“If ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – A common phrase found in the gaming community thrown around like my similes. Ever since I first looked upon it, I wasn’t sure whether or not I actually agreed with the statement. Ironically the phrase itself does contain grammatical error, but after doing a bit or research and by that I mean, I google’d it, it was apparently said by Bert Lance in 1977. I’m assuming by that then he wasn’t talking about whether or not BioShock 2 should have been more different from the original. So, why do people use it in that context then? Well, to me it sounds like more of an excuse. The person saying it is obviously defending a game series saying there’s no point changing something that works perfectly well. Fair enough I guess, but I really don’t see the point of a sequel if its just going to be more or less the same, that’s what DLC is for, isn’t it? Sure, taking a risk with a beloved franchise is dangerous, but a series is never going to get significantly better if it doesn’t make alterations. Personally, I feel this routine of releasing game after game, each one being pretty similar to the last is more of a concern than changing the odd thing or two between the next step, and it’s something that is starting to effect a vast amount of legendary franchises.
For example: the latest Legend of Zelda – Now don’t get me wrong, I love Zelda games. There are several iterations of Zelda that are placed among the best games of all-time; they all hold an absolutely fantastic gameplay formula and thankfully time hasn’t rusted it. Until recently. When cell-shaded adult Link walked on the E3 stage last month, a barrage of sighs followed him out. Everyone (including myself) had such high expectations for the next Zelda and what was shown just didn’t justify it. Link may look slightly different, but the game defiantly did not. It was incredibly under-whelming, looked way too identical to its predecessors and as a result of this it received many “Most disappointing game of E3 awards” and the skeptical thoughts of gamers alike. The majority of us know it’ll be a great game, but it’s just another Zelda title for now. There was a time when cell-shaded ‘Wind Waker Toon Link’ was a huge change in the land of Hyrule, however now it’s the current palette for all of the Zelda games. This just proves that doing something different doesn’t isn’t always a bad move. What ruins a franchise in my eyes is soullessly re-releasing identical games over and over again. I love pizza, but I think if I had it every single night, it would eventually taste bitter and make me slightly sick.
You could say I contradicted myself there, as pizza sickness isn’t entirely the same concept as game sequels either, but still, the point stands and I think it’s less broken expression than the one I opened with. I mean, I don’t mind sequels like Uncharted 2, in which the developers played around with an original great game for two years and perfected it; using a similar structure of gameplay devices mixed with some new ideas and mechanics. Even Uncharted would loose its stature if Naughty Dog did the same tricks every single two years though. However, they’re not like that and you can tell just by playing their games that the team care about quality and delicacy, instead of just constantly repeating themselves ‘til what they produce isn’t fun anymore. This is why franchises like Pokemon annoy me, as there used to be a time when I cherished Pokemon games, like they were my pets. I’d spend ages training them, even enjoying their company. Until one day, after just getting SoulSilver, I realized something; there was a reason why it’s so nostalgic, it’s just the same old tired dog that’s still being abused once again.
Of course though, if you try to address this problem to certain individuals, you can guarantee that you’ll get this response: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. I might as well just say “I’ll do the pitch, you just make sure you smack it back to me and try to land it in my balls”. It’s infuriating; I honestly don’t mind that people still enjoy a series like Pokemon, but praising a game series because it’s always the same and stubbornly refusing to accept the fact it’s fault that ‘should’ be ‘fixed’ is what annoys me. Obviously people have different preferences, but I’m yet to meet a person that always wants everything the same in the life. I welcome sequels, I really do, it’s easier to get excited about the next installment of a game series you already love, I just don’t want to be disappointed when I start playing it to discover it’s the exact same game I played previously. Sure, you can’t fix something that isn’t broke, but if you carry on using it again and again, eventually it will break itself.