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Old 03-19-10, 03:26 PM   #1
NarcissistZero
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Default How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Remember when Nintendo games had the gameplay demo reel that started if you didn't hit a button for a certain amount of time? Ever watched a very young child play with the controller as if he was playing the game during these demo reels, when actually he was controlling nothing?

That's what this video reminds me of: http://www.gametrailers.com/video/wa...ter-cell/63413

Now, we have already had games that do not allow you to die or really penalize you for it (Prey, BioShock, Fable 2, Prince of Persia 2008) and we already have games that are much more streamlined and simplified than their prequels (Oblivion, Rainbow Six Vegas, Dawn of War 2) but now we are seeing GAMES THAT PLAY THEMSELVES.

As you will see in that video, the new Splinter Cell game has a much talked about "mark and execute feature." As soon as this was seen some gamers like myself we worried it would basically amount to the game playing itself, but Ubisoft said it was not like that and urged us to wait and see. Well... the demo is out, and if you cannot play it you can at least watch it, and HEY LOOK, you just hit a button to kill everything on the screen.

Now, no doubt someone will mention that you have to get a "stealth kill" first, which is true, but if you examine the level design in the demo you can see the levels are clearly made with constant use of mark and execute in mind. One lone bad guy, then two in the distance, or what-have-you. This makes the game a tunnel basically through which the player walks, hitting a button to take out the lonely guard who isn't looking, then hitting a button to instantly kill the others. Later levels might make this more challenging, we can only guess, but the fundamental idea that the game is designed around constant auto-shooting is quite clear.

Now, remember in the older Splinter Cell games, 1-3 specifically, how you had to be quick on your feet to stay hidden, or if caught to quickly take out the opposition? Getting two quick headshots was part of the skill of the game. If caught, you had to be quick and accurate, otherwise your lone spy in a complex filled with bad guys was going to eat it. Now though, now you don't need to worry about that... as shown in the gameplay video, even in a situation where you are caught you can just run up to one guy and auto kill him with the close up kill button, then turn and auto-kill every other person with the far away kill button. This is LITERALLY win-button gaming, it's already here, press Y to win. The skill of having to line up those quick headshots to escape is gone... the skill of needing to be stealthy when taking out one guy is gone, as you can instantly kill everyone else after so who cares if they notice you?

Now, reading previews even from journalists I respect like Anthony Burch of Destructoid, this whole thing seems to be no big deal because "it's the only way to look that cool." Now, here are my two problems with this: first off, if you master aiming, especially on a mouse but also on analog sticks, you can get two headshots in a row quickly... it's a skill, it's a talent and it takes time to master and it takes some luck, but you can do it. Making it automatic to make it look cool just says "if you're a bad gamer, if you suck at aiming, we will make you good at it anyway." This removed a fundamental aspect of what a GAME is, which is to say it takes skill to win, skill to master, skill to look and feel awesome about what you are doing. Secondly my problem is that THIS IS A VIDEOGAME, NOT A MOVIE. The emphasis should not be on looking cool, the emphasis should be on playing cool, on feeling cool, on being Sam Fisher not watching Sam Fisher. If I want to see a spy do two quick headshots with no effort from myself I will watch the Bourne movies, which this game is obviously and desperately trying to emulate, not play a game. A lot of game designers today seem obsessed with making movies to the point you wonder why they did not get into that industry, rather than this one. In short I want to FEEL like I got two headshots, not WATCH me get two headshots.

Lastly I am sure people will bring up that the mark and execute thing is optional, as far as we know. This is true, but it's still a terrible omen for several reasons. First off, the game is designed to use it. On PC the compass arrows in Oblivion that tell you where to go at all times are optional, you can remove them with a mod, but it's extremely hard to play missions you never did before with those arrows off because the game is designed to use them. Quest givers did not tell you exactly where to go, people do not tell you a contact's hangouts, because the game knows the arrows will lead you there. When a game is designed around a mechanic it tends to be needed, even if optional. In Splinter Cell Conviction I foresee scenarios where the only way to effectively save the hostage or stop the machine in time is to use the mark and execute feature, for example. Secondly, and most simply, it's only optional for now. As games continue down this simplified interactive movie path these things will become more and more standard practice and less and less optional.

As we remove the penalties of losing, the need for reasoning and thought and now the actual gameplay itself, one wonders how long we can call video games "games." Peter Molyneux recently said that Heavy Rain, and interactive movie from Sony, was the "future of videogaming." Scarily enough, he's probably right. I predict only multiplayer will really be able to be called a "game" soon enough, at least from AAA big publisher titles. The future of singleplayer is "interactive movies" and indie or small developer titles that actually still can be called GAMES.
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Old 03-19-10, 03:36 PM   #2
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Man, you really are becoming a bitch aren't you.
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Old 03-19-10, 03:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

I remember the days before "difficulty" settings... The difficulty was whatever the hell the developers designed the game to be. If it ate tokens like candy at the arcade, they were successful.

I know it would never happen but bring games back to the arcade and you'll see difficulty levels go through the roof compared to what it currently is these days.
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Old 03-19-10, 03:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by |MaguS| View Post
Man, you really are becoming a bitch aren't you.
What a thorough and well written counter-point.
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Old 03-19-10, 04:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Totally agree, it seems like less and less skill is needed to play games of today. That mark and execute feature is just pathetic, its for kiddies who cant aim with a gamepad. Next thing you know you get an achievement when you almost get killed "You've survived! +10 Achievement!".
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Old 03-19-10, 05:12 PM   #6
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by NarcissistZero View Post
What a thorough and well written counter-point.
NZ, funny thing is when i was calling this Mark and Execute feature a bad thing, you were defending it. now a sudden change of heart.
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Old 03-19-10, 05:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

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Originally Posted by nekrosoft13 View Post
NZ, funny thing is when i was calling this Mark and Execute feature a bad thing, you were defending it. now a sudden change of heart.
I think he bumped his head. Next thing you know he's going to be pirating Assassin's Creed 2.
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Old 03-19-10, 05:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Yuck. What happened to this game? I remember taking a real long time to get through stuff on the original splinter cell. I wasn't great with the analog sticks so I had to carefully aim or they'd be able to take me out relatively easily. Do you even have to pickup and hide the bodies anymore? It looks like the game turned into a 3rd person action game not the stealth game that was Splinter Cell.
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Old 03-19-10, 05:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Is that feature switchable? Like... using it or not?

BTW, the hint-on-object feature is pure C-R-A-P, I hope it's switchable as well
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Old 03-19-10, 05:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Did you write this Narczero?

EDIT: lol, yep, you did: http://forums.steampowered.com/forum....php?t=1196136
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Old 03-19-10, 05:47 PM   #11
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

Quote:
Originally Posted by nekrosoft13 View Post
NZ, funny thing is when i was calling this Mark and Execute feature a bad thing, you were defending it. now a sudden change of heart.
Where?
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Old 03-19-10, 06:35 PM   #12
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Default Re: How Long Until They Cannot Be Called Games?(Splinter Cell 5)

I've said it when i first saw the footage of Conviction in E3 and i'll say it again. The mark and execute feature is ridiculous and destroys the whole game. And Sam Fisher became Jason Bourne. This series went downhill and i mean it
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