Are Video Games getting easier? Also Microtransactions Update!

Git Gud for £3.99

There has been a long-standing argument that video games are getting easier to appeal to younger players. You often hear older players complain that they didn’t have it as easy when they were growing up. And with the recent release of Crash Bandicoot: The N’sane Trilogy, social media has been talking about the level of difficulty that game and games even before it. So the question remains, are video games getting easier?

What’s changed?

Mechanically, games function a lot better for the most part. I recently re played Banjo Kazooie and the swimming mechanic made me nearly launch my controller at the wall. Games run a lot smoother which can create the illusion that a game is easier to play. Look at any Ubisoft open world game. Despite what you make of them as games, they do run quite smooth mechanically (usually anyway, Assassin’s Creed Unity and floors with more holes than Swiss Cheese withstanding). Now I loved games like Crash Bandicoot and Banjo Kazooie, but the 3D technology was fairly new at the time, so there were going be some issues.

Are the players just getting better?

With the rise in online gaming and E-Sports over the past decade, its safe to say the skill level in video games has risen exponentially. With the help of YouTube tutorials, walkthroughs and game guides, every average player can learn to get better at a game. This compared to the PS2, SNES and NES era, where you could buy strategy guides and the average player was only the champion among your friend groups.

And Finally…

Are Games getting easier?

No, games are getting better mechanically along with a higher skill levelled player base. This creates the illusion of an easier game. In some cases, they are actually becoming harder (Demon/Dark Souls started this trend and it can royally go fuck it self). Explaining why some people find Crash Bandicoot so difficult is simple, your reactions are slower than when you first played it and the mechanics are ever so slightly outdated.

Now an update on Microtransactions and how EA has managed to make me look like a complete tool.

As all 5 of you know, I’ve been singing the praises of Star Wars Battlefront 2’s DLC system since its announcement. However in a interview with Gamespot  Design Director Niklas Fegraeus said:

When you want to progress and get stuff, you can either play the game and when you play you earn the in-game currency, and with that you can spend towards whatever you want. If you want to accelerate that, if you can’t play for a week, you can purchase that.’

Essentially, you can accelerate progress and get better stuff by paying for it. This is, bluntly put, fucking stupid. The system will no doubt be exploited by people, and kinda makes the game pay to win. This is not the way to do microtansactions and I hope EA changes their minds about this.

Edit: Turns out EA has been using this accelerator type thing in the Battlefield franchise for some time, so I guess long term it’s not an issue.

 

Thoughts on EA Play 2017

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The time of year has rolled around and E3 is upon us once again. This is perhaps the most interesting E3 in a while, in terms of what we are expecting. It all kicked off last night with EA doing its second iteration of EA Play. Here’s what we found out at that conference with my take on each announcement.

Let’s get a few things out of the away, Anthem was just a teaser we don’t know much about but will be covered in Xbox’s press conference later this evening, so I’ll cover it more after that one. Also, SEED (I think it’s like that?) was confusing. I’ve watched the conference twice and replayed that moment four or five times and I’m still not sure what SEED is about. EA and Origin access is free for a week, along with PS4 users getting some free trials, which is good, I suppose.

Now, let’s get into the games we know about. Starting off with Madden 17, which showed a trailer for the new story mode called’ Longshot, similar to Fifa’s The Journey mode, about a college footballer’s difficult journey to the NFL. College football seems to be included in the gamemode as there were two licensed college teams in Oregon and Texas. They also mentioned that competitive details would be coming in the summer.

My thoughts: I don’t play Madden at all but the story mode intrigues me and looks like a better story than this years The Journey mode.

Next we had a look at Battlefield 1, Dice’s hit shooter that released last year. Two new night maps were announced for July and the next expansion ‘In the name of the Tsar’ which is based on the Eastern Front and the Russian army, which will launch in September. It will also contain female soldiers, a first for the game and the famous Hussar cavalry. Along with new weapons, vehicles, operations and maps.

My thoughts: More Battlefield is good, I like the game so it is nice to have some fresh content to dig into.

Fifa 18 was up next and, to be honest, they didn’t show much at the conference itself, just a trailer about the next season of The Journey. Most of the Fifa 18 information came out after the conference. The Journey season 2 will carry on from where you finished in Fifa 17 and it seems there is a rumour Alex Hunter wants to leave the club he is currently at. More locations to visit and leagues to play in have been teased but nothing is confirmed. All of Hunters family and agent are returning and new customisation options have been added (including Paul Pogba’s blonde hair cut).  They dished out the usual comments of the game being more fluid, responsive and other marketing buzzwords that the shareholders love. Teams will now have unique play styles also.

My Thoughts: I buy Fifa every year, so was going to buy it regardless and there isn’t much they can change in all honesty.

The next game talked about was Need For Speed Payback. You play as three characters by the name of Tyler, Jess and Mac (and switch between the three GTA style I’m assuming) as you attempt to take down ‘The House’ a cartel that controls pretty much everything by the sounds of it with different types of race and missions. There is also a new form of customisation called ‘Relics’ where you find abandoned classic cars and restore them to former glory and beyond.

My Thoughts: Don’t usually play racing games as I’m awful at them, but the narrative and the addition of Relics means I’ll probably try this game at least.

The next game out of the gate was a brand new IP from the EA Originals program called A Way Out. A Way out is a co-op only game about two prisoners called Vincent and Leo who attempt to escape prison together but for very different reasons. The developers, Hazelight Studios recommend playing locally with a friend but online co-op is available. The game will launch in the spring of 2018.

My Thoughts: Game of the conference for me, look really interesting and I am definitely looking forward to seeing more of this game as the year rolls on.

NBA Live 18 (Yes they’re still making these) was up next and they showed the new ways you can play the game in the new mode ‘The One’. The One offers you the choice to either play in the NBA, on streets or in The Drew League. There will be a demo in August and that’s all that they said on the game.

My Thoughts: Either the game is nowhere near ready or EA don’t have much confidence in the game, cause there wasn’t much for them to show. The game looks disappointing and if you’re looking for a basketball game to play, my advice is to stick to NBA 2K based on what we saw here.

Then… The Grand Finale, The Headliner, The Main Event… Star Wars Battlefront 2. We learnt that the story bridges the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. The main talk was of course, about the multiplayer. A new battlefield-esque class system has been introduced to the game. All 3 eras of Star Wars are included from launch and there is a new battlepoint system in game that allows you to unlock heroes, vehicles etc. Dice also premiered Assault on Theed, a 20 vs. 20 gamemode that is a crossover of rush and Overwatch’s escort type mode. They also announced that Finn and Captain Phasma would be part of the first season of downloadable content and that all downloadable content going forward would be free which includes maps, weapons, vehicles and heroes.

My Thoughts: It seems that Dice have learnt from the first Battlefront and gave us more depth with all the fun of the first game. Although they have confirmed micro-transactions but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make to have free DLC.

All in all, I think EA had a solid conference. While they didn’t surprise us, they certainly delivered some interesting games going forward.