But these concerns are pushed far to the margins of Black Ops III in favor of explosion porn and the crushing pressure of a forward momentum that propels you toward more things to see and do and shoot. You can almost feel the writers butting their heads against the constraints of a big-budget first-person shooter when it feels like they desperately want to write the next Philip K. Dick story. It's hard to be smart when you're mandated to deliver a violent thrill-ride that doesn't stop to throw on the brakes.
At some point, it dawns on me that my new friends-in-loot and I have become the sad souls playing the dollar slots in Vegas at 2 a.m.—sitting alone with watered-down drinks in hand, blank faces peering into a screen, moving only to insert another token and pull the lever. But so what. They can't stop, and I can't stop, and none of us can stop and oh god, will I hit it big tonight?
Sunset Overdrive can't escape the fact that it's a harmless product of the machine it pretends to rage against. After all, it's hard to keep defiantly flipping the bird at authority and the conformity of comfortable adulthood when you're the middle-aged guy calling the shots and your milieu has become interchangeable from the culture at large it claims to be subverting. Squint hard enough and all that angry fist pumping looks an awful lot like an eager thumbs up for the status quo.
After a few dozen hours under its spell, the title of Destiny sounds like cruel irony. The game's marketing materials would have you believe that the title means your ultimate heroism is somehow inevitable, like a mythical hero of legend. But the term might as well refer to the state of grinding through the same tasks and seeing the same pretty but sterile scenery over and over again, like a space-age version of Groundhog Day, in the fallow hopes of pimping out your Guardian to the max.
[I]nstead of expending energy on the bells and whistles, Titanfall saves it all for the moment-to-moment thrills, like slamming your titan's eject button at the last second and shooting down an enemy pilot while you rocket hundreds of feet into the air.