Zero Punctuation: Top 5 of 2012

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Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for. This makes the game to damn easy. Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win. I'm getting sick and tired shooters being easy this generation. More need to go back to how the Serious Sam or Half Life series treats health and cover. You get health packs (or wall mounted health refill stations) sporadically and there is only the most minimal of cover. Only then will shooters return to respectability. Shame Spec Ops did not go this route.
This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list and be left forgotten. (though I won't say it is bottom 5\10 whatever deserving as the game works and has a good story)

Nazulu:

FallenMessiah88:

MegaManOfNumbers:

I believe that's the point of the newfangled terminology.

Perhaps, but that still doesn't make it any less stupid. People claim that it's to distinguish between different sub genres of shooters which is all fine and good. The problem is that it's a derotagory term. I don't particularly like romantic comedies, but I don't go around using terms like "Kissykissypukebarf" to describe them.

That's the whole point mate. He's sick of seeing these samey, bland, mainstream appealing, triple AAA FPS's and believes they are the lowest form of gaming, so he's giving them a name that he thinks suits these games.

Sometimes artists do controversial things like this, and it's completely understandable that not everyone can follow their notion, or just thinks it's silly because everyone likes to do things differently. He's made his point though, Croshaw made it very clear what he is sick of seeing in modern day shooters. So you can think of it as it ticks him off as much as this term ticks you off.

FallenMessiah88:
I would actually prefer to use the word "romcom", especially if I wan't people to take my opinion seriously.

Maybe from the beginning when these repetitive military shooters were being over developed, but it's been going on for so long now that it doesn't really matter if certain people can't take you seriously. I think this new name is the step up from that, making it clear where you stand on the issue.

I'm curious if Yahtzee would name CoD4 SGWW, I found that game to be a really good experience.

You're missing the point. Think of this as a debate. One one side you have people who dislike modern military shooters and on the other side you have people who like modern military shooters. This is about proper debate etiquette. It doesn't matter if you think your opponent is hitler reincarnated. If you can't even be bothered to adress them on equal terms, then why should anybody bother with you and your opinon.

If you and I were having a debate and I kept referring to you as "Mr. Stupid" then it doesn't really matter how good I think my case is as it might end up hurting my argument in the eyes of the audience.

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for.

(emphasis mine)

Guess what? The entire point of Spec Ops: The Line was to sucker you into thinking 'oh, boy, another generic modern-day shooter' so that it can then subvert all your expectations for the story, which is the most important part. The mechanics serve the plot.

leet_x1337:

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for.

(emphasis mine)

Guess what? The entire point of Spec Ops: The Line was to sucker you into thinking 'oh, boy, another generic modern-day shooter' so that it can then subvert all your expectations for the story, which is the most important part. The mechanics serve the plot.

As I've said the mechanics still make it a shit game despite the story. I only played it because people kept saying how revolutionary the story was. But in the end the gameplay being so fucking simple made me bored to tears of the game long before it was over. Shit game overall just like 99% of all games with regenerating health and\or a heavy emphasis on cover based shooting. Spec Ops violates both those sins and is piss easy because of it. A good story does not redeem it. That good story would have been better served in a game with either different mechanics or not in a game @ all but instead a movie or book (or 2).
I'm just glad I did not pay for this hot turd sundae of a game.

Captcha = pin money.
No Captcha I'm not giving you any money either.

The7Sins:
As I've said the mechanics still make it a shit game despite the story. I only played it because people kept saying how revolutionary the story was. But in the end the gameplay being so fucking simple made me bored to tears of the game long before it was over. Shit game overall just like 99% of all games with regenerating health and\or a heavy emphasis on cover based shooting. Spec Ops violates both those sins and is piss easy because of it. A good story does not redeem it. That good story would have been better served in a game with either different mechanics or not in a game @ all but instead a movie or book (or 2).
I'm just glad I did not pay for this hot turd sundae of a game.

Captcha = pin money.
No Captcha I'm not giving you any money either.

Facts and opinions.

Stop treating it like it's the worst game ever, just because it happens to play like Gears of War with less ammo. There's one thing that it doesn't violate - you actually have to aim or else you'll run out of bullets.

Edit: The Walking Dead, as many people here have already pointed out, doesn't even have that much gameplay besides dialogue choices and the odd quick-time event, yet it's also on this list for its story. I don't see you slamming it. What's the difference?

(This is gonna be good.)

I am surprised Steel Battalion isn't the worst as Yahtzee declared it unplayable. Surely even really awful gameplay is better than being unable to use controls?

leet_x1337:

The7Sins:
As I've said the mechanics still make it a shit game despite the story. I only played it because people kept saying how revolutionary the story was. But in the end the gameplay being so fucking simple made me bored to tears of the game long before it was over. Shit game overall just like 99% of all games with regenerating health and\or a heavy emphasis on cover based shooting. Spec Ops violates both those sins and is piss easy because of it. A good story does not redeem it. That good story would have been better served in a game with either different mechanics or not in a game @ all but instead a movie or book (or 2).
I'm just glad I did not pay for this hot turd sundae of a game.

Captcha = pin money.
No Captcha I'm not giving you any money either.

Facts and opinions.

Stop treating it like it's the worst game ever, just because it happens to play like Gears of War with less ammo. There's one thing that it doesn't violate - you actually have to aim or else you'll run out of bullets.

Edit: The Walking Dead, as many people here have already pointed out, doesn't even have that much gameplay besides dialogue choices and the odd quick-time event, yet it's also on this list for its story. I don't see you slamming it. What's the difference?

(This is gonna be good.)

?????? When have I said it was one of the worst games ever? Go on I'll wait for you to find it. Is the game bad? Yes. Is it deserving of any sort of spot on worst games of the year list? No. In my original post I point out its not even one of the worst games of the year let alone ever as you imply I've said. The game however despite not being Steel Battalion, ME3, or Diablo 3 bad is still a bad game. The game by its very nature of being to damn easy for a shooter makes it a bad game and I'm appalled anyone could have it in there top 5 games and anyone who does either has not played a lot of games on the year or need there damn head examined.

The7Sins:
The game by its very nature of being to damn easy for a shooter makes it a bad game and I'm appalled anyone could have it in there top 5 games and anyone who does either has not played a lot of games on the year or need there damn head examined.

Facts. And. Opinions.

This is not a difficult concept. Stop treating your opinion - that Spec Ops' story isn't enough to redeem its gameplay - as a fact. Unless you're actually capable of doing that, this conversation is over.

That wire hanger abortion joke made me feel sick. That's honestly all I have to say about this since I've mostly played indie games and shit like Morrowind which is 10 years old this year. I mean last year. Dammit.

leet_x1337:

The7Sins:
The game by its very nature of being to damn easy for a shooter makes it a bad game and I'm appalled anyone could have it in there top 5 games and anyone who does either has not played a lot of games on the year or need there damn head examined.

Facts. And. Opinions.

This is not a difficult concept. Stop treating your opinion - that Spec Ops' story isn't enough to redeem its gameplay - as a fact. Unless you're actually capable of doing that, this conversation is over.

I've said why it is a bad game. You have yet to prove why it is not with the exception of saying the story was good which I agree on. However you have not refuted why it is a bad game due to its gameplay and mechanics. In the end yes this conversation can end since you have not had much of anything constructive to say to me. And stop complaining that someone calls a bad game out on being bad rather than being unable to see reason just because it has a good story.

Hitchmeister:
People are still complaining about "Escort Quest: The Game?" Did the fact that a game built around the most annoying aspect of any game ever turned out to suck surprise anyone?

Well, he's quite fond of Ico, as I recall, so it's not surprising that this one upset him a little bit. There can be good games built around the escort mechanic. Amy just wasn't.

OT: I more or less agree with most of the list. Not sure about Neverdead's place at the bottom, since it was at least attempting to shake things up a little bit, but I suppose that, experiment or not, it doesn't really get excused for how broken the detachment system is at times. Also wouldn't have thought Dishonored would have made it into the top. I mean, he did praise the stealth/world-building, but considering that he stuck Walking Dead, which is all about character development, on his list, I wouldn't have thought a game where the character development is shite/non-existent would have made the cut. Still, I enjoyed it, so it's nice to see it getting some praise.

FallenMessiah88:

Nazulu:

FallenMessiah88:

Perhaps, but that still doesn't make it any less stupid. People claim that it's to distinguish between different sub genres of shooters which is all fine and good. The problem is that it's a derotagory term. I don't particularly like romantic comedies, but I don't go around using terms like "Kissykissypukebarf" to describe them.

That's the whole point mate. He's sick of seeing these samey, bland, mainstream appealing, triple AAA FPS's and believes they are the lowest form of gaming, so he's giving them a name that he thinks suits these games.

Sometimes artists do controversial things like this, and it's completely understandable that not everyone can follow their notion, or just thinks it's silly because everyone likes to do things differently. He's made his point though, Croshaw made it very clear what he is sick of seeing in modern day shooters. So you can think of it as it ticks him off as much as this term ticks you off.

FallenMessiah88:
I would actually prefer to use the word "romcom", especially if I wan't people to take my opinion seriously.

Maybe from the beginning when these repetitive military shooters were being over developed, but it's been going on for so long now that it doesn't really matter if certain people can't take you seriously. I think this new name is the step up from that, making it clear where you stand on the issue.

I'm curious if Yahtzee would name CoD4 SGWW, I found that game to be a really good experience.

You're missing the point. Think of this as a debate. One one side you have people who dislike modern military shooters and on the other side you have people who like modern military shooters. This is about proper debate etiquette. It doesn't matter if you think your opponent is hitler reincarnated. If you can't even be bothered to adress them on equal terms, then why should anybody bother with you and your opinon.

If you and I were having a debate and I kept referring to you as "Mr. Stupid" then it doesn't really matter how good I think my case is as it might end up hurting my argument in the eyes of the audience.

I'm not missing the point, and I don't see why I have to see this as a debate, and calling people names is very different than labeling something crap (though in the past we've had many debates about who is evil scum and who deserves to die).

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you're being a little sensitive here. There has always been entertainment called rubbish and many other names, and as far as I see it, SGWW is just a more humorous version of that.

warmachine:
I am surprised Steel Battalion isn't the worst as Yahtzee declared it unplayable. Surely even really awful gameplay is better than being unable to use controls?

I'm guessing he's also basing his choices on the impact they had on the industry, because I never would of heard of SB while I heard of Amy as soon as it came out, but maybe that's just me.

Also, you can think of it like this just as a side example. Do you think Zelda fans would rather talk about a partially terrible Zelda game or Steel Batallion which already most can declare as useless? Yahzee as a survival horror fan might take Amy more personally, but I don't have facts for that either.

Nazulu:
I'm not missing the point, and I don't see why I have to see this as a debate, and calling people names is very different than labeling something crap (though in the past we've had many debates about who is evil scum and who deserves to die).

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you're being a little sensitive here. There has always been entertainment called rubbish and many other names, and as far as I see it, SGWW is just a more humorous version of that.

The way I see it, this is a debate, as evidenced by all the topics about it. Hell, almost every time Yahtzee or any other contributer makes a video about it, the comment sections often turns into a debate about the validity of modern military shooters.

So yeah, to me this is a debate and right now it seems like the "anti" side doesn't want to debate on equal terms, unless of course spunkgargleweewee suddenly becomes a self-deprecating term. Then I probably wouldn't have any problem with it.

Maybe I am being a bit too sensitive. More than anything I guess I'm just a little bit jaded by both the gameing industry as well as the gaming community. Too much ill will for my taste.

FallenMessiah88:

Nazulu:
I'm not missing the point, and I don't see why I have to see this as a debate, and calling people names is very different than labeling something crap (though in the past we've had many debates about who is evil scum and who deserves to die).

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you're being a little sensitive here. There has always been entertainment called rubbish and many other names, and as far as I see it, SGWW is just a more humorous version of that.

The way I see it, this is a debate, as evidenced by all the topics about it. Hell, almost every time Yahtzee or any other contributer makes a video about it, the comment sections often turns into a debate about the validity of modern military shooters.

So yeah, to me this is a debate and right now it seems like the "anti" side doesn't want to debate on equal terms, unless of course spunkgargleweewee suddenly becomes a self-deprecating term. Then I probably wouldn't have any problem with it.

Maybe I am being a bit too sensitive. More than anything I guess I'm just a little bit jaded by both the gameing industry as well as the gaming community. Too much ill will for my taste.

How often do you see any one who wants to discuss this on even terms? I find it so rare, you need to be passive to both sides. I'm basically saying the only way to get an 'even' look into both sides is to find the positives and negatives, both extremes if the case calls for it. I don't know exactly what you mean by ill will, but you also have to cancel out any one that's judging unfairly, if you can do that.

I guess the only way to start a real debate here is by looking at all the comments and finding the people that go into such detail, not any one can just do that, especially if you're jaded.

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for. This makes the game to damn easy. Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win. I'm getting sick and tired shooters being easy this generation. More need to go back to how the Serious Sam or Half Life series treats health and cover. You get health packs (or wall mounted health refill stations) sporadically and there is only the most minimal of cover. Only then will shooters return to respectability. Shame Spec Ops did not go this route.
This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list and be left forgotten. (though I won't say it is bottom 5\10 whatever deserving as the game works and has a good story)

You have to try and understand, the people that rate this game so high have included that the story is as much a part of the game as the game play itself (well, more, I think). I completely understand what you're getting at, I'm still trying to figure out if I'd consider certain story based games (Walking Dead) really games. I have noticed that a lot of people here actually prefer a good story over good game play, and would even consider my opinion an insult, but I'm on the fence about it so far and I try to judge the experience as a whole.

It seems to be that black and white, is the story/narrative a part of the game as much as the game play or not? And does good story telling make up for average game play is another? I believe the best way to answer this is the judge the experience in general and how the game play (as little as it may be) added to it. Obviously, if you think the game would have been better as a movie then it will be a problem.

charliesbass:

I wouldn't say he hates Mass Effect, just that he thinks there's too much story and not enough game and that the gameplay isn't strong enough to hold everything up and certain aspects of the game suffer because of it. I'd say he rips on it about the same as most other games he reviews.

No, he's pretty fair to it, though I disagree with him. Not to mention the cover based shooting mechanics and the genre confusion it seems to have between RPG and Action. It was pretty clear he simply didn't like it. Though his experience with Dragon Age seems to be much more personal and dear to him, which is interesting in general.

JoaoJatoba:

Second, Dude!

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=117825586

If a GAME says it'll change based on how I play and that the GAME adapts to the choices I make, I greatly expect that either the gameplay or the story will change (gameplay + story = video game, for me), which I just didn't see happening so far. That's my only complain about TWD! They say on the first title screen that and that doesn't happen.

I get WHAT the game is about! It's about relations. It's about Lee and Clementine, how the grow together and how they interact with the other characters, and not about how you can change your fate. On the story level, it's wonderful and beautiful, but it doesn't change the fact that I, and I alone, feel there is an unfulfilled promise that the designers of the game stamped on the front of each episode. If that little warning before each episode was not on the game, I would not be ranting at all.

This game series adapts to the choices you make. It adapts is tailored to how you play.

Without giving away the ending, I'm going to say that this is true. And yes, I was very annoyed during initial playthroughs with the seeming lack of "choice" until I realized something very true. Lee has a plethora of choices, but like everyone in this situation, they're all reacting to what happens to them. They aren't acting per se. They are in a situation they can't easily get out of, like most characters. Aristotle generally heralded plot over character (though this is generally treated as if he thought character was unimportant, but that's not true, he just felt plot was something that happened to people rather than driven by people), and this hasn't really changed since.

But the game isn't lying. It is "tailored" to your choices. Like a suit is tailored to you. You can't choose the pattern on the suit, but you can make it fit. And that is what The Walking Dead is trying to do - make Lee fit you. Lee can change by your actions.

This is why I use Mass Effect as an example. This is a game series heralded for choice and had entire backlash of the ending is due to that. Though I never expected the ending to be that much of a choice as it hadn't been the entire time through. The plot structure of Paragon and Renegade isn't that much different, and yet it's treated as if it is. However there are very few "moral dillemmas" in the game, with a few great standouts (Rachnar Queen, Legion's loyalty mission, Mordin's development, etc). TWD is full of these dilemmas, and while the plot moves on with and without Lee's consent,

I likened Mass Effect's players' role to that of a film director. In the dialog wheel you don't choose dialog, you choose subtext. Shepard is "your" Shepard, but s/he isn't you. You cast him/her, and told him/her where to go, and what her choices are. But that's where the interaction lies. You could say the same about Lee.

I really would like to discuss the ending with you in the near future, but I can't say it or even my opinion of it without ruining it for you.

What I say is that going back and replaying it episode by episode to see how different things pan out can ruin it for you. It almost did for me. I decided around Episode 3 to play the whole thing blind and realized what it was trying to do. My feelings on the ending are mixed, but I have to say that it very much is tailored to you as a player. The percentage boards at the end of each episode also emphasize choice - though I think by now it's a bit flawed mainly due to people replaying it a lot now, whereas when it was initially released episodically the feedback was more instant.

I think Alpha Protocol is a better example of branching storylines. You even need to play through it multiple times to actually understand what the plot is about. Protagonists and Antagonists change based on your decisions even. This doesn't happen in any other game I've played that heralded choice so much, and Alpha Protocol barely marketed it that way, and people felt it to be a poor mans Mass Effect (it also introduced timed conversations, something followed by Deus Ex: Human Revolution and The Walking Dead). That and Planescape: Torment.

But I preferred the emotional experience I got out of The Walking Dead. I think the reason is consequence. You get a feeling of weight and consequence to your actions by the end. The game then asks the question, how much do these kinds of choices mean in this world?

Ed130:

If you hit quote for each different person they will stack up in the 'Reply to Thread' box.

All you have to do is snip the posts and Bam! everyone gets a quoted message in their inbox!

It'll help keep other posters and (possibly) mods off your case.

Thanks, trying it now.

lollerskating:
That wire hanger abortion joke made me feel sick. That's honestly all I have to say about this since I've mostly played indie games and shit like Morrowind which is 10 years old this year. I mean last year. Dammit.

Yeah, that hit me a bit weird, too.

However, this was a great year for indie games, wasn't it? outside of Amy, most of the titles released this year have been rather amazing.

finally trying out Spec Ops The Line this weekend :)

I still don't see why Spec Ops or The Walking Dead is hailed as being really really good. Spec Ops moreso after having gone through each of the endings and seeing no real change. It just felt like the game was Black Ops' story set in Dubai... with cover based combat. So much cover based combat. *shudders* Oh and you get to choose whether to off yourself, go home or be an asshole hypocrite at the end of the game.

I still think the best game of the year was Virtue's Last Reward. Best thing I've played all year.

JoaoJatoba:
Most people won't, but with more than one story inside a game, you appeal to a broader audience, as long those stories are well developed, and I believe this is possible, even with a bigger budget game. If you are a publisher, that would sound profitable.

Given that for the branching story to not be utter shit (see Mass Effect 3, Deus Ex: Human Revolution endings) they'd have to make each choice thematically consistent, it's not going to attract a broader audience at all. It's going to attract the exact same audience, with the exception that they've wasted a whole bunch of money on something that nobody but those of us spergy enough to spend large amounts of time on internet forums are going to touch.

Also hi astro!

jmarquiso:
Without giving away the ending, I'm going to say that this is true. And yes, I was very annoyed during initial playthroughs with the seeming lack of "choice" until I realized something very true. Lee has a plethora of choices, but like everyone in this situation, they're all reacting to what happens to them. They aren't acting per se. They are in a situation they can't easily get out of, like most characters. Aristotle generally heralded plot over character (though this is generally treated as if he thought character was unimportant, but that's not true, he just felt plot was something that happened to people rather than driven by people), and this hasn't really changed since.

There are two types of narrative: character driven and plot driven. Respectively Romanticism and Realism. The first one tries to convey ideas in the form of characters and events, things have a meaning, they symbolize something. The second is about human nature, and tries to show how humans are and how they react to the events they face. Obviously, TWD is Realist in this aspect. However, realist character do not change in the course of the narrative, because of the nature of realist narrative. So in the Walking Dead, you could say that Lee doesn't change, you as a player are making him as he "really is" as the story goes (tabula rasa thingy)... Actually, I think, since there is no right answer, Lee becomes our avatar, and we are the ones reacting to the world. Lee is us.

jmarquiso:
But the game isn't lying. It is "tailored" to your choices. Like a suit is tailored to you. You can't choose the pattern on the suit, but you can make it fit. And that is what The Walking Dead is trying to do - make Lee fit you. Lee can change by your actions.

Are you sure that when you go buy a suit you don't choose the pattern? Because I do (^_^). And about Lee changing, well, that isn't entirely true. See above.

jmarquiso:
What I say is that going back and replaying it episode by episode to see how different things pan out can ruin it for you. It almost did for me. I decided around Episode 3 to play the whole thing blind and realized what it was trying to do. My feelings on the ending are mixed, but I have to say that it very much is tailored to you as a player. The percentage boards at the end of each episode also emphasize choice - though I think by now it's a bit flawed mainly due to people replaying it a lot now, whereas when it was initially released episodically the feedback was more instant.

jmarquiso:
I really would like to discuss the ending with you in the near future, but I can't say it or even my opinion of it without ruining it for you.

Let us suspend the discussion of the end 'till I reach it. I'm getting there. =)

hm, my top game of the year would have to be Journey. Wasn't much else deserving to be on the list in my opinion, but admittedly I'm not into XCOM's kinda party, I haven't played Walking Dead, I though Spec Ops was indeed important, but it was so depressing by its own rights and by all the games it was point to from the past few years that honestly, I just want to shake its hand and then forget about it.
There was Mass Effect 3, but while choosing to see the rest of the game as unspoiled by the end is perfectly valid and i respect it, it's not the way I see it, and for me, while the game was still bloody good, the ending did rob it of top 5/10/whatever status for me:(
Far Cry 3 does sound good, Ima pick it up eventually. Dishonored waaaaas... Not terrific, but it's definitely to be applauded for being a new IP and a good one, this late in the console cycle.
Worst game of 2012 for me? Amy. Definitely Amy. Good god was that game bad. There was a whole lot of "meh" this year, but Amy was a whole lot of "...fuuuuuuuuuck..."

Nazulu:

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for. This makes the game to damn easy. Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win. I'm getting sick and tired shooters being easy this generation. More need to go back to how the Serious Sam or Half Life series treats health and cover. You get health packs (or wall mounted health refill stations) sporadically and there is only the most minimal of cover. Only then will shooters return to respectability. Shame Spec Ops did not go this route.
This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list and be left forgotten. (though I won't say it is bottom 5\10 whatever deserving as the game works and has a good story)

You have to try and understand, the people that rate this game so high have included that the story is as much a part of the game as the game play itself (well, more, I think). I completely understand what you're getting at, I'm still trying to figure out if I'd consider certain story based games (Walking Dead) really games. I have noticed that a lot of people here actually prefer a good story over good game play, and would even consider my opinion an insult, but I'm on the fence about it so far and I try to judge the experience as a whole.

It seems to be that black and white, is the story/narrative a part of the game as much as the game play or not? And does good story telling make up for average game play is another? I believe the best way to answer this is the judge the experience in general and how the game play (as little as it may be) added to it. Obviously, if you think the game would have been better as a movie then it will be a problem.

I prefer both. If the gameplay is the best of all time but the story is migraine inducing when paid attention to (Final Fantasy 10 being a good example) then the game is bad (bonus points for suck if the game has bad characters in its main cast). But if the story is awesome but the gameplay utter shit the game as well is also bad (Spec Ops being the example of such here).
And I'm with you on the Walking Dead. I only barely qualify it as a game. It is more of an interactive story than a game. The only things that give it that small % of being a game is that the decisions are on a timer and it is possible if you screw up to get a game over and have to restart from the last check point. However Walking Dead despite barely qualifying as a game is 10000000 times more of a game than a couple of games released this year. Dear Esther and Journey respectively. Now those 2 are just glorified books.

And I do thanks you for not having an accusatory tone with me and berating me just because I find Spec Ops to be bad as has already happened to me in this very thread.

The7Sins:
I prefer both. If the gameplay is the best of all time but the story is migraine inducing when paid attention to (Final Fantasy 10 being a good example) then the game is bad (bonus points for suck if the game has bad characters in its main cast). But if the story is awesome but the gameplay utter shit the game as well is also bad (Spec Ops being the example of such here).
And I'm with you on the Walking Dead. I only barely qualify it as a game. It is more of an interactive story than a game. The only things that give it that small % of being a game is that the decisions are on a timer and it is possible if you screw up to get a game over and have to restart from the last check point. However Walking Dead despite barely qualifying as a game is 10000000 times more of a game than a couple of games released this year. Dear Esther and Journey respectively. Now those 2 are just glorified books.

Fair enough. I believe when one part is poorly done it can drag down the quality of the game. A shit-hole story would ruin my experience as well (just like SC2) even if the game play was good.

The7Sins:
And I do thanks you for not having an accusatory tone with me and berating me just because I find Spec Ops to be bad.

I'm over sensitive fans as well. Every time I say something against Nintendo some prick will tell me 'haters gonna hate' or something similar they wouldn't dare say to my face.

Did this sound like a Monty Python sketch to anyone else?

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for. This makes the game to damn easy. Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win. I'm getting sick and tired shooters being easy this generation. More need to go back to how the Serious Sam or Half Life series treats health and cover. You get health packs (or wall mounted health refill stations) sporadically and there is only the most minimal of cover. Only then will shooters return to respectability. Shame Spec Ops did not go this route.
This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list and be left forgotten. (though I won't say it is bottom 5\10 whatever deserving as the game works and has a good story)

Spec Ops was not meant to be a good game to play, that's the entire point. At it's simplest level it's a game that mocks modern shooter games. It's gameplay is designed to be clichéd, dull and as ridiculous as every other shooter just to lull you into a false sense of security so your not ready for the story to come in and bitchslap you.

Spec Ops isn't great because of the gameplay it's great because it actually tells a story. It takes all the tropes of modern shooters shows you the darker side of them and goes "this is the result of all your power fantasies". It's designed to send a message to gamers about how fucked up our collective fetish for virtual military glorification is.

There's a great line at the end "You're only here because you wanted to be something your not, a hero". That's not just being said to Walker but to us as well. We could stop playing after the mortar section but we don't, we could stop after the truck crash, we could stop after the helicopter but we don't; we keep playing, we have to finish the game and because of that we get to watch all the horrors we unleashed.

I have never played a game that has that kind of effect, not even 'deep' RPGs have managed to get that kind of reaction out of me. That alone is worth a game of the year. We wan't games to be taken as seriously as films or books, this is the kind of stuff we need to be making.

As an extra go look up the Extra Credit videos on the game, they do a much better job of explaining it than I ever could.

As for the other stuff, meh not that interested. Played shooters like that and tbh they aren't that great, dunno if it's just a lack of nostalgia (never played them when I was younger) but if there was a shift back to that kind of style I wouldn't be that impressed.

JoaoJatoba:

There are two types of narrative: character driven and plot driven. Respectively Romanticism and Realism. The first one tries to convey ideas in the form of characters and events, things have a meaning, they symbolize something. The second is about human nature, and tries to show how humans are and how they react to the events they face. Obviously, TWD is Realist in this aspect. However, realist character do not change in the course of the narrative, because of the nature of realist narrative. So in the Walking Dead, you could say that Lee doesn't change, you as a player are making him as he "really is" as the story goes (tabula rasa thingy)... Actually, I think, since there is no right answer, Lee becomes our avatar, and we are the ones reacting to the world. Lee is us.

There's a number of things here that are true. I'm a character guy myself and happen to disagree with Aristotle on this very point. The Iliad - for example - is somewhat plot, somewhat character driven. It's a tapestry of confused narrative mess that doesn't fit the ideal structure that the Odyssey gave birth to. But it's operatic and wonderful, and I wouldn't replace it for anything. It still heads toward an inevitable end, and my favorite characters are on the losing side, but there you go.

On Topic - I don't see Lee as a tabula rasa. I see the player as entering his life at a very specific time in his life and being able to help direct where he goes. Lee is pretty much defined, and when you find out whether a certain aspect of his past is true or not well that's definitely not something *you* did or did not do. It's something Lee did, and very much defines who he is at the start of the game.

That said, the best arc in my version of the game is Kenny's, followed by Clem (much like the best arc in Mass Effect is Mordin). Not everyone got this arc, from what I understand. And yet similar enough events happen. Everyone got Mordin's arc. Not everyone is going to get Kenny's, or Ben's, or Paul's, or whomever else they had with them.

JoaoJatoba:

jmarquiso:
But the game isn't lying. It is "tailored" to your choices. Like a suit is tailored to you. You can't choose the pattern on the suit, but you can make it fit. And that is what The Walking Dead is trying to do - make Lee fit you. Lee can change by your actions.

Are you sure that when you go buy a suit you don't choose the pattern? Because I do (^_^). And about Lee changing, well, that isn't entirely true. See above.

When you "buy" a suit yes, but when you're given one it takes awhile to get tailored. You already bought the pattern, it's a zombie game called The Walking Dead. Playing the game tailors it to you. That's how I see it.

JoaoJatoba:

jmarquiso:
What I say is that going back and replaying it episode by episode to see how different things pan out can ruin it for you. It almost did for me. I decided around Episode 3 to play the whole thing blind and realized what it was trying to do. My feelings on the ending are mixed, but I have to say that it very much is tailored to you as a player. The percentage boards at the end of each episode also emphasize choice - though I think by now it's a bit flawed mainly due to people replaying it a lot now, whereas when it was initially released episodically the feedback was more instant.

Good! This is what I did. It made me like the game more. There are some different character things that happen if you save one person over the other, though. That come up later. Which is funny because in my playthrough I basically missed it as I solved the mystery before I could talk to that character. I still haven't gone back just to find out what that was.

JoaoJatoba:

jmarquiso:
I really would like to discuss the ending with you in the near future, but I can't say it or even my opinion of it without ruining it for you.

Let us suspend the discussion of the end 'till I reach it. I'm getting there. =)

I look forward to it. Feel free to send me a PM.

When I got to the ending, my friend (who'd just finished the night before) was on Steam Chat with me asking me how far I got, and what I'd done at that point, etc. He couldn't WAIT to talk to me about it.

Nile McMorrow:
I still don't see why Spec Ops or The Walking Dead is hailed as being really really good. Spec Ops moreso after having gone through each of the endings and seeing no real change. It just felt like the game was Black Ops' story set in Dubai... with cover based combat. So much cover based combat. *shudders* Oh and you get to choose whether to off yourself, go home or be an asshole hypocrite at the end of the game.

I still think the best game of the year was Virtue's Last Reward. Best thing I've played all year.

Did you pay attention to a single word of praise for sepc ops? The reason it is so adored if for how it effectively critiques the absurdity of modern military shooters. The generic gameplay helps drive that message, a bland modern war game, but one that does not shy away from showing you the consequences of your actions.

Karma168:

The7Sins:
Did Spec ops have a good story and narrative? Yes. But was it a good game? Hell no. It is a generic third person shooter with the bane of shooting regenerating health tacked on in addition to the cover mechanics that third person games are known for. This makes the game to damn easy. Games though not needing to be Dark Souls level hard need to have some challenge otherwise the game may as well have been presented in the form of a movie or two for how much interaction is needed to win. I'm getting sick and tired shooters being easy this generation. More need to go back to how the Serious Sam or Half Life series treats health and cover. You get health packs (or wall mounted health refill stations) sporadically and there is only the most minimal of cover. Only then will shooters return to respectability. Shame Spec Ops did not go this route.
This alone being just another generic and easy as fuck third person shooter is why it should be disqualified from any sane persons top games list and be left forgotten. (though I won't say it is bottom 5\10 whatever deserving as the game works and has a good story)

Spec Ops was not meant to be a good game to play, that's the entire point. At it's simplest level it's a game that mocks modern shooter games. It's gameplay is designed to be clichéd, dull and as ridiculous as every other shooter just to lull you into a false sense of security so your not ready for the story to come in and bitchslap you.

Spec Ops isn't great because of the gameplay it's great because it actually tells a story. It takes all the tropes of modern shooters shows you the darker side of them and goes "this is the result of all your power fantasies". It's designed to send a message to gamers about how fucked up our collective fetish for virtual military glorification is.

There's a great line at the end "You're only here because you wanted to be something your not, a hero". That's not just being said to Walker but to us as well. We could stop playing after the mortar section but we don't, we could stop after the truck crash, we could stop after the helicopter but we don't; we keep playing, we have to finish the game and because of that we get to watch all the horrors we unleashed.

I have never played a game that has that kind of effect, not even 'deep' RPGs have managed to get that kind of reaction out of me. That alone is worth a game of the year. We wan't games to be taken as seriously as films or books, this is the kind of stuff we need to be making.

As an extra go look up the Extra Credit videos on the game, they do a much better job of explaining it than I ever could.

As for the other stuff, meh not that interested. Played shooters like that and tbh they aren't that great, dunno if it's just a lack of nostalgia (never played them when I was younger) but if there was a shift back to that kind of style I wouldn't be that impressed.

Except that the game still was a bad game because of the bad gameplay and controls to the point of making the game to fucking easy. Is the story good? Yes. Does a good story alone make a good game? Hell no. And it does not matter if it took the guise of a modern shooter to be ironic (a statement I doubt is true and only something fans made up to justify the horrid game's gameplay that yet happens to be a modern military shooter with a good story) if it goes to far on using the mechanics of a modern military shooter so as to make it to fucking easy. To easy of a game = boring. Boring game = bad game. Made worse when it is a bad shooter due to using regenerating health and\or a heavy cover system when we know how to make good shooters thanks to the likes of the Serious Sam and Half Life series among others.
If a game's story is excellent but its game mechanics make it a horrid game then that game is better served either having better mechanics from games that are good or just not being a game @ all but instead being a movie or book.

Spec Ops regardless of story is shit due to its gameplay very much like how if a game has a shit story but awesome gameplay (ala FF 10) it is also shit. Plain and simple. And anyone who seriously has it in there top 5 of the year either has not played a lot of games released this year, or needs to have there head examined.
Is Spec Ops one of the bottom 5\10 worst games of the year either? No as well but not being insanely bad is not a point in its favor. The game is one of the worst shooters I've played (I only played it because of its story). I'm just glad I did spend any money on this failure of a game.

Now I'm gonna stop my rant here. You did not even check to see if maybe I already argued the same points with someone else which I did on this very page no less. Go read my other quotes if you want more responses. Albeit they are more of the same some longer some shorter.

And I do not watch Extra Credits. There opinions are usually pretentious drivel and after they showed there true colors in how they left the Escapist I won't give them the ad revenue by clicking any of there videos.

jmarquiso:
On Topic - I don't see Lee as a tabula rasa. I see the player as entering his life at a very specific time in his life and being able to help direct where he goes. Lee is pretty much defined, and when you find out whether a certain aspect of his past is true or not well that's definitely not something *you* did or did not do. It's something Lee did, and very much defines who he is at the start of the game.

The only thing certain about Lee is that he's a convict murderer, a university teacher and a little about his family. We don't know why he did it. We fill the blanks from there on... Every choice "makes" Lee what we want him to be: Does he care about Clementine? Is he selfish? Can help others? The answer is given by us on the gameplay. So even with some baggage (i.e. a vaguely defined past), Lee is defined by his actions and since we choose for him, he is pretty much what we want him to be...

Nazulu:
How often do you see any one who wants to discuss this on even terms? I find it so rare, you need to be passive to both sides. I'm basically saying the only way to get an 'even' look into both sides is to find the positives and negatives, both extremes if the case calls for it. I don't know exactly what you mean by ill will, but you also have to cancel out any one that's judging unfairly, if you can do that.

I guess the only way to start a real debate here is by looking at all the comments and finding the people that go into such detail, not any one can just do that, especially if you're jaded.

You're right. What I meant is that the "anti" side and the "pro" side are now on even more uneven terms. Then again, maybe it's not such a big deal since the debate really wasn't all that balanced to begin with. That's also what I meant with ill will. Sometimes both sides seem more interested in villifying each other than having a good debate. Bue yeah, everybody is biased to some degree so the best solution would be to simply get an unbiased persons opinion.

Also, jaded might be the wrong word. It's not that I don't care anymore but more that I have a lot of other things going on right now. In the end I guess it's more about a lack of energy on my part.

That's a surprising list.

So what's the current Game of the Year standing for Zero Punctuation?

2007: Portal
2008: Saints Row 2
2009: Batman: Arkham Asylum
2010: Just Cause 2
2011: Portal 2
2012: Spec Ops: The Line

Makes me wonder what next year will bring...well...I guess I mean this year since it's already 2013.

I suppose I can be curious about next year too.

I agree with most of the top ones that I played. The Walking Dead was good, but it was no where near as good as everyone is saying it is. Also, Playstation All Stars is pretty good, too. It actually way better than I thought it would be, and I thought it would be decent. Definitely better than that shit that Brawl turned out to be.

StashAugustine:

Therumancer:

Well Spec-Ops: The Line is mostly a left wing anti-war/anti-military wank dressed up as a game. It's really great if you happen to agree with it's message, then you can claim it's profound, needed commentary, on something people try and overlook. If you belong to the other 50% of the population then it's just a mediocre game with a misguided piece of political propaganda sewn in which it insists on constantly bludgeoning you over the head and shoulders with.

As a result, "Spec-Ops: The Line" is something a critic, like Yahtzee can praise on the merits of it's message, if they happen to agree (which you might guess Yahtzee does, given all of his anti-US military rants in various reviews), but something a person with more pretensions of being a reviewer can't in good conscience lionize because really aside from that "message" it has nothing going on, and really it's something not everyone is going to agree with.

Not trying to be confrontational, but did you play The Line? I was actually very surprised at how understated the explicit anti-war elements were. It's more focused on deconstructing the mindset of a shooter protagonist. There are a few bits where it brings up current events (surprise surprise the CIA is evil) but aside from that it's relatively apolitical. I liked it because it's a fairly convincing portrayal of a man's tragic fall mixed with a deconstruction of shooters.

I'm not a big shooter fan, but when I heard about this one and it's profound statements I watched a few "Let's Plays" of it, I get the point pretty well. Where we (and other responders) differ is that I think your seperating the game genere from it's subject matter too much, when this was a criticism of the subject matter through the shooter.

Yahtzee frequently goes off about how shooters have some invariably American protaganist go goes running all over the place killing everyone like he's the hero of his own personal war movie, oftentimes in historical settings (like World War II) where the rest of the world would rather just forget it all happened. In this case I think the game was criticizing the subject matter as much as the medium.... it was however a double whammy.

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