21
Apr
18

Identity Crisis

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Quite a few games lately seem to be suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Whether it’s trying to change up a formula that has grown stale, making tweaks due to the changing tastes of gamers, or just because something in a previous iteration didn’t work out. Games – and times – change. That’s a fact.

But still, sometimes the changes are pretty weird. Several of the games I’ve been poking at recently seem to have undergone this sort of metamorphosis; I’m going to poke at three of them real quick.

First, (Totally-Not-Resident)Evil Within 2. While the first game tried to be Resident Evil 4, Mark II – and didn’t do so hot at it, I’ll add – EW2 at first presents itself as more of the same… but trying to play it that way will quickly reveal that’s not the best way to go about it. EW2 does its best work when it’s being played like a Splinter Cell or Metal Gear game. Carefully creeping about, studying the enemy patterns and looking for loopholes in their pathing to either shank them from behind or evade them entirely. Also like Metal Gear, it tends to fall apart in the obligatory boss fights, playing to none of the game’s strengths and all of its weaknesses. Still, it worked out better than expected, and EW2 is in many ways better than its predecessor.

Assassin’s Creed: Origins is from the “we’re bored, let’s do something else” camp; while I will happily state that AC:O is the best AC in just about forever, it’s not really much of an Assassin’s Creed game. It’s more like Ancient Egyptian The Witcher. Which I’m totally okay with, but strikes me as a little odd. Cramming in a bunch of open world RPG elements was nice, though the fact that “assassination” doesn’t really work any more seems to defy the title a bit.

Last on the blotter is the newly-released God of War. The previous six games all had a bad case of the samesies; there’s very little to differentiate God of War from God of War: Ascension or Ghost of Sparta. It’s also a genre that doesn’t seem to have much of a following anymore; basic “stylish action” hack and slashers have sort of fallen by the wayside in recent years. With that in mind, God of War decided to do something decidedly different. First is embracing an epic story that tries to hit you in the feels (mainly by riffing on The Last of Us’s themes of parenthood), while second is retooling the game into something that seems to want to be more Zelda than anything else. Well, amendment. More Darksiders. But given that Darksiders is basically Zelda on steroids with a coat of black and red paint, that’s still kind of the same thing.

All that being said, all three games are great, and very enjoyable. They’re just different, and not likely what folks were expecting when walking in based on their sequel status.

What about you folks out there? Know of a great game that is completely different from its forebears? What about sequels who developed an identity crisis, switched things up, and flopped hard? Let us know down below!

KA Spiral no signature

 

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2 Responses to “Identity Crisis”


  1. April 21, 2018 at 10:44 AM

    I know it’s like beating a dead horse, but the 3d Sonic franchise has always had an identity crisis (both figuratively and literally in certain games). Even the most recent Sonic Forces couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a direct continuation of the boost centered Generations/Colors formula or a more casual experienced aimed at newer fans of the series. The result is a game that shows potential, but ultimately feels like it was created with a mobile/free-to-play mentality behind it. Levels are short bursts that are over just as they begin to be enjoyable, a character creator is thrown in to pad out the length, and an entire gameplay mode feels like it was tacked on to appeal to the success of Mania and retro inspired Sonic.

    • May 6, 2018 at 7:53 PM

      Sonic has indeed had it pretty rough. Haven’t had a chance to try Forces – and honestly, part of me doesn’t want to – though I will say I thought Mania was great for what it was. Thanks for reading!


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