If you could take your favorite game elements of all time and combine them into the ultimate digital experience – the one game to rule them all – what would it be? How would it work? Describe your digital nirvana, build your ultimate game from the still twitching parts salvaged from other titles.
What’s that? You want my opinion? Can do, Mister Internet! Here’s my mashup:
- The city building from Dark Cloud
- The fame system from Darklands
- The guild quest chains from Oblivion
- The score of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
- And the horses from everything ever.
Don’t worry, I can explain.
City Building of Dark Cloud
Dark Cloud for Playstation 2 combined just the right amount of detail, decision making and lack of effort into their urban planning gig to make it enjoyable and mildly addictive. My decisions were visible (“where should this building go?”) but never tedious (“how many cubic meters of water pressure does the pipe under civic building A require?”).
Fame System of Darklands
I know, I know, you’ve never heard of this game, so referencing it’s fame system may strike some as mildly ironic. Well it’s not my fault you didn’t play the best damned RPG released to PC in the early 90’s, and my mashup won’t suffer for your tragic ignorance.
If you’ve played Oblivion, you are familiar with the way actions impact your reception by the locals of different towns and cities. That was so 1992 son, Darklands had a local fame and global fame count that was impacted by your actions. Killing a rouge pack of wolves by Munich would raise your fame a bit in the city, and maybe give you a slight bump overall. Taking out an evil villainous Raubritter who was stopping trade routes would raise your fame significantly in all surrounding areas and have a similar, but subdued, impact on global fame.
Killing the local shopkeeps had a predictable inverse result. An indifferent, warm, icy, or hero’s welcome could be expected in any given location, depending on your local/global fame. More than that, fame impacted your ability to utilize Charisma and Charm in certain instances, or speak to important local figures about quests. It was useful, it was immersive it was awesome.
I could go on, and I will later in a Darklands review. For now I’ll get back to the mashup.
Sound Track of Ocarina of Time
The music to this game was so excellent, I have a shirt about it. Even though it’s been a couple of years now since I replayed this game, I can still hear the entrance to Hyrule Field, the Song of Storms, Epona’s song, and all the rest (Except Garudo Valley theme… wait , no, there it is).
Seriously. This game brought Ocarina’s back for awhile, and that’s saying something.
Guilds from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Not just the guilds, but the emotional, gut wrenching, scheming quests associated with them. I AM the Gray Fox. I earned it. And when I went on to become head of the Dark Brotherhood by removing the entire guild one by one, it pained me to relieve my guildmates with their interesting and unique back stories only to see them replaced by NPCs who were as captivating as cardboard.
But I did it. It had to be done.
The Night Mother said so.
Horses from Everything Ever
I don’t care what horse, it just has to have a horse. I actually bought Ocarina of Time because I was at a boyfriend’s house eating dry Ramen noodles on the sofa (I think it’s weird, but when in Rome and all that) when he fired up the ol’ N64, summoned Epona, and I stole the controller. It was the first time I’d seen the ability to ride a horse in game depicted with that level of realism. I almost immediately bought my own N64 and proceeded to spend an embarrassing amount of time just gallivanting about Hyrule Field on my trusty steed.
In Oblivion, Shadowmere was my BFF, and I would often ride to places I could port because why the hell wouldn’t you ride your awesome immortal shadow pony there instead?
So There You Have It
I want an open world where my actions have impact, my character is embroiled in emotional quest lines, the music is burned into my brain for all time and I get everywhere via epic horses.