Rant: Hadouken Unlocked
Okay, this adding-RPG-unlocks-to-everything trend has to stop. I just started playing Batman: Arkham Asylum, and apparently you get experience points with which you level up and learn new combo moves.
I’m sorry Rocksteady, but did you forget who is the main character of your fucking game? This is isn’t Frodo from the fucking Shire, he’s The Goddamned Batman.
Batman doesn’t learn new moves. Batman knows all the moves. He’s a fucking martial arts master. He’s Batman.
The time setting of the game is not Year One Batman or anything; Gordon has white hair and there’s that Oracle chick and Batman’s trusted by the police and everything. Batman has been doing this stuff forever.
There are certain games where that the loot and level grind makes sense. Diablo really is just clicking on shit until more loot pops out — a lootless Diablo would be like a candyless pinata. The base mechanic in Diablo is boring, just like in pinata (well, beating things with sticks is always fun, but if there’s no candy in that stupid paper thing, you’ll have a lot more fun hitting your brother with that stick instead). It’s unlocking more loot that makes Diablo fu- well, compulsive at least.
But the base mechanics of Batman — beating up fools with a simple combo system, exploring the environment, the stealth parts — are fun, period. There is no candy required to convince you to keep doing them, just like hitting your brother is worthwhile just by itself (the candy in that case is metaphorical: it’s his whiny cries for mercy). Putting keep-doing-this candy in Batman is a sign of a lack of confidence on Rocksteady’s part: they do not think that their base game is fun. And this is a bizarre lack of confidence that is slowly seeping throughout the industry.
Shooting people in Quake was fun. Jumping on goombas in Mario was fun. Unleashing perfectly timed moves on your opponent in Street Fighter II was fun.
Can you imagine a Street Fighter V where you have to unlock Ryu’s Hadouken?
You know someone’s thought of it. Nevermind that Ryu not knowing how to do a Hadouken makes as much sense as Batman not knowing how to put a bad guy in a chokehold. Nevermind that unlocking shit is not the point of Street Fighter, that Street Fighter’s base gameplay is fun, that winning is intrinsically rewarding, that a level playing field is what makes the game competitive and exciting, or that accidentally discovering and successfully using a new move is one of the greatest joys a newbie fighting gamer can have: someone out there has debated how many experience points Ryu should earn before he can use his Hadouken.
Think that’s crazy? At one point I would have said the same about having to unlock the rocket launcher in Quake multiplayer. But Modern Warfare is praised and imitated and sells millions on that exact idea. I have heard people say that they are glad for the weapon unlocks, otherwise all those hours they spend in multiplayer would feel “wasted”. Holy shit, you’re playing a fucking videogame, not curing cancer! You’re shooting virtual dudes so you can get more virtual weapons to shoot … more virtual dudes? I have heard people say that they like getting “rewarded” when they do well. Are the words “you win” not enough for you spoiled fucks? Did your mommies compliment so much that you don’t trust a simple numerical listing of the best players on the server, with your names near the top? You need to also be given tools that give you an artificial advantage over other players?
Can you imagine the following exchange on TV:
“Congratulations! Your team won the World Cup, how do you feel?”
“Pretty good, I guess, but I was really hoping that FIFA would reward us with a smaller goal and maybe let us have more players than the other teams in future games.”
Shit, Modern Warefare gives you unlocks and goodies even if you suck. “Oooh, you poor baby. At least you’ll have this tricked out ACR to lord over that good player who just hasn’t put as much fucking time into this game as you.”
Anyway, I’m getting away from my main point, which is: Rocksteady, no. Just, no.
When Batman is trapped in an insane asylum, putting the beatdown on bad guys, he does not upgrade his Batarangs to do more damage. He does not suddenly learn how to do a chokehold.
And furthermore, you do not have to dangle these pissant carrots in front of me to convince me to to continue playing your awesome game.
In the game, I’m Batman. And that’s more than enough.