For the most part, Batman Arkham Knight is a game that lacks confidence. It can't quite commit to a representation of Batman that feels unique, and its Gotham is drawn from so many sources that it feels more referential than essential in and of itself. But there is one place that Arkham Knight feels not only confident, but genuinely innovative and interesting. Arkham Knight has some of the most interesting camera work I've ever seen in a game, but at every step it leaves me cold....
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Devil Survivor 2: Season 2 is probably the best way to think of Record Breaker, in fact. The second campaign has more taxing, complex battles, but also more of the cast hanging out between fights, chatting and slowly learning to trust each other as the world falls apart all around them. No one character is particularly exciting or spectacularly written, but they're solid executions on the traditional anime cliches that the SMT series trades in, and the added wrinkle of only having a limited amount of time per in-game day to spend with them means you start thinking about budgeting your friendships.
Hideo Kojima's earliest games starred Hollywood actors. 1987's Metal Gear for the MSX2 featured character portraits drawn to resemble popular actors, like Sean Connery, Mel Gibson, and uh...Albert Einstein. Scientists aside, it was a pretty clear mission statement on Kojima's part. He was a man who decided to go into video games, but he came primarily from a film background. Not academically mind you— Kojima studied economics— but he spent much of his childhood making films on an 8mm camera, and watching movies with his parents. He references games like Yuji Hori's 1983 adventure game, The Portopia Serial Murder Case, as the games that inspired him to get into the industry. He was an aspiring short story writer and artist and film maker, and here he was, making games. Games that were inspired almost entirely by movies.
Video games have a story problem. They've had it pretty much since their very inception, and they'll probably never STOP having them. It's really damn hard to tell a good story while a player is mucking around in the game world. Generally speaking, they won't care, and even when they do, it's hard to draw their attention to certain things without wresting control of the narrative away from them. So, instead, most games turned to cutscenes, cutaway mini-movies that tell stories in between gameplay, and thus began games' everlasting obession with becoming movies. Here are just a few games that can help you track the evolution of cinematic storytelling in games, and help keep you on track for our theme month on the intersection of games and cinema.