Reviewer Rodeo: Trending Topics

Reviewer Rodeo: Trending Topics

Welcome to the ZTGD Reviewer Rodeo. Each week, we’ll grab on to the hottest issue, hold on for dear life, and wrassle it to the ground.

2011 left us with some pretty distinct and long-lasting trends. This week, our team looks at the 2011 fads they expect to stick around into 2012.

Kelsey Rinella
Sadly, hacking sticks out as a too popular trend from 2011. Hacks to assist performance in games may lack novelty these days, but our payment information seems more vulnerable than ever. The reliability of the services on which many of us depend for an increasing variety of entertainment and social purposes now seems to depend not only on the providers’ investment and technical prowess, but also on the approval of hacktivists. My hope is that this has effectively awoken providers to the need for greater security and hackers to the existence of easier targets with greater public-relations value, but so much about these issues is either secret or arcane that it seems we consumers are in a poor position to make informed guesses.

Morality in games continues its strong presence. Despite the boss battles, Deus Ex struck me as one of the most well-pitched uses of moral choices in actual game play I’ve experienced. That said, I hope to see innovation in the new year. With Libertarianism playing such a significant political role in the Republican primaries, the salience of multi-polar moral systems seems greater than ever, and I’d love to see a game which allowed the player to make the choices which seemed best at the time, and gave feedback about which moral codes his or her choices best reflected. Mass Effect seems to have paved the way for such a change by assuming that the character is minimally virtuous, and giving a binary choice which isn’t quite good vs. evil. Allowing the player to help create the character’s view of morality is exciting and offers a vision of character development which doesn’t reduce to ability trees. As a result, it lets games focus on action without sacrificing role-playing, which seems to be a very appealing way to position a game.

Drew “Frustrated Fury” Leachman
Well, one of the big trends I have seen that was major in 2011 was patches for games. Yes, I know this is beating a dead horse, but man, with the likes of Bethesda releasing patches that made things worse in Skyrim, you can’t help but to notice, and that’s just one company and one game. I think it will be a common occurrence in 2012. Almost every game that comes out now has a day one patch.

Another trend is the unlockable content codes that come with new games. This is really starting to get on my nerves, I realize why it’s there, but come on, the Batman: Arkham City content was a little ridiculous. This is really becoming a big trend in 2012 without a doubt. I’m sad to say it.

A trend I see that I don’t really know how I feel about it is the price drops for new games 2 to 3 weeks after they launch. It makes me happy that I can maybe get a rather new game for cheap, but a little angry that I just bought a game at full price, and two weeks later see it at $39.99. This may eventually come back to games starting at a lower price. That, I would totally be fine with.

As far as future trends go, I think 2012 will be the year the stand alone handheld market starts to die. I know the PSVita hasn’t even launched yet, and the 3DS is seeing some decent sales here and there, but I have this feeling that the Vita will flop big time. When it does, I think Sony and other game makers will begin looking at other avenues for profit AKA the mobile phone market.

Continued on the next page…

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