For January's Gamer of the Month, we sit down with an individual that hails from the eastern coast of the United States. Known as Malice1483 on the PlayStation Network, this man-of-the-hour holds an affinity for gaming that encompasses far more than just one standard genre. One look at his trophy list will confirm that this gaming enthusiast is sure to give most titles a shot.
As a surprise for this little interview, Malice1483 decided to throw a few questions and anectdotes my way that I, of course, couldn't help but to dive headfirst into.
The Gamer's Ghost: What is your preferred system?
Malice1483: Playstation 3.
TGG: What are your preferred genres?
M: RPG (role playing game), FPS (first person shooter), Action / Adventure, Hack and Slash
TGG: What are your favorite games of the current generation?
M: "Batman: Arkham City", "Batman: Arkham Asylum" and any of the "Uncharted" games
TGG: What is your least favorite game of the current generation?
M: "Assassins Creed" series
TGG: What is your preference, single or multiplayer?
M: Depends on my mood really.
TGG: What is your least favorite aspect of multiplayer gaming?
TGG: How would you describe yourself as a gamer?
M: Somewhere between casual and hardcore.
TGG: What game started your "gaming" ways?
M: "Super Mario Bros".
TGG: Would you consider yourself a “super fan” of any specific game? If yes, which game?
M: I Love "Batman: Arkham Asylum".
TGG: What about "Batman: Arkham Asylum" puts it at the top of your list?
M: Well for starters it is the best super hero game ever. The graphics are incredible. The story line is very in depth and gripping. I love how in "Arkham City" there were side stories and quest. I've also never played a game where the camera and game controls seem flawless. To me it just seems that the arkham games are the pinnacle of action games and perfect in every way.
TGG: What do you find to be more important in a game, story or gameplay? Or do you think they are equally as important?
M: I believe they are equally as important.
TGS: What are your hopes for the next generation of gaming consoles?
M: I personally think the systems are great just the way they are. Only thing I can really hope for is more realistic graphics.
TGG: What advice do you want to give to up and coming gamers out there?
M: I would advise to not stick with one genre of game. Give everything a try. You will find that many styles of games will appeal to you.
M: Being a game reviewer, have you found that most games are being developed for a certain type of individual? For example, would you say you're finding games to be very linear and simplistic? I think some games are simplistic like the "Call of Duty" series because they appeal to a certain type of gamer. But then you have games like the "Batman" series which has role playing aspects as far as upgrades for your armor and things of that nature or "Mass Effect" which is a real time RPG.
TGG: I would have to say there is a certain amount unoriginality that has hit the industry as of late, but the same can be said about all entertainment mediums. It's because of this, though, that I was completely floored that Telltale Game's "The Walking Dead: The Game" actually beat out “Mass Effect 3” and “Assassin's Creed III” and games like “Far Cry 3” were completely missing from the 2012 Video Game Awards.
Ultimately, I do think it's a little unfair to say that all developers are looking to cater to one type of individual or looking to keep things simple. There is still a fine line between games like “Call of Duty”, “Mass Effect”, and “Halo”; and these developers are working hard to stand out amongst a sea of competition without crossing that line. In regards to simplicity, games like “Call of Duty” are designed with multiplayer in mind, which tends to create a single player experience that is lacking in some way. The multiplayer segments of most games these days is far from simplistic, though. Of course, as you pointed out, you do have games like "Mass Effect" and the "Arkham" series that try to push that envelope just a little further; and it's clear to see that those effort don't go unnoticed.
M: There are plenty of people out there looking to review games just like you. Do you have any advice as to where to get started, what habits to start forming, and how they should look at games as they play them? I feel when it comes to reviewing games, albeit I am no expert at it, there are many things to look for. The graphics, story line and game play are of course the main things. But also there are such things as sound, camera controls, ease of button controls, online game play (if applicable), and replay value. You can also review the voice acting if you feel it’s bad (such as the original "Resident Evil" on the PS1). Just most of all have fun with it.
TGG: I'd say if you want to start reviewing games, start replaying your favorite game. Analyze everything, from sound design to gameplay, and jot down things that need to change. Just as you said, there's far more to a game than just gameplay. If you can find faults in even your most treasured title, than you can put bias' aside, which is important when you're reviewing any product. The next big aspect is just being able to put your thoughts in cohesive dialogue that conveys what does and does not work about the game. A very large portion of reviewing is opinion, so don't analyze your own review and try to make it “right”. Sometimes, there just is no right; because there will always be somebody out there to refute you.
Being a reviewer also doesn't mean that gaming will start to feel like work and all the fun has to fly out the window. Of course, you'll come across those titles that just muddle the entire experience (i.e. "Men in Black: Alien Attack"), but they tend to be the minority. Even a game that warrants a less-than mediocre score can be fun to play in some way. You know it's time to bow out once it stops being fun. If you're not having fun, than your reviews are just going to wind up being very bitter.
It is very unavoidably cliché, but overall, make sure you're having fun with it. You don't have to be an English major; and you'll find that with each review you do, you fine tune your ability to effectively break down a games components.