I love how unlike all other entertainment industries Video Games are the one whose entire development rests under one worldwide stage, (China bearing exception). Movies, TV, & Music are all so isolated culturally via several regions and territories. But gaming is one thing we can all relate to one another. Because of this worldwide audience you get different approaches to same genre, and today we are celebrating that with 3 mildly successful entries within the broad first person shooter genre.
‘Metro 2033‘, is an immersive and broken experience. There are deep flaws in gameplay that are only held together by the strength of the narrative (based on a Russian novel by Dmitri Glukhovsky). I can only say personally for a handful of games that were this frustrating, yet compelling enough that I wanted to press on to see where I would end up next, and because of the circumstances of my character [the now relatable 20 year-old Artyom] I had no idea. The game is an odyssey. A level of intrigue surrounds Ukranian developer 4A games debut with the atmosphere layered on so thick you need a gas mask, and a difficulty that refuses to hold your hand to the next filter on your path. This game was a rare experience that had me venturing outside the top tier game makers for a little hidden gem glowing in the shadows of a ghostly metro.
‘Resistance 2’, created in the AAA game capital of Santa Monica, California is triumph over the worst habits of video game blockbusters. A rushed development cycle, weapon restrictions and scripted events marred the game from much of its predecessor’s merits. Yet Resistance 2 succeeds based on its scale while hitting its major targets. A terrifying but underused villain, a ballsy ending, and more creative weapons and creatures to compliment each other with [bullets]. There are some stand out-moments in the Insomiac Games shooter sequel such as; the water main burst and horde rush in the Chicago levels, the larger than life boss battles and tons of set pieces that actually allow the player to control the camera. The secret weapon of the game however is its sound and rumble design, which places the battle in the player’s hands (via dualshock controller rumble) and rests around its ears. Facing a launch week against fellow console exclusive titan Gears of War for was a battle the series arguably lost in sales, but Resistance 2 remains a portrait of AAA game development, a sequel that polarizes its fans in an effort to seek out higher ground, and with levelling results gets just enough right.
Swedish Developer Digital Illusions Creative Entertainment (or DICE for short) began ‘Mirror’s Edge‘ as an attempt to diversify its portfolio beyond its core Battlefield franchise, and as a result was able to innovate player perspective. A first person view, attached atop an animation rig, rather than a typical 5 foot high floating camera a game for once has realistically rendered legs and feet. Changing the design of the FPS for better and ever. What’s more, the primary colour art style allows the gamer to focus on what’s in front of them and most important. At a swift 5 hours its worth a runthrough.
Unlike my previous Hall of Game there is nothing that connects these three developers, (unless you want to count a stretch of Eastern Europe in each background) they are all 3 completely different approaches to the first person shooter genre. One is foreign flavoured literary adaptation, another a AAA console exclusive, and thirdly an experimental side project that takes the shooter out of FPS. All of them eventually found varying degrees of success and successors in; Last Light, Resistance 3 and Catalyst, proving that for this generation’s most popular genre that there is room to grow from all sides, scales, heights, shadows and perspectives.