Di­a­logue

EDGE - - SECTIONS -

Edge read­ers share their opin­ions; one wins a Tur­tle Beach head­set

Spin­ning the moral com­pass

I’ve stopped play­ing Watch Dogs. I was re­ally en­joy­ing it for a time, es­pe­cially the hack­ing. But then the dis­par­ity be­tween this in­cred­i­ble in­ter­ac­tive world and the mis­sions that have been de­signed within it started to grate.

The first time I used cam­eras to hack a CTOS base was amaz­ing, and tim­ing bar­ri­ers to rise at just the right mo­ment to halt chas­ing po­lice cars makes you feel allpow­er­ful for a while. But while CTOS bases let you im­pro­vise, switch­ing be­tween hack­ing, sneak­ing or shoot­ing, too many of the story mis­sions are out­dated in­stant-fail stealth mis­sions or car chases.

And I re­ally don’t un­der­stand why an at­tempt has been made to rep­re­sent Ai­den as some kind of moral cru­sader: he’s a rep­re­hen­si­ble, self-serv­ing crim­i­nal. It was bad enough when In­fa­mous asked me to lead an an­ti­au­thor­i­tar­ian revo­lu­tion, but still stop the naughty drug deal­ers on the side. In Watch Dogs I steal from people with ter­mi­nal dis­eases, mow down in­no­cent pedes­tri­ans just so I won’t be late to my nephew’s birth­day, and deliver naive young gang mem­bers to their un­timely deaths – and watch it hap­pen, no less. But I’m a good guy, re­ally, be­cause that’s eas­ier to sell, pre­sum­ably.

There are mo­ments when the game feels like you’re in a film like Drive or Heat, films that revel in their lead char­ac­ters’ con­fused moral com­passes, but Watch Dogs too of­ten falls back on clichés – both me­chan­i­cally and nar­ra­tively – to present any kind of in­ter­est­ing fric­tion. Per­haps if the people who made it had put, as your Post Script so aptly stated, less time into minigames and dig­i­tal trips, and more time into the meat of the game, Watch Dogs would be less of a last-gen sheep in next-gen wolf’s cloth­ing. Stephen Boucher No one’s forc­ing you to steal from the ter­mi­nally ill or run over passers-by, but you’re right that Watch Dogs falls foul of the open-world game’s old­est prob­lem: fail­ing to rec­on­cile the pro­tag­o­nist in the writ­ers’ heads with the la­tent psy­chopath hold­ing the con­troller. If As­sas­sin’s Creed is any guide, at least Ubisoft will get a bit closer with each in­evitable an­nual se­quel.

Mind­ing the gen­der gap

There has been a lot of noise about gen­der rep­re­sen­ta­tion post-E3, with plenty of hand-wring­ing, brand-build­ing ed­i­to­ri­als echo­ing the moral ou­trage on Twit­ter. Now, some of it I agree with, but the ma­jor­ity is ut­ter twad­dle. I must be care­ful here not to fall foul of the knee-jerk pitchfork bri­gade, but I think the gen­eral ire has been mis­di­rected.

The people (in­clud­ing some prom­i­nent jour­nal­ists) who made a fuss about the Red Dead Re­demp­tion Achieve­ment where you tie a woman to the rail­way lines are sim­ply demon­strat­ing their ig­no­rance of the Western genre. Yes, it is in­her­ently sex­ist, but it doesn’t demon­strate sex­ism within the in­dus­try, but other, pre-ex­ist­ing me­dia.

As for the ab­sence of fe­male co-op killers in As­sas­sin’s Creed, well, that’s more prob­lem­atic. It seems odd to me that a mas­sive com­pany like Ubisoft couldn’t man­age to put some an­i­ma­tors onto the job, but ir­re­spec­tive of the truth be­hind its rea­son­ing, this isn’t the real prob­lem. Ubisoft is in the unique po­si­tion, with all the big games it’s launch­ing and the sheer weight of re­sources it has avail­able (de­spite what it might say), to make at least one of its pro­tag­o­nists fe­male. But in­stead we get a bunch of white male leads across all of its fran­chises. Even Far Cry 4’ s lead, who is a Kyrat na­tive, doesn’t stray very far from that zone, der­ma­to­log­i­cally speak­ing.

Sure, games with women on the cover

“There are times when it feels like Drive or Heat, but Watch Dogs too of­ten falls back on clichés”

don’t sell as well (ap­par­ently), but by be­ing too afraid to risk chang­ing that, big pub­lish­ers are per­pet­u­at­ing the prob­lem. So let’s not give Ubisoft a hard time for not in­clud­ing fe­male playable char­ac­ters in its as­sas­sin ’em up, and in­stead take it to task for its re­fusal to use its power to pro­mote di­ver­sity across all of its se­ries.

Keith Churchill It’s all the more dis­ap­point­ing given that Ubisoft is ac­tu­ally a lit­tle bet­ter at di­ver­sity than many of its pub­lisher peers. As­sas­sin’s

Creed III starred a Na­tive Amer­i­can, its Vita spinoff Lib­er­a­tion was fronted by a French-African fe­male, and the star of Far Cry 4’ s boxart is South­east Asian. With that track record you’d ex­pect at least one of the four

Unity co-op as­sas­sins to be fe­male. As ever, the big­gest dis­ap­point­ment of all is that some­thing that should be a mat­ter of course is in­stead, once again, a scan­dal.

Blue sky think­ing

I had al­ways con­sid­ered my­self a Nin­tendo fan­boy of sorts. I’m too old for that sort of thing now, ad­mit­tedly – per­haps ‘loy­al­ist’ is the bet­ter word. How­ever you choose to spin it, the fact re­mains that many of my favourite gam­ing mem­o­ries have been on Nin­tendo sys­tems. Leap­ing the fence with Epona in Oca­rina Of Time. My first in­ter­plan­e­tary tran­si­tion in Su­per Mario

Galaxy. Spend­ing a hot sum­mer’s day in the school hol­i­days stay­ing in­doors with the cur­tains closed find­ing all 96 ex­its in Su­per

Mario World. Un­til very re­cently, Nin­tendo had been the sole con­sis­tent fix­ture through­out my gam­ing life.

Yet it rather lost me some­where along the way. I didn’t mind the Wii and DS era’s fo­cus on a ca­sual au­di­ence – it was the right busi­ness de­ci­sion to make, and there were enough ‘tra­di­tional’ games for the likes of me any­way. But Wii U has al­ways left me cold. Nin­tendo-Land had none of the snappy im­me­di­acy of Wii Sports. The

New Su­per Mario Bros games have al­ways left me cold. And Nin­tendo’s gen­eral out­dated ap­proach to the sys­tem – ty­ing game pur­chases to a con­sole in­stead of an ac­count, the crazy pric­ing of Vir­tual Con­sole games – has pushed me even fur­ther away from a pur­chase.

Then, slowly, came the games. A new 3D Mario, Pik­min and Mario Kart, the Wind

Waker re­make, and the prom­ise of more to come. I was get­ting closer – and E3 pushed me over the edge. I’d watched the Mon­day press con­fer­ences with a sort of glazed-eye de­tach­ment, un­moved by the end­less pro­ces­sion of CG and ex­plo­sions and dis­mem­ber­ments. And then came Nin­tendo with Spla­toon, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Mario Maker and Zelda, and I was re­minded why I started play­ing games in the first place.

I bought a Wii U the next weekend, and it’s been a de­light. Nin­tendo might never again reach the fi­nan­cial heights of Wii and DS, but it has won me back. And from talk­ing to friends, it ap­pears the tide is slowly turn­ing. It might never match PS4’s sales, but as long as Wii U sells well enough for Nin­tendo to keep do­ing what it does bet­ter than any­one else on the planet, I, and many oth­ers, will be right there with them.

Gareth Lewis And yet you’re never more than three months away from a new set of fi­nan­cial re­sults and a week of share­hold­ers telling Nin­tendo to change its ways and to more closely fol­low the lat­est in­dus­try trends. If this year’s E3 taught us any­thing at all, it’s that Nin­tendo feels like it’s at its very best when it sticks to its guns.

PlayS­ta­tion’s new clothes

It’s lucky for Ready At Dawn that there’s no such thing as a dis­ap­pointed PlayS­ta­tion fan – four shit games into the Kil­l­zone se­ries and they’re still try­ing to tell me it’s a Halo killer – be­cause The Or­der: 1886 wouldn’t sell half a mil­lion if it was sold on a plat­form where it had to pick a fight with

Gears Of War or even bloody Spla­toon.

The E3 stage demo was a com­i­cal dis­play. A man walked for­ward, a cutscene played, the man fired his gun with no ef­fect, a cutscene played, he fired his gun again, cut to black, ap­plause. It’s nice that Amer­i­can jour­nal­ists are so en­thu­si­as­tic and ev­ery­thing, but what’s to ap­plaud?

The eight-year-old me­chan­ics on loan from Gears Of War, per­haps, or maybe the 20 sec­onds of in­ter­ac­tiv­ity in a two-minute se­quence? Per­haps it’s the game’s art di­rec­tion and its – ad­mit­tedly very beau­ti­ful – ver­sion of a war-torn Lon­don? It was beau­ti­ful back in Gears Of War, too. Or maybe it’s the su­per-widescreen 1,920x800 res­o­lu­tion, which Ready At Dawn will tell you is cin­e­matic, and any en­gi­neer will tell you just makes it much eas­ier to squeeze all those de­tails onto the screen. Just ask Shinji Mikami about Res­i­dent Evil 4’ s ‘cin­e­matic’ GameCube res­o­lu­tion.

Ad­mit­tedly, I’m an old man – I re­mem­ber see­ing Edge ad­ver­tised in Games­Mas­ter, for heaven’s sake – but haven’t we been here too many times be­fore? When play­ers say they want a nex­tgen Gears Of War, they don’t mean they want a next-gen Gears Of War; they want a game that does for this gen­er­a­tion what

Gears did for the last by set­ting the vis­ual and me­chan­i­cal bench­marks that will last al­most a decade. That game isn’t The Or­der.

Sun­set Over­drive, maybe. Maybe Des­tiny. Or per­haps even No Man’s Sky?

What­ever. The Or­der is a PlayS­ta­tion game. I pre­dict a Me­ta­critic aver­age of 80, with Edge’s re­view score drag­ging the sin­gle for­mat sites and mags down from their tens like a boat an­chor.

Ni­cholas Best Per­haps when people ask for a next-gen

Gears Of War they mean a game that sets a new graph­i­cal bench­mark for the plat­form to which it is exclusive. You may yet be right about The Or­der’s re­views, though. In the mean­time, per­haps some new Tur­tle Beach hard­ware will help you chill out a lit­tle.

Di­a­logue

Is­sue 268 Send your views, us­ing ‘Di­a­logue’ as the sub­ject line, to edge@fu­turenet.com. Our let­ter of the month wins an Ear Force PX4 or At­las head­set from Tur­tle Beach Inc

Tur­tle Beach’s At­las head­set (RRP £119.99) is com­pat­i­ble with 360, Xbox One and PC set­ups

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