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Darren Waters

Edge gets to the gaming point

  • Darren Waters
  • 11 Jun 08, 13:04 GMT

I always look forward to my copy of Edge magazine flopping through the letterbox.

Edge magazine websiteIt's one of the few sources of intelligent games journalism, and I've always loved the attention to detail in the physical design - although I've felt their legendary cover images have been a bit less tantalising of late.

Amid the game reviews, previews, columns and features I've always enjoyed the small bits of editorial - because it's often here you'll find the soul of the magazine.

This month's text asks whether action games are really, truly evolving. The magazine previews Killzone 2 and reviews Haze, while the back of the magazine looks back to 1942 and Commando.

Its point - articulated more eloquently than I do here - is that the basic thrust of these games, killing things, has altered little over more than a decade.

While attempts at making narrative more mature (Haze) and the production more cinematic (Killzone 2) have undoubtedly succeeded is the point of these games really changing, or advancing in any way.

I was asking myself that question as I played Gears of War for the first time; I described it at the time as 3D space invaders, and I stand by that.

From the look of Gears of War 2 the formula will change little - and the "on the rails" elements of the trailer make me more worried than ever.

But there are plenty of action games which buck the trend: at midnight tonight Metal Gear Solid 4 hits the shops in the UK.

I was a huge fan of the original game and its sequel but ever since the series has become a preposterous pseudo-cinematic affair, with more to watch than to actually play.

Surely there must be more to action games than the two extremes represented by Gears of War 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I recently discovered Edge this year, and can't believe I did not find it earlier. An excellent magazine.

    On another note, if games what to look at how to do narrative look no further than Bioshock. Few cutscenes, with much of the story told within the environment or while your in control.

  • Comment number 2.

    Ignoring the point raised by Edge and talking about the magazine itself, I find it to be pompous, soulless and incredibly pretentious. Preferring to self indulge and talk about "issues" supposedly surrounding gaming rather than talking about what it's actually like to play the damn games. Which, let's face it, is what a games magazine is supposed to do.

    It seems to be written by a bunch of people who are constantly trying to justify their career choices by taking themselves far too seriously. Video games are supposed to be fun.

  • Comment number 3.

    God Hand lets you punch people.

  • Comment number 4.

    Why should games evolve?
    Why change the gameplay that is proven to be fun.
    Halo 1 was fun, Halo 2 is fun, Halo 3 is fun - no massive evolution really. Same idea "run around levels shooting things"

  • Comment number 5.

    You see, kingsimmy, games shouldn't be about fun. They should give us a reasonable grounding for a serious discussion at the very least.

  • Comment number 6.

    I must admit I'm a bit tired of FPS games. It is very much the same formula of running round killing loads of people.

    I have played CS and CS:S source for years and they are still the ones I get most fun off. Cyrsis and GoW although the looked and felt great, still had the basic same concept. And in all honesty AI still has a very long way to go

    I had a wonderful year playing Star Wars Galaxies until the developers (Sony) decided it was too good and did 2 awful rewrites of the game in 1 year.

    I really want something that will challenge my mind and be immersive rather than just challenge my reflexes.

  • Comment number 7.

    "I was a huge fan of the original game and its sequel but ever since the series has become a preposterous pseudo-cinematic affair, with more to watch than to actually play."

    I don't understand what you mean here. In the third game there weren't as many cutscenes as there were in 1 or 2. The MGS series has always been renowned for its cinematic style and a lot of people actually believe that the third game is the best in the series. It has the most focused storyline and is fairly easy to follow, especially compared to the second. So if you enjoyed MGS2 then you should have liked MGS3.

  • Comment number 8.

    Edge used to be a great games magazine, but is indeed now full of tripe like this. As already pointed out, it raises such intellectual issues as "at shoot-em-ups stagnating", and tries to make a serious issue of it. Who cares if they are - if people are buying and more importantly (to the buyer anyway) enjoying them, then whats the problem? Certain genres have more scope for evolution that others - not all games have to be free-roaming games where you can do anything anytime. In my opinion (and unfortunately Edge's too) Half Life 2 is one of the greatest gameing experiences of all time, and that's about as simple as a FPS can get these days - just incredibly refined to provide a wonderful, on the rails, memorable experience. On the other hand a game like Stalker which had much higher ambitions was massively flawed and not a great success. I've not read the issue yet, but I'd guess the conclusion is FPS needs to evolve. I say don't evolve them - refine them. Evolution will take care of itself.

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem with Gears of War, was that it was a one trick pony. Once you had played the first level, then you had played the fifth (ok, not all of the fifth, thankfully you don't have to do that awful battle with General RAAM on every level).
    However, it did look amazing, at the time (if a little grey) and the multiplayer on Live was very , very good.
    Uncharted, which shares many similarities with GoW on the combat side, is a far more varied game, thanks to the Prince of Persia-like exploration/acrobatic sections, and it has been pitched almost perfectly. By that I mean as soon as you think "Hmm, this jumping around is getting a little boring, I want to shoot stuff" up pops and enemy, and vice versa.
    It was a little rough around the edges in places, and it did drag on a little towards the end, but it was a superb game that offered something a little more than GoW.

  • Comment number 10.

    Whilst I do love EDGE I can't help but feel they can be overly harsh at times. I think they have attained this status amongst gamers of being the best impartial magazine, and so they tend to air on the side of caution in their reviews. I think generally I prefer its sister mag GamesTM.

    Having said that it is a fantastic mag, and it does have some very good features and articles. I might get myself a copy and have a read. They do make a good point; however its an action game. I'm not sure how you really could change the very base idea that the aim is to kill things?

  • Comment number 11.

    edge magazine is really good,

    but there are other magazines available

  • Comment number 12.

    There are a dozen or more mags that offer free discs and the usual commentary on graphics/sound/playability with an neat % breakdown of each. Edge stands alone in offering something extra for the more mature gamer who wants to read about gaming culture, societal aspects and 'more' as well as just how nice Mario looks.

 

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