First order of business for today: I would be remiss if I didn't thank everyone who has commented on this blog, on any post, ever. This includes the Anonymous Commenter (who gets their name capitalized like a superhero). It's reassuring to see all the reponses, especially lately. I truly appreciate it. Cookies to you all!
Seriously, if you want to claim your cookies, give me a visit.
Now, on to our topic for today! This time, it's God of War. For those of you who don't know, that's a Playstation 2 game featuring a manly Spartan who runs around doing the bidding of the gods (as long as it suits him). It's a combination fighting/puzzle game with a fixed camera and tons of stunning upgrades for both weapons and magical abilities picked up along the way.
Here's the issue: I can't decide how I feel about the fixed-perspective camera. I'm used to games that allow you to turn the camera any way you want at any time, and that allows me to scan a room the moment I enter it. Without that ability, I was immediately frustrated with God of War. I wanted to see everything and get a sense of my surroundings, but I could only see one section of a room at a time. There's no way to manipulate the game to change the camera angle, either; it's made to stay in a prearranged place until you've gone to a new room or area, where it then goes to its new prearranged place. That camera mocked me with its stubborn positions.
It wasn't until my God of War mentor pointed it out to me that I realized there was any advantage to a stuck camera at all. Apparently, if you pay attention, it can give you insight into the minds of the game's creators. The focus of the camera angle can clue you in to where you can find hidden items that offer health, magic, and upgrades. You can also use it to figure out what to do in a lot of the game's puzzles, because the perspective literally points you in the right direction. In the end, the game is made to fit around the fixed camera angle, too. There usually isn't much in the area of the room you aren't facing, as opposed to a non-fixed camera game, which might have a room entirely lined with items and upgrades.
What's my conclusion? Well, in the end, the stuck camera can be a strong advantage to the player who pays enough attention and has the logic to combine with it to make them an unstoppable force. It takes some getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, maybe a fixed camera isn't so bad.
Although if someone offered me a hack to make the camera moveable, I'd probably still take it.