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Nitpick: Artificial Intelligence or Artificial Stupidity?

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Sadly, not all games this generation can have the great AI that Dark Souls has. One of my favorite games of all time, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is littered with the most moronic enemies I have seen in gaming history. It's an exaggeration I know but if I had to compare the AI in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory to this game then the winner is obvious to me, the former. I like to play Human Revolution stealthily and as a result often times I'm sneaking around in hallways, ventilation shafts and the like. It irks me then that the game's AI doesn't have the intelligence to look around for me when I make the mistake of alerting them of my presence. 

One time I was circumnavigating a storage area full of boxes, crates, and large transportation devices. Me being stupid, I uncrouched and an enemy saw me. I quickly hugged the wall I was next to hoping they wouldn't find me, since I had nowhere else to hide and escape to. Now, in a real life situation, the enemy would walk up to where they saw you and subsequently kill you. That's not exactly what happens in this case. The AI in Human Revolution is so absurdly stupid that they will check everywhere but the place where he saw you. It's deeply ironic, and frustrating. Trust me when I say that I was glad that he didn't find me. After all, I avoided a swift death and saved time restarting the previous checkpoint and doing that section of the game all over again. It isn't until I reflect upon the the game in retrospect that I realize Human Revolution's grave flaw. 

Now I wouldn't be so upset if this happened only once or twice but that's not the case. In fact, there were numerous occasions where the AI acted extremely stupid. They would stand right next to me and could use their peripheral vision to notice that I'm right beside them but they don't. For a game that prides on an immersive, atmospherical RPG experience, don't you think dumb AI is the antithesis of it? 

For better or worse, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is not the only game this generation to have dumb AI. Prototype 2 which came out recently has AI worse than your dog, and I mean this in the most literal sense. You control James Heller, the most powerful badass you will ever meet, probably. The guy has the ability to change appearances, grow tentacles and most importantly run up walls like the Flash. He's a pretty cool guy, despite his inability to control his profanity, but everyone else around him is not.  Now most of the problems I state existed in the original, so how it exists in this game is baffling to me. 

I mentioned earlier that you have the ability to run up walls. Well, the only way down is to jump down from it. Once you land on the ground, you expect people the people around you to run and scream at the crazy person that just survived a surprising 100-feet landing. Unfortunately, the citizens of the city will look at you, gasp and that's about it. They don't respond realistically like they should, instead it's a momentary pause and back to whatever they were doing. How can you not feel annoyed by this? I wonder every single time I jump around in Prototype 2, “The people here must be dumber than anything out there.” 

I am sure that the AI of the citizens that inhabit the city were not important to the developers, hence why they react so emptily, but this is the very thing that is wrong with games. Often times, developers are so focused on the big things like making sure the target responds according to a bullet wound and such that they forget the little things that matter. Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Prototype 2 are only two examples out of many where games this generation suffer from stupid AI. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay and with each passing generations I know that there is some sort of improvement. I expect AIs to become even more complicated and even better when the new consoles come around. However, it saddens me that AI problems will still exist in the future, especially when it's prominent currently. We're getting there slowly, but until then, I'm sure many can join in with me when I say “Curse you dumb AI!”

Tags: Deus Ex, Prototype, Splinter Cell, Zelda, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii

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