Between gimmicky Wii shovelware, Red Rings of Death and large price points tainted by giant crab battles, this generation started with something akin to a whimper—and that’s being generous. But as the years went on, we were not only treated to one of the longest generations of console gaming, but also the most fruitful. We saw games take great strides in scope and imagination. With dozens of new IPs that hold great promise, some of the most fantastic sequels ever made and new approaches to storytelling, it’s safe to say that gamers are in a better situation now than they were back in 2005, when the Xbox 360 first debuted.
On the even of a new generation, we thought we’d take a look back at this last generation—and perhaps one of the greatest we’ve ever had. Over the course of several weeks, the GamerSushi staff voted on the best experiences of this generation, getting in heated debates, pitting games against each other in vicious battles and nearly ending several friendships. Below are the results.
The kinds of features that become commonplace in video games can take on a life of their own over the course of each generation. Things that we couldn’t have imagined a decade ago are now a staple, it seems. Cover-based shooting. RPG elements attached to everything, the list goes on. One of the more recent trends in games would have to be the idea of the New Game Plus.
Granted, this has been around for some time (Chrono Cross had it on the Playstation, for instance), but it’s only been in this generation that we’ve seen it become a fixture. The appeal behind New Game Plus is certainly appealing. Combined with the advent of RPG mechanics, this mode allows players in games like Batman: Arkham City and Mass Effect to take their skills with them into an entirely new adventure, making exciting strides and seeing things from a more powerful perspective than before.
In keeping with this idea, Kotaku writer Lisa Foiles tackles the rather philosophical question of if life had a New Game Plus, how would you replay it? The concept itself is very Groundhog Day, but it’s a fun idea that I’ve thought about from time to time. I know that many of us are still young, but I just thought I’d throw the same question at you guys: how would you handle a New Life Plus feature? Any differently?
Over the years, the advancements in video game technology and the bigger budgets associated with AAA games have helped the games industry compete with movies in terms of their appeal and their business. The experiences are bigger, bolder and more akin to Hollywood blockbusters than ever. We expect more out of games these days – and a lot of that mindset is owed to the cut scenes that were introduced several generations ago. Cut scenes stretched our idea of what games could be. But do games still do cut scenes right?
That’s the question Wired asks in a new piece titled 5 Film-School Violations in Videogame Cut Scenes. In it, writer Jason Schreier takes a look at some of the things that modern cut scenes still get wrong, even after all these years. While I think the list is sort of ill aimed (it’s more about writing and editing than actual direction), Schreier raises some great issues. In terms of writing, many games just can’t seem to cut it compared to the movies they’re trying so desperately to be.
While I’d have to disagree with him on Mass Effect 2 (one of my friends was a cinematic designer on that game and knows his crap), I’ve long maintained that many game cut scenes don’t really know what they’re doing in terms of the actual craft of film – shots are set up all wrong, and are more about flash and spectacle than about the story itself. To me, one of the most grievous recent examples is Final Fantasy XIII. For all the flack that the game takes, I felt like very little of it was directed at its cut scenes, which were often a jumbled mess. During action sequences, I often found it hard to follow what exactly was going on in the scene, to the point where I had to re-watch them several times.
So how do you guys feel about this list? How do you feel about cut scenes in gaming? Which games do it right and which ones do it wrong?
And we’re back, fellow gamers. It’s been a couple of weeks because a certain bearded somebody forgot that Thursdays are our podcast nights, and decided to go out and have a life instead. However, everything is back to normal, and now a brand new podcast is out for your enjoyment.
In this episode of our gaming ramblings, we chat about a few new games in more detail, such as Dragon Age 2 and Crysis 2. We also tackle an awesome game of Over/Under, in which Nick has us guess on Metacritic scores for upcoming games. It’s seriously one of my favorite games we play, and I think the results in this one are pretty awesome.
So, here are the topics for this week’s podcast. Thanks to Nick’s efforts, we thought we’d try something different and list the time stamps for each thing in the podcast. Hopefully that’ll make it easier if there are certain topics you want to hear about.
If you were maybe living under a rock for the past little while, you might not know that Mass Effect 2’s latest and final piece of DLC, ‘Arrival’ is hitting tomorrow with all the force of a biotic punch to the head. To get us prepped for Shepard’s solo adventure to the far reaches of the known galaxy, BioWare has released a trailer that features a little Reaper taunting and a lot of Batarians being blown away. Enjoy.
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to get ‘Arrival’ day and date, so I’ll have to endure a couple of weeks of listening to all the other GamerSushi editors talk about how awesome it is. I know there was some concern expressed about ‘Arrival’ when I posted a few details about it last week, but have any of you changed your mind? Still feel the same way?
Every now and then as gamers we get to bunker down and tackle a game for as long as we want. This doesn’t happen very often due to a number a life circumstances, but sometimes the stars align and clear the way for a gaming marathon session like no other. Needless to say, these always make for awesome days, and if you’re lucky enough, awesome binge gaming weekends.
Yesterday, a few members of the GamerSushi crew got to do just that. For instance, Jeff, finally over-burdened by our constant podcast harassment, took it upon himself to play Mass Effect 2 for about 10 hours. He knocked out the second half of the game and even DLC, including Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker. I know that Anthony has also spent some time plowing through Demon’s Souls. As for me, I think I’ve played Dragon Age 2 for about 23 hours this week, including about 9 yesterday in one awesome gaming session.
So what about you guys? When’s the last time you’ve gotten to jump into a marathon gaming session? What game or games did you play? Go!
I’ve never been one to call myself a graphics whore. In fact, over the years, I’ve taken quite a few shots at those friends of mine that I knew only cared about graphics. Oddly enough, the two types of people that seem to really love graphics fall on opposite ends of the spectrum, ranging from hardcore PC gamers that love their real time benchmark demos to frat boys who can not get over how good a game looks, bra.
However, even my elitist mind can get knocked down a few pegs when I see something truly stunning, something that makes my jaw drop until drool leaks out, and I’m left mumbling incoherently while watching awe-inspiring visuals. Over the years, games that have really stood out to me in terms of graphics have been Mass Effect 2, Uncharted 2, Red Dead Redemption, Metal Gear Solid 4 and Crysis. In terms of design, I’d have to say Shadow of the Colossus and any number of the Zelda games.
It seems that CVG has put together a list of what they consider to be the 9 best looking games of all time. That’s a fairly lofty claim, although I don’t know if any of you will be surprised by their list, save for one or two entries. I really do like that they included Team Fortress 2 and Limbo on the list though, because those two games have such unique looks that make them both iconic.
So what do you guys think? What games left you stunned visually when they came out, and what games do you think still rank among the best looking games of all time? Go!