Mirror’s Edge is a racing game. Sure, you may be controlling a person, not a car, and you may be jumping across rooftops like a platformer, but neither the first-person shooter nor the platformer fully capture the ethos of Mirror’s Edge. It’s a first-person game unconcerned with shooting and a jumping game that’s unconcerned with jumping. Yes, you’ll jump a lot, but that’s not the really the point of it all. The point of it… is speed. Getting up to speed. Maintaining speed. Improving yourself to increase your speed. Everything about the game eventually feeds back into that singular idea.
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I like a lot of mobile games. I’ve become the mobile-game guy among my friends and at Moving Pixels, but even I have my prejudices: I hate match-three mobile games.
I hate how they’re always timed, rushing to you make a match so that you can never really think about or plan your actions. I hate how cluttered they are, with so many different symbols in play on a little grid that it becomes hard to find a match. My eyes just glaze over the mess of icons until time runs out, and I fail at whatever I was trying to do. I hate how abusive they often are. The issues I mentioned before abuse my time and efforts, while microtransactions for special items abuse my wallet. Sometimes these two things work together, like when a level becomes impossible to beat unless you pay for point-boosting items. Even the supposedly great games like You Must Build A Boat just get on my nerves .
I totally dismissed Doom before it came out. I took one look at it during Bethesda’s E3 press conference and knew it would be a disaster of a game. I was, perhaps, a bit presumptuous. As it turns out, Doom is a better game than it logically has any right to be, and one of the ways in which it’s so surprisingly, shockingly good is in its characterization of the so-called “Doom Gu,,” the faceless, voiceless, hyper-violent hero of the game. What’s amazing is that he’s still a faceless, voiceless, hyper-violent hero, but not in the bland, generic way that defined early shooters. He’s been given just enough background and a personality to elevate him from “generic” to “iconic”.
Combat is expressive. You can tell a lot about a character based on the way that he fights. I wrote about this idea some time ago regarding Assassin’s Creed. I considered how the fighting styles of Altair and Ezio changed over time and how those changes reflected on each character.
In retrospect, I wrote that piece based on an assumption that went unspoken at the time. Combat is at its most expressive when it changes. Seeing Ezio’s techniques, arsenal, and skills evolve over the course of three games was far more interesting than simply analyzing Altair based on one game.
Stealth has never been a word associated with the Uncharted series. When I think about Nathan Drake’s adventures, I think more about spectacle and swashbuckling and stunning scenery. Yet Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End makes stealth combat just as viable, if not more so, than the typical running and gunning action of past games. It’s a surprising addition to the game, and it’s a surprisingly fun addition to the game, but it’s also, for me personally, kind of an unwelcome addition to the game.