Med­dle with hon­our


Videogames may be syn­ony­mous with in­no­va­tion, but a great many tra­di­tions also en­dure in them, too: rigid gen­res, par­tic­u­lar ways of do­ing things, un­writ­ten rules that we all take as read af­ter years of fa­mil­iari­sa­tion. This month’s Hype sec­tion pro­vides a cross-sec­tion of games that strad­dle, to vary­ing de­grees, these ap­par­ently op­pos­ing po­si­tions.

Take Yakuza 6 (p40), for ex­am­ple, a game steeped in the tra­di­tions of both the cul­ture it por­trays and decades of Sega his­tory. Its se­ries proudly flaunts its dis­in­ter­est in moder­nity as one of its most ap­peal­ing as­pects, but even Yakuza Stu­dio has now soft­ened its stance on a few as­pects that were maybe trail­ing a lit­tle too far be­hind the times.

Thim­ble­weed Park (p48) is even more ob­sessed with nos­tal­gia, re­viv­ing the spirit of one of the point-and-click genre’s ear­li­est clas­sics and in the process at­tempt­ing to cap­ture the charm that seemed to leak out of the ad­ven­ture bub­ble like a slow punc­ture over the years. But while those 8bit­style vi­su­als should whip up a tor­rent of me­mories for fans, de­vel­oper Ter­ri­ble Toy­box isn’t so short­sighted as to ig­nore decades of progress.

On the sur­face, Get Even (p44) and Project Cars 2 (p36) both ap­pear to be steeped in the cul­ture of their re­spec­tive first­per­son and rac­ing gen­res. But both are fiercely buck­ing against the stric­tures set in place by years of it­er­a­tive re­fine­ment. Project Cars 2 con­tin­ues its pre­de­ces­sor’s spurn­ing of piece­meal ca­reer modes, but also raises the bar by in­tro­duc­ing dy­namic pud­dle pool­ing, an un­prece­dent­edly de­tailed tyre physics model, and de­formable sur­faces. More than that, it chucks out the age-old mantra that driv­ing sims should be chal­leng­ing not fun. And Get Even con­tin­ues to sur­prise with its fla­grant dis­re­gard for es­tab­lished rhythms and beats.

Tra­di­tions are all very well, then, but videogames are richer for the fact that fewer and fewer de­vel­op­ers feel hon­our-bound to ad­here to them.

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