With Darksiders Genesis debuting on PC & Consoles soon, we have been deep in discussion about Series that break their genre norms and come out better for it. It is a tricky line to balance that not many games out there can pull off (Travis Strikes Again – We’re looking at you).
It’s something that is regularly done with Music, TV and Film but rarely done with games and whilst you might not agree with some of our choices here are some of the best examples of games that stepped away from their norms and broke their genre conventions.
Oh we almost forgot to mention, for the first time ever the Friday Let’s Talk is now available on video over on our YouTube channel! Feel free to check it out below or read on as normal.
I argued the toss for this one with the rest of the guys, and by that i mean Luke… But I’m fighting the corner for God of War 2018 (surprising right?). Let’s face it, the jump from fast paced hack n’ slash to story driven adventure title is fairly jarring, even though the original titles were doing just fine, Santa Monica still went all in on the new game and took a huge risk, maybe alienating the core audience along the way, but if Alexx’s opinion is anything to go by (the biggest original GOW fan boy I know) He hold’s no ill will and enjoyed this new fresh take on the titular God of War’s adventure! Now we all sit with baited breath waiting for the inevitable sequel, possibly on the PS5, will it be another big change? Who knows, we’re just all hype as Hel! Ragnarok is coming!
This is obvious isn’t it?…. Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild! Now the Zelda games in the past have always been changing in one way or another. Breaking into different time streams, different universes, different art styles and whether it’s top down, 2D or 3D… But Breath of the Wild launches the player into a whole new experience. Suddenly you have to think about the durability and effectiveness of your weapons before going into battle because they might break. You have to be conscious about your health, you can cook food to boost it, so no more hunting for hearts; you can get different outfits for different environmental tasks which in some situations are absolutely vital or survival – But most importantly you are dropped into a great big open world and it’s your choice where you go, when you go, and what you do. I think we can all agree on this one, Breath of the Wild truly shook up the series and gave us a game that felt so different yet so familiar. There’s no arguing it was a huge success, and I think Breath of the Wild 2 will bring more shake ups.
Well I was going to pick God of War but Will already took that; THANKS WILL! All is good though as this now allows me to discuss Grand Theft Auto. Okay I realise that GTA didn’t go changing up its genre completely, it’s always remained an open world sandbox game but you cannot deny the massive difference in presentation when the series jumped from PS1 to PS2. Only other golden oldies like myself will remember that it started as a simple but enjoyable 2D topdown experience, but come GTA 3 on the PS2, the game had grown into an entirely different beast. It was now a gigantic 3D third person shooter where the player got to see Liberty City like never before. This new direction would take the gaming world by storm and became the benchmark for pretty much every open world game ever since. It acted as a launching pad for future GTA titles which would go on to break every sales record imaginable. It’s almost unbelievable to think back to what this series originally started compared to what it went on to become.
For the best example of a game franchise changing their genre you need look no further than Assassins Creed Origins. Boring title aside, the move from semi-open world stealth game to fully open world RPG was a resounding success for the stagnating franchise.
All the Assassin’s Creed games after 3 were great, but I always felt like they weren’t making the most of their interesting and detailed maps. The ability to fully explore every nook and cranny of the interesting parts of Ancient Egypt, from the Great Pyramids of Giza to the Pharos of Alexandria cannot be understated. The team at Ubisoft even doubled down on this brilliant change by introducing Discovery Tour mode, that would lead you around locations of your choice, and give historical facts about each place. Whilst this is not for everyone, I know I was enraptured by a tour I took of the city of Alexandria, learning about the Egyptian culture of the time.
This was also replicated in Assassins Creed Odyssey, and both of these games should absolutely be on your radar as they serve as brilliant examples of games that changed genres, benefiting their franchise tremendously in the process.
You know what? For me, when I think of an example of a game that goes from one specific genre in one game to another in it’s sequel, one game that I really, really like is between Jak 3 and Jak X – That transition from becoming this sort of action platformer into this heavy metal-clad kart racer is a weird – but oddly wonderful – transition that really works.
I mean, to this day I still replay Jak X – moreso than the original trilogy infact – and it’s a game that I’ve been wanting to Platinum for a while now on my PS4, and I can’t really say that about many kart racers, sequels or even racing games in-fact! So… Hats off to you Jak X!
Spec Ops: The Line is one of those games that breaks away from the norm and just gives people a mindblowing experience. Instead of being just another cover-based shooter with a brown colour palette… Well, no… Yeah it’s that, but with a decent twist!
As the game progresses, it constantly berates you, and makes you trash due to the fact that you’re killing people; all the mindless shooting in most shooters is critiqued here, and my favourite example of it all is the loading screen that pops up in the game, and asks you if you feel like a hero or not…
…Though everyone and their mothers know about this twist now, it’s not that impressive when you compare it to other games like NieR: Automata or Undertale… But it appearing in a seemingly generic shooter took us back for a minute.
Another game is Metal Gear Solid 2; another example where the game basically tells you that the player and the fanbase are wrong, and that they’re wrong for wanting their old hero back, because all of the promotional material back in the day was of Snake; Snake was there the entire time, and people were just excited to play as Snake again… But once you boot up the game, you get to play with him for maybe only half an hour, and then you get to play as Raiden, who is the new protagonist; people didn’t really like Raiden at the time, and they didn’t like Metal Gear Solid 2 as a whole in general, but over time people really started to appreciate it for its commentary on fan culture, the internet, and its overall 4th wall breaking style of storytelling.
When I think about a game which switched genres between sequels, I really want to get weird with this – Both of these games were developed and published by Atlus, and they are Persona 5, and Persona: Dancing Starlight – One was released in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, and the other was released a couple of years later on the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita – One of these is a stellar Japanese role-playing game which brought together anime visuals, a deep narrative, fantastic combat and an incredible soundtrack… And the other is a rhythm game.
I absolutely adore rhythm games – Atlus has managed to take this deep JRPG experience, and translate it into a rhythm game that compliments the original game so well. There’s even a storyline, and whilst it’s not as deep as the original, it helps to expand the game’s world; and without ranting about what’s on offer with the story… Instead of fighting monsters, you have to have a dance-off with them, which is… Well, fantastic, right..?!
There are currently three rhythm games based on Persona 3, 4 and 5, and what I love about these games is that they just expand these worlds which I’ve fallen in love with, and they help to keep my mind occupied whilst rocking to some very weeby music. Now, if this sounds like something you’re interested in, just go and try them – They’re cheap enough; they’re out there… Just do it. And my final note here? Futaba Sakura. She’s my queen.Become a Patron!