Five writers give their take on Destiny’s multiplayer requirements, Metal Gear’s insurance, cookie-cutter shooters, Nintendo’s next console, and microtransactions.
Welcome to the Game Ranter Banter, a weekly feature that allows five journalists currently writing for Game Rant to voice their personal opinions on several different developments from throughout the gaming industry. Whether this pertains to news, our take on a recently released game, or just a brief overview of our thoughts in general, this is a way for our staff to share our personal opinions and interact with the Game Rant readers.
Without any further ado, let’s get underway!
Virtual Insurance Or A Glimpse Of The Truth?
By: Derek Nichols
Last week, Konami continued its trend of adding microtransactions to the wildly successful Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain in the form of virtual insurance, geared towards players who take part in the completely optional Forward Operating Base mode. This latest microtransaction acts as a subscription service where items stolen by rival players won’t actually result in the loss of resources or manpower like it should. Instead, these items remain exactly where they were. Granted, it is an optional add-on, but I can’t help but feel that it completely undermines the point of this player vs player mode.
While the virtual insurance for virtual items add-on content is bizarre in its own right, what I find more intriguing about this story is the possible clue it could be in potentially explaining what really happened between Konami and Kojima. A few months back it was reported that the rift between the two sides resulted from a ballooning budget and the lengthy development period. Considering that Kojima was paid a set sum of money either way, the pressure of meeting sales targets and projections like other studios didn’t apply to him, leaving him more concerned with polish and nailing those little details. If the budget was blown out of the water, adding microtransactions would be the safest and quickest way to gain that money back. With that said, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to hearing about being able to buy virtual insurance for things in video games.
It’s Time for a More Realistic Shooter
By: Boston Blake
As much as I love FPS games, there’s one aspect to shooters that always frustrated me: the lack of realism that leads to run-and-gun action that gets more over-the-top with very new game. So imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 will feature a new Realistic difficulty level where players can die from a single bullet.
The idea of more realism in an industry full of Hollywood-esque action sequences is definitely a breath of fresh air. However, I worry that the folks at Treyarch may not be the best ones for the job and might miss the mark, only because they have a history of making games that are a far cry from realistic military action. Sadly, I expect the Realistic difficulty level in Black Ops 3 to be the same run-of-the-mill Call of Duty – albeit more challenging.
That being said, I definitely see this as a move in the right direction for the industry. With so many FPS games focused on quick action, there’s a lot of room for anyone interested in creating more realistic shooter experiences for gamers, especially console gamers. Sure, Bohemia Interactive has the Arma series, which is fantastically realistic, but at the moment it’s only available on PC.
Hopefully Treyarch’s Realistic difficulty in Black Ops 3 will spark interest among developers to follow suit and develop more realistic shooter games.
Destiny and Single Player Limits
By: Vic Holtreman
I’ve played Destiny since its initial release, and as someone who hadn’t played video games in years I really enjoyed everything about it. Sure, the story was weak (that ending after completing all the missions was rather anti-climactic), but the mechanics, graphics, and play kept me hooked. After a while I lost interest, came back (slightly) for House of Wolves, but when The Taken King arrived I found myself all-in once again with the new Quest-based format.
But a few weeks in, I’m losing interest even though I still have Quests to complete. Why? Because I can only get so far in the game as a solitary player. I’m not much of a social guy in regards to the Playstation Network – don’t have a lot of “friends” there, and I just like to sit down and play through the game by myself. But even though I’ve reached Level 40 and Light 294, I’ve reached a point where I just can’t complete mission quests alone. I’m an average level gamer with Destiny, not advanced. But I would still like to be able to continue to make progress in the game on my own.
I get that it’s an MMO (sort of), and it can be fun to team up with others. But it’s discouraging to hit a ceiling in the game when there is more to be done. It would be nice to be able to play all the way through all the Quests without having to ask others for help – but maybe that’s just me.
Nintendo’s NX Console Will Be Wacky and That’s Okay
By: Riley Little
In the eyes of many, Nintendo has dropped the ball in regards to providing a modern gaming experience. The hardware manufacturer hasn’t managed to gain much support from third-party publishers and it seems to intentionally create odd-ball consoles that make it harder for developers to port their games to the Big N’s systems, both of which make the Xbox One and PS4 all the more alluring for those that just want to play some of the biggest games releasing this year.
Now reports are coming in that dev kits are being sent out to developers so that they may prepare games for the Nintendo NX’s launch – with word being that the platform serves as both a home and mobile gaming device. This seems more like an evolution of the company’s existing Wii U and its GamePad controller, and it will likely result in the same amount of support for the NX as the Wii U has had thus far – provided there aren’t traditional gaming peripherals (i.e. a standard controller) and expected power packed into the aforementioned little box. But, that’s okay.
Nintendo has been able to create some of the most unique and entertaining experiences ever on the wacky systems it has created, and I’d argue that playing these titles is a breath of fresh air in comparison to the cookie-cutter, annual experiences found across every other platform. Nintendo excels when it’s the master of its own environment, which is why it will continue to create its own platforms for the foreseeable future. It’s just a matter of finding a balance between innovation and sameness that doesn’t isolate an entire consumer base.
Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Microtransactions Aren’t Just an Insult to Fans, They’re a Missed Opportunity
By: Jasmine Henry
Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s microtransactions are frustrating; game modes and features shouldn’t be locked behind paywalls, left up to the random algorithms of blind card packs. But microtransactions could also potentially rob the game of sales and they stop players from making use of the mode, with its challenges and its various rulesets and silliness (Big Head Mode, anyone?), as intended.
Given the disappointing sales of 2013’s Tomb Raider, it’s vital that sequel proves itself and with make-your-own mode, Rise of the Tomb Raider could have been a hit amongst friends looking to 1-up each other. Twitch streaming (and contests between popular streamers) also could have given the game a massive tidal wave of exposure, with fans and non-fans alike seeing what the game offered them. Until Dawn is a prime example of YouTube and Twitch carrying a game to sales success, even with little marketing.
Unfortunately, all hopes of that are dashed as good players (i.e those who can complete in-game challenges for card-buying currency) will have to grind until their thumbs fall off and those that are less-than-good will have to dip into their wallets to get in on the fun. You could joke that it’s ironic that in trying to make more money, Microsoft and co. have lost out on a prime money making opportunity, but really, there’s nothing funny about it.
That concludes this week’s Game Ranter Banter! What did you think with our takes on recent events in gaming? Get at us in the comments.