It’s Thursday, which means it’s time to go back over the best features of the week, from a first-time trip to an esports event to High on Life bringing AI Art into the gaming world, with a sprinkle of BOTW weapon durability discourse. The perfect cap to any year, eh?
Lil’ Gator Game Made Me Hate Breath Of The Wild's Durability System
Five years on from Breath of the Wild, and we’re still talking about weapon durability, baby. BOTW’s weapons are limited in use, meaning that the more you hack and slash away at goblins and other critters, the closer you come to your weapon falling apart in your hands. You can’t recover it, either—once your weapon breaks, it’s gone for good. Some love it, some hate it, hence the discourse. Cue Lil’ Gator.
Lead News Editor George Foster has managed to keep out of the debate for the past five years, but then he reviewed this cutesy little platformer which hands you a clearly Zelda-inspired sword and shield and says have fun. You can jump on the shield and slide down hills, just like in BOTW, and slash away at the grass with your sword—only there’s no combat. The sword and shield won’t break no matter what you do. And so, after half a decade, George picked a side and hopped off the fence—if a game is dedicated to creativity and gives you the tools to do whatever you want, limiting that with a degradation system only flies in the face of it all.
After Going To My First Esports Tournament I Finally Get It
Cross-Department editor Issy van der Velde went to Brazil last week for the Red Bull Campus Clutch Valorant tournament—his first ever esports event. He’s never paid much attention to esports, but this trip opened his eyes to the world of competitive gaming. Sitting through each segment of the tournament, beginning to form allegiances with certain teams, and watching as the score crept up during the match without a clear leader, all made for an incredibly tense experience—but more than that, getting to hang out with the players and interview them gave Issy a personal insight into the world of esports, helping him understand the dedication of each team and the passion behind the sport.
AI Art Has No Place In Gaming
AI art is a complete mess—essentially, it's an algorithm fed work from real artists (usually without their consent) that then churns out an uncanny mashup based on prompts you enter. People have been selling this art, again without the consent of the real artists it pulls from, and now it has crept into gaming thanks to High on Life. As Lead Features Editor Jade King writes, this is hollow, lazy, and an insult to real artists. But worse yet, it’s a bleak insight into how talent is being shelved in favour of automation simply because it’s cheaper and easier, even if it’s shallow and often uncanny—just look at how quickly people realised High on Life had AI art.
Dragonriding Is Too Much Fun For WoW's Own Good
World of Warcraft has been going strong for 18 years, but it’s still finding new ways to surprise us and keep itself fresh. One of these ways is being able to ride dragons in the new Dragonflight expansion. As Features Editor Eric Switzer writes, it’s incredibly fun, but it has backed Blizzard into a corner creatively. You can’t bring it to older expansions, and players will be at a disadvantage if it's present in newer expansions, given that they may not have played Dragonflight. Going back to normal flying mounts feels inevitable given all of this, but that now feels like a relic of another game.
It Doesn’t Matter What The “Greatest Story” In Video Games Is
Craig Mazin, showrunner of The Last of Us’ TV adaptation, called it “the greatest story” in video games, and that caused a stir as many were quick to throw their own picks into the mix, debating which story is truly the greatest. As Editor-in-Chief Stacey Henley argues, it doesn’t matter, and what we consider ‘great’ in games is often little more than serviceable, as the bar is far too low. As good as The Last of Us is, calling it the “greatest story” is endemic of its constant need to talk about itself with hyperbolic language, and that’s a major problem in games. We need a number one pick, and then everything else is terrible, but that’s no way to cherish art.
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