Why we need gaming tutorials

However boring and asinine some game tutorials may be, it’s in crazy times like the ones we live in that make me wish life had a tutorial section (if only so I could know what exactly I’m supposed to be doing and how in the hell I should go about getting there).

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The early minutes of gameplay are sometimes the most excruciating for veteran gamers, especially in those gems that have been played and replayed a hundred times or more.

For me, that’s the 2013 “Tomb Raider” and it’s 2015 sequel. Ubisoft’s “Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag” is also high on my replay list along with Bethesda’s open-world RPGs “Skyrim,” “Fallout: New Vegas” and the most recent installment, “Fallout 4.”

Each time I start up one of the aforementioned games, I have to resign myself to the fact that there are certain areas I can’t explore, certain collectibles I can’t yet obtain and certain combat moves or actions I can’t perform because of my current level. And that can be irritating, especially when you know what lies behind that level 50 locked door and are just itching to grab that loot, even when you’re only a level 20.

But tutorials are some of the most important part of video games and must be included in order for games to reach larger potential audiences and to give you a clue as to just what in the hell you’re supposed to be doing.

This isn’t a matter that’s up for debate or one that’s particularly controversial, I just think it’s something important to be aware of at a time when the video game market is being flooded with remastered and remixed versions of past games.

But regardless of whether the game you’re playing is brand-new or a remastered classic, it will include some type of tutorial feature to either introduce you to the world of the new game or welcome you back.

Not all tutorials are created equal, however.

One of my “replayable” favorites, “Fallout: New Vegas” has a long concentrated tutorial that begins from the moment you leave Doc Mitchell’s house until you decide you’ve had enough of Sunny Smiles and her teachings of helpful wasteland survival skills.

heya sunny.jpg

While irritating at times, Smiles was relatively helpful in introducing me to the features of “New Vegas” that were different from it’s predecessor, “Fallout 3.” ~ Source: PortForward.com. 

Other games like “Tomb Raider” and various “Assassin’s Creed” titles have a brief tutorial period but with various weapons and skills that are unlocked after enough gameplay. In a way, this extends the tutorial throughout the game, although many gamers would say that it is no longer a gaming “tutorial.”

stacked rope hook blade.jpg

Both the hook blade and the rope arrow are examples of unlockable weapons that, while they aren’t included in the game tutorial, can count as tutorial content. ~ Source: TombRaiders.net and Bestandroidsolutions.com

Even with tutorials a lot of game mechanics can be difficult to understand like in the case of the 2013 Capcom release, “Remember Me.” Their Pressen and Combo Lab DLC feature was hard for me to grasp no matter how many times I played through and read over the tutorial section.

what the ever living fuck.png

In the end, I had to resign myself to playing through the game wildly smashing buttons rather than creating and executing the various combos the game wanted me to. ~ Source: Nerdist.com. 

So do I wish there was a way to skip through a game tutorial? Sometimes, yeah. But tutorials are part of what makes gaming so appealing to me. Because while some games allow differing dialogue options, quest goals and available paths, video games provide us with a clear start and stopping point, quest markers and even some bonus content along the way to make the journey to the goal arguably more enjoyable than the destination itself.

Now if only our regular lives could reflect the careful organization and coordination of our video games and their tutorials.

Until then, game on and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

this might be better.jpg

5 things we need more (or less) of in video games

Finding flaws in a video game is ten times easier than picking out the things you actually like. And while I’m not advocating for cherry-picking – because if a game is awful it’s just awful and no amount of sugar-coating can fix that – I do think it’s a good idea to focus on what we, as gamers, do like about games rather than constantly moaning about what we don’t.

I recently did some pretty intense soul searching to define once and for all what I want in a video game.

Not only did this help me pick and choose the games I wanted to add to my Christmas List – don’t judge me, I know you have one too – it helped me, as an aspiring game designer, identify those features and characteristics I look for in any video game I play.

While I’m definitely not representative of the entire population of gamers, I like to think I have some pretty good insights into what a good portion of us what from our games.

Dorkly.com detailed eight things gamers supposedly want in an article by Andrew Bridgman. Two of his eight reasons are no more zombie games and while I quietly agree with him, I cannot completely support his reasoning because games like Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” exist.

He also said that gamers really want the ability to control boobs in video games which kind of discredits his other points in my opinion.

Gamasutra did a study of different populations of gamers and found their needs and wants vary from integrated social gaming to harder challenges with more strategy and in-depth puzzles.

While both these articles raise some good points, I can’t agree with either of them because they don’t address some of the larger issues I’ve found in some games.

So here are the top five features that I want in future games (Note the emphasis).

Less emphasis on social media.

In direct opposition to what Gamasutra’s study group said, I think a lot of games have too much emphasis on social media and sharing (I’m looking at you, Ubisoft). While I can’t begrudge game companies wanting users to share their experience and give the company some free publicity, I can begrudge them their dogged insistence on it.

After every memory in “Assassin’s Creed” there seems to be an option to share and rate the memory, something that I think gets in the way in the immersive experience I want out of games.

too-much-socialization

I don’t play games to socialize with the people I know on Facebook. Source: Technostore.pe. 

More storage.

This is less of a critique of video games than the consoles and systems they run on. I’ve had my Xbox One for less than a year and I’ve already had to buy an external hard drive to store extra game memory because next-gen games take up so. Much. Space.

With the increased emphasis on better graphics, better mechanics and better gameplay, I understand that games have to be bigger to be competitive. But if games are going to take up more and more space, the systems that run them should at least be able to hold more memory.

almost-full-memory

These aren’t the games I’d fill my hard drive with, but my point stands. Source: Youtube.com.

Harder puzzles and more challenges.

This shouldn’t be a big surprise, but I’m not terribly good at video games. I love them more than anything and they will always hold a special place in my heart, but I die. A lot.

That being said, some harder challenges would be welcome in games where a lot of times just the pull of a lever can solve a puzzle. After all, if I really get stuck, there will always be someone who solved it before me and posted a video on YouTube.

it's almost too easy sometimes.jpg

Sometimes it’s just too easy.  Source: Gamepressure.com.

More same-sex relationships.

You would be hard-pressed to pass off Chloe and Max’s relationship in “Life is Strange” as friendly gal pals – the trope often used to disguise female homosexual relationships beneath a thin veil of heterosexuality – but in a lot of other games same-sex relationships are often hinted at without being fully realized.

There are obvious exceptions in games like “Fallout 4” and “Mass Effect” as both give players the option of having same-sex relationships. But those games are made to allow gamers the option to choose between the male and female sex rather than being crafted specifically for same-sex relationships.

This is a direct contrast to the 2013 “Tomb Raider” which featured an incredibly friendly gal pal relationship, one that ended with Lara, carrying her pseudo-bride, Sam, to safety with a misty rainbow in the background. And yet Sam was conspicuously absent from the sequel.

Increased visibility is always a good thing and while all my examples are female relationships, male same-sex relationships would also be nice to see, especially since those type of relationships would help dismantle the stereotypical macho manly man that is often overrepresented in video game titles.

my beautiful lesbians.jpg

Friendly “gal pals” these girls are not. Source: Vice.com and Pfangirl.blogspot.com.

If you’ve kept up with my blog then this last want shouldn’t be much of a surprise. More female protagonists.

The game industry seems to be taking a step in the right direction with more and more titles featuring female leads, but the more the merrier.

“Recore” and “Horizon Zero Dawn” and “Tomb Raider” and “Dishonored 2” and “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” are all recent and upcoming titles featuring female leads, with other games like “Overwatch” and “Gigantic” offering multiple female playable characters.

Although “Syndicate” has its own set of issues, I still think it’s a good example of how female characters aren’t any less badass than their male counterparts and why we need and deserve more of them.

dont have to do the work.png

These are some badass babes, but we could always use more. Source: Themarysue.com.

If I’m totally off base with my conclusions, shoot me an email or leave a comment below and I’ll update this blog accordingly. This is more of a conversation than a definitive set of rules, so if I’ve left something off that you thing is super important to a good video game, please don’t hesitate to tell me.

Until the time comes that all our gaming wants and needs are fulfilled, we should keep playing games and identifying for ourselves what we want and don’t want in a video game.

Because eventually designers and developers will catch on.

So game on, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

Ode to the Wasteland Workshop

For someone who can barely fit two wooden walls together without questioning my design choices and the ultimate aesthetic of my wasteland get-away, I really love the new workshop feature available in the latest “Fallout” game.

I talk about Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” a lot. As of this very moment, it’s one of my favorite games (although nothing can beat the 2013 “Tomb Raider” as far as I’m concerned).

I’ve talked about the game’s “sexy” modding that is a demeaning and disappointing trend for all gamers, regardless of gender or identification.

I’ve talked about the interesting design of the game’s user interface and how the odd Pip Boy interface has worked for the game despite its unique (and kind of silly) mechanics and design.

I’ve also talked about its music, and how future games might implement a driving feature that seems to be popping up in more and more next-gen games, regardless of whether it benefits the game or not.

But so far I have yet to talk about one of the most interesting facets of the game, a feature unique to this newest installment in the franchise and one that has potentially revolutionized RPGs as we know them.

Right now, I’m talking about the Wasteland Workshop.

Granted, the idea of crafting feature in a game is not new. Most games have some form of workbench or toolbox that allows players to collect materials in order to craft gear upgrades.

But of all the games I’ve come across, none have a feature that allows players to collect materials in order to craft entire houses, farmlands and settlements in the middle of a barren post-apocalyptic wasteland.

lighthouse workshop.jpg

Source: PCGamer.com

This new feature is so revolutionary that I had absolutely no idea what to do with it my first couple weeks of gameplay.

After leaving Vault 111 and returning to Sanctuary with Preston (soon to become, the-bane-of-my-existence) Garvey and the gang, I stumbled upon the red workshop bench and had absolutely no idea what it or any of its related menus and functions entailed. I actually ignored it for several days before a side quest from Sturges forced me to begin to use the workbench.

Even then, I had no idea what I was in for when I started creating houses using the workbench. I had no idea the possibilities it would unlock and the endless hours I would spend crafting and creating because of it.

If it sounds like I’m starting to wax poetic about the wasteland workshop feature, it’s because I really admire how it has revolutionized the gameplay of “Fallout 4.” For those who don’t particularly care for this new feature, I have to ask: just what game do you think you are playing?

For me, the wasteland workshop represents a new level of immersion that I didn’t know the other games were lacking until I started playing this one.

Putting me in control of the landscape of post-apocalyptic Boston allows me to shape the in-game future and allow my NPC settlers greater freedom to thrive and survive in the Commonwealth.

For me, personally, I like the idea of setting up shop around the wasteland and drawing new settlers in so they can live together with some modicum of safety and community. I like being able to provide for the settlers by helping them grow their crops, establish their defense posts and turret protections and set up their shops and markets to better supply the settlements.

castle-workshop

Source: Notey.com

However, I can understand why this detailed and heavily involved process annoys some gamers. I played “Sims” endlessly as a kid, so, for me, the game’s Wasteland Workshop feature combines the creativity of the “Sims” game with the action and adventure of any other role-playing game.

And yes, Preston can be a little annoying after relaying his umpteenth request for help from a settlement. And yes, it’s frustrating that a game as powerful as “Fallout 4” can’t spare a little brainpower for those settlers who like to climb on roofs instead of farm their freaking tatos, but overall I think the workshops are worth it, both in the next level of immersion they provide for serious role-players and the creative potential they unlock in the most dedicated gamers.

But even though I like the features of the Wasteland Workshop, I’m still not particularly good at implementing any of them.

Craft and build on, you wasteland warriors, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

brighter-crowded-red-rocket

Video game soundtracks: Music for a new generation

Despite my numerous futile attempts to learn music (including one embarrassing moment where I simply pressed a bunch of keys in elementary school hoping my teacher would think it sounded good enough to call music), music remains an ethereal, abstract concept that influences me only when I’m plugged into Spotify or running around a game map trying desperately to ignore the battle music and the enemy that comes with it.

It’s an undisputed fact of gaming: good games have great soundtracks. The right notes can either make or break the mood of a game.

Like good user interface design, video game music is something that goes fairly unnoticed until it reaches an extreme. Either you love it and devote an entire Pandora playlist to game soundtracks, or you cringe your way through every in-game dungeon because you can’t stand the nails-on-chalkboard sound effects the developers included in the composition.

Some of my favorite music has come from video games.

Case in point, although Ubisoft may reuse their plot tropes and archetypal characters in nearly all their “Assassin’s Creed” games (scruffy white man seeks vengeance for x, y and z), they definitely don’t skimp on their historical research and their music.

I especially like the chase theme and battle music from “Assasin’s Creed III.” Ratonhnhaké:ton, a.k.a Connor Kenway, has some of the best escape music in the entire series with the judicious use of violin and other punchy string instruments.

The Borderlands series also has a pretty iconic soundtrack in both the first-person shooter games and the spin-off Telltale series.

“Bloodshot Ramparts” from “Borderlands 2” has the fast-paced, mechanical accompaniment perfect for a battle between determined Vault Hunters and ironically intelligent Hyperion robots.

“Tales from the Borderlands” also utilizes the best of the “Borderlands” soundtrack while also incorporating real songs into the gameplay. The games’ title sequences are pure cinematic gold, combining brilliant animation, witty dialogue, hilarious 3-D animated facial expressions and music-video style intro songs.

The “Fallout” series also has an excellent soundtrack, but most of their truly wonderful songs aren’t actually the composed background music. Similar to “Tales from the Borderlands,” Bethesda has figure out how to utilize real-world songs in their games by allowing gamers to tune in to different radio stations across the Wasteland.

Examples of good video game soundtracks are as easy to find as those of bad ones, but the important thing to remember when listening to your favorite game’s music, is that you’re not really supposed to hear it.

Obviously there are exceptions for when the composed music is just too good to ignore, but in an ideal game the music blends seamlessly with the graphics, animation and game mechanics to create a gameplay that is as irresistibly immersive as it is engaging.

Hit me up on twitter @lydmcinnes or comment below with your favorite video game soundtracks to add to my Spotify playlist.

Listen on, you beautiful musically-inclined gamers, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

Video sources: YouTube.com

Why “sexy” modding isn’t really sexy at all

I’d like to see how well a “Sexy Mister” mod would do against the “Sexy Mistress” mod available for download on Bethesda’s website.

With the third (and last) major DLC of Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” coming out sometime next week, I thought I’d write this blog in honor of one of the best things to ever happen to the Fallout series

Modding.

The “Fallout 4” Creation Kit – an updated version of the engine and modding software used in “Skyrim” – debuted early 2016 to the joy of gamers and modders alike. The new software allows for endless combinations, creations and modifications of the post-apocalyptic bestseller we all know and love.

Mods add hundreds of hours of gameplay to a game that already consumes my free time by the Megaton while simultaneously allowing fans the freedom to explore their own creative expression within the limits of (and sometimes even beyond) the game’s software capabilities.

And if there is anything fanfiction has taught me, it is that fans can produce some of the best content.

Unfortunately, they can also produce some of the worst.

When it was released in late 2015, Bethesda’s “Fallout 4” was one of the most anticipated games of the season. Months later, Bethesda has drawn out the game’s success through consecutive releases of DLC’s like “Automatron,” “Far Harbor” and the soon-to-be-released “Nuka World.”

But in a stunning display of marketing know-how, “Fallout 4” creators released the game’s Creation Kit in order to give fans a (legal) platform for showcasing their modding talents.

By funneling the mods through Bethesda.net, the team behind the “Fallout 4” release and the Bethesda company itself have ensured fans interested in modding return to their site, increasing traffic and keeping their name in the mind of players interested in releasing their own “Fallout” mods.

The engine itself is not always perfect and while some mods are better in theory than in practice, all are welcome and available for download on Bethesda’s website with varying degrees of actual gaming success.

Personally, I have quite a few mods installed including a hair design kit, several workshop expansions, and one allowing Dogmeat to remain a companion even while having another companion character active. While the completionist in me despairs at having achievements turned off while mods are active, I have to say the overall experience is definitely worth it, and not just because mods can provide invaluable cheat codes for enterprising players.

However, scrolling through the 2000 plus mods available online, I found a few mods that caught my eye – and not in a good way.

Remember what I said about fan-produced content being some of the worst. Well, yeah. It sometimes is.

Case in point, mods to make female characters bustier, make their clothes sluttier and even render them completely naked.

My first question upon seeing mods like this is not only why, but whyyyy? (Note the emphasis)

srsly wtf yo
Honest to god, what’s the point of this mod? Source: Bethesda.net

I understand that the whole point of mods is to enhance player’s gaming experience. That said, I cannot say I like the idea of having the breasts of all female characters enlarged for something as base as male pleasure.

But this concept of fanservice is not at all new to gaming.

Miranda from “Mass Effect 2,” Mad Moxxi from “Borderlands,” Catwoman in all her incarnations and many others all belong in this amorphous category of attractive video game women that exist simply for the pleasure of male players.

fucking fanservice man
Video game female characters are almost always presented via the “male gaze,” or presented in a way that makes them sex objects for male players. Sources (from left to right): Greatmultiverse.wikia.com, Pinterest.com, Arkhamcity.wikia.com

But part of the reason why I’m so disappointed in the “Fallout 4” mods especially, is because I thought we might actually be past this.

Actually, that’s a lie.

In the age of Lara Croft and stronger female heroines, I had hoped that we would be past it. But hope doesn’t count for much of anything in the male-dominated world of video games.

Let me make this clear: I am not advocating for the restriction of any gamer’s right to create and modify content as they please.

I am advocating for some class and just the tiniest bit of self-awareness.

By creating these types of mods, modders are demeaning their fellow female gamers, discrediting their right to play and reducing them to nothing but the punch line of a particularly bad joke.

“But if people don’t like my mods, they don’t have to play them,” these modders may say.

True, but we do have to scroll past them every time we are looking for new mods to download. And just the fact that they exist and that they are so popular – this “Sexy Mistress” mod has over 200,000 downloads and it was created less than a month ago – is a blight on the gaming community and a huge disappointment for everyone involved.

These mods are in poor taste and they make for poor gameplay, and in today’s gaming world, there’s already plenty of that to go around.

So mod carefully, my friends, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

be careful what you mod for.jpg

The best and worst of user interfaces

Between all the running and jumping and fighting and crawling and crying and dying and dying and dying, it’s easy to forget about all the work that goes into a game’s design.

There is something to be said about the elegance and design of a good user interface.

And there is certainly a lot to say about the bad ones.

UI and UX are two important aspects of game design that are frequently overlooked, except when they are poorly designed. Then gamers can’t help but notice them.

UI stands for user interface, a fancy term that means anything the player can touch (keyboard, mouse, controller, etc.) or see (inventory screen, map display, heads up display, or HUD).

UX stands for user experience and refers more to the ease and enjoyment of the player in using the various map screens, menu systems, and controls.

These two terms are often used interchangeably and while they are very close in meaning, they do refer to two separate aspects of video game design.

If you need more clarification, or just want to read more about good and bad UI designs, check out Desi Quintans article on Tutsplus.com.

There are also lots of different technical terms for different UI designs from spatial to meta to diegetic. I’m not going to go into detail here about the types of displays, but Anthony Stonehouse’s article “User interface design in video games” on “Gamasutra” is both helpful and informative if you want to learn more.

Some of the better UI designs I have seen come from newer games, as the principles of design and the understanding of how the mind works and how gamer’s play has increased exponentially since video games first became popular.

My personal favorite (which should come as a surprise to no one) comes from the “Tomb Raider” franchise.

Both the 2013 reboot and the 2015 “Rise of the Tomb Raider” feature functional displays that work easily with the games’ narrative without taking away from the enjoyment of the game.

I am especially fond of the overlaid text that appears during the introductory phases of the game when a certain skill must be learned. It reminds me of BBC’s “Sherlock” series and how the directors managed to display the words of texts and emails without resorting to a camera shot of the phone’s open dialogue box.

tomb radier 2013 ui.jpg

Source: Inanage.com

For much the same reason, I like the Base Camp displays as it superimposes the gameplay menus over what is actually happening around Lara.

However, it is important to note that while these displays are both incredibly functional and aesthetically agreeable, they are not nearly as “portable” as some other UI displays.

rise of the tomb raider base camp display

Source: Ar12gaming.com

But for every good apple, there are several bad ones.

The weapons display from “Assassin’s Creed III” is just such an apple. Most of the display itself was blank and featureless, making it an incredibly ineffective use of menu space.

But the worst part was the manner in which the game designers chose to have the menus displayed: in order to switch weapons or tools, players had to keep a button mashed while rotating the controller sticks to make their choices.

This made the menu hard to manage and difficult to interact with, two things you definitely don’t want in a screen that could potentially be used in the middle of combat.

ac3 weapon screen change backup

Source: PortForward.com

Another example of an iffy UI also comes from Ubisoft, 2012’s “Far Cry 3.” Third in the first-person shooter franchise, this game and the others in its series are a distinct departure from most of the third-person games Ubisoft usually produces.

However, both “Far Cry” and “Far Cry 2” had displays that lent themselves to a decent FPS experience, i.e. immersive gameplay. For some reason, this did not carry over into “Far Cry 3” as this game had a display that included a large circular mini-map, a feature that doesn’t really belong in the context of an FPS.

annoying far cry hud

Source: Kotaku.com

Not only did the game include an annoyingly large mini-map and a HUD that just wouldn’t quit, it had several pop-up notifications that tended to linger during missions and combat. These observations may seem like nit-picky details to some, but these are the little things that can drive gamers crazy and take away from the overall game experience.

That being said, I’m not entirely certain I’m the best judge of a great UI. Case in point, my favorite game has a menu display composed of a mini-computer strapped to the player character’s wrist.

fallout pip boy

Source: Fallout.wikia.com

Bulky and incredibly goofy-looking, the Fallout Pip-Boy is definitely an example of an odd UI design, but one that has been proven to work for the game’s needs. Not only does it work well as a functional display and secondary component of the game, but it has also been fully integrated into the culture of the game in a way many display systems simply aren’t.

While the design of a good gaming UI may not be the sexiest topic in the universe of gaming, it’s something important to keep in mind when you are roaming about the jungle wilderness looking for a rare craftable resource, or keeping tabs on a 15th century Templar solider.

Good UI’s are easy to forget and hard to notice while a bad one can stick out like a sore thumb and ruin an otherwise enjoyable gaming experience.

Hit me up on twitter @lydmcinnes or send me a message through the contact page if you want to chat about video game UI’s or suggest a potential blog topic.

Game on, girls and guys, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

Driving games give me anxiety

I’m the kind of person that feels bad when I knock over a light post during an in-game high-speed car chase

I have never played “Grand Theft Auto.” I have absolutely no experience with the games aside from my impressions upon seeing the box art and watching some of the gameplay on YouTube. The only thing I know for sure about the wildly popular game franchise is that it involves breaking the law in a major way and driving cars. Lots of cars.

The name itself gives you a hint into what the whole game is about, right? You go around driving through the streets of Los Angeles, or what have you, stealing cars and wreaking chaos and just generally being a crazy person.

It is this craziness that I have a problem with.

I’m the kind of person that feels bad when I knock over a light post during an in-game high-speed car chase. I wonder at the damage I’m causing, the potential harm I’m inflicting on nearby NPC’s and how much money it will cost to clean up the mess I’ve made with my horrible video game driving skills.

My personal anxieties aside, it seems more and more games are experimenting with in-game driving capabilities. While some of the foundations for driving-related mechanics have existed in games since their beginnings, new games are incorporating an increasing number of driving levels to appeal to an audience used to “Grand Theft Auto” and its car-heavy gameplay.

You don’t need to look far to see examples of what I’m talking about.

Rocksteady added a driving feature in “Batman: Arkham Knight” with a high tech Batmobile capable of Gotham street-warfare.

Ubisoft included a horse and buggy with “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” along with several new levels and loyalty missions to incorporate this new capability.

The foundation of the “Mad Max” game and franchise is built entirely on the use of cars to beat back the post-apocalyptic crazies in a world where water and oil are your most precious resources.

Now I’m not saying driving mechanics are a bad thing. If done correctly, I think including a driving capability can expand the game and open up a new experience for players.

However, it is important that driving mechanics are implemented correctly.

For example.

As much as I loved the next-gen Arkham, I think the Batmobile was hard to drive and difficult to incorporate. While its battle mode was certainly interesting and even fun at some times, it was hard to justify the car’s use in Arkham Knight versus Asylum or City.

Also, like I mentioned before, it was hard for me to drive around Gotham causing the kind of damage that massive tank of a machine wreaked just by existing.

I understand that nobody but criminals and militiamen were in the city by the time of the game’s beginning. I understand that Rocksteady included animation of criminals jumping out of the way of the Batmobile just in time so they wouldn’t be run over and Batman wouldn’t kill anyone, even accidentally.

And I understand that the use of the Batmobile was 100% justifiable according to Batman canon. It even makes sense because nearly all Batman movies include some sort of Batmobile vehicle, so why shouldn’t the video game?

All I’m saying is that I could not park the car without inflicting some pretty massive damage on the city of Gotham. I could barely move it one foot before there was something getting knocked down in my way. If it wasn’t a street sign or a part of a barbed wire fence it was the glass storefront next to the street or even the concrete corner of an office building.

“Forbes” contributor Erik Kain said it all in his article “Batmobile Blues” when he described the Batmobile as the game’s “second protagonist” and that the game itself could have gone a lot farther with a toned down version of the Batmobile mechanics.

And for those of you who have played the game, don’t even get me started on the Riddler and his racing quests. Or on what Jason did to the city’s underground after he plowed through the dirt with that monstrous digging machine.

I mean, what justifies that kind of incredible force? I love you Jason Todd, but seriously? How? And WHY?

But that’s an issue for another blog.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I would be interested in seeing if Bethesda would ever include a driving capability in their Fallout series. While navigating the post apocalyptic wasteland would be difficult in the bulky nuclear powered cars of 2077, it would be cool to see if the player character could use car parts to hotwire a motorcycle or another smaller mode of transportation.

What other games could benefit from a few driving levels? What games have you played that could have done without them? Leave a comment or send me a message on Twitter (@lydmcinnes).

If you have a game you want me to talk about, or a specific question you want to ask, hit me up and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Drive on, speed demons, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.

combined cars

And while all these cars look fly as hell, the in-game destruction they leave in their wake is anything but.

Image source (clockwise from top left): Batman.wikia.com , Player-zone.com, Gamespot.com, Gta5car.com