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One-Liner: What the World Needs Now on Game and Player

One-Liner: What the World Needs Now

Michael Ubaldi  //  January 11, 2010

What games don't we have that we ought to?


wo years ago, I found myself inside one of the sand-caked, desert tombs on a Halo 3 multiplayer map, and didn't want to leave. What if my character's surroundings, it occurred to me, weren't incidental props meant to liven up an obstacle course for competitive shootouts — but for me to explore? The maize glint of rock and ruddy, rough-hewn altars were more attractive than Oblivion's albescent elven temples but just as compelling. What if my teammates were to instead join me in searching this place for treasures, braving whoever or whatever lurked? At the time, there was talk of a multiplayer Elder Scrolls title — nothing emerged, so I tucked away my little rumination and moved on.

Last night, playing Borderlands, I realized that my wish had been, if not literally, at least sincerely fulfilled. Here were four acquaintances walking among industrial ruins — cracked cement, flickering neon, corroded rivets, flowery graffiti — that a first-person perspective magnified so much as to almost be touched. We fought monsters and looted what remained; at every step, wonder, danger, adventure. In 2007 I asked for a cooperative, immersive dungeon-crawler, and Borderlands could very well inspire a new genre — one with plenty of unrealized potential.

What else resides in dreams and on drawing boards? What game do we need; which kind do we need more of?

Joseph Powell // January 12, 2010 // 2:23 AM

Borderlands is definitely something I'd been looking for, but not for the same reasons. Whenever I'd ever played FPS in the past, my biggest complaint was that they are generally very short. Multiplayer doesn't compel me so that's never a factor in deciding on a purchase. I've wanted an FPS with more content and a long, interesting campaign for a while. Borderlands brought some of that to the table. The story & plot are a little weak and there is virtually no character development, which are pretty essential things in a role-playing game. It's definitely and experimental game and what it tried to do worked for the most part and it was a very enjoyable game. I'd love to see more like it in the future with more engaging role-playing aspects. Fallout 3 had more of the story & plot elements down, but lacked in its FPS features because VATS made everything lame-easy and the shooting mechanics outside of VATS were clunky.

That aside, to answer the question, I'd like to see more interesting platforming games such as Mirror's Edge and Prince of Persia. I'm almost certain they are making sequels to both, so my wishes may come true.

Jace Proctor // January 13, 2010 // 5:03 AM

Borderlands is very close to establishing a new genre of game: the console MMO. The traditional MMO simply doesn't work on a console. There's too many skills, buttons, and options for a controller. Borderlands simplified things immensely. As it stands now Borderlands is too stripped down to be a MMO, but they're definitely onto something. Adventuring around with friends on XBL, fighting through dungeons, grabbing drops, and taking on mobs in Borderlands definitely feels like a MMO. It's just not quite there yet.

If Gearbox had added some kind of trading interface, slightly deeper and more distinct talent trees, a few more classes, more character customization, guild support, larger parties, and if they made the world bigger, they would have a MMO in Borderlands. I sincerely hope the designers are aware of how close they are to reinventing the genre.

Joseph Powell // January 14, 2010 // 1:07 PM

A buddy of mine brought up a good point. There has been an overall lack of good shoot-em-up's (shmups) this generation (as in R-Type, Gradius, etc). There have been a handful released over the last few years on XBLA and PSN, but barely any full-fledged disc releases.

There's a lot of potential there for some really great games.

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