I remember one time at a Renaissance Faire how a random inventor came up with an idea to reinvent the wheel. He argued that circular wheels offered no stopping control because their round shape had no grip on the road. His idea was octagonal wheels, which gave each of the eight sides a solid grip of the road that made for better control and easier stopping. Granted, real-world testing would prove this to be one of the worst reinventions of the wheel ever. But the man’s presentation complete with scale model and cockney accent did convince me to invest a couple of bucks for his research and live entertainment.
It seems EA Games president Frank Gibeau is going through a similar revelation that presentation is what matters when selling a new idea. EA tried out a couple of new games like “Mirror’s Edge” and “Deep Space” much to either lukewarm reviews and/or poor sales.
” Mirror’s Edge” was a unique first-person parkour game that was one of the few unique games of its time. The problem was that novelty was not enough to ensure financial success. The difficulty curve was unforgiving. The story was trash. Game play was inconsistent. And multiplayer was lacking. The sci-fi horror “Deep Space” also had its share of problems. The story was cliché and the game play lacked atmosphere. The main character was a mute with emotional baggage thrown in. And the horror was repetitively startling instead of horrific.
So while “Mirror’s Edge” may never gain its sequel, the second “Dead Space” game creatively titled “Dead Space 2” aims to breathe some new life and better presentation into this relatively new game and potential franchise. Gibeau promises to make sure EA’s new games will be better presented. In “Dead Space 2’s” case, the mute protagonist will now have a voice and supposedly a better story that will embrace the horror elements. Also, a multiplayer mode will ensure more game play as humans face off against the necromorphs-the aliens in the game.
The new additions to “Dead Space 2” sound like a decent start, but as someone who might or might not have previewed the game, these additions feel more like haphazard additions. The addition of a voice to Issac Clarke will add some immersion to the game. The story will largely depend on the writers and game play elements. But if the game play elements still consist of walking to each staged monster encounter, the horror will still be more of a shooting gallery than actual horror. The multiplayer feature feels like a cheap add-on to sucker people into keeping the game longer. If the game itself is great and presented well, the multiplayer will be added bonus. But if it relies heavily on the multiplayer alone, the game feels like a chore. From what was seen, the humans will hit checkpoints shooting necromorphs and collecting items while the necromorphs will attempt to ambush the humans, get shot, die, and wait for their turn to play as humans.
But if it is all presented well, maybe “Dead Space 2” will be the octagonal reinvented wheel that sells.