Gameplay-Driven vs Story-Driven Games

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Casual Shinji:
I would say yes, since there's plenty wrong with that franchise mechanically that people choose to ignore because they love the way it presents itself. The camera sucks, the lock-on sucks, the fact that your weapon bounces off of walls while enemies' don't sucks, not being able to aim your gun sucks.

Of all the videos about the Soulsborne games on YouTube, the majority are about the lore. And the fanbase can get really pissy if you don't play it the right way, like not doing the rather obtuse side quests or triggering story events. It'd say it's actually the lore that saves this franchise from it's rather cumbersome mechanics. Let's put it like this, if Soulsborne was set in, say, a generic zombie world would it have the pedigree it has now based soley on its mechanics?

I think it's a multifaceted reason why Soulsborne lore videos are popular are;

1: These games were ridiculously popular.
2: Videogames attract autistic people.
3: The lore videos are built sometimes solely on the basis of a three or four circumstantial pieces of text or NPC encounters.
4: The story and lore is purposefully told in a way that autistic people like... it's effectively a jumble of blue sky jigsaw puzzle pieces in narrative format.

You could make the same argument about videogamers and the Zelda timeline and lore videos and how Nintendo has for many of its interactions baked this esoterica into their gameworlds often even more meta and environmentally through architecture, monster, game mechanics and premise. Like I remember seeing a Zelda lore video that its whole argumentation cetred on some Hylian architecture with a texture decal that if you squint at it long enough it looks like the game mechanic lyrics of I think it was Zelda's Lullaby for OoT.

And guess what? Hundreds of thousands of views.

Seriously, recent sociological studies of videogaming and autism suggest that aout half of people on the spectrum spend most of their free time playing videogames or talking about videogames as compared to 18% of neurotypicals. It's basically a way for an autistic person to manage (or enable) their continued crippling social anxieties while being able to bond with another person like them that helps mitigate their loneliness and isolation from the poor social results that occur when people do not routinely socialize, often by creating an incredibly facile exterior of tribalistic 'supercommunity'.

It's actually really unhealthy how people consume videogames, if you haven't noticed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3536490/#R30

CaitSeith:

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

.

Let me know when Persona has a movie on cinemas. Until then, I'll keep playing the series for the story. Thank you.

here you go. if you want it on a cinema screen just hook the computer up to a projector.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lXxsXq_Gto

Something Amyss:
This is of course the new Latin.

I avoided the series because the original hype for it was basically gatekeeping. "It's Nintendo Hard!" "It doesn't explain anything!"

And ironically, that was its biggest trick. People had so much difficulty because it was deliberately obtuse, like a clunky old NES title. People can pretend otherwise, but this shit was all over the Escapist and other gaming communities back when Demon's Souls and Dark Souls came out.

It was only after the mechanics were examined and people stopped measuring their True Gamer "sword" length that people started harping on the lore. Before the post-hoc "lore" reasoning, there was the "finally, a hard game for real gamers" reason, and that pushed the earlier games. It's quite possible that any such game could have survived and even thrived in a generic zombie setting. And we can kiiiiinda see that in a number of souls-alikes and what they focus on.

Would it have had the staying power though? See, I initially checked out Demon's Souls at the time because the word-of-mouth of it being this hard game, but I kept playing because of the world and the atmosphere. In Bloodborne it's a weird step back that you need to warp to a different place to level up and upgrade weapons, when in Dark Souls you could just do this by the bonfire. Yet nobody ever really complained about this mechanic because the hunter's dream and the doll were a pleasant part of the lore.

There's obviously some people who like having games be this mechanically cumbersome, having to bend themselves over backwards to excell in it, but if that's all Soulsborne was I doubt it'd be as big as it is.

Neurotic Void Melody:

Yoshi178:

Johnny Novgorod:
Boring answer but ideally you get both. Gameplay makes the game fun, story makes it memorable.

tetris didn't become one of the most famous video games of all time because of it's story...

No, it was through lack of viable competition at the time. It's like saying Citizen Kane didn't get anywhere for it's impressive CGI. A little bit weird.

That, and the fact I said memorable, not famous (or popular, or any other word that isn't "memorable").
For something to be memorable it has to be unique in a way ordering random algorithms at an increasing speed isn't.

Yoshi178:

CaitSeith:

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

.

Let me know when Persona has a movie on cinemas. Until then, I'll keep playing the series for the story. Thank you.

here you go. if you want it on a cinema screen just hook the computer up to a projector.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lXxsXq_Gto

image

It's not even the 5% of the story, pal.

stroopwafel:

Casual Shinji:

Of all the videos about the Soulsborne games on YouTube, the majority are about the lore. And the fanbase can get really pissy if you don't play it the right way, like not doing the rather obtuse side quests or triggering story events. It'd say it's actually the lore that saves this franchise from it's rather cumbersome mechanics. Let's put it like this, if Soulsborne was set in, say, a generic zombie world would it have the pedigree it has now based soley on its mechanics?

Ehmm..yes as these games have the best melee combat of pretty much any game ever, save perhaps for Nioh's combat. On top of that it has varied locations, highly imaginative creature designs and some very cool bosses that actually requires a degree of skill to defeat. The lore is intruiging, but nobody plays these games for the story. It's actually the best example of a series of games where story is solely contextual. Which is actually way more intriguing than most straight-forward garbage considering the popularity of youtube videos.

Compare that to Dad of War: cutscene, slow walk scene, cutscene, giant QTE, more slow walk, few branching corridors with gameplay, cutscene, another slow walk scene, *booooyy*, some gameplay, more melodrama and watching the game instead of playing it. The flow is constantly interrupted and the gameplay is fun but not that fun that the experience doesn't feel entirely scripted. Souls and Bloodborne is the complete opposite. They are Da Bomb! Sekiro is gonna own every other action game again.

Waitaminute...the "giant QTE" comment is off base considering the new GoW didn't have any; unless you're simply referring to button prompts for finishers but those still aren't QTE's.

I get what you're saying, but to me GoW has the overall best design of an action game since SoulsBorne. The sense of open-ended exploration (Souls-inspired) and presentation (currently peerless even by Naughty Dog standards) are exceptional, and the combat was faster and more varied in quite a few ways. For example being able to pin enemies with the axe while you fist pummeled another, switch to your blades for a devastating runic attack, then recall the axe into the path of another enemy to trip them up before running in for a heavy finisher is something the no other game can come close to. The fact that all these varied attack options also play to the specific enemy's weaknesses is only icing on the cake.

Having said that, I'm thinking (and hoping) Sekiro takes the cake over them all.

Casual Shinji:
Yet nobody ever really complained about this mechanic because the hunter's dream and the doll were a pleasant part of the lore.

*raises hand* I've heard this complaint and a bnunch of others. In fact, one of the first and foremost complaints about any Soulsbourne games is how the franchise has now been ruined by A. QOL improvements (because the game should be cumbersome AF to weed out the weak) or B. has implemented changes that backslide.

That you haven't seen these mechanical complaints (and en mass) baffles me, because I don't even follow the games and I see them because people won't freaking shut up about them. There were other mechanical changes between Souls and Bloodbourne people were pissed over too, but hell if I can remember. It's usually just Dark Souls X is perfect, Dark Souls Y ruined it by not being a clone.

Casual Shinji:
Would it have had the staying power though? See, I initially checked out Demon's Souls at the time because the word-of-mouth of it being this hard game, but I kept playing because of the world and the atmosphere. In Bloodborne it's a weird step back that you need to warp to a different place to level up and upgrade weapons, when in Dark Souls you could just do this by the bonfire. Yet nobody ever really complained about this mechanic because the hunter's dream and the doll were a pleasant part of the lore.

There's obviously some people who like having games be this mechanically cumbersome, having to bend themselves over backwards to excell in it, but if that's all Soulsborne was I doubt it'd be as big as it is.

It got hyped up as this insurmountable challenge that no one could beat. Which yeah, everyone was getting their proverbial e-peenns out to wave about how they were all in this super crazy hard game, brah.

By the time Dark Souls 2 rolled around, that was already starting to fall off, as people had beaten it, and even hopelessly incompetent youtubers had chunked through it. Everyone started putting the reputation aside, and tons of people clocked through the second game like a breeze (I've beaten all 4 of them. Light attack-light attack-dodge works just as well as it does in any general action game. You just need to wait a half second before going back into it). It wasn't til around then that lore-fascination really started popping up because the game was blatantly kind of basic and obviously not as actually hard as it played up to be.

As the lore goes, well its mostly fanwank. Everyone needs a hobby I suppose. More power to them. But any given video or wiki on Dark Souls lore is full of so much more random theories then any substantiated thing from the generally unremarkable sentence or two on an item description. It exists because enough people got enough hype to start writing fanfiction.

For fun comparison, Dark Souls and Destiny present probably the same amount of lore, in most of the same ways, and even have similar themes overall (besides the obvious split between gothic fantasy and retro-future space fantasy). Destiny (besides its dodgy launch states) was never hyped up as the exclusive cool kids club though, so it didn't develop that cult following.

Casual Shinji:

Phoenixmgs:
And there's very few RPG decisions to be made during the game either, it's not even on par with a David Cage or Telltale game in that department either.

How's that? You make decisions during the narrative all the time. The difference being that it's more about putting the player in a moral chokehold, rather than a choice mechanic that incourages the player to simply game the system.

You'll have a random encounter where a bunch of farmers in an occupied territory are ready to hang an enemy soldier. The farmers have had family and loved ones killed by the invaders and are totally justified in their grief and anger, but the soldier is actually a deserter who just wants to leave the battlefield to see his wife and daughter again. Do you let the farmers just hang this innocent guy so they can have some catharsis, or do you help the deserter meaning you have to kill these farmers? And this is before you know whether this guy is actually telling the truth.

This isn't on par with David Cage or Telltale, because it's way, way better.

That's a pretty weak choice due to it not having any effect on the world or narrative. Telltale decisions have more impact. The only quality choices in Witcher 3 was with your love interest and the Ciri stuff towards the end. Being able to axii people makes dialogue less meaningful as well.

Dreiko:
If it's a Jrpg then the story being good is prolly more important wheres if you have a fighting game with a terrible combat system but good storymode then it's the reverse.

But most JRPGs force you to suffer through gameplay for 50-100 hours that was antiquated 20+ years ago just to take in a story that most likely ain't even going to be very good. Regardless of medium (game, movie, TV show, book), you should only give me the good stuff and RPGs in general are really bad at only giving me just the good stuff. RPGs are longest games while also having the lowest % of engaging content, that's a hell of a bad combination.

CaitSeith:
Let me know when Persona has a movie on cinemas. Until then, I'll keep playing the series for the story. Thank you.

I'm sure there's Persona movies on Youtube that fans have edited footage of the game like how I watched a Mass Effect movie that had all the dialogue bits in it (plus some battle footage too) before I played ME2 because I didn't have an Xbox to play the 1st one. Chances are no game story is worth trudging through the gameplay (especially RPGs) because very very few actually good writers work in the medium.

stroopwafel:
Ehmm..yes as these games have the best melee combat of pretty much any game ever, save perhaps for Nioh's combat.

Oh hell no, Monster Hunter does Soulsborne deliberate combat properly where, you know, you actually have to manage stamina vs it just being nothing more than a DPS limiter in Soulsborne games. Dodge and hit with stick is far from the best melee combat ever.

hanselthecaretaker:

Waitaminute...the ?giant QTE? comment is off base considering the new GoW didn?t have any; unless you?re simply referring to button prompts for finishers but those still aren?t QTE?s.

I get what you?re saying, but to me GoW has the overall best design of an action game since SoulsBorne. The sense of open-ended exploration (Souls-inspired) and presentation (currently peerless even by Naughty Dog standards) are exceptional, and the combat was faster and more varied in quite a few ways. For example being able to pin enemies with the axe while you fist pummeled another, switch to your blades for a devastating runic attack, then recall the axe into the path of another enemy to trip them up before running in for a heavy finisher is something the no other game can come close to. The fact that all these varied attack options also play to the specific enemy?s weaknesses is only icing on the cake.

Having said that, I?m thinking (and hoping) Sekiro takes the cake over them all.

With giant QTE I meant that guy in the opening with the tattoos which fight was scripted enough to feel like a giant QTE to me. The regular enemies might provide more player agency but still feels very artificial like the designers just give you the illusion of control: enemies outside your vision wait their turn, attacks auto connect inches away, 'boy' can't get hurt etc. Compared to like Dark Souls 3 if you attack an enemy inches away you actually see clothing waving from the wind your slash produces but the enemy remains untouched if you miss. Every button input and enemy animation is just very deliberate and victories feel earned unlike Dad of War which feels as if you're playing a movie with it's scripted sequences and gameplay tied to the narrative. Again it's not bad and certainly an enjoyable experience while it lasts but for me there is no question which is the superior game.

As I've gotten older and have less free time I care less and less about the story. Sure hour long cut scenes are great when you have a bunch of free time but not when you need to pause them every 10 minutes to go see to some household stuff and ruin the dramatic tension. It's a miracle I was able to get to watch the true ending of Nier: Automata uninterrupted and was able to actually enjoy it.

As my responsibilities rose my desire to sit and watch people talk at each other during a GAME fell.

Phoenixmgs:
That's a pretty weak choice due to it not having any effect on the world or narrative. Telltale decisions have more impact. The only quality choices in Witcher 3 was with your love interest and the Ciri stuff towards the end. Being able to axii people makes dialogue less meaningful as well.

Should it have an effect on the world or overarching narrative? Games that do this nearly always result in making a noble choice or an evil choice, thus encouraging the player to game the system for the best outcome. The choices in The Witcher 3 are for the player themselves to ponder over, not to exert force over the gameworld. One of the recurring themes of the game is that Geralt is himself pretty powerless to stem the tide; he kills monsters, but bad shit still happens.

And that's not mentioning the times your decisions will actually lead to a supporting character getting tortured or killed, like with Triss or Keira.

Something Amyss:

Casual Shinji:
Yet nobody ever really complained about this mechanic because the hunter's dream and the doll were a pleasant part of the lore.

*raises hand* I've heard this complaint and a bnunch of others. In fact, one of the first and foremost complaints about any Soulsbourne games is how the franchise has now been ruined by A. QOL improvements (because the game should be cumbersome AF to weed out the weak) or B. has implemented changes that backslide.

That you haven't seen these mechanical complaints (and en mass) baffles me, because I don't even follow the games and I see them because people won't freaking shut up about them. There were other mechanical changes between Souls and Bloodbourne people were pissed over too, but hell if I can remember. It's usually just Dark Souls X is perfect, Dark Souls Y ruined it by not being a clone.

The only complaints I recall of Bloodborne were when it launched, regarding the loadtimes and framerate. Other than that, nothing. All I ever hear from it now is how it's the best game ever, and I usually have people jump down my throat when I offer up any criticism. I certainly never heard complaints about Soulsborne being casualized.

Phoenixmgs:

Dreiko:
If it's a Jrpg then the story being good is prolly more important wheres if you have a fighting game with a terrible combat system but good storymode then it's the reverse.

But most JRPGs force you to suffer through gameplay for 50-100 hours that was antiquated 20+ years ago just to take in a story that most likely ain't even going to be very good. Regardless of medium (game, movie, TV show, book), you should only give me the good stuff and RPGs in general are really bad at only giving me just the good stuff. RPGs are longest games while also having the lowest % of engaging content, that's a hell of a bad combination.

RPGs benefit from being long. They make you feel accustomed to the characters and allow you to get to know them more so you begin to care more when things happen to them. You laugh with them and cry with them and so on. The good ones will incorporate storytelling in the gameplay in the ways of various forms of flavor such as combination-specific battle quotes and certain moves only being doable under certain conditions or with certain party members or gear equipped or only after this one big part of the story and so on.

I recently beat dragon quest 11 and it plays very much like it did literally 30 years ago yet it was still an excellent experience. During one part that's a big spoiler that I won't touch on they even use skill trees as storytelling components by basically "unlearning" some of your skills or expanding the trees due to what happened in the story (and not in an advertised and expected "you unlocked this new job or did this quest so now this part of the tree become accessible" way). Having such impact come out of playing the story, one you can feel the ramifications of in the gameplay too is why these games are excellent.

Ultimately, I have played a few too short Jrpgs but never one that I felt was too long. There is this basic length you need to have that is going to allow you to feel like you had a big adventure and an experience, rather than just a fun trip or a diversion. Typically that happens in the 40 hour mark. 60+ being the average game. Some truly amazing ones even break the 100 hour mark. Doing all the postgame content on dq11 took me around 130ish hours which was really wonderful and it was my game of the year last year thanks to that.

Here Comes Tomorrow:
As I've gotten older and have less free time I care less and less about the story. Sure hour long cut scenes are great when you have a bunch of free time but not when you need to pause them every 10 minutes to go see to some household stuff and ruin the dramatic tension. It's a miracle I was able to get to watch the true ending of Nier: Automata uninterrupted and was able to actually enjoy it.

As my responsibilities rose my desire to sit and watch people talk at each other during a GAME fell.

Do you not watch movies without 10 minute interval pauses too? It baffles me as someone who's also not the youngest around (turning 31 soon) how some people make it sound like gaming is unique in requiring your undivided attention when there's tons of other things that do as well and unless you literally work all day you should be able to schedule some continuous gaming time by just organizing better. Unless you have a newborn child or something and it keeps crying at random times it should be feasible.

Though not caring about story or "people talking to eachother" is I think its own thing. Your tastes do change as you grow older so it may just be that and not necessarily tied to time. Maybe fiction is becoming too inconsequential in general to you.

Dreiko:

RPGs benefit from being long. They make you feel accustomed to the characters and allow you to get to know them more so you begin to care more when things happen to them. You laugh with them and cry with them and so on. The good ones will incorporate storytelling in the gameplay in the ways of various forms of flavor such as combination-specific battle quotes and certain moves only being doable under certain conditions or with certain party members or gear equipped or only after this one big part of the story and so on.

Um, no? To put it clearly I gave more of a shit about a character like April Ryan. Compare and contrast to literally no one from FFX. Or how I gave a shit about the characters in Spec Ops: The Line as opposed to pretty much any character in the history of every JRPG I've ever played. And don't get me wrong, I love Xenoblade Chronicles X... But the fact of the matter is really good characters aren't ones you acclimate to through simple time investment.

I cared about April Ryan quest because she struggles against adversity, is lead to believe she's special, she works and accepts that she needs to sacrifice her life and liberty to save two worlds riven apart, and then boom. She's human, all of that built upon bravery to accept what she felt was her duty (even one that would cost your existence) was ripped from her, and she is feeling lost of purpose and being at the end. A heroine only in the sense she survived her tribulations and mystery at the core of all things, a unique and profound discovery and not feeling elated she survived those things but rather let down solely by the sense she accepted her mortality and seeming purpose only to be a tool for something larger than her self-willed sacrifice.

And that's a pretty human thing to understand.

Ditto, I personally know people I once served with become messed up by war, and dissociating the reality of warfare from the adventure they felt they were promised. That they spent a good portion of their lives preparing and training for, and eager to test themselves--Only to realize that this, too, was a flight of whimsy and escapism, and they feel alienated from a reality they once felt they knew and so simple.

And both of those games communicate these things like this in under 6 hours.

There simply isn't the same 'characterization density' between long-winded, meandering power fantasies of JRPGs and these other games.

That if you were to boil down the actual evolution of characters between games like these the actual amount of time showing depth of a character pales significantly and the primary purpose of the meandering multi-day's worth of gameplay is merely pap in comparison.

It's the difference between exposition and narration as opposed to something that meaningfully attempts to explore the human condition. It's like saying that the viewer can't empathize with a Geena Davis in Thelma & Louise as opposed to any mindless pap of MGS4. Honestly, comparing a 150+ hour JRPG to something that isn't merely expository is likely why non-videogamers look at an MGS4 and as long as the LotR trilogy in total cutscene length that people like me just skipped just so people can tie together garbage nobody should legitimately care about--and come away with the notion that everybody in this hobby are socially challenged.

Sure, there is so cringly-bad media people watch. But they rarely pass 2 hours in length, and 10 hours of cutscenes for 2.5 hours of gameplay yet earning a 95% aggregate review score is basically insane.

Definitely gameplay, don't get me wrong I am grateful for games with good stories like Spec Ops The Line but if you want me to fork over 20-60 dollars then I better be having fun playing the game.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Sure, there is so cringly-bad media people watch. But they rarely pass 2 hours in length, and 10 hours of cutscenes for 2.5 hours of gameplay yet earning a 95% aggregate review score is basically insane.

If you look for it though, there is still more gameplay in the first couple acts of MGS4 than a slew of typical JRPGs. I never expected this from Kotaku, but it does a decent job of explaining why.

Excerpt -
Prod Metal Gear Solid 4 and it'll prod you back. It's like a weird monolith, impenetrable at first. Most video games are designed to be played by monkeys with sticks - it caters to that lowest common denominator - but Metal Gear Solid 4 has to be unlocked. It's a delicate thing and it requires perseverance.

Take something as simple as control.

Nowadays video game controls have edged towards a streamlined ubiquity, and it renders most games flaccid and dull. Right trigger is shoot, X is jump, Square is reload, left trigger for iron sights, Circle is the action button - pick up a video game and there is nothing to learn. Instantly you understand, instantly you can move in this world. There is nothing to learn, nothing to be rewarded by. Predictable, banal, turgid. Blergh.

Metal Gear Solid 4 makes some moves towards accessibility - it's nowhere near as convoluted as Snake Eater - but it retains that spirit of discovery, the ability to learn a new skill, the ability to grow as a player within the game world. The intricacy of its control scheme allows for that, it allows players, on their third or fourth playthrough, to discover a new way to use CQC, a more efficient way to take out a boss. It allows for new dimensions of approach - incredibly varied ways in which to achieve a goal as simple as taking down one single soldier. MGS4's controls are tactile, inventive, difficult, endlessly frustrating - but above all else, they're worth learning, and they're worth mastering.

It reminds me of back when so many people would say there's no gameplay in Crysis and that it's just a pretty looking tech demo, yet it takes an obscure video commentary to explain the contrary. Yet again, guess which game got the higher aggregate.

Sadly the why of it is it mostly boils down to a popularity contest, no different than the reason Miley Cyrus is considered "better" than Mozart by dumbasses *er* da masses *argh* the masses.

But back to MGS4, the fact that it still has so much thoughtfulness and depth while being created by someone who hated making it and designed it to at least partially troll his fans is quite a trip.

CaitSeith:

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

.

Let me know when Persona has a movie on cinemas. Until then, I'll keep playing the series for the story. Thank you.

If there was one, Uwe Boll would probably get ahold of it and ruin it.

hanselthecaretaker:

If you look for it though, there is still more gameplay in the first couple acts of MGS4 than a typical JRPG. I never expected this from Kotaku, but it does a decent job of explaining why.

Excerpt -
Prod Metal Gear Solid 4 and it'll prod you back. It's like a weird monolith, impenetrable at first. Most video games are designed to be played by monkeys with sticks ? it caters to that lowest common denominator ? but Metal Gear Solid 4 has to be unlocked. It's a delicate thing and it requires perseverance.

Take something as simple as control.

Nowadays video game controls have edged towards a streamlined ubiquity, and it renders most games flaccid and dull. Right trigger is shoot, X is jump, Square is reload, left trigger for iron sights, Circle is the action button ? pick up a video game and there is nothing to learn. Instantly you understand, instantly you can move in this world. There is nothing to learn, nothing to be rewarded by. Predictable, banal, turgid. Blergh.

Metal Gear Solid 4 makes some moves towards accessibility ? it's nowhere near as convoluted as Snake Eater ? but it retains that spirit of discovery, the ability to learn a new skill, the ability to grow as a player within the game world. The intricacy of its control scheme allows for that, it allows players, on their third or fourth playthrough, to discover a new way to use CQC, a more efficient way to take out a boss. It allows for new dimensions of approach ? incredibly varied ways in which to achieve a goal as simple as taking down one single soldier. MGS4's controls are tactile, inventive, difficult, endlessly frustrating ? but above all else, they're worth learning, and they're worth mastering.

It reminds me of back when so many people would say there?s no gameplay in Crysis and that it?s just a pretty looking tech demo, yet it takes an obscure video commentary to explain the contrary. Yet again, guess which game got the higher aggregate.

Sadly the why of it is it mostly boils down to a popularity contest, no different than the reason Miley Cyrus is considered ?better? than Mozart by dumbasses, *er* da masses *argh* the masses.

Oh, agreed... that 2.5 hrs is worth more mechanically than 100+ hours of FFX. But my argument is that it's still egregious. It was a game that didn't exist to introduce new challenges and a multitude of them... it simply existed to answer questions. MGS:TPP is the flipside of this. Shitloads of content, fuck all any variation or even a desire to round its argument for existing. Few videogames balance that fine idea of emergent story and gameplay, and density of agent growth through engagement. Particularly how egregious jrpgs are in these regards.

And ultimately it doesn't add anything. Monster Hunter is still amazing, and it'd be a waste of time making something so silly actually pretend its silliness should be taken seriously.

I love Xenoblade Chronicles X... but let's not pretend characters become deeper solely through amount of time invested with some clever pseudo turn based battles.

Also MGS3 is the only MGS game I actually paid attention to anybody in the game. And had fun playing it. You know what was actually one of the funnest meta gear games I played? Metal Gear Acid. I really digged its competitive mode with other players, even if some mechanics were kind of borked and suffered way too much X-COM syndrome.

But once again... boardgames do this shit better and always will.

Casual Shinji:

Phoenixmgs:
That's a pretty weak choice due to it not having any effect on the world or narrative. Telltale decisions have more impact. The only quality choices in Witcher 3 was with your love interest and the Ciri stuff towards the end. Being able to axii people makes dialogue less meaningful as well.

Should it have an effect on the world or overarching narrative? Games that do this nearly always result in making a noble choice or an evil choice, thus encouraging the player to game the system for the best outcome. The choices in The Witcher 3 are for the player themselves to ponder over, not to exert force over the gameworld. One of the recurring themes of the game is that Geralt is himself pretty powerless to stem the tide; he kills monsters, but bad shit still happens.

And that's not mentioning the times your decisions will actually lead to a supporting character getting tortured or killed, like with Triss or Keira.

Decisions having an effect on the world and/or narrative is what separates an RPG from say TLOU. There's very similar instances in a Dishonored game as you mentioned in TW3 and in Dishonored they do have a slight effect on the game world. Moral choice systems need to be a lot greyer than they usually are; however, players don't have to play the them to "game the system" either. I didn't play Mass Effect at all to game the system, I made every choice based on what I felt was the right choice regardless if it said "paragon" or "renegade"; I probably went like 1/3 renegade and 2/3s paragon throughout the series. I shot "that" character in the back in ME3 because it was the "right" decision IMO. I was pretty disappointed in the choices in TW3 because a friend told me the series is known for having you make a choice that you think is say good but then later causes bad ramifications, I never felt TW3 did anything like that.

Dreiko:
RPGs benefit from being long. They make you feel accustomed to the characters and allow you to get to know them more so you begin to care more when things happen to them. You laugh with them and cry with them and so on. The good ones will incorporate storytelling in the gameplay in the ways of various forms of flavor such as combination-specific battle quotes and certain moves only being doable under certain conditions or with certain party members or gear equipped or only after this one big part of the story and so on.

I recently beat dragon quest 11 and it plays very much like it did literally 30 years ago yet it was still an excellent experience. During one part that's a big spoiler that I won't touch on they even use skill trees as storytelling components by basically "unlearning" some of your skills or expanding the trees due to what happened in the story (and not in an advertised and expected "you unlocked this new job or did this quest so now this part of the tree become accessible" way). Having such impact come out of playing the story, one you can feel the ramifications of in the gameplay too is why these games are excellent.

Ultimately, I have played a few too short Jrpgs but never one that I felt was too long. There is this basic length you need to have that is going to allow you to feel like you had a big adventure and an experience, rather than just a fun trip or a diversion. Typically that happens in the 40 hour mark. 60+ being the average game. Some truly amazing ones even break the 100 hour mark. Doing all the postgame content on dq11 took me around 130ish hours which was really wonderful and it was my game of the year last year thanks to that.

It's hard to make content (regardless of the medium) for 100+ hours and it all be quality content. The vast vast majority of RPGs are way too long, they literally make it a point to waste the player's time quite often. "Xenoblade 2 consistently displays a frustrating lack of respect for the player's time." You don't need 100+ hours to grow accustomed to the characters. Game of Thrones in its entirety is less than the length of a standard JRPG and the plot drags on so fucking much still. The Mass Effect games can all be finished well under 50 hours because they are just concerned with giving you quality content (low quest quantity but high quest quality) and you can finished the trilogy in less time than most JRPGs. Even 30 years ago Dragon Quest gameplay was antiquated, I'm not going to trudge through mind-numblingly boring combat for a story that probably won't be worth it or if it is worth it, I can just watch a Dragon Quest "movie" on Youtube. It's not just JRPGs that have this problem, Witcher 3 is very much the same way because the gameplay is shit too.

hanselthecaretaker:
MGS4 snip

That is so true. MGS4's depth of gameplay and mechanics is through the roof if you take time to learn everything and master it. It's why its online component is probably my most played video game ever in total hours. The game enables you to do quite a few advanced maneuvers where just about every current shooter (even MGS5) is like 10 steps behind while having little things like say being able to underhand a grenade throw so you can throw it right on the other side of a wall you're standing in front of, something I don't think any other shooter allows for while seeming like it should be a standard control feature for the genre.

PapaGreg096:
Definitely gameplay, don't get me wrong I am grateful for games with good stories like Spec Ops The Line but if you want me to fork over 20-60 dollars then I better be having fun playing the game.

That's a pretty good example of why you can't just rely on a story without gameplay. Because they so clearly couldn't be bothered with the gameplay, and it impairs the story. A failure of interactive media because they forgot to have actual player agency/interactivity in it, while they attempted to critique the player agency/interaction.

Phoenixmgs:
Decisions having an effect on the world and/or narrative is what separates an RPG from say TLOU. There's very similar instances in a Dishonored game as you mentioned in TW3 and in Dishonored they do have a slight effect on the game world. Moral choice systems need to be a lot greyer than they usually are; however, players don't have to play the them to "game the system" either. I didn't play Mass Effect at all to game the system, I made every choice based on what I felt was the right choice regardless if it said "paragon" or "renegade"; I probably went like 1/3 renegade and 2/3s paragon throughout the series. I shot "that" character in the back in ME3 because it was the "right" decision IMO. I was pretty disappointed in the choices in TW3 because a friend told me the series is known for having you make a choice that you think is say good but then later causes bad ramifications, I never felt TW3 did anything like that.

I didn't play Mass Effect to game the system either.. until I found out that was the only way to get the best results. Mass Effect in particular is a good example of 'go full-evil/noble or lose', since paragon/renegade choices aren't tied somekind of speechcraft, but to how many paragon/renegade choices you've made previously. Meaning you'll get access to the highest paragon options near the end only if you've been super duper nice to everyone throughout the whole game. This doesn't exactly encourage a player to freely react the way they would, as there are obvious benefits to sticking to a single path.

The choices in W3 have narrative ramifications for the characters you meet. Do you choose to let Triss get tortured just so you can learn some info for a quest, or do you say 'hell with the quest' and put a stop to it? Do you tell on a little goblin girl living in an adandoned house or make effort to conceal her? Do you let a werewolf tear a woman, who got his wife killed, apart, or do you intervene? The fact that these choices aren't tied to obvious game benefits makes it easier for players to judge these moments on their own without some punishment or reward hanging over it.

Worgen:
Ideally you get a mix but really good gameplay will triumph over a bad story before bad gameplay will be bearable with a great story.

Yeah, i have to agree with this one.

Phoenixmgs:
And there's very few RPG decisions to be made during the game either, it's not even on par with a David Cage or Telltale game in that department either.

Woof, that's a hot damn take.
Is Witcher III worse than 2 or 1 in this regard? Because both of these blow David Cagey and Telltale when it comes to choice significance.
Telltale games deserve their "Your choices do (not) matter" label, it's really apparent once you finish more than two of them. And when it comes to DC games well... there's usually one correct way to play them, that give you a sortaaaaaaa sensible story outcome(?), accounting on rules established previously by Cage that is. And other paths that just devolve into this half baked mess.

Yoshi178:

Johnny Novgorod:
Boring answer but ideally you get both. Gameplay makes the game fun, story makes it memorable.

tetris didn't become one of the most famous video games of all time because of it's story...

Tetris is Tetris, and... i don't see connection here.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

hanselthecaretaker:

If you look for it though, there is still more gameplay in the first couple acts of MGS4 than a typical JRPG. I never expected this from Kotaku, but it does a decent job of explaining why.

Excerpt -
Prod Metal Gear Solid 4 and it'll prod you back. It's like a weird monolith, impenetrable at first. Most video games are designed to be played by monkeys with sticks ? it caters to that lowest common denominator ? but Metal Gear Solid 4 has to be unlocked. It's a delicate thing and it requires perseverance.

Take something as simple as control.

Nowadays video game controls have edged towards a streamlined ubiquity, and it renders most games flaccid and dull. Right trigger is shoot, X is jump, Square is reload, left trigger for iron sights, Circle is the action button ? pick up a video game and there is nothing to learn. Instantly you understand, instantly you can move in this world. There is nothing to learn, nothing to be rewarded by. Predictable, banal, turgid. Blergh.

Metal Gear Solid 4 makes some moves towards accessibility ? it's nowhere near as convoluted as Snake Eater ? but it retains that spirit of discovery, the ability to learn a new skill, the ability to grow as a player within the game world. The intricacy of its control scheme allows for that, it allows players, on their third or fourth playthrough, to discover a new way to use CQC, a more efficient way to take out a boss. It allows for new dimensions of approach ? incredibly varied ways in which to achieve a goal as simple as taking down one single soldier. MGS4's controls are tactile, inventive, difficult, endlessly frustrating ? but above all else, they're worth learning, and they're worth mastering.

It reminds me of back when so many people would say there?s no gameplay in Crysis and that it?s just a pretty looking tech demo, yet it takes an obscure video commentary to explain the contrary. Yet again, guess which game got the higher aggregate.

Sadly the why of it is it mostly boils down to a popularity contest, no different than the reason Miley Cyrus is considered ?better? than Mozart by dumbasses, *er* da masses *argh* the masses.

Oh, agreed... that 2.5 hrs is worth more mechanically than 100+ hours of FFX. But my argument is that it's still egregious. It was a game that didn't exist to introduce new challenges and a multitude of them... it simply existed to answer questions. MGS:TPP is the flipside of this. Shitloads of content, fuck all any variation or even a desire to round its argument for existing. Few videogames balance that fine idea of emergent story and gameplay, and density of agent growth through engagement. Particularly how egregious jrpgs are in these regards.

And ultimately it doesn't add anything. Monster Hunter is still amazing, and it'd be a waste of time making something so silly actually pretend its silliness should be taken seriously.

I love Xenoblade Chronicles X... but let's not pretend characters become deeper solely through amount of time invested with some clever pseudo turn based battles.

Also MGS3 is the only MGS game I actually paid attention to anybody in the game. And had fun playing it. You know what was actually one of the funnest meta gear games I played? Metal Gear Acid. I really digged its competitive mode with other players, even if some mechanics were kind of borked and suffered way too much X-COM syndrome.

But once again... boardgames do this shit better and always will.

True, board games do the competitive mode better with certain genres similar to how books almost always do things better than the movies based off of them, but there are still limits and trade offs. The depth of mental strategy and camaraderie amongst those circled at a table will always be greater than those staring at a screen, but on the other hand there really isn't a board game equivalent or superior for something like fighting games, where mechanics and move sets are the main draw. MK takes it a step further with the outlandish and brutal presentation, along with tons of unlockable content to find.

Even for games like MGS or SoulsBorne the biggest draw for me is the kind of tactile feedback found when controlling the player character, and the options available when dealing with both opponents and the game world itself. A sense of experimentation in the former and exploration in the latter are also key to their enjoyment. The story and lore are merely gravy on the meat and potatoes.

In short, any medium can be seen as superior depending on the mode of stimulation the user is seeking.

Dalisclock:

CaitSeith:

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

.

Let me know when Persona has a movie on cinemas. Until then, I'll keep playing the series for the story. Thank you.

If there was one, Uwe Boll would probably get ahold of it and ruin it.

image

Because, y'know, we haven't had this conversation a 1000 times.

Fine. I'll say it again - good story can make up for bad gameplay, and vice versa.

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

Why would I go to movies? I can just read a book if I want story.

Course I don't actually believe that, but I'm not a fan of this argument. That if one medium can deliver better stories than others (generally speaking), the less apt medium becomes worthless in that regard. Besides, there's certainly games that have delivered better stories than movies. Sure, games have yet to deliver their own Citizen Kane, but it's fair to say that something like Mass Effect has a better story than Sharknado.

Yoshi178:
tetris didn't become one of the most famous video games of all time because of it's story...

And Mass Effect isn't as fondly regarded as it is because of its gameplay.

I'm serious - the actual moment to moment gameplay of ME1 is pretty dull when you get down to it. It's the world and characters that keep one invested.

hanselthecaretaker:

True, board games do the competitive mode better with certain genres similar to how books almost always do things better than the movies based off of them, but there are still limits and trade offs. The depth of mental strategy and camaraderie amongst those circled at a table will always be greater than those staring at a screen, but on the other hand there really isn?t a board game equivalent or superior for something like fighting games, where mechanics and move sets are the main draw. MK takes it a step further with the outlandish and brutal presentation, along with tons of unlockable content to find.

Even for games like MGS or SoulsBorne the biggest draw for me is the kind of tactile feedback found when controlling the player character, and the options available when dealing with both opponents and the game world itself. A sense of experimentation in the former and exploration in the latter are also key to their enjoyment. The story and lore are merely gravy on the meat and potatoes.

In short, any medium can be seen as superior depending on the mode of stimulation the user is seeking.

Anything turn-based really. And the problems of videogames is fucking bizarre. Like if you ever get a chance, play Gloomhaven and compare it to X-COM. Just how fucking smart Gloomhaven's mechanics are, how it handles character progression, how it handles combat ... just the attack modifier deck customization. Argh. And the random battle goals? How you unlock new classes? World customization? Its legacy aspects? Abilities customization? Items and item usage?

And there's no reason for X-COM to be as comparatively fucking stupid as it is. But lo and behold, 9.5/10. The X-COM board game is better than X-COM.

I am not being hyperbolic when I say literally everything barring set up time is better in Gloomhaven than X-COM. Barring perhaps premise, but even then Gloomhaven is gothic fantasy done pretty well. Trust a videogame company to make a new RPG system and you end up with the incredibly shitearse Pillars of Eternity. And guess what? 9.5/10...

And before anybody pulls out the 'oh, but the writing!...'

"The mighty Aumaua are the largest of the kith races and are commonly found in or near oceans. Though not truly aquatic, they have an affinity for water and many of their civilizations, such as Rauatai, are based on naval dominance. They are known for their unparalleled strength."

---

"The godlike are children of the kith ("civilized" races) who have been blessed with physical aspects associated with the gods (though some do not consider it a blessing). These aspects may take many forms and often come with mystical powers. Aberrant head shapes are typical, and godlike are unable to wear protective headgear as it is near-impossible to find anything that fits. Because of their unusual nature and their inability to reproduce, godlike are often viewed with fear and wonder."

----

It's like a cryptic language that apparently lesser mortals like myself might merely consider childish, and only videogamers can recognize its transcendental brilliance.

This shit is not what I expected from the people that made New Vegas in a year.

This is just character creation... but oh boy, reading novels worth of this quality of writing is going to be fun. Really puts you in the mood, right?

Take something like this from the 3.5 PHB of D&D...

Humans typically stand from 5 feet to a little over 6 feet tall and weigh from 125 to 250 pounds, with men noticeably taller and heavier than women. Thanks to their penchant for migration and conquest, and to their short life spans, humans are more physically diverse than other common races. Their skin shades range from nearly black to very pale, their hair from black to blond (curly, kinky, or straight), and their facial hair (for men) from sparse to thick. Plenty of humans have a dash of nonhuman blood, and they may demonstrate hints of elf, orc, or other lineages. Members of this race are often ostentatious or unorthodox in their grooming and dress, sporting unusual hairstyles, fanciful clothes, tattoos, body piercings, and the like. Humans have short life spans, reaching adulthood at about age 15 and rarely living even a single century.

Did they learn absolutely nothing doing Neverwinter Nights 2? Granted, their studio personnel has probably changed but did they bother at all to review their previous works or other game systems? This description isn't good, but it's at least functional.

Casual Shinji:
I didn't play Mass Effect to game the system either.. until I found out that was the only way to get the best results. Mass Effect in particular is a good example of 'go full-evil/noble or lose', since paragon/renegade choices aren't tied somekind of speechcraft, but to how many paragon/renegade choices you've made previously. Meaning you'll get access to the highest paragon options near the end only if you've been super duper nice to everyone throughout the whole game. This doesn't exactly encourage a player to freely react the way they would, as there are obvious benefits to sticking to a single path.

The choices in W3 have narrative ramifications for the characters you meet. Do you choose to let Triss get tortured just so you can learn some info for a quest, or do you say 'hell with the quest' and put a stop to it? Do you tell on a little goblin girl living in an adandoned house or make effort to conceal her? Do you let a werewolf tear a woman, who got his wife killed, apart, or do you intervene? The fact that these choices aren't tied to obvious game benefits makes it easier for players to judge these moments on their own without some punishment or reward hanging over it.

Like I said, I not really a fan of how most moral systems work (including ME paragon/renegade). I honestly would never play ME in a full paragon or renegade path just because I think Shepard's character wouldn't feel "right" if you went fully either way so I do think it's BS that you lose options for playing anything other than min/max. I feel ME succeeded at a pretty good role-playing experience considering it's something rarely focused on by devs and thus that bar is rather low then and now for the video game medium.

It's been awhile since I played TW3, I'm not saying the game was devoid of choice but I felt like there were few instances of it and they were rather infrequent (when compared to say ME). Plus, Geralt is more a set character than Shepard so the RPing is less just due to that. And, I guess the way my friend talked about the previous games that I hadn't played made my expectations higher than they should've been. TW3 has some really great bits for sure and the handling of those bits was more organic than ME as well.

MrCalavera:

Phoenixmgs:
And there's very few RPG decisions to be made during the game either, it's not even on par with a David Cage or Telltale game in that department either.

Woof, that's a hot damn take.
Is Witcher III worse than 2 or 1 in this regard? Because both of these blow David Cagey and Telltale when it comes to choice significance.
Telltale games deserve their "Your choices do (not) matter" label, it's really apparent once you finish more than two of them. And when it comes to DC games well... there's usually one correct way to play them, that give you a sortaaaaaaa sensible story outcome(?), accounting on rules established previously by Cage that is. And other paths that just devolve into this half baked mess.

I never played Witcher 1 or 2 (nor do I have any interest in honestly) but I was expecting more out of TW3 from a friend talking about the 1st 2 games with regard to choices. The illusion of choice isn't inherently a bad thing and can work just as good as real choices (especially on a single playthrough) but too much of it is bad like most things. Dialogue choices don't just function as choice options but also mold a character into a unique character that is your own. It's why people cared so much about redoing Shepard's appearance over and over in the customization screen in the sequels to make him/her just right because it was their Shepard whereas a character like Nathan Drake is the same exact character to every player. There's "Archer" playthroughs of Telltale's Batman on Youtube for example. I'm not trying to say Telltale or DC games are some beacons of choice but they do more than the entirety of the Final Fantasy series with regards to choices and role-playing. Few devs even try to do such things so there's few examples to even pull from, I don't like having to bring up DC games either but there's not much to pull from.

Hawki:

Yoshi178:
gameplay. why would i play video games for story? i can just go the cinemas and watch a movie if i want story.

Why would I go to movies? I can just read a book if I want story.

Course I don't actually believe that, but I'm not a fan of this argument. That if one medium can deliver better stories than others (generally speaking), the less apt medium becomes worthless in that regard. Besides, there's certainly games that have delivered better stories than movies. Sure, games have yet to deliver their own Citizen Kane, but it's fair to say that something like Mass Effect has a better story than Sharknado.

It really doesn't have much to do with video games being an inferior medium to others, it's that the writing talent just doesn't work in the industry. Video games have many advantages to storytelling over movies and books. Even something as simple as having to press a button to pull the trigger at the end of MGS3 is something unique to the medium that can elevate storytelling. I may easily have to dedicate 1,000+ hours of my time to finally get a narrative that I'd rate as 8+/10 from video games and that's only picking and choosing games that I've heard have good stories mind you. I've played many games like Nier or Xenosaga or FFX or Uncharted 4 (which won an award for best narrative) and none of those games even had 6/10 quality narratives. Whereas I can pick and choose from movies and TV shows and probably get at least a 7/10 narrative maybe 50% of the time with far less time commitment. That's why playing video games for story doesn't make sense to me because the "hit rate" is so very low, not that the medium itself can't tell stories well, it just doesn't have the storytellers.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
And there's no reason for X-COM to be as comparatively fucking stupid as it is. But lo and behold, 9.5/10. The X-COM board game is better than X-COM.

Eh, I don't care much for the XCOM board game unless there's another XCOM game that's better that I don't know about. A few of us had to demo it a few years back for GenCon and I don't think it's come out afterward due to anyone wanting to play it. I'd rather play the video game honestly (not that it doesn't have some major flaws of its own).

Phoenixmgs:

Addendum_Forthcoming:
And there's no reason for X-COM to be as comparatively fucking stupid as it is. But lo and behold, 9.5/10. The X-COM board game is better than X-COM.

Eh, I don't care much for the XCOM board game unless there's another XCOM game that's better that I don't know about. A few of us had to demo it a few years back for GenCon and I don't think it's come out afterward due to anyone wanting to play it. I'd rather play the video game honestly (not that it doesn't have some major flaws of its own).

No thanks, though it might simply be that I like the premise of managing a secretive global war effort where the gaming is centred moreso on all the background supports and structuralism that goes into such things. Plus I like gaming with other people, and basically XCOM combat sucks.

I'd be more inclined to blame the obsession with ever-better graphics for modern games' lack of features rather than because they're including more story.

That said, you can make a brilliant game with no story. You can't make a good game with no gameplay.

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