Without a doubt, the capabilities of current-generation consoles and technology have done great things for modern games – making possible superb graphics, realistic sounds, fantastic gameplay and the ability to include more content than ever before. But putting aside all these innovations and improvements, these advancements in technology have also sparked a new trend. That is, sub-par games and it is with this complaint that I pose the question – have developers bitten off more than they can chew?
Let’s begin this article by looking at the sandbox genre/style of games. Now, traditionally, we consider these games an open-world styled title with a non-linear storyline that offers gamers endless opportunities to complete and take the game however and in whatever order they like. One comment which I find sums up such games is, “jack of all trades but master of none” and in many respects that is entirely correct. With games being based on such a large scale, the developers might have great gameplay, great graphics and a great storyline – but it is just that ‘great’ and not ‘fantastic’ or ‘bar-setting’. Now, don’t let that sound belittling, games like Fallout 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV have shown that such massive games are possible and can be done well – but notice how with such a massive amount of gameplay elements to factor, it isn’t a surprise there is something lacking (however small) each time.
Moving further, I get this feeling that all games are becoming sandbox titles in their own right – going off that last paragraph. Gamers today won’t settle with a game that does well in one area and lacks in others, or that does well in many, but lacks in one. We demand excellent graphics, superb gameplay and storyline and a whole mix of exploration, side-missions and other elements to make that ‘complete’ game – and why shouldn’t we? Paying almost $100 in some countries is a lot of money and as a consumer, we should have the right to ask for a solid deal/package.
The thing is, developers aren’t doing this and hence lies the entire basis for this complaint. I just feel as though not all games out there are worthwhile and nor are they pushing the bar for what makes an amazing game. We can’t point the blame to inadequate disc space or lacking technology, we know it’s there and we know it has been done before – think Colin McRae DiRT, GTA IV and Fallout 3, three titles which I can say do come together to deliver a solid gaming experience.
Of course, there will always be those independent developers looking to make a name for themselves in the market and such examples can be expected to be a little rough around the edges – but I’m talking about massive well-established corporations here. How many times have gamers complained about the past Need For Speed titles lacking a vital element of gameplay which obviously should have been added – or what about the recently released FUEL? I think the latter is a perfect example of a case where the developers had all these resources at their disposal but they failed to implement and execute them correctly.
There also goes a saying, “what goes up must come down”, I used it some time ago in another article of mine, but I think that it isn’t necessarily true, and to be quite honest, in the gaming industry, I find it can be avoided. The key here is consumer feedback – listening to the gamers and hearing what they have to say and then using it to build a better game. Find me one gamer who didn’t think Forza Motorsport 2 wasn’t a decent game (that isn’t a non-racing fan or casual gamer) – and that is because Turn10 listens to their fans, and they continue too.
All in all, I just find that the number of poor games is increasing at a rate far greater than fantastic ones. Sure, poor games always existed and go back as far as gaming themselves, but this is a new era of gaming – we have concepts like NATAL and gaming has never been as advanced or as strong – so developers don’t have an excuse to release rubbish games anymore. However, what do you, the readers, think? Are there more poor games? Have developers been taking on projects far too large to execute properly? Or are gamers just too pedantic nowadays? Am I right in saying that the capabilities of current-generation consoles and technology are a contributing reason to this downfall?
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