Trailers

A couple of days ago two trailers for Sims 3 expansions popped up. As such, neither has been confirmed by EA. They showed “Generations” and “Unleashed”, the former’s premise being a concept I found uninspired and lacking.

Having watched the trailers, I’ve warmed slightly to Generations yet still think it fairly unoriginal. It seems to place more emphasis on differences between ages, but the thing that really interested me was the appearance of video cameras and family photos. It looks as though Generations offers a little more posterity for your game world. I hope that picture taking will be autonomous or semi-autonomous, as I always found it tiresome to have to arrange Sims for photographs. And the addition of anti-social behaviour in the game is always one I welcome (it’s a step closer to being able to murder other Sims).

Much more exciting is the trailer for Unleashed. Whereas Generations seems to consist of smaller additions to the game, Unleashed offers the huge and much requested addition of pets. And not just pets but wild fauna as well. And rideable horses. It could just be the trailer-hype, but it seems as though EA are actually going to get this one right. The animal animations look smooth and believable, the wild creatures seem to add a lot of atmosphere to the neighbourhood, and the traits shown seem suitable (with the exception of Fluffy the cat, who like to swim).

Sims 3 Expansions still don’t hold as much promise or content as the Sims 2 ones did. Generations is a more original concept, in that Unleashed was already done in The Sims 2 and 1 — but, given that it doesn’t seem to offer anything ground-breaking, that’s not surprising.

Without further speculation, the trailers:

The Sims 3: Generations

The Sims 3: Unleased

My enthusiasm for Dead Island was recently curbed due to a screen shot in a look at the game over at Kotaku.com.au (found here) showing an electrified machete.

After viewing the screen shots on the official site, I mentioned that the samurai sword was a bit gimmicky. However, in the light (so to speak) of electrified swords…  I suppose the gimmick will instead be a flaming samurai sword.

I had hoped that Dead Island would evolve to be a more realistic and terrifying zombie survival game. Now it seems to be shaping up as another fantastical take on humans surrounded by the undead and, while I look forward to seeing more of the game, I doubt that it will live up to its incredible cinematic trailer.

I’m sure that there are numerous people who are thrilled by the prospect of crafting weed whackers with flaming barbed wire on the end, but I think it’d have to be one boring zombie apocalypse if a survivor had the time and desire to do that sort of thing.

The other night I watched the Dead Island trailer. I was amazed.

“This,” thought I, “is how a zombie outbreak would really be: heart-wrenching, frantic and hopeless.”

In a genre where every game has you hunting zombies like you’re some sort of aquatic filter feeder and they are krill — where the characters are bad-asses to whom the sight of a rotting corpse shambling towards them is no more disturbing than crossing the path of a violent and ankle-loathing terrier – this trailer showed the haunting side of an outbreak that the modern human, enthusiastic in the certainty of its own survival and the copious supplies of weapons and ammunition that magically appear in convenient locations, seems not to think about.
It looks like an actual horror game. With horror instead of stupid one-liners and blazing shotguns.

Of course, this was only a cinematic trailer. To make a game as frantic and emotionally stirring as that is going to be difficult.
There’s a Holy Trinity of making games: What the consumer wants, what the game needs and functionality that caters for both. It seems like zombie games give the player a lot of what they want: action and guns, both of which detract from what a zombie outbreak needs, which is a sense of urgency and real danger, and maybe a bit of fear.

The prospect of battle being mostly mêlée based makes a lot of sense to me, as I’m not from America and therefore guns aren’t a casual accessory for civilians. Furthermore, that mêlée weapons degrade and break adds that sense of urgency. Reloading a gun is one thing — having an axe break in half in your hand is quite another.

Left 4 Dead is a great zombie game, but it follows a very basic pattern: You get health and ammo at a checkpoint, then work your way through hordes of zombies in the happy and certain knowledge that there’s more health and ammo at the next checkpoint. Whether or not Dead Island is going to have that certainty of safety on the other side of its rotting hordes remains to be seen – it’s difficult to break that “Do this and get rewarded” scheme in a game without making it into a simulation.

 

 

When I was browsing through the screen shots, I came across one of a zombie in a huge restraint suit charging at one of the characters while she held a samurai sword. When I first saw this image, I thought it a pretty stock-standard Zombie-Action! Game shot and flicked past it. Samurai swords are too easy, I think. And restraint-suit zombie? What a gimmick.

It was only looking at it a second time that I really realised what was going on in the shot. Sure, there was still a samurai sword, but the background really told the story of why this gimmick zombie was present. There’s a police van crashed in the background, and a few police zombies milling about. This zombie was in this huge restraint suit because he was a prisoner in transport. Suddenly he seemed more like a horror than a gimmick. But, yeah: a samurai sword.

As much as there is of the game that’s yet to be known and to what degree the game shall change to balance those player-wants and game-needs, and whether or not the game will ever be released, as news about it has been popping up every now and then for a few years now, I have to say that the trailer has captured my interest and excited me more than any other announced release.