A few nights ago, Stefan and I decided to trawl through his collection of games. The challenge? To find a game I have never played. Turns out this challenge was as simple as a fetch quest in an RPG. I’ve had a lot of games pass me by in the PS4 era, which we currently live in. It’s no surprise really, as I tend to play one game for a long time. I played almost nothing but Black Ops III, shamefully enough, until May of 2016. My game time in Skyrim, at 450 hours, makes you wonder why I named the remaster as my GOTY 2016.
After a short search we had a few games. The Evil Within was played, in which I learned that, like the butterfly creating Until Dawn, I don’t handle the horror genre very well. It’s not the gore, but jump scares that make my heart beat like a DeadMau5 tune. To be honest, The Evil Within was more boring than anything else.
With Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, I learned that a simple parkour game could be addictive, especially when done correctly. Unlike, however, the rehash of Dead Island, which you will find in the unimaginative Dying Light; a game that made me want to burn my PS4, and never pick my DualShock up again. Meanwhile, The Order: 1886 was mentioned. I had previously thought it wasn’t very good; at least, that was my impression. Stefan informed me that it was just ‘overhyped’. This got me thinking about all the games that have been overhyped, and the ones that have been overlooked.
When the PS4 was announced, there was one game that we all wanted. Its E3 demo looked amazing, while its gameplay looked like a modern Chicago-based Assassin’s creed. Put simply, Watch Dogs raised its own bar too high. Upon release, it had a solid story, fun minigames and an open world with much to be explored. However, it wasn’t perfect. The driving seemed disconnected and weak, and the multiplayer was often annoying. I’m sorry, Ubisoft, but I don’t want Bob from Kentucky trying to kill me while I’m casually reading about the lives – albeit in a creepy manner – of passers-by. Its imperfections, like a Haitian Olympian, made it fall at the first hurdle.
At the end of the year, we will see the release of the San Fran-based Watch Dogs 2. A game that has seen the whole world scream ‘Wait, what? They are making a second one of those?’ To all of you, I give this guarantee: Watch Dogs 2 will be considered a good game. Everyone expecting nothing is bound to find so much more.
The flipside, of course, is the pleasant surprise of playing a game that had passed you by, perhaps that most people have never even heard of. The Talos Principle is a great example. Imagine Portal, but less humorous, more serious and strangely philosophical. You’re now imagining The Talos Principle; a puzzle game with a steep learning curve and glorious visuals. I implore you all to pick up a copy.
I must return to the worry I have; the worry that has developed whenever I think of overhyping a certain orange, jean short and trainer wearing friend of us all. He helped us with our escapism; together, we’ve journeyed into Egyptian tombs and medieval towns, and raced a polar bear down a mountain path. Crash Bandicoot was the first game I ever played. The original trilogy, Crash Team Racing, Crash Bash, The Wrath of Cortex, Twinsanity and Crash Nitro Kart all formed my childhood. My PS1 was almost exclusively used for Crash’s and Spyro’s adventures. I fell in love, as we all did, with Crash’s ahead-of-its-time visuals, simple idea and challenging levels. Trying to secure platinum relics on every level was possibly the biggest failure of my childhood. Our night of gaming ended with two grown men playing Crash Bash, finding it too difficult, and swiftly moving onto Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped; and it was glorious. The game had lost none of its charm, but I must confess that it was a lot harder than I remember (but still not as rage-inducing as Crash Bash!).
I am worried that in his almost godlike stature, Crash has nowhere to go but down. His return is already half here ; firstly, in the Skylanders universe, along with his large-headed yellow foe, Dr. Neo Cortex. Then, to top it all, the original trilogy will be flying back into our world. If I have only one piece of advice when you think of these games, it’s this: don’t overhype it. Think of Crash with nostalgia and love. Reminiscence is perfect, but if we expect too much from Crash’s return, then I fear he will finally run out of 64-bit lives, with no hundredth Wumpa fruit in sight.
Let us all wait patiently for his return, and love it when it arrives, without hoping for more than we should. I want Crash to be back forever; when I have kids, I want them to be introduced to gaming via N. Sanity Beach and Cortex Castle. I want my son to fall for Crash’s idiocy and lovable nature. I want my daughter to fall for Coco’s laid back approach and can-do attitude.