About 6 months ago (maybe a bit more) when my 5 year old elite’s disc tray finally stopped working, I went out and picked up a slim. Along with it came a copy of Darksiders and a digital download of Batman: Arkham City. I eventually sold Darksiders 2 (I liked the first one, but not the second) and I tried to sell Batman through Craigslist but had no potential buyers, so I just downloaded it and played. The reason I wanted to sell it was because I’d HATED Batman: Arkham Asylum. But, in the end, I did decide to download Arkham City and it turns out it’s the batman game I actually wanted from the beginning. Flying all over the city, taking down thugs and whatnot.
There’s just one problem.
I can’t focus. Games have become too open world. When I tell somebody I enjoyed Modern Warfare 1-3, it isn’t because the story was fascinating or anything, it’s because it was a very straight forward linear game. You run, you shoot, you win. Is it original? Not at all. But it lead me in a singular direction to an eventual tidy conclusion and that’s what I’m feeling I enjoy more and more. Not necessarily shooters, just that type of game. Mafia 2 is one of my top 5 favorite 360 games ever, and probably because it’s a linear sandbox game. Sure, you can explore the city, but there’s really no reason to outside maybe the collectibles. It’s a fairly straightforward shot from start to finish. Maybe as I’m getting older I’m reverting back to wanting games to as they were when I was a kid, because I’m also playing games on my iPod Touch more than my consoles at this point. Casual stuff; DoodleJump, Fruit Ninja and what have you.
Hell, it’s one of the reasons I got so deep into the Wii the last 3 years was because of how simple the games are for it. Kirbys Epic Yarn, A Boy & His Blob and even Epic Mickey (which reminds me of great gamecube style games) are just straightforward and fun. I don’t like the idea of “go anywhere and do anything”. That’s FAR too much freedom. I need more guidance. It’s too cluttered and makes my head hurt. I’m not saying Sandbox games are bad, because there are a few I legitimately enjoyed. Hell, I’m even enjoying Batman, but to an extent. I find myself never knowing what exactly to do next, so I usually just follow the plotline because I’m to overwhelmed with choices. That’s not the way it should be. Perhaps this is a personal issue, but it’s still frustrating. I don’t want to blame the game either (except in some instances, where they REALLY give you too much freedom) because I recognize that’s what people want now. It just doesn’t work for ME.
Most of the best games I’ve played in the last few years on my Xbox and loved have been so linear. De Blob 2, Tomb Raider, Alan Wake, Bioshock Infinite, Mortal Kombat. I mean, they’re simple and there’s no real reason aside from collectibles to really explore any other parts of the map (except Mortal Kombat, which doesn’t even give you the option given the game it is). So perhaps my taste have changed a lot from when I was a little girl to now. I don’t know. It’s just something that I noticed. What’s worse is because the gaming community has become so hypercritical and judgmental, they’ll say I’m just an idiot who only plays casual games. That’s not true. I’m still working through Skyrim, Red Dead and a dozen other deeply complicated and complex titles. I’m just not ENJOYING them as much as I may have a few years back. Tastes change. I grew up playing stuff on the Genesis and the Playstation. I grew up playing platformers and simple adventure games.
I just feel I need more direction. Just like in my life. I need more direction in my life. Somebody help me. Please. Somebody. Anybody. Oh god I’m so alone.
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