Why You Should Be a Bit Disappointed With Ori and the Blind Forest

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Why You Should Be a Bit Disappointed With Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest has been getting very good user reviews on Steam, and that makes Yahtzee disappointed in you.

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I feel like I must've been the only player who wasn't emotionally hit by the opening. I simply assumed with prior knowledge of all the acclaim that the game had heaped on it for its story that there was a catch. I was pretty convinced that Naru was an evil creature showing its sensitive side or Ori some sort of unwilling elemental embodiment of nastiness. By the time I realised it was just a benign plot setup, I was already at the tree.

I think Yahztee is going to have to eventually accept that people LIKE the "indie game formula" he decries.

"Why you should like..."

I genuinely thought people were past this garbage. It's kind of a shitty / arrogant way to title your argument and it's something that I've only seen Kotaku / Polygon doing.

Also, you're "disappointed" in people? Boo hoo. You're actually emotionally affected by people liking a game? Congrats, that's a new low.

OT: This might sound weird, but hear me out - "innovation" or "uniqueness" is severely overrated by the gaming press. To the point where they don't seem to care much for the implementation / polish of good mechanics and only seem to care about games that they can talk about, something that generates conversation.

"Unique" games help them do this, while games that "follow the formula" don't, even if they're really good games in terms of how they handle, how they "feel" (that nebulous term when talking about action games), and how good the overall game design is.

I swear it feels like people in the gaming press actually like talking about games than they do playing them. It's why I stopped paying attention to reviews at some point, and just watch a playthrough for an hour or so to make a buying decision.

"Why You Should Be a Bit Disappointed With Ori and the Blind Forest"

:( Yahtzee... No... dont.

That... is ugly. Plain ugly.

"Why you should be quite dissapointed with Bioshock Infinite"

"Why STALKER is the best game EVER made and you SHOULD love it"

Yeah. I should make these :P

To all those nitpicking the title of the article, read the url on the article. The original title is "Ori-and-the-Blind-Forest-Is-More-Style-Over-Substance". It gets edited by someone else after Yahtzee finishes it.

hawk533:
To all those nitpicking the title of the article, read the url on the article. The original title is "Ori-and-the-Blind-Forest-Is-More-Style-Over-Substance". It gets edited by someone else after Yahtzee finishes it.

I've always wondered why there was a different title in the URL for most content

hawk533:
To all those nitpicking the title of the article, read the url on the article. The original title is "Ori-and-the-Blind-Forest-Is-More-Style-Over-Substance". It gets edited by someone else after Yahtzee finishes it.

Ew, you're right, that's horrible.

You know, this is kind of interesting. Changing something as simple as the title from an objective and uncompromising summary to something more akin to buzzfeed-level clickbait changed the whole perspective of the article for the reader, and if the first few comments are anything to go from, really changed the intended message.

Personally, I loved it for the feel of the gameplay, its great OST, and yes, its aesthetics & style. True, the story and themes didn't rate significantly above passable, but they weren't where my focus was, anyway.

Also, who are you to say I'm wrong to love me some sweet animations and particle effects? I'm a 3D artist. It's kind of my thing.

Heh, so many people getting pissed off at yahtzee's blunt opinion. Isn't that what drew most of us to this site to begin with?

I'm also getting tired of the child versus the big evil world, mainly because once you've played one game like this, you've played most of them. The aesthetics can make all the difference, though; which I think is why so many people like the game. Also, given how few people apparently finish the games they play, it wouldn't surprise me if most of them didn't get to that ending and were instead just feeling the emotional pull from the opening.

I had some more to say relating bad coming of age setups with the typical 'through the looking glass' stories, but it doesn't fit this discussion very well.

snave:
I feel like I must've been the only player who wasn't emotionally hit by the opening. I simply assumed with prior knowledge of all the acclaim that the game had heaped on it for its story that there was a catch. I was pretty convinced that Naru was an evil creature showing its sensitive side or Ori some sort of unwilling elemental embodiment of nastiness. By the time I realised it was just a benign plot setup, I was already at the tree.

I think you should place a cross on your forehead and chant "The Lord Jesus commands you spawn of Satan to BEGONE!"

I liked Ori, don't tell me I SHOULDn't you pessimist who finds no joy in anything but the most amazing games ever.

Yahtzee, I think you're the guy that ties The Escapist together. I love ZP and Extra Punctuation, I even follow your Let's Drown Out channel (more than you do, at this point). And because I do I know by heart your policy about NOT checking out user feedback, because you like being The One Aloof Man Outside Society that you usually mock (and also because commentators are usually an insignificant portion of actual viewers/readers anyway). But here's my bit of thinking to the annals of internet pages: nobody likes being told what they should and shouldn't like.

Even if it's just a phrasing thing, don't start an article with HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD DO THIS or HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULDN'T LIKE THAT. Even if someone agrees with the hypothesis of the article, you're still coming across as telling people what to think (shaming them otherwise) rather than offering your own educated insight on the matter. And that's on par with third-rate blogging pundits like Movie Bob. You're way better than that, man.

If you play a metroidvania game for the story and not the gameplay, you have only yourself to blame when you're inevitably disappointed.

Pretty much my excact thoughts on the game, and there is no doubt that art is absolutly beatifull but its story is kinda meh.

As a side note, if the titles of these articles are actually edited do you really need to make such dumb clickbait titles?

Thanatos2k:
I think Yahztee is going to have to eventually accept that people LIKE the "indie game formula" he decries.

He's not saying that it's a bad formula, he's saying it's an overdone formula. He even said that he could have gotten on board with it for this game if they went beyond just using the formula.

I haven't played the game, but despite the criticism I still kind of want to. Call it shallow, but the visuals look absolutely amazing, and I can drudge through an otherwise mediocre games for those

I am not sure I agree with the style over substance allegation. This is something my opinion has changed on over the years, but I would argue that art and animations in a game can be very substantial. Visuals and art style can evoke an incredible amount of emotion and tell you so much about the world and the tone of a piece in a way a wall of text or bit of dialogue likely never could. The art style of a game has a massive impact on what Yahtzee seems to regard as one of, if not the most important aspects of a game, namely the story.

The indie formula is, more broadly, not "large headed child in big scary world" but taking a very simple and easy to code mechanic, and pushing it to its limit to deliver a very emotional piece of fiction. Whether they do this through writing or visuals or whatever, it is a matter of using games to make the non "gamey" elements of their design to shine through in a way many would not regard as possible. Yahtzee's much loved "Papers Please" is an excellent example of this, using very simple mechanics but evoking incredible emotions regarding the morality of your actions through the little bits of dialogue and the grim context of the game itself.

I would speculate that Yahtzee's issue with the game is not style over substance, but what he regarded as a lazy, poorly written, and cheap ending that erased much of the emotion weight of the story.

Pft, I don't deny that the aesthetic of this game is everything to me. And I Don't care. It was masterfully laid over a competent platformer.

And sometimes, that's enough in a world of clunky animations in 3D shooters and First person adventures. Something that connects together so neatly and seamlessly as you play as to feel like a dream.

Every time I see an innocent kid out of their league like this, it reminds me of Telltale's The Walking Dead (season one, I haven't played season two yet). Now there's a game that had problems left and right, but it got something right that other games, this included, tend to mess up: real, complex characters. I don't mind shallow characters in games, but in something story-driven like this, the characters need to be developed enough that any emotions you feel while playing are for the actual character, not for the role that character fills.

Ultimately, the problem with this game is the same as the problem with those "inspiring" videos that get shared on facebook every ten minutes: we're being told to care about events, about what happens to someone, but hardly given a person to care about. You can tell me that a person on their deathbead with cancer got a ton of support and love and maybe a touching letter from their family, but without knowing who that person is, what makes them unique, it ends up feeling saccharine.

If you wanna write cookie-cutter stories as a frame for gameplay, whatever. Do it. But if you really want to make me feel something, I'd really appreciate it if you gave me a developed character to relate to or empathize with, not just a scenario.

P.S. Thanks

First off, shame on the editor or whoever's in charge of headlines. You know better.

Secondly, this is a Nintendo argument. People are gonna like what they're gonna like. The only difference here is while Nintendo games stay in their own garden, indie games like this are the result of almost crowdsourced focus testing. It's derivative, but competent.

Though this reads juuust a bit of "I have concerns that these types of games are going to keep showing up. This might shove more noteworthy titles out of the spotlight, and cause many to miss them." I don't think that's ever going to be the case.

snave:
I feel like I must've been the only player who wasn't emotionally hit by the opening. I simply assumed with prior knowledge of all the acclaim that the game had heaped on it for its story that there was a catch. I was pretty convinced that Naru was an evil creature showing its sensitive side or Ori some sort of unwilling elemental embodiment of nastiness. By the time I realised it was just a benign plot setup, I was already at the tree.

Nah, I felt the same way.

But I like the game. For very good gameplay. It's nothing new, but it is a very good ... and hard ... Metroidvania. And I love Metroidvania.
Story is forgettable though, that is true. And the artstyle kind of bites itself with the difficulty. Like "look how cute we are, it is a real fun kids story NOW DIE A THOUSAND DEATHS IN SPIKES".

sid:

hawk533:
To all those nitpicking the title of the article, read the url on the article. The original title is "Ori-and-the-Blind-Forest-Is-More-Style-Over-Substance". It gets edited by someone else after Yahtzee finishes it.

Ew, you're right, that's horrible.

You know, this is kind of interesting. Changing something as simple as the title from an objective and uncompromising summary to something more akin to buzzfeed-level clickbait changed the whole perspective of the article for the reader, and if the first few comments are anything to go from, really changed the intended message.

Whoever thought of the title is giving Yahtzee and the Escapist a bad name.

Related:

image

Basically, it is not a bad game, but it is an overhyped one with an already used formula.

Like the Last of Us. It is very easy to care for Ellie, specially considering the AI almost never attacks her.

I may still buy it. But... Eh.

sid:

hawk533:
To all those nitpicking the title of the article, read the url on the article. The original title is "Ori-and-the-Blind-Forest-Is-More-Style-Over-Substance". It gets edited by someone else after Yahtzee finishes it.

Ew, you're right, that's horrible.

You know, this is kind of interesting. Changing something as simple as the title from an objective and uncompromising summary to something more akin to buzzfeed-level clickbait changed the whole perspective of the article for the reader, and if the first few comments are anything to go from, really changed the intended message.

Oh goddammit, it's the same problem CRACKED has; they change article titles in the middle of the day, to something LESS accurate to the articles' content and tone. Besides, telling us why our opinion on something WRONG was MovieBob's thing. Remember when he did that for Sucker Punch?

Thanatos2k:
I think Yahztee is going to have to eventually accept that people LIKE the "indie game formula" he decries.

Given that he declared Limbo the 5th Best video game of 2010 and praised Braid, I'd say that he's suggesting that that indie game formula is just as generic as any other formula that gets overused, and developers are probably only using it in order to gather critical acclaim, like all rip-off games do. People also like the Call of Duty style of gameplay in first person shooters and the WoW model for MMOs, it doesn't make the decision to make a game like that any less uninspired.

Not that Braid was the first in the formula, obviously, but chances are it played a big part in this formula becoming a thing.

Darth_Payn:

Oh goddammit, it's the same problem CRACKED has; they change article titles in the middle of the day, to something LESS accurate to the articles' content and tone. Besides, telling us why our opinion on something WRONG was MovieBob's thing. Remember when he did that for Sucker Punch?

And people still act as if MovieBob was telling them that Sucker Punch was a good film (which wasn't the case outside of his original review), though that didn't make it any less pretentious.

Same with Spider-Man 3 which definitely was a "it's not as bad as you think it is" video.

I think Yahtzee makes some good points. (Caveat: I haven't played Ori; given the various complaints I've heard about bugs, overly-exacting controls, unavoidable ambushes, and the plot, I'm not in a rush to do so. Maybe when it's $5 on Steam...)

Naturally, not every game- AAA or "indie"- is going to be a groundbreaking innovator that sets the world on fire. Not even the indies that break from the pack and get enough press coverage to ensure some degree of success when they reach daylight. But I think it's perfectly understandable to feel disappointed by the feeling that one of those "breakaways" fails on a story level, especially when there were few reasons it had to do so. There isn't some marketing Uberboss scowling at these small teams that the consumer test showed that 47% of players were going to take to Twitter and threaten to burn someone's house down unless they got a SuperMegsUltraHappy Ending, so failure to understand the story they're telling on a basic mechanical level is grounds for disappointment.

In fairness, though, I also have to confess I've grown a little tired of games whose unavoidable story mechanic boils down to the idea that everyone involved would have been better off if the player had never started playing. I don't need saccharine, but it's nice to occasionally feel that the protagonist made a positive difference, even if only in his or her own life.

Johnny Novgorod:
Even if it's just a phrasing thing, don't start an article with HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD DO THIS or HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULDN'T LIKE THAT.

As someone else pointed out upthread, it seems that Yahtzee doesn't actually write the final titles for the articles.

As a side note, I find that for some reason I tend to be slightly more wary of games that receive overwhelming praise than I am of ones that just get mostly positive press. For games that generally get a good but not ecstatic reception, I feel like I can still find reviews that point out whatever small-but-real flaws or annoyances the games have, in gameplay or in story. But for games that get this sort of overwhelmingly positive response, I feel like at some point groupthink sets in and no one wants to be the one to point out whatever flaws it may have, effectively making reviews little more than "it's awesome go play it" repeated over and over again.

Sure, sometimes games with the super-positive buzz work out. I loved Shadow of the Colossus, Portal, and Arkham City. Sometimes, though, I end up playing a game I don't enjoy very much that I would have been able to tell I probably wouldn't enjoy if I had been able to get a few reviews about it that weren't covered in little heart-shaped stickers (I'm looking at you, Bioshock Infinite. You too, Borderlands and Ocarina of Time.)

a

Zombie Badger:
I can't see why you're surprised by gamers mistaking surface for incredible artistic depth. They're the same bunch who held up The Last of Us, the most generically generic zombie action adventure story as the pinnacle of artistic accomplishment, and it's protagonist, a brooding middle-aged short-haired white guy with a tortured past involving a dead relative, as a triumph of original characterisation.

To be fair, nobody gave a crap about Joel and all about Ellie, the minor white girl with a dead parent past, no idea of how to not get eaten/screwed by the world apparently, and is continually makes stupid decisions in cutscenes with a mysterious genetic immunity to the zombie stuff that people want ot do experiments on to mass produce into a cure/vaccine/it's not ever exactly all that well explained...also isn't there something about being gay in it too? Or is that Beyond? Or that other Ellen Paige game? I'm not that good at keeping track of game names anymore, they all just sorta blend together.

Am I the only one taking a certain perverse joy in Yahtzee doing to an indie game what indie game enthusiasts have been doing to AAA games for years now?

Raesvelg:
Am I the only one taking a certain perverse joy in Yahtzee doing to an indie game what indie game enthusiasts have been doing to AAA games for years now?

Calling ori an indie title would be stretching it a bit.

Also making an indie game is actually a pretty financially sound idea compared to making an AAA game, so at the start you had a bunch of art and passion projects, but now those projects are mixed in with blatant cash grabs.

Look at Rogue Legacy, those guys had a shoestring budget and cut tons of features b/c they just didn't have the budget for it, and made a KILLING. They say their next game they are going to have a similar budget, even though they definitely have the funding to do better.

I'm sure Yahtzee remains unsurprised at the comments here (although I feel bad about the title edit). I commend him for sticking to his guns. Video games deserve to be looked at so unerringly - it isn't a sign of pessimism, but that the medium is worth taking seriously enough to say "oh, come on". He's absolutely right about the crowd-pandering heartfelt angle... people eat it up, but it is definitely manipulative. But hey. People like to be manipulated. Sometimes it's what they pay for. He knows that. His job is to ask for more out of a medium that needs to be pushed higher and higher, and more often than not I think he's dead on. Good work!

Mind you, you DO have to be careful about "going all the way" with something. Sometimes, it's too much, and it'll just feel really unsatisfying.

Freedom Planet could have had a really sad ending, but they pull a bit of BS to avoid it, and honestly, I think that was the better choice.

If they had gone all the way through with it, it would have felt really wrong, and I'd remember the ending as something bad.

Raesvelg:
Am I the only one taking a certain perverse joy in Yahtzee doing to an indie game what indie game enthusiasts have been doing to AAA games for years now?

Nope, high five buddy!

a

Zombie Badger:

Redryhno:

Zombie Badger:
I can't see why you're surprised by gamers mistaking surface for incredible artistic depth. They're the same bunch who held up The Last of Us, the most generically generic zombie action adventure story as the pinnacle of artistic accomplishment, and it's protagonist, a brooding middle-aged short-haired white guy with a tortured past involving a dead relative, as a triumph of original characterisation.

To be fair, nobody gave a crap about Joel and all about Ellie, the minor white girl with a dead parent past, no idea of how to not get eaten/screwed by the world apparently, and is continually makes stupid decisions in cutscenes with a mysterious genetic immunity to the zombie stuff that people want ot do experiments on to mass produce into a cure/vaccine/it's not ever exactly all that well explained...also isn't there something about being gay in it too? Or is that Beyond? Or that other Ellen Paige game? I'm not that good at keeping track of game names anymore, they all just sorta blend together.

I can't think of any reason for TLoU focusing on Joel beyond him being an author surrogate. Everything interesting happens to Ellie, who's actually a decent character but she's forced into a far more boring character's story.

Ehh....I wouldn't say that, she's honestly a pretty generic character, the only thing differentiating her from the others is that she's in a videogame and not a book, film, or even board game where her archetype is just as prevalent as the middle-aged white guy with violent tendencies to the recently undeceased.

Honestly Ori though could've done with following through on the dead mother being dead, or even just focusing the entire story on getting the mother back and make it a more personal story instead of the global threat you end up thrown into.

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