Today I played a demo for Metal Gear Revengence and it got me thinking about the game industry and where it’s heading. Everyone knew that Metal Gear Revengence was going to be different than the previous games. For one it’s a different studio and team at the helm of the development. This isn’t Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear, sure he was involved but this isn’t his vision. The moment gameplay clips of the game were shown it was obvious that this game was more action focused and less about stealth. Its something a lot of studios have been doing with their core franchises . The reasoning for this, I believe is to make the games accessible to a wider audience. For example, Dead Space 3 creators said that the focus on the action aspect of the game was a necessary evil, and of course we can’t forget about Resident Evil’s departure from it’s survival horror roots into more of an action game. This may make their games appeal to more people but it’s at a high risk. The risk of losing not only the core audience but also the game’s identity.
Now playing through the demo of Metal Gear Revengence it was obvious that this is a fantastic game, but it’s not what we have come to know when we hear the word Metal Gear. Raiden, the protagonist in the game is a bad ass, plain and simple. You feel strong being him. It makes you, the player feel empowered. It basically makes you feel like a super hero, but also gives you the feeling that your not invincible. That’s what makes super heroes’ appeal to us. It’s their vulnerability that makes us connect with them. Revengence achieves this by having an excellent combat system and we’ll thought out enemy AI. They took a risk on this game and luckily I think it will pay off. But it doesn’t always pay off. To demonstrate my point let’s look at Ninja Gaiden 3.
Ninja Gaiden 3 was a game I was really looking forward to. I have always been a fan of the series and with how great the last couple of entries were I thought Ninja Gaiden 3 being a hit was a no brainer. Well guess what that game was horrible. It’s no secret about how bad that game was. Ninja Gaiden games were known for being extremely difficult. That was part of their DNA. Team Ninja made a consciousness decision to make the game easier, making it, that’s right accessible to a wider audience. Sure it looked cool, he was bad ass, and it was bloody, but I didn’t care and it got boring fast. I didn’t feel like I could be hurt it took the vulnerability out of the game, which took out the only human aspect. I couldn’t connect with the character anymore. During the course of playing Ninja Gaiden I kept thinking what’s the point. That’s not something you want your end user to be thinking when they’re playing. If the player is thinking that, you have failed. That game was a failure and damaged the series. I will definitely be thinking twice the next time there is a new Ninja Gaiden game on the store shelves.
Overall I still prefer the stealth in Metal Gear and the horror in Resident Evil, but I do believe that two styles of play can coexist in a series. I wouldn’t be against a world that had two Metal Gear games similar to the way that Call of Duty has Modern Warfare and Black Ops. For the game industry as a whole though I feel that Metal Gear Revengence set the bar high on this style of game play and if more companies are going to make games geared towards that mechanic it better be at least as good as Revengence.
So readers, what do you think about all this are games heading down a slippery slope? Is the action genre taking over the gaming world? Sound off in the comments.