Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Frenetic Gaming



One of my favorite go-to gaming genres is the first person shooter.  I think the reason why I so enjoy this format is because it is low effort gaming in the extreme.  What I mean by that is that unlike other genres that often require greater mental effort on the part of the player to effectively participate in the gameplay, such as strategy games or role playing games, shooters are more about muscle reflex ("twitch") than they are about deep thinking.  I mean, you don't have to be a genius to figure out how to place a crosshair on a target and pull the trigger.  Now, that is not to say that there is no mental effort required; that would not be true.  As I have pointed out before, most shooters are realistically brutal in their presentations of real world warfare. The player who willy-nilly jumps onto the modern virtual battlefield without using any brain cells will soon find himself to be the first causality on that same field of battle.  Shooters might be low mental effort titles, but they are not zero mental effort titles.

Be that as it may, after a long day I am much more likely to boot up a shooter than I am to boot up any other type of game because it involves the least amount of effort on my part.  Well, at least I used to anyway....

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Gaming: Battlefield 4



Lately, I've been pretty harsh on the world of PC gaming, even to the point of labeling the industry as being downright disreputable. I still stand behind those sentiments. And little, if anything, has changed in the intervening months. Things are still pretty rotten around these here parts, perhaps more so as we now can add disreputable indie developers - who hype projects, pocket lots of crowd-sourced cash, and ultimately release mediocre products - to the mix. It's all enough to make a man want to take up chess again.... 

Be that as it may, there is one aspect of the shameful record of modern gaming that I do feel I need to revisit in the interest of fairness, and that would be EA/DICE's Battlefield 4. As I have pointed out time and again over the last few months (most notably here & here, amongst other threads), BF4 was a good poster child for everything that is ailing the modern games industry: it was a title that seemed to be a sequel for the sake of just raking in more sequel cash; it was bug-ridden and incomplete at launch despite having a $60 price point ($110 including premium); and it required months and months of patching before the player got what he paid for. 

Shameful. Inexcusable. Reprehensible.

But having said all of that, I do have to give EA/DICE a hard to swallow "kudos" for finally releasing a game worthy of the Battlefield name. Battlefield 4 has finally arrived - granted, some seven months post release - but it has arrived nonetheless.  

And it all makes for some good summer gaming. Why summer, you ask? Because Battlefield 4 has so much swimming and boating in it, that they should have called it Battlefield 4: Extreme Water Sports