Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


This is why Modern Tomb Raider Games aren't good...


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
36 replies to this topic

#1 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
3Likes
Like

Posted 04 December 2013 - 07:08 PM

Modern Tomb Raider games are not as good as the originals. 

 

I remember when my brother first started playing Tomb Raider on the Sony Playstation. He spent weeks at a time trying to solve the puzzles in that game. It took him a few months to get close to beating the game. Of course little brother had overwritten all of his data and he lost his progress. He almost lost his head too. 

 

Modern Tomb Raider games are more like interactive video tutorials. They hold your hand on everything:

 

"Press the 'X' button to jump." 

 

Duh? Or at least let me figure that out by myself.

 

They don't have challenging puzzles at all, and the game can be beaten in a day. There is no real sense of accomplishment in them anymore. My brother thought he was a real gamer, but when I told him to download the old Tomb Raider from PSN and play it, he couldn't get pass the first level. Complaints?"

 

1. Controls are bad

2. Graphics suck

3. Died 4 times back to back by a bear

4. Couldn't solve the puzzle

 

Is that why modern games are so dummified and give you achievement awards for doing simple tasks? 

Question? What type of game do you prefer? Good game or good graphics? 

 

Perhaps this is a societal issue. Perhaps people just want to be spoon fed and don't want to be challenged? Perhaps people just want to be told they are good, without having to actually be good? 

 

Perhaps games are just an escape from all sense of reality? Oh, don't worry, if you die you can just respawn from your last save point (which was just a few feet before this point). 

 

Somebody needs to play Sonic on the Sega Genesis. haha. 

 

In contrast:

 

My brother downloaded the indie game "Contrast" (how ironic) and after looking at him play that I was like THAT'S IT! This is what is what I miss about games! That game had awesome puzzles that reminded me of the old Tomb Raider. It even had glitches! Hooray for glitches! Now all we need are some easter eggs

 

The Tomb Raider devs can learn something from this game. A lot of followers. Few leaders. Smh. 

 

(rant finished). haha. 

 

 

 

 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


Sponsor:

#2 sunandshadow   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4133

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 04 December 2013 - 09:47 PM

If you want discussion, it would be more effective to pose a question rather than posting an opinion piece like this with no obvious request for responses.


I want to help design a "sandpark" MMO. Optional interactive story with quests and deeply characterized NPCs, plus sandbox elements like player-craftable housing and lots of other crafting. If you are starting a design of this type, please PM me.

#3 reenigne   Members   -  Reputation: 199

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:40 PM

I'd say its society. Just look we've had this massive decline in education over a number of decades. The people no longer are about what they can do for this country but what they can get out of it. So of course a game that requires any real thought or work isn't going to do as well on the market. Most people no longer have the aptitude for it or patients or perseverance to solve anything complex. I remember when I used to go on sites like flipcode.com back in the day and it was busy as heck till he shut the site down for that long period. More people were willing to put the work in and learn then. At least it seems that way.

People are more about flash rather than substance and value by far. Most couldn't do the work to tell if they are getting ripped off or not. Which is why so many of them are easily ripped off.

So yea games have became more about being pretty and less about substance and story telling. Quests and puzzles all have become simpler. That's what the people will buy.

I figure if you want to create a game with any real complexity to it these days you are going to have to sneak it in. Make it look good or different and start it out easy. As the game progresses you add in more so by the time the realize the complexity they already have a good amount of time invested in it and then make it competitive so they see it as a matter of trying to beat the other individual. If you look at games like Kingdoms of Camelot and others on the internet that do good they are about showing off how much you can horde. Or at least they became like that because the way people are and play.



#4 Nypyren   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3415

Like
5Likes
Like

Posted 04 December 2013 - 11:49 PM

It's not even remotely as simple as graphics vs. gameplay or hardcore vs. casual.

 

Here's the reality of why long running franchises dramatically change over time:  The developers of the original games no longer work at the company.  Some have retired.  Some got bored.  Some wanted to start their own company to make a different kind of game.  Some got downsized.  Other people have been hired to take over.  The new people have different opinions about what the game should focus on, how puzzles work, etc.  Experience that the original developers had is lost or must be rediscovered by the new developers.  Friends who got left behind lose morale.

 

Companies reuse their game engine between games.  Everyone initially thinks this is good because the code works and doesn't need to be rewritten, right?  Wrong.  The existing code must be DRAMATICALLY changed to adapt to new consoles and features that it wasn't originally designed for -- downloadable content, multiplayer, etc.  Remember all those developers who decided to quit?  It turns out that they were the only ones who understood how the system works, so time must be spent by the new developers to figure out where to even MAKE those changes.

 

Meanwhile, other companies are making similar (but much more popular games), and the producers at your company decide "we GOTTA have this feature that they did in that other game, it must be why they are more popular than us!".  Everyone other than the producers sigh because they know what's coming:  Copying other people's features don't excite the development team at all, and are usually way harder to add to the game than the producers are willing to believe ("the team who made XYZ are half of our size!  We should be able to do it in half the time!").  This just makes all the people actually implementing the game more stressed out and less motivated to make the best game they can.  And despite what people think about large companies that steal ideas, the VAST majority of employees get really depressed when we're told to copy other games.

 

These forces conspire to make game development a LOT more complicated, stressful, and apathetic than it needs to be, and this is what is stifling innovation and good gameplay at larger companies.


Edited by Nypyren, 04 December 2013 - 11:54 PM.


#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 14722

Like
3Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 12:51 AM

What type of game do you prefer? Good game or good graphics?

 

why_not_both.jpg

 

I don't think we should ever have to choose between a good game or good graphics -- intentionally choosing to skimp on either one is really just lazy development.  Just to clarify, I of course don't mean that every game should have AAA quality graphics with all of the latest and greatest effects, but the graphics should be stylistically consistent and aesthetically pleasing.  Vector, retro, hand-drawn, cel-shaded, or any other style is absolutely fine as long as it's properly applied.

 

 

 

"Press the 'X' button to jump." 
 
Duh? Or at least let me figure that out by myself.
 
Really?  Personally, I don't want to have to figure out how to jump -- learning basic movement controls is hopefully not what the game is all about, it's just pointless busy-work that I'd like to have out of the way as soon as possible so I can get on with something more interesting.  It's an area that still needs improvement, but I think the basic idea of quickly and simply telling the player what the basic controls are is a good thing as long as it isn't overly boring or intrusive, and is either out of the way very quickly, or more ideally can be skipped by more experienced players.
 
 
 
As for puzzles themselves, I'd love to see some better and more complicated puzzles included in games, but if you set yourself the challenge of designing some you'll find it's not actually all that easy to do -- for a good puzzle you need to come up with something that isn't immediately obvious but can be logically deduced, and which isn't unfair and doesn't rely on the player simply trying random inputs till they succeed -- coming up with something that meets those criteria and which isn't simply an existing puzzle re-themed takes a lot of time and effort.  It's also a bit of a thankless task in that a solution will undoubtedly be posted online as soon as the first player solves your puzzle, and many subsequent players who find the puzzle difficult will simply look up the solution rather than spending lots of time and multiple attempts trying to reach the solution for themselves.

 


Edited by jbadams, 05 December 2013 - 01:13 AM.


#6 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:20 AM


People are more about flash rather than substance and value by far

 

This is exactly what I have been seeing. Of course, games don't have to have substance and value. I mean, what substance does UNO really have? And I have indeed improved my hand-eye coordination by playing video games, which could amount to some value. 

 

But today, when gaming companies want to exchange making games for creating experiences they do it in such a cheap way. I don't mind a good interactive story.

 

One game that did catch my attention was this game my brother was playing called "The Last of Us." The beginning of that game really sucked you in to the story. 

 

I saw the same thing in Metal Gear Solid 2. When Emma died I almost cried! haha. 

 

It is okay to do story games but I really wont feel I have been a part of the story if the game designer is holding my hand the whole time making it easy for me. 

 

Also, a lot of these games miss out on a really good mechanic that could make the games so much better. RISK AND REWARD.

 

That was a feature in Tomb Raider and in Resident Evil on the Sony Playstation (Resident Evil isn't my choice of game, but I am talking about the mechanics of it). You had supplies in those games, and those supplies could run out. You had to use your supplies wisely. You had to take risks with the hope of being rewarded.

 

Now, say for instance they chose to add this mechanic to a game like COD or Battlefield. They would instantly become more like real war. But all you see today is "go kill these group of people and you win."

 

What about the moral issues behind killing another human being? That should be something that is stressed in a war game. When a person decides to kill someone, let them know there are repercussions for making that choice, be it consciously or legally. Then these games would have some real value. Then you can really tell the story of war. 

 

Even something as simple as that adds so much more depth to such a video game. 

 

Our lives are full of choices, so why restrict my ability to choose in a video game? Why hold my hand in a video game? If I win I win, if I loose I loose. GAME OVER! 90s style! No memory cards! haha. 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#7 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1122

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:21 AM

 

What type of game do you prefer? Good game or good graphics?

 

I don't think we should ever have to choose between a good game or good graphics -- intentionally choosing to skimp on either one is really just lazy development.  Just to clarify, I of course don't mean that every game should have AAA quality graphics with all of the latest and greatest effects, but the graphics should be stylistically consistent and aesthetically pleasing.  Vector, retro, hand-drawn, cel-shaded, or any other style is absolutely fine as long as it's properly applied.

 

 

I don't think anyone does choose between the two, they try to do both.

 

I think what OP meant with "good graphics" are the cases where the graphics themselves are obviously one of the selling points of the game. The term "eye candy" should apply here. I remember thinking that way for some games like Far Cry and Crysis that were sort of pioneers (or at least were marketed that way ;) ) with some features like real-time reflection/refraction.

 

I wholeheartedly agree with OPs view especially on TR series but acknowledge that the problem is a bit wider and hard to fix.

 

One shred of the whole might be that graphics are easy selling point. When you go pitch your game idea to funders and you can say "we are the best looking game on the market" and show your videos with lvl 999 graphics the funders immeadiately see how they can make the game sell and profit. You can demonstrate your graphics in single image or a very short video and that's it.

 

But try pitching your idea about combining interesting gameplay features for example in adventure/platformer category and you're off to a much slower start. You need to do a lot of explaining and stand a barrage of questions about what makes this game better than something that's already on the market. You need charts and longer videos showing the interplay and relation of things. "Not interested".

 

As the funders buy the idea about the game with best graphics, they see that it gets completed as it was sold. Maybe you cheated/dodged around the problems a bit with your pitch video because the gfx features weren't fully optimized and debugged for real time *yet* and most of the dev resources go into making the game look as good as advertised if not even better.

 

A good game requires a good team which requires funding which requires a good game. So where do you enter the loop? :)



#8 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:26 AM


And despite what people think about large companies that steal ideas, the VAST majority of employees get really depressed when we're told to copy other games.

 

The secret is out! haha. 

 

I think this same thing happened at Apple. After Steve Jobs left it was at least more obvious they were copying. I mean, so much of IOS 7 is jacked off of Android (and I like apple products). At the end of the day it seems to be more about making money than making a good game. 

 

Of course, some people do want to make money off of their games. But games shouldn't be presented like Hollywood fashion trends (never been a trend guy, only a "whatever is good" guy). If a game is good, I'll play it. No need to try to add all these features that don't make your game technically more attractive. 

 

Seems if you razzle and dazzle 'em with "good graphics" and explosions and lights and action, you got em hooked. Sounds like American Television (post Turner). 


Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 05 December 2013 - 01:30 AM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#9 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 14722

Like
3Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:31 AM


One shred of the whole might be that graphics are easy selling point.

Absolutely, it's relatively easy to show off your good graphics with images on a game box or with a thumbnail image on a website, but unless your game is already well known the closest you can come to "showing off" your great puzzle design is hoping people trust you when you write "great puzzles!" on the box; even if your game is well known you're still left with adding a review quote.



#10 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:36 AM


the closest you can come to "showing off" your great puzzle design is hoping people trust you when you write "great puzzles!"

 

Hahaha. I think I see a good mesh between them. 

 

Keep the graphics but bring back the good gameplay/puzzles Tomb Raider! And stop holding my hand. 

 

(I am using Tomb Raider as a symbol for most modern games in the category Tomb Raider would fall into, so this doesn't just apply to Tomb Raider). 


They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#11 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 01:45 AM


Really?  Personally, I don't want to have to figure out how to jump

 

I can think back to a bunch of games from the 90s when your character just appeared on the screen idling. You tap a button to see what it does and then you know what the button does. Of course, if a game is more complex then I would expect a little help. But when I am halfway through the game and you are still giving me clues on how to hang on a ledge....

 

The latest Tomb Raider game has a feature where you can see through walls to find medic packs. Really? And she does this with her bare eyes! We all know Tomb Raider isn't a cyborg. Let her look for the medic pack. If it's night time, giver her that flaming torch, but let her look! What satisfaction do I get from using super human mode to find stuff. 

 

Another thing I see is this Bullet Time stuff. It was cool in Max Payne for a while and the best use of it was the Matrix game series. But I think the best combat gameplay I have ever seen in a game as pertains to close quarters combat was the a hack on the Enter the Matrix game where you could spar (ever played that one?):

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJ0E2gYKqM8

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMwMK6TQETM


Edited by Tutorial Doctor, 05 December 2013 - 01:49 AM.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#12 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1122

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 02:03 AM

We all know Tomb Raider isn't a cyborg. 

 

 

Amagad you did not just refer to Lara as "Tomb Raider"? :D Me and my brother would laugh at one of our friend doing that and acting like he was a fan.

 

Wow, the more I hear from the latest TRs the more I dislike them. The last I played was Chronicles which was still pretty good but you could already start to see where the series was going.



#13 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1139

Like
2Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:03 AM

The reason these games are not as fun [for a gamer] is that they have been dumbed down to appeal for a mass market.  I remember spending weeks or even months playing Tomb Raider 2 but the latest instalment by Square took me about 8 hours to complete including unlocking all the achievments.

 

Developers need to appeal to a mass market and not just gamers.  The Tomb Raider devs do not need to learn from a game like contrast because they already know how to make a good Tomb Raider game and they also know how to make a game that appeals to a wider audience.  The market makes them go with the second option.  They simplty cannot get away with making the kind of games that indies can.

 

It is the same with all media though and not just games.  For example the films that win at the oscars such as The Kings Speech are not the same films that are being watched by wider audiences such as Expendables2 or Pacific Rim.

 

I think that now games have reached a mass market they need something similar to the Oscars and the acadamy so that developers although still being able to make mass market games can also strive towards making games that can earn them recognition as being the best chosen by their peers.  The Golden Joystick awards just doesn't do this.



#14 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 14722

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:10 AM


For example the films that win at the oscars such as The Kings Speech are not the same films that are being watched by wider audiences such as Expendables2 or Pacific Rim.

Good points -- reminded me of "where's our merchant ivory", and the follow-up "revenge of the highbrow games".



#15 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 362

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:23 AM

Visual representations are the first thing a consumer sees, and is why great games have great visuals. Simply aiming to achieve a modest proportion of time consumed into graphics is not a bad thing, I for one would rather have nice visual representations to guide my eyes and allow me to understand the game and mechanics faster (I am a visual person). When the creators seek to make graphics the selling point rather then the eye-catcher, we start to see problems.

 

however games 'dumbing down' are an entirely different topic that is, in reality, quite an extensive one. This sense of 'dumbing down' has started to become a common form of attack at games that gamers from older generations see as too easy. In reality, a lot of it is simply different. I find that the perfect new formula for a gaming system is to make it simple but versatile. For example, gw2.

 

We all know gw2, it had a controversial time when it was launched and kept to quite a lot of its hype. I've never gotten into mmo's before, but gw2 I just attached to. There were various reasons for this, but a main one was the fighting system.

Simple, yet versatile.

I had 5 main abilities, with an extra 5 special abilities. That's 10 abilities I have to focus on, instead of 40 different unnecessary additions that mmo's define themselves on. Yet their were still as many choices as any other mmo, it maintained its versatility.

 

Additionally, many things that are considered 'dumbing down' is actually more for convenience. For example, Skyrim changed from earlier elder scrolls in its quest system by having a tracker for the destinations within that quest. This isn't 'dumbing' the game down, but rather providing convenience for the player. I'm sure older elder scrolls players will remember quests that had terrible directions, causing painful searching for hours that really was not pleasant in any way.

 

However, it is true that many games are dumbing down in addition to making a simpler system. This is because the gaming community has started to blow out of proportion, where gaming itself has become an excepted norm in most country's, and E-sports has become a competitive sport for many people. A lot of games are now focusing on this market, realising that a lot of this new intake is related to casual gaming. That's right, they want money and the money is in casual gaming.

 

This does not mean games are going to eventually reduce until we can't recognise an easy game from a hard one, it simply means that a majority of games will be focusing on a more casual market, leaving the hardcore market to thrive in its own space. I, for one, am looking forward to many games that I don't consider 'dumbed down'. Dark souls 2, here I come.


Edited by ShiftyCake, 05 December 2013 - 03:25 AM.

If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.


#16 Unduli   Members   -  Reputation: 638

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 09:26 AM

Well, for good game vs good graphics

 

Good graphics are less matter of debate. But good game differs for everyone

 

For example , I remember Tomb Raider IV Last Revelation is being annoyingly difficult time to time, someone else might love and look for it.

 

I think point is an AAA title has not much to do thanks to what's forced to them.

 

They have to stick "proven" methods combined with expensive graphics and a gameplay designed for consols and morons , also leaving room for microtransactions.



#17 Tutorial Doctor   Members   -  Reputation: 970

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 10:26 AM

We all know Tomb Raider isn't a cyborg.

 
Amagad you did not just refer to Lara as "Tomb Raider"? :D Me and my brother would laugh at one of our friend doing that and acting like he was a fan.

Yeah. We called Laura Croft "Tomb Raider." It was cooler. Haha.

They call me the Tutorial Doctor.


#18 Buster2000   Members   -  Reputation: 1139

Like
1Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 11:01 AM


ShadowFlar3, on 05 Dec 2013 - 08:03 AM, said:

Quote

We all know Tomb Raider isn't a cyborg.


Amagad you did not just refer to Lara as "Tomb Raider"? biggrin.png Me and my brother would laugh at one of our friend doing that and acting like he was a fan.


Yeah. We called Laura Croft "Tomb Raider." It was cooler. Haha.

 

Lara not Laura



#19 emcconnell   Members   -  Reputation: 719

Like
4Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 03:36 PM

It's because business and marketing departments actually design games, and not the developers. Sad truth. And what do business and marketing care about? Money (Well we all care about money) To get the most money, you must appeal to that 14 year old male. Tomb Raider stars a beautiful women who kills and adventures and wears tight clothing.

 

We must make those teenage males feel empowered! Lets make them able to kill and conquer with pressing as few buttons as possible! Cool, now lets do some user testing. Oh no, the people we brought in to user test, who have never played a video game before, can't jump over a ledge. Metrics driven design to the rescue!!!! It seems these numbers go up if we make difficulty go down, oh man, I'm a hot shot producer and designer.

 

Ok I could go on and on. But yeah, pretty much the story of this generation. Rail shooters, QTE based combat, regenerating health, no game over state, etc. From the outside, I always wondered how such crappy games got made. But, after working (programming) on a crappy game, you see exactly how this happens. Most programmers, artist, designers who work on these games know the flaws and how to fix them. The problem is the producers and marketing teams hold all the power. Even though you may have a MS in computer science and more shipped games, some banker who got hired on his first game as a producer is going to be making most of the decisions. And those decisions will be made for monetary reasons based on numbers and projections provided by the marketing team, not fun/quality/community/making a great product.

 

I'm sure we have all experienced this. Anyways TL;DR: Make your own games that rock ;)


Edited by emcconnell, 05 December 2013 - 03:40 PM.


#20 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 362

Like
0Likes
Like

Posted 05 December 2013 - 04:39 PM

It's because business and marketing departments actually design games, and not the developers. Sad truth. And what do business and marketing care about? Money (Well we all care about money) To get the most money, you must appeal to that 14 year old male. Tomb Raider stars a beautiful women who kills and adventures and wears tight clothing.

 

We must make those teenage males feel empowered! Lets make them able to kill and conquer with pressing as few buttons as possible! Cool, now lets do some user testing. Oh no, the people we brought in to user test, who have never played a video game before, can't jump over a ledge. Metrics driven design to the rescue!!!! It seems these numbers go up if we make difficulty go down, oh man, I'm a hot shot producer and designer.

 

Ok I could go on and on. But yeah, pretty much the story of this generation. Rail shooters, QTE based combat, regenerating health, no game over state, etc. From the outside, I always wondered how such crappy games got made. But, after working (programming) on a crappy game, you see exactly how this happens. Most programmers, artist, designers who work on these games know the flaws and how to fix them. The problem is the producers and marketing teams hold all the power. Even though you may have a MS in computer science and more shipped games, some banker who got hired on his first game as a producer is going to be making most of the decisions. And those decisions will be made for monetary reasons based on numbers and projections provided by the marketing team, not fun/quality/community/making a great product.

 

I'm sure we have all experienced this. Anyways TL;DR: Make your own games that rock ;)

 

It's quite understandable that the companies investing their money into you hold the power. I'd also like to point out that the new Lara Croft is holding to the same consensus it always has, being hot. The only difference now is that the graphics level is to a point where you can feel outraged at this supposed 'specification to teenagers'. Are you saying adults are any more mature when it comes to women and their looks?

 

So let's get to the core of the problem, you hate that the people who are trying to make money, try and make money when designing a game? To me this makes no sense. It should be a given that a company investment will seek to maximise that investment, this includes pandering to a more casual audience that has no interest in playing a demoralising games.


Edited by ShiftyCake, 05 December 2013 - 04:42 PM.

If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.





Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS