It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to go back over the week’s best features, from a first-time trip to an eSports event to High on Life bringing AI Art into the gaming world, with a sprinkling of BOTW weapon durability discourse. The perfect cap for any year, right?
Lil’ Gator Game Made Me Hate Breath Of The Wild’s durability system
Five years after Breath of the Wild and we’re still talking about gun durability, baby. BOTW’s weapons are limited in use, meaning the more you hack and slash goblins and other creatures, the closer you get to your weapon falling apart in your hands. You also can’t recover it – once your weapon fires, it’s gone for good. Some love it, some hate it, hence the discourse. Cue Lil’ Gator.
Chief News Editor George Foster has managed to stay out of the debate for the past five years, but then he reviewed this cute little platformer that gives you a distinctly Zelda-inspired sword and shield and says have fun. You can jump on your shield and slide down hills, just like in BOTW, and slash away at the grass with your sword – only there’s no combat. The sword and shield will not break no matter what you do. And then, after half a decade, George chose a side and jumped off the fence – if a game is dedicated to creativity and gives you the tools to do whatever you want, and limits it with a degradation system that just flies in the face of it all.
After going to my first esports tournament I finally get it
Cross-department editor Issy van der Velde headed to Brazil last week for the Red Bull Campus Clutch Valorant tournament – his first ever esports event. He has never paid much attention to e-sports, but this trip opened his eyes to the world of competitive gaming. Sitting through each segment of the tournament, starting to form allegiances with certain teams, and watching the score creep up over the course of the match without a clear leader all made for an incredibly tense experience – but more than that, getting to hang out with players and interviewing them gave Issy a personal insight into the world of eSports, helping him understand the commitment of each team and the passion behind the sport.
AI Art has no place in games
AI art is a complete mess – essentially, it’s an algorithm-fed work from real artists (usually without their consent) that then creates an eerie mash-up based on questions you enter. People have been selling this art, again without the consent of the real artists it is sourced from, and now it has crept into gameplay thanks to High on Life. As Lead Features Editor Jade King writes, this is hollow, lazy and an insult to real artists. But worse, it’s a grim insight into how talent is being shelved in favor of automation simply because it’s cheaper and easier, even if it’s shallow and often creepy – just look at how quickly people realized High on Life had AI -art.
Dragonriding is too much fun for WoW’s own good
World of Warcraft has been going for 18 years, but it still finds new ways to surprise us and stay fresh. One of those ways is being able to ride dragons in the new Dragonflight expansion. As Features Editor Eric Switzer writes, it’s incredibly fun, but it’s backed Blizzard into a corner creatively. You can’t bring it into older expansions, and players will be at a disadvantage if it’s present in newer expansions, given that they may not have played Dragonflight. Going back to regular flying mounts feels inevitable given all this, but it now feels like a relic from another game.
It doesn’t matter what the “biggest story” in video games is
Craig Mazin, showrunner of The Last of Us’ TV adaptation, called it “the biggest story” in video games, and it caused a stir as many were quick to throw their own picks into the mix, debating which story really is the biggest. As editor-in-chief Stacey Henley argues, it doesn’t matter, and what we consider “great” in games is often little more than serviceable, as the bar is set far too low. As good as The Last of Us is, calling it “the greatest story” is endemic to its constant need to talk about itself in hyperbolic language, and that’s a huge problem in gaming. We need a number one choice and then everything else is terrible, but there is no way to preserve art.
Next: How Microsoft Flight Simulator made me a better pilot