Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Eric Vs. 365 - Day 86 - Ori and the Blind Forest

The best game of the Xbox One / PS4 generation is not a cinematic Sony "Sad Dad" game and is, in fact, Ori and the Blind Forest, available on Xbox One and Switch. It features gorgeous visuals, amazing music, incredible 2D platforming gameplay, and it tells a story that hits a wide range of emotions without beating you over the head with it. This is a game with heart and soul and even 4 years after release it is still the most memorable experience of the generation. Read more and watch gameplay right here.

I love Ori and the Blind Forest and did a pretty good job of explaining why in my review for the game a few years ago, so read that for the finer details on the game. 

What I want to talk about today is the video game equivalent of "Oscar Bait". Games that talk about serious things and have mature themes and are supposedly the "grown up" games in a sea of mindless shooters. The Last of Us, God of War 2018, every David Cage game, Telltale's The Walking Dead - these are all endlessly praised as being mature and adult and great but, honestly, I think they all kinda suck for various reasons. 

Sony's sad dad games are all the same gray brown third person dreck that try to pretend to be movies but then have worlds filled with collectibles and crafting materials and endless upgrade menus that totally take me out of the experience. The stories are never as deep as Sony fans like to think, either. David Cage games always have stellar presentation, but putrid writing (the stories are nonsense, folks) and the gameplay is generally not very fun. And Telltale's games have mediocre presentation, poor gameplay, and the stories (other than Walking Dead season 1) are generally garbage. They all also hit you over the head with what you're supposed to be thinking instead of letting you figure things out for yourself, which is the clearest sign that these are not really games for smart savvy adults but still games for teens and morons.

I've said before that certain games have an "Emperor's New Clothes" aura around them. People are afraid to criticize them because they fear they'll not be seen as mature and intellectual because the games are "serious" and "adult" so everyone nods in agreement and no one says - "Hey, the gameplay in The Last of Us is awful if you don't like stealth games" or "David Cage is a hack that makes bad games that play bad and have terrible writing". Well, I've been saying it.

Sony's best game is Journey, by the way.

On the other hand, we have something like Ori and the Blind Forest that is a complete package of excellent presentation, gameplay, and story. The story in particular really stands out because it is organic and real and doesn't tell you what you're supposed to be thinking. It is subtle and smart and mature without being pretentious. It's a 5/5, my 2015 Game of the Year, and still reigns as what I feel is the best game of the generation.