Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Spiritual Successor

...or sequel, depending on which pot you dip for ink. I'm tired of it, and you Video Game Reviewing hacks need to let it go. Let me introduce you to a new phrase - trite. That's when you use a phrase so much it begins to smell like old fish (I'm paraphrasing).

All through Bioshock's development we heard how it was a spiritual successor to System Shock 2. So much so that there are blessed few articles one can read on the game that don't include that comment in the first or second paragraph (if not the title).

And why am I on a boil about this. Well, it's got nothing to do with Bioshock. Bioshock is design-o-matically very much like Ken Levine/Irrational's (2k Boston if you insist...) earlier System Shock 2. It is a spiritual successor. It incorporates many of the design ideals of the early system, enhances and refines them and presents a new story (which actually shares a lot of plot points. Ok, Ken apparently has only one story to tell. But it's a great story and he executes well).

Hellgate:London is not a spiritual sequel to Diablo (and really not to the greater Diablo II). At best it's a clone. And don't get me wrong, from what I have of it Hellgate:London has it's charms. But it lacks many of the refinements introduced in Diablo II to the ARPG (Action Role Playing Game. Means bash monsters for loot so you can bash bigger monster for bigger loot, repeat until you get arthritis in your left mouse finger...). It is not successor to DII's crown. DII still has that crown set upon its mighty brow. Long live the king.

I dearly yearn for a modern revisit of the genre. I can only hope that Blizzard will abandon the MMO madness and produce a Diablo III in a 3d Engine, which supports heavy character customization (if I have 1 complaint about Diablo, it's cookie cutter characters - a Barb is a Barb, even if you have an axe barb and I have a throwing barb). Titan Quest seemed close, for that matter, except for the claustrophobic dungeons and lack of any real plot so does Hellgate.

But I'm still killing time on an MMO as far as this genre is concerned. That's what MMOs do, kill time.

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