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Topic: Unpopular Gaming Opinions

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Snaplocket

I dunno if I already mentioned this on this forum but I liked the X and Y games a LOT more then Sun and Moon.

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TheLZdragon

To be fair, Pokemon did skip the occasional year

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Iconorobin

Games are better with stories.

I'm not entirely sure this is a widespread unpopular opinion, but in my circles it definitely is.
Investing time and finding accomplishment in games that don't have at least a decent story is becoming more and more difficult for me. I used to LOVE the 2D Mario games for example, but for the last couple of years they don't do anything for me anymore. While I love Nintendo, I get less and less excited about their games as time goes on because of a lack of stories in them. DKC Tropical Freeze might be an excellent platformer, but what is the incentive to play if there are no stakes besides saving some bananas?

The biggest problem that comes with all this is that my favorite genre - from a gameplay standpoint - is 2D platformers. A genre that's notoriously lacking when it comes to stories. Luckily there are some indie games to alleviate my grievances. Iconoclasts, Celeste and Owlboy all released recently and have excellent stories.

Most people I talk to about this tell me they think stories mostly slow down the gameplay and are particularly annoying with repeated playthroughs. Well, when the stories and characters in them are compelling enough, they greatly enhance the experience for me.

Anyway, any thoughts about this?

Edited on by Iconorobin

Iconorobin

roy130390

@Iconorobin I agree with you, however, I see games DKTF with a light-hearted story that choose to narrate it while playing and with details that need to be observed instead of using cutscenes, dialogue or the normal tools that help the narration, because in their cases, they don't need them. For example, as you progress through levels, you can see that the invaders process the fruit of DK's territory to make it into jelly and then they freeze it to make popsicles.They also don't need a more complicated objective than saving their land from invaders or wanting to get their bananas back. In my case I like to play these kind of games after playing something with an intrincate story. My incentive to play is because I also enjoy discovering these kind of details in the levels while also experiencing the simple but fun story of the game through gameplay. I would put 2D Mario games in another category though, since they kinda lost this for me and they do feel bland and without other purpose than the pure gameplay.

That being said, I do get that when it comes to platformers this is the more popular route, and games with a more complex story are a few compared to these kind of stories. There's definitely space for more complex and elaborated stories in the genre and I would like to see more options out there. If you don't mind some recommendations, the Azure Striker Gunvolt games have more meat than the average 2D game in terms of Story. Shovel Knight is another good option, however you'll probably have already played that one.

roy130390

Iconorobin

@roy130390
I have played Shovel Knight, and while it was very fun, it was another case of "save the princess". I didn't get attached to any of the characters whatsoever. The gameplay was very good though.
As for Azure Striker Gunvolt, I tried a couple of levels from the first game on 3DS but I couldn't get used to the gun mechanics somehow. Might have to give it another chance. Thanks for the recommendation.

Iconorobin

Buizel

I'm gonna have to agree with @roy130390 when it comes to Tropical Freeze. I think story is important - but for different genres, different modes of story-telling are better. Cutscenes in a platformer can really slow down the pace - personally I'd be frustrated by anything more than a couple of minutes. Instead I think they should focus on telling a story through level design and world progression - which is exactly what Tropical Freeze does.

Currently playing: South Park: The Fractured But Hole (Switch), Battle Chef Brigade (Switch), Hyrule Warriors (Switch), Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (PC).
Replaying: DKC Tropical Freeze (Switch), Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch).

TheLZdragon

Iconorobin wrote:

DKC Tropical Freeze might be an excellent platformer, but what is the incentive to play if there are no stakes besides saving some bananas?

Saving your home from staying frozen is not an incentive?

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Iconorobin

@TheLZdragon
I was talking hyperbole of course.
Just compare it to the storylines of the games I mentioned previously and you'd have to agree that Nintendo lacks in this department. At least, if you value such things as stories and character development.

Iconorobin

EvilLucario

@Iconorobin Stories are a complement, but not my essential reason to play games. I play for the game mechanics, mastering them, and trying again at a higher skill level. I can enjoy a great story like Xenoblade or even laugh at an awful story like Metroid: Other M, but if the gameplay isn't there then why should I play? Gameplay is the heart and soul of, well, video games if you ask me.

That said, I do agree with you that games are better with stories, but in addition to having one, the way it's also how it's told is another factor. Metroid Prime has a shallow main story if you really think about it, but finding out what happened in the past and discovering how things come to be with the Scan Visor incorporates storytelling with gameplay in an extremely rewarding fashion. Just like exploring for powerups and upgrades, you're exploring to discover what happened to Tallon IV, Aether, Bryyo, etc. That right there is the perfect method of storytelling in games, when you can incorporate the story into the gameplay to take advantage of video games as a medium.

That's not to say that cutscenes and the like are awful, but for my money the best video game stories are those that take full advantage of video games to deliver something movies and books cannot tell on their own.

Anyways, I can play a game with absolutely no story and I'll have a great time no matter if I go back to it the next day or five years from then. But if the gameplay is average or lackluster, I don't have any reason to (re)play it unless the story is just so good.

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roy130390

@Buizel Haha you explained it a lot better than me, thanks.

@Iconorobin I see. What I loved about Shovel Knight's story was how every character's campaign was part of a bigger story and how many events only make sense if you play the 3 of them (soon to be 4). This game is another great example of experiencing a good chunk of the story through gameplay, like what happens in Hall of the Champions ans this game actually has a lot of them. Also, while they may be cliché, I think they were a cliché properly done. I'm not the kind to move easily with romantic stories, however for some reason both Shovel and plague Knight's story moved me haha. For example, in Shovel Knight's ending, they didn't use a kiss, a hug, or even dialogue to show the strength of the bond between him and Shield Knight, jut a simple cutscene that also manages to change what looked like a sad ending to a happy one.

roy130390

Iconorobin

@roy130390 @Buizel @EvilLucario
I understand what you guys are trying to say and I used to think the same way.
Maybe some of the recent indie games spoiled me? Iconoclasts, Celeste and Owlboy made me care so much about their world and characters they moved me to tears, shock and awe. It's hard comparing games like that to others that don't make me feel anything... except the joy of playing them of course.
I don't know how else to describe my feelings. Hopefully you understand, and if not... well, no biggie!

Iconorobin

EvilLucario

@Iconorobin Perhaps. I myself have played games with phenomenal stories. Whenever I think about games that have really good stories by their own merits, I think of Xenogears, Xenoblade 1 (2 has a great story but there are issues that I can't get behind), and Mother 3. Xenogears has an extremely complex story that also has backstory and lore spanning the course of 10,000 years. Xenoblade 1 is sorta Xenogears-lite, but condensed and compacted into an extremely well-told story with fantastic execution. Mother 3 is an emotional roller-coaster that really hits hard throughout the game, especially at the end.

BUT. In Xenoblade 1 and Mother 3's case, they all hold up extremely well in the gameplay department. Though I think Xenoblade 1 has the weakest combat of the three Xenoblade games, that doesn't mean it's bad. It's still a cut above a lot of RPGs I've played. Mother 3 also has simple turn-based combat that has the rolling HP meter way better implemented in that game than in EarthBound, and the gameplay remains engaging on its own, even if you took out the story.

In Xenogears' case, that game is extremely aged with some bad platforming/camera angles and some cryptic nonsense in terms of learning how combat actually works. Combat is still fine (it's a variant of ATB combat without the speed of one, though), but aside from that it's an extremely aged game that only exists to tell its story in today's world. Once you beat that story, that's it for Xenogears, since replaying it is a chore. And that right there is my thing: a story can't prop up a game alone without it being fantastic, and Xenogears' story was fantastic. But that comes as a double-edged sword in that after you beat the game, there's no reason to go back to it because of some bad/aged gameplay.

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Ralizah

@Iconorobin I can appreciate a great story in a game, but I'll very rarely pick up a game to experience one. For me, video games, at their core, are about the experience of playing them. Great gameplay can redeem a game with a terrible story, but I'm not sure I can say the opposite: if I hate the gameplay, then narrative elements won't save it for me.

This is probably why I have a distaste for the sort of setpiece-driven, story-heavy experiences Sony is putting out right now. They're often not satisfying to me AS GAMES, which ruins them for me.

So, I can play a game like DKC: Tropical Freeze and enjoy it quite a bit, because, in terms of the "fundamentals" of good game design, it's fantastic.

But I'm not sure I can disagree with you, either. After all, the story, atmosphere, and music are all a big part of why Super Mario Galaxy is my favorite 3D Mario game, and I can't deny that the disappointing main story in Super Mario Odyssey detracted from the experience for me.

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roy130390

@Iconorobin Yup, I hope you didn't feel like I was invalidating your opinion or trying to convince you. I'll definitely like to see 2D platformers with more story and unfortunately I haven't checked any of those games but I'm definitely interested in them, specially Owl Boy

roy130390

MajorTom

Iconorobin wrote:

@roy130390 @Buizel @EvilLucario
I understand what you guys are trying to say and I used to think the same way.
Maybe some of the recent indie games spoiled me? Iconoclasts, Celeste and Owlboy made me care so much about their world and characters they moved me to tears, shock and awe. It's hard comparing games like that to others that don't make me feel anything... except the joy of playing them of course.
I don't know how else to describe my feelings. Hopefully you understand, and if not... well, no biggie!

I myself consider it pretty weird that you care about the story of owlboy which basically was your town was attacked by robotpirates which has also been done a million times while you complain about the story of Shovel Knight which was your female compannion became an evil empress. They both had pretty bad stories in my opinion and the whole story of owlboy "Your actions were basically useless and you end into a free fall" felt like a really bad ending. I also thought why do the main characters make those choices. But well everyone has their own things in a story that gets them immersed into them so I accept your opinnion.

Edit: I was actually really disappointed by Owlboy about how some levels were designed and about the forced stealth, which was done pretty badly in my opinnion. The story was the tip on the iceberg that made me not recommend the game to my friends. It felt so useless and stupid what you did in the whole game with that ending, which I saw coming halfway throught the pretty short experience in the first place. Also the fact that you don't battle Molstorm felt like a bad choice of the developer.

Edited on by MajorTom

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KirbyTheVampire

@Iconorobin I wholeheartedly agree. For example, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is a game with very sub-par combat and is overall a little clunky, but it's still one of the best games I've ever played IMO because the story, characters, voice acting, lore, side quests, and world are all done so incredibly well.

No matter how lame the gameplay is, I can always enjoy a game if it has a good story and world-building and whatnot. And it just enhances games overall. For example, Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door is widely regarded as a classic and the best entry in the Paper Mario series, but it wouldn't be half the game that it is if it didn't have an incredible story, characters, world, lore etc. It feels like a living, breathing world. However, if it didn't have all that stuff and just had the gameplay, it'd still be pretty fun, but not very memorable at all.

I feel like good storytelling is a bit of a lost art for Nintendo, and that's a shame. They can write some incredible stories when they actually try. I can only hope that with the shift in Nintendo's attitude over the past year or so, we might get some more games that have a good story and aren't just trying to be simple fun.

KirbyTheVampire

EvilLucario

Ultimately, Nintendo is the king at making extremely tight games with really good game mechanics, which is why they are my favorite video game developer/publisher as a whole. And when they do actively try to make a story, they either blend it with gameplay (Metroid Prime, Kid Icarus: Uprising) or complement story time with a TON of gameplay time (Fire Emblem, Xenoblade. The latter is a perfect example as in both Xenoblade 1 and 2, there are ~15 hours of cutscenes just for the main story. But gameplay time can be 30-40+ hours). I'm all for story, but not at the expense of great gameplay.

Of course, you can have both and that's where some of the best games lie, but if push comes to shove make the game fun to play.

That said there is an audience for story-driven games where gameplay takes a backseat, and that's perfectly fine. As long as I get my games with killer gameplay I'll be happy, and they're still going to be made in the coming years. Variety is the spice of life in the end.

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CanisWolfred

Iconorobin wrote:

Games are better with stories.
...
Anyway, any thoughts about this?

Huh, I hadn't really thought about that. Most casual gamers, and eSports enthusiasts, I guess, don't seem to care much about story-driven games. So yes, I would say that's an unpopular opinion.

It's really just a matter of taste, though. Personally, I've spent the last year trying to focus on games don't even really have stories - Overwatch, Paladins, Smite, Battlerite, League of Legends, and the now-defunct Paragon, along with mountains of fighting games. I generally wanted to focus on experiencing characters in their purest form, while letting the gameplay itself be the narrative. It's one of those things that only video games can provide, and it's been an interesting time so far.

I've still enjoyed my occasional breaks in the forms of the Uncharted series and Ratchet & Clank, but it's still a bit of a rough transition. I think I just honestly never cared about the plots themselves in games, since I can easily write my own. Yet games that focus on player choice are even worse, since then they have variable plots, none of which are guaranteed to be enjoyable, and just makes me feel like I screwed up and wasted tons of hours if the path I'm on turns out to be boring, forcing me to do research beforehand which ruins the experience, and arguably the point. Judging from my own experience with writing, with a solid premise and the right characters, the story essentially writes itself...

It's been a fun exercise for me, at least, though I do miss having genuine level design in the games I've played. Games like Mario & whatnot, though I often find that there's not quite as much...character, there. I guess that'll be my next adventure...

...so, my potentially unpopular opinion: a fun game should also have fun characters - someone identifiable and interesting, perhaps Iconic. And done well enough, it can ultimately trump plot, as the player/character relationship ultimately allows for a type of storytelling through the gameplay itself, in ways only video games are capable of.

Edited on by CanisWolfred

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LuckyLand

Iconorobin wrote:

Games are better with stories.

I'm not entirely sure this is a widespread unpopular opinion, but in my circles it definitely is.
Investing time and finding accomplishment in games that don't have at least a decent story is becoming more and more difficult for me. I used to LOVE the 2D Mario games for example, but for the last couple of years they don't do anything for me anymore. While I love Nintendo, I get less and less excited about their games as time goes on because of a lack of stories in them. DKC Tropical Freeze might be an excellent platformer, but what is the incentive to play if there are no stakes besides saving some bananas?

The biggest problem that comes with all this is that my favorite genre - from a gameplay standpoint - is 2D platformers. A genre that's notoriously lacking when it comes to stories. Luckily there are some indie games to alleviate my grievances. Iconoclasts, Celeste and Owlboy all released recently and have excellent stories.

Most people I talk to about this tell me they think stories mostly slow down the gameplay and are particularly annoying with repeated playthroughs. Well, when the stories and characters in them are compelling enough, they greatly enhance the experience for me.

Anyway, any thoughts about this?

I can appreciate a game with a good story but often I prefer games that are not focused on this type of things, because it is possible that I dislike the story or the characters: I don't mean they are necessarily bad, I mean that even good ones can be different form my taste, so it can be a reason for me to not like a game that otherwise I could like. This is one of the main reasons why I usually like to be able to create my character in games or to be able to choose different paths and behaviours. It is not that I want to try different things and discover different outcomes, it is because that way I have more chances to avoid that my characters do something that I don't like. If the game is not focused on the story maybe I can be able to overlook things that I don't like, but if a game is focused on the story, or if the characters stand out too much, then the story itself or the characters can become a deal breaker.
For example I hate Dante and I can't stand playing Devil may cry mostly because of this reason. With the story the problem is the same, if I like the story I like it, but there's no guarantee that I like the story. If I buy Super Mario as long as the game quality is good I will like it.

Edited on by LuckyLand

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