The Story Snob

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Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: The Story Snob

You don't have to put a story in your game, but if you do, try to make it not suck.

Read Full Article

I had such a severe case of cognitive dissonance that I actually didn't even comprehend that you had said "Sonic Unleashed" until the very last paragraph.

That's....terrifying and awesome at the same time.

hamster mk 4:
First off I think 2 hours of car chaces, explosions, gunfights and sword fights with no sembalance of plot would be awsome. Other than that I agree with the article. Shoe horning a story into a game because "no game is complete without a story," is a bad idea. Some of my favorite games don't have any thing resembeling a traditional story in them. Civilization 3 and Mount & Blade being examples. Perhaps I am drawing a different conclusion from this article than the author, but there are many games today that could be greatly improved by stripping out of all story element.

Great examples of stories that can be told by games, which are impossible to accomplish in passive fiction such as writing or film.

Civ is a god game. The story is the flow of your civilization as you lead it in a given session. It's sparse, and is only as present as you make it by thinking about it.

Mount and Blade is a sandbox RPG. The game gives you a world and a malleable starting character and allows you to enact the story you wish with that character. The only railroading is the game's setting and rules themselves. How to flesh out that role and story is at one's own discretion.

Those are the sort of stories that most mass-produced games should strive to have. The kind that don't require careful, elegant writing... because most studios producing them aren't equipped to produce that kind of writing.

If more game developers stuck to creating games, and let those studios with skillful writers produce the ones with pre-made, patently present storylines, then we wouldn't always have to have our faces rubbed in writing which is as ridiculous as (and analogous to) the sight of an army whose armor was thrown together by a potter, for lack of a smith.

The other noteworthy thing about the story in Left 4 Dead is that there isn't much of it. There is exactly as much as we need for the game to work, and no more. Once the particulars are set up, the story doesn't keep shoving itself to the forefront and getting in the way just for the sake of trying to be like a movie. The designers didn't put in an ongoing plot where you chase around some mustache-twirling idiot of an antagonist who engineered the entire zombie plague and now wants to kill the survivors to complete all the items on his "clueless villain" checklist. They didn't put in some "obvious traitor" side plot. No global conspiracy. No author-insertion mystery oracle to deliver exposition. No awkward love story. Nothing about saving your parents / children / significant other from the threat. The story is small, lightweight, and packs enough punch to set the mood and tone for dozens or even hundreds of hours of multiplayer zombie-smashing.

I take it you didn't like Indigo Prophecy? Since, you know, the second half of your paragraph is the game's ending. Spoiler to the two people who still cared, five years (and four pages) in.

I feel like David Cage would really benefit from a "less is more" mantra.

Interesting that you mentioned Resistance. I personally love that series and I found the characterisation and plots weren't amazing, but were still pretty good. The ending of the second game was genuinely moving.

A Buddy of mine's friend had tried to convince him that the entirety of the modern warfare series stories were some deep interpretation on modern war and conflict, Also that the fact that everyone is betrayed is some sort of inner philosophical message of "don't trust anyone".

I always found that entertaining.

ThrobbingEgo:

The other noteworthy thing about the story in Left 4 Dead is that there isn't much of it. There is exactly as much as we need for the game to work, and no more. Once the particulars are set up, the story doesn't keep shoving itself to the forefront and getting in the way just for the sake of trying to be like a movie. The designers didn't put in an ongoing plot where you chase around some mustache-twirling idiot of an antagonist who engineered the entire zombie plague and now wants to kill the survivors to complete all the items on his "clueless villain" checklist. They didn't put in some "obvious traitor" side plot. No global conspiracy. No author-insertion mystery oracle to deliver exposition. No awkward love story. Nothing about saving your parents / children / significant other from the threat. The story is small, lightweight, and packs enough punch to set the mood and tone for dozens or even hundreds of hours of multiplayer zombie-smashing.

I take it you didn't like Indigo Prophecy? Since, you know, the second half of your paragraph is the game's ending. Spoiler to the two people who still cared, five years (and four pages) in.

I feel like David Cage would really benefit from a "less is more" mantra.

I just ran through a list of common tropes that keep showing up. The fact that IP used them all is ... unfortunate. I really wanted to like that game. Loved that first hour or so. And even though the plot of IP as painfully bad, I give credit for them trying something new.

And I'm happy that cage seems to have redeemed himself with Heavy Rain.

Hopeless Bastard:

Another problem with gaming going mainstream is its now in a state of rot. None of the big developers need to change much of anything about the formulas they currently employ, because for every person whos bored by [mainstream game #27b], two more people will have their socks blown completely off.

*start ramble*

You know what? I think that I've found out the reason why. For most people, [mainstream game#27b] is the first game they've played. They have nothing to compare it to, and thus they think it's the BEST GAEM EVAR!!11! Whereas people who have been gaming for a long time have something to compare it to. I am ashamed to say that I'm %75 the latter and %25 percent the former. I sorta like all games, but there are a few I don't like like Far Cry 2 and Dragon Age.

*stop ramble*

Irridium:

Da Ork:
Fable 2 would be better without the main story...I haven't read any one else's comments so someone may have said that before me but anyway...

Nah, I don't remember reading anything about it. But yeah, I agree.
The whole game was fun, and the sidequests were usually unique, interesting, and funny.

Its just the main story that sucks ass. At the very least they could have swapped the roles of Lucien and Reaver.

Yeah I loved the game as a whole. Whoever wrote the side quests was brilliant. The fighting mechanics were great. The character customization was good. The main storyline was a pain.

edit: Without spoilers but the "ending" sucks (I say "ending" because the game doesn't actually end)

I actually agree, every game out there for me needs a story, a decent to a very good one. That motivates me and actually encourages me to blast everything to hell in an emotional rage. Mass Effect managed that alot by a compelling story, Mass Effect 2 managed that by entertaining me with true characters I really cared for. Of course, due the import I enjoyed the story too, it was a bit less epic in scope though.

Gears of War 2 however story was medicore, sure it had some excellent points and and reinforced me to shoot everything to bits but online I only care for the Gameplay. With Title Update 6, the game is just rock-solid and more awesome. Story doesn't matter, it's the only game I really play on a competitive level.

Excellent read, I hope the trolls stop flaming on you.

For me, story is not the most important thing. Sure, I like a good story, but sometimes I just play the game and don't event bother with what the developers were trying to say. Like RE5, the new Splinter Cell - I just hit the "off" switch and start shooting. I think Prototype went in that category also, but I still loved the game.
And if we didn't have games with weak story, how would we appreciate the ones with a good story? That's why I sometimes watch stupid movies intentionally - just to check how bad is "bad" (:

hamster mk 4:
First off I think 2 hours of car chaces, explosions, gunfights and sword fights with no sembalance of plot would be awsome. Other than that I agree with the article. Shoe horning a story into a game because "no game is complete without a story," is a bad idea. Some of my favorite games don't have any thing resembeling a traditional story in them. Civilization 3 and Mount & Blade being examples. Perhaps I am drawing a different conclusion from this article than the author, but there are many games today that could be greatly improoved by stripping out of all story element.

A few things:

On youtube, you can find a movie called "Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki". It's my favorite kung-fu action movie of all time, with over the top violence. But, there's a plot there; jails are used as a form of cheap labor, and all the prisoners are regularly abused. Riki, the title character, fights for their freedom. The plot makes the movie more awesome. Sure, seeing him rip out a mans vital organs is awesome, but knowing that he is doing it to save another person makes it more awesome. The story lays down the groundwork.

Of course, you are correct about not every game needing a story. Game making doesn't follow a recipe; you can't add a pinch of atmosphere and a teaspoon of story and make something good. Each game will be different, and so will need to be made differently. So, some games can be made with no plot whatsoever and be great, while others need a story to thrive. It's just that if the game has a story, it better be good.

Uh, what stories? Portal and LFD don't have stories, they have concepts. "You're a survivor of a zombocalypse. You're a human labrat! Go! This isn't a bad thing, but it isn't storytelling either. It's basic motivation.

Internet Kraken:
See, this has always been my opinion about stories and video games. I only think a story can really be considered detrimental to the experience when it is constantly being shoved in your face.

I know mentioned Epic as being guilty of producing games where this is an issue, but I would disagree, at least for the first Gears of War. The story was very basic and fairly dumb, with none of the characters being particularly likable and a number of stupid moments. However, to me this was never an issue because the story just felt like a way to move you from various locals and engage in more gunfights. They never had a long, lengthy cutscenes which unloaded tons of exposition onto the player. Whenever they did yank control away from you, it was just to explain why you were going to another area and what your goal was. So while the story was bad, it didn't ruin the game since it didn't keep me away from the game play.

Compare this to Tales of Symphonia. I complain about this game having a horribly dumb story a lot, but that's only because it really does become detrimental to my ability to enjoy the game. While I think the game play is great, the fact that I have to keep sitting through long cutscenes and listening to exposition I don't give a damn about irritates me. If the cut scenes were short and got straight to the point, it wouldn't be so bad. That's the advantage that Gears of War has over Tales of Symphonia. Both have bad characters and dumb plots, but one of them has enough sense to keep it tucked away most of the time and let you enjoy the actual game rather than make you slog through painful dialogue.

To sum this up, a shooter doesn't focus on story very much while an RPG focuses on story a lot, and an RPG should include little story to make it better.
Wow, great logic!

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:
See, this has always been my opinion about stories and video games. I only think a story can really be considered detrimental to the experience when it is constantly being shoved in your face.

I know mentioned Epic as being guilty of producing games where this is an issue, but I would disagree, at least for the first Gears of War. The story was very basic and fairly dumb, with none of the characters being particularly likable and a number of stupid moments. However, to me this was never an issue because the story just felt like a way to move you from various locals and engage in more gunfights. They never had a long, lengthy cutscenes which unloaded tons of exposition onto the player. Whenever they did yank control away from you, it was just to explain why you were going to another area and what your goal was. So while the story was bad, it didn't ruin the game since it didn't keep me away from the game play.

Compare this to Tales of Symphonia. I complain about this game having a horribly dumb story a lot, but that's only because it really does become detrimental to my ability to enjoy the game. While I think the game play is great, the fact that I have to keep sitting through long cutscenes and listening to exposition I don't give a damn about irritates me. If the cut scenes were short and got straight to the point, it wouldn't be so bad. That's the advantage that Gears of War has over Tales of Symphonia. Both have bad characters and dumb plots, but one of them has enough sense to keep it tucked away most of the time and let you enjoy the actual game rather than make you slog through painful dialogue.

To sum this up, a shooter doesn't focus on story very much while an RPG focuses on story a lot, and an RPG should include little story to make it better.
Wow, great logic!

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed from the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Crunchy English:
If that seems like a cop out to you, then don't try to build a fifty hour story, build a world that will sustain 50 hours worth of player-built narratives.

This is a very good idea. Someone needs to send this to the entire gaming industry.

Shamus Young:

ThrobbingEgo:

The other noteworthy thing about the story in Left 4 Dead is that there isn't much of it. There is exactly as much as we need for the game to work, and no more. Once the particulars are set up, the story doesn't keep shoving itself to the forefront and getting in the way just for the sake of trying to be like a movie. The designers didn't put in an ongoing plot where you chase around some mustache-twirling idiot of an antagonist who engineered the entire zombie plague and now wants to kill the survivors to complete all the items on his "clueless villain" checklist. They didn't put in some "obvious traitor" side plot. No global conspiracy. No author-insertion mystery oracle to deliver exposition. No awkward love story. Nothing about saving your parents / children / significant other from the threat. The story is small, lightweight, and packs enough punch to set the mood and tone for dozens or even hundreds of hours of multiplayer zombie-smashing.

I take it you didn't like Indigo Prophecy? Since, you know, the second half of your paragraph is the game's ending. Spoiler to the two people who still cared, five years (and four pages) in.

I feel like David Cage would really benefit from a "less is more" mantra.

I just ran through a list of common tropes that keep showing up. The fact that IP used them all is ... unfortunate. I really wanted to like that game. Loved that first hour or so. And even though the plot of IP as painfully bad, I give credit for them trying something new.

And I'm happy that cage seems to have redeemed himself with Heavy Rain.

I agree with you. (And I've also read some of your blog after playing IP.) Indigo Prophecy should be a mandatory play for any game writer, as an example of both the best and worst storytelling in games.

But the game up until the museum made it more than worth the $2 I snagged it for on Steam.

PedroSteckecilo:

Crunchy English:

If that seems like a cop out to you, then don't try to build a fifty hour story, build a world that will sustain 50 hours worth of player-built narratives.

Different Strokes for Different Folks I guess. As a lifelong writer and roleplayer I really dislike this intense focus on "nonexistant" narrative in games, that somehow a story "invented" by the player and not present in the game is better than one put forward. If I wanted to create my own story, I could write one myself and if I wanted to create a story with other people I could play a pen and paper game.

Sorry folks, "Player Driven Narrative" as shown in games where there is basically no story is a cop out. This isn't a ringing endorsement of cutscene heavy storytelling either mind you, I just demand dialogue, interaction and plot, not silence and minimalism that barely soaks through the scenery.

I'm in the same boat as you, but might be interpreting this a bit differently. A game can have a strong narrative voice and intent, but the player experience moving through the game can craft a distinct individual tale (or feel like it does, same difference). I think Fallout 3 is a great example of how this can work; my own tale in playing that game can and does feel quite different than others'.

I'm still trying to figure out how L4D really qualifies as an example of story telling, though. In terms of setting the mood, theme and ambiance it's brilliant....but I'm not sure I'd label it as a "story" so much as an experience.

I almost ragequit when I saw Resident Evil listed... too bad I was already at the end of the article. You can only mean the original, because RE4 had one of the all-time greatest story/characters and integration of story with the gameplay. But even with the original, AT THE TIME, it was one of the best stories written for a game, and it was more or less designed to create the atmosphere that you've stumbled upon something that was better left a secret. This was back when it was the very first survival horror game, way before cinematic styled games became commonplace. Reading the story from scattered notes people left behind was a novel way to tell the story (no pun intended). I suppose if you're looking back on it after having played Morrowind, then I can see your point, but please give respect where respect is due.

I did, however, like that you stated what you believe does make for a bad story: "character inconsistencies, plot holes, bad pacing, forced exposition, hanging plot threads, and just plain old cheesy dialog." This should be hung on a giant banner over the computer of anyone wishing to write for games.

Internet Kraken:

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:
See, this has always been my opinion about stories and video games. I only think a story can really be considered detrimental to the experience when it is constantly being shoved in your face.

I know mentioned Epic as being guilty of producing games where this is an issue, but I would disagree, at least for the first Gears of War. The story was very basic and fairly dumb, with none of the characters being particularly likable and a number of stupid moments. However, to me this was never an issue because the story just felt like a way to move you from various locals and engage in more gunfights. They never had a long, lengthy cutscenes which unloaded tons of exposition onto the player. Whenever they did yank control away from you, it was just to explain why you were going to another area and what your goal was. So while the story was bad, it didn't ruin the game since it didn't keep me away from the game play.

Compare this to Tales of Symphonia. I complain about this game having a horribly dumb story a lot, but that's only because it really does become detrimental to my ability to enjoy the game. While I think the game play is great, the fact that I have to keep sitting through long cutscenes and listening to exposition I don't give a damn about irritates me. If the cut scenes were short and got straight to the point, it wouldn't be so bad. That's the advantage that Gears of War has over Tales of Symphonia. Both have bad characters and dumb plots, but one of them has enough sense to keep it tucked away most of the time and let you enjoy the actual game rather than make you slog through painful dialogue.

To sum this up, a shooter doesn't focus on story very much while an RPG focuses on story a lot, and an RPG should include little story to make it better.
Wow, great logic!

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed fro0m the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Well what you call "ruining the game" I consider "making it awesome" Seriously, the worst thing about ToS is the cliches' it uses but you start playing through the game and it just tears those things to shreds and had me more involved than any other game I've ever played.

As for the article not much I can add. It's a whole quality over quantity approach where quantity doesn't always have to matter even in the least for some games. Story can be a huge liability or assest to a game but bad gameplay will wreck a game faster than a bad story does.

xdgt:
Well, I am one of those few who finds storytelling a very important part of a game, and when it fails me I consider the game bad. My favourite games are such because of great story - anything from Bioware qualifies (also everyone should check out Witcher). Bottom line either do a good story or don't bother with it at all - don't do a half assed story just because you feel like you have to, because it will only make things worse.

^^ This

I agree, Shamus. Game stories do not have to be extremely complex, but what you do see has to be well-done and give you a reason for all the action.

Actually, any Valve game we've seen so far seems to manage this excellently. Half Life 2 certainly left its mark by not interrupting the story or the action with cut scenes, but still having interesting and amusing characters along the way. It did not need more than the frame of a story, since the story was mostly the action of the gameplay itself. That kind of organic approach is perhaps the most appealing for a seamless experience.

Of course, I've been known to enjoy games that do interrupt the action with cut scenes on occasion, and that's because seamlessness is not always the best approach. Sometimes an interruption, if done well, can very much ramp up the story. This is perhaps a more Eastern approach, differing from the conventions of American game design, but it has been known to produce some of the finest moments in gaming history, so we should not discount that.

This is a question of developer's (or writer's) philosophy, and there is no easy answer to the question: "Which is the best approach?" I've played games with zero story that were fun, that's what arcades are for and there is nothing wrong with that, but if there is a story, like with any other included aspect, the right of the player is to expect a good one. Here's hoping developers manage to focus enough on things other than graphics and gameplay to reach a good balance.

Internet Kraken:
Compare this to Tales of Symphonia. I complain about this game having a horribly dumb story a lot, but that's only because it really does become detrimental to my ability to enjoy the game. While I think the game play is great, the fact that I have to keep sitting through long cutscenes and listening to exposition I don't give a damn about irritates me. If the cut scenes were short and got straight to the point, it wouldn't be so bad. That's the advantage that Gears of War has over Tales of Symphonia. Both have bad characters and dumb plots, but one of them has enough sense to keep it tucked away most of the time and let you enjoy the actual game rather than make you slog through painful dialogue.

I'm just going to say that I disagree with you on Tales of Symphonia and leave it at that.

I want a dollar for every game which starts with the main characters having amnesia.

Silva:
i>Half Life 2[/i] certainly left its mark by not interrupting the story or the action with cut scenes, but still having interesting and amusing characters along the way.

Oh fuck no. If there's one more game which forces me to run around in the room while some NPCs have stupid dialogs and doesn't even allow me to shoot them so they shut up, and then still doesn't explain anything in the 3rd game, I'll stop gaming.

Sonic Unleashed!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? *RAGE QUIT*

BTW, I agree 100%. Even Megaman 2 had some semblance of story, but it wasn't forced upon you - just press start to skip the (awesome) intro, and get to the action.

I don't get why developers insist on putting shitty stories into games, especially when I'd argue they don't need one in the first place. All we ever need for Mario and Megaman is for the princess to get kidnapped, and Wily to escape - put more in than that, then you'd better make it worth my while. If done well, storytelling can add a lot to a game...I thought that Princess what's-her-face from Mario Galaxy added something to the game that it's sequel is missing...sure, the storybook telling was kind of lame, but I appreciated it for what it was - a better attempt at characterization.

Just Cause 2 is an excellent example of terrible storytelling - I don't need a reason to conjure infinite parachutes or blow stuff up; just soaring around the island and playing with the tools the game gives me is enough. Listening to the (unskippable) intro in the demo had me laughing...being serious about burning an island to the ground, trying to weave a story that makes any kind of sense in the game world is ludicrous and unnecessary. Developers should either spend some money on good writing and voice actors, or leave it all alone - they're just wasting their money and making their games worse by doing a half-ass job

Internet Kraken:

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed fro0m the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Actually, I was avoiding the point on purpose. Addressing it would only bring about a battle of opinions, which is a waste of time.
Honestly, I disagree with your story issues about ToS, but there's no point in arguing about it.

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed fro0m the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Actually, I was avoiding the point on purpose. Addressing it would only bring about a battle of opinions, which is a waste of time.
Honestly, I disagree with your story issues about ToS, but there's no point in arguing about it.

Then why did you make that comment in the first place? Seems rather pointless to say my logic is flawed, reveal that this is because of your opinion, then refuse to actually discuss opinions.

Internet Kraken:

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed fro0m the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Actually, I was avoiding the point on purpose. Addressing it would only bring about a battle of opinions, which is a waste of time.
Honestly, I disagree with your story issues about ToS, but there's no point in arguing about it.

Then why did you make that comment in the first place? Seems rather pointless to say my logic is flawed, reveal that this is because of your opinion, then refuse to actually discuss opinions.

When did I say it was because of my opinion? RPG's are generally more story-driven than shooters. I just found it funny because you said a game from a different genre had an advantage over an RPG because there was more story to the RPG.
It's kinda like saying a racing game has an advantage over a platformer because racing games don't force you to jump all the time.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: The Story Snob

You don't have to put a story in your game, but if you do, try to make it not suck.

Read Full Article

While you can take out the story of a game, the opposite is not true. Look at FFXIII and how badly they misunderstood the power of gameplay, even though they seemed to have a decent story.

The Sonic Unleashed troll attempt kinda fell flat here. I never played or paid much attention to the game, so I didn't know either way. Then again, I probably should have gotten the joke anyway looking at the disjointed stories the other 3D sonic games have.

I agree with the article, though. I also believe the people who did the "go watch a movie" taunts fall under "Fan Dumb". It's like the 'Don't Like, Don't Read" crowd. Ignore a problem and it will never be fixed.

Yes games are about gameplay, but I like the story to actually make sense. One example of a story point I hated was 'Chopper's death in Ace Combat 5. There were a multitude of ways where he could have either survived or ejecting over the city wouldn't matter, but no.

And if the game can't have a decent story, just don't have much of one. Look at the main Mario series outside of the RPGs. The story never really goes beyond "Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser again. Go kick his ass." but since the story isn't really there anyway, it doesn't matter. Besides, Super Mario Galaxy did have some story to it with Roselina. Then again, Mario is a very long-running franchise and we've learned more about their characters through the RPGs, so maybe that wouldn't translate well to other IPs.

I'm reminded of an article I think you wrote about shoe-horning multiplayer into the games. Or perhaps even a shoe-horned single player. "Do it right, or not at all."

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:

You're missing the point. Both games had terrible stories, bot good gameplay. One of them, however, didn't constantly bring up it's story and ruin the game in doing so. If you think an RPG should always have a lot of story, then Tales of Symphonia was doomed fro0m the start. In my opinion though there is nothing that says an RPG needs to have a better story than any other game.

Actually, I was avoiding the point on purpose. Addressing it would only bring about a battle of opinions, which is a waste of time.
Honestly, I disagree with your story issues about ToS, but there's no point in arguing about it.

Then why did you make that comment in the first place? Seems rather pointless to say my logic is flawed, reveal that this is because of your opinion, then refuse to actually discuss opinions.

When did I say it was because of my opinion? RPG's are generally more story-driven than shooters. I just found it funny because you said a game from a different genre had an advantage over an RPG because there was more story to the RPG.
It's kinda like saying a racing game has an advantage over a platformer because racing games don't force you to jump all the time.

You're basically saying my logic was flawed because Tales of Symphonia didn't have a bad story and therefore would not have been better if it had been reduced. At least that's what I think you're saying, otherwise you're not making any sense. My original point was that I didn't think either Gears of War or Tales of Symphonia had good story, but Gears of War was still good because it didn't constantly shove the story in your face. I was saying the RPG was bad because it had more of a bad story. If it had more of a good story, I wouldn't have said that. The whole point of this article was talking about how to much of a bad story can ruin a game.

Lol... Sonic Unleashed...

Good one...

Jaredin:

Shamus Young:

Crunchy English:
[...]then don't try to build a fifty hour story, build a world that will sustain 50 hours worth of player-built narratives.

Really good way of putting it. Wish I'd put that in the column.

This is true, and where the world of FF13 went wrong in my opinion.

I love story, and narrative, but worlds never seem to be able to sustain them long enough

This is probably one of the few really valid complaints that I have seen regarding Final Fantasy XIII, and it's actually true of a lot of games. For many games with long stories, the different game elements and the world of the game simply don't sustain the momentum of the story. Often, the game just devolves into grinding tedium, with the only point of simply leveling to deal with the next set of monsters. At such moments, the story is pushed to the side and doesn't pick back up until the next cut-scene or quest/dilemma; the story of the game is just not integral enough with the gameplay to create a singular gaming experience.

Internet Kraken:

You're basically saying my logic was flawed because Tales of Symphonia didn't have a bad story and therefore would not have been better if it had been reduced. At least that's what I think you're saying, otherwise you're not making any sense. My original point was that I didn't think either Gears of War or Tales of Symphonia had good story, but Gears of War was still good because it didn't constantly shove the story in your face. I was saying the RPG was bad because it had more of a bad story. If it had more of a good story, I wouldn't have said that. The whole point of this article was talking about how to much of a bad story can ruin a game.

All I'm trying to say is that it's typical for a game like Gears of War to shove less story in your face than a game like ToS, which makes it a little silly to say. I admitted I disagree, but I'm not including that in my reasoning.

Madmanonfire:

Internet Kraken:

You're basically saying my logic was flawed because Tales of Symphonia didn't have a bad story and therefore would not have been better if it had been reduced. At least that's what I think you're saying, otherwise you're not making any sense. My original point was that I didn't think either Gears of War or Tales of Symphonia had good story, but Gears of War was still good because it didn't constantly shove the story in your face. I was saying the RPG was bad because it had more of a bad story. If it had more of a good story, I wouldn't have said that. The whole point of this article was talking about how to much of a bad story can ruin a game.

All I'm trying to say is that it's typical for a game like Gears of War to shove less story in your face than a game like ToS, which makes it a little silly to say. I admitted I disagree, but I'm not including that in my reasoning.

And why does this matter? My point was that the game was worse because it had more story that was bad. It doesn't matter if it's typical for FPS games to have less story than an RPG. What matters is that because it had less story it was better. I'm not trying to argue that Epic made a conscious decision to have little story in Gears of Wart. The second game tends to disagree with me there. But in the end it did have little story which allowed the game to be saved by the game play, while Tales of Symphonia didn't do that. What genre these games belonged to is irrelevant. Why you are arguing against what I said just because one game is an FPS and the other is an RPG is beyond me, since that doesn't have anything to do with my point that a bad story doesn't necessarily ruin a game.

I almost ragequitted. When I got to the Sonic Unleashed part it was almost as distracting as if I was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and Osama Bin Laden were to burst in the door carrying a beer keg and an AK47.

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