I think we can all agree that video games are great. They’re brilliantly intricate and immersive, and if done right the experience will stay with you forever. However video gaming is an industry, driven by profit-margins and forced to adhere to certain rules established by the game buying audiences it seeks to appeal to and with that comes some fundamental problems.
Because of the very nature of the beast, and the need for immediate financial returns, if the industry as a whole finds something that works they take it and run with it. And run with it, and run with it.
These ideas can be implemented (and often have been) in any game, and really only serve to remind us that we are playing a video game. That pulling out of the experience is more harmful than fun and these trends in gaming only serve to make the experience feel annoying and cheap.
So get ready to take a trip into the absurd as we look at 5 Ridiculously Outdated Video Game Trends.
5. Everyone Has A Detective Mode
- As used in: Batman, Tomb Raider, The Last of Us, Hitman: Absolution
Batman arrives at the scene of a crime in the streets of the horror that is Arkham City. There’s blood everywhere, and the body looks horribly mutilated. He doesn’t have much time if he wants to find the sick guy who did this. He quickly sets up a crime scene, and scans the area using his detective mode for traces of vapour, fingerprints, blood trails, anything that’ll help him pinpoint a location.
It makes sense right?
Arkham has a mode where he scans for clues and enemies, and it’s pretty cool, and it’s a mechanic that works terrifically well in the context of the game. Unfortunately, it seems that the World’s Greatest Detective has been selling his wares to everyone. Because it seems nowadays that everyone and their cat has a version of Detective Mode (patent pending).
Take the reboot of Tomb Raider for instance, a largely entertaining romp through a horribly dangerous island in the middle of nowhere. Lara is a young girl who is largely ill equipped to survive, but she also has this thing called Survival Instinct. You press a button, and the screen goes black and white except for a shiny object that indicates it is important. Now you can climb, pull, shoot, to your hearts content. It’s an utterly stupid method of hand-holding (but more on that later)
The Last of Us is a gripping journey across a post apocalyptic America, and Joel is a weathered older man who has lived there for twenty years. Apparently two decades haven’t been a total waste though. The ladies must love Joel because he’s a damn good listener. Indeed he can even sense enemies through walls just by hearing their footsteps. To be fair, the highest difficulty blocks this feature but still Listen Mode is a suspension of disbelief that goes too far.
Detective Mode should be left to Batman, in a world where it actually makes sense. These blatant ways to make the game easier should really stop. And while we’re on the subject of difficulty…
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This article was first posted on August 20, 2013