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I just realized - most games really suck!

Old 04-25-04, 01:37 AM
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I just realized - most games really suck!

I was playing through some games this weekend - Call of Duty, Halo, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Serious Sam 2. I noticed something odd, though: I wasn't really enjoying most of them. I couldn't put my finger on it for a while, but I finally figured it out. The problem is simply that most games really suck. Yes, that includes Halo.

The play model for these games has gone beyond derivative to simply stale. It goes like this:

1) Fancy introductory cutscene and plot.

2) You start the game with little or no weaponry. You have to negotiate some obstacles and kill some overly weak enemies.

3) You find a decent weapon, probably immdiately before or after a cutscene.

4) You take out some slightly tougher enemies, and you get a stronger weapon, probably something shotgun-like. Boring plot advancement occurs in the meantime.

5) Lather, rinse, and repeat #4 with the following variations: machine gun, rocket launcher, sniper rifle, fancy energy weapon. Also, add some random alternative games - probably driving a vehicle, manning a turret, or escorting an unarmed idiot with a penchant for running toward enemy fire.

6) Unless you're playing on the I Am A Total Loser difficulty level, you'll also be saving and and reloading a lot during #5, increasingly as the game goes on. "Difficulty" will be simulated by adding more and tougher enemies while reducing ammo and health packs, and many sequences you'll have to retry 20+ times.

7) Throw in a big boss at the end, outro cutscene, game over you win.

Now here is my complaint. This isn't really the recipe for a "game." This is an interactive movie - a bland genre first pioneered by Rebel Assault, or better still, Dragon's Lair. Those, we recognized as really bad "games," since they don't actually involve a lot of skill - but when it comes down to game mechanics, these really aren't much different in style - you just keep replaying the same goddamn sequence until you get it right. At least we don't need several rolls of quarters.

This is not to say, by any means, that I've lost my taste for computer games. I find myself endlessly playing Unreal Tournament 2004 and Uplink: Hacker Elite. These happen to be great games. What sets them apart is simply the fresh, random nature of the experience: I can play an Onslaught match 20 times without having anywhere near the same experience. Uplink is more repetitive, but also (mostly) unscripted, and the experience is novel and within my control.

So in a nutshell - I've grown really tired of event-based games. I simply no longer find "fun" in playing through one tired scenario after another, in order to see a bunch of cutscenes I don't care about anyway. I blame Half-Life, in fact - scripting is becoming the death of the gaming experience. Half-Life was great and all, but did you ever play Half-Life more than once? I mean, what's the point? You already know what's going to happen. It's no fun any more. But every developer wants to produce the next interactive movie, so we get a steady stream of this crap.

The difference, simply put, is randomness - the kind that leads to a great, unpredictable gaming experience, different every time. I want the challenges to emerge from the play mechanics - not to be planned out in advance so that I can conquer it once and never, ever play that scene again.

- David Stein
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Old 04-25-04, 01:42 AM
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I like a good story to drive the game. Max Payne and Max Payne 2 were both fun games, while rather simple, that i played through a couple of times. Having an unpredictable gaming experience is great though, which is why multiplayer games are so enjoyable. But your argument about Half-Life... is that so different from watching a movie? Why watch it again or own the dvd if you know what's going to happen.
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Old 04-25-04, 02:10 AM
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Call of Duty had a great story. It really made you feel as if you were there. Halo was lots of fun, too.

If you want random experiences, try Fallout and Fallout 2. Two awesome games that have tons of replay value.
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Old 04-25-04, 02:17 AM
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Re: I just realized - most games really suck!

Originally posted by sfsdfd
I was playing through some games this weekend - Call of Duty, Halo, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Serious Sam 2. I noticed something odd, though: I wasn't really enjoying most of them. I couldn't put my finger on it for a while, but I finally figured it out. The problem is simply that most games really suck. Yes, that includes Halo.
Ah, so you really meant "Most first person shooters suck." You should branch out a bit.


I haven't played Call of Duty, but I can comment on your other games.

Halo: Great physics engine. That is the single reason I like Halo better than any other console FPS. I hate the two weapon deal, I hate that you have to spend the last half of the game in hallways and fighting the flood, but I will never get tired of throwing a sticky grenade at a Convenant Elite and watching him get blown off a cliff. Or ramming my Warthog into my opponent's in death match and watching the vehicles fly.

Serious Sam: INSANE numbers of enemies. I think I killed over 2500 creatures in one level. That game is really in a class by itself. Sure, it's got a lot of standard weapons (and some not-so-standard weapons.) But man is it intense.

RTCW: I enjoyed the online play on the PC more than the actual game, but I found it fun. Not a lot of plot, just an update on a classic. Fun and challenging.
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Old 04-25-04, 08:09 AM
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I think someone is getting old
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Old 04-25-04, 08:09 AM
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Most games are actually worth the price of admission if you have patience and can wait for the price drops...even better if you buy them used. I've purchased new games for $10.00(Shenmue II which is one hell of a game) and used for as cheap as $13.00(GR Island Thunder) .
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Old 04-25-04, 08:13 AM
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First, DON'T PLAY 4 FPS GAMES IN ONE WEEKEND.

You'll never get into the proper feel for any one of them, before you move on to the next. No wonder they all seem the same to you.

Second, if you abstract enough, every kind of game can sound boring. Tetris is just putting blocks together at an increasing rate. RTS is just endless rounds of build and attack. Sims is pointless activity. RPGs could be broken down almost exactly like you did for FPS, but with less cutscenes and swords/magic instead of guns.

Most significantly, it just sounds like you aren't that attuned to the intricacies of shooting games. There's a ton of gameplay within there, but it's subtle. Yes, you can play them in "save & reload, just keep shooting & running" style and very slowly grind your way through. But the better ones usually let you play differently if you like. Slow careful indoor creeping, long range sniping, mixing things up with flashbangs and grenades and timed mines, placement of sentries, moving from cover to cover, proper method of rouding corners & entering rooms, bursts of fast run & gun,etc. These are all gameplay considerations and left up to you.

Let me give you an example. In Unreal 2: Awakening, they have stages where you defend a location from invading forces. You can be cynical and say, "oh great, yet another defend your base stage". But when you actually play it, the gameplay is amazing. You have to find the best places for your sentry guns & shields. Do you put them close around the item you're defending? Or do you put them farther out at the area choke points? What weapons are best and what's the best position to attack from? At any moment, do you have time to go back and heal up or are you needed somewhere immediately? Oh shit, they took out a sentry gun, should I move this other one to replace it or is it needed at the current area more? They're coming in from both sides, which side needs me more? Where do I send my heavy weapons teammate?

It's absolutely awesome. But if I'm not into it, I could just put all the sentries, shields and soldiers in one spot and keep blasting & save/reloading away until it was over. Then I could come onto a message board and rightly whine & bitch about it, but it wouldn't really be the developer's fault. I just wasn't ready to play the way it was meant to be played.
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Old 04-25-04, 09:29 AM
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Originally posted by kar10
I think someone is getting old
i think this is what happened to me!

i don't think most games really suck... i think very few games are really great. i remember playing Master of Magic and thinking, this game is really great (if only i could get it to work under XP! ). but, very few games have left that kind of impression on me. it is one reason why i very rarely pay near full price for games. they just aren't worth $50.

it is why i laugh when people say stuff like the GBA has tons of great games, or the PS2, or whatever. i don't agree at all. imo, they just have a ton of games.

having said that, it's always been like that, and it isn't exclusive to video games. music, movies, books, etc all have similar characteristics.
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Old 04-25-04, 10:10 AM
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what I hate in FPS is when they make you do some stupid run/jump combo from super small platform to super small platform that are easy to fall off from. Tron 2 and the Jedi Knight games come to mind for that
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Old 04-25-04, 11:16 AM
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It seems to me the problem is that you're playing a lot of similar games (FPS) all at once, rather than taking the time to see what each game has to offer.
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Old 04-25-04, 12:43 PM
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That's why I stick with playing Winning Eleven, it never get into all these pitfalls
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Old 04-25-04, 01:03 PM
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I think there is definitley alot more average to below average games than "Great" games released in a calendar year.

One of the problems I think alot of games have is that the designers don't see an entire game unfolding. Many games feel like they design individual levels and then try to stick them all together. Well that's just me anyway.
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Old 04-25-04, 05:08 PM
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I kinda agree with you sfsdfd, but just in terms of the Resident Evil series. Conserving bullets was/is bitch. I've simply got to learn that....(A.) some zombie areas have to be passed by without killing everything and (B.) how to better avoid close in attacks from zombies. That's why when Onimusha came along and hero kicked ass with a sword I was totally excited. Swords don't run out of ammo.

But as far as HALO, for seom reason that same preserve your ammo feeling only applied to grenades for me. Other than that it was great.
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Old 04-25-04, 06:54 PM
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Originally posted by sfsdfd
I just realized - most FPS games, the only kind I apparently play, really suck!
I totally agree.
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Old 04-25-04, 07:39 PM
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I came to a similar realization some time ago. Now I play only games with stories I'm interested in (Hitman, Thief, System Shock, Max Payne, Knight of the Old Republic, X-Wing Alliance, Mafia) or with lots of replay value or uniquenss (Unreal Tournament 2004, Hitman, Theif, System Shock.)

As you can see, when they overlap, then that's where I get my favourite games!

But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy something I consider to have not much replay value (like Max Payne or Half Life) because I enjoyed those all the way through.

But the last traditional FPS that I actually finished was probably Deus Ex... because it had a great story, and was very interactive. Stuff like RTCW I haven't finished.
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Old 04-25-04, 08:38 PM
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I've been burnt out on the action-oriented FPS's for a while. Mostly because I don't have the coin to keep my hardware updated to run them satisfactorily and also because they do start to feel the same after a while. With that said I am looking forward to Doom 3 and HL2 to hopefully breath some life into the genre.
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Old 04-25-04, 09:11 PM
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Originally posted by young
i think this is what happened to me!

i don't think most games really suck... i think very few games are really great. i remember playing Master of Magic and thinking, this game is really great (if only i could get it to work under XP! ). but, very few games have left that kind of impression on me. it is one reason why i very rarely pay near full price for games. they just aren't worth $50.

it is why i laugh when people say stuff like the GBA has tons of great games, or the PS2, or whatever. i don't agree at all. imo, they just have a ton of games.

having said that, it's always been like that, and it isn't exclusive to video games. music, movies, books, etc all have similar characteristics.
If you think that the GBA and PS2 don't have lots of great games then you are way to cynical and probably don't try many of them for yourself. I think that anyone can find lots of games that they enjoy on all the 5 major platforms.

Now something is seriously wrong if you think music, movies, and books don't have anything to offer you.

This goes for everyone complaining...If you think that there aren't any good games out there then either; A. Branch out of your usual genre, try something new, or B. quit playing video games.
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Old 04-25-04, 09:41 PM
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There is no Serious Sam 2.
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Old 04-25-04, 09:48 PM
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Originally posted by Dan Average
There is no Serious Sam 2.
He most likley means the new serious am, next encounter, which is the second console version. Chill.
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Old 04-25-04, 10:40 PM
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I agree. Why not start out with the powerful/cool weapons from time to time. Just make the game a little harder to justify it.

Also, most games plots are lame. There is nothing more annoying than having to sit through a cut scene that you can't skip. I hit all the buttons anyway, even though I know it doesn't help.
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Old 04-26-04, 12:02 AM
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Originally posted by Dan Average
There is no Serious Sam 2.
Um, yes there is, for the PC. It's called "Serious Sam: The Second Encounter."

I'm looking at the CD right now.
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Old 04-26-04, 12:04 AM
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I think the key is a variety of games. If you play too much of one genre you will become bored with the lack of differences.
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Old 04-26-04, 12:15 AM
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Originally posted by Draven
Um, yes there is, for the PC. It's called "Serious Sam: The Second Encounter."

I'm looking at the CD right now.
It's techincally not Serious Sam 2 though. I think Croteam is developing the real Serious Sam 2 at the moment.
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