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  1. - Top - End - #361
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    I will be honest, I like the atb. But its more because thats what I grew up with. The first real rpg I ever played was ff3/6 on the super nintendo. And I was hooked. For me the gameplay was less important than the story. Always. Yes you need at least a certain level of gameplay for it to be playable, but for me, I want a story I can immerse myself in first and foremost, which is why my game library is like 90% rpgs. Final Fantasy, Suikoden, Breath of Fire, Legend of Legaia, Xenogears, Star Ocean, Lunar, the list goes on. Give me a good story and I can overlook terrible graphics, weak gameplay, and repetitive music.
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  2. - Top - End - #362
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anteros View Post
    Bad games are redeemed by good stories all the time though. Look at something like FF6 and tell me it has objectively good gameplay. You can't. At it's core it's just "press x every few seconds to continue the grind". It's carried by engaging characters and plot.
    I have not played any FF game, so I have no basis for comparison, but there's more to a game than just the control scheme. For a turn-based RPG, the gameplay is going to be in the acquisition of power for your cadre of characters. It's really a turn-based tactical puzzle, in a similar vein to what you get with, say, X-Com.

    Quote Originally Posted by DaedalusMkV View Post
    Huh. I didn't know that all those Lucasarts and Sierra adventure games didn't have a plot. I guess I must have been hallucinating the plot to Grim Fandango and Monkey Island back in the day, then. Oh, and Chrono Trigger. I had some clearly non-existent good times with that game. Hum. And all those crazy live-action cutscenes in the Command and Conquer games when I was just a kid probably didn't happen either. Just faulty memories.
    Yes, and clearly the now-dominant position that moon-logic based puzzle games has over the market speaks to the viability of foisting graphics-improved Zork on the gaming audience.

    See, I can do it too. Zork and its ilk are an expression of the dire limitations of the platform and the infancy of the video-game genre as a whole, and in no case would I advise anyone trying to make a good, successful, entertaining game go back into history's dustbin looking to revive retro non-gameplay titles like Myst or Psychonauts.

    They also don't really need gameplay, as the walking simulators and visual novels demonstrate.
    Success is a very, very relative term here. Many of the modern 'successes' of games of this ilk are successful because they're free, or so cheap as to be nearly equivalent of free. Is any dirt-cheap title which gets a couple of positive reviews a success? Because these "games" audience don't comprise a statistically significant fraction of the market for *actual* games or regular movies, T.V. shows, books, etc.
    Last edited by The_Jackal; 2019-07-23 at 10:14 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #363
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    Thinking about it, most of the JRPGs with ATBs that I can remember actually had pretty stale combat mechanics. Most of the ones with good mechanics were actually turn based.

    A few that come to mind:

    Final Fantasy X, which dealt with a delay system, where heavier actions delayed your next action, but lighter actions allowed your next action to act earlier than usual. You could use this to chain together combos, or attempt to finish off an enemy before the delay lets them get in 3 attacks. Unfortunately, the delay system isn't particularly strong, because of how few things actually modified it and how little impact they did, but it was still a well designed system that was occasionally very relevant (especially in those 1v1 summon fights).

    Newer Persona games, which rely heavily on understanding your enemy's and your party's weaknesses, and taking steps to overcome those weaknesses. Since hitting an enemy with a weakness for the first time on a player's turn refunded that player's action, you could chain together multiple spell casts in a row, dealing extra damage with each of them, stunlocking an entire group of enemies. Good players are able to take on challenging fights without ever letting the enemy get a hit in.

    Chrono Cross, which used a special magic system that changed how powerful allies and enemies of certain elements were. Casting red spells caused the battlefield to be "more red", which weakens blue units and spells and strengthens red units and spells. Filling a battlefield with a particular color (as in, ALL 3 slots are red) allowed you to do some cool stuff, like summoning a special power that decimates the enemy board. Between choosing what spells to equip what teammates with, whether or not you want to use light (accurate, low damage, low energy gain) or heavy (inaccurate, high damage, high energy gain) attacks to channel energy for magic, what spells to cast in regards to the team conditions, AND gauging the modified power of those spells based on the battlefield colors, AND how casting that spell will modify the battlefield colors, there's a LOT to manage.

    What are your guys' biggest suggestions for JRPGs with solid mechanics?
    Last edited by Man_Over_Game; 2019-07-23 at 10:16 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #364
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    What are your guys' biggest suggestions for JRPGs with solid mechanics?
    Baten Kaitos. It's turn based, but turns are times on harsh timers, you're doing multiple things every turn, your end-turn options are not telegraphed at the beginning of a turn (not entirely anyways), and there's generally a lot of thinking on your feet, rapid numerical approximation, and just general engagement.
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  5. - Top - End - #365
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post

    Yes, and clearly the now-dominant position that moon-logic based puzzle games has over the market speaks to the viability of foisting graphics-improved Zork on the gaming audience.

    See, I can do it too. Zork and its ilk are an expression of the dire limitations of the platform and the infancy of the video-game genre as a whole, and in no case would I advise anyone trying to make a good, successful, entertaining game go back into history's dustbin looking to revive retro non-gameplay titles like Myst or Psychonauts.
    Okay, so your point is that very old games aren't as good as modern games? In what regard does that invalidate the fact that all of those games had plots, and in many cases substantial ones, long before 'Half-life and Deus Ex invented plots in video games', which was the claim I was addressing? I mean, I fully agree that the modern market isn't exactly clamouring for a return to absurdly hard text-based RPGs. Hell, even the much more user-friendly point-and-click adventure game genre was more a symptom of the limitations of hardware back in the day, though there's certainly a niche for it even today considering the general success of Phoenix Wright and its ilk. The entire point of my first post is that games having stories isn't new. Modern games can do it better than old ones because they don't face the same hardware restrictions, but video games with stories are not a new concept. They've been doing it literally since the moment they could, and by your argument for longer than they've had the means to do so effectively.

    On the other point... Yeah, no. Modern Myst-likes do fine. The Talos Principle is one of the most successful non-mobile puzzle games of the last decade, and I would definitely describe it as a modern Myst. Psychonauts sold more copies in the last five years than in the first five years of its existence, and plenty of people throw it on 'best games of all time' lists. We could probably argue about this all day, but the simple truth is that the 'dustbin of history' is full of great ideas, and pilfering them to make something new is how you get your Shovel Knights and DOOMs.
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  6. - Top - End - #366
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaedalusMkV View Post
    Okay, so your point is that very old games aren't as good as modern games? In what regard does that invalidate the fact that all of those games had plots, and in many cases substantial ones, long before 'Half-life and Deus Ex invented plots in video games', which was the claim I was addressing?
    The claim was actually that they invented plots in first person shooters.

    That's not true either, of course. System Shock and Marathon both came out in 1994.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaedalusMkV View Post
    Okay, so your point is that very old games aren't as good as modern games?
    No. My point is that stories are of little consequence in games. Good game + bad story = good game. Bad game + good story = bad game. The way I know that stories don't matter is incredibly simple: How many awful video-game adaptations have we seen in film, as the makers of the movie try to convert the trite, pro-forma stories that accompany successful game franchises into a coherent narrative? In point of fact, Zork is a perfect example of my assertion, since Zork doesn't really *have* a narrative, just a premise and a series of text-based puzzles. The puzzles are the draw, not the premise.

  8. - Top - End - #368
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Over_Game View Post
    What are your guys' biggest suggestions for JRPGs with solid mechanics?
    Breath of Death VII and the Cthulu Saves The World have some interesting mechanics, along with pretty good parody of jRPG stories.
    Last edited by Gnoman; 2019-07-23 at 01:49 PM.

  9. - Top - End - #369
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaedalusMkV View Post
    Okay, so your point is that very old games aren't as good as modern games? In what regard does that invalidate the fact that all of those games had plots, and in many cases substantial ones, long before 'Half-life and Deus Ex invented plots in video games', which was the claim I was addressing?
    The problem here is that The_Jackal never claimed that. He claimed that Half-Life and Deus Ex invented plots in FPS games. Which is broadly true - there were a few about with simplistic plots, and other games that were adjacent to the genre like Ultima Underworld and Thief.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    No. My point is that stories are of little consequence in games. Good game + bad story = good game. Bad game + good story = bad game. The way I know that stories don't matter is incredibly simple: How many awful video-game adaptations have we seen in film, as the makers of the movie try to convert the trite, pro-forma stories that accompany successful game franchises into a coherent narrative? In point of fact, Zork is a perfect example of my assertion, since Zork doesn't really *have* a narrative, just a premise and a series of text-based puzzles. The puzzles are the draw, not the premise.
    This is overly simplistic and ignores quite a bit. Firstly, there's the "Good game + good story = great game" category that you missed. The second is that Good game + bad story does NOT automatically equal good game. If Baldur's Gate had a crappy story, do you think it would have been the hit it was? Mass Effect Andromeda had broadly similar gameplay to the previous games in the franchise, and yet it bombed on the lack of story. Mass Effect 1 meanwhile is widely known to have passable gameplay at best, and the story is what got the game attention and multiple sequels.

    A game does not require a good story to be good. That's perfectly fair. Extending that out as some sort of global catch-all ignores both the vast variety of videogames and the vast variety of people who play them. I can easily come up with examples where the lack of a good story ruined the game for me (off the top of my head, Fire Emblem Fates) and games where the lack of good game mechanics stopped me from following a story I was interested in (Valkyria Chronicles 4).

    There's a whole spectrum out there, and it's impossible to give an absolute rule of whether a game needs a good story or not. It's on a case-by-case basis.

  10. - Top - End - #370
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    No. My point is that stories are of little consequence in games. Good game + bad story = good game. Bad game + good story = bad game. The way I know that stories don't matter is incredibly simple: How many awful video-game adaptations have we seen in film, as the makers of the movie try to convert the trite, pro-forma stories that accompany successful game franchises into a coherent narrative?
    Danganronpa isn't popular because of the gameplay. Phoenix Wright isn't popular because of the gameplay. Walking Sims and Visual Novels aren't popular because of the game play. System Shock 2 was nothing special on the gameplay front, beloved for its excellent story and atmosphere. An RPG with a bad plot is a bad RPG. Period.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    The problem here is that The_Jackal never claimed that. He claimed that Half-Life and Deus Ex invented plots in FPS games. Which is broadly true - there were a few about with simplistic plots, and other games that were adjacent to the genre like Ultima Underworld and Thief.
    Ah, yes, I did miss that. In that case...

    Most people attribute the foundation of the first person shooter genre to Wulfenstein 3d, which came out in 1992. MechWarrior had a fairly well-developed plot (and RPG mechanics), set in the Battletech universe, in 1989. FPS games have been doing plots since before the genre was codified. Even if you assume a very small field for the genre, Marathon came out in '94, and unquestionably had a plot of similar complexity to Half-life, and no matter what your perspective MechWarrior 2 was a first-person shooter and had a fairly complex plot in 1995. Wulfenstein, Doom and Duke Nukem were great games with minimal plot, I'll fully admit, and certainly are the titles that popularized shooters in the mainstream. That doesn't mean people weren't making FPS games with stories even as the genre was first being molded. Before Quake or Duke Nukem were even a thing Dark Forces (perhaps better known as Jedi Knight 0) had in-engine cutscenes and a fully voiced protagonist who commented on what was going on. The 'golden age of FPS games with excuse plots' lasted barely more than a year and then only if you disregard 'genre-adjacent games' like MechWarrior and Ultima Underworld, which helped inspire Wulfenstein and Doom in the first place!
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  11. - Top - End - #371
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    This is overly simplistic and ignores quite a bit. Firstly, there's the "Good game + good story = great game" category that you missed.
    Well, for the sake of argument, let's say there is that category. I liked Bioshock Infinite, if we take that as a mutually agreed-upon example of a 'good story' on a 'good game', I'm inclined to agree with you. The story definitely enhances the game. But I still wouldn't assert that making the gameplay worse in order to make the story more coherent or impactful is a good decision.

    The second is that Good game + bad story does NOT automatically equal good game. If Baldur's Gate had a crappy story, do you think it would have been the hit it was?
    Yes. Game sales are (mostly) based on production values and reviews, and most reviewers don't play the game through to its end before they meet their deadline. Clearly, being a RPG it needed a story, and the story it has isn't bad, per se, but it's one notch above Kung Fu movie in terms of depth and nuance.

    Mass Effect Andromeda had broadly similar gameplay to the previous games in the franchise, and yet it bombed on the lack of story. Mass Effect 1 meanwhile is widely known to have passable gameplay at best, and the story is what got the game attention and multiple sequels.
    It was also panned due to the atrocious drop in quality and production due to the Bioware team's troubles implementing the Frostbite 3 engine, per EA's fiat. But this is not relevant to my point, or yours. People complained about Mass Effect 3 as well, due to their displeasure with the events in the narrative. People complained about the ending of Game of Thrones. I complained about Buffy Season 6. I'm not saying that that bad story isn't bad. I'm saying a bad story can't make a good game bad.

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    Metroid Mission Zero. (Or is it Zero Mission?)
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Metroid Mission Zero. (Or is it Zero Mission?)
    The one where you quest for the Zero Suit?
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    The one where Samus has to ask permission for everything.

    I might have the name wrong
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    Other M the disaster area by Team Ninja.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxx View Post
    Other M the disaster area by Team Ninja.
    That one, yeah!
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    I'm saying a bad story can't make a good game bad.
    And I'm saying that you are subjectively wrong.

    Yes, subjectively. Because it is impossible to be objective here. That may be true for you. It is very much not true for me. I even gave an example - Fire Emblem Fates. The game has improved gameplay over that of Fire Emblem Awakening. By like, a lot. And yet, if offered the choice of which game to play again, I'd pick Awakening every time. Because Fates had a poor story.

    There are games that have good, fun game mechanics, but which have a crappy story. And I have stopped playing those games because they have a crappy story.

    There are games that have mediocre, un-fun game mechanics, but which have a great story. And I have played those games through multiple times because they have a great story.

    Story matters. If not to you, then to me, and to many other people out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
    And I'm saying that you are subjectively wrong.

    Yes, subjectively. Because it is impossible to be objective here. That may be true for you. It is very much not true for me. I even gave an example - Fire Emblem Fates. The game has improved gameplay over that of Fire Emblem Awakening. By like, a lot. And yet, if offered the choice of which game to play again, I'd pick Awakening every time. Because Fates had a poor story.

    There are games that have good, fun game mechanics, but which have a crappy story. And I have stopped playing those games because they have a crappy story.

    There are games that have mediocre, un-fun game mechanics, but which have a great story. And I have played those games through multiple times because they have a great story.

    Story matters. If not to you, then to me, and to many other people out there.
    My counter-argument is not to assert subjectively or objectively that story shouldn't matter to you. Any value-judgement is subjective. What someone calls a good or bad story is subjective, and what someone might call a good or bad game mechanic can be subjective as well, so invoking objectivity in any way puts one on ideological thin ice. If you want to be walked through a story in the form of a video-game, I can't discredit that with any kind of rational argument. You do you.

    What I can say, however, is that fundamentally, story and narratives are naturally limiting. One thing happening precludes something else from happening, and in a novel, movie or comic book, this determinism causes no friction. You're not engaged in a story about what you're doing, you're engaged in a story about what someone else is doing. You're the audience, not the actor. Games, however, no matter the genre, setting, platform, or mechanics, turn the viewer into the actor. They give you agency. A game in which the player has no agency is no game at all. So when I read complaints about narrative options or choices offered or not offered in a game, that is when I assert that stories don't matter. They don't matter, because the story is, by necessity, about turning you from the player back into the audience, into a victim of the limits of the game-designers' imagination and/or budget. That's why quick-time events and railroady cut-scenes cause such rage in players. It's like playing a game of chess, and all of a sudden, the computer shows up and grabs your King from where he's castled straight into check.

    And it's these kinds of narrative conventions that constantly cause player griping. How many miles of complaints have been written about dumb, overbearing narrative decisions made by game designers trying to tell a story instead of offering a game? The dialogue choices in Fallout 4, the Horde atrocities phase in Battle for Azeroth, the lack of a good-guy narrative in quest arcs in Skyrim... it's endless, and it's pointless. Stories don't matter, and the extend to which you make them matter is proportional to the degree to which you suborn your own enjoyment to the artistic vision of some hack video-game writer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    What I can say, however, is that fundamentally, story and narratives are naturally limiting. One thing happening precludes something else from happening, and in a novel, movie or comic book, this determinism causes no friction. You're not engaged in a story about what you're doing, you're engaged in a story about what someone else is doing. You're the audience, not the actor. Games, however, no matter the genre, setting, platform, or mechanics, turn the viewer into the actor. They give you agency. A game in which the player has no agency is no game at all. So when I read complaints about narrative options or choices offered or not offered in a game, that is when I assert that stories don't matter. They don't matter, because the story is, by necessity, about turning you from the player back into the audience, into a victim of the limits of the game-designers' imagination and/or budget. That's why quick-time events and railroady cut-scenes cause such rage in players. It's like playing a game of chess, and all of a sudden, the computer shows up and grabs your King from where he's castled straight into check.
    In the very first Mario game, you're trying to save the princess from Donkey Kong.

    Except that you can't. No matter what you do, the computer shows up and grabs Donkey Kong and the princess and pulls them away into a new stage, until the computer just goes "screw you" and sets the timer so low that you can't even reach the princess before it runs out. The designers could've set a limited number of levels and allow you to eventually rescue the princess, but nope. Failure is the only option.

    So Donkey Kong wasn't a game after all?

    Plus last time I checked god of war players do love their quick-time events and railroady cutscenes to death in their fixed-narrative games.
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    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Personally I tend to pick games for the story they are telling.

    For example, Infinite Space, basically rock, paper, scissors with 1D spacebattles and some customization for your ships.
    If not for the great story I probably would have stopped playing after the tutorial.

    So, at least for me a good story is just as important as the gameplay, if not more so.

    Why should I care about shooting stuff, arranging oddly shaped bricks or getting stronger fighting monsters if there's no reason to do so?
    Because the numbers get bigger?
    I can have that on a calculator.
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    Plus last time I checked god of war players do love their quick-time events and railroady cutscenes to death in their fixed-narrative games.
    Could do without the quick-time events, but that's because when I'm a watching a cutscene, I want to actually be watching the cutscene, not watching a specific part of the screen for a prompt to push a button so that I can get through it successfully. Thankfully though those were largely removed in the most recent God of War, if memory serves.

    The rest though, yep, all good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    My counter-argument is not to assert subjectively or objectively that story shouldn't matter to you. Any value-judgement is subjective. What someone calls a good or bad story is subjective, and what someone might call a good or bad game mechanic can be subjective as well, so invoking objectivity in any way puts one on ideological thin ice. If you want to be walked through a story in the form of a video-game, I can't discredit that with any kind of rational argument. You do you.

    What I can say, however, is that fundamentally, story and narratives are naturally limiting. One thing happening precludes something else from happening, and in a novel, movie or comic book, this determinism causes no friction. You're not engaged in a story about what you're doing, you're engaged in a story about what someone else is doing. You're the audience, not the actor. Games, however, no matter the genre, setting, platform, or mechanics, turn the viewer into the actor. They give you agency. A game in which the player has no agency is no game at all. So when I read complaints about narrative options or choices offered or not offered in a game, that is when I assert that stories don't matter. They don't matter, because the story is, by necessity, about turning you from the player back into the audience, into a victim of the limits of the game-designers' imagination and/or budget. That's why quick-time events and railroady cut-scenes cause such rage in players. It's like playing a game of chess, and all of a sudden, the computer shows up and grabs your King from where he's castled straight into check.

    And it's these kinds of narrative conventions that constantly cause player griping. How many miles of complaints have been written about dumb, overbearing narrative decisions made by game designers trying to tell a story instead of offering a game? The dialogue choices in Fallout 4, the Horde atrocities phase in Battle for Azeroth, the lack of a good-guy narrative in quest arcs in Skyrim... it's endless, and it's pointless. Stories don't matter, and the extend to which you make them matter is proportional to the degree to which you suborn your own enjoyment to the artistic vision of some hack video-game writer.
    So, before I fully respond to this, I want to repeat back my understanding of what you're saying. That way, you can tell me if I have anything wrong in my understanding, and if so, what. Not saying I agree, just double checking I understand what you're saying.

    Here's how I read that.

    Video games, by their very nature, require the player to step into a role, and become an active participant in the events of the game. That means that they have a choice in how things play out.

    When video game developers include a story in their game, they restrict some of that player's agency. This is especially egregious when devs railroad players into nonsensical plots, but including any story at all means that somebody is going to be forced into doing something that they'd rather not.

    Including a story, therefore, is mostly detrimental, in that players can only enjoy having their agency restricted if they're okay with the paces the story is taking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuterio12 View Post
    In the very first Mario game, you're trying to save the princess from Donkey Kong.

    <snip>

    So Donkey Kong wasn't a game after all?
    No, DK didn't have a story, only a premise. DK/Mario proves my point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Balmas View Post
    So, before I fully respond to this, I want to repeat back my understanding of what you're saying. That way, you can tell me if I have anything wrong in my understanding, and if so, what. Not saying I agree, just double checking I understand what you're saying.

    Here's how I read that.

    Video games, by their very nature, require the player to step into a role, and become an active participant in the events of the game. That means that they have a choice in how things play out.

    When video game developers include a story in their game, they restrict some of that player's agency. This is especially egregious when devs railroad players into nonsensical plots, but including any story at all means that somebody is going to be forced into doing something that they'd rather not.

    Including a story, therefore, is mostly detrimental, in that players can only enjoy having their agency restricted if they're okay with the paces the story is taking.
    Detrimental? No. Irrelevant? Closer. The core thesis is: "Story doesn't matter". It can be more or less compelling, more or less well-told, but it's not going to make or break any game. How many great games spawned utterly turgid movies based on their setting/premise?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    No, DK didn't have a story, only a premise. DK/Mario proves my point.
    You can try to argue about semantics, but you can't deny that Donkey Kong and Mario both became iconic images of Nintendo and gaming that are worth a lot on their own.

    Fun fact, that game was initially supposed to be based on Popeye, but Nintendo decided at the last minute that they could just make their own characters and story and that way save a lot of money on royalties.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    Detrimental? No. Irrelevant? Closer. The core thesis is: "Story doesn't matter". It can be more or less compelling, more or less well-told, but it's not going to make or break any game. How many great games spawned utterly turgid movies based on their setting/premise?
    See, right the next paragraph you are admitting that a premise can be a story.

    And how many great books/other franchises spawned turgid movies? It's hardly limited to video game stories.

    Still slap Mario in a game, and it's bound to sell a lot more than if you went with nameless colored dots in a generic enviroment and zero actual story. Mario's supposed to be a carpenter plumber, but he's been a doctor, hotel manager, driver, astronaut, champion of numerous sports, because people like his character and story enough to make it worth to slap them in all gaming genres.
    Last edited by deuterio12; 2019-07-24 at 12:42 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Of Mantas View Post
    "You know, Durkon, I built this planet up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was a snarl. All the other gods said we were daft to build a planet over a snarl, but I built it all the same, just to show then. It got eaten by the snarl...

    ...so we built a five millionth, three hundreth, twenty first one. That one burned down, fell over, then got eaten by the snarl, but the five millionth, three hundreth, and twenty second one stayed up! Or at least, it has been until now."

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    Going back a little bit...
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    Yes. Game sales are (mostly) based on production values and reviews, and most reviewers don't play the game through to its end before they meet their deadline. Clearly, being a RPG it needed a story, and the story it has isn't bad, per se, but it's one notch above Kung Fu movie in terms of depth and nuance.
    This isn't true at all. Most good reviews do play a game through, it is only the "we've got to shove a review of this game out as soon as possible" types of reviews that don't play most/all of the game. That and a lot of people don't read reviews or don't care what they say even if they do. We see that all the time in movies as well, where reviews will be bad but people love the movies (see most Marvel movies, Star Wars, etc.) All most people see of reviews is the metacritic style review reduction, an average number of many other average numbers from various reviewers. Given what we, as consumers, know about the review process and numbering used, and *how* review sites make money, advertising for said games, that none of them are very trustworthy. It isn't exactly "developers paying critics for good reviews" but more "we need to bring in advertising, if we blast this new big title from EA we can kiss 30% of our potential ad revenue goodbye." Or as is also the case "if we don't give Activision's new title a good review then they're going to stop sending us their new games early and we can't get our reviews up on release so we'll miss out on the release day review rush."

    I would be interested to see trend charts of production costs, reviews, and game sales, because I'm beating there isn't a strong correlation there. Especially if you take sales numbers rather than sales values, as in numbers of copies sold, not just saying game X sold $2M and game Y sold $1M so therefor game X is a better and more popular game, when game X was $60 and game Y was $20, so in reality more people bought and played game Y than game X.



    The importance of story does depend a lot on the type of game and what people want out of it. There are a lot of quick match games that have little to no story and they can be fun and engaging, but most of that engagement comes from the challenge of other players.
    Most games that I have bothered to beat has been because they've had interesting stories (and I use interesting specifically because there are plenty of games, movies, and books with interesting stories that don't actually turn out good in the end, but the story was enough to get engaged to the point of seeing how it ends). Of course I've also stopped playing a lot of games that people claim have good stories, but to me the story seems to be too hidden/obtuse to really show up unless you're the type that likes to play a game 4-5 times to finally piece it all together.

    I also see a lot of "story doesn't matter" then taking a very strict interpretation of what counts as story. You can tell a lot of story with setting and atmosphere without ever having direct narration.

    I would also say that while I know it isn't unique, I'm not really mainstream in my tastes in some games. For instance even though I've been playing games since the 80s, I don't think I've ever beat a Mario game, I've never found the stories or gameplay engaging enough to be worth finishing them. Granted there are a lot I haven't even tried because I gave up on them a long time ago, but what I have seen of them nothing has changed that would make me like them.

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    About a story making a game worse, there is Red Faction IV (Armageddon). The game wasn't anything special (the geo-mod wasn't used in an interesting way and the monsters weren't original), but it gave massive prominence to a story that wasn't that interesting or cohesive, and felt detached from the game, and really threw it in your face. It really made the game worse.

    In general, everyone agrees that immersion is a good thing in a game. However, there are different factors that work towards immersion. Difficulty can be one: if you know you don't have much room for mistakes, you'll put more of your mind into the game; in this case, however, the game has to be enjoyable, or difficulty will drive people away. However, no one will care if you are shooting at 3 month old sandwiches you forgot behind the heating that sprouted legs and are now attacking your school. Then you have games like Alien: Isolation, which put everything into graphics, sound, AI, level design, and a certain kind of aesthetics to make everything life-like (and somber-scary). In such a game, you have solid limits to what the story allows, so it's fairly easy to screw it up in different ways: going too Hollywood (happy ending for everyone, Tom Cruise War of the Worlds style), adding wacky elements (the aliens love old cheese!), or being too realistic and stop caring for storytelling laws (like how tension develops).
    Quote Originally Posted by Kantaki View Post
    Why should I care about shooting stuff, arranging oddly shaped bricks or getting stronger fighting monsters if there's no reason to do so?
    Because the numbers get bigger?
    I can have that on a calculator.
    I'm getting flashbacks from Oblivion.


    And it's books that often are reviewed without reading them. In general, a game is 12 to 50 hours long (exceptions apply). A reviewer won't know how enjoyable M&B is after 100 hours, or know everything about CK2, but, as long as he's getting paid, playing a videogame isn't exactly a difficult task.
    Quote Originally Posted by J.R.R. Tolkien, 1955
    I thought Tom Bombadil dreadful — but worse still was the announcer's preliminary remarks that Goldberry was his daughter (!), and that Willowman was an ally of Mordor (!!).

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    Detrimental? No. Irrelevant? Closer. The core thesis is: "Story doesn't matter". It can be more or less compelling, more or less well-told, but it's not going to make or break any game. How many great games spawned utterly turgid movies based on their setting/premise?
    I disgree.

    I have never completed any sandbox game or open-world game EXCEPT for Witcher 3. While I like, I struggle greatly with any city-builder that doesn't have scenarios, because it just hold my attention. Witcher 3's story held my attention long enough that I didn't just get bored.

    I don't play games to play games. I do not, anymore play board games, nor card games (when my local RPG has a games night becase the DM or not enough players are there, I plitely bow out for the night). I actually sort of think I don't REALLY play games at all, not on computer, nor tabletop, but instead rather treat them as either stories to be consumed something to build (but only with some sort of end-purpose) or puzzles to be solved.

    In that latter case, I specifically mean "must have lots of planning-based decisions and progression," that there are decisions, planning and progression is far more important than there are buttons to be pressed; I can cope with the lack of arching story ONLY in games like Civ or GSG, where there is sufficient planning to replace it AND there is a purpose (world conquest) to the "build" aspect.

    A game which has neither story, nor that large number of planning-based decisions to be made (even if it let you build something) - which essentially equate to me writing my own story lensed in terms of a history, even - is unlikely to get my attention at all, or for a few hours at most.



    Notably? My library contains zero platformers and two only shooters pertaning to franchises (only one of which I even completed) plus whatever ME 1-3 counts as.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Jackal View Post
    Detrimental? No. Irrelevant? Closer. The core thesis is: "Story doesn't matter". It can be more or less compelling, more or less well-told, but it's not going to make or break any game. How many great games spawned utterly turgid movies based on their setting/premise?
    If that's the case, then good or bad stories wouldn't matter to the gameplay public. The fact that people do care--that by your own admission, the gameplaying public is upset when game writers force their characters into bone-headed decisions--should probably indicate to you that story does matter. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that in the genres of game where story is important, a bad story can have as bad an effect as poor gameplay.

    Compare the public reception of Bioshock with that of Bioshock 2. If you were to look purely at gameplay, Bioshock 2 iterated and improved on Bioshock's combat in nearly every way. Splicers acted smarter and had a greater enemy variety. The weapons that the player could use were both more varied and upgradeable. In the sequel, the player could even shoot a gun with one hand while wielding a plasmid in the other. Gameplay-wise, there's no comparison.

    The problem with Bioshock 2, though, was its story. The original Bioshock's story featured an antagonist that was well-thought out and well spoken, and the story itself served as both a critique of Objectivist utopias and a disassembly of the idea of a video game protagonist following the railroad of the plot. 2's story, by comparison, features a villain who's a Communist. And, that's about it. No critique, no disassembly, no clever ideas, just a railroad that the player follows. That brilliant story in the first game is the reason why Bioshock is a staple part of gaming history, while Bioshock 2 has been relegated to the scrap heap of bad sequels that failed to live up to the first edition. Story absolutely matters.
    I run a Let's Play channel! Check it out!
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    Dare I suggest a mention of a the endings of a certain RPG trilogy which, as the culmination of the story, very definitely attracted a huge amount of critism?

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    Oh, you mean Fallout?
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