Everyday Gamer

Everyday Gamer
Playing for the Story

Logan Westbrook | 18 May 2010 12:28
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The combat just felt boring. There was no need to turn it down to easy, because the difficulty wasn't the problem; I just didn't really enjoy it. I could see that it was well done, and was a significant improvement on many aspects of the combat from the first Mass Effect, but I didn't want to do it. What I wanted was to be able to avoid it altogether and just get on with the parts of the game that I enjoyed.

I started to realize that my priorities were changing, and that how I played and enjoyed videogames were changing along with them. Videogames have always been one of the central parts of my life, but I've never been the kind of guy who played for the challenge.

To me, videogames have always been a narrative medium, where the actual play was secondary to the story being told. I'd always been more interested in seeing where the story went, rather than getting headshots from the other side of the map or achieving a two-hundred hit combo. I'd never really played on easy before, but I didn't really go out of my way to play on hard either.

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Even as a kid, seeing the ending was more important to me than getting the high score and games that were all about skill barely interested me at all. As I have grown older, my desire for my skills to be constantly tested has all but disappeared and the emphasis that I place on story has massively increased. I'm not saying that I want to skip the gameplay entirely, but it takes less and less these days to frustrate me.

With Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, the gameplay was actually intruding on my fun. I wanted to be talking at the Landsmeet or finding out what made Miranda tick, not pausing every few seconds to reissue orders to Alistair and Morrigan, or crouching behind low walls, taking pot shots at combat droids.

Having realized this about myself, though, is actually quite liberating. I pre-emptively turned down the difficulty on Heavy Rain, for example, because I was more interested in finding out who the Origami Killer was and rescuing Ethan's son than I was in tying my hands in knots during the quick time events. (Although thanks to the wording at the beginning of the game, I mistakenly set the game on hard anyway. Note to David Cage: Being familiar with the PS3 controller is not the same thing as wanting to push ninety gajillion buttons to climb a muddy embankment.) Knowing exactly what I wanted from a game, and being able to take steps to make the experience that much more appealing was pretty exciting.

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