This week IO Interactive fell on their sword a bit, with an open letter sent out to its fans and the industry. The letter pretty much explained that the next Hitman title would return to “core Hitman fantasy” and they have certainly learnt a lesson from the last title in the series, Hitman: Absolution.
With this I got to thinking, what other games series could do with a return to its core. A return to what made the originals games in the franchise such a hit. Now I’m not saying change is bad, but too much of it can certainly ruin a game good and proper. What better way for me to put down my thoughts than via a LIST!
Well where better to start than a series which is probably to biggest to fall from grace in recent years. Final Fantasy for years has been one of the biggest franchises in gaming. Ever since it’s introducing in the NES era it has continued to capture the hearts and minds of gamers both old and young. However in the last generation of consoles (still feels weird saying that) Final Fantasy lost something.
The HD era was supposed to bring in a title with the exploration and fun found in titles such as FF7, FF10 etc. but with graphics so sexy, they would melt your eyes. We certainly got the stunning graphics, but we lost the exploration and adventure the series excelled in. And we were fed a title which pretty much had you walking in a straight line for 30+ hours. FF13 seems to be a title which is universally hated and each sequel has added to the frustration (not to mention an awful amount of FF mobile titles). If anybody has the knowhow to bring the series back to its awe inspiring, it’s certainly Square Enix. So here’s hoping they figure it out and fast.
The Burnout series for me has always been the most exciting and genuinely fun racing series since the PS3/Xbox/GameCube era. However recently I feel that the games have lost focus. Heck does the series even exist anymore? EA seems to have merged the series with Need for Speed to make a hybrid genre of racing with spectacular crashing. Along with this, they have made the series(s) an open world racer. This I feel has meant the games have lost their identity.
What I loved about Burnout was racing in perfectly built and to some extent scripted races which lead to high octane situations and epic crashed, all placed into a standard racing game structure of simply choosing a track and going. With the open world I find the races are sometimes unfairly random and I sometimes find myself not even being bothered to drive to the actually race location to start it. The recent Burnout/Need for titles are good, but I feel a return to tighter experience for this gen could work wonders. Just because you can do big, doesn’t mean you have to right?
Super Smash Bros I feel has a unique problem. Nintendo pretty much nailed the game with its first iteration. The original N64 release was damn flawless. A good and importantly balanced roster, relatively fair levels/items and just a good time were all delivered by the folk at HAL Laboratory. Smash Bro Melee built on this added more characters etc. but it didn’t effect to overall balance the series had. Sure there was a few annoying characters to be up against, but a good strategy could still win you a game.
I loved the series and was found myself knee deep in the fighting game community at the time because of it (Heck I was even on TV because of it). But then came Smash Bros Brawl and the dreaded Smash Ball, an item which once obtained gave your character pretty much free reign to instantly KO your opponents. Battle became stalling during rounds to simply wait for the mad bash to get a ball, this became really prevalent online. It really took me out of the series and has me fearing for the next WII-U/3DS title, which has been confirmed the have the same feature. Balance those balls please Nintendo.
The recent Tomb Raider title I admit was a stellar title. It brought Lara into this generation with a bang and helped us forget the exploited Lara of the 90s/early 00’s. The series as a whole certainly changed for the better. But what I felt was wrong with this new reincarnation was the slight step back of more mythological/supernatural elements of the series. Sure they played a part, but it was overtaken by the new darker tone. I suppose that it could be argued that a title has already taken that concept and ran away with it, that game being Uncharted.
When seeing this game before release I didn’t really care for its dark/gritty nature, I was just looking forward to playing fun action adventure title, but I felt it played like a simple 3rd person shooter (And if I want that I will play The Last of Us). I’m one of the few who didn’t really love this title, so I’m probably just being a weirdo. This concentration on action and survival probably had to be done, to fit the story of a newb Lara. The super natural elements are teased towards the end of the title, so perhaps the sequel will play with it more, maybe? Please? 😀
Pro Evolution used to be as big as FIFA. Each year Konami would go toe to toe with EA and in some years actually be the better football title. It was commonly agreed that Pro Evo had the more realistic feel of football, with FIFA brining the high presentation, glamour and importantly licenses. Somewhere along the line it’s easy to see Konami got envious of this and finally started to care more about what high profile footballer could endorse their title.
Ofcourse EA has always been this way, but alongside this, EA also strive to improve the engine and gameplay. In the last generation of consoles (still weird) it was easy to see that FIFA had surpassed Pro Evo in almost every possible way, with the implementation of the now infamous “Impact Engine” and a complete overhaul of the gameplay in general. While Pro Evo still played and to some extent looked like an old PS2 game. Konami’s last attempt was a great effort with the new engine finally feeling fresh and new, here’s hoping the newly announced versions on the new crop of consoles will finally give EA some actual competition.
Well that’s all I could be bothered to write. I know one or two I’ve picked are crazy, so don’t hurt me please.
Did I miss anything?