Roger Ebert started a firestorm last year when he stated, "video games can never be art". And whether you agree or not with Ebert's statement, it's inarguable video games are evolving into cinematic experiences transcending the button mashers we enjoyed just 5 years ago, offering more complex narratives, improved voice acting and increasingly nuanced character development that is now attracting gamer holdouts. Here are 5 video game titles we believe could indoctrinate gaming hold outs who expect a little more depth beyond pure adrenaline-rush action (but aren't completely averse to it either), offering characters worth caring about, stories that actually aren't just window-dressing and have a recognizable TV show counterpart...
If you liked Raymond Chandler, Los Angeles history, the movie LA Confidential and have a soft spot for several of the actors from Mad Men, this game is for you. With standard setting voice acting/facial capture, this title is about reading body language and carefully listening to character dialogue to solve crimes as an up and coming gumshoe as it is about rip-roaring fun driving through 1940's (sometimes quite recklessly) and shoot 'em ups with the shadier denizens of the City of Angels. Although we wish the location environments were more interactive (we really wanted to peek inside the collectible LA landmarks), L.A. Noire is open for exploration and just sightseeing. The detailed storyline is just the icing on the cake.
You'll might like this game if you like: Mad Men
Red Dead Redemption
Another Rockstar title, Red Dead Redemption taps into your inner Serge Leone, a western themed Grand Theft Auto which balances the action gameplay one would expect in a cacti and tumbleweed Old West title with a convincing pastiche of grizzled characters, perfect musically scored soundtrack and small details which all help define the best Western video game of all time.
You'll might like this game if you like: Deadwood
Silent Hill: Downpour
Silent Hill: Downpour his all about atmosphere…very foggy, "what the hell was that?!" around the corner atmosphere. The story revolves around one Murphy Pendleton, a convict who find himself in the resort town of Silent Hill (aka, Precipitation-ville). Daniel Licht, score composer for Dexter, lends his musical atmosphere to this upcoming horror title which gives us high hopes of soiling our trousers (but in a good way).
You'll might like this game if you like: The Walking Dead, Dexter
By now, everyone knows both about the amply endowed virtual adventurer Lara Croft and her real life Angelina Jolie counterpart. But developer Crystal Dynamic is looking to reboot the Tomb Raider franchise with a younger Laura Croft adventuring across a mysterious island she finds herself stranded upon, with more focus upon character development and defining what makes the lovely ponytailed thrill seeker tick. Expect plenty of ruins, shipwrecks and ancient artifacts (we're only half joking when we say we wouldn't be surprised by a Desmond or Ben sighting).
You'll might like this game if you like: LOST (yeah, we know this one isn't cable, but it's close enough)
The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings
A PC RPG sequel coming soon to Xbox 360 (no love for us PS3 owners), the Witcher 2 avoids the trap of typical "good guys/bad guys" storylines, serving up plenty of political intrigue, moral ambiguity and a healthy dose of sweaty fantasy-realm sex; viewers of Game of Thrones will find themselves at home in a fantasy-themed realm where character development is on equal footing with some delicious eyecandy combat+magic action and non-linear gaming.
You'll might like this game if you like: Game of Thrones