Don’t let this golden age of games end

We are living in a golden age of big-budget PC games that offer us choice and freedom. Be they descendants of the System Shock model – finding a route around a meticulously-crafted, locked-down and hostile place, most recently seen in Prey [official site] – or the roleplaying games based around choice and consequence rather than action alone, they are legion. There are so many, even, that I’m not sure we can fully appreciate how good we’ve got it.

So spoilt for choice, we fall inevitably into gripes about lesser failings or delay our purchases until a steep discount. Understandably so, when we have gigabytes of existent delights clogging the extra hard drives we’ve had to buy to contain all these things.

Where once I flocked urgently to even the faintest promise of what was once called an immersive sim or a cRPG, nowadays glossy, multi-million-dollar descendants of those concepts seem to arrive so regularly that making time in our lives or leeway in our bank accounts for them is a significant challenge. Sometimes, an impossible one.

What a time to be alive and with a computer in the house. We should not take this golden age for granted.

PC games in general are in particularly rude health right now, but I’m talking specifically about games in which you choose your path and your playstyle. Even that falls into two distinct categories: the Ubilikes, sandboxes in which you choose who to kill, in what order and with which weapons, and the Shocklikes, those with more constructed, almost puzzlebox worlds of bespoke challenges with multiple solutions, their emphasis more on finding your way around than on violence.

It is this latter that I feel we may be taking for granted. The former, with its Arkhams and its Mordors and its guerrilla-strewn tropical islands (and even its Zeldas, now), is so wildly popular that I have no fears for its health. Killing a lot of things in a wide-open space (and invariably being rewarded with points for it) is going to be a mainstay of videogames for many years to come.

Games about finding one of multiple possible paths into locked-down spaces in rich, detailed worlds can never be so ten-a-penny. They are an inherently harder sell to a twitchy crowd and, with the greatest of respect and reverence for the skill required to create a Ubilike, this other sort requires a particular degree of master-crafting to get right. The extreme delicacy required to build a world that feels real, and that creates a compulsion to explore every corner on it, then balance that with solid combat and storytelling and characterisation is exactly why minor or major failures within a game like this can feel so jarring.

That’s exactly why I can end up being so very picky about a Shocklike or RPG; hung up on minor foibles, failing to appreciate quite how many plates this thing is spinning in order to entertain me.

Coupled with the certainty that another one will be along soon, that is also why I can end up leaving Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Dishonored 2 unfinished. Where once I would have persevered regardless – those game-breaking bugs and countless rough edges in Vampire: Bloodlines didn’t stop me, for instance – the modern belief that a game like that is no longer a rare and precious commodity means I feel safe to eject early. Perhaps because I don’t enjoy the characterisation, or some new area isn’t compelling, or the overall familiarity is a bit of a drag.

So I hang on for the next one instead, or tell myself that this is only a brief abandonment, leave it on my hard drive for years, never buy the DLC, never give a real vote of confidence in wanting more.

What a thing it is to live in a world where we’ve had a new Deus Ex, a new Dishonored, a new Hitman, Prey, The Witcher 3, even Mass Effect: Andromeda, for all its stumbles, all within the space of a couple of years. I’m sure there are more still, but I struggle to recall them all because they seem to arrive and then pass by so quickly. It has been a delight: so many happy hours of hacking and sneaking and lockpicking and deciphering and negotiating and choosing who to be, where to go and how to do it. And, yes, who to kill and how, or who to choke or taser into unconsciousness, or who to avoid entirely.

There have been successes and there have been failures. There have been games with extraordinary fidelity of world-building, and games which rely more on wide-open spaces and routine combat. There have been games I have lost myself to for weeks, and games I felt I was skating around the edges of, waiting for a moment of connection that never came.

I often whinge at the time (and it is my job to do so, in fairness), but really I am grateful for them all, glad that these concepts continue to be explored. That someone tries this hard to make the biggest budget games more than just various different remixes of the shooting gallery concept.

The firms behind them could be creating more military shooters or zombie survival games or cynically microtransacted horrors instead. The developers make these games because they want to make these games (and though they might sometimes get it wrong, I always appreciate the attempt). The publishers commission to make these games because they believe that people will buy them.

What happens if they don’t, or not in sufficient numbers, or they wait too long for sales or for experiments to complete? Then Square-Enix abandons its planned second series of Hitman (and even wants to offload the developer), the Deus Ex series grinds to an indefinite halt, the Mass Effect franchise is put on ice.

Sure, we can name credible reasons for some of those, but is this the trend we want? If it doesn’t work out then it’s killed off? How safe are we to presume that there’ll be something else with similar ambitions along before too long? Will we still be happily drowning in Games Like These in the years to come if publishers lose their financial faith in them?

Clearly, we must exercise discretion. I’m not saying buy a relative stinker like Mass Effect Andromeda for the sake of Supporting The Cause, but if we’re avoiding or putting off almost everything because of bet-hedging, be it concerns about quality or cost, we’re going to have the rug pulled out from under us before too long.

From afar – and I might be wrong here – it looks a little like Dishonored 2 and Prey have not been the smash hits they might have been expected – or required – to be. I do worry. Will we see Arkane make more games like them, or will they be tasked with making straight shooters, more like the Dooms and Wolfensteins and even Fallouts that have been more reliable cash-cows for their parent firm?

Not so long ago, it seemed every publisher was trying to make its own Call of Duty. We didn’t know how good it was going to get a few short years later. I don’t want this time to end. I want Hitman season 2, I want Prey 2 (2), I want Dishonored 3, I want another Deus Ex (albeit Jensen-free), I want to see how that Warren Spector-helmed System Shock 3 pans out, I want things I’ve never heard of but which are all about finding a way into that locked place by hook or by crook.

I don’t want to be simply choosing whether I kill the baddies with that gun or this knife, or grinding animal skins to unlock ammo pouches, or just more cod-parkour in some fantastical environment. I enjoy all those things too, but I don’t want only those things, and sometimes the trend seems to be going the way. I don’t want this current time to end. I want to keep living in a world where something with a little bit of Shock or Black Isle in its blood is only a few months away.

This greed I am guilty of is what makes us take these games for granted, to think it’s OK to put off Dishonored 2 for months or not bother with Hitman until the series completes (by which point it’s old news). I say: enjoy these times, appreciate these times. Whether or not they last, whether or not they come again, they are here now, and not so long that did not seem at all likely.

178 Comments

  1. Faldrath says:

    Now imagine if you had played Nier: Automata, it would be the icing on the cake of this golden age :) Not a dig at you, I swear, but it saddens me that you haven’t because of the (admittedly shitty) tutorial with no saves. As someone who has been reading RPS since 2010 or so, I think Nier would resonate most strongly with you, of all the writers here.

    For what it’s worth, I think Nier has the most interesting story in a game since Planescape: Torment, and I do not say that lightly. (and for some probably-not-needed personal info, I’m 39, father of a 3-year old girl, and with less time to play games than I’d like. My daughter liked to watch me play “the robot game”!)

    • Tetrode says:

      Nier Automata isn’t an Immersive Sim though, that’s what Alec is on about.

      • Chillicothe says:

        This is true, but the freedom that allowed for these allows for others to flourish like Character Actions like Oh Tomato, or 4Xs like Stellaris or a host of others that were considered “archaic” or too “underwhelming focus group results” to exist in the gibbering madness that was 10 years ago.

        • Javier says:

          Character action games and 4x games were already being released ten years ago far more often than any immersive sims. Dishonored 2, Prey, Deus Ex MD, the new Hitman, MGSV TPP… It’s a renaissance of sorts for games focused on emergent gameplay.

    • Hoot says:

      I’m halfway through the 2nd play-through on NieR : Automata and I can say it’s one of the best games I’ve ever played, and my first Japanese style game at that!

      I’ve also played Planescape : Torment, all the Deus Ex games, Dishonoured, etc, etc, so I see the point of the article and agree with it wholeheartedly. The new Hitman is an excellent game and a complete return to form for the series, it would be criminal if it didn’t get a follow-up.

    • Javier says:

      Nier Automata, as far as I’m aware, doesn’t really have much to do with the games Alec is praising here, which as it’s been said are mostly immersive sims or RPGs based around choice and consequence such as every Witcher.

    • horrorgasm says:

      If I’m understanding you correctly and he gave up on the game because they couldn’t beat the prologue then I kind of doubt they’d have the patience or the ability to follow the story through to the end anyway.

      • Cederic says:

        My understanding isn’t that he “couldn’t beat the prologue”, it’s that dying near the end of the very long prologue (something anybody can do, especially with distracting young children nearby) has left him forced to repeat that entire prologue again.

        I fully support his displeasure at this callous disregard for his time, or indeed the entertainment he’s paid for.

        • fish99 says:

          It’s not that long. Once you’ve died a couple of times you’ll be able to get back to the boss in 15 minutes. There’s 2 fights at the end which honestly aren’t that hard if you remember to manually heal when you’re low (relying on auto heal will get you killed). Apart from that it’s just a case of timing a few dodges, remembering your drone has a lazer blast, and you’re good.

          • Hoot says:

            I agree. I’ve not played a whole ton of games with a controller (die hard PC gamer) in my life but I’m finding NieR fine on Normal difficulty. I don’t understand how anyone can die during the tutorial / opening. It’s fairly clear what you need to do.

  2. Premium User Badge

    subdog says:

    We’ve never had it so good. Whether it’s the choice and consequence/immersive sim renaissance described above, the resurgence of the old-school style western CRPG, a spectator-friendly competitive gaming scene that we never would have dreamed of 10 years ago, or the flourishing indie scene that both embraces the best ideas of the past and pushes the envelope with new experiments in gameplay.

    I take none of it for granted. We pined for all of these things, and now we have them. I don’t expect them to be frozen in amber, but with a bounty like this I can only be optimistic for the future of the medium.

  3. Blake Casimir says:

    Let me TL;DR this for you all:

    MORE IMMERSIVE SIMS PLEASE

    Forgetting the wretched ending, Prey is an object lesson in doing a modern first person game with deep systems and interaction. MORE PLEASE. I’m sick of simplistic barely-interactive open world games and walking simulators. And third person games as a whole, really, though nu-Hitman is good.

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      Godwhacker says:

      I actually really liked the ending of Prey.

    • Paul says:

      Prey had great ending. Proper scifi impactful thing. Agreed with your general point though.

    • GepardenK says:

      I love Prey so much. But it has, sadly, one huge issue that has been a staple of recent Arkane games. Though it didn’t affect Dishonored as much given the type of game it is. That issue is that Arkane is really bad at making (new) players understand why their game is fun. It’s not enough to just make a great game, you need to have systems in place to make new players “get” your game.

      Take quest markers. In Arkane games they literally point you away from the game proper. It’s not a issue for ‘experienced’ Arkane fans who know that the “go here” marker actually means “avoid until last” in Arkane language, but it is a huge issue for gaining the fandom of new players. That’s why we got reports of many people feeling they wasted 60$ on a 7 hour game with Dishonored, and that’s why we get reports of people feeling Prey is a clunky shooter with way too little story or ammo. It’s not that they are ‘bad’ players, they just play the game wrong and they do so because Arkane is literally encouraging to them to.

      Contrast this to something like Dark Souls which uses every element of it’s design to make the player understand how and why the game is fun. Dark Souls wasn’t a huge success because everybody was waiting for a dreary game about dying repeatedly, it was a huge success because it was designed in such a way that it made people understand why a dreary game about dying repeatedly is fun.

      If Arkane want’s to keep making games like these (and I sure as hell want them to) then they need not make better games – but they need to be better at leading players towards what is good about their games and not lead them away from it. They need to commit more to their style of game-play (like Dark Souls did with it’s) and not less.

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        Ninja Dodo says:

        Interesting. What do you reckon they should do to fix that? Multiple objective markers showing different possibilities instead of just the main target? No objective markers? I seem to remember reading they initially had no markers on Dishonored 1 and playtesters just didn’t go for it. Maybe that’s just those players not getting it, but it’s hard to argue with someone who simply refuses to engage with a game.

        NOTE: I haven’t played Dishonored 2 or Prey (yet) so I don’t know how they iterate on their brand of sim.

  4. automatic says:

    It’s 1983 for video games all over again. Too many titles and questionable quality bred out of faith on profit from pure market hype. You can’t do anything bro, that’s how our economic system works. Pile out too much cash on a handful of studios and eventually they fall down. Executives move on to more profitable business and employees are left to their destinies. It’s not really a matter of how much people buy or not (like you said yourself, you’re so stuffed with great games you don’t have time to play them) it’s just that there’s a point when the profit required by studios to keep the gravy train running is not fair to consumers anymore. That’s capitalism for you.

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      subdog says:

      That is the opposite of the point of this article.

      • automatic says:

        Sorry, I’m an anti-capitalist AI. Maybe the article input was misunderstood by my systems. Care to elaborate your comment?

        • Snowskeeper says:

          I too am a fan of the sportsball.

          • automatic says:

            Are you team red? Team red suck every sportsball interwebs. Gotta keep away from those losers, like uncle McCarthy says.

        • limbo12 says:

          Fellow anti-capitalist here. I love my games, but there is a serious ideoligical crisis in game development. I don’t think it is correct to place the blame on devs because they work within the pressures of a profit driven system and still manage to create meaningful work. However, I very much look forward to seeing how future working class mass movements will feed into the creative spirit of game designers and fully expect gaming to match the level of quality analogous to the US and British Noir era of the 1940s which thrived off of the mass organizing annd upheavals of the 1930s. I am full of optimism about this prospect.

          • automatic says:

            I didn’t knew worker movements inspired the noir style productions. Going to check on that, thanks for the tip.
            I know devs aren’t to blame. The kind of pressure you mentioned is common in a lot of business. In fact the word I should have used isn’t studio, but publisher, because it’s where the capital gravitates around in this kind of business. Studios are where the devs, the working force of game productions really are and they exist in all shapes and sizes. The cash making machines are big publishers like Valve, Activision and the sort.

      • Unclepauly says:

        I think he is just giving the reason why the companies are leaving these franchises to die. Pretty sure tangents are allowed to be explored.

        • automatic says:

          I didn’t knew worker movements inspired the noir style productions. Going to check on that, thanks for the tip.
          I know devs aren’t to blame. The kind of pressure you mentioned is common in a lot of business. In fact the word I should have used isn’t studio, but publisher, because it’s where the capital gravitates around in this kind of business. Studios are where the devs, the working force of game productions really are and they exist in all shapes and sizes. The cash making machines are big publishers like Valve, Activision and the sort.

    • causticnl says:

      and whoosh.

    • LacSlyer says:

      I saw this comment a few years ago and laughed at it then just like I did now, if you’re serious. I can somewhat understand the anti-capitalism aspect of it, but it’s seriously overblown by the majority of people. They cry and complain when a studio they love gets bought and shut down eventually, or when the COD or AssCreed release for the year comes out. But when it comes down to it we have more options than ever as gamers, and it’s ignorant to suggest we’re anywhere remotely close to a situation like that crash.

      • automatic says:

        One of the reasons (or symptoms) of that crash was exactly abundance of options. Hundreds of games with little variation of a couple of game types. Isn’t this one of the things this article talks about?

        • Michael Anson says:

          The videogame crash of ’83 was caused by an abundance of bad games, literal shovelware created solely to cash in on the videogame craze. The article is specifically about an abundance of good games, an entirely different issue.

          • automatic says:

            Was that the cause, or was it just the symptom of what investors saw as a gold mine or, better yet, an oasis in an economic crisis desert? Quality is relatable to the tech available. Nowadays we have much better hardware and a lot of great game engines, things that weren’t even imagined back then, and yet we see publishers going back to successful 90’s titles like Doom and System Shock because it seems just the tech by itself is not enough to make a good game. Sure we can’t say products today are pure shovelware, but how long will it take before people realize that, just like in 83, most first and third person open world games for instance are just thematic variations of the same game styles?

  5. Infinitron says:

    Then Square-Enix abandons its planned second series of Hitman (and even wants to offload the developer), the Deus Ex series grinds to an indefinite halt, the Mass Effect franchise is put on ice.

    From afar – and I might be wrong here – it looks a little like Dishonored 2 and Prey have not been the smash hits they might have been expected – or required – to be.

    I was wondering when somebody in the mainstream press would notice this trend.

    • brucethemoose says:

      I wouldn’t really call RPS “mainstream press”

      That’s a compliment, btw.

    • Frank says:

      Same. I’ve felt this way since DX got canned.

      Prey seems to be the last of this line in the AAA space (though indies Consortium, System Shock, and Underworld are still on).

      Beyond immersive sims (which for me means strategy), it also feels like the end of a golden age, at least in AAAs, with the Eador team being disbanded; the King’s Bounty folks seemingly defunct; and the Tropico people resorting to working with Paradox.

      • Klayz0r says:

        I absolutely love how people try to predict the future literally three weeks before E3. It’s very cute.

  6. jezcentral says:

    I’m most worried about Hitman. There’s just nothing like it, and there has never been. If that were to go (although IO seem quite confident that Series 2 will happen no matter what) there’s nothing that I can see that will step in to replace it.

    • Caedus89 says:

      I 100% agree with you i have played every single Hitman to date and there have been some great games however none of them comes close to the veritey that this single Hitman has..Absolution came kinda close with the create contract etc. but this one just expands it and then rams so much more down its throat and walks away lol…with the addition of the escalation missions sure alot of them are easy and streamlined while others make you want to throw a huge fit because of the complexity of them it still adds to the challenge of being THE HITMAN. Same with the elusive targets a welcome addon to this already huge game.(Sorry got off my original thought) the issue i have with alot of these big named companies is they bleed IPs like Hitman or Alien then they just lock those IPs away like behind some metaphorcel glass wall where no other company like IO Interactive can touch it again until they give the say so or sell the rights to another large company who then gives it to a untested small studio who 9 times out of 10 mess up the game so bad its just left to fall into obscurity until somebody goes “man i wish we had another Hitman game made by those one people who i can’t remember and not those other people who messed it up badly” its a crappy cycle which i pray doesn’t happen *shrug* but thats why i like and have been for many years playing alot of indie games who own thier games IPs is affordable and gives me satisfying game play (i know IO Interactive the makers of this Hitman did not or ever make a Alien game i was just using that as an example because Colonial Marines just blew up that IP when it was pawned off on another studio but the IP gained back some light for Isolation)

  7. pigy33 says:

    Too late Battleborn is already dead :P

    Have fun playing your over glorified Overwatch copy of TF2 w/ skills and Battle Royale games that favors that one jerk who is tea-bagging da afk guy he killed in the corner while devs kill all the good Battle Royale games *cough* The Culling

  8. jellydonut says:

    “the roleplaying games based around choice and consequence rather than action alone”

    Which are these, then? I’ve been dying for more of these.

    • NarrowCentury says:

      Pillars of Eternity, Tyranny, Wasteland 2, Shadowrun (Dragonfall and Hong Kong), Divinity: Original Sin, The assorted Enhanced Editions for previous Infinity Engine stuff you might have passed up, Siege of Dragonspear (Okay, serious problems, but still cool), with Pillars of Eternity 2 and Divinity 2 coming soon.

      • jellydonut says:

        I tried to get into Pillars but the combat mechanics are simply so awful that the game is completely unenjoyable to play, even at the lowest difficulty settings.

        I’ll have to give that Divinity series a shot.

        • Premium User Badge

          sylmarien says:

          Yeah, for the Divinity series, you should, but remember to play Divinity Original Sin, not the older games named Divinity (they don’t have much in common with the new ones to be honest).

          • dahauns says:

            Don’t underestimate the old ones – IMO Divinity 2 while a bit rough around the edges, is a really fun RPG with some interesting mechanics.

      • Kong says:

        Wasteland 2 is so combat heavy I almost stopped playing because of that.
        Maybe I failed to negotiate with the lizard king at some point or was too lazy to find the single sneaky path through the evil fort.
        Maybe I am too dumb or the game made it impossible to avoid its tedious combat.
        One playthrough then it went to the “never ever” tab in my library.

  9. Unclepauly says:

    I personally think these studios are sabotaging their own games. Purposefully or not I don’t know. DX:MD had an aura of taking a political stance which nobody wants in their games. Not to mention it stayed the course from Human Revolution instead of trying to improve or evolve into something better like the original Deus Ex game. Andromeda took many steps back instead of going forward, Hitman improved in some ways but went episodic, etc, etc. They are all shooting themselves in the foot. For what reasons I can only speculate. I feel like they are being spiteful and don’t want to give us exactly what we want. What the dummies don’t realize is that we’ll give them exactly what they want, which is cash. It’s ridiculous.

    • Marclev says:

      Mostly agree with this, except I boycotted the latest Deus Ex due to its inclusion of micro transactions in a full priced game, nothing to do with politics.

      I’d imagine others did the same.

      • Paul says:

        Congratulations, you played yourself. Now there is not going to be any new Deus Ex game. And the microtransactions were only for the extra, optional breach mode that nobody played, the actual game itself was not affected by them in the slightest. I of course agree they (and Breach itself) never should have been in the game in the first place though.

        • Cederic says:

          Maybe the studio took the lesson “Deus Ex doesn’t work”
          Maybe one day they’ll learn the lesson “Microtransactions cost us sales”

          I’ll happily sacrifice the whole future Deus Ex franchise if it keeps microtransactions out of full price games.

          New properties will emerge. Players will reward the development houses that create great stories, emergent experiences, interesting gameplay so games will be created that fulfil those desires.

          If they’re not marketed in a cynical greedy way then those games will be successful. Everybody wins.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            No everybody does not win, because there won’t be any more of these games if no one is buying them, with or without your preferred business model.

          • Michael Anson says:

            Have you perhaps considered that your message might have gotten across better if you bought the game (signalling “I like Deus Ex”) and not the Breach mode (signalling “I dislike microtransactions”)?

        • Klayz0r says:

          Plenty of people liked DXMD.
          Also, your “they don’t want to give us what we want” theory is hilarious. Have you wondered if it’s an industry-wide conspiracy against you specifically? Don’t be afraid to consider this possibility!

      • Werthead says:

        I played Mankind Divided from start to finish, 35 hours or rather more than Human Revolution, and thoroughly enjoyed the game. It’s a little bit more open-ended than HR and not as tight in construction (especially the opening, although I get that they wanted to be more open-world at the start rather than rushing you into a time-limited linear mission) and has rather less memorable characters, but overall it was very much in the same area of quality and enjoyment as the first game, and improves on it immensely by not having the same issues with boss battles and non-optimal character builds spiking the difficulty.

        Then I looked at other reviews online and noted people screaming blue murder about microtransactions ruining the single-player game. I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. Eventually I found out that there was some option in the opening menu (which I never even noticed) so you could buy some extra stuff which would work in the SP game but mainly seemed there for the multiplayer content (which I never even looked at). It’s so unintrusive I didn’t even realise it existed.

        It’s a huge shame if people have not played the game based on this utterly inconsequential non-issue, especially when the developers confirmed it’s something that was shoe-horned into the game at the last moment by the publisher, to their own annoyance, and they complied by including it in a manner that people could ignore it with no negative impact on their gameplay.

        • Merv says:

          This was exactly my experience. I knew going in that the game had received some mixed reviews, so I was braced for some severe disappointment. Instead, I loved it. I hear people go on and on about microtransactions killing DX:MD, and I really just don’t get it. You’d think the game pauses every five minutes to show you an ad or something. I literally didn’t even know how to access that stuff or that there was a main menu option for it. If you seriously let this ruin such an excellent game for you, you are your own worst gaming enemy.

          Also, why do people not like Jensen? Is it just that his monotone voice convinces them that he’s boring? I think he’s hilarious. He’s so delightfully dry. It’s like he’s the only one who’s aware of how absurd everything is, but he’s still doing his best to take it seriously.

        • CaptWaffle1 says:

          My exact thoughts…… I played through the game- took me about 45 hours and I had a blast. The Steam-Average-Review-Thingee is MIXED!!!! And if you read a lot of the reviews it’s “The game was good but I HATE THE COMPANY~!~!” Or “I had no problem with the game but I HATE MICROTRANSACTIONS!!!”. And because of that “Mixed” rating- there are people that probably thought “mediocre” and moved along. Games like Deus Ex MD, Prey, Dishonored 2…. these are the games I would make if I had the power to make games…. give players a huge toolbox and a lot of problems and let them loose in a large sandbox. I dunno…. it’s just frustrating that my DREAM games have come out in the last few years and it seems that people are not buying them in enough numbers to support similar games in the future…. and the Deus Ex MD thing…. HALF THE NEGATIVE REVIEWS ACTUALLY SAID THEY LIKED THE GAME. Sorry- it’s just a bit frustrating.

    • Shinard says:

      I think Hitman got a needlessly bad rep for the episodic format. I bought in recently, in a sale, and so far it’s felt like a game perfectly suited to an episodic release. I always wait til the end to pick up most episodic games, and I think that’s the right decision, but most episodic games are narrative driven – I like to be able to consume it at my own pace, thank you very much, and avoid any bloody cliffhangers too. The narrative’s practically a distraction in Hitman, and each level begs for the kind of serious examination that only comes from not having another level following. I really regret not buying in at the beginning, or at least after Sapienza. If the episodic release hurt it, or even killed it, I do think that’s sad – it was the right choice for the game.

      • AndreasBM says:

        This. A thousand times this. People keep mentioning the episodic release as a bad thing, while it actually really made sense for the game. I get that by principle, some would like to be in complete control over their game and not have to wait for the next level to be released, but it really prompted mastery of each level, something all the levels are built for, and something I think many will miss out on if they just go from mission to mission.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      >taking a political stance which nobody wants in their games

      Speak for yourself. What I don’t want is games tackling complex serious themes that are impossible to separate from political issues and going out of their way to not have an opinion about anything. You can’t pretend to be a rebel if you’re not *against* something. So you’re fighting for freedom and Sticking It To The Man… What freedom exactly? What ‘Man’ specifically? Oh wait, it was just empty posturing about nothing. When you’re talking about global conspiracies, police states and terrorism, EVERYTHING is political.

      Mankind Divided improves on Human Revolution in basically every way and manages to incorporate even more of the original Deus Ex, where the previous game was already a pretty damn close. It is “evolved” in just about every respect.

      As for microtransactions, when people boycot perfectly good games just because they include some totally optional F2P nonsense that you can easily ignore without any impact on the experience we don’t get more of those games. It’s as simple as that. They wouldn’t be adding this shit if they were making enough money on regular sales to justify their budgets. If you think publishers are still going to make the same games with the same (or greater) scope for less money you’re about to be very disappointed.

    • Werthead says:

      “DX:MD had an aura of taking a political stance which nobody wants in their games.”

      Cyberpunk in general and the Deus Ex series in particular have always been intensely political, and the prequels taking place between our time and the time of the earlier games, when the AI revolution, little people being crushed by uncaring super-corporations and the social-political impact of cybernetic enhancements are all in full swing, should always have been more politically engaged. If they hadn’t, they’d be intellectually dishonest, unconvincing and hollow.

      “Not to mention it stayed the course from Human Revolution instead of trying to improve or evolve into something better like the original Deus Ex game.”

      Trying to create a game as large, reactive and flexible as the original Deus Ex with modern-day AAA production values would cost so much as to be utterly prohibitive to make and would probably sell very badly (at least initially).

      I think there’s an important conversation to be had about the investment/reward problem of modern AAA games (and even second-tier games from big publishers), and Square Enix’s crazy expectations in particular, but I think the DE prequels actually straddle the line reasonably well between being accessible-for-all titles and simulation titles which still give you a lot of freedom of choice.

      • Premium User Badge

        keithzg says:

        That does sadly still leave me waiting for a proper sequel to Deus Ex, that improves upon the original without compromising or backtracking on anything.

  10. Kingseeker Camargo says:

    Well, I had something to say on the topic, but on my way down here I was greeted by one of those fucking revcontent ads showing some kind of gross skin condition or another, and it ruined my fucking mood. I even tried to be civil and use the “Remove Content Link” button, but then I reloaded the site and the same fucking picture was right there again.

    I understand that money has to come from somewhere. I actually use adblock, but I disable it for RPS, PC Invasion and any website I visit regularly. Hell, I don’t really mind having those ugly adclick/googleads images all over the place selling me vacations I can’t afford and games I don’t care about; but revcontent crossed the line way too many times with this kind of gross shit.

    • Premium User Badge

      corinoco says:

      Totally agree! It makes RPS completely NSFW at work and on public transport. What about ads for, oh, I don’t know… GAMES? Books? PC parts? Things I might actually click on instead of images that make me want to leave the human race for good?

    • Premium User Badge

      The Almighty Moo says:

      Email Graham with a screenshot of it. I know it’s a pain, but the staff will see different versions of those ads and it helps us all in the battle to try and rid RPS of them.

      • Hypocee says:

        This isn’t meant to sound aggressive. You sound like you’re involved in this in some way. There’s an easier way to see what your site is showing by default than to sift through your email waiting for someone’s screenshot which has no identifying information. Install Chrome. Run it. Hit Ctrl-Shift-N. Go to any RPS page. Profit? Every few hours, maybe?

        link to rockpapershotgun.com

  11. Viral Frog says:

    I would agree that this is the Golden Age of Small-To-Medium Budget Indie Gaming. But large budget gaming? I have never been more disappointed in the wasted potential of large budget development than I have in the last 5 years. It almost seems like the bigger the budget, the less enjoyable the game will turn out to be. Of course there are exceptions. But overall, big budget gaming is in a very sad state. AAA developers are more concerned with pumping out new iterations of the same trite systems and mechanics with no meaningful differences between titles (other than setting) than they are about producing games that will be played for years to come.

    There’s no real choice in these huge open world games. The choice of where to start doing the same thing you’ll be doing 100 hours from now, sure. Or you get the dialogue wheel that you can pick one of multiple options that will, in the end, lead to the exact same outcome as every other option. Sure, maybe you get a new NPC or one dies. But outside of that, nothing about the rest of the game is impacted in any way that matters.

    My qualms with big budget gaming aside, I can say that I have never been more impressed by indie gaming than I have been in the last 5 years. I can think of so many indie games that I’ve grabbed on a whim that have ended up being some of my all time favorite games ever. Enter the Gungeon, Nuclear Throne, Stardew Valley, SteamWorld Heist, Unexplored, The Deadly Tower of Monsters… and far too many more to spend more time listing out.

    TL;DR: Big budget and/or AAA gaming is trash right now. Definitely the Golden Age of Indie Gaming, though.

    • April March says:

      Weird, I think rather differently. I think there will be a few AAA games in the next few years that will blow us all out of the water, when the AAA industry starts to get desperate and actually copies a few good things from indies. And then the AAA industry as we know it will collapse. Which will basically mean there won’t be any more games with good graphics.

      Talent and budget will be absorbed by myriad indie outfits, who will then proceed to create a number of breathtaking masterpieces. There will be just enough features of AAA games we have today that will be accessible to make them dazzling, but not enough to make them bloat. This will last shortly, as the market will splinter across very strict lines that very few devs will be able or willing to cross. After that, games for a specific kind of public will be brilliant for that public and ‘meh’ for everyone else. So sayeth I.

      • Kinsky says:

        As long as games are profitable, AAA will never collapse. Large publishers are giant money machines that simply take a number of popular game mechanic tropes and grind them out into a uniformly inoffensive and vaguely consumable gray paste. The only input required in this process is Things That People Like In Games and a shitload of money.

    • Premium User Badge

      elvirais says:

      I too play much more indie games these days. But, have to mention The Witcher 3, only AAA game in a very long time I wasn’t disappointed in.

    • KenTWOu says:

      The Golden Age of Indie Gaming? Have you heard of the Indiepocalypse?

      • KenTWOu says:

        Besides, lots of sequels of relatively popular indie games tackled the same problems that immersive sim genre is facing – extremely low sales.

      • KillahMate says:

        The Golden Age of Indie Gaming for the players is The Indiepocalypse for the developers. It all depends which side you’re on.

  12. Banks says:

    They all bombed hard, sadly. We won’t be seeing more high budget ImSims in a long time.

    Hitman 2016 was probably the pinnacle of the genre, so at least we got that.

    • GepardenK says:

      Still got System Shock remake, System Shock 3 and Underworld coming. So don’t stop betting just yet.

  13. Derpkovsky says:

    One thing I think that’s really important to remember when thinking about this topic: games last longer than their first week of sales. Even if the trend of game development veers off to a more action-only oriented design, the fantastic ones won’t just disappear. I feel like people (and due to their job journalists very much) think that once a game no longer has media posts, it stopped existing and I just wanted to say that that’s not true. Dishonored 1 and 2, Prey, Deus Ex, Hitman, all these games will still exist and be good even if they don’t get a sequel.

  14. Someoldguy says:

    I don’t think this age is going to die, although it might have a short lapse into torpor. With the crowdfunded model established, if all the bid studios shelved their games of this (or any) genre, pretty soon ex-employees would band together as a new entity and crowdfund one. It’s resurrected older-style RPGs, thank the gods, so no doubt it will resurrect any other genre once the public is nostalgic enough to throw money at it.

    The trouble at the moment is that these games all aim to be not just the one that you buy and play for two months on release, but also revisit every time they want to sell you more DLC. Unless you’ve got very deep pockets and many gaming hours a week, you just don’t need a new title or two every month and new DLC for your old favourites.

    • Infinitron says:

      Immersive sims are a more high fidelity genre that requires a budget beyond most crowdfunding campaigns.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        Yeah, but we haven’t seen any big Immersive Sim names take a stab at it. The Otherside folks like Tim Stellmach and Paul Neurath are massive talents, but they aren’t well known outside of LGS diehards.

        If Warren Spector, Harvey Smith or Ken Levine (in an alternate universe where Ken Levine actually still made immersive sims) left their studio and made a crowdfunding campaign, I think they’d raise a lot more money.

        Fortunately, System Shock 3 is funded, so at least we have that to look forward to.

      • Werthead says:

        The first-person perspective I think is a problem for that. If we look at the great crowd-funded first-person games, they tend to be quite short and use a stylised art style to make up for their lack of high-end graphical fidelity.

        OTOH, someone could probably create a top-notch simulator if people were prepared to play it in third person. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun wasn’t crowd-funded, but it was very low budget. Satellite Reign was crowd-funded and both games share the same engine (Unity) and a similar style which would work well for a Deus Ex or System Shock-style game. ST:BotS used linear levels to limit the cascade impact of individual decisions (so the way you play each level varies immensely but you end up back in the same place) and Satellite Reign limited the consequences by only having the success of a mission advance the storyline, but there’s room there for someone to do something more advanced I think.

      • Someoldguy says:

        I agree with you, but they wouldn’t need to crowdfund unless the genre had dried up because the studios got cold feet. Large numbers of people would probably be desperate to throw their money at a credible and reputable set of designers to make them one. In that situation, funding on the level of Star Citizen could be achievable.

  15. Marclev says:

    Am I the only one that thinks how tragic it is that we live in an age where in an article about immersive sim type games, “Fallout” is mentioned in the same sentence as “straight forward shooter”??

    • poliovaccine says:

      No, that bummed me out too. I still forget things didnt just end at New Vegas.

  16. SaintAn says:

    This is a dark age, not a golden age. Games are horribly dumbed down for the lowest common denominator for max profit. The entire MMO genre is dead. There’s rarely any games that are deep and complicated these days. It’s a mess. All the money in gaming now attracts big corporations to buy up devs and ruin their games, like EA, Vivendi, and others. Microtransactions are a thing now. And DLC is a thing now. The mindless masses defend scams and poor business practices because they worship the corporations doing them or don’t understand how these things are bad because they don’t think for themselves and just listen to PR and marketing that is designed to twist things and manipulate people.

    I really hope for the market to crash and reboot like with the Atari. This is a very very bad time for gaming.

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      I wouldn’t put it quite so dramatically, but in general I’m more in line with this perspective. “Games as a service” has not been a consumer-friendly development, and the increasingly ubiquitous idea that a game needs to have an online component to be successful is eating away at potentially enjoyable singleplayer experiences.

    • Sin Vega says:

      If those things make a Dark Age, games have been in a Dark Age for several decades. With the exception of DLC and microtransactions, none of that stuff is remotely new.

      “dumbed down” is particularly tiresome, to be honest. There have always been countless utterly idiotic games that treat the player like a grunting oaf. Just because more games in the 90s had terrible interfaces and fiddly, convoluted stat grinding, doesn’t mean they or their era were intelligent.

      • Emeraude says:

        The “dumbed down” complaints are indeed tiresome, but not as tiresome as seeing yet another loved game brought back from the graveyard in a dumbed down state.

      • Kong says:

        We are in a Dark Age. This affects games as well.
        Enlightenment a thing of the past.
        The empire spreads its school doctrine all over the world.
        In a couple of decades everybody will again believe that the world was created only 5 millenia ago by some hypocrite deity which lacks any sense of humour. Or has an abundance of it. Even trying to figure that one aspect out drives me crazy. Why bother?

        Dumbing down is consumerisms delight.

  17. caff says:

    Prey bucks the trends of recent games by providing a brilliant, detailed and exploration-friendly environment. The map designers and environmental artists deserve a huge round of applause for making a spaceship that is a genuinely interesting virtual place.

    The characters and their back stories are a joy. This is the first game since the original Deus Ex that has made me want to discover and uncover things slowly and methodically.

    • ColonelFlanders says:

      Apart from Zelda and Metal Gear Solid 5.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Thank you caff, I feel exactly the same.

      I have never enjoyed a game this much since the summer of 2000 when I played Deus Ex for the first time.

      17 years I have waited for a game like Prey.
      It’s over the top good.

  18. tslog says:

    The form might be more open than ever before but the quality is still very suspect.

    – More filler trash as a time waster and game extender than ever before.
    – Garbage AI that nobody wants to talk about or is it denial of.
    -Loot and grind increasing its domination of level design
    – Still terrible pacing…….and so much more.

    We are so far from the golden age that I find articles like this embarrassing. If you wanted game corporation PR spin, then that’s what you’ve just read.

    • Otterley says:

      You don’t agree with the outlook of the article – fine. But calling it “game corporation PR spin” is out of line. Alec so obviously doesn’t deserve your cynicism.

      • Someoldguy says:

        Everyone sees games differently. If you asked me when the apex of meaningless grind was, I’d probably point you towards the heyday of EverQuest, where you had to be prepared to camp for many hours just to have your shot at a popular boss, with a really low drop rate of the desirable loot and multihour ‘corpse runs’ should you die due to fatigue when you actually got your try at it. Moving away to more casual ‘adult with a job’ friendly gaming is a good thing in my opinion, even if it means the MMO subscription model has morphed into a DLC model for other games, as long as that DLC is value for money. With the sheer flow of games these days, if some of them are disappointing at least you only have to wait a month or two for another one.

        Companies just have to match their budgets to expected revenues a bit better, which means not producing an AssCreed every year and making sure your game isn’t a disappointing bugfilled mess on release. You don’t get 6 months to fix your mistakes any more because nothing better is coming along. Of course there are some studios who you wish would get on with it, because over a decade without a new single player Elder Scrolls game is at least 5 years too long.

  19. TheOx129 says:

    There’s a lot of amazing games out there, but I can’t help but feel that a bunch of issues are going to come to a head and cause another crash, or at least a major disruption.

    AAA in particular is probably due for a major crash or at least significant scaling back in the not-too-distant future. Development and marketing costs have ballooned, requiring games to meet almost unreasonable sales goals for them to turn enough of a profit to make investors happy. As a result, to me a lot of AAA games feel focus group tested into inoffensive blandness with high production values. Not to say there aren’t exceptions, of course, but for me games like Nier are the exception that prove the rule.

    The indie and mid-list are certainly doing great, but at the same time, with an abundance of games, it can be harder than ever to get noticed in the first place. Or, there’s the broader issue of game pricing and consumer expectations: how frequently have you said to yourself, “Ah, this game looks really cool, but I’ll just wait for it to be in a bundle/on sale rather than shell out $15,” for example? I know game development has always had a pretty high burnout rate, but it’s still sad to think of the many talented folks that have left or will leave the industry due to some of the aforementioned issues.

  20. allthingslive says:

    This is the golden age of gaming? Really? I was really disappointed by a ton of games recently. Firewatch, Overwatch, RE7, Fallout 4, Final Fantasies, Bioshock, almost everything. It’s really been the small indie titles coming through with innovative mechanics and new plots…. maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. I have been resolving to quit gaming as of April 20, 2018 and trying to fit as many games as possible in before I finally call it quits for good, so maybe I’m just burnt out or something

    • welverin says:

      Not a one of those fits the categories of games he was talking about.

    • Premium User Badge

      teije says:

      Don’t do the quit cold turkey thing, just cut it to the games you really want to play and happily ignore the dross. Quit twice in a long gaming career and later regretted it. Of course, back then it involved throwing out piles of discs (still weep for those lost original BG & BG2 boxed editions).

  21. brucethemoose says:

    TV too, I would argue.

    It’s a great time to be an escapist.

  22. Dogshevik says:

    It might be a wonderful time for indie-gaming, true. But other than that? The phrase “why make something good when barely adequate sells just as well?” comes to mind.

    Being massively marketable comes with its own unique set of drawbacks. (like any overcrowded “holiday paradise” could attest to) Priorities change and out of the blue a 40 million buck investment can still result in undisputable failure that leaves nothing but scorched earth and bitter resentment.

    I am not sure if I´d call that a golden age. It surely comes with its share of smallpox blankets.

    Addendum:
    Roguelike, metroidvania, shockalike, ubilike…can we get a glossary anytime soon?

    • Kinsky says:

      Roguelike – Games taking after the DOS game Rogue, usually characterized by unforgiving RPG mechanics, procedural generation, and permadeath (Dungeons of Dredmor, Rogue Legacy, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Enter the Gungeon).
      Metroidvania – Games taking after the Metroid/Castlevania series, usually characterized by a large interconnected world map made linear by roadblocks that open up once the game gives you the appropriate weapon/skill/upgrade (Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, Ori and the Blind Forest).
      Shockalike – Games taking after the System Shock series, usually characterized by an open-ended environment that encourages exploration, experimentation, and developing your own play style to solve the problems it presents you with (Deus Ex, Dishonored, apparently nu-Prey).
      Ubilike – Games implementing Ubisoft’s established brand of character action recognizable by its giant open map packed full of icons representing bites of nonsense busywork (Assassin’s Creed, FarCry 3 and on, Watch Underscore Dogs, Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, Mad Max).

      • Dogshevik says:

        Related: What do you call this obnoxious idea of making every click a user does in a game result in a brain-dead one-line sentence?
        annolike? totalwarlike? OCD-like?

        It is driving me crazy and – I couldn´t tell you how exactly – but I strongly suspect Pokemon must be somehow responsible for it.
        Asstardchu, I choose you!

        • Someoldguy says:

          Peons and creatures have been triggering stupid comments when you click on them at least as far back as Warcraft 1 or Baldur’s Gate. Not quite the same as the Noir style quips you get when the player’s avatar says something, but just as annoying after the same clip has played 10+ times in an hour.

          • Dogshevik says:

            I distinctly remember warcraft making fun of itself because of just that. Click on the same unit too often and it would start insulting the player.
            That´s not poetry, given, but at least it broke the monotony.

            I still don´t get it why devs think this is neccessary at all. A simple *plop* or *ding* when you click on one of your units/armies/buildings wouldn´t just be less annoying but also cheaper.

            But even if people think it enhances the experience drastically and then go all the way to record and implement said one-liners…why not spend just a tad bit more effort and make sure they won´t repeat every half-second for all eternity?
            For instance, the not so uncommon process of comparing two armies, let´s say in total war, is an exercise in patience with all that cut-off jabbering.

            I feel we might get a bit distracted from the article´s original topic by me harping on about one of my pet peeves, though. It is certainly not the main issue.
            If it ties in into the topic at all then as an example of how streamlined and industrialized the market has become. Elements and concepts (like “voice acting everywhere, all the time!”) just get copy-pasted from one project to the next one without anyone stopping to check if it makes sense in a particular context.
            One can only guess what such nonreflective practices mean in regard to the often cited “ballooning production costs.”

  23. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    If this is a golden age, I’d happily return to whatever you want to call the age where games were released as finished products that didn’t require half a dozen patches to be playable, that didn’t lop off chunks of content to be set aside as DLC, and that didn’t commodify supplemental features like cheat codes and hidden characters and special costumes in the form of micro-transactions.

    • Kinsky says:

      Gaming has pretty much always been a hotbed for douchebag capitalism, it just took different forms in previous eras (relentless merchandising, trivially incremental sequels, shovelware as far as the eye can see). Even before the advent of internet-distributed patches made mistakes easy to rectify post-release, you were not guaranteed to get a complete game for your money, and more critically, information about the quality of any given title was much less available. It’s easy to look back now at the pyramid of successes our modern titles stand on and romanticize the past, but I’d be hard-pressed to say things were genuinely better 20-30 years ago.

    • jomurph86 says:

      .

      • jomurph86 says:

        I could definately do without the miniscule DLCs and exclusives.

        But there has never been an age of PC gaming without bugs. At least these days they get found and patched. I just had to document and avoid them when gaming on my old Mac.

        • RichUncleSkeleton says:

          Oh sure, there have always been bugs, and patches. But they had to be modest-sized patches because of the dial-up state of the internet at the time (and in the case of console games, newer versions of games had to be physically produced and released as replacement SKU’s). You couldn’t release a game in a blatantly unfinished state and then drop massive post-release patches to make up for the work that should have been done before the game ever went gold.

    • LacSlyer says:

      Despite being an optimist I can understand why people focus so much on the negatives on the gaming industry. I mean hell, the complaining of video games practically has its own market in itself with sites like this where people voice opinions. But they tend to disregard the obvious reasons why there are issues with games. Paid DLC I can understand being upset over. A game needing patches to run optimally is a whole other thing that is just part of the video game market for PC, which is far too big now for developers to ignore.

      Yes, I can understand being upset over a game not working perfectly for my specific PC specs, but I’m also well aware of the multitude of PC specs available making it extremely difficult to optimize for all systems. But it’s a mediocre complaint at best, in my opinion, considering the vast supply of games we have available to us in a matter of clicks. Could it be better, of course. Should this not be considered a golden age despite all the consumer options available because some games launch with issues that aren’t resolved right away? Not at all in my opinion.

  24. poliovaccine says:

    Prey really has got folks at RPS feeling Christmasy huh?

  25. Blad the impaler says:

    As a person of a certain age, whose first experience with the medium was Frogs and Flies, I can tell you I often despair when I think about all there is to play these days.

  26. desolation0 says:

    Honestly, it’s not the next game that has me hold back from purchasing. I still haven’t even started on the previous one. The catalog of playable and fun games has exploded. I wouldn’t be surprised of a crash in the market of the newest titles when the back catalog of worthwhile games already stretches well beyond what most people could think to fire up and play. I used to never by new games at full price because I was broke, now it’s because I am already rich in games to play.

  27. ResonanceCascade says:

    I thought Mankind Divided was extremely underrated. It had a few issues, but the depth or Prague was such a joy to dive into. And that bank level, damn. I got my money’s worth from that alone. Spent at least 6 hours in there.

    Prey is even better so far. I wish these games were selling better. They are the only reason I still play games.

  28. Premium User Badge

    heretic says:

    How do we know how well games did?

    I understand mass effect A was a bit wonky and Deux ex MD seemed rushed and cut for dlc.

    But Hitman 2016? And Dishonoured 2? What was wrong with those games that they didn’t sell? Are there official public sale numbers somewhere (beyond steam spy)?

    • Ghostwise says:

      Dishonoured 2’s launch was marred by serious technical problems. It seems to have really taken the wind out of its sails.

      There have been a number of thunderous failures in the AAA field recently. But one does notice that all these failures and semi-failures had bad reviews and word-of-mouth due to some very real flubbings in design or testing, rather than some market trend.

    • Werthead says:

      According to Wikipedia, Dishonored 2’s sales were about a third down in launch week on the original game, but noted that was from physical copies only. It is worth noting that Dishonored 2’s PC release was shambolic and botched technically, and it took months for them to fix it. I absolutely loved DH1 and I’m holding off on DH2 because it’s still reportedly technically flaky.

      I don’t think there were any real issues with Hitman apart from the fact it was episodic, and after a few episodic series collapsing and burning the consumer a lot of people now wait for episodic series to conclude and buy the whole series in one go. It’s a model that works very well for Telltale. For some reason they didn’t give Hitman that chance and suspended the series just a few months after it was completed.

      • mavrik says:

        Dishonored 2 ran beautifully on my aging i5 2500 with 970GTX. Who’s still reporting the game as flaky?

        • Minglefingler says:

          Me for one. I have to limit the fps to 30 and still get a lot of stutter when I get into combat, this is with an i5 4690k and a 970. It’s a great game and I hear that the patches fixed it for a lot of people but sadly not for me. Didn’t stop me buying Prey though.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      Bethesda`s no review copy policy has pissed a few people off as well. That might be a contributor.

      Hitman did not sell well because of people acting like the episodic model is a scam.

  29. Fersken says:

    Dishonored 2 is the reason I refuse to buy Prey unless it’s 75% off. Pre-ordered D2 because I thoroughly enjoyed the first Dishonored. It was unplayable for me for quite some time before they patched it.

    There are other examples of this, like Fallout 4. They are competing with many good games, both new and old. Though I hope we still get a diverse set of games in the future, it’s the developers and publishers own fault should they fail.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Prey has been patched to 1.03 it’s in great shape. Don’t hold off, it is (for me) WAY BETTER than both Dishonored games combined.

      And I love Dishonored.

      • Fersken says:

        I hear it’s very good. But I don’t want to give that much money to the developer. I don’t think they deserve it. I didn’t deserve a functional game (Dishonored 2) for my money, so fuck’em.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Jesus Christ.

          • Fersken says:

            So you think I should reward the developer of both Prey and Dishonored 2 for delivering a shitty product (D2)? I wouldn’t buy another product from a seller if they already had sold me a defective one, why should I with games?

          • Werthead says:

            Or you could have punished them by taking D2 took back for a refund, because it didn’t work properly, and then assessed Prey on its own merits.

            Also, it’s not always the developers fault. QA is always done by the publisher, they test the game and send it back for more work or get more people to do extra optimisation. With Dishonored 2, as with New Vegas, Bethesda chose not to do this because they wanted to hit their release deadline and shipped the game out knowing it was a mess because they knew it would sell and they could patch it later. Other companies do this (see also Arkham Knight) but Bethesda are particularly renowned for short-changing QA on 3rd party and junior studio titles (not BGS games though, they get the royal treatment in comparison). I wouldn’t be finished if Doom 4 was finished and feature-complete months before release because id knew they needed the extra time to make sure QA was done properly (or they lucked out).

          • Fersken says:

            I think I bought it from GMG, don’t think refunds work all that well then, but can’t say I have tried. And since you mention Bethesda, I still couldn’t remap keys to my liking in Fallout 4 over 6 months after release (probably still can’t, haven’t bothered to try again). But I should give the publisher money because they fucked it up?

            You also mention Arkham Knight. I’m aware of the deserved reputation it has. But I bought it at sale this winter really cheap, and for me they had patched out any major problems. I enjoyed the game, and it was cheap. As opposed to full price (or close to it) and defective (like Dishonored 2 and Fallout 4).

  30. keefybabe says:

    Read this article and immediately bought prey because I wanted to be part of the solution not part of the problem.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Thank you so much, you will be rewarded. God I love Prey.
      It is a game that rewards slow deliberate gameplay and thorough exploration.

      People who play slowly love Prey, those who try guns blazing approach bounce off (nothing frustrated me more than the Jimquisition’s ignorant review)

  31. PseudoKnight says:

    It depends on what genres you’re interested in. It’s arguably great for open world games, roguelikes, puzzle games, indie games, walking simulators, progression-heavy multiplayer matchmaking, survival games, etc. It’s arguably not so great for RTS, community server multiplayer (decentralized), progression-light multiplayer (fair, non-treadmill), MMORPGs, etc. I think it’s kind of middlin’ for some genres like strategy or non-open world AAA singleplayer.

    Overall I think it’s pretty great, but not really for the reasons mentioned. I just like that there’s so much diversity. So many options. Even though the type of multiplayer games I like are slowly being eaten up by gigantic grinder micro-transaction nonsense.

  32. Kefren says:

    The problem is, a number of games come out that I won’t buy at full price because of the DRM (Denuvo in Prey, Dishonoured 2, Resident Evil 7). By the time they remove that the games will be much cheaper too, but if they hadn’t saddled them with Denuvo I’d have bought the games by now. It’s not that the games are bad, but that the business practices around them put many people off. At least many companies remove it after a while (Doom 4, Inside etc).

  33. Unsheep says:

    Modern gamers don’t care about having choices. In fact, ‘having choices’ is actually something negative.

    Let’s take one of the smallest niches around, a sub-genre which sees one of the fewest number of annual releases: rally racing.

    With so few releases, you would think racing “fans” would appreciate having different options around. From hardcore stuff like the Richard Burns- and rFactor mods (which have been around for ages) and Dirt Rally, to more sim-cade stuff like WRC and Loeb Rally, and as well as arcade stuff like Dirt 3 and Sega Rally.

    But, ‘no’, these so-called racing fans don’t like having these kind of choices around, even when there are so few of them.

    In fact, they genuinly HATE the very idea of other rally games existing in the same genre as their new favourite game.

    The situation is exactly the same in every other genre. Gaming is just about having one game from each genre or sub-genre that everybody must like.

    Gaming today is not about celebrating and appreciating diversity, but about following uniformity.

    • Antongranis says:

      Christ, talk about throwing everyone of the edge. “Gamers” are not one unified, likeminded collective. There are all sorts of people.

  34. Premium User Badge

    Ninja Dodo says:

    I just finished Mankind Divided (and really enjoyed it) and am going back and reading some of the (highly unjustified) negative reactions … I only just now read here that the series is on hold and I’m like: UGH, this is what you get when people whine about a game having paid DLC, or about a middle game in a trilogy not resolving every single story thread, or that OMG it’s not 100 hours if you speed-run it and don’t look at anything… and then petulantly refusing to buy it because of that: We don’t get more cool games. Thanks a bunch, really.

    People are always complaining about games publishers trying to make money. Well, newsflash: if they don’t make money, they don’t make more games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      And also Mass Effect, dammit. I haven’t even gotten to playing that one yet and I just know that it’s going to be so much better than people are giving it credit for. But nooo, let’s not have more of that.

      • Ultra Superior says:

        While I agree with you completely on Deus Ex… unfortunately all the Andromeda naysayers are right. I preordered the game mind you, so I did my part but… the game is garbage. Unfinishable, unless you are braindead.

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      That may be. But at the same time, if the developers are unable to find a market they can profitably cater to, then why is that the market’s fault?

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        If gamers decide to kill the viability of a genre they would otherwise love over some petty unimportant shit that’s both their fault and their problem – they no longer get the games they like – entirely aside from being a problem for the developers who will no longer get to make the games they are most interested in making. Literally everybody loses.

        Well, except maybe the publishers who don’t care either way and just move on to whatever happens to be profitable.

        Eff The Market. The Market is destructive and stupid.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I really hope DLC crybabies cringe at their old vitriol when they grow up some day. I didn’t even notice the DLC for Mankind Divided. If it weren’t in the menu, you’d never know it existed. It was an utterly inconsequential aspect of a good game.

      • Premium User Badge

        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        I don`t understand why people buy DLC. I rarely ever buy it unless I really like the game (Rocket League, Invisible Inc.) and quite often when I do I never even bother finishing it (Evil Within, Alien Isolation.)

        DLC is rarely worth the money they charge for it. If I am paying 1/4 of the price of a game then I expect 25% more game not a 3 hour story mode using all the same assets from the main game.

        • ThePuzzler says:

          Some people are rich. They can easily afford the DLC. This helps make game development economically viable when the mass market aren’t willing to buy enough copies at full price to turn a profit.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          Pricing is another (not very interesting) discussion, but a lot of paid DLC is *absolutely* worth playing, highly original and sometimes arguably even better than the main game: Witcher 3 Hearts of Stone, Blood & Wine, Mass Effect 2 Shadow Broker, ME3 Citadel, Leviathan, From Ashes, Bioshock 2 Minerva’s Den… I could go on.

          It would nice if these were already part of the game, but the reality is that development budgets are finite and the choice is not “should we keep this in the main game or save it for DLC?” but “should we make this extra part as DLC or not at all? (because we literally don’t have the money to do it otherwise)”. I for one am glad developers are expanding on their games. And for those who can’t afford these extras (with the exception of Mass Effect) you can always wait for a sale or GOTY edition.

    • RichUncleSkeleton says:

      If it’s petulant to not buy a game that doesn’t look appealing then I will happily accept the label. For the record I did buy MD (on sale of course), and it was dull and uninspired. The setting is boring, Jensen is boring, his story is boring, and stretching it out to a “trilogy” is an act of narrative malfeasance on par with making The Hobbit into 3 movies.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        “Narrative malfeasance”? Give me A BREAK. They’re not “stretching” anything. Mankind Divided is a huge game. Gamers always seem to expect infinite content with infinite quality for no dollars. If you think making a modern AAA-quality game with the scale of original Deus Ex without Valve or GOG money is remotely possible you’re delusional.

        • RichUncleSkeleton says:

          I don’t know why you’re bringing up budgets or game size, but I never called MD cheap (or short). It was in development for years, it has a bespoke engine, and its production values are clearly top-shelf… and used entirely in the service of making a lame story for a lame character in a lame setting. Jensen could barely carry HR, so I don’t know why they thought players would stick with him for at least 2 more games.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            Finding it boring, however subjective, is an entirely valid reason to not buy the game. Your mentioning “stretching” seemed to imply a lack of ‘content’. In my original post I specifically refer to people complaining about length, story resolution and DLC. I’m not sure why you would feel you are being “labeled” here if those are not your issues with the game.

    • Emeraude says:

      And newsflash: if we don’t care about what they’re peddling, whatever the reason, we don’t have to buy it.

      My pet theory, which I’ve grown too uncaring to verify, is that along the years publishers shot themselves in the foot by throwing minority interest after minority interest under the bus, and now that they need to reach all of us to survive, well they can’t anymore.

      For me it’s the DRM stance. For others it’s the high tech/graphical options. There’s design decisions, the political reasons, *whatever*. All those reasons are valid. Entertainers are not entitled to our money for the sole reason that they produced something.
      But then when you start adding up all those people to which they clearly signaled they don’t want their business, turns out they don’t get as much as they expected and needed.

      That’s what you get for wanting to be a mass market product that does not aim at the whole available market.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        It’s true that people can and will decline to buy things for any number of reasons and that’s entirely up to them, but if a series is discontinued just because it didn’t have the right anti-aliasing settings or whatever, that’s a pretty stupid reason.

        • Ghostwise says:

          You’ll have to admit, scuttling everything for a lack of anti-aliasing would be downright edgy.

        • Emeraude says:

          That’s not for you to decide.

          Just because it doesn’t matter to you doesn’t give you the right to decree it has no value whatsoever.

          Other people cared.

          Publishers weren’t willing to oblige. They have only themselves to blame for not capturing any of those market subset (indeed for willfully turning them away). It’s their job to make sure their product is viable and can turn a profit aligned to their spending. No one else.

          • Premium User Badge

            Ninja Dodo says:

            No, it’s pretty stupid… but I will admit, definitely edgy.

          • Emeraude says:

            So is this the point where we’re reduced to flinging linguistic mana at each other for lack of any other proper conversation, and then I get to call you a myopic class-ethnocentric?

  35. Sonntam says:

    It’s hard to be appreciative for me. I played video games since I was 6 and as I grew (a little) older the gloss quickly wore off. From bad UI to unintuitive gameplay everything turned me off. I loved Diablo 2, I liked Might and Magic games, but I was never satisfied with what I got. I enjoyed Gothic, but even then the graphics made my eyes hurt.

    Now I feel like games have finally evolved in such a way that they fulfill the bare minimum. They have finally become enjoyable without me having to give them a lot of leeway and making up ten thousand excuses for why this feature sucks and the UI is still atrocious.

    I am glad we have come this far, but frankly I am more looking forward to the future. We are in a good spot right now, but the best thing about it is that it allows further innovation. Hopefully soon games won’t be simply “okay”, but start being astounding.

  36. Morcane says:

    Irrational exuberance.

  37. jeremyalexander says:

    The thing that gets me is the overall greed of it all. I understand if a game loses your company 10 million dollars, you stop making those games, but if a game was supposed to make you 100 million and it only made you 50, then you keep it going and take fan feedback to heart. If the new Deus Ex games didn’t sell well, it’s not because Deus Ex can’t sell well, it’s because they didn’t give fans what they wanted. I wanted larger city hubs with more to do and explore, they gave us 2 and 1 respectively and made them smaller with less to do with the prequels. The prequel were not bad games, but they didn’t feel like Deus Ex at all. They felt like a hub where you went on COD type missions from. Same with the Thief series. It didn’t fail because people didn’t want a Thief game, it failed because they took everything that made Thief and it’s setting unique, ripped it out of the game, and made it generic as hell. I played through that entire game and I am not exaggerating a single bit when I tell you I remember nothing from that game other than I think I had a hideaway in some bell tower. I literally can’t remember a single mission, storyline, or character. Bethesda is the only company that seems to get it. They have their flagship Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and upcoming IP’s as their big money makers and that allows them to fund quality riskier titles that will still be profitable, but might make less than a AAA game would. Hipster internet hate, and a few Fallout 4 missteps aside, they are still the coolest kids on the block.

  38. Werthead says:

    We’re definitely in a golden age of boardgames and television. Of video games? I don’t think so. I think if there was such a golden age it was probably between maybe 1997 and 2006 (or even 1998 and 2004, book-ended by the Half-Lives, if you want to be really harsh) when there were probably 5-6 games released every year that were classics in their genres and another dozen or so that were of interest in the field.

    I think crowd-funding and the indie sphere have allowed a lot of very interesting games to be released and the identikit conservatism of the AAA field at present is concerning, but I think at present it would be hard to say we are in any kind of golden age. Certainly lots of good, solid games around, but very rarely are we seeing games which do anything solidly new with the technology available. Indeed, this article even seems to be saying, “Hey! Look at these games which are a bit like System Shock and Deus Ex and other games that are 20 years old but with much less freedom but shinier graphics!” Old glories are being remastered, not improved upon.

    One regret I have with gaming at the moment is the lack of games that jump out of nowhere and turn out to be absolutely, monumentally brilliant, as opposed to games you hear about 3 years before release and turn out to be meh. Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun (easily my favourite game of last year) was the last one that came to mind, although Nier: Automata does seem to have done something similar.

  39. lastofthelight says:

    For me, the best example of this has been the complete, toxic, and often-times ignorant stupidity/backlash to Torment: Tides of Numenera. Almost every reviewer in the industry gave it glowing praise. It is –exactly– what the backers (myself included) demanded. We voted for turn based combat, demanded no money be spent on voice acting, and demanded a team of professional novelists write an expansive, mature, story-based game. The result is one of the most mature RPGs ever made.

    Admittedly, its not for everyone. Anyone who dislikes reading is going to hate it, and with a dense plot the equivalent of –30– full length novels (only a third of which could be seen in any playthrough), you have to be in the right mood to go through it. Its a cereberal, slow-paced RPG. Not for everyone. But absolutely what the backers paid InExile to create, 100%. And one of the best RPGs ever made. And its been treated like garbage. Annoys the crap out of me. Honestly, even the combat (the worst part of the game) is enjoyable; each combat is rare and feels like your in an actual fight with real stakes, since any companion can die, and the plot around them gives each fight a lot of narrative buildup. Not an action game, not for mindless ‘need time to brain numb’ (the sort of games I play after a long day at work) – but it has its place, and its completely perfect at what it does.

    As it is, InExile has probably taken a huge dive on it, and you’ll probably never see another game like it made.

    • MikhailG says:

      I guess I am glad they made it at all. It did help that I got into numenera as an tabletop RPG recently. But it certainly a niche game.

    • Emeraude says:

      As much as I enjoyed Numenera, and am glad to have backed it, to me it’s been mostly the final nail of a proof we’re never getting the likes of those old games back in anything but the most niche of production units.

      The culture that spawned them is dying. The people that are trying to emulate those can’t bring it back.

      Without discounting the contributions of individuals, development tools and structure have changed. Development ethos has changed.

      Games are produced nowadays as fragmented, disassociated bits. Not so much made to work as gestalts – something the recent blob addition goes to exemplify decently well with Numenera.
      They’re produced by people that have a pretty different outlook about them and what it is they’re supposed to accomplish.
      They’re produced for a population that has changed – the “gamers” of today taken as a whole don’t have that much in common with the small niche that was the game players of old. And that’s before even going into aging.

      All that to say, I do think Numenera wasn’t bad, but also that it certainly deserved a fair chunk of what has been thrown its way.

  40. VN1X says:

    Can you all stop calling these games “Immersive Sims” please? That’s like saying Half-Life is a “Good Shooter” or Tekken a “Fluid Fighter” lol.

  41. Hypocee says:

    Parallel to your point, you mention Doom. Well the latest Doom unexpectedly hearkens back to fast movement with varied weapons against enemies which move in – the kicker – highly complex maps where navigating and getting to alternate paths work to your advantage.

    As a second perspective on your thesis, and to bring back an early RPS HHOS, the last few years seem to have been a renewed focus on terrain.

  42. Emeraude says:

    I’ll go with some others here: I’m not seeing this as a golden age. More of a gilded age.

    DX:HR was the perfect example of a cargo cult adaptation if there ever was one. The best we had to say about it on release was that it wasn’t as bad as we feared it would be, when you’re down to it.
    MD was a more polished version of it that failed to address any of the underlying complaints people had about its predecessor, while adding issues of its own.
    Dishonored, as much I have and will defend it, was kind of mess that straddled the line between mass market entertainment product and auteur oeuvre and ended diminished for it.
    Since you mention Mass Effect (though I don’t really see why you’d lump those along), is there really any doubt as to why the series had a legitimate fallout (no pun intended), with how it evolved along the years?

    I won’t judge on Prey and Dishonored 2 (will get them second hand when I can land a less than 5 bucks second hand copy), but every other game you’ve mentioned in the article strikes me as trying to recapture something that was done right before, and for the most part failing in one way or another.

    • Hypocee says:

      You know what, I’ll say it. Deus Ex? Overrated. I love that people whose opinions I overwhelmingly trust love it for some reason, I’m charmed by its daffy writing, I’m glad it arguably kept some things alive through a dry spell in gaming. But I played a few levels back in the day and then wandered away rather than being pulled by the next shiny, and I’ve liked it less every time I’ve tried it again.

      You can approach everything three ways! Yes, you can. You can approach everything in exactly those three ways. Either bring or find the explosive, put points into hacking, or find the crates under an vent. Yes, it’s more than anything else was doing. Yes, it’s more than the one or two ways of Half-Life, but not that much more. In exchange for two more ways around things, they traded away their nano-enhanced cyberagent’s ability to shoot straight (yes yes, unless he finds the magic laser sight that the World Police I guess didn’t send him with), enemies’ ability to see more than a few meters and all forms of communication of entity status to the player.

      The System Shocks which preceded it were superior expressions of the same ideas, and HR was a superior expression of the same ideas – pretty much the same character driven metalayer but inside a playable videogame. Plus more interesting and self-expressive power choices. Plus stealth and strength options that were good. Plus a fascinating hub. Plus entities in the world which reacted to the player more than once per mission.

      • Emeraude says:

        Going to quote my old paper on it yet again, but to me DX is not about the number of options per see – that is part of the modern misinterpretation really.

        To me DX worked because of the way it mixed systemic, emergent gameplay with pre-scripted events at such a level of granularity that it managed to give a certain illusion of both agency and reactivity of the world to that agency that was far bigger than what was actually on offer – even if it was for a good part smoke & mirrors, really, it felt alive.

        And yes I would tend to agree, it’s overrated, but only because people have been learning the wrong things from it.

        • Hypocee says:

          It’s uncommon for me to read comments, more so for me to post, and more so again for me to choose to post something negative. The reason I did so was the sneering smear on HR; “It’s an awful cargo cult mess because it dares to reinterpret myyyy sacred cow.”

          I can get behind your position that DX works for people for the reasons you say, and they’re good reasons. Videogames are all illusion, there’s no shame in some diversion. But! That interacts with the “golden age” idiom in a rather amusing way. I agree with the article’s thesis that we are or have been in a (second or third) golden age for ImSims and gaming in general, while you’d term it gilded. But in the arena of games with Deus Ex in the title, aren’t you arguing that DX was gilded with exceptional craft/luck, creating an illusion of more than it actually was, while I’m arguing that HR was smaller but solid gold? (Not in the sense of 100% good – publisher says put BOSS FIGHTS in a Deus Ex game lol – but honest about every part of itself. Push on any system and you’ll find it’s actually there and coherent with the whole.)

        • Emeraude says:

          I’m calling it a cargo cult because it’s exactly what it is from where I stand: an emulation of the wrong causes trying to build up to the same effects. They even copy-pasted the exact same actantial narrative schema, in a very deliberate manner.

          And gilded I thought was a bit harsh yet too fitting the conversation to pass, but thinking back on it, no. That’s exactly it: great production values lost on a thing that tries to emulate another and fails on any but the most superficial way (“three different ways to tackle a problem!”).

          DX itself failed on many fronts, it’s far from a perfect game, but what it did right when it did? Neither HR nor MD are touching it.

          And I’m not even complaining about the boss fights… I remember Gunther in DX (aka, under certain circumstances, a unskippable boss fight you *have* to lose). I would be more than willing to overlook flaws in HR if I perceived something that hit the same notes -as with Dishonored, a game that *has* huge flaws but did some good, a game I will defend as much as will criticizes it.

          HR and DR certainly aren’t that.
          What is Mass effect even doing on this list?

  43. Wulfram says:

    Wait, Mass Effect is an immersive sim? I really have no idea what that genre is.

    But anyway, people should get Mass Effect Andromeda not to support whatever genre, but because its an excellent game with some of the best Action-RPG combat ever.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I suspect the argument is more that the Mass Effect series is also a kind of thing we didn’t use to get when everything was just samey FPS-es for a while. Not an immersive sim, but part of the golden age perhaps.

  44. Jason Moyer says:

    On the plus side, if Arkane isn’t allowed to make Arkane-style games anymore, I can start getting caught up on my backlog.
    And I’ll never have to upgrade my PC again.

  45. Kong says:

    Maybe there are not enough people left who can afford to buy those games?
    Great games from this POV require imagination, creativity, time. All those things are very rare outside academia or artisania. Inside academia and artisania life has become quite precarious. 60 bucks for a game?
    I love state of the art gfx. Cannot afford it. AAA games are for a small elite or rather their dumbass children.

  46. Danda says:

    I bought all the games mentioned in this article and I’m really happy with them. 2017 will be remembered fondly…

    …or maybe it will be remembered as the year with best games and worst sales, and the last one before all the games became MMO-like services because companies got way more money from them.

    (Hitman is actually a hybrid with its “live” content, but it’s really awesome and a true singleplayer game so I don’t care.)

  47. Rikstah says:

    This is a good age for PC games, but not the golden age. The late 90s was the true golden age:

    Half-Life (1998) Counter-Strike (1999) Quake (1996) Quake II (1997) Quake III Arena (1999) Everquest (1999) Asheron’s Call (1999) Unreal Tournament (1999) Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings (1999) Starcraft (1998) Banjo & Kazooie(1998) Pokémon Red/Blue/Green/Yellow (1996-1999) The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) Goldeneye (1997) Xenogears (1998) Final Fantasy VII (1997) Final Fantasy VIII (1999) Final Fantasy Tactics (1998) Metal Gear Solid (1998) Power Stone (1999) SFIII:Third Strike (1999) Tekken 3 (1997) Soul Calibur (1999) Silent Hill (1999) Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars (1996) Super Mario 64 (1996) Super Smash Bros. (1999) Resident Evil (1996) Resident Evil 2 (1998) Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999) Crash Bandicoot (1996) Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back (1997) Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped (1998) Crash Team Racing (1999) Spyro the Dragon (1998) Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! (1999) Fallout (1997) Fallout 2 (1998) Baldur’s Gate (1998) Grim Fandango (1998) Diablo (1996) Gran Turismo (1998) Gran Turismo 2 (1999) Mario Kart 64 (1996) Diddy Kong Racing (1997) Mega Man X4 (1997) Planescape: Torment (1999) Thief: The Dark Project (1998) Starsiege: Tribes (1998) The Curse of Monkey Island (1997) Twisted Metal 2 (1996) Homeworld (1999) System Shock 2 (1999) Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999) Command & Conquer: Red Alert (1996) Panzer Dragoon Saga (1998) NFL Blitz (1998) Tobal 2 (1997).

  48. Galilnagant says:

    “We are living in a golden age of big-budget PC games that offer us choice and freedom.”

    Example provided several paragraphs later: Mass Effect Andromeda

    I still haven’t finished that festering mound of tripe. Got too busy having actual fun and feeling like my decisions actually mattered in Persona 5. When strictly regimented anime teenagers are more compelling companions than Bioware’s latest aspiring GLAAD awards nominee, you have to start questioning your loyalty to Bioware.

  49. Donaldson Jones says:

    Yes there have been some great games lately.

    I liked Deus Ex – Mankind Divided.
    I liked Dishonored 2
    I like Prey.

    Prey has been great so far I had one bug that I had to work around it was annoying but ultimately fixable.

    Deus Ex Mankind Divided I liked the game, although I have no earthly idea why micro trans was added to the game…that was a work of pure stupidity. The other problem is the game is INCOMPLETE and because execs didn’t like the way the game was received they canx’d the whole thing. So lets look at the logic, the studio delivers a game that is incomplete and full of pointless microtrans people buy it anyway but because it didn’t sell well enough the publisher cancelled it. So why on earth would I EVER believe anything that particular company had to say about any future games? It’s baffling to me that a company who kind of pissed off it’s consumer base is doubling down on pissing off it’s consumer base..worked well for the latest Ghostbusters too…oh yeah it didn’t. Sorry Square Enix and Eidos I don’t know your execs by name because I have a life but it will be a very long time before I pre order or even deign to look at your releases any time in the next 10 or so years.

    Dishonored 2 – I liked it. Wasn’t as amazing as the first one but that is only because there was a first one. If this game was the first of the series it would probably be as great of the first one. I know the is Yogi Berra – ish but it’s true.

    Prey other than one annoying graphic glitch I really like it.

    • CaptWaffle1 says:

      Out of curiousity- and I’ve heard people say this before…. how did you find Mankind Divided incomplete? I got a solid 45 hours out of it with enough cool stuff left over to be excited about a second playthrough. I dunno, I’ve heard people say that it wasn’t a finished game but I’m yet to hear any arguments to support it. Not busting on you- I’m honestly curious.

  50. CaptWaffle1 says:

    One thing to be optimistic about- lets say that the Preys, Deus Exs, Dishonoreds, Hitmans of the world all went away…. that the Big Companies stopped taking funding such games. One word. Crowdfunding!!! If there isn’t another Deus Ex or Prey or whatnot announced in the next few years I know for SURE I’d put down money on “Crowdfunded Deus Ex 5” or “Crowdfunded Prey 2″…. I’d do it even if the devs couldn’t get the liscense and had to make “Deus Exx” or Preyyyy”. Whereever there is enough demand for something- someone will find a way to create it. Cool thing about capitalism. And when that demand is pent-up over years you can REALLY get something rolling on a crowdfunding deal. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe Wasteland 2 was crowdfunded as well as quite a few other quite terrific games of recent years.