Stories Overrated?

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DaHeckIzDat
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » February 14th, 2021, 1:19 pm

Personally, I love a good story no matter what medium it's in. I usually don't even mind if it intrudes on gameplay. Hell, a lot of my favorite games (like Tales of Xillia) I love for the story despite the gameplay being less than enthralling. It can definitely go overboard, like in the Metal Gear series but even that's more because the story is told badly than because there's too much of it. I know not everyone thinks like this. Most people play video games for the gameplay, and I totally get that. But I'm a story junkie, so I'll never complain about a good narrative.

You're right that RPGs are the most story-heavy genre out there, but games like Alan Wake, the Batman: Arkham games, Spider-Man (PS4), and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess have great stories too without sacrificing more action oriented gameplay.

strat
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby strat » February 14th, 2021, 4:50 pm

ThePixelatedGenocide wrote:Link's Awakening, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, and Super Mario Galaxy all have stories that generally don't intrude if you don't care, but provide surprising depth if you do.


Shigeru Miyamoto and Yoshiaki Koizumi had a public "debate" about the direction of Mario Galaxy 2. Mr. Miyamoto felt there should be less story in Mario games, so Rosalina's role was reduced to a cameo at the end and all the storybook lore was cut out. TBF, the last time I played through the first Mario Galaxy I skipped the whole storybook.
https://www.wired.com/2009/06/super-mario-galaxy-2/

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C64_Critic
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby C64_Critic » February 15th, 2021, 9:39 am

Good timing for this post, I just decided to fire up a game of Firewatch on Steam yesterday. I didn't know much about the game going in, it was something I picked up because it was highly rated and had a great sale going at the time but had it in my head that the general game-play was a first-person "walking simulator" where you spent most of your time looking for fires and fighting them.

The game's first 5-7 minutes though threw me for a loop. It was basically just narration (along with a couple of this-or-that choices you're asked to make, and I have no idea if your choices impact the game in any way) setting up my characters backstory. I met a woman, we fell in love, we were together for many years through good times and bad until awful things happened and I ended up applying for this job as a Fire Watchers in the forests of Wyoming.

Now the story here (the narration) was very good, well written and incredibly touching. But it was also 100% not even remotely what I was prepared for when I launched the game, and about a thousand miles away from what I was in the mood for. I wanted some good scenery and fire-related action. By the time I got the where the actual GAME started, I was a bit depressed and emotional, and frankly no longer in the mood to game at all. I quit out of it, and I don't know when I'll try giving it another shot.

I'm sorry, I have enough drama and crap to deal with in my real life, I don't need to have a game bring me down by telling me the woman I have loved and built a life with - SPOILER ALERT - has early onset dementia and the life we shared has now gone to ruin with no hope of recovery. Also, our beloved dog has now aged and about to die. We never had kids, even though we planned to one day, and now it's all too late.

It was just like "Wow, life can be a real kick to the junk at times!" that I absolutely do not play games to get reminders of. I feel like they could have slowly 'hinted' at my backstory after the game had begun and not been so in-your-face with it and been just as well off.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 15th, 2021, 10:30 am

Wow. Now that sounds like an extreme case! This game is hitting you over the head with an unwanted story!

I think the lesson is that a story can enhance a game OR work to its detriment, depending on how well it's handled. I think a little restraint can go a long way.

I remember playing Axiom Verge for the Switch which had a compelling storyline but it was woven so well through the game you hardly noticed it.

When the story feels separate or tacked-on that's never a good sign.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby Retro STrife » February 15th, 2021, 3:54 pm

C64_Critic wrote:Good timing for this post, I just decided to fire up a game of Firewatch on Steam yesterday. I didn't know much about the game going in, it was something I picked up because it was highly rated and had a great sale going at the time but had it in my head that the general game-play was a first-person "walking simulator" where you spent most of your time looking for fires and fighting them.
. . .
It was just like "Wow, life can be a real kick to the junk at times!" that I absolutely do not play games to get reminders of. I feel like they could have slowly 'hinted' at my backstory after the game had begun and not been so in-your-face with it and been just as well off.


VideoGameCritic wrote:Wow. Now that sounds like an extreme case! This game is hitting you over the head with an unwanted story!

I think the lesson is that a story can enhance a game OR work to its detriment, depending on how well it's handled. I think a little restraint can go a long way.


In fairness to walking simulators though, being story-heavy sort of goes with their territory. I'm vaguely familiar with Firewatch - I read the good reviews and downloaded it for PS4, but I haven't played it yet. So I won't defend the game itself- it might well suck once I try it. But walking simulators in general tend to have limited action and are like an interactive story. And so they live or die by the quality of their storytelling. And almost without fail, their stories are on the dark side, involving loss, death, or some similar depressing theme. Just by their definition, it wouldn't usually involve action like putting out forest fires.

I've played a few walking sims on rare occasions when I want a change of pace from other games (What Remains of Edith Finch on PS4 is excellent), but I can understand why some gamers wouldn't like them and their lack of action.

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VideoGameCritic
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 15th, 2021, 4:25 pm

What the heck is a walking simulator?

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Retro STrife
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby Retro STrife » February 15th, 2021, 4:37 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:What the heck is a walking simulator?


:lol: Sooo, last year Marriott_Guy posted a topic about walking sims and a few of us chimed in with our favorites. So I was going to post the link for you, and I went to go find it... only to see that you asked this EXACT same question then in that topic :lol: :lol: .. Anyway, here's the link, with our explanation (and some good recommendations): https://videogamecritic.com/forums/view ... 97&t=18913

In short, they are a modern version of old school adventure games. Like those games, they focus on story and exploration over action. They generally involve walking around the game world, interacting with the environment to gradually unravel the story - and they almost never involve combat. The closest game you've played would be something like Life is Strange, although that's not a perfect example. I highly recommend What Remains of Edith Finch on PS4, Xbox One, or Switch.. I think you'd like that "walking simulator", including the story.

And don't be thrown off by the naming "walking simulator".. it started out to be insulting (implying that the games are all walking and no action), but it's kind of just stuck.

Voor
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby Voor » February 15th, 2021, 4:46 pm

VideoGameCritic wrote:What the heck is a walking simulator?


First time I ever heard that was with Death Stranding. My brother agreed, but acknowledged that it was also kind of cool. Perhaps that was DUE to the story. I’m not sure.

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Retro STrife
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby Retro STrife » February 15th, 2021, 5:57 pm

Death Stranding wouldn't be in the walking simulator genre in that sense. That's just people making fun of Death Stranding. (Just clarifying to avoid confusion.)

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Retro STrife
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Re: Stories Overrated?

Postby Retro STrife » February 15th, 2021, 9:06 pm

A good example of a traditional walking simulator game would be Gone Home. It’s set in one area - your family’s home. You return from college but your family has disappeared; nowhere to be found. You explore the house in 1st person view, searching for clues of their whereabouts, and discovering various secrets and hidden areas. There’s no combat and minimal puzzles. Over the course of a few hours, through your exploration, you experience the story of your family and where they’ve gone.

Walking sims are a modern cousin of old point-and-click adventure games.


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