Friday, February 13, 2009

God Of War 3 + Metal Gear thoughts + Valentine's Day


I've been amazed at some of the posts here and on the youtube channel where folks are assuming I don't like or love MGS or that I out and out hate it. I think I've made it pretty clear that MGS is one of my fave game series ever and Snake is one of my fave game characters ever. I've also said time and again that MGS4 is in my top 2 games of the year and depending on when you ask me, is my number one fave game of the year. So I 'get' Metal Gear. I LOVE Metal Gear. I even have accepted and embraced the cut scenes this time around, given how good they are. I like the operatic, bombastic story telling and the over the top characters. I was simply pointing out that- to me- the game loses some steam at the end because:

a- the microwave scene was not effective to me. Perhaps if they had not split the screen I would have enjoyed it more, but trying to take it all in and be affected by two things going on at once was distracting, especially on top of the gameplay (simple as the gameplay in that area was). Sometimes I get the feeling choices are made in the MGS series because the choices are very creative and very cool but they don't take into account the bigger picture of the overall game experience. I have been guilty of this as well in my games, mainly the Twisted Metal series, where I would haphazardly toss in story elements because I felt they were cool or mysterious but didn't really respect the overall tapestry of the master story. Not saying this is what Kojima does, but it feels like this to me in some cases.

b- And to that point, Snake should have died once he reached the server room. That micro scene should have been the end of the game...even if he would have battled Ocelot before and the two would have gone into the microwave tunnel in a chase and by the end they are both on their hands and knees, with Snake struggling to reach the end of the tunnel and Ocelot trying to stop him (altho animation wise, this could look comical if they didn't handle it just right)...but either way, all that angst in the micro tunnel, all that danger, all that sadness... and then he just kinda takes a rest and he's back up and battling. It's like, again, it makes it seem like that scene was put there for an 'oh cool' moment but didn't take into account the rest of the game's story. And I get the whole 'hero dies and is resurrected' Jesus thing that some action movies and stories in general do. No issues with that. But the game didn't really turn the resurrection into a big, clearly intentional moment. Snake just kinda passed out he's fine again! Up and ready for battle! I think it would have been much more emotional and intentional- and made the microwave scene actually matter more- if the final battle with Ocelot had Snake inches from death (because of the microwave scene) and he could not stand and was crawling around getting his ass kicked in the gameplay and had to find a way to kill Ocelot anyway. THAT would have been Snake! But now I'm just delving into fan fiction at this point :)

But so there you go...

...and to those folks thinking I can't get immersed because I work in the games biz, it's a good point and I've thought about this, but its just not true. The recently released flower immersed me and made me feel something. Hell, I even felt a bit of emotion in Gears of War 2 (altho, to be fair, it was emotional connection created via cut scene, not gameplay). But overall, I feel the medium is either not capable of creating and sustaining deep emotions or we have simply not come close to understanding how to do it on a consistent basis. I am open to it, but I'm just being honest with how I feel about the current state of storytelling in gameplay.

And I'm not saying folks who say they get emotional are 'wrong'. That's great they feel that way. Altho sometimes I get the feeling that SOME of those folks are just clinging and making false claims because they WANT games to be that way and are willing to tell themselves that games are that way even tho they actually are not. I guess I feel that way because I am an easy cry. I cry at everything. EVERYTHING...movies, tv, commercials, greeting cards. Very sentimental guy, at times. But why not games? I mean one poster was like, "I cried 4 times in MGS4"...and I'm like: shit, really?!? Did I miss something? Where are you crying cause I- the dude who cries during diaper commercials- didn't come close to shedding a tear.

Anyway, endless debate. One day it will either be solved cause someone finally makes a game where the storytelling power of games can not be denied or we'll just keep going round and round.

Main reason to post was that I wanted to make sure no one thought I was bagging on MGS. It really is one of my fave game series, and fave pieces of entertainment ever. Snake is not Indy or Spiderman...but every new game he gets a little closer and closer to being one of my fave fictional characters.

Ok, now off to McDonalds!

Happy VD day, ya'll!