Game Philosophy: Underrated Features

Yup, I’m immediately following up with another Game Philosophies, because I feel like talking about games lately, people!

So wipe out that Ginosaji make-up (if you were crazy enough to do that like I was) and get your nerd outfit on again
like this:


Welcome to yet another:


Today’s topic:
Underrated Features

Instead of talking about a general theme or term, I will now actually look at specific features from games which I really think should be looked into more, but for some reason isn’t.

Could either be because the game itself isn’t up to the standards of today’s games but  could also be because people didn’t notice it because of a different feature overshadowing it.

With that said, here are 3 Features in games which I consider to be underrated, and I’ll talk about how it has potential.

Actions with actual CONSEQUENCES

The problem with games these days is that everything is way too scripted. They don’t make use of the fact that it’s a GAME and instead writes the plot like it’s a movie instead.
As examples of games subverting this and giving consequences to actions, I took the games Shadow the Hedgehog and Megaman X (Cover is of the remake).

I’ll explain Shadow the Hedgehog first. The game is a spin off of the Sonic the Hedgehog series where it focuses on one of the supporting characters, Shadow (duh). But the interesting thing is that Shadow is an ambiguous character, able to be as much a villain as a hero. And the game allows you to choose.
Now some gamenerds right now would probably push Fable into my face saying it’s been done before, but what Shadow does differently is this. It’s not just the ENDING that changes, the STORY changes. You go to different levels depending on your choices, something Fable seems to THINK it’s doing, but definitely isn’t.

The problem here though is this: Shadow is a recurring character in the Sonic franchise. And they can’t exactly keep him as a pure evil character if they want to continue his story alongside Sonic and his friends. That is why they added an unlockable “Last Story” to tie everything up and develop Shadow into the character the creators want. But that is what kinda killed the feature.

For this feature to be done right, they should’ve put it in a different one-shot game where there’s not supposed to be a sequel or prequel, thus making you able to form the character in any way you like without consequences.
If that happened, Shadow the Hedgehog’s system would’ve been amazing if done right.

Second game I’ll explain now would be Megaman X. It’s a far sequel from the original Megaman series where you play as the newest model of Megaman, called Megaman X (clever huh?). The game works like this: You choose a stage, boss represents the stage, you go through stage, kill boss, take his weapon, choose another stage.
It’s simply and effective, but they actually made use of that. They made stuff happen to OTHER stages if you killed a certain boss.
For example you kill the boss that takes care of the cold weather of a stage. Without him around, the weather would not be confined to that stage anymore and would spread to the other level, making you able to walk over the frozen areas.

It works really well, but people seem to think about Megaman X’s ability to take the enemy’s weapon more than this feature, which is kinda sad since this is a real good feature to give you replay value.

In my eyes, if these two features would’ve combined, it would’ve made the game that Fable SHOULD’VE been, and would give you a game story which would be personal to any individual, since it’s their actions that fuels the story. Again, it would only work if it would be a stand-alone game, since a sequel would kill the multiple story directions unless it’s in a different dimension or something.

Silly Extra Costumes

First off, what is up with games having to be so serious all the time? Have people forgotten that games used to be stuff to get you AWAY from the grim reality?
You’d think people would  actually reconsider that these days what with Mario still being the most successful game franchise in existance.

And it’s not bad to have a serious game, but it wouldn’t hurt to have something funny AFTER the story, people.

And that’s something Spider-man, Uncharted 2 and Resident Evil 4 seem to realize. Which is good.
Sure they have a bit of a serious story, but afterwards, you unlock many hilarious goodies.

From what I can remember off the top of my head, with Spider-man you could unlock different costumes, including playing as a webswinging officer.
Not only that, you can also make the character’s heads and feet grow to abnormal sizes.
That’s friggin hilarious, and makes me love playing the game again, acting like the Green Goblin gets beaten by Mutant Law Enforcers.
Hell, you can even play as a webswinging Mary Jane, how awesome is that?

With Uncharted 2 you can play as a skeleton, but most notably, a fat version of the main character.
What makes it hilarious is that he actually affects other character’s animations. Like having the partners pant heavily after giving Fat Nathan a boost.

That brings me to Resident Evil 4, but mostly to the PS2 and Wii version, because they added the costume I’d like to mention.
See, this was in the time where Capcom seemed to know what the hell they were doing it seems, since they actually listened to the complaints of their games.
In Resident Evil 4’s case, it would be that you have to protect a girl named Ashley, whom Leon for some reason refuses to just give her a friggin gun for self defense.
While they didn’t give Ashley the ability to wield a gun, instead they gave you an unlockable, which is an Armored suit.
It’s funny to see a gangster walking around with a girl in armored suit while infected villagers try to kidnap said girl, only to have their backs crushed for trying to carry her.

All in all, games should by nature realize that games may be able to have serious stories, but remember that it will always and forever be entertainment.
And nothing entertains people like some hilariously unfitting costumes.

Gag Dubs (B-Side Dub)

Okay, this is very personal to me, WHY is this NOT a trend yet?!
A little explanation, Tenchu Wrath of Heaven and Tenchu Return from Darkness are in fact one and the same.  Return from Darkness is just the new title it got when it got ported to the Xbox. The game is a stealth game which for once actually shows Ninjas as how they’re supposed to be, hiding in the shadows and using stealth. It’s story is all about the code of the ninja and how they serve their lord and bla bla bla, basic japanese cliche story.

The feature in question though is that when you play the game well enough for all 3 playable characters, you unlock what they call the “B-side” voice track.

What it is is another English voice track for you to choose in the language selection, but the lines are changed, hilariously.

Instead of the serious original story the games have, instead it’ll be about a secret invention that’s the best invention since slice bread: toilet paper, Echigoya modeling agency, and gay love.

It’s the most hilarious thing I’ve seen in a video game, and it really shows the creators had fun making this.

So why the heck don’t other games do it?

It’s easy to do, it’s hilarious, it gives replay value just for the changed voice in cutscenes, hell it brings new life to the game from minimal effort.

Again, I think the problem here is that people seem to think they’ll win an oscar or something if their games are dark and gritty.
When will people realize that it’s OKAY to be silly AFTER the game is over?
You get to keep your “oscar-winning” story, and then be able to leave something else for people who, oh I don’t know, want to ENJOY their game!

Overall, the main thing here is that people need to realize there is a difference between how you write for a movie and how you write for a game.

People should make use of the fact that it’s interactive, and thus show stuff which would be impossible in a movie.

Published by Huy Minh Le

Huy Minh Le is a Video Game Enthusiast, Movie Lover, Writer, Content Marketeer and regular TvTropes reader! His studies in Game Design, Art, and Writing has led to a very creative, yet analytical mind.

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