Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 3, Batman: Arkham City, Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. What do nearly all of these games have in common besides belonging to a trilogy? They are the most anticipated video games of this year and next. Do you see a common theme? The most sought after games seem to fall within a limited number of genres predominantly action and shooter.
Over the past few days I was able to get my hands on Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time on the Playstation 3 via Gamefly and it really got me thinking, what happened to platforming games? Insomniac’s action-adventure platformer which was originally released in 2009 left me with a feeling that I haven’t experienced in a long time.
Humor, a straight forward story line (relatively), and a variety of gameplay mechanics define my experience with this version of Ratchet & Clank. Never once did I get bored exploring the universe, upgrading my weapons, or probing for hidden collectables. This game was a refreshing interlude to my Call of Duty sessions, an appreciated respite from the daily grind of repetition. I must say, after enjoying my pants off for the past few days I really wish there were more games of this type and caliber available.
The popular gaming market is saturated with guns, realism, and violence. While I love some old fashioned run and gun action, the severe lack of authentic, innovative, adventure titles is becoming increasingly noticeable.
The N64/PS1 days were riddled with the essentials of exploration, platforming, and the addictive aspect of collection. I can remember feverishly playing Banjo Kazooie, Mario 64, The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, Spyro, and Crash Bandicoot as a child. Gathering coins, music notes, and rupees was a welcomed necessity of this generation. Interestingly, these titles are still at the top of their genre over 10 years later.
The 90’s capitalized on this style of gameplay which continued to the next generation of consoles. Newcomers such as the Sly Cooper and the Ratchet & Clank series performed relatively well on the Playstation 2 but where are they now? Video game developers take advantage of the success of the past with ported versions of our favorite old school adventure titles for all the new consoles. The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time 3D for example has climbed to the top of many gamers’ “must buy lists” even achieving a score of 9.5 on IGN.com.
Obviously the gaming community still enjoys the freedom and variability adventure games offer. Unfortunately we have to rely on past titles for the most part to relive those warm fuzzy feeling again. While I’m happy to see more realistic interpretations to the formula coming to fruition such as the Assassin’s Creed series, the odds are stacked against N64/PS1 reminiscent additions. Hopefully upcoming games such as The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword will rekindle not only the genre itself but also the desire in the community for these types of games.
Do you miss the adventure platformers of the past as I do?