Wednesday, December 16, 2015

God Damn Microtransactions

Extended Title: Holy shit, not one day after Destiny adding more egregious microtransactions to their game, Activision announces "Call of Duty Points" God damn microtransactions, god damn Activision. 

Oh, Destiny, I love you, but I also hate you. In October, you added something to your game that I hate more than most things: Microtransactions. I've written about them before, and I'm sure you all know that I hate them. Silver (Destiny's microtransaction currency), at first, were just harmless emotes, not too bad, something I can look passed, but, hardcore Destiny players are too quick to jump to the defense of these microtransactions. Face it, microtransactions in this game have become progressively more terrible. Starting out with exclusive emotes, then moving on to sparrows/quest items, now to a level boost. I feel a pattern coming on, soon enough, Destiny will go Pay-To-Win or Fee-To-Pay. Adding a $30 microtransaction that allows new players to skip well over half of the content Destiny has to offer is pointless and egregious. There is no reason to pay to skip quality content. I really see this leading to something worse and I have said that before. There is no reason to include microtransactions in a game's development plan, other than greedy publishers who want to squeeze more money out of their loyal player base.

Really, Activision? This is bad as if annualizing wasn't already hurting Call of Duty (an admittedly good shooter), this will hurt it further. Of course, like most microtransactions, you can earn the loot you'd buy with them by playing the game, but come on, microtransactions exist because the devs want players to buy them; they're not there to get ignored. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Open World Games

Extended Title: Open World Games, sometimes they're great, other times they're so large it's easy to get burnt out, and that isn't so great. 

Now, if you're reading this, you've likely heard of, if not played The Witcher 3, and if you haven't played I strongly urge you to. It is a sprawling open-world action RPG with in depth characters, fast, fluid combat, and great stories. But, is it too large? 2015 has undoubtedly been the year of open-world games (Fallout 4, Just Cause 3, Dying Light, among others), and while these games are fine, I think I'm getting a little burned out. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, as these games are fun and engaging, I just feel like there is a little too much to do. Sidequests on sidequests, along with main quests, gear scavenger hunts, collectibles, and other things. If you could only buy one game to play for the rest of your life, this is definitely high up on that list.

Fallout 4, arguably one of the most anticipated games of all time, is one of the most in-depth RPG we've had this generation. The RPG mechanics, weapon and armor crafting, and the city-building aspect, among other things, make up the meat of the game. With a sprawling open world filled with different easter-eggs, a variety of different enemies, and emergent gameplay galore, there is definitely something for everyone in this game. My problem with this game is the same reason why everyone is so attracted to it; it's size. There is so much to do that it is hard to focus on one thing. First I'll say to myself "I'm gonna start this quest and finish it" next thing I know, I'm climbing to the top of a skyscraper that has nothing to do with what I had planned, this, by no means, is a bad thing, though. The game is massive, and it is a really good game, to an extent, but there may be too much to do, in my opinion.

Dying Light, the newest zombie slaughtering game from Techland is a very fun game. The combat is brutal and the parkour-based movement is intuitive and fast paced. Despite the good gameplay, I still fell out of the game some time after I started playing. This can be mainly attributed to sidequest design, I do not care about picking up 25 herbs for some random person I met 2 minutes ago. Quests, for me, have to feel meaningful; fetch quests are generally not good game design, and really feel needless in the context of the game.

Hideo Kojima's crowning jewel, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is one of the biggest games we got this year. Essentially an "emergent gameplay simulator", the game is not lacking content or fun. This is my problem with the game, though, the "content" there is likely something that you have done already or, at least, similar to something you've done in an earlier part of the game. There are so many side quests, main quests, and general things to do that it is very easy to get distracted -- again, not a bad thing, as having a lot to do is actually good. The game lost me after about 20 hours of play and, having not made any real progress, I decided it wasn't worth my time.

Open world games, though resplendent with content and fun, are, at least in my eyes, getting harder and harder to play. A large amount of games released this year were open world games, and though none of them were necessarily bad, having too many of these games leads to market saturation, and eventually burn-out. I love open world games as much as the next guy, the depth and sense of exploration (if done well enough, that is) these games offer is unmatched by any other form of media, but come on devs, I know you have ideas that aren't huge open worlds, change it up a little bit.