|Posted by Ratin8tor on July 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM|
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
R8: Ah Nostalgia. It's a brilliant thing, isn't it. Course wasn't as good as it use to be, but you take the good with the bad. I live by a simple philosophy: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. And there are games out there that are too well-working to be fixed, so I say keep them as they are. But am I in the right, or is change a good thing?
First off, lets look at the premier example of a game series that doesn't change all that much. Mario first hit living rooms in 1985. 27 years later Nintendo is proud to announced their newest game, New Super Mario Bros. U. The first game was a side scrolling adventure game where you had to rescue the princess. The latest game is a side scrolling adventure game where you have to rescue the princess. As far as story telling in games go it's slightly more advance than 'kill thing on screen'. But has this total lack of change in story-telling damaged the games in anyway? Is the original game now pointless because of its simplistic set-up? Why should we try and complicate things more then they already are? So I think keeping things the same works when it comes to story-telling.
Secondly there are the Lego Telltale games. Lego Star Wars first come out in 2005. I recently brought the latest game, Lego Batman 2 DC Superheroes. Oh sure some of the gameplay may have changed a bit, with new abilities and whatnot, but the core design has remained unchanged. And you know what? I loved Lego Star Wars. It was a really clever and unique game. Clearly the setting of having Lego characters re-enact (or in some cases come up with completely new) stories is a novel idea. The gameplay hasn't changed because it hasn't needed to change. So why fix what ain't broke?
But finally, and I think the biggest defence for why changing things suck: Pokemon. Yes, Pokemon. It hasn't budged an inch in 15 years. You do the same thing every single game. The only thing that changes is that you get more monsters thrown into the mix. But if the games are so generic and dull, how come I've racked up over 1000 hours playing a multitude of games? How can I still find them so enjoyable all these years later? Nothing about them has changed. It's still simple enough for an 8 year old to pick up and play. But complex enough for adults to spend hours researching it. If you changed anything in Pokemon, would it be as good? They've already gotten a winning formula, why bugger up what is essentially perfect?
But this isn't a one-sided argument, oh no. No I turn to Sydney to come up with some counter-arguments for me.
SY: Franchises such as Pokemon and Mario do have mass appeal for people who love the same thing. Battles for Pokemon and rescuing Princes Peach in Mario. There are "add-ons" in these games though. In Mario, it's not just rescuing Princess Peach, like Bowsers Inside Story or Super Paper Mario (arguably the darkest Mario game with bosses like Mimi and Super Dementio). Even games like Pokemon do add something new. They add new Pokemon to their games for each release.
There's nothing really wrong with changing games franchises, but it's all in execution. Take Sonic Adventure for example. Sure future Sonic games went all out, but the execution was pretty bad. Having owned Sonic the WereHog wasn't fun at all. The game was irritating to me, but not because it was different. It was just too difficult and confusing for my taste. Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 on the other hand, actually did have something creative. It introduced Shadow the Hedgehog (sort of a deep character until he was ruined in future games), Gamma (the robot made from Dr. Robotnik who had the saddest story involving a bird), and one of the best monsters ever, Perfect Chaos.
In the old games the chaos emeralds, "could turn thoughts into power, can warp time and space with a technique called Chaos Control, and give energy to all living things then be used to create nuclear or laser based weaponry." In these games, they give the main villain, Chaos, a bloody past. The Sonic Team made him a god whenever he were to collect the chaos emeralds. As it got bigger with the emeralds, it turned into a major sky scraper.
In Silent Hill games, the characters change all the time. The first Silent Hill game went down in history; being the most terrifying in setting. The second one however was very deep and thought provoking with the lead character James. The game brought us something new like pyramid head, a deep, psychologically tortured protagonist, and memorable characters. It was different from the first, but the execution was great.
You can say the same for Resident Evil too. As the Resident Evil games changed, it took different risks, especially with Resident Evil 4. There weren't any zombies, but instead it was a cult. A dangerous village that acted mad. They were actually worse than zombies. They could track you down and actually hurt you with weapons. Sure the game had monsters like the regenerador (another terrifying creature) but even if it was different, the game was great.
Also, in the Metal Gear Solid series, Solid Snake and the others go through character development all throughout the games. Especially in Metal Gear Solid 4. Quite possibly the most emotionally clustered game. So much emotion and depth come into this game from a franchise that was just about sneaking around with your trusty map, avoiding soldiers, and fighting superhuman or supernatural bosses (like pyscho mantis). Sure he is shown as a manly and responsible person in the first few games, but what sealed it was MGS4. This is fleshing out will power, despite Solid Snakes age, along with being deep.
We need changes in video games. We grow up and doing the same thing, each and every time can be good, but its much better in video games that need it. It all depends in execution. Even though you take away the franchise name, it can still be a great game on its own.
R8: It's funny you mention Sonic, since that's probably the best argument out there for why things shouldn't change. Sonic is a brilliant 2D side-scroller. It works really well. And while you can add characters or story elements, the core gameplay is brilliant.
… So why do they keep trying to insist that 3D Sonic is good. They don't seem to get that Sonic doesn't work in 3D, no matter what they try to do. All the good Sonic games have been in 2D, all the bad ones in 3D. They changed the very core of the gameplay to something that's not worst and, to rub salt in the wound, continually fail to change it back. Perhaps Sonic wouldn't suck so much if they just remembered what made him good in the first place.
As for Silent Hill and Resident Evil, I won't deny that both series have good games. Silent Hill 2 in the one case, Resident Evil 4 in the other. But what about all those other Silent Hills where they tried to change things, only for it to fall flat on its face? Sure Silent Hill 2 isn't left open for a sequel, but that doesn't mean Silent Hill 3 or 4 should have been made. It's a series that's been getting progressively worst as they keep trying to change things, without realising what made the original great. The less said about Resident Evil 5 the better (mostly because I haven't played it).
Now while some sequels are good, I still argue that change is unnecessary. If something works, don't try to change it. If you want to try and change it, make it something completely new instead. Don't just slap the name Silent Hill onto your box art and try to make it part of the franchise. Come up with your own franchise to make it more interesting. Don't ruin something that's already good. Ruin something new and unique so people don't have what they loved ruined. Franchises shouldn't change what makes them good because a change too far results in a split fanbase, since you could instead come up with a new IP and do something new instead.
SY: You know Ratin8tor, your right. Maybe if the games were the same, there'd be no complaints. But wait, Sonic Team had already tried that. When they made Sonic a side scroller again back in 2010, it looked like they knew what was going on with the whole 3D Sonic. NOPE. The fans still complained. Why? Because the Sonic fan base hates the 3D. Yes, it's a side scroller, but it's 3D. Those people complained about Sonic and his design. That's not fair. Besides, they've grown up by the time of those complaints. Why would you be interested in Sonic anymore? Give the new kids a chance to play them.
I don't think the problem is with the games. It's what the fans beg and want from it. If you give a baby too much milk, it's going to cry for more.
Sure, you can say the future instalments of Resident Evil games have declined (especially the new one), but what stops it from being a good game? Sure it carries the name, but does it stop it from being a less entertaining game? The fans think so. Resident Evil 4 (the most different one) has its fans and haters (damn I hate this word). Both are fans of the series.
Silent Hill 3,4, 5, 6, 7, and so on have it's fans that are inside the Silent Hill fan base. They like them because their different. They tell different stories. They like different psychologically damaged characters. We can't stick with James all the time and the fans got their fill with him. People can accept change, even when their in the same boat. The pompous fan base is the problem. "Oh it's not like Silent Hill 1 & 2!" Sometimes they don't even give the game a chance. Their biased when they go in.
When you get right down to it, the fans NEED change. We can't be fed the same thing over and over again. Sometimes Team Sonic sucks, but their execution for a game was bad. Sonic can still be like a racing game, but Sonic Adventure was entertaining enough for some fans. They liked it. It just depends on who you are really. If you like change or if you like things to stay the same.
So there you have it. A look at whether video games should change or stay the same. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
Categories: In Too Deep