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Genres are Weird

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Everyone has a favorite genre. Horror, action, racing, the list goes on. Sometimes genres mix, causing a sub-genre, and you can get new combinations of gameplay mechanics that might not have been done before, or at least not in the exact same way. Genres are a way of essentially summing up what a game is about in a word or two. What are you gonna spend most of the game doing/feeling. And the sub-genre I feel often has more to do with describing a more specific setting. Most are quite straight forward, but some don't quite make as much sense. I wanna talk about two 'genres'. Character action and looter slasher.

Let's start with character action. A few examples of character action games would be Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, Metal Gear Rising, Bayonetta, Killer is Dead, and God Hand. Now the issue with this 'genre', is that I'm honestly not sure what it even is. There are a few other names for the genre, such as spectacle fighter and hack and slash. (That last one is a bit iffy) But it doesn't matter what you call it, it feels like it was only created so that we can put games with really good combat on one side and not compare them to other games such as the new God of War just because it "isn't the same genre anymore". Is the requirement the camera? God of War's camera is locked behind your back so clearly it isn't the same. Well God Hand had a very similar camera, and yet the combat in that game is miles better than that of God of War. Is it the 'character' part of it? The protagonist should be someone witty or cheeky like Dante from Devil May Cry or Bayonetta from… Bayonetta. Well I'm not sure I'd call Ryu from Ninja Gaiden witty or even remotely charismatic, so that's out the window. Perhaps it's the 'spectacle' part. It has to be flashy or else it can't be seen as the same thing. Well that has the same issue. Sure, it's cool to see Ryu tear through a room, showing no mercy to his enemies, but I'm not sure I'd call it overly flashy. To further prove this, let's compare Uncharted with Vanquish. They're both third person shooters, but Vanquish has much more depth to it and plays pretty different, but I wouldn't say Vanquish is a 'Character Shooter'. It purely exists to stop people from complaining about combat in game like God of War or the Witcher because they just aren't in the same genre. Last time I checked, if the main gameplay in your game is combat, it should be good. Just because the story is good doesn't mean you should be able to get away with making a lackluster, or even bad combat system and expect me to just ignore it. Am I saying every game has to be as deep as Devil May Cry? No, not at all. But they don't have to be. I wouldn't say the old God of War games are anywhere near as deep as Devil May Cry, but it's still a very competent fighting system. Same goes for Killer is Dead. If anything, they should be taking notes from them. Even a watered down version of Devil May Cry, which we saw in the reboot, can still be pretty decent.


This next section is gonna be much shorter, but let's talk about the supposed "new genre" created by Godfall, the looter slasher. Once again, I'm not sure what the genre is supposed to be. is it just Diablo but third person? Well if that's the case, then they straight up lied about Godfall being the first, because both Nioh games fall into the exact same category as it but they don't claim to have created a new genre. Because it's not a new genre. It's an action RPG. Just like Diablo. Just like Godfall. Am I saying you can't like Godfall? No. If you enjoy it, good for you. But trying to act like you reinvented the wheel and made a new genre just to help sell you fairly shallow game is where I draw the line.

To sum everything up, why can't we compare the lackluster combat of one game to the fantastic combat of another game despite clear similarities, just because they aren't in the same 'genre' anymore. Also just because you slap two words together, doesn't mean you're making the best thing since sliced bread.

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