Your video game hot take(s) thread

Hawki

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The level The Library in Halo CE gets a lot of flak for being "the worst level in Halo" - as in, all of Halo. All of the games.

I kinda love it, though?

Don't get me wrong, its not perfect. The level is dark. The environment is bland. It can sometimes be a little confusing to navigate. The floors are repeated again, and again. The same doors. The same scenery. The same tunnels. It also exclusively features the Flood as enemies, which aren't everybody's favourite CE enemy faction.

But it is a relentless assault on the player. In other levels in the game, there is breathing room. Places for the you to stop and reload. Places to take cover, and let your shields regenerate. The Flood doesn't let that happen, and they are appearing from every direction. In front of you. Behind you. From the pipes to your left, and to your right. The one you just killed is back alive again. You are constantly shooting, moving, finding the next target, scavenging ammo, trying to buy yourself enough time to regenerate your shields, and load as many shells into your shotgun as you can, before the Flood come for you again. It is really stressful, particularly on the harder difficulties.

Sure, it may not be the most imaginative level, but its gameplay is matched only by the (equally hated) Cortana level from Halo 3, and I adore them both.

So yeah, The Library is pretty cool.
I also really like the Library level. I really don't get why so many people don't.

Similarly, I don't get why so many people don't like the Flood. I mean, if the game was just against the Flood, sure, but in a game with effectively three classes of enemies, requiring different tactics for each, they're fun to fight.
 

Dirty Hipsters

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I also really like the Library level. I really don't get why so many people don't.

Similarly, I don't get why so many people don't like the Flood. I mean, if the game was just against the Flood, sure, but in a game with effectively three classes of enemies, requiring different tactics for each, they're fun to fight.
They really aren't.

The covenent are fun to fight because they have really good AI and actually use tactics and cover and positioning to beat you. The flood are a chore to fight because all they do is rush you in swarms. The flood only levels are the worst parts of every halo game that has them.

On the other hand, the levels where you're fighting the flood and the covenent at the same time, and they're also fighting each other are the best levels.
 

Crystal Violet

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And I don't think you have to be afraid TLoU will end up "dumbing down" the medium, because there's tons of games that don't bother following its formula. Many of those games finding huge success and critical acclaim. Undertale and Hades off the top of my head. Not that I'm claiming either games are better or worse than TLoU, but they're games that are not like TLoU at all and still broke through into popularity. Heck, Undertale blows TLoU out of the water in terms of popularity. And if TLoU2 showed us anything it's that this formula is very much of its time (the Bioshock: Infinte, Hotline Miami, and Spec Ops: The Line "deep violence" kind of game), and the sequel feels outdated as a result.

TLoU being deemed a masterpiece, even by critics, didn't make every game that tried to be TLoU automatically loved, or any game that did things differently automatically dismissed.
I think we are getting lost among the weeds here and losing sight of the original contention. I agree with all of what you said about subjectivity. I agree that the storytelling in all these games you mentioned (except TLoU) is great. My claim is not that critics giving praise will make a game automatically loved or a game that didn't try to be it would be dismissed, but that I believe all the awards and critical acclaim for a story tell us collectively and the AAA game industry that these are the storytelling heights to aspire to and that these are really low heights. But I feel like this argument will never end for two reasons: we are arguing for something very subjective (taste) or at very least difficult to prove (impact on the game industry) and you keep misrepresenting my arguments (taste as measure for intelligence).
 

Specter Von Baren

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I also really like the Library level. I really don't get why so many people don't.

Similarly, I don't get why so many people don't like the Flood. I mean, if the game was just against the Flood, sure, but in a game with effectively three classes of enemies, requiring different tactics for each, they're fun to fight.
I hate the Library level which is why it's a good level, it's as frustrating as it should be. But 343 Guilty Spark is my favorite level because before that the game was basically a military shooter except against aliens, but that level turns it into a straight up horror game.
 

Casual Shinji

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I think we are getting lost among the weeds here and losing sight of the original contention. I agree with all of what you said about subjectivity. I agree that the storytelling in all these games you mentioned (except TLoU) is great. My claim is not that critics giving praise will make a game automatically loved or a game that didn't try to be it would be dismissed, but that I believe all the awards and critical acclaim for a story tell us collectively and the AAA game industry that these are the storytelling heights to aspire to and that these are really low heights. But I feel like this argument will never end for two reasons: we are arguing for something very subjective (taste) or at very least difficult to prove (impact on the game industry) and you keep misrepresenting my arguments (taste as measure for intelligence).
My claim is that there's no singular height or low for AAA storytelling (or storytelling in general). If TLoU or any other game story was hated by 90% of the gaming community THEN it could be considered a low. If that game is praised and loved by millions I don't see how that would lower standards (baring ofcourse actual problematic content, like explicit racism, sexism, or homophobia). If I am misrepresenting your arguments, it's because to me they read as saying that the people who absolutely adore TLoU and call it a masterpiece are to blame for lowering the standards of games. That this perfectly normal, subjective opinion on a game is objectively hurting gaming. Which to me comes across as you calling into question their taste and opinions, and that they're bad for gaming because you don't share them. If this isn't how you meant it, then I wouldn't mind you explaining it to me.

I'm of the opinion that Resident Evil took a bad turn going first-person, others are of the opinion that it took a bad turn with Resident Evil 4 and that Resident Evil 7 got the franchise back to its roots, and even others claim Resident Evil wasn't good at all untill Resident Evil 4. And then there's some who's opinion it is that the entire franchise ain't worth spit. Who is wrong and who is right? No one. RE4 was even deemed a masterpiece at the time, and got acolades after acolades. I'm still of the opinion that it's a masterpiece, others will say it's horribly outdated now.

For another example, I'm of the opinion that the camera and lock-on in every Fromsoft game is objectively horrible, but the millions of fans don't mind or and love it. So in that regard the game succeeded. It succeeded in greatly satisfying a huge number of people through mechanics that I personally hate. So if that's my opinion on these games, does that mean I have grounds to say it's lowering the standards of gaming, when the standards of the target audience are very obviously met or exceeded?

The only thing that constitutes the height of quality storytelling in games is the amount of people who like said story. And if someone falls outside of that particular large group of people then that sucks for them, but then they themselves are undoubtedly part of a different, equally, or even larger group of people that passionately love another game story that someone from the former group doesn't fall into. And neither have claims for calling out the other for lowering the standards of storytelling in games because they like their story more.

Ofcourse there's always room for improvement, which is why more negative opinions should also be factored in (and in TLoU 's case it was), but when a game or game's story is deemed a masterpiece by a lot of people, that's not them saying there's nothing left to improve and that every developer should just copy what it did.

But hey, I'm actually enjoying arguing about stuff like this. :)
 

hanselthecaretaker

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My claim is that there's no singular height or low for AAA storytelling (or storytelling in general). If TLoU or any other game story was hated by 90% of the gaming community THEN it could be considered a low. If that game is praised and loved by millions I don't see how that would lower standards (baring ofcourse actual problematic content, like explicit racism, sexism, or homophobia). If I am misrepresenting your arguments, it's because to me they read as saying that the people who absolutely adore TLoU and call it a masterpiece are to blame for lowering the standards of games. That this perfectly normal, subjective opinion on a game is objectively hurting gaming. Which to me comes across as you calling into question their taste and opinions, and that they're bad for gaming because you don't share them. If this isn't how you meant it, then I wouldn't mind you explaining it to me.

I'm of the opinion that Resident Evil took a bad turn going first-person, others are of the opinion that it took a bad turn with Resident Evil 4 and that Resident Evil 7 got the franchise back to its roots, and even others claim Resident Evil wasn't good at all untill Resident Evil 4. And then there's some who's opinion it is that the entire franchise ain't worth spit. Who is wrong and who is right? No one. RE4 was even deemed a masterpiece at the time, and got acolades after acolades. I'm still of the opinion that it's a masterpiece, others will say it's horribly outdated now.

For another example, I'm of the opinion that the camera and lock-on in every Fromsoft game is objectively horrible, but the millions of fans don't mind or and love it. So in that regard the game succeeded. It succeeded in greatly satisfying a huge number of people through mechanics that I personally hate. So if that's my opinion on these games, does that mean I have grounds to say it's lowering the standards of gaming, when the standards of the target audience are very obviously met or exceeded?

The only thing that constitutes the height of quality storytelling in games is the amount of people who like said story. And if someone falls outside of that particular large group of people then that sucks for them, but then they themselves are undoubtedly part of a different, equally, or even larger group of people that passionately love another game story that someone from the former group doesn't fall into. And neither have claims for calling out the other for lowering the standards of storytelling in games because they like their story more.

Ofcourse there's always room for improvement, which is why more negative opinions should also be factored in (and in TLoU 's case it was), but when a game or game's story is deemed a masterpiece by a lot of people, that's not them saying there's nothing left to improve and that every developer should just copy what it did.

But hey, I'm actually enjoying arguing about stuff like this. :)

There are exceptions though, like most things. A lot of pop music that actually hit No. 1 was loved and praised by millions (The actual No. 1 on that list being somewhat ironically relevant to TLoU), but that doesn’t mean it should be considered a musical benchmark, other than popularity. I’m not sure what would be the nearest gaming equivalent, but it would seem AAA stuff would take precedence.

The point is ultimately that the freshest example of some piece of work too often gains adulation not from legitimate artistry, but from lacking frame of reference. It’s like the downside of a dopamine hit, where that “new sound” is the equivalent of a sugar rush. What gets frustrating is when people, especially and naturally younger crowds, latch onto whatever is hyped and consider it to be the gold standard because their lack of experience means fewer reference points, if any. I suppose in games that could be the CoD’s, Fortnights, Pokémon, nearly anything mobile, etc. which are typically the biggest draw for causal gamers, or anyone unwilling to even see what else is out there.
 

Casual Shinji

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There are exceptions though, like most things. A lot of pop music that actually hit No. 1 was loved and praised by millions (The actual No. 1 on that list being somewhat ironically relevant to TLoU), but that doesn’t mean it should be considered a musical benchmark, other than popularity. I’m not sure what would be the nearest gaming equivalent, but it would seem AAA stuff would take precedence.

The point is ultimately that the freshest example of some piece of work too often gains adulation not from legitimate artistry, but from lacking frame of reference. It’s like the downside of a dopamine hit, where that “new sound” is the equivalent of a sugar rush. What gets frustrating is when people, especially and naturally younger crowds, latch onto whatever is hyped and consider it to be the gold standard because their lack of experience means fewer reference points, if any. I suppose in games that could be the CoD’s, Fortnights, Pokémon, nearly anything mobile, etc. which are typically the biggest draw for causal gamers, or anyone unwilling to even see what else is out there.
I think that depends on the legs of a property's popularity. You can make an argument against something like James Cameron's Avatar, which got super popular, but then fell off quite quickly. Same for The Artist, a movie most probably don't even remember, but which was the new artistic hotness back in 2011.

I'm sure most people saw Pokemon as just some fad back in the day, but that shit is still going strong. I can't say that has much artistic value other than providing fun, but it's still something millions of people hold dear, and have done so for years.
 
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Hawki

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Legend of Spyro: A New Beginning>Spyro 1.

That could change, but having played the former, and now replaying the latter...yikes, this game hasn't aged well.
 

Gordon_4

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I think that depends on the legs of a property's popularity. You can make an argument against something like James Cameron's Avatar, which got super popular, but then fell off quite quickly. Same for The Artist, a movie most probably don't even remember, but which was the new artistic hotness back in 2011.

I'm sure most people saw Pokemon as just some fad back in the day, but that shit is still going strong. I can't say that has much artistic value other than providing fun, but it's still something millions of people hold dear, and have done so for years.
The funny thing about Avatar, which I think is a fine sci-if action movie that looks beautiful and has a nice easy going pace and some kickass music, is that for all people shit on its success it is rather telling that considering it was the vanity project of a cranky old hippy, it took the curated capstone project the Marvel Infinity Saga to create a bigger hit.
 

hanselthecaretaker

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RDR2 must simultaneously have the dumbest and smartest AI







I also never really understood just how law enforcement works, but better late than never. There are certainly limits to the illusion though, like cops that’ll continuously enter a building where they’re clearly being massacred, or horses casually trotting off cliffs.
 

Bob_McMillan

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I don't think I've played a game yet where decisions and branching paths actually paid off (at least in AAA, I'm not an indie game kinda guy). Either the decisions end up not really mattering (Mass Effect) or they matter too much and you begin to feel like you're missing out by not choosing certain options (The Witcher).

I don't know, I just don't think its worth the effort at all. And these days, where the silent protagonist is rarer than ever, the effort needed is ridiculous. Just give me well crafted story and good characters, I make plenty enough bad decisions in real life.
 

laggyteabag

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I don't think I've played a game yet where decisions and branching paths actually paid off (at least in AAA, I'm not an indie game kinda guy). Either the decisions end up not really mattering (Mass Effect) or they matter too much and you begin to feel like you're missing out by not choosing certain options (The Witcher).

I don't know, I just don't think its worth the effort at all. And these days, where the silent protagonist is rarer than ever, the effort needed is ridiculous. Just give me well crafted story and good characters, I make plenty enough bad decisions in real life.
I really like games with player choices, but I find that they only really hold up for a single playthough.

When you go back through to make different choices, or you research the different paths the games can take, the illusion is broken, and you realise that - more often than not - your choices don't really matter. The story usually takes the same route, regardless of the decisions that you have made.

TellTale games are particularly bad with this. As soon as a character's fate becomes determined by the player's choices, they become absolutely useless in terms of plot development, and usually die later, anyway. The second season of their TWD series also has 5 possible endings, but in season 3, your character ends up in exactly the same spot, regardless of how season 2 ended. Each plotline presented by the S2 finale is neatly wrapped up in a flashback. Its pretty disappointing.

I do love TellTale games, but after the illusion is broken, the choices are much less interesting.
 

Bob_McMillan

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I do love TellTale games, but after the illusion is broken, the choices are much less interesting.
That's exactly my problem. More often than not, it is just an illusion. A fun and impactful illusion, sure, but one I think too much work is done on. To the point other aspects of the game start to suffer.

But I think Telltale games are a special case. I think a decision making based game could totally work, I just don't want to see that gameplay crammed into games already chock full of other things.
 
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Xprimentyl

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I really like games with player choices, but I find that they only really hold up for a single playthough.

When you go back through to make different choices, or you research the different paths the games can take, the illusion is broken, and you realise that - more often than not - your choices don't really matter. The story usually takes the same route, regardless of the decisions that you have made.
I guess that might be the appeal of Dark Souls' implementation of player choice; you often have NO idea you've made a substantive "choice," and can gate off significant portions of the game. So choices are actually a bit more... realistic?

Point in case: Pyromancy in DS1. The first Pyromancer [most] people encounter is an amicable chap who offers you the pyromancers flame for nothing. Fast-forward a bit, and you might find a pyromancy he'd never seen before from a specific place; talk to him again and he'll ask essentially "Oh, where'd you find that?" Since he's the nicest guy you've met in world of horrors rife with cackling psychos, most people will tell him. Doing so sends him on a quest to search the area you mention, and he goes hollow, becomes aggressive and you're forced to kill him and lose access to everything he sells, but you're never told outright that your casual, affirmative response perhaps HOURS earlier put this chain of events into motion.

And the most powerful pyromancer in the game is gated behind seemingly unrelated criteria, and even then, you're never told that your particular choices have "unlocked" her. Hell, it's not even suggested that she exists or that certain actions/choices might reveal her. Once the criteria are met, she just pops up in a remote spot of the least desirable area of the entire game meaning most people won't return there after completing it without a very specific reason so will never know she exists with researching online.

I've always hated that about DS "quest lines;" even when you know they're there, you don't know what actions at which points will potentially end or continue them, i.e.: talking to person X before beating boss Y, or vice versa, has substantive consequences... maybe... perhaps... I think... I dunno.
 

laggyteabag

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That's exactly my problem. More often than not, it is just an illusion. A fun and impactful illusion, sure, but one I think too much work is done on. To the point other aspects of the game start to suffer.

But I think Telltale games are a special case. I think a decision making based game could totally work, I just don't want to see that gameplay crammed into games already chock full of other things.
Its a difficult trade-off, but one that we will never really know the true impact of.

It is possible that if Mass Effect, for example, was a linear game, it could have had an overall better story/gameplay/etc

However it is also possible that without the decision-making, and without the interactivity, Mass Effect could have been dead on arrival. I mean, Mass Effect is a game remembered for its choices - ultimately shallow or not - and the characters are remembered because of how we can choose to interact with them. If that interactivity was gone, it would likely be remembered for completely different reasons.

I think there is definitely a positive value to games offering player choice, even if it does ultimately detract from other aspects, or it is ultimately an illusion.

Like all things though, they could be done better.
 

Dalisclock

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I don't think I've played a game yet where decisions and branching paths actually paid off (at least in AAA, I'm not an indie game kinda guy). Either the decisions end up not really mattering (Mass Effect) or they matter too much and you begin to feel like you're missing out by not choosing certain options (The Witcher).

I don't know, I just don't think its worth the effort at all. And these days, where the silent protagonist is rarer than ever, the effort needed is ridiculous. Just give me well crafted story and good characters, I make plenty enough bad decisions in real life.
I can think of a couple of older games where branching paths actually had some meaning. Contra Hard Corps had various branching points throughout the game which lead to different stages and different endings. Same with Shogo: Mobile Armor Division.

Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War had a very limited version of this but it's based on your answer to a really dumb and meaningless question both times and the branches are only a few missions long and don't end up affecting the storyline at all. One of them involves one of the most annoying missions in the entire game(The Four Horsemen, which is really a rather rote mission with a really obnoxious gimmick to start with) so you could get stuck having to deal with that if you didn't know about the branching path ahead of time.

WIng Commander games had branching paths depending on if you won or lost battles, so hypothetically you could flip back and forth between the winning and losing paths throughout the campaign, ultimately getting locked into one or the other near the end.

Oh, And WItcher 2 had you make a choice who to ally with at the end of Chapter 1 and as a result, Chapter 2 and 3 were a bit different. More importantly, notable plot points will only occur in one branch or the other so you have to play both branches to get the full plot of the game. On the bright side, the game isn't nearly as long as Witcher 3 is so it's not that obtrusive to play the other path, especially since there's not a ton of overlap.
 
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Hawki

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I'll add one - most, if not all games, should have a codex in them. Something that details setting, lore, characters, backstory, etc.

Doesn't always have to be in-depth, and it shouldn't be required reading, but it should be there.

Thems fighting words ya duck faced beaver!
Fighting words that, having reached the penultimate world, I still stand by.

People have said (and I agree with them) that the gameplay of A New Beginning is monotonous. Except the gameplay of Spyro 1 is also monotonous. The only difference between the two is that ANB has a story that's at least decent, whereas the story of Spyro 1 is absolutely pathetic.