All About aoirunner
I like the Total War series. Really I do. I have played the games since 2001 and have purchased every installment since the original Shogun.It was the prototype TW game. Battles were epic and the terrain provided some great tactical choices. Despite poor sieges and very limited unit selection, Shogun was a blast. Conquering Sengoku Japan was great.
Every subsequent TW title after Shogun was at the very least decent, and at best insanely addictive and fun. Rome is a classic, Medieval 2 is...a game, and Empire had better promise. At least Napoleon took the foundation of Empire and added some level of tactics and strategy beyong that of flanking and bombarding.
Shogun 2 is still in its infancy. As a matter of fact, it has just been conceived. But the potential for Shogun 2 is great. The Creative Assembly has seemingly read my mind. Whether or not they do everything they set out to is one thing (Empire shipped with a lot of promises broken), but the fact they are on the track I hoped they would be on is very encouraging.
First, the return to Japan is wonderful. The Sengoku Jidai is a rich and brutal period of history which is prime for a strategy title. Second, They seem keen on getting the AI right. It would be great to see an enemy army react intelligently (as much as AI can be intelligent) to a human player's advances.
But maybe one of the things I am most excited about, aside from tearing up (I mean unifying) feudal Japan, is the potential for the sizes of battles. As I have heared recently, the battles can have up to 56,000 troops fighting at once.
The TW games have always been epic, but mostly in a dude that was cool. But army sizes have always annoyed me. Battles generally became one charge dedicated assaults or one angle attacks on a single fortified hillside. With battles of this size, there could be new strategies to take into consideration.
How big your army is should affect the way you march, deploy, attack, defend, it is an important bit of battlefield law that while numbers do not win battles, its better to be safe than sorry. Not to mention seeing battles accurately represented for the first time in the series is exciting.
I will have more thoughts on Shogun 2 later. Right now...It be late.
So Resident Evil 5 left a lot of people thinking it really wasn't a RE title. And honestly...it wasn't. It had all the grotesque hallmarks of RE, it had the top tier gameplay from RE4 (4 years old by the time RE5 arrived) and featured all the familiar players. But it still wasn't Resident Evil. Here are ideas, concepts and opinions (yes those dreaded opinions, which remember are my own and are in no way the gospel truth) concerning the future of RE starting with Resident Evil 6.
RE5 makes basic mistakes that tend to kill horror titles. Granted, I feel RE5 went more for terror than horror much in the same way "Aliens" did after "Alien," but still, these principles shouldn't be broken.
1. RE5 should not have left its horror roots, first and foremost. The series was created as a horror title, and Resident Evil for the PS is often given credit for starting the sub-genre of survival-horror. The games need to be scary. They need to challenge the player to survive against the incredible odds thrust at them. RE5 has some nasty enemies, but they are nasty, not scary. Daylight isn't scary. This is because mystery is a great way to create fear. In daylight we see the enemies completely in RE5. Setting the game at night would have instantly upped the fear factor; seeing silhouettes of unknown enemies charging you is a basic and instinctual fear. Plus the wilds of Africa at night, the isolation that offers...horror gold.
2. Chris Redfield is a superhero. Sheva Alomar said it, and it is very true. Redfield in RE5 is a hulking mass of a human being with stacks of ammunition. He would make the US Army more than a little jealous of his firepower. Being this strong means Redfield can readily handle seemingly anything thrown his way. One of the reasons past RE games succeeded is simply the characters are not super-human. You can believe in their fear, you can see they are overwhelmed by the situation, and that their survival is as much my luck as it is by action. Sheva is also fairly super.
3. RE5 repeats history. It is very much a prettier version of RE4.
These are just a few of the issues, because much of the issue are minor details. Ammo should be scarce, for instance. The health bar shouldn't be so forgiving. So how to fix it?
Make it scary. Set the next title in a place that creates a strong sense of isolation. An empty city, a dense forest leading to the city, or some combination of the two. Isolation is a great way to plant the seeds of fear and anxiety. At any given time, there is only one character under the control of the player; no more tag teams. This destroys the possibility of co-op play, but this is a survival-horror title. Besides, co-op can be added as another mode separate from the story.
Make the character new and inexperienced. One of the other characters, Valentine, Redfield(s), or Kennedy can be involved, but the main player character needs to be new.
Mix the familiar with new. Zombies need to make a comeback. Why? What is scary about a zombie? A single undead person is not scary, but masses chasing after you are. The new aspect is what I like to call "Active hunting." The zombies are not geniuses, but they know how to get food. The RE series loves to see evolution of the Bio Weapons and the viruses, so why can't the zombies act to lure the player into ambushes where 5 or 6 zombies leap out to attack the player?
Also, fan favorite monsters should make an appearance. These include Tyrants, Hunters, Lickers, etc, but each needs to be used in different ways than before. For example, the Licker no longer skulks around in plain sight; it waits to ambush with its tongue like a snare ready to shoot down and snatch the player upward to its claws. ACTIVE THREATS are always good.
New enemies are a must. The game series has progressed and now there is a new boogy man: TriCell. They have the T-Virus, the have the G-virus, they have everything. So it's important have devious, grotesque new experiments to attack the player.
Another important thing is this: The heroes are fighting a losing battle. They will lose the war. They cannot win. It is important for the threat of TriCell (or whatever is the new Umbrella) to flex its nasty muscles. The game must end with decent ending, where our hero survives, but the city/forest mix is sanitized. In other words, Raccoon City all over again.
Why? A great villain is one who can challenge the heroes in places the heroes feel they are strong. Another outbreak in a city would prove the BSAA and the world governments are not prepared at all the handle the threat of the T-virus (or other)bio hazard.
The next game needs to be claustrophobic, the character needs to be isolated, it needs to be dark and mysterious, and the enemy must not be revealed in his true glory until the final act. A William Birkin character is a good idea, but the reason for his being there and the reason for his actions are only revealed at the end. You MUST MAKE IT SATISFYING. So for example, the villain is in the city attempting to attain some item or whatever when in a confrontation (non-playable) with the player he is accidentally infected with (insert virus name here) and becomes a creature hell bent on your death.
The final revelation, of course, is that the threat is much much larger, and gives a hint as to why the attack was made.
As for the gameplay, a synthesis of the older games with the newer perspective is my personal choice. Exploration of a singular area completely then moving to other areas with real time enemies (not endlessly respawning ones) adds some immersion. And CRIMSON HEAD Zombies are a great concept abandoned after the GameCube remake.
MOST IMPORTANTLY: The game needs to be released in a timely manner. NO MORE 4 YEAR WAITS. NO MORE 8 YEAR WAITS. GET THE NEXT TITLE OUT PROMPTLY. (on a side note: Japanese auteurism is severely damaging their industry. Resident Evil, Gran Turismo, and to a degree Final Fantasy are franchises that suffer from attempts to create visionary games that inevitably fall short. Enough already).
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