After five months of being away from the flat we finally moved back in. As ever the first thing I did was set up my ‘electronics’. This has slimmed down over the years as music has taken less prominence in my life. There used to be a bank of gaming equipment topped by a layer of audio: a pair of SL1210’s, a Rane mixer, Laptop, a CD player or two and a selection of speakers old, new and monitor standard. All of the audio layer is gone trimmed down to a Onkyo PR-SC886, an Onkyo dock, a Samsung TV, an Xbox 360, A PS3 and a Wii. For the first time I own all of the current generation at the same time. My love of Sega had meant that until the PS3 I had never owned a Playstation. In all honesty thus far it has been an underwhelming experience. The only game I had enjoyed had been LittleBigPlanet. I loved that game and simply couldnt find anything to compare. Until that point it seemed that the PS3 and 360 were comparable. In the case of those multi platform titles I have played/seen on both platforms they look pretty much the same to me. All apart from Fallout 3 which seemed to struggle on PS3. In these instances I will always play these games on the 360. Once simple reason, points.
After a week of being in the flat for a week I finally plugged in the power lead and the ethernet cable on the PS3. The Wii remains unconnected. There were two primary reasons: Killzone 2 and inFAMOUS. Both of which are flagship PS3 releases. Killzone had been out for a few weeks but my lack of PS3 access had meant I hadn’t picked it up. I played it for a few hours, but was left feeling strangely hollow. After trying to analyse it, I can’t agree that its based upon the poor storytelling. I see most game narratives as being derivative and shallow. Killzone 2 has been accused of lacking a gripping plot, but these criticisms are levelled by those who applaud Gears of War and Call Of Duty 4. I agree that the plot and character development in Killzone are trite and derivative, but for that matter so is the heart wrenching tale of Marcus Fenix‘s quest for the truth about his father. These games, it has to be remembered, tell a story where the primary objectives involve systematically shooting people in the head. This is augmented in Killzone by the popping off of helmets. Which is comedic to say the least. I think the primary disappointment comes from the fact that Killzone 2 is not as ‘Next Gen’ as i’d hoped. I agree it looks stunning, but it isn’t the great leap forward I was hoping for. So this made me think, what do I need nowadays? Now ‘Next Gen’ is ‘Current Gen’, I need more.
Many of the promises of ‘Next Gen’ have been fulfilled, larger groups of assailants, better textures, more immersive environments. Microsoft undoubtedly delivered on the connected gameplay promise of the Xbox, with Sony and Nintendo limping behind. But the wider questions of: more emotion, better stories and more imagination are yet to be fulfilled. I hope that Heavy Rain will deliver, but I am worried in the way it is being marketed. At the end of last year I was at a briefing at Sony in London and the Heavy Rain product/brand manager explained how Heavy Rain is an entertainment release, not a game. It is aimed at tearing couples away from watching Lost on Blu-Ray. It is to games what Cloverfield was to film. A year away from release the premeditated pigeon holing made me shudder. Any art-form can be exploited. That’s a given.
So I turned to inFAMOUS. It is slick and the animation is phenomenal. But it is also a pure hybrid of GTA and Crackdown. Both of which were a product of David Jones. I hope Sucker Punch are paying him royalties. Ah … I forgot inFamous has electricity.
‘When Gen’ will make me reconsider where my allegiances lie.