Juilen Niltsen, the Ruel brothers, Patrick Chapin, "BP aka the guru" Flores, Terry Soh's legendary jedi mindtrick, the $16,000 Lightning Helix, the always obnoxious Rafael Levy and the ever zen of Wafotapa- these are the faces and stories of the game now, and the story is much more complex than the "good vs. evil" days of yore, or "the case of GP *blank* vs. Mike Long" that we heard about in the past. Lets not forget how the Japanese redefined the game 4 or 5 years ago, in the same way Tiger Woods did to the golfing world not so many years ago.
Anyway, it's a great game. And I love it.
In response to "Sign of the Crab" from The Escapist Forum: Many games try to make a compromise between player freedom and authored content. This seems to be doomed to fail. I would rather see a tightly scripted story, with well-thought-out dramatic content, themes and intellectual challenge. On the other hand, I would also welcome a game with absolutely no plot and a free-roaming environment with interesting game mechanics.
Developers try to meet too many expectations. There are expectations concerning game length, visual style, mechanics and story. I think that all the fan-service is actually a disservice in the long term. The movie industry has many of the same problems. It is misguided to try to tailor a work of art into a certain size, shape and price group.
Finnish, I think it's possible to have a narrative that's meaningful to the player without constricting what he can do. In order to do it though game designers are going to have to find a way to incorporate a "yes, and" mentality into their games.
I agree that newer games often seem to lack coherence. I think what really excited people about Portal and Braid, two games being frequently cited as "perfect" was that they knew exactly what they were, they did what they showed up to do, and then they were over (consequently I've replayed both games multiple times). The only other games I can think of that have that kind of sense of identity are all classic arcade titles like Tetris and Pac-Man. The modern video game is typically a mish-mash of game mechanics and technologies, some of which have no bearing on each other at all. Some time during the 90s "gameplay variety" became a big deal. Ocarina of Time was "better" than Super Mario 64 to some because in addition to platforming it also had swordplay, archery, fishing, and horse-racing*. The extension of this sentiment is that for a game to better it needs to have more mini-games and the net result is mini game collections. Games that are a thousand miles wide and about two inches deep.
* I'm a huge fan of both games, but I take issue with comparisons that say a game is better because it has more different tasks without accounting for how these tasks relate to each other.