Secret agents are crucial to a nation’s security, but they’re also excellent fodder for fiction. Because FPS video games are so often set during wartime, traits, skill sets, and situations from these historical figures often make their way into the games. Infusing a fictitious plotline with real tidbits from the past can create compelling original narratives that shine in historical games. But the actual history of some of the world’s greatest covert operatives is just as fascinating as the fictional stories, and these secret agents exemplify the power of both history and fiction. Continue reading →
At first glance, games about war might seem like they’re all the same. Combat as a game mechanic seems ubiquitous, and these games often tell the stories of soldiers at the front lines. Those stories are compelling, to be sure, but not all war games have to mean military combat.
War is a complex, frightening situation fraught with intrigue and conflict on many different levels. War games can explore those levels, telling deep and engaging stories that go beyond the front lines.
**[SPOILER ALERT: THIS POST DISCUSSES MAJOR PLOT REVEALS WITHIN THE ORIGINAL METAL GEAR AND RESIDENT EVIL GAMES.]**
Double agents are a common feature of spy stories, making us question where each character’s loyalties lie. Though they’re often antagonistic, double agents are also captivating, driving some of our favorite video game plots into a world of confusion and suspicion. Whether you’re up against them or fighting at their side, these are a few of gaming’s best double agents.
Game art styles can be used to great effect, complementing or contrasting a game’s mechanics and narrative to create a more vivid overall experience. As a player, it’s easy to get caught up in realism and high definition graphics as a sign of visual superiority, but low-key game art styles can also add unanticipated elements to atmosphere, mechanics, or story.
What makes a good art style is not just whether it faithfully represents reality, how pretty its coloring is, or how many polygons make up each object. It’s how well that particular style suits the game—though classic games didn’t have the graphic capability we have today, their art style is still a large part of appreciating them. Below are three games that have particularly unique styles that are a mix of aesthetics and purpose, exemplifying that great video game art doesn’t all have to look one way.
Stealth combat uses different skills than the average video game, prioritizing patience and strategy over hacking, slashing, and blasting away enemies. But few games rely entirely on stealth to drive them, instead offering alternative approaches for players who aren’t experienced stealth masters or for people who just like a bit of variety. While some games have an instant fail state for being discovered, most launch you into combat instead.
So how can games make stealth combat enticing when outright combat is generally more straightforward?
Top stealth games like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell are popular because of their detailed mechanics and excellent production value, but setting plays an often underappreciated role in stealth. Even settings of different time periods and places, such as Splinter Cell’s tight, sometimes futuristic corridors and Metal Gear Solid V’s open deserts, share characteristics that make stealth possible.
We don’t see a lot of open-world stealth games, and for good reason—a truly open world is a large space with pockets of activity, something that doesn’t work well with the constant tension of stealth. Despite the popularity of open world games, top stealth games continue to base their design in open, elegant levels rather than truly open worlds, combining a few key elements in different ways for radically different player experiences.
This year is already shaping up to be an exciting one for new shooter games. Though shooters are based primarily on one mechanic—shooting (surprise, surprise)—there is endless creativity to be found in the genre as developers play with different twists on that mechanic. New shooter games explore the boundaries of what defines a shooter, making 2016 a great year for fans of the genre.
The best puzzle games are memorable not because they frustrate us to the point of quitting, but because of the satisfaction of completing them. Creating an in-game puzzle is not just about making something that challenges the player—without an element of achievement and learning, puzzles become roadblocks rather than tests of skill or perseverance.
With a good puzzle, players should feel tested but not tricked, and completing a puzzle should be a learning experience rather than something you have to guess blindly. So how do the best puzzle games achieve this balance?
Many new games for 2016 promise to offer the perfect blend of originality and familiarity, putting new twists on mechanics we love and experimenting with new visions and stories. While there will always be reboots and sequels, 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for gamers of all types and interests. From shooters to puzzles to exploration, games for 2016 blend genres and defy classification. These are just a few of the best-looking new IPs of this year, all of them unique and interesting to new and established gamers.