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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)
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What VIDEO GAME(s) have you been playing?
airmarkus wrote: Far Cry 3. I am not really enjoying myself and the story is stupid, yet I can't stop playing. I feel like there should be a Gamer's Anonymous meeting going on somewhere that I need to attend and confess my inability to stop playing games when I stop enjoying them. Much like a horse chasing a dangled carrot, I keep galloping along for some unknown reason. I liked climbing the radio towers at first to open up sections of the map and discovering all the wildlife and different aspects of the game that become unlocked. The combat was really just average at best. Now I'm really just playing to stubbornly finish the game. The story is ridiculous and makes no sense, the combat is pretty frustrating at points, even on the easiest difficulty level and the cursing for cursing's sake is just annoying at this point. At least I'm enjoying my addiction to Hearthstone. As for Far Cry 3, well, I just want to finish the game so I can check it off my list.
I played through FC3 over more than a year...I enjoyed the collecting animals (to make new stuff) and assaulting bases more than the missions. Other than a couple set pieces, the missions were nothing really special.
It IS a style of game that I've mostly outgrown, to be honest. And it has something in it that drives me up the wall and makes me want to turn off the game. Every plot/narrative linear game needs to own that fact and dispense with the search the environment for notes and collectibles shit. It RUINS the game. You're running a totally linear set piece game? Do NOT sprinkle shit in the corners of the environments, especially useful crafting tools that are vital for my survival. You're begging me to completely take myself out of the performances or tense set pieces and engage in pixel hunting/non-urgent searching. It destroys pacing and, more importantly, creates huge ludonarrative dissonance by urging you to notice that many set pieces that are framed as chases or limited timeframes are infinite time safe zones (until the next trigger). Why a game that obviously had so much craft put into it in art and performances has many mechanics in it that serve to jerk you away from all of it is beyond me.
Some games do a BRILLIANT job at actually making it actually part of the story. Like in Gears of War, you're collecting dog tags of fallen soldiers. Totally makes sense to pick them up. "remember the fallen" and such. In GTAIV and V, you don't have to do it as part of the story but when you have free time (even after you finish the story) so it becomes a fun way to explore the map.
And i think it works in Survival Horror games like Dead Space since you're scrounging every trash can anyway desperately for ammo and supplies, so sometimes you come across some creepy audio logs (same with Resident Evil...remember when you find Sullivan's VHS tape? yikes...)
Other games don't learn a thing from all of this except "oh cool, let's put in collectables like these other games" without giving it any context.
Green Lantern wrote: I recently got the chance to play The Last of Us as well and quickly realized I did not like the forced combat/stealth scenes and that my weapons were pretty much useless. Combine that with the fact that you get to make ZERO choices in the game I quickly packed it up and just watched the Youtube movie to get all the story bits I was enjoying. It was worth it because playing the game got frustrating and tedious trying to clear out or avoid hordes of soldiers and zombies when all I really wanted to do was see what was around the next corner for Ellie.
I don't mind the stealth combat and the brutal hand to hand stuff (man is this game fucking violent). But the first real combat situation they throw you into against the infected in the abandoned skyscraper is a widowmaker and I'm not sure why they did that. My guess would be that 30% of people turned the game off after being thrown into a difficult combat sequence with like 5 hunters and a clicker in a relatively small environment. Took me about 10 tries on Hard. And I just platinumed Bloodborne so my 3rd person action skills aren't too bad!
It is emblematic of everything that is wrong with modern video games, top to bottom. But oh, it has a girl in it so it's PROGRESSIVE! And its oh so very somber and adult...it has THEMES, MAN! And FEELS! Look how far video games have come! It's like playing a movie!
Seriously, what the fuck happened over the past 10 years where the impetus that got NIGHT TRAP made- sensationalist, sleazy shock violence that is like playing a movie- became the driving force in game design?
Rocket League, for example, is MUCH better as an example of the video games medium. I've come around on it, I think it's pretty great. I do wish there was a little more to it (on-field obstacles, ramps, power-ups, etc.) but the gameplay is ACE and it is 100% skill-based. The game doesn't try to tell a story that will move 15 year old boys to tears. The only story it tells is GET IN THE FUCKING GOAL, BALL. And HOLY SHIT I JUST BARREL ROLLED INTO A CLUTCH SAVE.
Even last year's Wolfenstein is filled with GAMEPLAY. There's lots of story and characters (most of which are actually pretty good), but it comes down to your skill in making it through an area filled with Nazis, dogs and robots. The main attraction is the exciting gunplay and over-the-top ACTION that YOU ARE A PART OF, not in these cut scenes with meticulously rendered HAIR and somber-ass, po-faced bullshit to make people confused into thinking that the game is VERY SERIOUS and ADULT.
Can you dual-wield sniper rifles in The Last of Us? I didn't think so.
As for the question of if a linear, movieish game is the best use of the medium... I tend to agree with you that it is not. I'm glad I didn't buy it full price. But I think that's an open question with different answers---some people love that linear movietype shit. I don't play any JRPGs either for the same reason, and people love those linear stories too. The Last of Us is certainly better than what I've seen of, say, the Final Fantasy XIII series.
Metal Gear is like that too, even though most people carelessly lob the "playable movie" criticism that way. You are locked into a specific narrative line and you have to hit the beats...but getting to the beats is where the gameplay is, and you often have a huge number of different variables to play with as to how you approach a scenario.
As for the quality of writing/acting...it's actually great. FOR A VIDEO GAME. Which isn't saying...well, anything really. The standard in the medium is so low that even mediocre looks great.
There is another issue with games like TLoU...there's this straining to reach for SERIOUS ADULT THEMES and MATURITY...but the game gives you nothing to do but the same things you do in stupider, less adult and less mature games. You still run around shoot enemies in the head. You still craft bullshit so that you can shoot enemies in the head better. The ACTIONS of the game are the same as any other braindead, cover-based shooter. It's the same problem with Uncharted- great story, great characters, great settings...but the gameplay is just shootin' muthafukkas in they face with maybe a little exploration here and there. A nominal "hero" such as Nathan Drake should not rack up 500, 1000 kills in one of his adventures. But that's all the developers give you to do in terms of gameplay.
Contrast with Wolfenstein, where the theme, purpose and agenda is to allow the player to shoot 500-1000 Nazi muthafukkas in they face.
Michael Barnes wrote: The Last of Us is total garbage.
Can you dual-wield sniper rifles in The Last of Us? I didn't think so.
These two statements alone make me think that the Mad Gamer is truly mad to put you in the top five 'game' reviewers of all time.
I hate Diablo III like poison but know enough about games to recognize that it is a quality title.
You're comparing Last of Us to games that are totally different and are aiming at very different experiences, intentionally. You're out there to have fun, we get it. Some people want an experience.
There is another issue with games like TLoU...there's this straining to reach for SERIOUS ADULT THEMES and MATURITY...but the game gives you nothing to do but the same things you do in stupider, less adult and less mature games. You still run around shoot enemies in the head. You still craft bullshit so that you can shoot enemies in the head better. The ACTIONS of the game are the same as any other braindead, cover-based shooter.
I think I am OK with this. I am not sure what "adult" gameplay is. It still needs to be a game. I think you can find fault with crafting being tedious in general and shooting-as-agency being ground into meaninglessness, but that doesn't mean you can't/shouldn't explore deep themes in a game. PAPERS, PLEASE looks at a pretty deep topic and it's tedious by design. I don't think you could actually make a game more on-face boring than TIS-100 , but it is literally the only game some folks want to play. You could argue it's adult-themed, because it's about coding in Assembly language.
That said, I am in agreement with you about games treating death as trivial. Nathan Drake is a psychopath. He's killed what, like 3,000 folks now? That's a number Jim Jones didn't get close to. And for what? Adventure? Some games craft a narrative where the killing is without context (SERIOUS SAM), or obvious context (WOLFENSTEIN, RAINBOW SIX), or meta-contextual (BORDERLANDS, SPEC OPS: THE LINE, maybe even GTA). It's tough for games that want to be fun, but also want the whole game to be about killing people. The only FPS I know of that treats death seriously these days is probably DAYZ. If killing people becomes trivial, you end up with some seriously broken people. You could argue that DAYZ is not fun.