Storylines and atmospheres: looking for suggestions

#1 Posted by tomtain (6 posts) -

A couple of weeks ago I finished the storyline of final fantasy X. This was the first jrpg I’ve seriously played and I enjoyed it immensely. It is the atmosphere that surrounds the game that did it for me. Story, character, music all seemed to fit together to create this atmosphere of joy, love, melancholia, nostalgia,… Very often I enjoyed wandering around more than engaging in fights etc. For example: the first time I entered the calm planes felt like pure magic and made me wish I had the “no encounter” ability already at that time.

The philosophical/religious foundation of the story also worked very well for me. Not just good vs evil, but almost a philosophical analysis into the nature of evil, hope, etc.. You can’t just take the story for granted, it expects some serious thought.

Off course, nothing is perfect, neither is this game. I’m still not sure what to think about the Sin/Jecht/Tidus relation or the use of the hymn of the fayth to attract Sin. Yu Yevon also appeared to me to be an underdeveloped character/theme/…(whatever it can be called). Actually the whole end-game appeared to develop way too fast story wise. It somehow feels the same as after having watched the tv-serie Lost: coming up with something great, but not exactly knowing how to end.

I hope I have been able to make clear why this particular game appealed so much to me. I’m aware that a lot of people don’t like FFX at all, even hate it.
But my question is simple, though the answer is probably not: do you know of any game that offers somewhat the same as FFX has offered me? Summed up it is the atmosphere and the philosophical/religious foundation of the storyline.

I’ve borrowed FFIV and FFVI from a friend and played it for a while but I couldn’t get into it. Especially FFVI is for a lot of people the best Final fantasy to be found but after spending a couple of hours on both games I didn’t feel that story-pull that I’ve experienced very fast in FFX. Off course, the generation gap is quiet big (graphics and music), but should I give the story a decent chance? It appeared to be more of a classic good vs evil story. Like for example in FFIV, it appears to be about finding some crystals before some bad guys can do some terrible things with it, nothing more nothing less.

At the moment I’m playing Persona 4 golden on the PS Vita. I’ve bought it because of the many recommendations that can be found on the internet. But after playing 20+ hours I’ve not been really able to get into the game either. I do like several elements that create some depth (Jungian psychology, the characters have to confront themselves,…) but all in all the game appears quiet flat to me. The battle system is repetitive and boring. The characters haven’t yet appealed to me in an interesting way. And the music…terrible…a few pop tunes that annoy already after the third time hearing it. I will continue this game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if don’t finish it.

So please, share any meaningful thought you would like to share about the subject matter. Although I'm especially looking for something for the vita (knowing that this narrows the possibilities tremendously) any recommendations are very welcome.

All the best!

#2 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

Have you watched Gravity ?

Miles better than anygame.... Its also multiplatform so it works on all DvD players regardless of which company makes them... :)

#3 Posted by Archangel3371 (15484 posts) -

If you have a 360 I'd highly suggest that you try Lost Odyssey, excellent game with a really good story.

#4 Posted by mastermetal777 (1219 posts) -

@tomtain: If you want a good game with plenty of atmosphere and a fantastic religion-based storyline, try Xenogears. It's a PS1 game, but it has hands-down my all-time favorite story for any JRPG. As for games with great stories and atmospheres period, I'd recommend the following:

The Last of Us

Mass Effect

Dragon Age: Origins

Silent Hill 2

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Metroid Prime

BioShock and/or BioShock Infinite (don't need to play em in order)

#5 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

Try some visual novels... Hopefully something not from japan.

#6 Edited by mastermetal777 (1219 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: Pretty sure the TC wants a game with a good story, not a book.

#7 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@mastermetal777

VN's are books just as much as Tell Tale's The Walking Dead is a Movie.

#8 Posted by mastermetal777 (1219 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: What film or book allows the story to be changed according to choices you make in the game? None! The answer is none.

#9 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@mastermetal777

Visual Novels do allow that. Infact they do it better.

#10 Posted by mastermetal777 (1219 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: that's not a fact, that's an opinion. I prefer to be in control of my character and their choices rather than just clicking an option and watching what happens. If I do something wrong, I wanna know that it was an input error rather than not reading the walkthrough and saying "ooohhhh, that's what I did wrong." So no, I disagree. Visual novels are much more passive than they let on, and video games are the opposite of passive. Therefore, I believe video game choices are better. This is my opinion, not a fact, like you're claiming with what you said.

#11 Edited by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@mastermetal777

Thats how most stories in games work... As a reward, you do something, be it kill a bunch of guys or simply make a choice and you get a cutscene or text or comic strip follows, thats your reward. Thats how video games handle narratives. Because narration and storytelling are passive by nature, you can't narrate to someone whos being active, they gotta sit still and do nothing but watch/listen. Its not just an oppinion. Its common sense.

#12 Posted by thehig1 (1689 posts) -

Have you watched Gravity ?

Miles better than anygame.... Its also multiplatform so it works on all DvD players regardless of which company makes them... :)

Gravity was boring, no emotional connection to the characters and with it being a SciFi like film you'd expect some level of scientific plausibility.

#13 Posted by Archangel3371 (15484 posts) -

@tomtain: If you want a good game with plenty of atmosphere and a fantastic religion-based storyline, try Xenogears. It's a PS1 game, but it has hands-down my all-time favorite story for any JRPG. As for games with great stories and atmospheres period, I'd recommend the following:

The Last of Us

Mass Effect

Dragon Age: Origins

Silent Hill 2

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Metroid Prime

BioShock and/or BioShock Infinite (don't need to play em in order)

Those are some great games that I'd also recommend. I haven't played The Last of Us yet though, waiting until I get a PS4 until I play that.

#14 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@thehig1

Its probavly just not your type of movie.

#15 Posted by thehig1 (1689 posts) -

@thehig1

Its probavly just not your type of movie.

I love SciFi and movies set in space. I'm not into watching Sandra Bullock scream for an hour.

#16 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@thehig1

No such thing happened.

#17 Posted by thehig1 (1689 posts) -

@thehig1

No such thing happened.

I may have done the film a disservice then, there's more heavy breathing than screaming,

#18 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (11509 posts) -

@thehig1

come on..... You know there was more to it than that. ;)

#19 Posted by Ish_basic (4009 posts) -

@tomtain:

I’ve borrowed FFIV and FFVI from a friend and played it for a while but I couldn’t get into it. Especially FFVI is for a lot of people the best Final fantasy to be found but after spending a couple of hours on both games I didn’t feel that story-pull that I’ve experienced very fast in FFX. Off course, the generation gap is quiet big (graphics and music), but should I give the story a decent chance? It appeared to be more of a classic good vs evil story. Like for example in FFIV, it appears to be about finding some crystals before some bad guys can do some terrible things with it, nothing more nothing less.

At the moment I’m playing Persona 4 golden on the PS Vita. I’ve bought it because of the many recommendations that can be found on the internet. But after playing 20+ hours I’ve not been really able to get into the game either. I do like several elements that create some depth (Jungian psychology, the characters have to confront themselves,…) but all in all the game appears quiet flat to me. The battle system is repetitive and boring. The characters haven’t yet appealed to me in an interesting way. And the music…terrible…a few pop tunes that annoy already after the third time hearing it. I will continue this game, but it wouldn’t surprise me if don’t finish it.

FFVI is revered because it's seen by neckbeards as the last FF game before "the fall" when FF actually became a hugely popular franchise with the release of VII. You know how it is with nerd counter-culture - if it's popular, people gotta hate. I had honestly never heard anyone say FFVI was the best final fantasy until VII came out and they started spouting ridiculous nonsense at fans that were just coming into the franchise with VII to make themselves look like connoisseurs or some shit (you know the nonsense; "i liked it before it was cool," etc). I played VI when it came out and it never hooked me. Earlier FF titles had interested more and contemporary Square titles like Chrono Trigger were much better. It also hasn't aged well. The kind of atmosphere that hooked you on X wasn't even possible on the SNES and is in part why FFVII held so much mass appeal, because of the jump in technology that occured between the two releases.

The newer Persona games (post PS1) have always been kinda corny to me. They're not completely committed to their occult atmosphere and so come as bit cheery and juvenile at times. If you like some of the themes, your best bet is to check out Nocturne and Digital Devil Saga which are made by the same group of devs with basically the same themes, except they're far darker.

In more recent years I've kinda learned to hate JRPGs, but I do remember Xenosaga quite fondly. Pretty large plot to chew on there over the three games and I thought they did a great job bringing their sci-fi adventure to life. The most recent JRPG I've really enjoyed was tales of Vesperia, which I loved. The semi-recent Tales of Xilia bored me to tears with its monotony and general pointlessness, though. So it's difficult...JRPG franchises tend to be all over the place in terms of quality.

#20 Edited by ristactionjakso (5725 posts) -

Dues Ex HR, Singularity, Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect Trilogy.

I personally normally can only get into the atmosphere of older jrpg's. Legend of Dragoon, Breath of Fire 4 for example.

It took a while, but for some reason I really got absorbed into the atmosphere of RAGE Anarchy Edition. Loved everything about that game.

#21 Posted by sukraj (22566 posts) -

metro last light is very atmospheric

#22 Posted by geniobastardo (1294 posts) -

@thehig1 said:

@Lulu_Lulu said:

Have you watched Gravity ?

Miles better than anygame.... Its also multiplatform so it works on all DvD players regardless of which company makes them... :)

Gravity was boring, no emotional connection to the characters and with it being a SciFi like film you'd expect some level of scientific plausibility.

Yeah science biatch!

On Topic:

@sukraj said:

metro last light is very atmospheric

#23 Posted by SovietsUnited (2277 posts) -

Planescape: Torment is pretty damn unique, in both its story and atmosphere, but it isn't for everyone.

Diablo has a fantastic, dark atmosphere, probably one of the best around; it's weak on story, though.

Condemned has a sense of decay and dread throughout; the only other game with a somewhat similar setting I can think of is Manhunt. The story is pretty crazy as well.

The Myst games also have a very absorbing and unusual atmosphere, but only if you can overcome the slow and boring start.

Legacy of Kain relies on the envoronment to tell the story, the murals and ruins there telling alot about the game's internal mythology, creating some ominous atmosphere along the way, besides being an epic tale

#24 Posted by thehig1 (1689 posts) -
#25 Edited by RyviusARC (4492 posts) -

I just finished playing The Witcher 1 again and it's a great game for story and atmosphere.

The world is beautifully crafted to the extent that even with outdated graphics (It's running on a 2003 game engine) it can be a joy to look at.

What helps with the atmosphere are a few noticeable things.

One is that there is a great amount of detail put into the assets. The devs spent a lot of time building the areas of the games from the buildings down to the plants.

As you walk through a lakeside village you will see people going about their day, cleaning clothes, chopping wood, talking to each other, playing music, finding cover from rain etc. etc.

The audio also helps with adding in the sounds to fit the mood of a quite swamp or a bustling town.

Music is probably one of the best things about the game with a good variety of music befitting each area of the game which helps even more with the atmosphere.

The story of the game is also great.

The world feels complex and alive because the game is based on a set of novels.

While it's not the most original story it is one of the only games I have played where morality was not handled in a juvenile manner.

I had so much trouble making choices in the game because there was no evil vs good.

Every side had it's own good and bad points and most choices had unseen repercussions later in the game.

Now there are some faults with the game with a slow start, some tedious backtracking quests and the combat is nothing special but if story and atmosphere is what you are looking for then you can easily ignore the faults of the game.

#26 Posted by RDx_XacT (528 posts) -

Metro Last Light.

Bioshock

#27 Posted by turtlethetaffer (16711 posts) -

Play Silent Hill Shattered Memories. It might not offer the same type of atmosphere but the story and atmosphere go hand in hand masterfully. It's one of the deepest game stories I've seen.