The latest game consoles are very impressive when it comes to graphics and sound. In fact you would be forgiven for thinking you were actually watching a movie. It takes an entire team of programmers, graphic designers, musicians and producers along with a lot of money to create the amazing visuals we see in console games today. However, I would ask the question: What about playability?
I have personally found it difficult to enjoy any gaming consoles after the PlayStation 2. Being a fan of wrestling games I was instantly attracted to one playing on a PlayStation 3 in my local gaming store and so I ended up buying one. Jumping on Amazon to buy some PS3 wrestling games I was looking forward to commencing battle with the new and improved wrestlers in all their graphical glory. After spending a reasonable amount of time (including the updates on practically every game) I was starting to wish I had never bought the PS3.
The graphics and sound was spot on, no argument there. However I instantly hated the playability. The huge combination of gamepad controls was a nightmare to remember, just to perform various fancy moves. Not only that but the season mode had gone so I couldn’t simply sit there enjoying the storylines and beating wrestlers one after another. It was bad enough that I had never heard of many of the new wrestlers and was left pining to control Hulk Hogan or SGT Slaughter.
Metal Gear Solid 1&2 were amongst my favourite games on the PS2 so I looked forward to the third installment. In the first two games you could easily replenish your energy and heal all wounds with just one ration pack. However, the company decided to make it “more real” by making the player go through a series of treatments for each injury your character Solid Snake received, and still you had to take your ration pack to replenish energy.
The games of yesteryear were more entertaining as you weren’t distracted by fancy visuals and more was left to the imagination. Hours could be lost playing Pacman as you strived to beat your high score. Text-Adventure games would leave you emerged in a world described by text descriptions only, forming the world in your imagination and making you the main character in the game, and feeling more involved.
Games companies, in my opinion, seem to be more interested in the fancy visual effects of games rather than playability. I have tried playing these Hack and Slash type games and found them boring after a while. Yes the graphics are superb but all you do is hack and slash, watch a cut scene sequence then go back to hack and slash again. Long drawn-out cut scene sequences seem to be a part of many modern games to make them last longer. Not too bad if there is an option to skip it.
Shooting a character in the older games was pretty tame. No blood and guts spilling out, characters just vanishing into thin air after a flashing fade. However there were later games that became more violent as game companies decided to make violent deaths more true to life, giving players the desires for more realistic blood and gore.
Even though the latest consoles strive to make games look more like movies to please today’s audience, the joy of retro gaming is becoming more and more popular as gamers young and old discover the attraction of simple but highly addictive games. A time where games would actually end when the player ran out of lives rather than continue from the last point no matter how many times you die. The urge to go back on the game to beat your high score and get your name on the hi-score table…eeh, they don’t know they're born today.