Thursday, June 21, 2007

A clear sign that games are getting too big that they are building in features so that you don't have to play them.

Whaaa? Huh? Come again?

Recently, I'be been playing Forza 2. Great racing sim. Best I've played in a while, hands-down. My only complaint is that it's TOO BIG. Working my way through the career progression was taking forever, but I wanted to do it (a) for acheivements/gamerscore, and more importantly (b) to unlock all the cars and tracks. I want to see how the AC 427 Cobra drives compared to the one I used to own, and I want to race places like Nuremburg (sp?).

So I was surprised to find that at the start of a race, one thing you can do is HIRE A DRIVER! That driver will then go race for you and generally, will win. So I've been playing the game, but before I sign off, I'll pick one more race and let my Xbox go play by itself for 20 minutes, up-leveling me a little bit.

Now today, I read over on buttonmashing that discusses EA's "Sim to complete" feature in NCAA 2008. You basically can fast-forward ahead during a game, having the AI play for you, and jump in at the tail end of the game.

It's interesting that in the effort to justify big budget games, 'hours of gameplay' has become this metric that's frequently used, but is not necesarily what ALL consumers want. Some, like me, want the quality without requiring the quantity. I loved that the last Tomb Raider took me like 10-12 hours to complete. I've put off playing Oblivion because I hear it's great but takes >50 hours to play.

Building in of these features is kind of recognition that to some gamers, less is definitely more.


Mark DeLoura said...

What a crazy thing! Our game is too big so we have a smart AI that will solve it for you. How about giving me half the game for half the price? :)

Will said...

I wasn't all that impressed with the F2 demo, so I didn't buy the game. I dunno what it was, maybe all the cars felt like the drove the same, and the graphics were only 'eh'. I had a similar experience with Crackdown. Anyway... IMHO, the Gran Tourismo series is above the rest in racing sims. The Tourist Trophy (same guys that do GT, same engine) is fantastic. I don't know how TT compares to MotoGP, but it'd be hard to beat TT.

Oblivion definitely wasn't my cup of tea, and though my wife likes that genre, she only played Oblivion for a little while before it became "boring and repetitive" for her. To me, the game looked terrible and load times were awful (though not as bad as PGR3). Oblivion definitely shows its launch-title-ness.

As for games that play themselves... well, that just takes all the fun out of it for most genres -- though I can understand the 'management sim' style games allowing it (like NASCAR, NCAA or Madden when you're playing pit-crew boss/league-mode or whatever its called)...

Anyway, hadn't polluted your blog in a while so thought I'd drop by to say 'hi' :-)

CaptPoco said...

Wasn't there a Final Fantasy game that did this? The game would play itself, but you could change things around a bit.

Oblivion was terribly overrated in my opinion. I finished the tutorial, created a character, and had absolutely no desire to do anything else, since I'd already sloged through Morrowind.