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Ben Bowen

Game Crap

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Counting for quite a long period now, I think all of the "big" games coming out are critically lacking substance. I'm about to write up a list of examples, but crumby games are nearly everywhere anyway.

Rant Area. Please, don't actually discuss this part. They're only my opinions.
[spoiler]FPS

  • Call of Duty was decent before... *I'm not going to explain*
  • I think Battlefield was a lot shinier than CoD, but the games have a number of problems (disqualifying them for "exceptional quality" biggrin.png) which I'm too lazy to point out right now. BF3 does little better.
  • Halo 4 might be okay (I'm more of a Halo fan, although t I don't have any serious opinions for Halo 4 yet. Halo 3 was awesome though).
  • Ghost Recon Future Soldier. I'm not so sure about this (I haven't played the beta or anything) but by the look of it, I think there might be a few flaws with some of the new game mechanics. Regardless of gameplay, I'd call it decent.

    RPG

    • Square Enix is killing the meaning of "RPG." I think all of their recent titles are completely worthless (I would even say, spanning back for quite a long time actually. At least 4 or 5 years)
    • Mass Effect... yuck.
    • Deus Ex. Same as above.
    • Skyrim is decent. I don't know how to explain my problem with this either. Its lore lacks in a way contrasted to the Lord of The Rings. Its visual and mechanical (as in events/facts related to the player e.g. skills, marrying people tongue.png etc) immersion also seem to miss my spot. I'm sorry I can't put it better.

      RTS

      • Looking pretty!

        [/spoiler]

        Although I really like computer graphics -- I find them extremely interesting and consider them as powerful elements for improving the overall effect of a game -- I'm willing to give away all of this shininess for games that are actually worth my time (old games!)

        I don't merely count such worth by a little thrill or excitement (or any non-holistic constituents of fun), but of personal value. Valuable as in: something which creates a special experience. That's why I believe video games have potential to be the ultimate media. They combine interactivity with (hopefully) visuals and sound. More importantly, good game designers work to create experience in an incredible range of aspects. Besides aesthetics, emotion, adventure, lore, profound aspects (i.e. deep stories) and so on; this also involves the player's skill, and their dedication to the mastery of their involvement: being a player, and the reason why they are. (note that I said "to create experience" and not "to create an experience")

        What do you think? You can state your opinion, but I mostly prefer your thoughts related to game design.


        Side Note: Yes, as apparently; some of my thoughts were invigorated by
        From the Editor: E3 2012 - The E3 of Disillusion


        I strongly agree. Edited by Reflexus

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I dont really buy/play any 60 money-unit-costing games, but i feel like theyre kind of like interactive stories with the focus on great graphical quality, with the multiplayer part where youre supposed to grind for a few months before buying the sequel.

They are fun to play through. But as "interactive movies + some grind", theyre not fun after completing the story. I like sandbox games because you can feed your own imagination if the built in imagination food runs out. Modern games need more sandbox.

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I appreciate your point about modern games, however your rant area is literally that. I'm cool with hating a franchise, but it's nice to have a good explanation why so we can take sides and discuss. In any case, you said not to discuss so... *zips it*

I think the article on E3 had a good point. The AAA segment of the industry is very adolescent/Michael Bay. Ironically if deeper games had proved extremely marketable back in the day we'd have AAAs building them (or a take on them). But naturally shooters were the easiest to make and look flashy and market, so that's what happened.

I want to see more games where characters have motivations and you can change their mind. Imagine a typical AAA situation; you walk into a room and there's a guy with a gun. But instead you have a tense standoff and then come to an agreement. Or you fight a bit until the zombie horde comes and then you team up, etc etc. Even in action movies things aren't so black and white that an enemy now is always an enemy later. And vice versa.

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As far as RPG goes, I think Square Enix screwed up the Final Fantasy series badly. It started out as a true rpg with FF1 2 and 3. Now it has gotten very futuristic and they are battling in the void, somewhere in space or heaven or something. Plus the levels are very plain and lack details or look the same.

What happened to the good ol' Dragon Warrior, Breath of Fire, Ultima, etc?

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I like sandbox games because you can feed your own imagination if the built in imagination food runs out. Modern games need more sandbox.[/quote]

I would like to add: modern games need more sandbox, perhaps discretely, but also integrated into the campaign (in a way; but not necessarily the same kind of "sandbox").

I want to see more games where characters have motivations and you can change their mind. Imagine a typical AAA situation; you walk into a room and there's a guy with a gun. But instead you have a tense standoff and then come to an agreement. Or you fight a bit until the zombie horde comes and then you team up, etc etc. Even in action movies things aren't so black and white that an enemy now is always an enemy later. And vice versa.[/quote]

I really like your thoughts. Executing this simply as you put it would be tremendously effective for creating real player-immersion. I think a little more development regarding this idea, in just the right ways, could make an incredible outcome.

What happened to the good ol' Dragon Warrior, Breath of Fire, Ultima, etc?[/quote]

Yeah, I'm quite bummed out right now. Edited by Reflexus

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I'll nominate Okami and Zelda: Twilight Princess as two RPG-ish games from the past several years that I thought had real substance. Edited by sunandshadow

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I would like to add: modern games need more sandbox, perhaps discretely, but also integrated into the campaign (in a way; but not necessarily the same kind of "sandbox").

I think that this is just the wrong way, let me explain.

Games suffer under the pressure of being either in realistic/movie quality or must satisfy a very large range of game features, including the modern trend of sandbox gameplay.

When a studio has to follow the movie trend, creating all the art assets, story, music etc. is so expensive, that the movie trend, that is taking a single scene, restrict it dramatically and polish it as much as possible, lead to hi-polished, small, and linear games.

On the other hand, putting too many game features in a single game lead to swallow games (everything in, but nothing really satisfying).

I think games (not interactive movies) should concentrate more on single game features and make as much game out of it as is possible (deep gameplay). I.e. minecraft is all about sandbox, it is neither RPG nor FPS.

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What happened to the good ol' Dragon Warrior, Breath of Fire, Ultima, etc?


Hey, Dragon Quest didn't go anywhere! The last few have been great (particularly VII, although I'm not sure if I'm alone in that). ...Of course, they're turning Dragon Quest X into an MMO, so...

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One person's "substance" is another person's crap. And people can ridiculous expectations on a company, title, or genre that can't be consistently met. So, I'll forgive companies that invest millions of dollars into titles that are excessively gratuitous in their content. Besides, like junk food, sometimes indulging in a junk game can be rewarding.

It's a couple years old now but I just finished Red Dead Redemption and I was quite impressed over all. Never got into any other games by Rockstar so I don't know what their over all "quality" track record is. Can't help but wonder if they just lucked into something that was really good or if it was by design from the start.

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Games suffer under the pressure of being either in realistic/movie quality or must satisfy a very large range of game features, including the modern trend of sandbox gameplay.[/quote]

Oops. That rubbed off the wrong way. Actually, if I were to throw together a list of common game design mistakes, that would be a highlight. Sorry, I was hesitant while I replied, but it was getting late. I didn't take the time to elaborate as much as I wanted to. Here's what I mean, in the mood of:

grind for a few months before buying the sequel... after completing the story etc...[/quote]

So lets think about replay value. We all know of the most common incentives that game designers craft to increase the replay value of their game (campaign).

  • The experience

    • Fun
    • Improving upon skill
    • Getting a higher "score" / better performance
    • Higher Difficulty (somewhat classifies under new experience)

      • Claiming bragging-rights
      • Sometimes, increased difficulty will enable a higher "score," or more interesting features
      • Unlocking achievements
      • Finding easter-egg secrets

        • Unlockables
        • Secret cut-scenes
        • etc


          Although these are all effective features, we also understand that the experience is the most important to deliver. The sense of "sandbox" was supposed to articulate to the openness of the "experience." jefferytitan gave an extremely good example that complements this. (Side thought: I believe his ideas' more malleable than you would think. Because I require a context-example to illustrate the beyond obvious variety of its application (which I don't have), I just hope people think more deeply about the application of different game design concepts, while they consider.)

          jefferytitan's idea is a counter-example to something like CoD Black Ops (sorry to tangle in my subjective opinion, but I think people can relate with that). Of course, I'm far from saying that jefferytitan's idea is the one everyone needs. There are many different possibilities which are right or wrong, depending on various circumstances, during careful consideration. Game design rarely involves the conceptualization of novel mechanics/premises. A game designer needs to find exactly what's right for their game, considering which ideas don't work, often while reusing concepts, and applying them uniquely, or as appropriately.

          Thanks for pointing that out, Ashaman73.

          One person's "substance" is another person's crap. And people can ridiculous expectations on a company, title, or genre that can't be consistently met.[/quote]

          Awe... yeah, the game industry has changed a lot, especially on the consumer side. I assume there's much more people playing video games now. With more "fans," you can also expect more "disappointments." There's also a larger variety in distribution models (DLCs, Free-To-Plays etc.), which affects the broad nature of modern games too. But I think its fair to say that a handful of developers have lost their grasp of solid game design, and maybe even neglect it. I'm seeing a juggernaut-sales attitude. ph34r.png Edited by Reflexus

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