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Where did the unique element of games go?

Games aren't as unique as they used to be

I remember the good ol'days where you could impulsively buy a new game and be promised a new gaming experience. Back then, during the PS2 era, I would roam through GameStop for a good hour or so looking for the next game to play. I would never do research or look up reviews, because I knew whatever game I played would be a 'new' game. 

Now, I spend at most five minutes in GameStop. I know what I want and I get it. There's not much luster to a lot of the games I see these days. 

Sure, the graphics are better. They have more advanced and fluid gaming systems. But, if things are so advanced, why are the games becoming more similar to each other as we progress?

Not as much Story anymore

Now for those of you who are about to say that nobody plays a game for the story anymore -- you can zip it. I am a somebody. I may not have my name known across the world, but I am a somebody. And I love a game that has an awesome story. 

Nowadays, a lot of games have their main story develop through quests. It always feels like its the same old song and dance. You go from point A, to point B, and back to point A. You go from quest to quest and let the story develop through some shallow dialogue. 

Doesn't feel like much of a story when the entire story is just a series of jobs for you to do. 

Not to mention the story in most games is usually incredibly short. It feels like the story in a game ends before you even get into the deeper mechanics of a good game. It feels like I blew $60 on a short shallow story that may or may not have fun gameplay.  

Side Quests

I remember when these were fun. They actually seemed like they were worth chasing down and doing. Now, they have a similar pattern to the main story. You go from point A to point B-BLAH forget it. Tired of that pattern. 

Side quests used to add to the main story, and would also end up giving you awesome rewards in the process. That is what a side quest should be. Legend of Dragoons, a fascinating game far ahead of its time, had amazing side quests. The story behind each side quest was compelling.The rewards were even more sparkling.

Some games still make good use of side quests such as the Tales of Series. However, a good majority of games make side quests seem like a pointless pass time. Look at Skyrim. It's got a lot of side quests, but how many of them go outside the pattern that I mentioned earlier? Not many.   

Gameplay

A lot of games have great gameplay. However, you ever notice that nowadays, a lot of those amazing next-gen games have similar gameplay to each other? 

Lets take FPS games, for example. How many of them are actually different? Yeah, the setting and what you shoot is different. maybe the guns look different. However, how many of them offer a unique experience? Is there really any difference between each FPS game other than the skin they wear?

Even fantasy RPGs have similar gameplay. You choose a class, get skills, and attack with said skills and basic combos. How many different games will I play until I get tired of seeing the same fireball spell? 

It's meant to be an Art

What happened to the sense of creativity? It's not like there are no unique games out there anymore, but a lot of games just seem to mesh together. There is no characteristic that makes them stand out.

The most unique game I played recently was The Last Story, which came out all the way back in January 27 2011. 2011! It was the first game in a long time that introduced a completely new way to play a game. 

Each game used to have its own unique flare. An element that made it stand out. I feel like games have lately lacked that luster. Games only cost $50 not to long ago, and I felt like I got more out of those $50 games than the majority of the games I play today. 

What do you think? Are games losing the aspects that made them unique? Let me know in the comments below!

Published Nov. 12th 2015
  • Autumn Fish
    Featured Correspondent
    I agree, there are a lot of games these days that simply seem like carbon copies of each other. That's the whole reason why I stopped playing MMO's, I couldn't find a good Fantasy RPG that I felt was "new".

    However, if I may, I'd love to make a few Game Recommendations for anyone who feels sick and tired of the lack of "uniqueness" in modern media.

    If you have access to a PS3, Xbox 360, or a decent PC, I highly recommend picking up "Dark Souls - Prepare to Die Edition". Ignore the slogan, the series has a bad reputation for being hard.

    Over the past few years, From Software in Japan have been developing games with trust in the player's ability to learn from and overcome challenges without the need for artificial difficulty (e.g. your standard Difficulty Slider).

    "Dark Souls - Prepare to Die Edition" has one major flaw: it is vague and increadibly difficult for newcomers to understand. But if you take the time to familiarize yourself with the daunting UI and different style of gameplay, you are in for one of the most magical and charming experiences of the decade.

    As a last note, don't feel like you need to prove yourself while playing Dark Souls. Everything is in the game by design and meant to be used (and cheesed) to its fullest potential.

    If anything, playing Dark Souls has taught me that I have nothing to prove by bumping up the difficulty slider in video games. Forget even trying to play Dragon Age: Inquisition or Pillars of Eternity on Normal, I suck at micromanaging. I find no more shame in Easy mode!

    I cannot recommend Dark Souls enough to anyone who is interested in:

    Dark Fantasy
    Metroidvania-style Dense Interconnected "Open" World
    NES-style Learning Curve
    Open-Ended Leveling System and Build Diversity
    Rich and Ambiguous Lore
    Unique Online Gameplay
    An Amazing Victory Feeling

    If any of that interests you, treat yourself to Dark Souls. Alternatively, there is Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin which improved upon gameplay and build diversity, but unfortunatly doesnt have the same expert level design as the first game. Demon's Souls on the PS3 offers faster medieval combat and even includes a mana bar but uses a HUB world as a base of operations. Finally, Bloodborne on the PS4 offers more aggressive gameplay compared to From Software's previous iterations, and doesnt offer quite as much build customization. All of these games are FANTASTIC deviations from the modern-day industry standards of gameplay.

    While we wait for the rest of the industry to catch up, the best we can do is welcome and appreciate those that dare to stand out from over-saturation. (Also, if you haven't tried Undertale, that one is pretty ace, too.)

    /end-rant

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