Bunny Hop, and he makes some pretty good content.  Granted, I find myself disagreeing with him a lot, but it’s always in this way where I feel more like I want to actually hash it out with the guy, rather than go off on him.  It’s one of those professional kinds of disagreement.  Granted, his “meh” reaction to The Last of Us drove me nuts, but still.  Overall, I like his content, and some of his videos really get me thinking.  My other posts about AAA games have been at least partially inspired by what I heard him and a few others talk about, with me wanting to put my pretentious two-cents in.  Because I’m totally original like that.

So, his latest video talks about “The Great Glitch Crisis of 2014.”  Yeah, this certainly was a year for it.  I only played one of the games that he talked about, which was kind of the staple for people and glitch problems – Assassin’s Creed: Unity.  For me, that game ran great, but that was because I had the foresight to disable all of the game’s online features, and not even have my console on the Net.  I get the feeling that that was how they tested that game.  My review was still a 7 out of 10, but I was far kinder to the problems than others, because I didn’t have nearly the problems they did.

In any case, there was this part of SBH’s video that had some dude talking about how people want a new Assassin’s Creed or Call of Duty every year.  People want these same kinds of AAA games every year.  It is just something that people have come to expect.  To that, I say, “don’t speak for me, dude.  You couldn’t be more wrong.”

I have become very critical of AAA games.  I don’t deny that I have played some of them.  I do love the Assassin’s Creed franchise.  Or at least, I did.  My love for that franchise has changed drastically over the course of its existence.  The novelty of parkour and stealthy assassination kind of wore off with me, because it didn’t really change.  The time period changed, and that could be cool.  But after all the cash-grab sequels and boring elements (like the multiplayer), the novelty wore off.  Then Black Flag came along.  Man did that game breathe new life into the franchise!  Holy shit!  Rich characters, a beautiful and interesting world, being able to sail your own ship, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  Plus, some fun real world elements like the hacking minigames that let you unlock neat bits of the story.  That game did something that should have been done years ago.  However, it seems like Ubisoft didn’t learn from their success.  With Unity, we were given more of the same.  That wouldn’t have been so jarring, except that the characters and plot weren’t especially interesting.  The game looked beautiful, but that beauty was skin-deep.

That’s something that can be said about a lot of AAA games.  It is the true diamonds in the rough that stand out, and it is making people more aware of studios and publishers than ever before.  I hardly ever pre-order games.  There’s a reason – because I am very skeptical and also very poor.  I make a Top 10 Most Anticipated Games of…whatever year post each year, but the truth is that I almost never get to all or, in some years, most of that list.  I have to be very picky.  Financial crunch is a real thing, and it sucks.  Plus, with a job and other obligations, along with trying to have a social and…other kind life, my time is just too precious to waste with a game that either isn’t that good or is just good enough for me to play and then never pick up again.

So, what games will I be pre-ordering?  For starters, Arkham Knight.  If there is one thing we have learned from Rocksteady, it’s that they don’t release a game unless it is perfect.  They want it all perfectly cooked and ready from the oven for players to enjoy for years to come.  I have no doubt that the final entry in this franchise is going to be just the same.  It’s been delayed several times, in order for the studio to get it right, and you know what – power to ’em.  I want them to give this game all the TLC that it needs.  I want to be blown away, and given what I’ve seen of the gameplay, part of me is sure that I will be.  Hopefully the story sticks to the same level of darkness that this franchise is known for, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Next up there is Uncharted 4.  While I was originally skeptical, it appears that this game is not just a cash-grab.  I’m sorry I doubted you, Naughty Dog.  Yes, after Uncharted 3 and the PHENOMENAL The Last of Us, this studio also came to their own place in showing that they make epic games that people can know will not only look amazing, but have great characters as well.  This studio makes sure that their games are just so before releasing.  I’m happy about that.

Then there is the game that I’m sure you all know that I will be pre-ordering, assuming that Square Enix gets off their lazy ass and gives it a release date.  Yes, after over nine years of waiting, I will be pre-ordering Final Fantasy XV.  I have been more excited about this game than I have for a game in YEARS.  No joke, it’s been a long time since a game has got me salivating like Pavlov’s Gamer.  It’s been nine years, nine fucking years, since this game has been announced.  It is clear that Tetsuya Nomura has made this game into his baby.  It’s his Princess Mononoke.  And much like that film, if this game is a bust, it will most likely bankrupt Square Enix.  No wonder they’re so nervous.

But back to the video, I don’t like most of these AAA games that are bought en masse by everyone else.  I haven’t played a Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare 2.  I actually really like that game, mostly due to the fact that the story is actually engaging.  Then they had to go fuck it up in the sequel, but whatever.  I’ve complained about that enough already.  The reality is that for each Call of Duty and Battlefield and Far Cry clone that gets made, that is one less more-inventive game getting made.  And don’t get one me about Far Cry.  Aside from Blood Dragon, which was one of the coolest things that I have seen in AGES, those games are copy-paste.  In fact, following the third entry, they now have a new formula – beautiful landscape, killing people, villain who chews scenery in all the right ways.

This assumption that I am asking for a yearly entry in to these mega cash cows of Ubisoft, Activision and EA is wrong.  I am most certainly not.  I want more inventive games.  I don’t mind if a game is AAA, so long as I see that it has earned that title, instead of just looking beautiful.  Am I alone in this?  That’s not a rhetorical question.  I really want an answer, so I get an idea for who I’m talking to.

Let me know what you think about all this in the comments section.  And to Super Bunny Hop, I like your stuff, man.  Even if I disagree with you.  Keep it up!

Until next time, a quote,

“How am I doin’ today, Gary Busey?!”
“You’re doing great!”
“Good!  Then I’ll keep it up!”  -Gary Busey and Delusion Gary Busey, Family Guy

Peace out,

Maverick

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