AAA Games Have Stopped Innovating

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AAA Games Have Stopped Innovating

I look at Halo 5 and wonder how far triple-A games have really come in the three years that have passed since Halo 4. It's not that far - and we've discarded innovation on the way.

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I suppose there are hidden gems of innovation here and there, like the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, but they're kind of the exception to the rule aren't they...

I'm not really sure if you need all that much innovating in the first place. Movie industry has gone on just fine without innovating itself every five years or so. All you'd need to do would be to create good games with nice story and gameplay in them.

Which AAA has completely failed to do as well, of course, but that's beside the point.

Man, that was kind of depressing to read. No wonder it hasn't felt like anything really exciting has come out with the new generation of games. Granted, it's not like there was anything to really expect except for possibly more interactive environments.

I hate to say it, but the last game that came out that I thought 'wow, look at how the technology has evolved' was minecraft with its dynamic terrain generation and whatnot. And then microsoft ate it.

I haven't seen anything that's made me want to run out and buy a new console or heavily upgrade my pc (except for fallout 4, but that's because I love bethesda's buggy messes).

erttheking:
I suppose there are hidden gems of innovation here and there, like the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, but they're kind of the exception to the rule aren't they...

Exactly.

Shadow of Mordor's PS4/XBone version didn't really LOOK next-gen, but that's because they focused on using the extra memory to introduce something truly innovative to gameplay. This is what we need: companies that are less focused on graphics than deep/innovative gameplay and an audience that is willing play the less pretty game because it has deep/innovative gameplay.

Nothing to debate you on this time, old chap. You're 100% correct. I played the original Halo when it came out, and I'm just as baffled now as I was then as to its popularity. I look forward to your inevitable review of 'Doom'.

Didn't the Kinect fail mostly becaus of the orwellian surveillance 'konnected' to it?

other than that, right on spot!

But you did not mention THE No.1 place where gaming innovated over the past years

iOS

and this because Apple provided an insanley cheap entry ticket for devs and a complete ecosystem for distrubution.

hate me all you want, the myriads of innovation that was introduced on that plattform is only conquered by the introduction of computer gaming at all ...and the home computers aera.

I agree, but it feels ridiculously similar to how we view indie films. AAA films are huge budget things that largely don't innovate, but attention to detail, good writing, casting, and scoring can make them stand out. Meanwhile indies are done on a budget but are more likely to innovate and do something interesting, occasionally exploding into a must see phenomenon. Which I guess keeping the similarities going says that all of us older game nerds looking for innovation are the equivalent to the indie film nerds going to film festivals and being overly critical of things.

Nintendo still experiments some, but again that's sort of an exception to the rule. I wish critics would quit hounding them to send Mario to the smartphone...platformers and controllers with no buttons aren't the best pairing I think.

Can't argue against this article, nope. Not really even anecdotally.

Its about right. I just see a 'dead zone' from 2012 because that was the last big year for the PS3 and 360. Assassin's Creed had an overhaul with 3, for better and worse; Halo 4 took the 360's bloom effects to the limit, and Dishonored felt like a new spin on the stealthy approach. Modern Shooters had peaked with Black ops 2 and could only add thruster packs from then on, and Far Cry 3 showed just how much fun open world shooters could be.

From 2012 to 2015, any new games have just disappointed. 2013 was barren from the anticipation of new consoles, and anything that has been released since has been inferior to their prequels on current consoles, buggy at launch, filled with less content just to show off graphically, and just not as fun.

I cannot be the only one that waited for the next new game and thought 'this may be the one to make me get a new console' only to find the buggy unpolished messes they became. I was sold on the 360 with Halo 3 and GTA IV, and they arrived at around the 2-3 year mark of new hardware. No such case here

The PS4 has a share button! Innovation at its finest!

Nope, not seeing any need to replace my Gamecube and PS2, both with stacks of fantastic games that I'll never get around to playing.

whose rails led directly into the vagina of a diseased apatosaurus.

Pretty sure reptilian anatomy doesn't work that way. Or does that just make the analogy even more profound?

DocImpossible452:
I agree, but it feels ridiculously similar to how we view indie films. AAA films are huge budget things that largely don't innovate, but attention to detail, good writing, casting, and scoring can make them stand out. Meanwhile indies are done on a budget but are more likely to innovate and do something interesting, occasionally exploding into a must see phenomenon. Which I guess keeping the similarities going says that all of us older game nerds looking for innovation are the equivalent to the indie film nerds going to film festivals and being overly critical of things.

Nintendo still experiments some, but again that's sort of an exception to the rule. I wish critics would quit hounding them to send Mario to the smartphone...platformers and controllers with no buttons aren't the best pairing I think.

Can't argue against this article, nope. Not really even anecdotally.

I feel that comparing AAA games to blockbuster movies in this regard is a bit of a cop out. Yes the comparisons drawn are valid, but these are two different entertainment mediums so we're comparing apples & oranges. Video games have way more room to innovate and try new things due to their interactive nature, in ways that a blockbuster movie couldn't hope to replicate.

Also the film industry isn't just blockbusters and indies, they never lost those middle ground productions. While it's the Star Wars & Avengers that everyone gets excited about theaters still need to fill their time slots 365 days a year so there's still plenty of middle ground professional movies made. Unlike the video game industry the second tier movie productions never died off.

"the train that it turned out had chocolate biscuits instead of wheels and whose rails led directly into the vagina of a diseased apatosaurus."

Ahahaha!!! Seriously, thanks for the laugh (as per usual)! :D

erttheking:
I suppose there are hidden gems of innovation here and there, like the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, but they're kind of the exception to the rule aren't they...

Yeah, it's just too bad the rest of the game was so bland. I'd love to see the nemesis system put into a game that has more to do than just killing orcs in a lifeless open world map.

They realized people don't actually want innovation. Oh they say they do, but they'll still preferentially buy the same old shit with a higher number and more explosions. It's just too risky to innovate in AAA given the budgets. That's why I play mostly indie games, where they can and do, then the occasional AAA as comfort food.

Some people have mentioned Mordor as a rare counterexample. I'd include the building and crafting in Fallout 4. Of course that's obviously all borrowed from elsewhere, but it's certainly a huge change for that AAA series.

And I think that's the model now... Let the Indies innovate then steal it when it's safe. And I'm okay with that. AAA is the big dumb stupid fun thing.

I don't know why Yahtzee insists that new consoles must mean different games. It's never been like that. NES -> SNES just meant better graphics and longer games. PS1 -> PS2? Better graphics and longer games. The N64 let them actually standardize 4 player games (no niche multitap required), the next gen let them standardize online multiplayer on consoles (no PC required), and other than that it's been the same old same old every new gen, with the exception of the motion controls which ruined more things than they helped.

Do you know why there hasn't been any innovation? Because Microsoft fractured the market. It's not a coincidence that Yahtzee thinks the PS2 era was gaming's golden age - it's because it was a time when there was the LEAST platform competition. Making a game? Put it on the PS1 or PS2. Got a 4 player multiplayer game? Put it on Nintendo's console. Done. Now make your game and your audience will be there. Take risks! Go wild!

The Xbox 360 destroyed this security. Now you couldn't just make a game for one platform or you wouldn't make your money back. So now we gotta make everything safely. No risks. Appeal to the most people possible.

I've long said for years video gaming can't support 3 consoles, but people always cry "Competition is good for consumers!" No. Not always.

I don't disagree that it feels like things have slowed down, but I certainly wouldn't say that nothing's moved forward in the past 3 years.

We had the Tomb Raider reboot and AC IV come out both of which I felt had progressed in some way, the former modernizing a franchise (it had its flaws but I thought Lara was a well done female protagonist which is still rare) and the latter introducing piratey goodness and great naval combat. Yes, AC has regressed somewhat since then, but it took 4 AC games from AC II for them to switch up the formula; AAA is a slow moving beast which is unfortunate.

Then we had Wolfenstein: The New Order which was a very pleasant surprise. I also enjoyed D4, but that's probably because I'm one of the crazy few that still enjoy playing Kinect games and I much preferred playing that ridiculousness without a controller.

Shadow of Mordor was mentioned and then there was Murdered: Soul Suspect (really awkward title) which had a lot of issues but also some interesting ideas.

Then we had Alien: Isolation which feels like a legitimate horror game for once! Arkham Knight tried to innovate - and failed miserably, but still tried nonetheless.

Sunset Overdrive felt like a refreshing change of pace from all the games that have been taking themselves way too seriously. They may have gone a bit too far off the opposite end with that one and some of the humour fell flat, but it had solid and interesting gameplay that felt like a nice fusion of THPS and Ratchet & Clank.

Watch_Dogs for all its hype and disappointment also had some interesting ideas that had they been more fleshed out and substantial would have made that game much more interesting. I played it a year later after all the hype had died out and I had almost no expectations which also let me appreciate the new things they'd tried to do. I imagine letting a player control an open world indirectly whilst also being able to interact with it as a player character was not the easiest to implement (and, of course, it was an Ubisoft game so it had to have towers/outposts/click-here-to-reveal-map-thingamajigs and countless pointless collectables).

Then there was Fantasia - I know, another Kinect game, but quite possibly my favourite music rhythm game in the last few years. Sure, it's a niche game, but one that also introduced a new type of music rhythm game.

I'd even argue that Halo 5 is probably the one that has changed up gameplay the most for that franchise. It doesn't exactly introduce anything that hasn't been done yet, but the gameplay was really enjoyable (except for those warden fights when playing solo). It also suffers from a story that barely progresses for the duration of 15 missions and a lot of characters are barely fleshed out let alone have an actual arc. So maybe it's a regression on some fronts, but oh well, can't win em all!

Lastly, I'm not trying to claim that all the games I listed were actually any good, just that they all tried to innovate in some way (whether they succeeded or not doesn't matter) and were all developed by fairly large, generally AAA teams (except maybe D4 and Fantasia). I haven't mentioned any Sony exclusives as I haven't really played any lately and thus can't say much about them. Is this 2 pages yet?

What AAA gaming done for the last couple generations?
Let's see:
>"HD" ports with little to no actual improvement, sometimes worse graphics that their PC ports
>increased platform parity
>the season pass and other various bullshit DLC galleries
>rushed, buggy releases becoming the norm
>day-one patches
>significant cutting back on features and striving to make things "accessible"

If there was ever an instance of "innovating downwards", than the AAA industry nailed it with their business practices over the years.

Alek The Great:

~Snip~

Yeah, this pretty much. There's been a lot of interesting ideas, some of which have been pretty great, so it's not exactly fair to say that AAA isn't innovating.

Well, I'm sure the texture artists would argue that they're putting in a lot more work these days, even if it doesn't show unless you look at the three-year-old product right next to the recent one. And the environments are bigger, thanks to the extra memory, as Rocksteady argued with the most recent version of Arkham.

But otherwise...? I mean, one could even make an argument that some of the "improvements" are a step back. An awful lot of Mad Max's reviewers seemed to feel that the gigantic sandbox didn't bring all that much to the table but a bunch of busy-work that wasn't much fun. We still seem to be edging towards an always-on reality despite promises to the contrary, and screaming across headsets at strangers rather than playing games that you would actually enjoy with a friend next to you on the couch. Successful Kickstarters like Yooka-Laylee, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, and Mighty Number 9 are in one way hopeful, and in another way seem to imply that there isn't any room in AAA for games that are just fun any more. A franchise game is a careful mixture of awesomeness and utter disposability; after all, they don't want you to still be playing it when they ask you for $60+ next year.

So, I guess, what's news, then? Big monolithic companies don't want to take risks, or if they do, they're the kinds of risks that sound great on paper and thunderingly stupid when announced to us consumers (Hellooooo, Activision-King). There are small seeds of hope in things like Ubisoft's cultivation of smaller projects like Grow Home and Valiant Hearts... But then again, they don't exactly seem in a hurry to start throwing the seven- and eight-figure budgets after anything developed in the skunkworks, either.

AAA games have stopped innovating because it seems that Nintendo is not on Team AAA like back in the day... and that's not including indies being defined by the amount of As it doesn't have in comparison to the games that have all the As because money is the only true divide between the As, anyway... Besides, when they do, it's either overlooked and/or are associated with how "bad" the game was to even try to do said "innovation" again, but better from more than just from a business perspective...

Anyway, I feel like the As should only be used for quality reasons, like gameplay and in-game mechanics, instead of quantity reasons, like budgets and graphics... Once that distinction becomes the norm, then the idea of AAA gaming not innovating, let alone stopped innovating, would be a myth more busted than those myths on Mythbusters...

But has the Video Game industry (after the crash) ever truly innovated, in terms of their consoles, outside of Nintendo's awkward Wiggle and Waggle years?

Everything, from the NES to the SNES. From the N64 to the Gamecube. From the Xbox to the 360. From the PS1 to the 2 to the 3 to the 4. It's always been the same thing: pump more power into the console using the latest technology, wow people with how much greater everything looks, ?????, profit. The jump from NES to SNES? Wowwie zowwie. The jump from N64 to Gamecube? Pretty cool. PS1 to PS2? Amazing. But with each generation, it costs more and gives a weaker return. And we've finally hit what looks like the "dried up well" point. They can pump as much money as they can into boosting the consoles' specs, but you'll never get blood from a stone.

And the industry has no fucking idea what to do, because it's been what they've done for neigh on 30 years.

That said, this might actually be a good thing for the games industry. Once everyone realizes that consoles, themselves, cannot improve without exorbitant costs (or allowing the tech to advance for a couple decades and allowing the prices to become reasonable), we might finally see lateral competition, instead of this vertical specs race. Instead of "how high can we reach?" they will try for "how much can we get out of what we got?" Maybe we'll finally get 60 FPS gaming on consoles as the norm, instead of the exception. New IPs. Other forms of lateral competition. Etc.

I mean, either that or they'll continue trying to build up until their tower of "costs more than it returns" and their already shaky base will collapse underneath their bloated ego. "The Great Console Gaming Crash of 20XX" has a good ring to it.

First, a question. What is it that you would consider an innovation in video games?
It's very easy for us to point to the Wii an' say,"Look! It was different! Innovation!", but I feel like the sentiment is a little disingenuous if considered in hindsight(as opposed to in the present).

Video games are a kind of physical activity. In order to play, someone must manipulate an object in 3-D space. Because this its nature, video games involve a heavy amount of spacial thinking, like in sports. People start with little league, and as they continue to better understand how to manipulate themselves and a ball(I guess), they grow better at the game. Fighting games easily mimic this experience.

In soccer(sorry, Football) there is no narrative beyond the trivial.
I am a warrior of the Astral Confederacy. I have been sent by my Lord High Commander Yatz-yoben as part of the tenants of my bond servitude. My duty is to transfer precious Soul Orbs into the Great Gates of Ending Space, a mission that will take me through the farthest reaches of the known galaxy, smuggling my contraband thru powerful Vasto class Dreadnaughts.
It's possible to dream up a story like that while playing, unfortunately none of it will have much to do with kicking a football past a goal keeper.

So, that being said, is it that you expect video games to innovate strictly for storytelling's sake?

I'm a visual artist but like yourself, I have a difficult time progressing through a game if I don't have a proper context.
To be honest, I would love Football even more if it worked more like my silly tale above.(Although, I think if we lived in a Universe like the one above, we'd all have very different opinions on everything.)
Even still, I have a deep respect for improvements in the "intuitive-ness" video games have achieved, especially in this and the last generation. Look, we got Dark Souls, StarCraft 2, Metal Gear Solid V; we got Dead Rising, Bayonetta, the Uncharted series; we got the Arkham games, the Battlefield series, and even if you hate it, we got the precedent made by Modern Warefare.
Video games are becoming better to control, and more responsive to the subtleties we want.
When it comes to games like Halo or COD, major improvements per iteration come in the form of enhancements or tweaks to a player's ability to play the game. This is a form of progress when it comes to manipulating 3-D space, but it's a hard progression to quantify. In fact, it's usually only "felt" when you return to older installments or different brands within a genre.
For example, play Street Fighter 4 then play Killer Instinct, and you should feel the difference between the two games.

Anyway, we shouldn't think this a small issue, because making games feel like an extension of your body is a very difficult task.

So, in light of this, we can ask a new question. How much control and/or "innovation" do we need for a game to engage well?
Consider Metal Gear Solid V, a game whose control is so well crafted, you easily forget you are holding a controller. And yet, its a game marred by an unsatisfying plot.
Or consider Undertale, a charmingly written scenario that easily sweeps you off your feet, but whose visuals and scope leave a little to be desired.

Could a game with Undertale's plot and characters be made with MGSV's visuals and gameplay? Could a game with MGSV's gameplay be made with Undertales visuals and scope? Which could you imagine being more successful?

The real innovations of the last 5 years in games are on the development side. That is to say that the additional power of hardware and new and better tools available allows for games to be made better and easier. The key here is that game companies need to learn restraint and stop trying to maximize the system anymore and start using the tools they have to make actually good and focused games. It is far easier and cheaper today to make a game that could have been made on the x360, but AAA producer and developers are busy trying to make games that use every ounce of power so they waste money on things that don't matter.

Thus the AAA industry at large has failed to reap any of the benefits of the last few years of innovation while smaller studios have been able to release truly great games that would have been impossible for them to create even a few years ago.

No innovation? But, pray, do tell, has one tried the latest Need for speed "reboot?" They innovated that to an always online requirement for a full priced, once great single player racing game, put less cars in and less customisation for high end cars...if that isn't innovating an IP into the ground so hard it loses all identity, i don't know what else is. The carving up of games to sell to the consumer in individual nuggets is pretty good innovation in a business sense.
Then let's not forget that Payday 2 developers innovated all their fanbase away with shiny, attractive micrtransactions. You're just not looking hard enough, Yahtzee!
Also...what if the new industry innovation is that...there is no innovation?? Badum! *waves hands about slowly and mysteriously in a jazz-hand manner*

Honestly at this point I think we need to refocus on refining games again. Lets worry about innovation when we can have a solid year of stable game releases. Also, games in genera; are just not innovative any more including indie games.

Personally I could not give less of a fuck how "innovative" a game it as long as it's fun. Innovation just for the sake innovation can be just as bad as not innovating, as Jim Sterling aptly pointed out in his video "Innovation: Gaming's Snake Oil"

I thought Halo 5 was pretty good, I knew it wasn't going to be innovative and I was fine with that, you know the saying-if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Don't really care much about indie titles honestly, the vast majority of them do not interest me at all, i'd much rather stick with AAA games, problem is for every good indie title like Dex, there's hundreds of shitty games that flood Steam on a daily basis, ranging from lazy assets flips like Digital Homicide's entire library, to just plain putrid "we didn't even try" shit like Air Control, there's just way too much garbage to wade through on Steam to the point where i've given up on browsing through the indie section.

Gul:
I'm not really sure if you need all that much innovating in the first place. Movie industry has gone on just fine without innovating itself every five years or so. All you'd need to do would be to create good games with nice story and gameplay in them.

Which AAA has completely failed to do as well, of course, but that's beside the point.

Strongly disagree there, I think some damn good games have come out in the past few years.

Didn't care much for Shadow of Mordor, I thought it was overrated and it's Nemesis system didn't make up for it's bland gameplay and story overall.

Loved Arkham Knight, don't think it "failed miserably" at all.

Kinect didn't fail, it sold pretty well on the 360(far better then Sony's Move did), the whole surveillance thing was blown way out of proportion, people just stopped caring about Kinect after the Xbox One came out, so MS decided not to force people to buy it.

Also yes competition IS good for consumers, it wasn't healthy for the PS2 to so thoroughly dominate over the Gamecube and Xbox.

I'm personally tired of the all naysaying about how much gaming "sucks" nowadays, personally I think it's gotten better then ever, i'm playing Rise of the Tomb Raider right now and absolutely loving it, it's definitely a game of the year contender for me.

Mad Max is a case where the users loved the game a lot more the critics did, critics tend to see a lot of distractions in sandbox games as "busywork", but those who don't have to review games for a living like myself really like doing side activities in that game.

Innovating is expensive. And (relatively) technically hard to do. We have been getting more and more games being released with crippling and sometimes breaking bugs. If they can't release a basic game free of flaws, what chance do they have with an innovative mechanic?

"...the train that it turned out had chocolate biscuits instead of wheels and whose rails led directly into the vagina of a diseased apatosaurus."

That is pure poetry, sir. Jolly well done!

Thanatos2k:
NES -> SNES just meant better graphics and longer games.

May I stick my hand into my monitor, make it travel through the Internet until it comes out of yours, grab you by your head and smash your face against your keyboard? No? Damn lack of innovation!

Now seriously, Street Fighter II couldn't have been done in the NES. The cartridges were too small and the system too limited to contain and process all combos and fast paced action in efficient manner (not to mention it doesn't have enough buttons). Entire genres were created or improved in gameplay (like action-JRPGs) in the SNES era. Battery powered save systems became mainstream too. That was a huge improvement from the password based.

erttheking:
I suppose there are hidden gems of innovation here and there, like the nemesis system in Shadow of Mordor, but they're kind of the exception to the rule aren't they...

Isn't that the point, though? The innovators are always the minority. The suits just mock them for their ideas, then immediately play follow the leader when things work out. I've seen plenty innovation over the years.

Nintendo innovated with the wii. Bethesda innovated with open world games. Mass Effect hugely innovated the industry with choice in games. From Software completely rewrote the entire video game rule book with Dark Souls, and now Bloodborne.

I mean, if you expect massive, industry wide innovation every year or so then yeah, you're going to be disappointed. That doesn't mean that there aren't creative individuals doing innovative work in the medium. Games are way better then they've ever been. The only thing that stopped innovating are the graphics, and I can live without them.

Unfortunately there's some issues that seem to be in the way.

1: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The basic, winning formula is there, and it get them money to stay afloat at least.

2: What? Are we expecting them to throw out their bread and butter formula and bring in French Toast, and Maple Syrup?

2a: A lot of games don't make huge innovations, but they make some. They may not be throwing away bread and butter for french toast, and syrup, but we're getting maybe some jam instead of butter now and then.
If you play, lets say, the first Dynasty Warriors, and Dynasty Warriors 8, you'll see it's come a long way. Yeah, the core is the same, but that's what people enjoy about it, IMO. Still, one would pretty much have to be spoiled to see that they don't change the game in new directions that are hit, and miss.
I'm sure Assassin's Creed has grown their product while trying to stay true to the core formula as have many other games, including sports games, but it sounds like people want a drastic change.
Expecting drastic changes is kinda dumb. It can very well go the way of New Coke.

Expecting new IPs, spinoffs, a change of lead character, etc. however, is reasonable. Hopefully the company has made enough money to diversify their portfolio of games.

Are we talking hardware? Hardware has seen innovation, but what do you want? A massive leap into ... what exactly? VR? We haven't figured that out. Holodecks? Wishful thinking.
Unfortunately hardware growth is kind of at a limit all around. What's growing is getting out there, but it's not yet affordable, and is still really rough.

Michael Prymula:
Loved Arkham Knight, don't think it "failed miserably" at all.

I actually really enjoyed Arkham Knight as well, but felt the Batmobile was handled terribly. It was alright for driving around and some of the riddler puzzles/races with it were ok, but the tank battles completely destroyed the pacing for me and while I never got bored of the incredibly satisfying hand to hand combat I absolutely loathed some of the tank battles towards the end including the side quests because they'd get so drawn out and boring. So when I said "failed miserably" I was aiming it at Rocksteady adding the batmobile just for the sake of innovation. On the other hand, there was the tag team combat which was more of an evolution but I guess you could call it innovation which I absolutely loved. I really wish there were more tag team scenarios in the game rather than tank battles.

I'm glad to also hear positive things about Rise of the Tomb Raider as the previous title was a pleasant surprise for me and I was hoping the sequel would turn out ok. Might pick it up soon.

I agree with you that it's easy to be cynical and say that AAA games nowadays are terrible, but it wasn't too long ago in the previous console generation that everyone was complaining about gray/brown shooters and lack of originality and that console cycle we got some real gems as well (one of my favourites being the Bioshock series).

Once your development budget exceeds 1 million. Risk is something you try to avoid so you don't do anything unless you can show proof that it will generate or create sales. Hence why most AAA's blow their budget on graphics. Graphics make purdy screen shots and video trailers.

Alek The Great:

Michael Prymula:
Loved Arkham Knight, don't think it "failed miserably" at all.

I actually really enjoyed Arkham Knight as well, but felt the Batmobile was handled terribly. It was alright for driving around and some of the riddler puzzles/races with it were ok, but the tank battles completely destroyed the pacing for me and while I never got bored of the incredibly satisfying hand to hand combat I absolutely loathed some of the tank battles towards the end including the side quests because they'd get so drawn out and boring. So when I said "failed miserably" I was aiming it at Rocksteady adding the batmobile just for the sake of innovation. On the other hand, there was the tag team combat which was more of an evolution but I guess you could call it innovation which I absolutely loved. I really wish there were more tag team scenarios in the game rather than tank battles.

I'm glad to also hear positive things about Rise of the Tomb Raider as the previous title was a pleasant surprise for me and I was hoping the sequel would turn out ok. Might pick it up soon.

I agree with you that it's easy to be cynical and say that AAA games nowadays are terrible, but it wasn't too long ago in the previous console generation that everyone was complaining about gray/brown shooters and lack of originality and that console cycle we got some real gems as well (one of my favourites being the Bioshock series).

I thought that tank battles were fun, but there were a bit too many of them. If you liked the reboot, you'll definitely like Rise of the Tomb Raider, as it's more of the same, but in a good way, it basically has more of everything in the previous game(most notably tombs, for those who thought there were too few in the last game) my only complaint so far is two of my favorite characters in the previous game- Sam and Reyes are nowhere to be seen(they might turn up later, but given that they weren't listed in the characters section of the strategy guide, that seems unlikely).

People still complain about grey/brown shooters today and i'm sick of that too, I personally don't get the dislike for that color scheme, I think games with brown/grey color schemes can look just as good if not better then games with a more colorful palette(I.E. RAGE).

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