GTA Four for Pleasure
Saints Row two For Leisure.
Grand Theft Auto 4, when released in 2009, created a hysteria among fans and critics alike; astonishing sales culminated in two expansion packs plus universal acclaim created records on Meta critic site, with professional reviewers commending its cinematic quality and serious gameplay and forgiving minor cover system issues. New features like mobile phones, cab system, and plot decisions given to players were hailed for their inventiveness by all. But after a few months of its release, gamers voiced their dissatisfaction at the game’s exhaustive nature; upon completion of the core game and some mini-games, all that was left was shooting pigeons, an onerous job since these animated birds were located in nooks and corners of high-rise buildings, shopping establishments and industrial sites. While it was fun to massacre people since they poured gallons of blood and also gave realistic reactions, that too got monotonous. It was ingenious of Rock-star to introduce two expansions (I haven’t played those) to extend the game’s legacy.
After sometime came in Saints Row 2, an explosive game that offered tremendous fun to gamers and was mainly hailed by critics and viewers alike for its longevity- the game was not a breakthrough by take Two but a better follow-up to its predecessor. There were some grouches who condemned its vulgarity and perversion but most felt it was a delicious alternative to Grand Theft Auto 4. The game has you as the member of the Saints, members of the underworld that ruled the city once but were dethroned by rival groups and Ultor magnates, who fights his way back to the top by executing rival group members and capturing their territories. But these are so many diversions and activities that come along that it makes the game huge in scope; insurance fraud, trail-blazing, fighting, VIP bouncers, ho-ing, etc… You name it, it’s there!
It’s been almost 2 years since their release but the games have cast an effect, mainly Grand Theft Auto 4, which resulted in many game developers focusing on core storyline, graphics and the ‘Surprise Me!’ rather than the typical ‘fun’ which one usually expects. Uncharted 3, Red Dead Redemption, Heavy Rain etc are some examples. Saints Row developers have remained unchanged though; they still opt for ridiculous fun. And what do we, as gamers want? A groundbreaking product or an entertaining product?
I am currently playing Saints Row 2 – it knows it is flawed; the graphics, though competent, are unsteady, the characters lack depth, most of the missions involve excessive shooting, the cell-phone in the game is thoroughly useless, some vehicles are painful to ride, some activities get repetitive etc. And even though I just played the game a while ago, I can’t recollect my character’s name. But I think the game was made for the commoners, the people who don’t scrutinise everything but just want something that addicts them. That’s why people loved movies like Fast and the Furious (haven’t seen it), Final Destination (hated it); they entertain without causing much impact. Saints Row 2 is not common, in fact, it is a great game but it was made keeping in mind the needs of common gamers. And the formula worked well.
Grand Theft Auto 4, Uncharted 3, Red Dead Redemption, L.A.Noire and Heavy Rain are monster games – like Daniel Day-Lewis, they don’t come very often, but when they do, boy they take the world by a storm. The difficulty in these games is quite low, unless one plays Uncharted 3 on crushing mode, and the games, with the exception of Grand Theft Auto -4 and Uncharted 3, take not much time to complete. Also, the games start slow, with easy missions – Heavy Rain actually begins with you helping the character dress up for work, Red Dead Redemption has you tend the farm. But they are a class apart the rest because they take you through the journey of the character without adding superfluous excess that digress from the main plot of the game. Roger Ebert may retract his statement that “Video games can never be art” if he plays games like these.
What do gamers support – groundbreaking, inventive games that redefine standards of gameplay or simply entertaining games with high replay value?