This last week I’ve been playing (for the first time) a Metal Gear Solid franchise game, specifically MGS V: Ground Zeroes. My experience with the MGS franchise is limited to conversations with friends and a distant memory from my childhood. The childhood experience with the game is limited only to a mental picture of the beginning of the play. I didn’t realize that young that the point of the game was “stealth” and I spent all the time learning the controls and setting off alarms. I had to be nine or younger, and I remember that the stealth component of these games gave me the same experience as thrillers. Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy, the video game, was another game I associated with this time, but unlike MGS, I actually repeatedly played Rainbow Six. The game’s realism in both terms of political theatre of espionage and one-hit-usually-kills-feature heightened the experience of anxiety and provided the illusion of the player of having ‘stakes’ in the game itself. The idea of stealth enforces rules of reality that narrows down the game’s strategic from a guns-locked-and-blazing mode of play similar to Halo with its shields to one where the gamer is forced to find another strategy than a brute-force method.
My fiancé and I checked out Injustice: Gods Amongst Us. It’s a DC game in the old Arcade Style. The characters are rendered in 3D, but the play is 2D style left-to-right scroll style similar to the old Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter games of Nintendo and Sega. This game, besides amazing graphics, have been upgraded with small pre-recorded narrative material before and after the fights based upon the winner. The choice of setting also adds to the narration of a basic fighting game by allowing interactive sets from the DC Universe such as the Daily Planet, Gotham Asylum, Gotham City, the Bat Cave, Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, or Aquarium of Aquaman et cetera.
The Martian Man Hunter is a cool character.
I’ve still been paling the DC Universe game Injustice: Gods Amongst Us. Last time I talked mostly about how the game’s mechanics and controller layout in regard to it being an old arcade style fighting game. This post I’d like to discuss the narrative it composes since I’ve had a chance to almost play through the game. The game begins with animation in medias res with Superman confronting the Joker about being drugged and involved in obtaining a nuclear weapon. The narrative then cuts to an epic fight between 20-30 superheroes and villains. The fighting converges upon an area of the city where the Joker has been discovered to have a nuke going off. All the heroes race toward it and right before they reach it and it is suppose to go off a time-shift happens and several characters are absorbed into a different/alternate time line, one where Superman is a slightly obsessed and totalitarian tyrant due to his obsessive-cop like behavior and depression as a result of Lois Lane’s death. After this, the story line focuses one one superhero per “chapter” where you fight in-between the narratives one character against two or three others. I think instead of looking at this as a game enhanced with animation as an animation experience with an interactive component.
So I’m done playing the DC Universe game. In my last post, I said that the game itself is best enjoyed from the perspective of watching an animated super-hero drama that includes an interactive component (the 2D scroll styled fighting game). Though this allows one to witness the drama of their favorite comic book hero while also realizing the action of the fighting sequence, the title as a whole fails in comparison with contemporary game culture, which demands more sophistication not just in graphics, but maybe most importantly in game structure and play. The DC game did not at all engage my mind, nor do I feel as though I have acquired any real-world applicable skills. And the story that the DC Universe did tell excluded the player and delegated them to mere button-smasher. I’m moving on to other games.
Watch_Dog is an open world video game similar to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, however, this video game features a “grey hat” (morally ambiguous) hacker as the protagonist rather than just a street thug. I played for about three hours today total (the most I’ve played a video game since I was a child. Perhaps the most dominating aspect of genre in this game so far is the stealth mode, which is similar to games such as Rainbow Six.
The rendering of the Chicago in Watch_Dog may very well be best described as “hyperreal.” The details not just in graphics but in behavior is astounding. For instance, the behavior of the police, for instance, is significantly more intuitive than the police or criminals of Grand Theft Auto. Moreover, the way in which the computer gives the appearance of human spontaneity and random behavior is impressive.
Applause to the developers of Watch_Dogs for the successful incorporation of online multiplayer modes into the single player mission mode. As the user (character Aiden Pearce) navigates through the open world of fictionalized Chicago, Pearce will receive alerts via his smartphone to do certain jobs such as hack someone’s phone. You can accept or decline this job by pressing downward on the d-pad. You are then required to blend into the natural environment and covertly hack the player who has four minutes to discover which of the people walking around is the hacker. Though engaging in these activities is required minimally in order to complete the game 100% and gain experience points used to upgrade skills and abilities, occasionally you will thrusted into the “asynchronous single player” (as Wikipedia terms it) mode where you are being hacked. To discover the hacker is required of you. Refusal or failure results in a negative impact on your “reputation” meter. This game, in many ways, has successfully blurred the line between single player and multiplayer mode by utilizing the internet in order to disguise real players as the traditionally “computer users” opposing the protagonist in video game single player mission modes.
My friend and I have been playing Call of Duty: Black Ops II multiplayer online. What I want to comment on is our experiments with the sensitivity feature in the options on the left-to-right controls. Compared to a lot of expert players, his sensitivity was low (4) compared to the maximum of 10. He adjusted his to 9 and his level of playing ability went down noticeably. However, after about an hour of playing, his perception of the movement “normalized” and he perceived greater gains in playing experience and success. I’m now interested in the psychosomatic implications of gameplay and the measuring of how long it takes one to adapt to increased player speed.
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