Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mini-Article: World War II games: Enough already!

The first World War II game I played was Battlefield 1942 on the PC. Good game, great level design, amazing online play. Everything about it was brilliant. A little while back, I picked up Brothers in Arms DS. Again, it was a pretty good game. It kept me busy for a little while. Did pretty well considering how cheap I got it for.

But by the time I picked up Medal of Honor: Heroes 2, I got an immense feeling of deja vu. I'd played almost the exact same level years before, but with less amazing graphics. I've seen Normandy before, I've fought the Germans several times, I've killed many a Swastika-wearing enemy. And I've barely even scratched the surface of war games with my experiences.

The same thing can only be entertaining so many times. I feel as if that each WW II game I play is just a remake of the last. The levels can't be very different, because they're based on fact. The weapons must be the same to match the time period. Unless the game branches out into the fantastical, the only real variables are the AI, graphics, sound and control schemes.

I'm glad to see that some game franchises are beginning to grow out of this phase. Call of Duty 4 saw a shift to modern day combat, and the upcoming Battlefield Heroes takes place in a fictional representation of today's warfare technology. But still, many games continue to follow the events of World War II. What will it take to stop this monotony? Can't we have a game based on World War I, with bayonets and stuff? I seriously think that'd be kinda cool.

Or maybe there could be a super-futuristic war game, pitting Earth against invading aliens. But unlike games such as Halo and Half-Life (Nothing against them, by the way), the player would be just another average human fighting to save and protect his planet. If the player has an ability, advantage or disadvantage, then every ally should, too. No giving the player super-awesome suits of high-tech armour or incredibly amounts of health. Each soldier would be equal, playable or not.

As for the aliens, they'd be all the same as well. No giant sword-wielding varieties, no tiny little grunts, just all the same species fighting to take over or destroy your planet. Every alien would have the same amount of health, basically the same armour (Minor differences depending on rank, of course), and the same weapons. Why can't developers take a risk and at least try something like this? I'd prefer it over any new World War II shooter. Call me crazy, but I like new games to be new.

Talk about this article in the comment section, or in this forum thread.

The Duck Has Spoken.


Anonymous said...

here here. in a nut shell u are right.

jlpicard1701e said...

Why not WWII with variations on the theme?
Say, the Germans managed somehow to repel the Allied landings...
What would the Allied next move have been?
Suppose the Battle of the Bulge had been successful for the Germans... What would have happened on the Eastern Front?
No one has ever attempted to stretch these conjectures into a reality-based game.
And yet, some of these variations might have happened indeed.
A "what if" game would be more than welcome.
I hope someone would listen...
Mind you, I have nothing against WWII games, but they always stick to actual facts and never take into account that for little switches in time, weather conditions or strategy, some of the most famous battles might have a quite different outcome than the one we already know.
Many historian have already vented these "possibilities" and have given various different perspectives on how history might have changed.
Why can't game programmers and designers, take these points and develop from them?
A combined game "reality vs. alternative" should be highly interesting to play.
Just a tiny suggestion.