Yahtzee vs. the JRPG

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JEBWrench:
I'm confused. If a game is boring, why should someone keep playing it?

(For the record: No, I haven't played FF XIII. It doesn't interest me. So I won't play it. Simple enough.)

As far as Yahtzee? People still think he's a reviewer and not a critic? (There's a difference.)

He's neither a reviewer or a critc. He is a comedian that has a hobby of playing games in a half-assed fashion, then posting about said experience as well his recent entrepreneurial endeavors *cough*shameless-advertising*cough*.

You can't accurately review or criticize something that you don't fully experience. It's like if someone went into a movie theater, blindfolded themselves for half of the film, and then attempted to write an accurate account of that portions visuals.

Not only that, but he doesn't even finish games and at times doesn't even play more than 10% of it (See Demon's Souls, FFXIII, etc.) yet reviews them. Har har, he reviewed 5 hours of a 50 hour game, har har. That's like reviewing 12 minutes of a two hour movie, or 80 pages of an 800 page novel.

I compare Yahtzee to a movie critic suffering from ADHD, that hates every genre but one, and has the odd habit of reviewing things that no one cares about.

F8L Fool:
Claiming that you've actually experienced a game, despite playing less than 10% of the content, is an absolute joke. I get that the entire purpose of Yahtzee's reviews is to be entertaining, rather than informative, but come on.

If a game has ten + levels and you play only one, you're doing something wrong as a reviewer. Same can be said of games that have multiplayer.

No one should ever base a purchase/rental decision off of one of Yahtzee's reviews. Because as a comedian he's spot on, but as a reviewer...well...he's less than adequate. Go play a game for yourself and don't let reviewers choose for you. Then, after you have your own opinion, come back and watch his reviews. It will be much more enjoyable because you'll understand where he's coming from on certain things, and also be able to flat out say "You're full of it" for other things, which is equally enjoyable.

Zero Punctuation=Comedy skits, not reviews.

I played the game, and the only reason I was able to stomach the first 20 hours of utter boredom (after which, it actually becomes a decent game) is because of the respect I have from its predecessors. I sware if this game's title did not had Final Fantasy at the begining I would have thrown it away at the first hour. After fully playing it, all I can say is that the game = shit compared with the previous installments(obviously with the exception of #10 & #12 which were dripping piles of crud as well). The story IS there but is fed to me through endless cinematics and that fucking data log, the characters HAVE the possibility to grow on you but in order to do so id recommend you do a little research on your own (that is if you actually care, unlike me), the new battle system altho curious left me feeling that the characters didnt even wanted me to be with them, the AI on my party members did such good job, so why bother NOT selecting auto attack in every turn (turning the battles into odd cinemas), then, in order to put the cherry on top the "Paradigm shift" basically, made the RPG battle look like an RTS battle where all I do is call the roles; Lightning, attack!, Vanelle, heal!, Snow, tank!, Hope, go get the chips!. And I wont even get started with the stupid leveling system that these guys came up with.

Videogames are supposed to be good, entertaining (or immersive)and the such. As a reviewer, Yatzhee points out every little detail of why I shouldn't buy a game, and it is something very valid in your desition of whether to buy it or not. I dont need anybody telling me that they give it scored 9/10 because it has unique battle mechanics (stating that unique =/= good) and stunning graphics and cinematics, because they are supposed to have all that. What you should care about, is what the game lacks and see if you actually mind the game not having that or sucking in a certain area.

Tetranitrophenol:

Videogames are supposed to be good, entertaining (or immersive)and the such. As a reviewer, Yatzhee points out every little detail of why I shouldn't buy a game

Sorry but this is exactly the difference between an informative review (that weighs the good and the bad) and an hate/ego-filled rant for the lulz.

I always like the Phantasy Star 2 battle system. Instead of zooming in to fight on some weird astral representation of the environment you were in, it zooms in and you fight on a blue sheet of cosmic graph paper.

Abriael:

Tetranitrophenol:

Videogames are supposed to be good, entertaining (or immersive)and the such. As a reviewer, Yatzhee points out every little detail of why I shouldn't buy a game

Sorry but this is exactly the difference between an informative review (that weighs the good and the bad) and an hate/ego-filled rant for the lulz.

It IS a hatred filled rant for the lulz review thing, yet it conveys the information; why, how, and how much the game sucks, in some cases less than others; For instance, Gears of War, Bioshock (which he classified as one of the best games of the year), Dragon age and some others have received Yatzhee's "approval" yet they DO NOT receive absolute praises from him, quite the contrary. ZP points out what why a game sucks and what are its flaws rather than why is good and why you simply "must" have it. While not a deciding factor on whether or not you should buy it, it is a pretty handy point of view when you consider making a purchase. + its funny as hell!

Dont know what else to tell you, well, I bought RE5 even after watching ZP and I really enjoyed the game since I knew that the negative points about the game werent going to bother me at all, ok, it was true that Sheva was a little bit annoying and the inventory system was crafted with the same attention and care as FF13's first 20 hours of story(HA!) but, for me, it was entertaining non the less. A similar thing happened with Assasins Creed.

Tetranitrophenol:
As a reviewer, Yatzhee points out every little detail of why I shouldn't buy a game, and it is something very valid in your desition of whether to buy it or not.

No, he does not point out "every little detail". How could he possibly do that if he doesn't even play all aspects of the games (namely MP)? I'm sorry but he is not omniscient. He can't put in a game, play for five minutes, and automatically know all the faults of the game. As I have said many times, you should play the games, THEN look at his reviews. Reason being that he blows things out of proportion, or doesn't even touch on most of a games content.

It's pretty amazing that people are actually discouraged to get a game based on this kind of "review", if you can even call it that. No one that has such prejudice towards certain game mechanics can be taken seriously as a reviewer, let alone someone that doesn't even finish games.

If you think that Yahtzee seriously touched on all the negative aspects of FFXIII, from just playing it for five hours, you're delusional Tetran.

Tetranitrophenol:

It IS a hatred filled rant for the lulz review thing, yet it conveys the information; why, how, and how much the game sucks, in some cases less than others; For instance, Gears of War, Bioshock (which he classified as one of the best games of the year), Dragon age and some others have received Yatzhee's "approval" yet they DO NOT receive absolute praises from him, quite the contrary. ZP points out what why a game sucks and what are its flaws rather than why is good and why you simply "must" have it. While not a deciding factor on whether or not you should buy it, it is a pretty handy point of view when you consider making a purchase. + its funny as hell!

Sorry, but there's nothing informative about some hateful dribble that happen to only display some random guy's tastes (and exaggerated, on top of that). You may be able to read through them,and that's more power to you, but a review that makes you struggle through the hate in order to try and relate to it simply isn't information. It's a rant. There are tons of random guys with a blog that rant on the internet.

Abriael:

Shamanic Rhythm:

Show me a review that doesn't try to do this.

The fact that there are more reviewers that think they are the messiah of the masses than those that actually strive to inform doesn't make the first way right, or professional. I'd bring you mine, but that'd be boastful, and I refrain from that kind of behavior.
The more actual "information" you see in a review, the more that review is good, because, you know, it's actually useful to the reader, not to inflate the reviewer's ego. Gaming reviews are there to help customers become informed, what other purpose should they have?
To make an example, the IGN UK's review of Final Fantasy XIII is pretty good http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/107/1075772p2.html The reviewer gives quite a lot of detailed information, before moving to his personal gripes, making sure to distinguish between fact and opinion. He's no drooling fanboy nor drooling hater. Yathzee, in comparison, is not a reviewer. he's a drooling hater.

The big problem is that reviewing videogames has become mainstream. People have taken it from journalism to a way to become "the little star", and Ego has started to play an exaggerated role in the industry.

You said:

Aiming to "shape" the reader's opinions and expectations acording to one's own is the pinnacle of arrogance

Take a look at all the opinions he puts forward in there, and tell me that they are not designed to influence the reader.

Shamanic Rhythm:

Take a look at all the opinions he puts forward in there, and tell me that they are not designed to influence the reader.

The difference is that he provides a lot of information before he giving his opinion. The information allows the reader to make his own opinion.
It's impossible not to provide ANY kind of opinion, but as long as opinion is lining for information, then it's not a blatant effort to shape a reader's opinion.

There's a world of difference with Yatzhees, that provides ONLY opinion (and biased opinion to boot), and really no factual information at all. This, of course, not to mention when he actually provides false of misleading information or blatant omissions in order to avoid spoiling "the lulz", and it happens quite often.

The synopsis of the book does sound interesting, and to compare it to Douglas Adams has me drooling slightly.
As does the fact that it's 350 pages and has zombies in it.

Do want.

Abriael:

This is a matter of taste. The more control you get, the less deep the story will be. The less detailed the characters' background will be, the less complex that intraction will be.

This is a common misconception, actually. Player controlled games are capable of equally deep stories, the only difference is that the depth of the story is dependent on the player. You actually have to uncover the depth yourself rather than just have it handed to you in a cut-scene.

Abriael:
Oh really? You might have misread I'm afraid. I wrote I liked every previous Final Fantasy exclusing V, that was quite dull, and XII, the story and character development of which were extremely bland and for sure not even near the usual Final Fantasy level.
I'd add that I enjoyed IX less than the others too, but that's more a personal preference, given that I really, really resented the graphical style and character design.

Ah, sorry then. To be honest I only half-remembered some quote about that in the last ten pages.

Abriael:
About Yatzhee, that's not a bias. It's experience. He spewed big drooling balls of hate at some of the best games released in the last couple years, so it's pretty much a given that he doesn't know crap about what he's talking about. Plain and simple.

Fair enough, though in my experience when people start getting excessively descriptive about the "hate" from the other person, they've taken it a little too personally.

Granted, Yahtzee is pretty descriptive in his reviews, but he's a comedian that built his reputation on shock. What's your excuse?

Abriael:
That's your idea. Many others, me included, feel that the main point of videogames is Interaction AND storytelling (excluding of course those kind of games that don't have room for a story, even if there have been some pretty nice experiments in trying to mix in stories with them).

Again, you are talking like those two things have to be separate, which they don't. It's perfectly possible to tell a story almost primarily through gameplay.

Abriael:
There's a difference between criticizing the game for it out of a personal standpoint and taste, and arbitrarily deciding that a game that relies on cinematic storytelling is the worse option.

This is where you don't understand me. I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's not good game design. Good game design would find a way to make it interactive. Just because I say it's not good game design doesn't mean I think it's the "worse option". If I thought that then I would think movies/books/etc are all bad because they never use good game design.

In other words, you like games that are more movies than games, and I'm okay with that. I (and Yahtzee) say that that when I play games, I prefer them to be, you know, interactive, because I'm playing a game. When I complain about FF having too many cinematics, I'm not complaining that it's "worse" because of them (indeed, I quite like them, just not when I'm in the mood for playing a game), I'm just saying the game is not using interaction as much as it could be (which it's not).

Abriael:
Luckily game developers don't put in games only what is "needed". Otherwise we'd all play pong and pacman.

You're missing my point. I'm not talking about cutting out the story. I'm just saying that it could be better integrated into the gameplay.

Abriael:
Oh really? Assassin's Creed 2? Uncharted 2? The Red Alert series? even starcraft 2 will be very heavy on cutscenes. Those aren't JRPGs and definitely no niche titles, but are quite cutscene-heavy, and mind you, the first two are between the most critically acclaimed games of the last year (uncharted 2 is THE most critically acclaimed game last year actually), and Stacraft 2 is one of the most awaited games this year.
Add to those Yakuza 4, that's probably one of the best action RPGs ever released

Hm, maybe I'd give you AC2 and U2, but Blizzard has never been big on long cut-scenes, and the Red Alert games I played weren't either.

And while Uncharted did have quite a few cut-scenes, it also had quite a few "cinematic" gameplay sequences, so the jump between the two was not so jarring. I'd still probably level many of the complaints I have about FF at it, though.

Well, I'm off to work now, so I'll have to get to the rest of your comments later. Looking forward to your responses =)

Abriael:

Shamanic Rhythm:

Take a look at all the opinions he puts forward in there, and tell me that they are not designed to influence the reader.

The difference is that he provides a lot of information before he giving his opinion. The information allows the reader to make his own opinion.
It's impossible not to provide ANY kind of opinion, but as long as opinion is lining for information, then it's not a blatant effort to shape a reader's opinion.

There's a world of difference with Yatzhees, that provides ONLY opinion (and biased opinion to boot), and really no factual information at all. This, of course, not to mention when he actually provides false of misleading information or blatant omissions in order to avoid spoiling "the lulz", and it happens quite often.

So what you really mean is that a good review should give information about the game's features. Here is where we disagree; most developers are quite keen to tout for themselves just what features the game has to offer, so when I sit through a review that just copy pastes that list I feel like I'm wasting my time. What I want personally from a review is to know what it feels like to be played, and that means a big, fat, scary opinion.

Yes, Yahztee's opinion is incredibly biased, but as I was taught in eighth grade history: everyone is biased in some way. A truly impartial game review would say simply that you should play it for yourself and see. But the reason I take his advice seriously is that having watched all of his videos and seeing what he does and doesn't complain about, I get the feeling we have fairly similar tastes, so chances are if he rips on something, I won't enjoy it. So personally I don't care that he only provides opinions, because that really is what gives me an impression of whether or not I will enjoy a game. I don't take everything he says for granted - but I can think of so many moments when I'm playing a game I bought regardless of the review and I think "well, Yahtzee was dead right about this".

I seriously don't get why you have so much invested in trying to flame Yahtzee: it's not like his review will even affect the metacritic score of FFXIII, so I suspect you're just trolling. In which case I'll leave you to it, but I'll just conclude by saying keep up the good work Yahtzee, there are people out there who really appreciate you :D

boholikeu:
This is a common misconception, actually. Player controlled games are capable of equally deep stories, the only difference is that the depth of the story is dependent on the player. You actually have to uncover the depth yourself rather than just have it handed to you in a cut-scene.

Not really, because of a simple matter of resources, and game development is a big time matter of resources. If a game developer needs to develop only a single A to B storyline, he can concentrate all his creative resources on that.
If a developer needs to develop a complex, branching storyline, resources have to be split between all of the branches, thus the single story Beginning to ending will be less detailed, simply because less resources have been spent on it.
The first method gives better results to what I'd argue is the majority of gamers, that normally play games once, from beginning to end. The second method gives better results to all those that prefer to play a game multiple times, because it gives different results each time (provided that the player is willing to change his choice, for instance, while I enjoyrd Mass Effect 2 throughly, I didn't change my choices on second playthrough, because I don't enjoy playing chaotic stup.... ahem, Renegade).

To each their own, and both kind of games have their place to different kind of gamers. It's a tradeoff.

Fair enough, though in my experience when people start getting excessively descriptive about the "hate" from the other person, they've taken it a little too personally.

Granted, Yahtzee is pretty descriptive in his reviews, but he's a comedian that built his reputation on shock. What's your excuse?

oh but I don't "hate" yathzee. I just gave up on his ability and/or will to pull out a professonal review from his hat.

If i had to be hatin all the bad gaming journalists out there, my life would be a trainwreck of negativity.

Again, you are talking like those two things have to be separate, which they don't. It's perfectly possible to tell a story almost primarily through gameplay.

Possible yes. With the same results? No. It's a tradeoff. With some games is good, with some others is less good. Some gamers prefer one, some others prefer the other.

This is where you don't understand me. I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's not good game design.

DUH. I'm sorry, but you should reread what you just wrote, mate.

"I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's not good game design".

Does not compute.

Good game design would find a way to make it interactive. Just because I say it's not good game design doesn't mean I think it's the "worse option". If I thought that then I would think movies/books/etc are all bad because they never use good game design.

It's not "good" game design. It's just one game design philosophy. It's like saying that stoicism was objectively better than epicureanism.

You may like being stoic, and that's your personal opinion, but it doesn't make Epicurean people bad.

In other words, you like games that are more movies than games

Strawman. Most of the time, even in cutscene-heavy games is spent with interactive gameplay. If you take Final Fantasy XIII for instance, less than 10% of the whole time is spent with cutscenes (much less for me, since I explored the whole open area, did all the mession, got all the ultimate weapons and such, and in about 140 hours I probably spent about 3-4 hours with cutscenes). Do your math :D
So much for "games that are more movies than games".

And there are VERY few examples of games that have much more than 10% of the time spent during cutscenes. It's obvious that most games out there, no matter how cutscene-heavy they are, are much more games than movies.

Hm, maybe I'd give you AC2 and U2, but Blizzard has never been big on long cut-scenes, and the Red Alert games I played weren't either.
And while Uncharted did have quite a few cut-scenes, it also had quite a few "cinematic" gameplay sequences, so the jump between the two was not so jarring. I'd still probably level many of the complaints I have about FF at it, though.

Long or short (most cutscenes in FFXIII are quite short, mind you), they still tell their stories primarily through cutscenes, or only through cutscenes.

Abriael:

It's apples and oranges because text is NOT part of the usual movie paradigms. On the other hand, cutscenes ARE and have been for a long time part of the usual videogames paradigms.
So you're comparing making a movie with text that's not part of the media's paradigms with making a game with cuscenes that ARE part part of the media's paradigms.

Fair enough, let me change my comparison then. Telling your story mainly through cut-scenes in a game is like a film telling it's story mainly through audio and only showing video during the action sequences.

Cutscenes don't necessarily take away from gameplay. They are IN ADDITION to gameplay.

They aren't "in addition" if I have to watch them to get any of the story. So yes, they do take away from time that I could otherwise be playing a game.

I never said you have to totally neuter your opinion. Quite the contrary, opinion is indispensible in a review. But information is indispensible as well.
Take away opinion, and you have a list of features that one can read on any (decently made) back cover.
Take away information, and you have a ranting ego-drooling trip.
Neither of those way is even barely professional or useful to the reader.

Well then we basically agree about what should be in a review. I'm just surprised you don't think that most professional game reviews nowadays are nothing more than lengthier versions of the back-of-the-box feature list.

For one movies don't have gameplay at all, ergo a good description of gameplay is important in a game review. Actually it's the most important part, because it's what helps the reader decide, ultimately, if the gameplay fits his taste.

(Yatzee bashing snip)

Well, of course movies don't cover gameplay. That doesn't mean we can't compare the basic structure of reviews between mediums like we did above with the whole objective/opinion thing.

BTW I already know you dislike Yahtzee as a reviewer. No need to keep beating a dead horse. Just because I agree with one point he made doesn't mean I think he's a professional reviewer.

Not really, because of a simple matter of resources, and game development is a big time matter of resources. If a game developer needs to develop only a single A to B storyline, he can concentrate all his creative resources on that.
If a developer needs to develop a complex, branching storyline, resources have to be split between all of the branches, thus the single story Beginning to ending will be less detailed, simply because less resources have been spent on it.
The first method gives better results to what I'd argue is the majority of gamers, that normally play games once, from beginning to end. The second method gives better results to all those that prefer to play a game multiple times, because it gives different results each time (provided that the player is willing to change his choice, for instance, while I enjoyrd Mass Effect 2 throughly, I didn't change my choices on second playthrough, because I don't enjoy playing chaotic stup.... ahem, Renegade).

Again, you are operating under another common misconception that a game needs to be "open" in order to tell its story through gameplay. This just simply isn't true because there are plenty of linear games that tell their stories almost completely through gameplay.

BTW, if we were arguing about which was better, linear or open world, I would agree that it's a matter of taste, but that's not what this discussion is about.

If i had to be hatin all the bad gaming journalists out there, my life would be a trainwreck of negativity.

Hah. Ditto for me, although apparently for completely different reasons.

DUH. I'm sorry, but you should reread what you just wrote, mate.

"I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's not good game design".

Does not compute.

Alright, lemme fix this to try and make my point clearer:

"I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's cinematic direction not game design".

Strawman. Most of the time, even in cutscene-heavy games is spent with interactive gameplay. If you take Final Fantasy XIII for instance, less than 10% of the whole time is spent with cutscenes (much less for me, since I explored the whole open area, did all the mession, got all the ultimate weapons and such, and in about 140 hours I probably spent about 3-4 hours with cutscenes). Do your math :D
So much for "games that are more movies than games".

Hm, actually now that you mention it you are right. Plus it seems as though I've gotten a bit off my original point. I said before that I just think it's better game design to progress most of your story through interaction rather than passive means like cut-scenes (especially is story is supposed to be one of the main features of your game). So I guess I guess I'll qualify my earlier statement: to me it seems like you prefer linear stories in movie form rather than game form. Again, this isn't a "judgement". I'm not saying you have bad taste. Some people just prefer movies to games, or books to movies, etc.

Long or short (most cutscenes in FFXIII are quite short, mind you), they still tell their stories primarily through cutscenes, or only through cutscenes.

That's definitely not true of Blizzard. Though they may bookend their missions with cut-scenes, the missions progress the story just as much (if not more than) their cinematics.

Well, it's good to know that Yahtzee does like some JRPG's, which makes him much more intelligent than the people who think that it's cool to blindly agree with things that Yahtzee says and loudly complain about JRPGs all the time as if people actually care.

boholikeu:

Fair enough, let me change my comparison then. Telling your story mainly through cut-scenes in a game is like a film telling it's story mainly through audio and only showing video during the action sequences.

And in fact there are plenty of movies that concentrate on the audio experience more than video. Mind you, they're even considered quite artistic.

They aren't "in addition" if I have to watch them to get any of the story. So yes, they do take away from time that I could otherwise be playing a game.

Oh sure, even menus "take away" from time you could otherwise be "playing the game", this doesn't mean that menus are bad game design. Let's not even mention the fact that cutscenes are entertaining for many. As long as they are entertaining, there's simply no reason to remove them or to consider them inferior to gameplay. They enrich the game, they sure don't take away from it.
You're making the quite farfetched assumption that media can't be mixed, and that mixing media to form a better whole is a bad thing. I'd dare say that most people both in game development and fimmaking would disagree.

Well then we basically agree about what should be in a review. I'm just surprised you don't think that most professional game reviews nowadays are nothing more than lengthier versions of the back-of-the-box feature list.

If you're talking about "professional journalists" as "people that write reviews as a job" a good slice definately are like that.
If you're talking about "journalists that happen also to be professional", then they do things as they should be done :D

Well, of course movies don't cover gameplay. That doesn't mean we can't compare the basic structure of reviews between mediums like we did above with the whole objective/opinion thing.

Hard to make a comparison when one of the very basic elements is completely different. In any case, the fact that a good slice of movie critics have become ego tripping tools that give no real information to their readers, but just fill pages with their own ego because the moviemaking industry refused them as moviemakers and so they have to show their "superiority" over it (thing that, mind you, is becoming quite common even between gaming reviewers unfortunately, i could make more than a couple names...), doesn't make it the right or professional approach.

Again, you are operating under another common misconception that a game needs to be "open" in order to tell its story through gameplay. This just simply isn't true because there are plenty of linear games that tell their stories almost completely through gameplay.

You're the one that talked about "player controlled". That normally is used to indicate branching gameplay.
Even in the case you specified, though, it's still a complete tradeoff, cinematic cutscenes have normally a stronger emotional effect, and since many game developers that make heavily story-driven games have emotional effect as an important goal, they have every reason to stick with cutscenes. And that's why many gamers like them.
Again, It's a tradeoff. Both ways are valid. You can like one more than the other, but for everyone that has your tastes, there's another that likes the opposite more, and another that likes both (and someone that likes nothing, but that's yathzee).
You can't just arbitrarily decide which one is better as long as there's people that appreciate one or the other.

"I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's cinematic direction not game design".

Again, you seem to think you're in a position to dictate what game design is. You're not.
Game design is "making games". Cutscenes are part of games -> Making cutscenes is part of making games -> Cutscenes are game design, when they are made for games.

That's definitely not true of Blizzard. Though they may bookend their missions with cut-scenes, the missions progress the story just as much (if not more than) their cinematics.

I'd disagree there. Most important part of the story is in my opinion shown during cutscenes. What you describe is more Relic's way (And just for the record, I happen to think that Relic is immensely better than Blizzard, but that's another story). Anyway, even if you were to exclude Blizzard, I'd say it's evident that there are still plenty developers (and critically acclaimed too) that tell their stories mainly through cutscenes. There always will be, as long as there'll be an audience for them. Besides the ones mentioned, of course, Kojima is the master there, and if you tell me that Kojima is a bad game developer, I'm gonna claw your eyes out :D

I really don't get the point in automating the battle. Sure, a lot of people think random battles are annoying, but they're also the only time there's really gameplay other than running around and talking to people. In essence, the battles are the game, so instead of this "Let's have the other characters uncontrollable and even then you can just choose Auto-Attack for the character you get to control" how about we take a look at FFX-2's battle system (the best in the series IMO). First of all, it's real-time (well, as real-time as you're going to get without this becoming an action RPG) secondly, you have to control all the characters, all the time. This isn't a bad thing, you want the player to be thinking about what he's going to do next, constant thinking and control keeps the player entertained. Sure if the enemies are easy he can just hold down the X button to attack, but then there's still that whole "I'm controlling the party" feeling the player will get.

So really, I'm asking Square to get rid of the gambit system and make the battle system exactly like 10-2. (Or just make it FFXIII but without auto-attack and you have to control every character)

too much crap, didn't read. seriously yahtzee? thats just trolling.
he played like 4 hours, yahtzee knows fuck all about this game.

lockgar:
Hell yes, Yahtzee likes Chrono Trigger! That just won so many points.

Trudat etc etc. Crono rivals Link in the best silent video game protagonist category.

On a different note, I still see FFVII as one of the best in the series despite Yahtzee's coments, as has been said by others here, I accepted the stodgey turn-based gameplay because I enjoyed to story so much. Ignoring the whole compilation of FFVII (which may be difficult considering how much of it there is) 7 less angst driven than most modern JRPG's which I suppose relates to slippery slope theory put forward by Yahtzee in his review (in that, VII started the tumble towards the current depths being spelunked by square enix.). In conclusion, Square should never have had voices added to their characters and they should stop milking FFVII like its some kind of Arcturan Mega-Donkey.

I agree with the statement that the FF series got a bit....weird after VII (Giant Swords and Gunblades anyone?), but ditching the whole series as a whole is a bit extreme. There's also the fact that the battle system changes between games, so the Paradigm system isn't going to to be the series norm (I do like it however). That said some JRPGs shamelessly copy other successful JRPGs, so they can kind of bleed together quality-wise. On Chrono Trigger, I think it is one of the best JRPGs of all time.

P.S: people who go "Yahtzee is a n00b because he don't like [Insert game title here]", you're both the bane of his existence and one of his main sources of pleasure (he loves watching you squirm)

T_ConX:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
...and I don't care what any official media says, if Vanille is over 16 I will suffocate myself with a miniskirt

As both a fan of spectacle, and someone who played more then the first five hours, I feel obliged to point out that...

Just as a sidenote, even if she was 16, a lot of places, including Japan, has 14 or 15 as the age of consent. So to many there's nothing wrong with that.

Abriael:

boholikeu:

Fair enough, let me change my comparison then. Telling your story mainly through cut-scenes in a game is like a film telling it's story mainly through audio and only showing video during the action sequences.

And in fact there are plenty of movies that concentrate on the audio experience more than video. Mind you, they're even considered quite artistic.

They aren't "in addition" if I have to watch them to get any of the story. So yes, they do take away from time that I could otherwise be playing a game.

Oh sure, even menus "take away" from time you could otherwise be "playing the game", this doesn't mean that menus are bad game design. Let's not even mention the fact that cutscenes are entertaining for many. As long as they are entertaining, there's simply no reason to remove them or to consider them inferior to gameplay. They enrich the game, they sure don't take away from it.
You're making the quite farfetched assumption that media can't be mixed, and that mixing media to form a better whole is a bad thing. I'd dare say that most people both in game development and fimmaking would disagree.

Well then we basically agree about what should be in a review. I'm just surprised you don't think that most professional game reviews nowadays are nothing more than lengthier versions of the back-of-the-box feature list.

If you're talking about "professional journalists" as "people that write reviews as a job" a good slice definately are like that.
If you're talking about "journalists that happen also to be professional", then they do things as they should be done :D

Well, of course movies don't cover gameplay. That doesn't mean we can't compare the basic structure of reviews between mediums like we did above with the whole objective/opinion thing.

Hard to make a comparison when one of the very basic elements is completely different. In any case, the fact that a good slice of movie critics have become ego tripping tools that give no real information to their readers, but just fill pages with their own ego because the moviemaking industry refused them as moviemakers and so they have to show their "superiority" over it (thing that, mind you, is becoming quite common even between gaming reviewers unfortunately, i could make more than a couple names...), doesn't make it the right or professional approach.

Again, you are operating under another common misconception that a game needs to be "open" in order to tell its story through gameplay. This just simply isn't true because there are plenty of linear games that tell their stories almost completely through gameplay.

You're the one that talked about "player controlled". That normally is used to indicate branching gameplay.
Even in the case you specified, though, it's still a complete tradeoff, cinematic cutscenes have normally a stronger emotional effect, and since many game developers that make heavily story-driven games have emotional effect as an important goal, they have every reason to stick with cutscenes. And that's why many gamers like them.
Again, It's a tradeoff. Both ways are valid. You can like one more than the other, but for everyone that has your tastes, there's another that likes the opposite more, and another that likes both (and someone that likes nothing, but that's yathzee).
You can't just arbitrarily decide which one is better as long as there's people that appreciate one or the other.

"I'm not saying it's worse. I'm just saying it's cinematic direction not game design".

Again, you seem to think you're in a position to dictate what game design is. You're not.
Game design is "making games". Cutscenes are part of games -> Making cutscenes is part of making games -> Cutscenes are game design, when they are made for games.

That's definitely not true of Blizzard. Though they may bookend their missions with cut-scenes, the missions progress the story just as much (if not more than) their cinematics.

I'd disagree there. Most important part of the story is in my opinion shown during cutscenes. What you describe is more Relic's way (And just for the record, I happen to think that Relic is immensely better than Blizzard, but that's another story). Anyway, even if you were to exclude Blizzard, I'd say it's evident that there are still plenty developers (and critically acclaimed too) that tell their stories mainly through cutscenes. There always will be, as long as there'll be an audience for them. Besides the ones mentioned, of course, Kojima is the master there, and if you tell me that Kojima is a bad game developer, I'm gonna claw your eyes out :D

Cut scenes should only be used when gameplay cant be used to convey the same thing, if i have no control it should be a damn good reason. The control can even be quite minor, let me control some fidgeting, or pace about, omething little to make me feel involved, as there are few things as immerion breaking as removing me totaly from my charechter, especially if my charecter isnt incpacitated, having a visions ok, but even they can be controlled.

If effectively my controls limited to fighting then I'm not the charecter I'm his bloody stunt double.

Heavily cutscened games can be just as good entertainment as games that tell the story through gameplay devices (or do without a conventional narritive at all), but judging how good a GAME something is should come down to how it comes accross while you are controling it. As an overall package FF games are objectively quite good (though not to my particular taste) but they have a tendancy to suffer as games as the storyline is somewhat divorced from the actual gameplay. This was accpetiable back in the day, abit like only text-based dialogue was, but now game engine are capiable of tellign omething than bloody well use it, or make a movie thats stops everycouple of minutes to wait for some tenisouly related minigame to be sucefully completed before you let people watch the next bit.

Petromir:

Cut scenes should only be used when gameplay cant be used to convey the same thing, if i have no control it should be a damn good reason. The control can even be quite minor, let me control some fidgeting, or pace about, omething little to make me feel involved, as there are few things as immerion breaking as removing me totaly from my charechter, especially if my charecter isnt incpacitated, having a visions ok, but even they can be controlled.

Too bad that the "something little to make you feel involved" comes at the expense of cinematic power, which for many means less actual emotional involvment. It's a tradeoff, and many developers don't want to trade that off.
To each their own.

Heavily cutscened games can be just as good entertainment as games that tell the story through gameplay devices (or do without a conventional narritive at all)

Bingo. Ergo they are both perfectly viable solutions. Both can create good games. There's nothing else.

but judging how good a GAME something is should come down to how it comes accross while you are controling it.

Jusdging how good a GAME is comes down to how fun it is (and for many, how much emotional impact it has). That's all there is to it.

Well since his last review I've lost all respect and probably won't watch any more. He complained that MW2 was too short and then he played 5 hours of a 60 hour long game and complained about things he hasn't even grasped yet.

I am now convinced that, when it comes to opinions on video game design, Yahtzee and me are the same person.

Abriael:
Just an example between the TONS. In the Demon's souls review he goes on to say that the dodge doesn't actually dodge crap, so it's an useless and badly implemented mechanic.
he forgets to mention that the dodge is not a valid move when you're wearing heavy armor and weaponry, because, you know, dodging in full plate isn't exactly the easiest thing of the world. It works perfectly when you're more lightly armored/armed.
Either he didn't know at all, and then it's his fault for not looking at the game in depth/researching, or he omitted that detail, because:

"dodging doesn't dodge, splat!" -> lulz ensue
"dodging doesn't always work because..." -> no lulz.

Result? Bad and misinformative review with lulz.
Secondary result? lots of sheeps writing "I was on the fence, but now i won't buy it". A reviewer that prompts gamers to miss a possibly very enjoyable game out of misinformation is honestly a something quite negative, no matter if he's good at lulz.

It's not the same point: He communicated that the game was unintuitive and frustrating to play, a dry explanation of what the dodge move does and doesn't do does not communicate that. Explaining that a game is frustrating is a valid point to make.

For all your grandiose claims, your point is simple. "He disagrees with me and therefore is wrong and stupid and has no integrity."

And Hideyo Kojima is a bad game designer...he spends so much time on overblown cinematic spectacle but doesn't bother to fix the glaring issue of a fixed camera being horrible for navigating a three-dimensional map.

Besides the point that Yahtzee made, there are a few reasons why I no longer play Jrpg's anymore.

1. Mentally unstable characters being left with saving the world. With the exception of FF9, the FF including and after FF7 were left with people who could barely take care of themselves. Thus life forcing them to be adults...again...and again... This may be a good idea the 1st time, but it got old...and fast. If the main character had at least some life experience than Aerith wouldn't have died needlessly. But that is just nit-picking on my part.

2. Lots of exploration but illusion to an open world. Whether you want to admit it or not, FF have had A LOT of exploration but lacked being an open world. More or less gave an illusion of one. Bridges not fixed, monsters beyond your lvl, gates locked, etc. Kept the character you were manipulating from exploring the world he/she lived in. You would know WHO you needed to talk to to progress, BUT you would have to do a few pit stops with other minor or major characters before activating the key to continue. Thus the point some people make why it feels more like reading a book/watching a movie than interacting in the world. You have characters that could summon gods to their planet and they have problems passing a wooden gate....really?

3. Odd moments to be a drama queen. Many FF main characters discover a life changing problems and fold over like a piece of paper before even trying to face the problem/trauma. Though it gives good drama, I just think to myself "Is this really the time to fold? Ya know,....the world being close to destruction....could use your help with a less cloudy head.." I'm not saying that its really bad to do this....just that FF does it FAR too often. Maybe a change with the characters where they push forward and worry about it later would give it a fresh feel for a FF main character that wasn't a *****....just saying...

4. Turn-based combat. I'm not saying that its getting old, but it is getting really stale for me. I played Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2. I NEVER want to go back to FF again because of that game alone. I no longer see a reason to stand still and put the ability to block or dodge left to luck....its just odd now... Okay, we all know that to take down a very slow but strong opponent is to NOT stand still and continue to dodge and weave. Yet I see the characters of FFXIII face such a opponent and just stand there and take the hits. I am sorry, but that isn't really strategy to face such an opponent and the only solution is just lvling up.

I like JRPG's when they are like Kingdom Hearts and Star Ocean. I hate them when they are turn-based like FF. Those are just my opinions though.

I have never really been a fan of JRPGs myself, it's the over-the-top combat and light show where everything is shiny and/or half naked... Makes me feel guilty playing it, plus gives me a migrain :s

F8L Fool:

He's neither a reviewer or a critc. He is a comedian that has a hobby of playing games in a half-assed fashion, then posting about said experience as well his recent entrepreneurial endeavors *cough*shameless-advertising*cough*.

You can't accurately review or criticize something that you don't fully experience. It's like if someone went into a movie theater, blindfolded themselves for half of the film, and then attempted to write an accurate account of that portions visuals.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that "I was bored before the five hour mark" is indeed an accurate criticism of a game if it bores you before the five hour mark.

This is neither a negative nor a positive, it's a matter of perception. There's been nothing in a Final Fantasy game since VI that is capable of hooking me to play it. So I don't play them. Because my time is much too valuable to wait for a game to "get good". If someone asked me today if they should play FF VII, for example, I'd tell them quite specifically "No, it's boring early on."

JEBWrench:

Actually, I'm pretty sure that "I was bored before the five hour mark" is indeed an accurate criticism of a game if it bores you before the five hour mark.

A professional reviewer, or even a barely professional one, plays a game much longer than that, no matter his *personal* feelings of boredon, because, you know, it's a job, and playing the game extensively ensures the quality of the work done reviewing in.

Sorry, but playing a game that extensive only for 5 hours flies in the face of professionalism, and is pretty much inexcusable.
It's not the first time of course.

ArmorArmadillo:

It's not the same point: He communicated that the game was unintuitive and frustrating to play, a dry explanation of what the dodge move does and doesn't do does not communicate that. Explaining that a game is frustrating is a valid point to make.

LOL sure. Sorry mate, but a "dry explanation of what the dodge move does" can convey that the game is unintuitive (by the way the game is difficult, but not unintuitive at all) all right, actually it conveys it better. Yathzee's way is exclusively for the lulz, and he never refrained omitting details or giving misleading information in order to achieve it.

For all your grandiose claims, your point is simple. "He disagrees with me and therefore is wrong and stupid and has no integrity."

Sorry, there are plenty respectable and professional journalists that disagree with me. But you know, those actually play the games before reviewing them.

And Hideyo Kojima is a bad game designer...he spends so much time on overblown cinematic spectacle but doesn't bother to fix the glaring issue of a fixed camera being horrible for navigating a three-dimensional map.

But that isn't a problem with God of War 3, right?
But more funny, for all your grandiose claims you do the same Yathzee does. You run your mouth about games without playing them.
What was the last Metal Gear Solid game you played? Because you know, it's since Metal Gear Solid 3 Subsistence that the series doesn't have a fixed camera.

Oops...

Abriael:

A professional reviewer, or even a barely professional one, plays a game much longer than that, no matter his *personal* feelings of boredon, because, you know, it's a job, and playing the game extensively ensures the quality of the work done reviewing in.

And what someone whose job is to make jokes about games while sharing his personal opinion?

Because, you know, that's what his job is. He's not a reviewer.

I have no intention on playing FFXIII, but that's not because of what Yahtzee said. I have no intention on playing FFXIII because Square and Enix both stopped making games that interested me two generations ago.

You enjoyed FFXIII, quite a lot, cheers. My favourite game is one that I'm told ad infinitum is boring as well. But you going around trying to defend its honor doesn't mean it'll put out. Let the other people have their entertainment. You got yours, by enjoying the game, right?

JEBWrench:

And what someone whose job is to make jokes about games while sharing his personal opinion?

Because, you know, that's what his job is. He's not a reviewer.

Given that he feels the need to write a quite lenghty article like the one that stemmed this thread in order to try and defend his "views", I guess he doesn't really agree with you.

I have no intention on playing FFXIII, but that's not because of what Yahtzee said. I have no intention on playing FFXIII because Square and Enix both stopped making games that interested me two generations ago.

More power to you. This doesn't make their games bad, or less good. Epic Games basically never made a single game that interested me. This doesn't turn them in a bad developer, they're simply not for me.

7.99 for a book by Yahtzee? My interpretation of that is it will be as short as the instructions on toilet paper packaging, or will be of a quality normally attributed to said paper after use.

Where`s my wallet?

THANK YOU for mentioning Chrono Trigger in that list. It's about time that it gets the recognition that it deserves.

Abriael:

I realized that as we started focusing on the individual points of each other's arguments I kinda lost track of my original point.

I don't think cinematics should never be used. They definitely have their place in video games. It's just irritating when a story-centric game concentrates the entire narrative into non-interactive sequences. I like good stories, so that would definitely be my main reason for buying a game like FFXIII. Unfortunately, there's very little story progression during the interactive parts of the game. Now, I have no problem with mixed media, but why not include more story elements in the gameplay as well? What's making them hold back? I get that they think cinematics are the more emotionally powerful technique (which is something I disagree with, but whatever), but why not include thematic development in the interactive parts too? I get that they're basically having me play through the action sequences of the story, but I've been doing that for ten years now, and there are plenty of other games that let me do that and more.

You mentioned that our disagreement is just a matter of taste. Well, after thinking about it a little more, yeah, I guess you're right. Like I said earlier, it's no skin off my back if someone thinks Transformers is the epitome of cinematic bliss. I still think that my sense of taste is better though. You can say that I'm trying to "impose" my ideas about good game design on other people, but everyone thinks their sense of taste is the best. Heck, even you do this when you say that cinematics are more emotionally resonant than narrative gameplay.

So in short, I don't really see what the problem is here. I agreed with a point that Yahtzee had about the game, but like I mentioned before I pretty much agree with you that he's not professional in his reviews. You accuse me of trying to trying to impose my tastes on other people, but honestly I don't see how someone's supposed to explain why they don't like something without doing that. What's more you keep saying we just have different tastes, but if that's true why keep trying to argue instead of just agreeing to disagree? I just don't get what you're trying to do here.

Ah well, in any case there were a few more quotes of yours I wanted to address that didn't get covered above.

Abriael:
Oh sure, even menus "take away" from time you could otherwise be "playing the game", this doesn't mean that menus are bad game design.

Actually, I would never say that because menus by their very nature are interactive =)

If you're talking about "professional journalists" as "people that write reviews as a job" a good slice definately are like that.
If you're talking about "journalists that happen also to be professional", then they do things as they should be done :D

Yup, we agree =)

Hard to make a comparison when one of the very basic elements is completely different. In any case, the fact that a good slice of movie critics have become ego tripping tools that give no real information to their readers, but just fill pages with their own ego because the moviemaking industry refused them as moviemakers and so they have to show their "superiority" over it (thing that, mind you, is becoming quite common even between gaming reviewers unfortunately, i could make more than a couple names...), doesn't make it the right or professional approach.

This reminds me of a rumor I heart about a certain man who couldn't make it as a director, so now he fills disks with his own ego as a game designer... =)

You're the one that talked about "player controlled". That normally is used to indicate branching gameplay.

I'm pretty sure I didn't say "player controlled storylines" because that's not what I'm talking about. If I did, I apologize for the confusion.

In any case, there are plenty of gameplay sequences that are just as emotionally involved as the best cinematics, so I don't really see how you can say that and only a sentence later accuse me of not realizing that different people prefer different methods.

Besides the ones mentioned, of course, Kojima is the master there, and if you tell me that Kojima is a bad game developer, I'm gonna claw your eyes out :D

Ahh Kojima... Well, I'd definitely agree with you that he's a great game developer, but I have to say that he's a pretty bad film director.

Unless you count cinematics to be a part of game design, in which case I think he's a mediocre developer.

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