Thursday, February 21, 2008

Gears of Who?

At the GDC, Microsoft's keynote address listed a lot of new and exciting things coming up for 2008. At the end of the presentation, it was announced that Gears of War 2 was coming out for the 360 this November.

I couldn't be less enthused.

Gears of War was, arguably, the top game for 2006. As a gamer, I wanted to know about it, see if it was something I would want to play. The best way for me to find out something like that, of course, is to try out a demo. However, they didn't see fit to release a demo, preferring, as they said, to concentrate their efforts on supporting the game (DLC and patches as needed). Although, what I found interesting, is a press conference, when a reporter asked lead designer Cliff Bleszinski how he thought to convince people to buy the game without a demo. "CliffyB's" response? "Have you played the game?" As if he was completely unaware of the irony of his statement.

So, without a demo to go by, the next best thing is a gameplay video. I found one that happened to show some dialog between a couple characters as they were between battle segments. In just a couple short minutes of video, I heard enough foul language to make me feel physically ill. And then it got to the gameplay. "Bloody" and "violent" don't even begin to describe it. And, to be honest, I don't want to go into too much depth trying to describe it.

I've heard plenty of justifications for all of this, usually revolving around how it makes it more "realistic". If I were fighting a swarm of evil monsters, I could probably expect those fighting along with me to drop a few swear words. Even though I try not to use such language, I might be so inclined to do so myself. The next time I'm in that situation, I'll let you know. And if I were taking a chainsaw to an alien, chances are there would be a lot of blood and body parts that wouldn't magically disappear when the enemy dies.

My response to this, though, is simple: this isn't reality. It's a game. It's how I choose to be entertained. Call of Duty and Halo managed to be entertaining first-person shooters without spraying the screen with blood or setting new high levels of fps (f-words per second), so yes, it can be done.

CliffyB gives me the impression of a boy who never grew up, who never learned things like "restraint" and "temperance". His over-the-top swear- and gore-fest of a game does little to assuage that.

Of course, I speak only for myself. As I said, the game did very well. Of course, so has the Grand Theft Auto series. (Heck, The Jerry Springer Show is still on the air.) I make no attempt to account for the tastes of the masses. I'm sure Epic Games will hardly notice my lack of purchase. My only regret is that I may have very few people to play with this November when my Friends List is a long series of "Playing Gears of War 2", much like it was back on "Emergence Day" when it was almost all "Playing Gears of War".

Maybe then, though, I'll finally have some time to finish up Blue Dragon or Lego Star Wars...

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