The Last Of Us depicts a faux, prospective reality. Humanity is threatened by viral extinction, with vegetative infection that is transmitted by virally admitted spores that mutates organic life into carnivorous vegetation with anatomically verdant appearance. Remaining survivors congregate in protected military quarantines, reluctant to escape the tyrannous grasp of a self-imposed militia for fear of the degenerative mutations that prowl the wastes of a once thriving community. Humanities enveloping desperation and preservation is represented by a child, seemingly immune to the cancerous effects of the infection, and irritable Joel is the man tasked with sustaining her existence across the desolate continent of North America, to extract the advantageous properties that grants her preserved immunity from the contamination, and in the process inducting a monogamous bond that gradually forms between these two motivated transients in one of the most emotive, dynamic narratives conceived to gaming. This premise and its exulted implementation has resulted in lucrative fiscal attainment, broad critical appraisals and the possible vacuous emancipated future of the Uncharted series.
Uncharted is one of the finest, most cinematic creations committed to PlayStation, and the optimum reason for the PS3’s ownership. With sporadic, thematic interludes consisting of Drakes jovial pleasantries and self-deprecating observations, Elena’s pertinent evaluations coupled with her astute journalistic tenacity and Sully’s matured philosophising. But why waste additional conceptions on already established narratives with no tangible application for the sake of exploitation, to a series that’s already reached a natural and contented culmination? You get the impression that any further elongation to Nates singularly eccentric trips would be banal and intrusive, with convoluted progressions and disjointed resonance. We’ve traversed various exotic locations, survived every vehicular transportation incident short of space exploration (and the last thing the series requires is Drake defying gravity), do we really require permanent residence on the next-gen for the sake of consistency, underlying solvency and continuity?
Games like Resident Evil haven’t benefited from numerical continuity with concussive endurance mediocrity and displaced intensity. There’s an obvious propensity to extend his adventures for prosperous entitlement, and Sony would certainly appreciate the marketable gesture to increase revenue with the propulsion of an already established series, but a fourth would be a negligent proposal, negating an existing premise for remiss elongation. Naughty Dogs intimate temperament for progressive innovation has seen them construct fresh, promiscuous titles and concluding them before they become maligned by derivative prolongation. Both Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter were trilogies, with Uncharted 3’s symbolic ending implying a natural end to the series. The Last Of Us has refined the municipal narrative of gaming, with an adage to sophisticated calligraphy that resonates with such inverse poignancy that you reflect back on it with retrospective paucity for its aggressive, yet delicate content. With the largely superfluous references to Uncharted 4’s existence or even proposed allusion of Drake’s countenance, where does this leave the Uncharted series?
Of course if it is announced, completely disregard the anecdotal sentiments. Yes I’m a bigoted, Uncharted whore.
Christmas ah? That magical time of the year where, amongst other things; much food and drink are unscrupulously consumed, your grandparents are nodding in an out of consciousness, induced by the vast quantities of turkey and brussels sprouts they’ve ruthlessly devoured, not to mention the increasingly potent, toxic gas’s which seem to emanate on an all to regular basis, from my Uncles bowels *mental image, click!, deleted*. But these glorious moments of gluttony and nauseous bouts of wind are fleeting (thankfully), and its time we began to contemplate another exciting year of gaming, but when so many of us are struggling for funds to support family’s, mortgages and chocolate Frijj addictions, what factors play an integral role when purchasing new titles?
Gamers are generally far more cautious in their spending “gaming” habits, due to typical money restraints and controlling spouses, so we consolidate gallant suppression and limit ourselves to a select group of priority titles, which is fair, particularly considering the current economical uncertainty. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to advocate the acquiring of yet another game to your already bulging collection, so what makes a game worth buying? Is it easier to condone forking out 40 quid for a Skyrim inspired, life consuming expedition, rather than a briefer stint that can be completed and satisfactory attained in little over 8 hours? Is bigger necessarily better? (No, that’s not a euphemism). Sure, in an idyllic world the balance between graphical prowess, gripping story telling and compelling gameplay would be equally balanced, but such gaming variables are ambitious rarities, I mean by that same rationale I would be awakened every morning with a large cup of tea, accompanied by a variety of differing, but equally delicious biscuits, that has been thoughtfully brewed by several elegantly attired, burlesque entertainers, whilst performing a striptease to Celldweller’s “One Good Reason”, it’s just not going to happen, no matter how patient and persistent your constitutions are! So what does a game require to warrant your money?
Immersive and utterly gripping stories, is a compulsive incentive to beguile gamers to persevere right through to a titles rewarding conclusion, it drives gamers to endure, even during the most strenuous of circumstances. If the narrative is captivating enough, the challenges you experience feel justified, particularly if the games conclusion meets your aspirations. So why is it that so many game’s feel the constant need to bombard us with “enticing” promises of multiple endings? That we should strive to complete the story in a multitude of differential ways, despite whether or not, we feel it’s the appropriate decision?
In Heavy Rain, almost every decision you make as you progress, has a detrimental effect on how the narrative unfolds, for instance, if your too lethargic to react to certain button actions, during your tense encounter with the origami killer, it will result in you relinquishing the battle and conceding defeat to the rain inspired, psychopath. But why would you intentionally allow this scenario to take place? Surely failing to win is counter intuitive to the very fibre of gaming, succeeding? Or is this the point? Similarly, the hugely successful Mass Effect series major focal point, is an open-ended conclusion, where if not properly prepared for the notorious “Suicide Mission” at Mass Effect 2’s finale, could lead to certain counterparts becoming unintentional martyrs, or worse, leaving your entire team, as well as your self, perishing. But why would you allow this catastrophic situation to occur in the first place? It’s like participating in a football match, and deliberately passing the ball to the opposition, before your rival tucks it comfortably into the back of the net. It all seems self-destructive, and a notion I havent yet embraced.
Do you enjoy completing games multiple times, just so you can experience every conceivable ending?
It’s easy to forget how essential music is in modern-day video games to their narrative’s, and your overall experience, sometimes heightening titles beyond their rivals. I’m ashamed to admit that during my recent play through of Skyrim, I only just finally began to realise how important game soundtracks are to your journey, and the fact that I hadn’t really responded to the musics influence during my time is testament to the care and attention that Bethesda have taken, so the game has time to flow and isn’t overshadowed by its admittedly incredible musical score or by the detail of its wonderfully constructed world, the balance is perfect. The immersive experience you undergo as you traverse the wide and varied landscapes of Skyrim, are already so engrossing that the entire game could be on mute, and it could still challenge the more stereo driven titles to claim the game of the year plaudits. But with the exquisite score that accompanies you as you plunder derelict tombs, battle enraged dragons and generally, bask in the decadence of the world around you, the music effortlessly encapsulates whatever situations you find yourself involved with.
The epic concertos, beautifully mirror the extensive lands of Skyrim, from every gruesome battle to every sombre death, your senses are noticeably heightened by the renditions. It’s not just the more traditional type of music that has this effect either. Games such as Devil May Cry and Dead Rising are also equally harmonic, although for a more alternative reason. The Heavy metal and break beat inspired sounds, give each of these games a huge sense of grandeur, and when your continually battling demonic demons from the depths of hell, and shuffling cannibals from, well, there probably relations, or possibly neighbours, is an important factor when attempting to accentuate the importance of any given situation. But this is a case of perception and what kind of musical score’s inspire you, personal preference is paramount. It’s apparently clear though, that music in any form, is a key element in gaming, whether it’s the epic scale of Uncharted or FIFA’s more popular, mainstream approach. Hearing is as integral to your experience, as what you see.
What games do you believe are heightened by musical scores? Let me know your opinions.
Are you the kind of gamer who craves demanding titles that puts your skills to the ultimate test, by placing your games at the most excruciating difficulty level? Someone who spends every waking hour meticulously deciphering the correct solution to outwit your opponent? Well not me. I’m the kind of person that can become so enthralled with a title that it literally dictates my daily activities, you know, the type of gamer who has played Skyrim for almost 10 hours straight, struggles bleary-eyed to come to terms with the notion of sleep and when I eventually do fall asleep, I experience vivid dreams of Dragons attempting to incinerate me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m inclined to make my journey more of a hinderance for myself.
You shouldnt be ridiculed and branded a coward for wanting to ease up, relax, and put the game on a more simplified setting just so you can play, enjoy and unwind. Sure if things are becoming unsatisfying due to ease and speed at which your dispatching enemies, then by all means, amplify things. There are titles such as Red Dead Redemption that has the perfect balance in terms of difficulty, allowing you the freedom to roam the wide open plains, with the security of knowing that any confrontations you don’t overcome at the first, second or even third attempt, wont dampen your spirits or detract from the overall fulfilling experience. Sure there is the ever-present danger of Cougars stealthily sneaking up on you before savaging you and your horse, but this is more a case of being aware of your surroundings, rather than a frustrating predicament.
Sometimes its good not to be challenged, perhaps you just want to gain some composure by reveling in a game you know you can finish without frantically waving your fists in a fit of overbearing frustration, crippling your PS3 controller by furiously and ignorantly launching it directly at your TV, leaving you sobbing in anguish at the total frugality of the situation and the fact that you are now forced to purchase a new controller and TV. And the reason for this venomous outburst? Because that armoured, shotgun brandishing goon has mercilessly savaged me yet again in Uncharted 3! (sorry, I’ve gone a little off subject). My point is that it’s perfectly acceptable to attempt the completion of a game at increased levels of difficulty, wherever it’s for pride, the feeling of achievement or a deep sense of satisfaction that compels you to do so, it’s an unparalleled feeling I know, especially when you have crafted so much dedication into achieving the goal. But is the true measure of a gamer how quickly and how difficult the process was? Perhaps, but don’t make the mistake of sacrificing enjoyment for pride. A lesson I’ve learnt.
Although the incident stated above is not a reference to myself, honest.
Do you prefer games you can complete without difficulty? Or is a more challenging setting your preference? Let me know what you think, cheers.
I am just under 20 hours into my play through of the extremely addictive and expansively varied world of Skyrim, and despite the lack of time I’ve found necessary to really puncture these enchanting lands with any meaningful incentive, there are a few defining points that I have discovered, 1: That no matter how intricate or lazy I am when creating a distinct character, I’m still unable to devise one that doesn’t look horribly disfigured. 2: Dragons are both intimidating and terrifyingly deadly, and thirdly, I make a great, evil good guy. There are very few titles, let alone RPG’s, that allow a player to murderously savage innocents and lets you get away with it, almost.
From the very beginning of my journey I had honestly intended to do the honourable thing as I traverse these vibrant and turbulent lands, trying to make a positive impact on the world, helping people with their problems, like a medieval Oprah. But very early on it became blindingly apparent that my good deeds would be completely misinterpreted. I’ve already slain a copious amount of thieves, wolves, bears and witches, each deserving of their own punishments, but I’m finding more and more as I progress that anyone is fair game. I’ve stolen horses, broken into houses and killed the inhabitants before stealing their possessions (all in the name of side quests you understand), without sounding too magnanimous though, I’m beginning to feel as though I’m untouchable. I’m sure that at some stage during my adventure my heinous acts of violence will catch up with me and will spend a considerable amount of time locked in some grotty jail cell, but until then, I will persist in my initial goal of trying to be a good Samaritan (or Nord) wherever I can, but I fear my ever-increasing blood lust will continue to prevent me from achieving my noble ambitions, I havent even joined the darkbrotherhood…..yet!
How has your experience been with Skyrim? Has your journey differed from my murderous rampage? Let me know your thoughts. Cheers.