Pal­ette cleanser


Not so long ago, ev­ery­thing was brown. The 360 and PS3 era was not, by and large, the best for fans of a broad colour pal­ette: whether you choose to blame the wide­spread use of Un­real En­gine 3, the pop­u­lar­ity of the FPS, or some­thing else en­tirely, the fact re­mains that we spent much of the first decade of the new mil­len­nium pin­ing for a lit­tle splash of colour.

It says much for the in­dus­try’s cur­rent tra­jec­tory that, for the se­cond time this year, we’re struck by a sud­den chro­matic ex­plo­sion in the Hype sec­tion, faced with an­other se­lec­tion of pre­views de­fined by bright, bold hues.

Spla­toon 2 (p30) has, like its pre­de­ces­sor, colour by the buck­et­load, since it’s a game about paint­ing a mul­ti­player map with as much of your team’s as­signed pig­ment as pos­si­ble. Nin­tendo may be one of the few re­main­ing com­pa­nies in the in­dus­try for whom vi­brant tones are the rule, rather than the ex­cep­tion, but Spla­toon 2, like its pre­de­ces­sor, goes a step fur­ther. Here, colour is not merely an aes­thetic, but also a me­chanic. That wouldn’t have got past the suits in 2007. The Surge (p38) couldn’t be fur­ther in tone from Nin­tendo’s breezy shooter, but this in­trigu­ing sci-fi spin on the Souls for­mula favours royal blues, rusty burnt or­anges and wet, mossy greens over the usual brown and grey shooter uni­form.

Vo­li­tion is an­other stu­dio that prefers the gar­ish end of the spec­trum, what with the flu­oro pur­ple of the lat­ter-day

Saints Row games, and the cheery char­ac­ter-cus­tomi­sa­tion tools that had us run­ning around SRIV’s open world in a turquoise wig and shock­ing-pink leo­tard. The stu­dio’s lat­est ef­fort, Agents Of May­hem (p34) – de­spite its lore con­nec­tion to Saints Row and its stylised, ’90s-car­toon vi­su­als – may not be all muddy greys and browns, but in the hands, as it is on the eyes, it’s as unin­spired as any mid-2000s cookie-cut­ter shooter. It’s a timely re­minder that colour alone does not guar­an­tee a game a per­son­al­ity.

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