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while CTOS bases let you improvise, switching between hacking, sneaking or shooting, too many of the story missions are outdated instant-fail stealth missions or car chases.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.
Issue 268 Send your views, using ‘Dialogue’ as the subject line, to email@example.com. Our letter of the month wins an Ear Force PX4 or Atlas headset from Turtle Beach Inc