Are Games Losing Their ‘WOW’ Factor?
by Matt White (Chtulu80)
In the last week or two I had thought to myself, can I name the last games that have made me just go ‘wow.’ I am not just talking about just graphics or just story, but rather the whole package a game has to offer. I do not know about others who read this, but for me, there have been many times when a game has disappointed me. I am not really sure if it is because the game may have been over hyped, but after spending hard-earned dollars on video games I would really like to be impressed more than I am. I may have become jaded with the industry or it could be games are just not as good as I remember.
I play a lot of games so I don’t just pick and choose what I do or don’t like. There have been times where I have just tried so hard to like a game and those have been “highly rated” games. It may just be personal tastes as well, but one game that I was truly overwhelmed by was “Grand Theft Auto 4”. I do not know what it was about this game; but it just got too repetitive too quickly. I lost interest after about 4 days from purchase. Now let’s do the math does 4 days of enjoyment demand a $60 dollar price tag? Not a chance. And sadly, this wasn’t the last time I was disappointed by a game.
I recently posted on twitter the other day the question “What where the last few games that really made you go ‘wow’?” While I only got a few responses back, and I am grateful for those who answered, it seemed like the responses that I received where about the same. With the exception of one PC game, I seemed to be reading the same two games, those being “Red Dead Redemption” and “Alan Wake.” I find these two games rather interesting choices because, believe it or not, they were released on the very same day. I recall thinking that I only had the money for one of these titles. I really had not heard much about “Red Dead Redemption” but rather just the opposite for “Alan Wake.” Eventually I did pick up “RDR” but unfortunately has become another game I haven’t finished simply because it doesn’t appeal to me.
I went back to my time with “Alan Wake” and thought, was I really wowed by this title? I can honestly say, yes. I mean what can you say about this game but unique? There was the episodic format, licensed music, and great (to me) story. The only spot that really failed, in my opinion, were the controls. There were times when I thought they were clunky to say the least. I then thought about other titles that have really wowed me in the past few years and three games really came to mind. Those two games are “Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune”, “Bioshock”, and Dead Space” While each of those three games did it for different reasons, they wowed me none the less most likely because each game brought me a complete experience.
Now before anyone gets on my case and asks me why “Uncharted 1” instead of “Uncharted 2” I will explain this. I had just bought a PS3 a little over a month ago and wanted to give some time to pass between games so I could fully appreciate each game on its own merit and have yet to start the second game. Also, just to state the fact, I do have “Uncharted 2” GOTY edition in shrink-wrap. The reason I include this game other than it being a great game, is because I really had to stop and say “well done” when the credits were running. Not only because it was a great game, but had everything for me. The story was great, the graphics were pretty good, and controls outside of the grenade function, were great. It seemed like it took the best parts of “Indiana Jones” and “Tomb Raider” and put it into one great package. Well done, Naughty Dog!
Looking back at “Bioshock”, what did this game not do? Great, just great is all I can really say. I love a game with a darker storyline. This game had it in spades. The enemies were truly sadistic, the powers or plasmids were crazy, and even art design was great in putting you into their world. I know when I came upon the first big daddy in the game I was like “Oh Shit!” There are not very many games that would make me jump back in my seat. The big reveal was crazy. I really have to say that if you have not played this gem you have to go out and get it, would you kindly?
“Dead Space” while at first glance may not seem too special but I love it just the same. When people ask me about this game I like to compare it to the movie “Aliens”. To me it just seems to mirror that movie. Instead of going into an infested colony you go into an infested space ship. The main game mechanic is to dismember your foes. While some games have you doing this mechanic, this game does it the best. Like “Bioshock” the storyline in this is very dark as well, another plus in my book. I had slept on this game for quite a while; I picked it up about a year after release and i’m glad I finally took the chance.
While I have been disappointed by a lot of games, I am still willing to try new games and new IPs. Sometimes they pay off, sometimes they don’t. Developers should try to make games more unique either in story, game mechanics, or just plain more fun. If I am going to pay out $60 of my hard-earned money, you need to prove to me that your game is different to me. I am not really looking for the cookie cutter games. I want to be able to, more often, get up out of my chair when I am done with a game and say “Well done!”
If you would like to continue this conversation you can always find me on twitter @Chtulu80 and I would be happy to chat it up. I would also like to know the games that have given you that “wow” feeling after you finished it.