Today I'll be talking about Dynamic gameplay in games, what exactly is dynamic? Dynamic is the act of constant change. We have seen dynamic features in games however the dynamic I'm about to talk about is not the one you are familiar with. The dynamic I am referring to is how to approach games, you are strictly not bound by the game's rules and are free to do what ever you want.
When was the first time I perceived dynamic gameplay in games? well I can say it started with Gran Theft Auto 3 or some other 3D space game, however I did perceived dynamic gameplay with FarCry for the Xbox. What exactly is the dynamic gameplay for FarCry? you are stuck in this island and when you see enemies, you can approach and deal with them in a number of ways. Ammo are quite scarce as you can go in guns blazing, be more tactical or play stealth. This kind of dynamic gameplay was new to me and how it was executed in FarCry I would say was not fairly done right. Games like farcry I expected scripted scenarios and linear path to point me to a direction I can then use the dynamic gameplay.
I wouldn't really say GT3 started the dynamic gameplay because you are still bound by the rules, for an example you might be tasked to take out drug dealers from a roof top with a sniper rifle. That really isn't dynamic, mind you I never played much of GTA3 however I did spend some time with GTA4. Taking out cops can be done dynamic, you can run to the rooftop and shoot a rocket launcher, throw grenades, ram the police cars etc. In the end it's still not dynamic, dynamic gameplay allows you to approach the game without following the game's rules, it's essentially how you play the game by your way.
Another good example of dynamic gameplay that I felt changed the 3rd person shooter genre is Vanquish as I like to spell it VanQuisH. VanQuisH is an amazing game any 3rd person shooter fans should try out, Platinum Games outdid themselves and they have magically changed this genre's face. Why is VanQuisH simply amazing?
Well the game can be played Gears of War style by running, shooting, getting to cover and flanking. Or it can be played Vanquished style which is by boosting around the map and evading. If you think about the VanQuisH demo level which is basically this picture below:
There are plenty of ways to beat this stage:
1. You can run to the second stairs and pick up a sniper rifle and start sniping enemies or flanking from that same spot
2. Run with your comrades and start flanking enemies
3. First take out those walking mechas, enter them and use it against the enemies
4. Play the Vanquished style by 'boosting' across the map and using your skills to 'evade'
You can see how 4 play styles can be used to conquer this stage. Face it VanQuisH plays EXACTLY like Gears of War and the worst part is that it did things Gears can never do. The way the maps are constructed made it a game changer, and the ability to evade and boost made Vanquish a game changer. Using slow motion AR is just an extra sweetening.
I am sure many developers are jealous of Vanquish's boosting across the map because it changes the way 3rd person shooter can be played and I'm sure if any developers does copy that boosting move, they would feel ashamed.
Gears of War 3 is coming out yet still uses the gameplay restricted rules to play a linear map, mind you VanQuisH is a linear game however like I said earlier it's because of how the map are constructed and the ability to boost across the screen makes it a game changer. Gears 3 will obviously introduce new weapons and melee to make the game a better improvement towards previous Gears series, however its a game living under Vanquish's shadow. In the end Gears 3 will use the same old 3rd shooter formula: run, shoot, cover, flank....it never gets old for Gears:/
The next game to introduce Dynamic Gameplay is none other than Splinter Cell Conviction. The only reason why I played Splinter Cell 1 for the Xbox was to softmod my precious xbox. I am never fund of Stealth games, the patience I really find them boring me out however Hitman is the only stealth game I would play. Come to think of it, Hitman actually started the dynamic gameplay because you can go in guns blazing or play the game by it's rules- stealth. Splinter Cell Conviction introduces ways of playing Conviction and making Sam too badass especially with the Mark and Execute. Now the dynamic gameplay towards Conviction works like Hitman. You can go in guns blazing, play the game completely stealth by crawling behind someone and taking them out or basically playing tactical such as distracting enemies by shooting light bulbs.
Even Metal Gear Solid 4 had some unique Dynamic Gameplay elements to the game, like I said previously I never played any MGS games, I only played MGS4 because of a friend of mine told me it was the "Best Game Ever". I do believe him now:) MGS4 allowed you to approach stealth in many numbers of ways! Yes you can play the game gun blazing however that would make the game harder and spawn more enemies, you can play the game tactical or once again by it's rules stealth.
Many fans of Splinter Cell were angered by the new change and again this is one thing that p*sses me off about people's 'selfish behaviour'. When ever something is optional, 'optional' feeds everybody! I myself dislike Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell series because of the strict bound rules of playing the game which is only by stealth. Hitman allows players to play its game 3 different way Stealth, Guns Blazing or Tactical. Conviction inherit this dynamic gameplay and you have fans mourning. You are not forced to go guns blazing in Conviction let alone use the easy cheap badass Mark and Execute. (I do hope we get a Conviction sequel)
Another recently game to use this unique game changer Dynamic Gameplay is Crysis series or Crysis 2. Crysis 2 introduces 3 unique ways of playing the game, by stealth, speed or strength. In fact this feature is nothing new, many players were aware of the dynamic gameplay in Crysis1. Crytek who lacked new gameplay features for Crysis 2 basically used an excuse to develop and make this dynamic gameplay aware to gamers and set it as the game's unique feature. Old or new the most important thing is it should make other FPS developers think of how to make their own 'seriousness' FPS approachable in dynamic gameplay.
I really do wish more games introduces more Dynamic Gameplay to their games. Because this dynamic gameplay is sort of like a game changer and it is an epitome of this generation games.
And the final upcoming game I forgot to mention is Duex Ex Human Evolution. I remember trying Duex Ex on PC and just couldn't get into it, I also tried Invisible Wars on Xbox and could not even get pass the first stage due to lack of interest. Duex Ex 3 (Human Evolution) would hopefully fix some things the other previous games did wrong. Most importantly the game features Dynamic Gameplay. I recently saw a video about Adam who was given a task to break into a building.
The gameplay showed 3 unique ways of breaking into the building.
1. Used alternate routes and secret routes to get to certain places and avoid enemies and eventually that lead Adam inside the building.
2. Adam fought the bad guys head on while also flanking them, in then end he won and got to the building.
3. Adam played the game stealthy by eliminating bad guys in his way.
As you can see Dynamic Gameplay is a next generation game changer that allows gamers to play by their rules and not by yours (developers) rules. You have already given them task and obstacles to overcome which are the enemies, and it is up to gamers to approach that challenge in their own way. This is the ultimate description of Dynamic Gameplay. We absolutely need more games to feature a Dynamic Gameplay because that feature is Optional and optional feeds everybody.