Friday, September 10, 2010

The Path Unexpected...

So, like many others, labor day included a gaming binge for me.

I had intended to play a particular game, the official sequel to an old favorite, a title with nearly universal brand recognition and which which leaves a large stamps on my memories of years gone by.

It was a game that I have not played much, and have had mixed feelings concerning, but am eager to give more time to win my affection.

For reasons I will discuss at another time, I couldn't play this one, and ended up on another game, which we will call Simmo. The first will be Gameo.

Simmo comes from much the same origins, and uses many of the same concepts and conventions as Gameo's predecessor. These two are in many ways close cousins, but in so many ways very different.

Both have a "campaign" format, a series of fights that are interconnected by a storyline, but the differences start from there.
In Gameo, there is a mostly linear progression, the storyline (from what I understand) is often considered unnecessary, more of flavor text than a real gameplay mechanic. The progression from one fight to another isn't immediate and forced, but instead simply waiting for the player to exhaust the pre-scripted content before allowing himself to be lead by the hand to the next fight.

In Simmo, however, the campaign has a great openness. Characters exist as potential enemies and allies, but with interesting and varied attitudes towards the player. The world moves around the player, shaping and reforming but also dependent on the player's input. Choices made by the player are meaningful and have consequences.

The fights are extremely important in both, but executed differently.

In Simmo, there is a very concrete feel to the battle. Ranged attacks feel different than close up attacks. Morale is a concern, and enemies can be routed (scared off) and don't always fight to the death. The difficulty of fights can vary greatly depending on what choices are made in the campaign, and sometimes a very easy fight might follow a very difficult one.

In Gameo, fights follow a very particular progression. There are things to do outside of the fight that improve one's options, but each fight will almost always be an escalation from the previous one. This is not to say they are uninteresting.. one fight could require a pitched battle, another a siege mentality, but the format of these is tightly scripted, and there are bonuses within the combat that simply happen due to game logic, disassociated from any real situation.

Do I like one more than the other? So far I have probably made my prejudices clear. I am still looking to give Gameo more of an opportunity to win my heart.