Saturday, January 23, 2010

Penis envy.

It must be very difficult to come up with an interesting male lead for an action game. Lets take a look at the most recent examples:

Master Chief: essentially a walking starship with the personality to match, manages to still get the (electronic) hot chick.

Kratos: serious anger issues, killed own wife and child and has never gotten over it.

Marcus Fenix: unrequited love for Dom leads to unpredictable behavior, terrified to show his lighter side.

Cole MacGrath: power issues, commitment issues not withstanding

Not a one of these would be at all interesting if they were ripped out of their comfy game world, where the only expectation of depth is getting a new attack every few levels, and observed under the harsh light of motion pictures. Only Nathan Drake, of Uncharted and Uncharted 2 fame, would survive this transition. Drake is more than the Indiana Jones rip off he appears to be, though there is a lot owed to the good doctor (Nathan should have starred in Indy 4, sorry Harrison, but you sucked). There is depth of character and history in him that most games don't even bother with. Add in top notch motion capturing and voice acting and Drake is more than an gamer avatar that shoots things while making Lara Croft jealous of his success, he is a person. The natural consequence of excellence is attempted duplication, which brings me to Dark Void.

After a teaser prologe that puts the game's dodgey flight and targetting controls on fulls display, you are introduced to William Augustus Grey. Will is a brash piolet with a romantic past involving the only female character in the whole game. He is often wreckless, has a knack for surviving long falls, and mumbles at himself while under attack. Oh, and he is voiced by Nolan North. At this point the game should no longer be called 'Dark Void,' it is 'Nathan Drake's strange and mostly unremarkable adventures with Nikola Testla in the Bermuda Triangle.' This isn't an homage, or a playful parody, this is plagarism, and it serves to highlight one of many flaws in what I was hoping would be a good game.

When the best thing I have experienced after four hours of play is the transition from fighting in the air to fighting on the ground (not any of the actual fighting, just moving between the two) there is a problem. I stopped playing Forza for this?

Shame on me.

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