Probably Archery (2014)
Developer: South East Games
Released: Febuary 6th 2014
Score: 6/9 Hammers
When you stop to think about it, it’s rare to see a game about archery. There’s enough games about archers to drown a damn wyvern, of course, but this is pretty much the first I’ve ever heard of that’s about actual archery.
If you’ll permit me to get technical for a moment, the difference comes down to agency. Most of the time the bow is simply a medieval replacement for the rifle. A mid-to-long range weapon that, besides the brief wind-up that they typically require, is just there to let you snipe buggers across gullies and on the tops of towers because, if you’re the average big name game developer, the creative part of your brain has withered to the point where the only solution to the eventual tedium of sword murder is murder with a different weapon. A lot of the time big name adventure games (watch my middle finger, RYSE) play like puzzle platformers where the only solution is “Sharp implement-Spleen”. Even usually inventive games like Skyrim just use them as a kind of shitty gun: you point the thing and click. There’s no a real skill progression, either. You start off able to reliably nail a mouse across a room and finish able to pick ticks off of a giant’s head at a thousand paces, which might be impressive, but if you’re not trying to pull a William Tell there’s little practical difference to the weapon functions, just the numbers you get out of it. And at no point do you as a player have to get any better. (Actually, in Skyrim at high levels the game starts correcting for you, changing trajectory to help you hit what it thinks the target is. Which can be fucking disastrous to your aim after you’ve spent hours practising without it). When describing most of these games, especially combat oriented ones, you invariably start with the phrase “you control a dude…” and I don’t think I’m alone in being bored of that. Continue reading