Christ, I’m sick of indies.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not swearing off the things for good, I’m just taking a break. But you know when you’ve been playing the same kind of game for just a bit too long, and you get a real itch to do something completely different? That’s what this feels like.
Of course, indies aren’t a genre in their own right; that definition comes down to the kind of money they’ve got behind them, size of the development team, art direction, etc. But it’s hard to go through several in a row and not feel like they all fit into some budgetary-defined sub-genre.
Since picking up Darkest Dungeon, it’s already climbed to the number eight spot on my ‘most played Steam games ever’ list. But having spent the last two days glued to livestreams of E3’s triple-A video game cabaret, I’ve been desperate to play something mainstream. Something big-budget, polished, cinematic, and for fuck’s sake, something that doesn’t look like it’s been bashed together by college students in RPG Maker.
To that end, I’ve started on Bioshock Infinite’s Burial at Sea DLC, and so far it’s been exactly what I needed. Rapture has always been one of my favourite fantasy locales, and exploring the world ‘pre Splicer-apocalypse’ had me fangirling all the way through chapter one of the story.
I loved Sander Cohen’s reappearance, and reassurance that he was most definitely batshit insane long before the fall of Rapture. And how about that Noire version of Elizabeth? What a transformation! And I’m not just referring to her seductive, smokey-eyed physical redesign, but that complete personality flip from sheltered prophet progeny to ass-kicking, self-assured femme fatale.
Between a fleshed-out, vibrant world to explore, and the cathartic combat provided by Booker’s delightfully unnecessary ‘hand-cannon’, my triple-A itch was scratched in a matter of hours.
I guess what I’m saying is when it comes to big blockbusters and smaller indies, one will always inadvertently compliment the other.
When you’re tired of your fourth consecutive tour of duty in the Master Chief Collection, or the novelty of dropping mechs on other mechs in Titanfall has worn off; playing something like Papers Please for an evening serves as a great reminder that there’s always something vastly different available.
Equally, spend enough time trying to decipher portentous symbolism in a few ‘narrative exploration’ greenlight titles, and you’ll be reminded of just how much fun mindlessly mercing Nazis in Wolfenstein is.
There’s always something to break the monotony and there’s always a choice. “There’s always a lighthouse, there’s always a man, and there’s always a city…” you might even say.