Fantasy Games: Room for a few more?

I’ve played my share of fantasy games, from The Hobbit, Pandemonium (PS1 ace game!) to Final Fantasy and in more recent times Warcraft, AION, even Borderlands has a dystopian fantasy setting.

I’ve been dithering over whether or not to buy Dragon Age for PS3 and will likely grab it along with Darksiders some time this month. You might say that I am rather smitten with World of Warcraft, and to a certain extent I am. Aside from all those people who moan and bitch about every tiny detail, WoW is a very solid and highly polished game, works on many levels (ha ha ha) and has an in depth storyline, history and characters.

This post isn’t about Dragon Age (as I haven’t played it yet) but about the lore behind it and other fantasy games that strive to have a rich and interesting world and history for its characters to inhabit andfor players to explore. I was told in Game to get Dragon Age as I wouldn’t be disappointed, yet I have read reviews about it being “too wordy” with far too much chatter and not enough action. I can’t comment on this but I do wonder what people expect from a certain genre.

Mass Effect was quite heavy on the conversation pieces at times, (like Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Final Fantasy 7 with its endless “…” being spoken, or not!) but it didn’t get in the way of the story or the action. I think a solid fantasy game should naturally come with a certain amount of talkyness, as there’s only so much visuals can do before there needs to be dialogue.

Now then, moving on to me point in a long-winded way. I have been an avid fantasy reader since I was little un. I’m not aiming to bore anyone with a list of books, except one. If you recognise the picture at the top of this post you’ll know which set of books I’m referring to. The Shannara world is a rich one, with history, characters, action, adventure, love, war, magic, plots that twist and criss cross, heroes and villains and…well you get the picture.

I recently finished the latest trilogy in this constantly expanding set, The Genesis of Shannara. After reading everything else Terry Brooks has done I was eager to swallow up this new twist on the Shannara world. I wasn’t disappointed, the story was extremely well written. I devoured all 3 books in one month, and thoroughly enjoyed every word. On his website he has a diary of sorts of planned future books, some based in the Shannara world, others elsewhere.

That got me thinking. If one person can churn out books based around one central idea, and manage to keep up the enthusiasm for it over many years, then surely game designers can produce more fantasy games that are highly polished, with gripping storylines and everything else?

I know there are already plenty out there, yes I’ve seen them in shops and in tired old lists on Amazon, games no one wants that now retail at £3.75 cos no one cares about them. Either they weren’t promoted enough, or they just didn’t fit the market at the time. But Dragon Age did. So did LOTR Online.

There are still people playing Everquest. Loyal fans who love it so much they continue to play. That’s what I love to hear! A game so good that years later people still log in to it. If you stroll the fantasy section in a large book shop the shelves are filled with books you’ ve never heard of, and likely won’t ever read. Now browse the fantasy genre section on Amazon! So many worlds, so many histories its insane!

So why aren’t software houses getting together with writers who have already established a loyal fan base with their imagination in written format? Imagine the possibilities if the Shannara world was translated to a game! Yes, LOTR has been there along with tons of others. Personally I would like to see a few more high quality fantasy games on the shelves

It’s all about the money really. Maybe if I wish real hard then Blue Fairy will grant me my wish, to become a real live fantasy video game player.

Maybe.

This morning I prestiged and worked my way to level 15. I love/hate MW2. I ripped through a few levels of Little Big Planet then downloaded the Battlefield 2 online demo. That was kinda strange. Not bad just…a bit thin. Don’t know how else to describe it. Deffo missing something.

Tomorrow I will be trading in Borderlands (Boringlands I call it) and coming back with Dragon Age. I’ll be giving my thoughts on that at some point too. I’ve just bought a copy of The Settlers – Rise of an Empire, thanks Amazon, £2.50 is a cool price! I’ve not played it very much but the graphics are impressive and the animations are decent. Every now and then I like a few hours with my settlers, and even have Settlers 3 somewhere! Funny little folks with their fishing rods and such!

So to reiterate, surely we can have a few more fantasy games, right?

Elves n wizards n fat old magic wooshing around the place.

Top banana!

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