Story Driven Games: Can You Finish Them?

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#1 Edited by Pikminmaniac (11205 posts) -

with the advancements in video game visuals, this industry has seen a stronger push to create cinematic, story driven experiences more than ever before. Games like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Bioshock, and the Last of Us are at the forefront of the previous generation, however, these are the kinds of games I have the hardest time completing.

At first all of these games are extremely engaging. The atmosphere and story can suck you right in and the gameplay is enjoyable in its novelty, but there is a point in almost every one of these games, at least for me, where it becomes mind numbingly repetitious and monotonous. The gameplay can't remain as interesting as the plot for the duration of the experience.

I feel this problem stems from the developers' focusing more on the story than the gameplay design. It's very rare that these games throw anything new at you in the gameplay department after the half way mark. By then you've seen and done everything from a gameplay standpoint. They put all the heavy lifting on the story to hopefully keep players engaged.

I'm currently playing The Last of Us and I've hit that point where I have to force myself to play the game every time I turn it on despite how strong the plot is. The thing is, the majority of the game is spent in enemy encounters. And by now, I feel I've experienced every kind of encounter I can. It's like repeating the same scenario again and again and the story is the only thing that evolves any more.

I just feel like the little bit of story progression is not worth hours of stagnated gameplay monotony.

How do you feel about story driven games? Does the gameplay keep you engaged or is a good story enough for you to ignore lazy cut and paste scenarios? Let's discuss.

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#3 Posted by Pikminmaniac (11205 posts) -

@jimmy_russell said:

I don't play games for a story, I play them for the gameplay. If I wanted a good story with believable characters and a plot that is intriguing, I would be reading a book or watching a movie. Video games with narrative are some of the worst pieces of entertainment in existence.

well most video games have a narrative, but I'd agree that games that focus the experience on the narrative have, at the very least, not been successful. They tend to come out as some horrid mutant that doesn't know what it wants to be.

I will say that The Last of Us is probably the most successful game yet given that the gameplay works smoothly with the narrative and has a decent amount of depth... Relatively speaking.

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#4 Posted by xxninja666xx (737 posts) -

Sure, I can finish story driven games and really appreciate games having a good, engaging one. It depends on the game, though. If it has any challenge and actually manages to force me to focus and try to work for the story, then it's all right. What I can't stand are games that have good story, but the gameplay is too easy and thus unappealing. I can't enjoy a story in a game when I hate playing it from the first minutes. The story and gameplay should be nicely balanced imo and not being emphasized at the cost of the other one.

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#6 Posted by equanox214 (166 posts) -

@Pikminmaniac: Im the opposite i can not stand a game that doesn't have a story it feels like a waste of my time to play. I make a few exceptions like platformers along the lines of mario and rayman.

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#8 Edited by Ariabed (2121 posts) -

Gameplay is No1 most important thing in a game no matter how good the story, if gameplay sucks balls it just feels like a chore to advance the story, I think batman Arkham city did a fantastic job getting the balance right between good story and good gameplay and I admire dark souls for concentrating mainly on good gameplay with very little story.

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#9 Edited by xxninja666xx (737 posts) -

@jimmy_russell said:

Why are you enjoying story in a game? Why not pick up a book or watch a classic film? Serious question.

Because when I pick up a movie or a book, I only get to witness the story, the characters, and the world. When I play the game, though, I get to experience all of these and directly take part in sculpting the story by playing the role of its protagonist and affecting his/her actions.

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#10 Posted by Archangel3371 (23079 posts) -

Yeah I can finish story driven games, quite easily in fact. If I'm enjoying the story then that can very strongly motivate me to carry on with the game so as to see how things progress.

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#11 Posted by SovietsUnited (2457 posts) -

I prefer when the story is told by the environment or by being a part of the gameplay itself. The only game series where I actually preferred the cutscenes and storyline over gameplay is Legacy of Kain; the sheer power and quality of the voice overs and writing carried those games for me from start to finish. Well, maybe not in Blood Omen 2

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#12 Posted by mastermetal777 (3215 posts) -

@jimmy_russell: Because films and books are passive pieces of entertainment. You're not really involved, you're just witnessing the events. With video games, you can be a part of it and help shape the story in your own way. You're experiencing it, not just watching or reading about it. YOU get to defeat the enemy. YOU get to turn the character into what you want. YOU make the story your own.

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#13 Edited by mattykovax (22693 posts) -

As long as it interests me I play and like games from the only gameplay and nothing else perspective all the way to point and click that is pretty much mostly story. So yes. A good game is a good game.

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#14 Edited by Kevlar101 (6316 posts) -

Non-story driven games bore me most of the time. If there isn't a good motivational purpose for what the character is doing, then it just feels pointless to me.

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#15 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Pikminmaniac said:

with the advancements in video game visuals, this industry has seen a stronger push to create cinematic, story driven experiences more than ever before. Games like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Bioshock, and the Last of Us are at the forefront of the previous generation, however, these are the kinds of games I have the hardest time completing.

At first all of these games are extremely engaging. The atmosphere and story can suck you right in and the gameplay is enjoyable in its novelty, but there is a point in almost every one of these games, at least for me, where it becomes mind numbingly repetitious and monotonous. The gameplay can't remain as interesting as the plot for the duration of the experience.

I feel this problem stems from the developers' focusing more on the story than the gameplay design. It's very rare that these games throw anything new at you in the gameplay department after the half way mark. By then you've seen and done everything from a gameplay standpoint. They put all the heavy lifting on the story to hopefully keep players engaged.

I'm currently playing The Last of Us and I've hit that point where I have to force myself to play the game every time I turn it on despite how strong the plot is. The thing is, the majority of the game is spent in enemy encounters. And by now, I feel I've experienced every kind of encounter I can. It's like repeating the same scenario again and again and the story is the only thing that evolves any more.

I just feel like the little bit of story progression is not worth hours of stagnated gameplay monotony.

How do you feel about story driven games? Does the gameplay keep you engaged or is a good story enough for you to ignore lazy cut and paste scenarios? Let's discuss.

I only play games for the story so of course i can finish a storydriven game.

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#16 Posted by Pikminmaniac (11205 posts) -

@Jacanuk said:

@Pikminmaniac said:

with the advancements in video game visuals, this industry has seen a stronger push to create cinematic, story driven experiences more than ever before. Games like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Bioshock, and the Last of Us are at the forefront of the previous generation, however, these are the kinds of games I have the hardest time completing.

At first all of these games are extremely engaging. The atmosphere and story can suck you right in and the gameplay is enjoyable in its novelty, but there is a point in almost every one of these games, at least for me, where it becomes mind numbingly repetitious and monotonous. The gameplay can't remain as interesting as the plot for the duration of the experience.

I feel this problem stems from the developers' focusing more on the story than the gameplay design. It's very rare that these games throw anything new at you in the gameplay department after the half way mark. By then you've seen and done everything from a gameplay standpoint. They put all the heavy lifting on the story to hopefully keep players engaged.

I'm currently playing The Last of Us and I've hit that point where I have to force myself to play the game every time I turn it on despite how strong the plot is. The thing is, the majority of the game is spent in enemy encounters. And by now, I feel I've experienced every kind of encounter I can. It's like repeating the same scenario again and again and the story is the only thing that evolves any more.

I just feel like the little bit of story progression is not worth hours of stagnated gameplay monotony.

How do you feel about story driven games? Does the gameplay keep you engaged or is a good story enough for you to ignore lazy cut and paste scenarios? Let's discuss.

I only play games for the story so of course i can finish a storydriven game.

Really? Isn't most of what you're doing in a game gameplay? Don't most other mediums produce stronger narratives?

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#17 Posted by xxninja666xx (737 posts) -

@Pikminmaniac said:

Really? Isn't most of what you're doing in a game gameplay? Don't most other mediums produce stronger narratives?

Look up my second post in this thread. You'll understand why we play for the story.

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#18 Edited by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Pikminmaniac said:

@Jacanuk said:

@Pikminmaniac said:

with the advancements in video game visuals, this industry has seen a stronger push to create cinematic, story driven experiences more than ever before. Games like Uncharted, Mass Effect, Bioshock, and the Last of Us are at the forefront of the previous generation, however, these are the kinds of games I have the hardest time completing.

At first all of these games are extremely engaging. The atmosphere and story can suck you right in and the gameplay is enjoyable in its novelty, but there is a point in almost every one of these games, at least for me, where it becomes mind numbingly repetitious and monotonous. The gameplay can't remain as interesting as the plot for the duration of the experience.

I feel this problem stems from the developers' focusing more on the story than the gameplay design. It's very rare that these games throw anything new at you in the gameplay department after the half way mark. By then you've seen and done everything from a gameplay standpoint. They put all the heavy lifting on the story to hopefully keep players engaged.

I'm currently playing The Last of Us and I've hit that point where I have to force myself to play the game every time I turn it on despite how strong the plot is. The thing is, the majority of the game is spent in enemy encounters. And by now, I feel I've experienced every kind of encounter I can. It's like repeating the same scenario again and again and the story is the only thing that evolves any more.

I just feel like the little bit of story progression is not worth hours of stagnated gameplay monotony.

How do you feel about story driven games? Does the gameplay keep you engaged or is a good story enough for you to ignore lazy cut and paste scenarios? Let's discuss.

I only play games for the story so of course i can finish a storydriven game.

Really? Isn't most of what you're doing in a game gameplay? Don't most other mediums produce stronger narratives?

Yes, really.

And yes books and some movies do give a better story but they are passive mediums, like mentioned above, games are an interactive medium. Also why would i limit myself? its rare there is a good story game, so it leaves plenty of time to read books and i dont really watch that much tv/movies, i actually prefer games to tv.

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#19 Edited by hrt_rulz01 (14777 posts) -

Generally if a game has an engaging story, I'll generally finish it (even if the gameplay is not so good). I'm a sucker for games with great storytelling.

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#20 Posted by GreySeal9 (28247 posts) -

Well, I mostly play RPGs, so of course.

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#21 Posted by Renegade_Fury (19671 posts) -

Nope. If I don't find joy in the gameplay, I'm not playing the game. Like I post all the time, story is nothing but fluff in video games.

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#22 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Stories in games are passive too..... Hence its better to read a book or watch a movie.

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#23 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

Stories in games are passive too..... Hence its better to read a book or watch a movie.

Ehmm, did you miss the introduction course it what makes a game a game? you know where they explain the interactive part.

After all i wasn´t talking about the crap books Gone Home and Dear Esther .

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#24 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Those aren't games......

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#25 Posted by PimpHand_Gamer (2406 posts) -

There are rarely a few games that have an engaging story and memorable characters. But Heavy Rain comes to mind. Also Blade Runner on PC..old but great game and interesting characters and story. Actually I could probably name several pretty old PC games that had very engaging stories and characters, especially with Adventure type games. I can't think of too many modern games that grabbed me as well as any movie could.

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#26 Posted by good_sk8er7 (4325 posts) -

I've never had a problem completing a game with an interesting story

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#27 Edited by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

Those aren't games......

Which is what i said, but Beyond two souls, Heavy Rain, GTA IV, Remember Me, Mass Effect, Bioshock 1, LA Noire, Cognition, Walking Dead, Wolf Among us, Moebius and many other are games and they all have a compelling and interesting story,

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#28 Posted by Revan_911 (1709 posts) -

you're right. the gameplay becomes stale and 90% of video game stories are not worth seeing to the end

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#29 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Heavy Rain and Beyond are not games.....

But LA Noire is a great example of using a story interactively in games.

Ironically I think you listed pretty much the only ones that are not passive.... The rest of them are.

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#30 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: Of course Heavy Rain and Beyond are games, also that joke is getting really old.

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#31 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Why does it bother you ?

They're not games..... And they're not the only ones...

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#32 Posted by mastermetal777 (3215 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: you know, one of the definitions of a game is an amusement or pastime, which is a vague definition by itself and open to interpretation. If anything qualifies as such these days, it's video games that merely have the goal of telling a story that the player has a hand in both interacting with and forming it. Just because it doesn't fit this comfort zone of "oh the mechanics aren't deep enough, it must not be a real game" doesn't make it any less a video game, especially when the definition of what makes a video game is changing big time.

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#33 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@mastermetal777

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Game

"Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction."

Obviously its not conclussive but I believe this is what a game is.... And Heavy Rain and Beyond Two Souls is obviously falling lacking in those areas.

Anyway one thing you should understand is that Stories are not suppose to be Challenging, theres no wrong or right way to experience a story, so this creates abit of a conundrum when a story driven game makes you restart at the nearest checkpoint if you fail or die..... Its like having to reread the the page of a book because you misread one of the words. The purpose of story and gameplay are not just different... At times they actually feel like Polar Oppasites.

It doesn't bother me though... I just want cutscenes to die.

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#34 Posted by MirkoS77 (12669 posts) -

I find the adoration of purely gameplay focused experiences such as Mario to be one of the main obstacles impeding the evolution of what this medium will truly be able to offer. So many people claim these as the real "deep" games, yet I'd put forth that when viewed in the end, a well executed, story driven game like TLoU is a far deeper, meaningful and impactful experience overall. As great games as Mario Galaxy 2 or Pikmin 3 are, they are very forgettable once turned off. TLoU was not, it stuck with me for a long while after I'd completed it.....especially the DLC.

TLoU's gameplay may be relatively simplistic when held in comparison, but it ultimately hit me on a far deeper level than the best Mario ever could. I was far more connected to TLoU than any game I've ever been. Its gameplay was more relevant past the implementation of simple mechanics and clever level design well executed. As I grow older, I'm looking for more from a game than simple fun. While enjoyable, I'm not just looking for a carnival ride anymore. With TLoU, I found that the story, characters, directing, acting, and pacing were all so well done that the gameplay was thus strengthened far past the point of what Nintendo's (or any other gameplay-centric game's) ever done. I don't care how well designed a level is, or what a suit does, jumping on a platform is ultimately just that. BFD. Games are capable of doing so much more than what Nintendo does and while I can appreciate their values and absolutely think they have a place in the industry, I frankly find it insulting and dismissive that they relegate the potential that interactive entertainment holds into the territory of mere "toys", however well produced.

This being said, 99% of all story games are written by non-writers and blow chunks, and in that case I agree that gameplay's far more important. But I'd much rather take a game like TLoU over Galaxy. If you're just looking at the mechanics and judging the game just by that, then you're missing the forest for the trees. I for one have always dreamed of being able to play my own Godfather.

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#35 Posted by The_Last_Ride (76371 posts) -

@Pikminmaniac: I always finish the story driven games by binging it. I tend to switch between games if it isn't as heavy on story

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#36 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@MirkoS77

Maybe you felt that way because it apealed to you in a manner you're much more familiar with. This tends to happen alot in this medium... The only way they can truly tell a good story is by not doing it the way they were meant to.

I also felt a deeper connection to The Last Of Us but gaming had nothing to do with it.... It was a passive story... And I wouldn't be missing out on anything by watching it on Blue Tube.

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#37 Edited by uninspiredcup (25294 posts) -

A good story is always welcome. But game-play first, yes? It's the sort of the point of interactivity.

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#38 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

Why does it bother you ?

They're not games..... And they're not the only ones...

You are talking out of your sitting area Lulu.

Heavy Rain and Beyond two souls is most certainly games and again its getting old really fast that you try to claim anything else

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#39 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Even David Cage knows they're not games.......

Look gaming is a flexible medium that encompasses a variety of different genres.... Fortunately, Heavy Rain and Beyond are not just a different genre they are a whole different animal entirely.....

Why is that bad thing ?

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#40 Posted by mastermetal777 (3215 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: David Cage says that they're not games in the TRADITIONAL sense, so of course you could interpret that as "oh, they're not really games." They're narrative-based interactive dramas, a subgenre of video gaming. He still calls them video games regardless.

At least he understands that with these games, the game over screen is dumb. That's why Heavy Rain has permadeath and story continuation and Beyond: Two Souls has different chapter outcomes for failures. Neither of them have game over screens, but rather continue the story with those failures in mind.

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#41 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

Even David Cage knows they're not games.......

Look gaming is a flexible medium that encompasses a variety of different genres.... Fortunately, Heavy Rain and Beyond are not just a different genre they are a whole different animal entirely.....

Why is that bad thing ?

And you of course have a link to the video or article that proves that Cage actually said that right?

But if we go by the definition "videogame" Heavy Rain and Beyond two souls have all the factors that makes something a videogame, its interactive, it has a failure state, and it has a goal.

Its pretty idiotic even to discuss if they are games or not when they so clearly are games.

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#42 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@mastermetal777

Actually they are a Subgenre of Interactive Entertainment not Video Games......

Also most of the scenarios can't be enterpreted by successes and failures..... Like that scene with Norman Jayden and that crazy guy...... Whether you talk him down or shoot him down is not a win or lose kinda thing.... Its just a choice meant to create some sort of Narrative..... Samething with a few of Beyond's Scenarios..... Like that scene with Norah Gray....

Hell even That time Ethan walked away from one of the Oragami Challenges is not a win lose kinda thing..... It was a choice....

The Game over screen is not dumb.... Thats how games point out your failure..... Its dumb when a story is involved because you can't fail a story....

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#43 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

You missed the other factor... Challenge.

And they Don't have failure states..... Do they have consequences ? Yep.... Failure states ? Hardly.

Simulations are not a Subcategory of Video Games either......

Theres a few others I can't think of right now... But you'd be surprized to know just how many things are not actually video games.... People just throw them into that category either because its easier to deal with or because they are really that desperate to justify the validity of this medium......

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#44 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

You missed the other factor... Challenge.

And they Don't have failure states..... Do they have consequences ? Yep.... Failure states ? Hardly.

Simulations are not a Subcategory of Video Games either......

Theres a few others I can't think of right now... But you'd be surprized to know just how many things are not actually video games.... People just throw them into that category either because its easier to deal with or because they are really that desperate to justify the validity of this medium......

Nah, i didn't miss it because it clearly has a challenge if it has a failure state. And of course they have failure, you can fail a QTE and in Heavy Rain you can even die,.

Also simulations have all the factors again, you can fail, it provides a challange obviously since you can fail, it has a goal and its interactive.

So no what you mentioned so far are all video games and its actually easy enough, does it have the 3 factors then its a video game, if not then well its by the definition not a videogame.

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#45 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

and the Rules ? Its not exactly much of a challenge of theres no internal constistancy.... Its just Random button prompts. That besides the point though.... Having your character Die in Heavy Rain is not a Failure.... Its just how the story was meant to be..... Hence the random QTEs intstead consistant challenging game mechanics. There are no failures and successes in a story.... If a character dies then thats the appearent path the story must follow.... Also As I've mentioned before experencing a story should not be challenging..... Books are not written backwards to make the more challenging to read movies are not shown upside down to make them more challenging to watch..... Challenge works just fine for video games but a challenge does hurt the narrative. However lessing the the challenge for the sake of story does hurt the gameplay part of the game.....

This is why they have their own seperate category and are not part of video games.....

As for Simulations they may include those other factor but they are not a necessity..... However the two concepts are not mutually exclusive so theres going to be alot of overlapping features..... Still simulations are not games.

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#46 Edited by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

and the Rules ? Its not exactly much of a challenge of theres no internal constistancy.... Its just Random button prompts. That besides the point though.... Having your character Die in Heavy Rain is not a Failure.... Its just how the story was meant to be..... Hence the random QTEs intstead consistant challenging game mechanics. There are no failures and successes in a story.... If a character dies then thats the appearent path the story must follow.... Also As I've mentioned before experencing a story should not be challenging..... Books are not written backwards to make the more challenging to read movies are not shown upside down to make them more challenging to watch..... Challenge works just fine for video games but a challenge does hurt the narrative. However lessing the the challenge for the sake of story does hurt the gameplay part of the game.....

This is why they have their own seperate category and are not part of video games.....

As for Simulations they may include those other factor but they are not a necessity..... However the two concepts are not mutually exclusive so theres going to be alot of overlapping features..... Still simulations are not games.

Rules? what rules its not about rules it about a clear cut definition. Its 100% objective so there is no room for debate here.

So I don't care if you find it non-challenging, if you find the story to be terrible or anything else subjective you might come up with. We are talking about a clear cut objective definition. Defined by 3 words that are clearly defined in any english dictionary

Failure = lack of success or the neglect or omission of expected or required action. So does Heavy Rain have that, yes it does there are several points where you can fail

Interactive = involving the actions or input of a user

Goal = the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

And just for you Lulu

Challenge = A call to someone to participate in a competitive situation or fight to decide who is superior in terms of ability or strength:

If you can tick all these boxes you have a videogame, no need to argue or debate it.

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#47 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

They're are no Failures in Heavy Rain..... Its story oriented experience and if a character dies then thats just how its meant to be...... Half of the game gives a chance to opt out of these scenarios..... Scott can simply walk way from that confrontation, Ethan can opt out of the various Oragimi Challenges, Norman can Bite the Bullet and just Take the Damn Tryptokane, Page can Leave Ethan's ass Behind and save herself, those aren't failures, thats just the story. And QTE's are challenging in the same sense as Identifying the colours of a rainbow while blind folded are challenging..... Its just random.

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#48 Posted by Jacanuk (11980 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu said:

@Jacanuk

They're are no Failures in Heavy Rain..... Its story oriented experience and if a character dies then thats just how its meant to be...... Half of the game gives a chance to opt out of these scenarios..... Scott can simply walk way from that confrontation, Ethan can opt out of the various Oragimi Challenges, Norman can Bite the Bullet and just Take the Damn Tryptokane, Page can Leave Ethan's ass Behind and save herself, those aren't failures, thats just the story. And QTE's are challenging in the same sense as Identifying the colours of a rainbow while blind folded are challenging..... Its just random.

You are again coming with a subjective opinion. i don't care that you feel that it's part of the story to fail, because obviously its not how the game was designed, its designed around you succeeding. And look at what i said here.....it kinda points out what a fail/succeed is

And all you mention are interactive fail/succeed moments, it might be a red/blue pill moment but again as i said you can make up another definition in your mind but clearly thats your own subjective interpretation of a fail/success moment. Just remember that its subjective and only you might agree.

And what a load of bull that QTE are random, its the same each time and it's clearly designed to test your reflexes and provide a challenge, again there no need to debate it, its all pretty much set in stone.

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#49 Posted by Lulu_Lulu (19564 posts) -

@Jacanuk

Actually yeah they are random... Heavy Rain wasn't intended to be played more than once and the QTE don't follow any level of consistancy. Memorizing them and replaying doesn't change that...... I've killed off two characters in Heavy Rain but It had nothing to do with success or failure, it was merely a consequence of my choices..... The story builds its self around that concept...... Gaming is not as wide an umbrella as you think it is..... And lets be honest.... You're just ticked off by me saying Heavy Rain is not game.... People are super defensive about these things....

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#50 Posted by mastermetal777 (3215 posts) -

@Lulu_Lulu: Heavy Rain kinda is meant to be played more than once. David Cage may have wanted players to play it once, but most gamers are completionists, meaning that they want to see everything a game has to offer. Heavy Rain has multiple branching paths and endings. People who want to see a different outcome will naturally play the game differently to see it come to fruition. If it wasn't meant to be played more than once, there wouldn't be so many narrative options in the gameplay.