Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Spit It Out Already!

Here's the breakdown of gaming at my house lately: I've been playing Defiance, my husband has been playing Sid Meier's Civilization: Revolution, and my daughters are obsessed with Animal Crossing: New Leaf.  We're kind of all over the board.  But do you know what the combination of listening to these three games has taught me?

Voice overs are totally important.

All three games have a different way to handle voice overs.  Defiance has inane, repetitive chatter, but it's completely voiced and in English (or whatever language, I'm guessing??)  Civilization has constant, interruptive voice overs, but the characters just jabber.  Kind of like Sims.  And Animal Crossing is completely voiced, but it's just bleeps and bloops, not really word sounds at all, except when you type it says the letters you hit in a majorly robotic voice.

So different, and what do they all have in common?  SO ANNOYING.

Of the three, I would say Animal Crossing is the least offensive.  I am not crazy about the fact that every time a character talks to you it makes a steady stream of noise not unlike a dial-up modem in the 90's, but it's easily tuned out.  Civilization might be the worst.  You have advisors helping build your civilization, and they are constantly popping up to talk at you.  It stops game play to have you read their blurb and make a decision. But the whole time they're up they are just jabbering away in nonsense.  Why?  Why did they even spend the time recording this inane blabbering?  If you're going to record someone talking away, just have them actually speak the words.  It's super annoying to me.  I wish they were just silent.  My husband stands up for the game by saying this way it could be shipped worldwide without recording multiple languages.  It still grates on me.

And Defiance voice overs are annoying in a category all their own.  There is tons of voiced dialogue during quest hand-outs and cut-scenes, all voice acted and well done.  But during actual game play you have your very own Navi-like computer chick, who talks incessantly but repeats the same lines over and over and over.  Everyone who plays can recite EGO's lines.  And everyone hates her.  I'm not generalizing.

I love the work programmers and designers put into games...but how about going that extra mile, or going a mile less, and just not annoying the gamer?

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Titanfall: Doing It Right

I have always enjoyed games from the Call of Duty series.  I think they are a fun, brainless way to pass time, laugh with friends, or vent frustrations.  With the last couple releases, the Call of Duty online experience has become so intense that there is little value for the casual player.  Having releases every year causes the learning curve to approach so fast and so steep that it can be impossible to keep up.

Titanfall provides the action and fun of the online multiplayer experience, without all the baggage.  Of course, there are some players that magically become pros the instant the game loads up.  But for the most part, everyone is wading through these foreign waters together.  

There has always been a presence on the Internet that would like multiplayer and solo campaign games to be separate.  In the case of CoD, even the zombie levels should probably consist of their own title.  Instead of cramming all this into one, Titanfall poured all their attention into the multiplayer game.  With no focus being given to a single player story, the end result of Titanfall is near perfection.

The only decision I don't quite understand about Titanfall is why there is a multiplayer campaign.  The story is almost non-existent.  I played through and I don't remember any part of it; I was too busy messing with my loadouts.  The campaign consists of lobbies that play exactly like the regular, multiplayer game.  Developers really could have just left the game as Red Team vs Blue Team; we don't need a backstory.

While I have never enjoyed achievements that are based on online play, I think the goals they set are manageable.  For those of you who were raised in the Call of Duty era, give Titanfall a try for something a bit more fresh.