God of War is back! And this time, Kratos has got a kid. That's right: the man best known for ripping the heads off of Roman deities has now gone full '90s Arnold', attempting to rehabilitate his reputation for ultra-violence by pottering around with a child in tow.
There's still going to be loads and loads of throat-slashing, head-crushing, and eye-gouging, of course; you'll just be doing it with a kid by your side now. Which got me thinking: what other games, famous for their violent overtones, would be improved by the addition of a small stupid human that you've got to look after in between headshots?
Grand Theft Auto
GTA 5's rendition of Los Angeles is one of the most authentic depictions of a real place ever crafted in a video game, nailing not only the geography but also the vibe of the city. As with everything else that is perfect in this world, what better way to quickly and easily ruin it than to stick a child in there?
Think about it: every time you carjacked someone, there'd be a minigame where you had to change the childseat. Imagine just how tense the experience would be, attempting to fit one of those fucking fiddly little bastard things with the cops breathing down your neck. And what if you're using a seat with an ISOFIX base? Do you try to move the entire unit over? If you do that you'd probably have to make two trips, and the ISOFIX holes on the new car might not be visible, forcing you to rummage for them while under attack. Forget helicopter firefights: correctly installing a child seat under pressure is the mark of the New Masculinity, and the vague sense of existential despair you get while doing it chimes well with GTA 5's themes of men adrift in their own lives. Brilliant.
Granted, the original Dark Souls may make you feel like a tiny wee child already, being as it is a nightmare simulator, a manifestation of The Nameless Dread, a terrible fever dream from which there seems no escape. This may not seem to be the best place to take a child, but hear us out: what if, right, you could use the child as bait? Dark Souls is well known for its inversion of what we've come to accept from gaming: tutorials, difficulty, signposting, etc. So why shouldn't it also invert the classic escort mission, only this time the child is protecting you, in essence? Praise the son, eh? EH?
Listen, put that phone away. Who are you calling? The police? Tell them I'm not in.
Project Gotham Racing
To certain people on Team VideoGamer, PGR is one of the most hallowed series in all of gaming. Which sounds stupid, I know, but trust me: they really do like it. There's not been a new PGR in years, though, and one of the reasons - maybe - for that is what the fuck can you add to the game which will make it interesting? Shinier cars? More cars? Better cars? Cars cars cars?
No. Thankfully, I have the answer: during every race, there'll be a lap where the drivers have to peel off from the group and go and collect their kids from school. Imagine it: you're smashing your Ferrari around Edinburgh, having a right old laugh, and then over the headset it's your wife or husband, reminding you that you've got to go and pick up little Tarquin or Charlie or fucking Jack. One audible sigh - and three downshifts later - you're maneuvering your tosser wagon down a dreary side road (or at least attempting to as movement is near impossible thanks to the numerous dickhead parents who have blocked the entire road with, I don't know, minivans), trying not to run over any of the tiny monsters that are flooding out of the school gates, despondent over the fact that, instead of haring around cityscapes to the cheers of spectators, you'll be swatting the tiny, ink-stained hands of your dreadful sequel away from the hand-stitched upholstery.
Wait, I hear you cry, there already is a child in Fallout 4! Well, yeah, but he gets kidnapped early doors. Which is a blessed relief, really: it means you're free to just noodle around the wasteland, doing whatever you want and having fun in the process. Can you imagine what Fallout 4 would be like if you actually had to look after that thing? Days on end of answering inane questions; an entire existence in a post-apocalyptic future dedicated not to cutting around as a sort-of freelance death-dealer, but instead going to actual work so that your papoose-child doesn't starve. Speaking of which: how much encumbrance would that fucker add? Take away its bag full of toys that must go everywhere with them at all times and replace it with both of those Big Boy nuke launchers you've been lugging around but never using. Then, in classic Fallout 4 style, realise the child has gone missing, never to be seen again.
Hahaha, Naughty Dog wouldn't be that stupid. I mean, imagine how needlessly self-indulgent it would be to shoehorn in a Drake-child, in order to provide some rather meaningless characterisation for one-man Imperialist Superpower Nate the great. Would never happen.
Wait, they already did this, way back in 1993. Right.
Honourable mention: Every online shooter ever
Sigh. How do these idiots even talk, their mouths stuffed with pacifiers/dummies/cans of Red Bull or Rockstar or whatever else comes in a can that's bigger than they are?