[This was written for a blog called "whythegamingmediasucks," which I worked on for about three days.]
Reviewing the new Goldeneye game for the Wii, professional falsifier Owen Good writes that the game "shows its age" in its "linear mission design."
Wait, what? Games like Doom and Wolfenstein 3D -- oldest of the old school -- might've placed players in corridors, but taken together these corridors made labyrinthine levels that were unlocked by exploration and finding and using keys. When I think of linear, I think "straight line." When I think of Doom, I think maze -- not "straight line."
Contrast these games with titles like Call of Duty 7 (letting them use the Modern Warfare moniker lets them hide the derivative nature of the series). These games have the illusion of openness, but nothing could be further from the truth. Quite literally, players proceed along a line in these games; there's no branching, and the open vistas that surround players aren't actually explorable since invisible walls or contrived barriers prevent you from moving too far to the left or the right -- all movement is ahead along one path, with the movement occasionally punctuated by scripted events.
One reader commented with this image, which demonstrates the incredible INCREASE in linearity over time.
Shame on you, Kotaku.