Compelling versus straight face: my gamer-crisis everlasting.


Shared on Thu, 03/30/2017 - 21:09

Has one read my blogs over the years, then my personal crisis with the consistency of what games offer should be a familiar theme. I've over the breadth of it sought the answer within myself. I'm not getting younger and that comes, amongst living at a slower pace to name one aspect, with shifting interests where other things not only beg for attention but take importance over something that I used to do or love. A long line of nice women who answered my charm can tell you stories, which is a more respectful way of saying that familiarity breeds contempt.

I still defend my position that games-development is creatively bankrupt. Something works, sells well and before we know it we're doing the same thing in every game that we buy for the next three years. Call of duty in Boston called Fallout 4 is still call of duty while the crafting gets double-downed upon because fuck you. Not even talking about Obsidian Entertainment who're reskinning Baldur's Gate though crowd-sourcing time and time again. Compelling none of it is.

Yet, the mere existence of Horizon: Zero Dawn belies the above. Raising the bar is an understatement of some order where it pertains this title. But it isn't in the innovation that Horizon: Zero Dawn shines. I possess a library of well over a thousand sci-fi novels ranging from Asimov to Zelazny and every other author in between and so I can come up with at least a good one hundred titles that relate to the topic of Horizon: Zero Dawn in more than one aspect and then I'm not even mentioning the killer robot machines. For the rest.., open world with Ubi-towers, stealth elements and a perk-system that passes for RPG-progression nowadays. What makes Horizon: Zero Dawn so compelling is the title's uncharacteristic for the current climate high production values. Even the one person who I once likened to torture akin to getting a rootcanal while being assraped, Ashley Burch, redeemed herself with a performance that allowed me to get past the fact that I am listening to Ashley Burch. That's an accomplishment. I for example detest Scott Bacula. It's not in what the man does, but it is something surrounding him that stops me from regarding him as a face that I want to remember. To this day, mr Bacula has failed to win me over. So for Ashley Burch to achieve that milestone, that's noteworthy indeed. That's because its exemplary for the whole of Horizon: Zero Dawn. Care, love and attention to detail applied to the entire product elevates the game to a level that makes it impossible to put down. The only other game on the PS3/PS4 that excuse the ownership of an otherwise worthless piece of overpriced tech is in my eyes The Last of Us. When I start a new game of The Last of Us, chances are high that I walk through in one singular session.

Thus we arrive at Andromeda. Do you have any idea how many titles I can pull from my library that tell a similar story? Yeah, let's not go there. Open world maps, exploring, ubi-towers, perk-system passing for RPG-progression nowadays, double-down on the crafting and call of duty on a different planet is still call of duty. Oh, and sudoku. That too. Andromeda is a good game, despite what the unwashed masses like to profess. Its a solid offering from Bioware that I don't regret purchasing at all if alone for the graphical splendor on Ultra settings on 21:9@144. But compelling it isn't. Fryda Wolff, voice-acting the female lead should you choose to play as such (Highly recommended as this series suffers from superior female voicework as per tradition.), lends Andromeda extra longevity as she absolutely nailed the goofball-persona that Sara Ryder is. The fact that Sara Ryder is a likable protagonist is what saves Andromeda, not the minutia that kills all the momentum in a game that already struggles with the cut corners in it's foundation. Andromeda is slow, full of itself and developed by a team that quite probably had to stop themselves from turning the game in a survival-crafter and thus resorted to phoning it in. What else should you call a reskin of Dragon Age: Inquisition?

The problem here is that Horizon: Zero Dawn exists, proving that with (Arguably insanely.) high production standards it is possible to take the standard modern game-elements (That should automatically land a game 6 out of 10 without even looking at the game because why should you nowadays.) and deliver a game that feels fresh and is compelling to play. Andromeda misses that standard at every turn and falls into the background quickly if one made the mistake of coming hot off the back of Horizon: Zero Dawn.

There's an Indo-Dutch understanding; You can't bake spekkuk without committing to it.




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