Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

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DaHeckIzDat
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Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » May 8th, 2016, 5:57 pm

When I was writing my review for Nier, I found myself listing quite a few things that might turn people away. Lackluster graphics relatively shallow combat were the two big ones. Someone even mentioned that those kinds of complaints should take away the "hidden gem" icon and the A- grade. But while I can't deny those things, I still absolutely love that game. Graphics never mattered much to me, and I actually found the simplistic combat refreshing when most RPGs are all about strategy and stat management-- like a mixture of very (very) light Devil May Cry and a little bit of The Legend of Zelda. It makes me wonder, is it possible for a game to be underwhelming, but at the same time amazing?

jon
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby jon » May 8th, 2016, 11:51 pm

Yes. My example is College Hoops 2k8 for the PS3. It has serious flaws. Yet it was incredibly fun. All the time I played it I knew it had to be in the "C" category. That's actually what the VGC gave it. Yet it had A+ moments. Games like that are a nightmare to review. Part of me thinks it's an A and part of me thinks a C. Maybe that's what makes video games amazing.

NintiesGeezer
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby NintiesGeezer » May 9th, 2016, 9:36 am

That rather well describes the Battalion Wars series

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velcrozombie
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby velcrozombie » May 9th, 2016, 3:45 pm

I think this describes a lot of the games that Suda51 has been involved with - Killer7, the No More Heroes series, Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer Is Dead. None of these games are going to blow anybody away technically, the movement and combat designs for the characters often have some degree of awkwardness to them and some of the stylistic detours that these games take feel tacked-on. Having said that, they're all worth playing to see what strange characters and ideas are going to show up and to hear the off-the-wall dialogue. Also, sometimes (as with the two No More Heroes games) everything comes together and suddenly the flaws disappear (or, rather, become inseparable from the strengths).

jon
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby jon » June 9th, 2016, 1:51 pm

I was thinking about this topic the other day. I've been watching movies from the library and most of them are mediocre. Then I thought about music. My brother has Apple Music and signed me up for it, and when I'm in my car I can get just about any artist and song every recorded. And I started playing a lot of albums that I remembered from when I was younger. And most were mediocre and just didn't do it for me anymore. And then I thought about video games, specifically average ones. And I realized that as opposed to mediocre music and movies which I'll never listen to or watch again, video games are different, because even in games that aren't amazing, there's still a lot of fun and infinite replay value. That made me realize that video games are so much better than movies and music.

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scotland
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby scotland » June 9th, 2016, 2:10 pm

That's an interesting observation Jon.

You can add retro television to your list of movies and music, since those are now widely available on retro channels and Netflix. I find some genres age better - action shows can be edgy since they break modern taboos that weren't taboo then, while situation comedies can be dull and lifeless a generation later. Are games like that too? Do platformers hold interest decades later, but other genres, like sports titles or RPGs (I think you are not a fan of RPGs, but you get where I'm going) loss lustre?

You have a good point - I think I can explore 8 bit and 16 bit sprite games forever, replaying favorites, exploring games that are decades old but new to me, etc. Its still nostalgic since that is the type of gaming I enjoyed in my younger days, and today's teen gamers would find most of those games too primitive.

I never really pondered if I enjoy a favorite platformer from the 1980s more than a favorite movie from the 1980s. Interesting.

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Can a game be both underwhelming and amazing?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » June 9th, 2016, 3:21 pm

I can add Tales of Xillia to the list too, I guess. I gave it an even lower rating than Nier (6.5 in my personal review, B- on the RPG Crew), but I actually love that game even more than Nier. The gameplay isn't bad, but it's pretty repetitive since you're just running from one too-easy fight to the next through a bunch of lifeless environments. It's the story that saves the day, and enticed me to sit through this 75 hour game TWICE in order to see both sides of the story play out. So yeah, underwhelming but still amazing.


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