It's the Little Things, Man!
As a gamer of about fifteen years, I've documented my experiences with video games, the industry, and naturally anything involving my favourite form of entertainment. With that being said, where I've also matured quite a bit since I was four years old--or at least I like to think so--I've grown to have more understanding and patience; so when a company nonsensically leaves out a detail or element in a video game, I tend to think nothing of it. Until today.
We're a mere couple of weeks from the new year of 2013 and in the present year alone, I've experienced quite a few video games; some new to my palette in terms of a genre I've never touched or a new standalone or previously released video game that I've ignored. However, quite a few have stood out to me because of one simple thing: failure. I'm not speaking of failure in the overall sense, nor that of the financial or popularity. I'm talking about failure to attention, to detail, to the little things that tend to stand out more in the end than the bigger occurrences. What do I mean, you ask?
"Hey Johnny, did you see that huge explosive getaway in the third mission?"
"Yeah, but even better: did you see the attention to detail in Jane Smith's character? I mean, she had all the proper gun holsters so her weapons didn't just magnetise to her body."
Don't get me wrong, I am by far a nitpicker but to be quite honest, I don't find anything wrong with being one in this day and age. Gamers who just sit there and accept games for what they are set a good example most of the time, but they won't find their behaviour as affective as gamers to stand up and say, "Hey, hey! No way! Uh-uh ma'am, we ain't gonna pay! Hey, hey! No, no! Fix this crap, 'cause we said so!" The gaming industry needs to hear what the consumers have to say about specific elements of certain games.
Let's take the upcoming Tomb Raider game, for instance. I understand the game is running on the previous game's engine. Well, that's wrong. I had a lot of complaints with the engine unveiled in Tomb Raider Underworld. The camera angles were a bit choppy and for a game that was allegedly motion captured, Lara ran around like a crack-squirrel on speed. I found that Lara ran, traversed, and generally moved around as if she had no meat on her bones. Heaven forbid there was a gust of wind--I was certain the woman would've been carried off somewhere. Well, that's being carried over to the reboot. Now wouldn't you think...? No, that's insane. I'll tell you, but please don't think of me differently. Well, I was thinking...since it's a new game--a reboot--and a complete overhaul of the franchise...wouldn't you think it's time for a new game engine? I know, I know. It's crazy. Please, hold off on the public stoning for now.
To further define my point, let's continue to dissect Tomb Raider. We're only three months away from its release and while new footage is being shown, one of the most recent screenshots has gotten my knickers in a twist. I've included the picture at the bottom of this post. After Lara picks up a pistol--most likely after her sexual assault and first human kill--she has the ability to upgrade it, as all of her equipment. Well, that's nice. However, there are two discrepancies: the name of the gun is the 'WWII Pistol.' Understandable. It looks old. However, it's modelled after a Beretta--a Beretta 92, I believe--which wasn't manufactured until 1975. World War II lasted from 1939 to 1945. Curious. Even curiouser, the in-game icon for the Beretta is actually an HK USP Match, Lara's previously famous handguns of choice (the two Tomb Raider films, Tomb Raider Legend, and Tomb Raider Underworld.)
Lastly--about Tomb Raider anyway--is Lara's infamous "rape" scene. Well, ignoring that, let's hone in on her assailant. Remember that WWII Beretta he took from Dr. Whitman? Well, guess where he put it? No, not up his arse, you cheeky bastard. He harnessed some sort of ignorant magic and magnetised it to his thigh. They give Lara holsters for not only her arrow quiver and shotgun but the pistol she was to have, and they even properly modelled her character and hunting bow to properly hang across her chest when holstered. Yet this character, so important that he gets to do what any straight man would like to do to Lara Croft, is not given a holster? The game is yet to be finished, but here's to hoping this attention to detail is catered to.
To add some sunshine to this seemingly dreary topic, I must give credit to a handful of games that actually pay proper if not more than proper attention to every little aspect in their game. For instance, the way Haytham and Connor move in Assassin's Creed 3; perfectly fluid, realistic, and sensible, even in snow. In Far Cry 3, the way water splashes onto you and your vehicle when you drive over a puddle or alongside a shoreline. Actually, there's about a thousand more little things in Far Cry 3 that were given a beautiful amount of attention, but you'd be hard pressed to find me willing to list them all. Even say, Hitman: Absolution where the slides properly blow-back on all weapons, even in the hands of NPCs.
As gamers, I honestly feel like our loyalty to the industry, our efforts to be involved in the community and share our opinions and experiences through user reviews--the fact that we aren't paid to say positive things about a game we hate--should earn us much more attention than we're receiving, and not for the spotlight; so companies will see that we're here, we're opinionated, and they had better damn well listen to us.
The "World War II" pistol. Laughable, at best.