Two years ago a tiny indie game developed by a Swedish game development company called Frictional Games unwittingly created a game that took the gaming scene by storm. That little game is called Amnesia: The Dark Descent and not to long after its release became hailed as one of, if not the, scariest games of all time. Gamers long pining for a true return to survival horror gaming rejoiced with glee and Youtubers were quick to start a trend of creating videos of themselves being scared shitless by the game. Even myself, who has extremely tough skin for all things horror, found beads of sweat forming on my brow as I explored Brennenburg Castle and was genuinely unsettled and nervous while playing. To call the game anything other than a massive success would be a gross understatement.
After spending nearly a century building a solid relationship with my Mayan neighbors it all pays off as they inform me that their spies have discovered that Napoleon and the French empire are planning on staging a surprise attack on my coastal city of Seoul. This bit of information couldn’t have come at a better time as I have been guiding my people down the path of culture and science commissioning the building many world wonders and using my funds to search out great scientists. My military is somewhat of a laughing-stock and as I have ignored the words of my military advisory telling me that the French wield an army that could wipe us off the planet. Luckily I have been following the path of rationalism and those wonderful rationalists have discovered that through commerce and building trading posts I can also enhance my scientific resources, so let’s just say, the Korean empire has a few coins to rub together. Which I do and build an instant modest army just strong enough to defend my land from a strong military push and then, since I have already denounced Napoleon a few times in the past for bullying my diplomatic buddies, declare war on the French. And they fall into my trap. Filled with the hubris that a massive army brings they go through with their set plan to attack Seoul seeing as that I have just a small defensive army. What they didn’t know was that I had timed the production in my cities to release a bevy of high-powered units to eradicate them even before they hit my shores. I wipe out more than a quarter of the French army on their first push taking minimal casualties due to my superior battle tactics and positioning and then push production to one more wave of military units composed of submarines and high-powered ballistas from my superior scientific advantage and then push back to the French shores accosting them of one of their major cultural cities and then south to liberate the French occupied city-state of Milan who will now provide me with and endless supply of cultural artifacts to keep my hard-working scientists happy as I move focus into winning the space race. Ya, I must be playing a Civilization game.
I’m sure by now you’re familiar with the formula for a Rockstar game. Open world, a plethora of cars to drive around in, plenty pedestrians to run over and torture, shooting stuff with shoddy gun and cover mechanics, a large variety of mission based gameplay and narrative advancement, a decent narrative and story wrapped around a pretty one-dimensional protagonist with a lot of cool friends, America, political commentary, and the words Grand Theft Auto in the title, but for the most part, with as many flaws their games might have, they made up for it with witty humor and giving the player freedom to reek havoc in almost anyway that they may choose. Recently Rockstar have noticed that their company can’t survive on Grand Theft Auto alone, so they released the stunning Grand Theft Horse, err, Red Dead Redemption. They kept the basic gameplay elements of the Grand Theft Auto series such as the open world, mission base, ect. But they went and made some major tweaks to their style such as improving the gunplay mechanics, pulling the style out of modern America into the wild west, creating one of the more interesting video characters out there, and also crafting one of the best game narratives available today. While from a technical stand point the game was filled with flaws, it completely won over gamers as they got sucked into John Marston’s wild west and his quest to hunt down his ex-gang members. Along with the great narrative, the game its self was just damn fun to play and in its own right, Red Dead Redemption was a very ambitious game. Now Rockstar pushes its self further and brings players into Los Angeles during the 1940’s right after the end of WWII and the ambition scale is through the roof.