So I’ve been sitting down with a new game. The past week I’ve been playing Mass Effect 3. I’d like to give you a list just packed full of praise for the writing, the system, the richness of the world, but I can’t. That’s not to say I have no praise. There is just something I need to talk about first.
I remember, long ago, playing games on my parents old Atari system. The controllers were ridiculous. The games were simple both graphically and in the way they played. But for their time they were pretty spectacular.
Then came newer systems. Faster processors, more intuitive controls, and superior graphics led to better and better games. Naturally. The focus shifted away, at least in part, from the repetitive completion of tasks and more work was devoted to writing a damn good story.
The current generation of console videos games have some really great bits of storytelling and this franchise is by far one of my favorites. But even that isn’t what I wanted to talk about.
And not just another controller. Hardware that enhances the story.
I know! It’s crazy. This may not hold true for everyone but I feel that this is the most interactive game I’ve ever played. And that would be because of the Kinect.
Now the Kinect was originally presented as the thing that was going to revolutionize the way you played games in that there would be no more controller. Your body would become the only thing you needed to play. It’s like a Wii. Only better.
But it goes even further!
Mass Effect does not use any of the motion capturing capabilities of the hardware, only the microphone. The voice recognition. Which is interestingly immersive.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve played through a game and ended up shouting/swearing/shaking my fist at it in anger and or frustration. Or jubilation. Or any other sort of ‘-ation’.
So what does the voice recognition do for me? The short answer is everything. The longer answer?
- Command your character to change weapons or execute special powers
- Tell your squadmates to use special powers or move to specific locations
- Choose conversation options
And yes you do really get to speak quite a bit. Now I feel that much more immersed into the game world. That I am not only creating a unique story arc through my decisions in-game but when I’m shouting at Lieutenant Vega to move his deaf, overly muscled back-end, he does it. (AsifI actually brought Vega anywhere)
One more step closer to being able to sit down and plug my head into my game console and run around in whatever the latest best seller is. The singularity is near!