Friday, June 19, 2009

Thoughts on E3 (Part III)

Moving on, Ubisoft, WHAT THE HELL?!?! When I saw what SPLINTER CELL: CONVICTION looks like, I had to get a crank to pick my jaw off the floor. Now, I’ve always been a fan of the Splinter Cell games (Chaos Theory FTW!!!!). I love the stealthy nature of the game engine – the way they use natural and dynamic lighting to help and hinder you makes each level a giant puzzle, and the games are always fun as hell. And, let’s be straight here – I’m talking about the single player campaigns in the games, and not even the multiplayer. The co-op levels are always awesome, and the spies vs. mercenaries multiplayer is so radically different than other games it’s amazing. But the one thing I’ve heard other people complain about is the pace – too slow. Personally, I like the methodical slow pace – it gives you time to strategize and is a welcome break from the frantic shooters I play a lot of. But now – Sam is moving a lot faster, deftly climbing across ledges, rushing silently through the shadows, and brutally attacking his enemies head on.

While all this looks incredible, there’s one part of the trailer above that I’m really interested in – the way the story unfolds, almost in real time around you as you play. Mission objectives display themselves largely against objects in the game – kind of like the way the title of each episode appears in HEROES. Flashbacks and whispers are seen and heard against the walls as Sam moves through the levels – this new way of telling the story of the game shows that developers are really trying to break away from the “cinema, gameplay, cinema, gameplay” structure games have been stuck in for far too long. Games, while similar to movies, are NOT movies and thusly need to find their own voice as an artistic medium. Ubisoft has tried something like this before – in the previous generation of hardware, they put out a pretty cool trilogy for the Prince of Persia series. While you (as the prince) ran around the levels, the female lead in the game would talk to you, and this was how most of the story and character development was learned – not through cinema. It was a cool experience, and this looks to take that to even greater heights.

- Goodchild

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