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Arcfusiongames

What is the most immersive game you have played?

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I have started this survey/discussion to find out in other peoples opinions what is the most immersive they have played. Your answers will grant me alot of insight so that I can study what makes these games so immersive. After 2 weeks I will use the information gathered to write a report on Immmersion which I will distribute for free. Please keep this civil and polite.

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Battlefield 2. What I was being immersed in, of course, was a video game, rather than an alternate universe or a compelling character. All the same, I loves me some BF2, and the feeling I got from being a useful member of that team, without being bound by levels or gear or other grindable attributes, was second to none. Here's hoping BF3 keeps the spirit alive.

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HALO CE believe it or not. the character was truely anonymous at that point so you could put yourself in his suit. plus the game had amazing pace that helped maintain immersion. it is an excellent example of how to use music to sustain pace,

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I haven't played all the games out there, but I remember the original STALKER really drawing me in (or at least it would have if it wasn't crashing all the time, but I guess that's beside the point). Also Morrowind. I'll attribute this to the ambiance of the worlds rather than any particular gameplay elements. I think I could get drawn into a game that had no objective but to walk around in a breezy grass meadow, with the sound of a nearby forest's trees rustling in the wind. Just the feel of being in a place is really important to me, it allows me to revisit a place in nature that's kind of lost in modern life.


Also I tend to think that immersion kind of depends on the state of the player as much as the game itself too. I remember back in my younger days I would play Asheron's Call for a long time, it totally gripped me for a couple years of my youth. I think that has something to do with the age I was at the time and the fact that it was the first really persistent open world game that I played. I think if I picked it up again now I might not be as impressed anymore, but it had a magical quality at the time.

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PrestoChung- I have never had the chance to play daggerfall but I would one day like to. I know very little about the game because it is so old, I will check out GOG.com to see if its there somewhere.

Iron Chef Carnage- Battlefield 2 was one of my favorite multiplayer experiences of all time but I would not say it is highly immersive. But it is really a game where you have to create your own immersive by getting a good team together that take the game seriously, not some trollling noobs that ruin the game for everyone (of which I encountered alot of in my time of playing BF2)

Warman45- I remember getting the first Halo on PC for my birthday when I was 11 and playing it all day, loving every second of it. I still love that game to this day and it easily surpasses the many sequels and spin offs. The game was extremely immersive because of the superb atmosphere, interesting levels, the unforgettable soundtrack and a well written story.

Sunandshadow- I have not played Sanitarium put I have heard good things about it. If it is as immersive as you say it is then I might just have to buy it on GOG.com to check it out for myself.

Karwosts- The STALKER games are very immersive, they are actually in my opinion, the most immersive games I've ever played. The Elder Scrolls games are all very immersive and atmospheric but somehow I think that Oblivion edges ahead of Morrowind. Even though Morrowind in fact a better RPG, Oblivion is a better game. Oblivion took over my life for months, it was really a very immersive game, even though not the most original.

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I found [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Shock_2"]System Shock 2[/url] incredibly immersive, in spite of playing it when it was already somewhat dated and I'd played games with much more realistic graphics. I think a big part of the effect was from the audio work in the game, which to my recollection only included the noises of the star ship around you, your own actions, and the sounds of any nearby creatures or machines, i.e. no soundtrack. The game also did a reasonably clever job of hiding "loading screens", putting you in airlocks or elevators when these were necessary.

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[quote name='jbadams' timestamp='1305623010' post='4811843']
I found [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/System_Shock_2"]System Shock 2[/url] incredibly immersive, in spite of playing it when it was already somewhat dated and I'd played games with much more realistic graphics. I think a big part of the effect was from the audio work in the game, which to my recollection only included the noises of the star ship around you, your own actions, and the sounds of any nearby creatures or machines, i.e. no soundtrack. The game also did a reasonably clever job of hiding "loading screens", putting you in airlocks or elevators when these were necessary.
[/quote]

Audio can definitely contribute a lot to immersiveness. I remember when I played the game Tender Loving Care, even though the video wasn't very good quality the audio impressed the hell out of me with the way it blended the actors' voices into the ambient sounds, each room had it's own sound, and some of the sounds changed to fit the plot progression.


[quote name='Arc Fusion Games' timestamp='1305616430' post='4811811']
Sunandshadow- I have not played Sanitarium put I have heard good things about it. If it is as immersive as you say it is then I might just have to buy it on GOG.com to check it out for myself.[/quote]
Sanitarium (and TLC also) are a bit darker than my usual choice of game. Like a horror movie, they are best viewed in an otherwise dark room with headphones or good speakers. I think adventure games in general tend to have good immersion, but the reason Sanitarium stands out above the rest is that it has NPCs to interact with, unlike most adventure games. Probably because NPC animation and voice acting are expensive to create, but also because several adventure games used video if real actors which could not be converted well to interactivity. The only other two adventure games which spring to my mind as making good use of NPCs - The Longest Journey and Woodruff and the Schnibble of Azimuth - were also in the top tier of adventure games. The Leisure Suit Larry games might also go in this category.

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[quote name='warman45' timestamp='1305601964' post='4811753']
HALO CE believe it or not. the character was truely anonymous at that point so you could put yourself in his suit. plus the game had amazing pace that helped maintain immersion. it is an excellent example of how to use music to sustain pace,
[/quote]

What exactly is 'CE'?
I would rate HALO quite high too though I never had the stamina to play through a whole campaign I know I started campaigns on the first two or 3 games.

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the full name of the first hale was HALO combat evolved or CE. simply saying HALO can cause people to get confused with either the whole series or the most recent game. I wanted to be specific.

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Mass Effect because gameplay and story work together instead of one killing the other. I like how even during exposition I feel like I'm doing something instead of just watching.
For me to feel true immersion I need a good story and interesting world unlike most western games but I also need the story told through gameplay and environments instead of relying on long cut scenes like most Japanese games do.

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Kings Field: The Ancient City for PS2. Everything from the controlled pacing, the melancholy mood, the eerie music, and the intricate world design just pulled me in like no other game ever has. Even the spiritual sequel Demon's Souls, with it's amazing graphics and similar pace/setting, just doesn't nail it as well as KF4 did (although it might be #2 on the list for me).

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I have no problem immersing myself most of the time, but if I had to pick one, it would be [b]Portal [/b]and [b]Portal 2[/b]. The reason I give for that is that both of those games follow the golden rule of immersion: [i]don't talk to the player[/i]. Of course, you can interpret that quite a number of ways - one being a silent protagonist; but also, the avoidance of 'telling' the story via another medium (e.g. text) instead of [i]inside [/i]the actual medium being played! Also, don't talk down to the player. That ruins immersion 110%. Subtlety is an art - use it.

Immersion is, quite simply put, anything that makes me feel like I'm in character - cringe inducing dialogue, bad 'cinema' type sequences and a tired plot can quickly ruin that experience. But even a game that does everything else right can also fail at immersing me through no fault of it's own - perhaps the subject matter does not interest me, or I don't quite feel like being a six year old princess in game!
Immersion is what happens when a game does enough right that you don't notice, or care, what it does [i]wrong[/i].

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I agree, Portal was really well played out. I would say Portal 2 got a little long in the tooth during the final part of the game where you're in the old testing center. There was a lot of cliche jokes and it felt like very little was happening in terms of actual gameplay. That picks up at the end after you get out of it, but it seemed more like filler. I started dreading each puzzle as they weren't so much fun as frustrating.

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[font="Tahoma"][size="2"]Kaze[/size]- I have recently purchased both the Mass Effect games on steam but I have yet to install them. I cant wait to play them because I have heard that they are excellent games. I have played a small part of the game on a friends Xbox but I didn't really play enough to get a good feel of the game.



Darklydreaming-That is absolutely true, never speak to the player, only speak to the players character. If you remind the player that they are just playing a game you break an immersive you have previously created, and it takes a long time to get it back. Another thing that really breaks the immersion is bad voice acting, so bad that it is actually painful to listen to. In the first mission of Men of War, the Russian soldiers are voiced by some Brit's who put on terrible Russian accents and ignore commas and full stops which are clearly there in the subtitles.



Dreamon- Metro 2033 is definitely a very immersive game, the sound effects and the lightning and shadows really help to create a dark and scary atmosphere that draws in the player.



Thanks for the input everyone, I have learned alot already. Keep on posting your thoughts.

[/font]

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[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1305675348' post='4812161']
I have no problem immersing myself most of the time, but if I had to pick one, it would be [b]Portal [/b]and [b]Portal 2[/b]. The reason I give for that is that both of those games follow the golden rule of immersion: [i]don't talk to the player[/i].
[/quote]
Not sure I agree with that rule. Thy myst series are pretty immersive, and they have all those journal entries. Okami is very immersive and it has several shadowplay/legend retelling sequences. I think the important thing there is possibly that they give the player a role within the game and talk to that role, not to the player as a gamer or computer used or that sort of thing.

Edit:
[quote name='Arc Fusion Games' timestamp='1305676508' post='4812167'][font="Tahoma"]
Darklydreaming-That is absolutely true, never speak to the player, only speak to the players character. If you remind the player that they are just playing a game you break an immersive you have previously created, and it takes a long time to get it back.[/font][/quote]
Er yeah, what you just said. :P

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I always mention this game for almost every aspect: Deus-Ex. The scenes on the coasts, in the docks and warehouses were imho quite immersive. The ambient music, the sound of the sea and the distant seaguls helped a lot. The fact that it all takes place at night also adds to it. The artwork was also quite brilliant at the time, they managed to make a lot more with it in the first than in the second.

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Owl- Dues Ex, even with its awful graphics and terrible lightning, is easily the greatest game ever made and is highly immersive. The polluted skies and dark urban settings really create a almost apocalypic atmoshpere which really brings the player into the game.

narpas- Half life 2, still to this day, is one of the greatest FPS games ever made (does not beat Deus Ex though :P ) and changes amtoshpere and settings constantly but retains its deep immersion.

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I think one of the most noteable ones for me is the MMO Daoc. The depth of each realms mythical themes, the quest, locations, npcs names, the sense of camaraderie, friendships, the epic sense of pvp and certain pve encounters, and so on all tied into it. It really was a game I found myself lost inside of sometimes and I could easily loose awareness of the real world.

Tribes, an old and very unique first person team based shooter. The wing commander themed game called Privateer, and Ultima7 were a few other games I found that sometimes pulled me out of reality. To me thats the definition of immersion, when you look up and have to shake your head for a second and remember where you really are. So I guess for some there would be allot of those games, maybe it just depends on how easily distracted someone is, and how easily there mind and imagination fits into the storyline or essence of the games.

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Shadows Over Riva. There was just sooo many things about that game.. The music, the interface art, the dialog animations, the movies, the story, ...

Requires quite a bit of imagination though. Since the game is so old they probably didn't have the computer resources to graphically represent most things around you, so when you're walking around in what looks like a ghost town, you sometimes get events like "As you make your way through the crowded market place, you stumple upon a familiar face. ...".

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Fire emblem series, final fantasy series and zelda series.

Although I'm a hardcore fan of all three, so that's probably why...
ALTHOUGH all three of these have quite a bit of story about what happened prior to the game setting, character development and amazing storylines.

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Amnesia, Pathologic.

We should all know Amnesia: Dark Descent by now but Pathologic is... well, unknown. It got GotY in Russia and a tonne of other awards but no one I know has played it.

The crappy graphics aren't even enough to distract from the feeling of being a real healer in a real town dying of a real disease. By the end you actually care what happens to the town, not just whether you win or not. It's also the only game I've played which didn't even try to be fun. No one complained when Schindler's List lacked explosions and slapstick and this is the first game I know of to reach the same level of emotional and physical maturity.

Play eet.

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