Undertale May Be This Year's Best Written Game

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Undertale May Be This Year's Best Written Game

It's been a pretty solid couple of weeks for video game storytelling. Soma and The Beginner's Guide did okay, and of course there's Undertale, which I have been hankering for an opportunity to talk about at length.

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Still here? And still haven't played it? I can't blame you, it's not an enormously good argument to sell the game with. I mean, how would you even know it's the kind of game you'd like? Well, if it helps, it is at time of writing sitting at the top of the Metacritic charts for PC games released in the last 90 days, and at number 11 of the all-time list. So you don't have to take my word for it. Now kindly bog off and play the sodding thing through to the end before the next paragraph starts. Both ends, ideally.

I'll get right on that, as soon as I have a gaming budget again. I have not been able to afford any games since Super Mario Maker, so the next several months have been classified as "Steam Backlog time" until I have my finances in order.

But this game does look pretty dang top. I wish more comedy games would have good writing instead of whatever bullshit lazy cynical 'humor' they usually aim for. I still have bad memories of how stupid [i}Hail to the Chimp[/i] was.

P.S. Thanks

I liked the Genocide run, The two fights you actually have in that run really hit home for me the lengths at which they're going to crush you like the monster you are. The thing is Undertale would have been crap without the Genocide ending. You aren't acting morally good if its literally the only option. Knowing it's there, even if you never take part elevates the other two.

Seeing Yahtzee write an article about Undertale fills you with DETERMINATION.

OT: I had a really good time with this game. Cried like a child in the True Ending. Went in blind on my first run, looked up how to Pacifist on my second. Best 10$ I spent on a game. (Best other 10$ on the soundtrack also)

I'll probably never reset to make a Genocide Run, however. I'm too emotionally attached to the characters to do that.

I still disagree with the notion that you should not make a Zero Punctuation video out of this game. Partially because your videos tend to be fun as hell to watch, but also because otherwise you would deny this game a chance to reach your list of Top 5 2015 games - a chance it would otherwise seem to have very good odds to go for.

Besides that, I agree with just about every word. Loved the game too, and like Zacharious-khan above says, the very presence of the genocide option, even if I'll never take it, only further drives home the impact of the true ending.

Hence the reason i refuse to play "the asshole" run of choices, back through a telltale series to see what difference, if any, they make; already too heavily invested in those characters. Cannot play Undertale with no PC, so i read away. Oops. Really must stop doing that.

A friend of mine tried to get me to buy this game by showing me a let's play. It went over the segment where you met Papyrus and visit him in his home.

I'm not sold. My issue is that I have very little tolerance for outright silliness, and that seemed to be a large chunk of how the game works. I mean, I didn't care for Earthbound when I tried to play it, and everyone seems to be drawing parallels between that game and Undertale. Quirkiness for its own sake isn't something that appeals to me, and that seems to be most of what everyone seems to like about it.

It also doesn't help that people can't seem to talk about the game without spoiling plot points. "It's great, just go play it! I can't tell you why without ruining it!" isn't a great way to get me interested in a game. Yatzee even says it himself.

So there's not a lot of gameplay, and the story isn't my cup of tea. I'm not sure what to think about this game.

I'd still like to hear some thoughts; something this good should be worth playing, but first impressions have left me skeptical.

Does this mean the game is likely to end up on your Best Of list this year, or will you be arbitrarily sticking to your rule that only games you've featured on the show are eligible?

SlumlordThanatos:
A friend of mine tried to get me to buy this game by showing me a let's play. It went over the segment where you met Papyrus and visit him in his home.

I'm not sold. My issue is that I have very little tolerance for outright silliness, and that seemed to be a large chunk of how the game works. I mean, I didn't care for Earthbound when I tried to play it, and everyone seems to be drawing parallels between that game and Undertale. Quirkiness for its own sake isn't something that appeals to me, and that seems to be most of what everyone seems to like about it.

It also doesn't help that people can't seem to talk about the game without spoiling plot points. "It's great, just go play it! I can't tell you why without ruining it!" isn't a great way to get me interested in a game. Yatzee even says it himself.

So there's not a lot of gameplay, and the story isn't my cup of tea. I'm not sure what to think about this game.

I'd still like to hear some thoughts; something this good should be worth playing, but first impressions have left me skeptical.

Try the demo. It's free and goes far enough to give you a decent idea on why the game is so good.

Steve the Pocket:
Does this mean the game is likely to end up on your Best Of list this year, or will you be arbitrarily sticking to your rule that only games you've featured on the show are eligible?

Please don't exclude Undertale. It deserves, at the very least, an honorable mention. You can always put a giant spoiler warning at the very beginning, Yahtzee.

I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Covarr:
I'll get right on that, as soon as I have a gaming budget again.

Yahtzee forgot to mention, the game is $10. Anyone can afford it right now!

Zacharious-khan:
I liked the Genocide run, The two fights you actually have in that run really hit home for me the lengths at which they're going to crush you like the monster you are. The thing is Undertale would have been crap without the Genocide ending. You aren't acting morally good if its literally the only option. Knowing it's there, even if you never take part elevates the other two.

I like it too. The Genocide run has the two hardest bosses in the game, providing some legitimate challenge if you'd already finished everything else the game had to offer. The final boss in Genocide in particular is so hard it feels amazing when you finally win. It gets almost Dark Soulish - you're killed so quickly you wonder if you're even supposed to be able to win, but then you start learning the patterns and in the end you aren't getting hit at all....

SlumlordThanatos:
A friend of mine tried to get me to buy this game by showing me a let's play. It went over the segment where you met Papyrus and visit him in his home.

I'm not sold. My issue is that I have very little tolerance for outright silliness, and that seemed to be a large chunk of how the game works.

So go through the game only in Genocide mode. You should get more than enough entertainment. There's absolutely no silliness to be found there.

The game really has something for everyone.

Gul:
I still disagree with the notion that you should not make a Zero Punctuation video out of this game. Partially because your videos tend to be fun as hell to watch, but also because otherwise you would deny this game a chance to reach your list of Top 5 2015 games - a chance it would otherwise seem to have very good odds to go for.

Besides that, I agree with just about every word. Loved the game too, and like Zacharious-khan above says, the very presence of the genocide option, even if I'll never take it, only further drives home the impact of the true ending.

I guess his logic is that if he really likes a game, it's harder to make a funny video out of it. His best ones are where he really lets a bad game have it.

Thanatos2k:
I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Agreed. And honestly, the sheer level of detail with choices and options just blows my mind. It's a "choices matter" game that actually has choices that matter, but also goes up and beyond.

And what I find amusing about the genocide route and Yahtzee's comments on it...

Darth_Payn:
I guess his logic is that if he really likes a game, it's harder to make a funny video out of it. His best ones are where he really lets a bad game have it.

This is of course entirely true, but it still feels kind of bad that Undertale will be snubbed in awards.

Gul:
I still disagree with the notion that you should not make a Zero Punctuation video out of this game. Partially because your videos tend to be fun as hell to watch, but also because otherwise you would deny this game a chance to reach your list of Top 5 2015 games - a chance it would otherwise seem to have very good odds to go for.

This right here is a review, or at least enough of one to count as a loophole, I think. That said though, a proper episode would be awesome as he goes a little more into detail on some of his reactions to thing that happen in the game, and maybe more detail on his response to the genocide run.

Luminous_Umbra:

And what I find amusing about the genocide route and Yahtzee's comments on it...

Honestly his comments are so perfect it makes me wonder exactly how much he knows about the run. Cause it's main highlight is how it deals with that problem of "you have to do it to see all the content."

Thanatos2k:
I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Eh...while I would say it's pretty good, it's such a slog to play through if you don't like bullet hells. It falls into the same trap alot of story heavy games do that aren't puzzles or P&Cs, in that it is much better to watch than it is to play. Honestly can't give it GOTY, still Witcher3 for me.

And that's a bit unfair, Nier innovated through it being an alternate universe in a game series, not just something brand new. But I will half-agree that some of the soundtrack is pretty good, especially God of Hyperdeath and the Bone Polka.

Thanatos2k:
Yahtzee forgot to mention, the game is $10. Anyone can afford it right now!

If I skip a few meals, sure. I'm genuinely not exaggerating when I say that budget really is that tight at the moment.

P.S. Thanks

Seriously, am I the only one who finds this game kinda hypocritical?

Literally everything is trying to kill you, but you're a terrible person for killing in self defense.

In the genocide run

I dunno, it's a wonderful game and all, but It's definitely on the lower end of my top ten RPGs, not the summit. And I feel that the success of this game is gonna start another flood of "artsy" "retro" indie games trying to latch on to the success like remoras. which I'll totally hold against it.

Undertale is hands-down GOTY for me. It's been a long time since a game made me feel giddy like a kid again and that Neutral final boss battle man...my eyes were the size of dinner plates.

EyeReaper:
Seriously, am I the only one who finds this game kinda hypocritical?

Literally everything is trying to kill you, but you're a terrible person for killing in self defense.

In the genocide run

There's a vast difference between killing in self-defense and going on an outright genocide run. The game doesn't particularly condemn you for the former, aside from a character or two, certainly not constantly rubbing in how terrible person you are.

But if you go on a genocide run, then yes, you are pretty terrible.

Anyway, one of the game's messages is that if you can solve problems peacefully, then you probably should. You can be justified to kill someone in self-defense, but you know, it's really probably not the best thing you could do - and also keep in mind that even if you do defend yourself and beat enemies up rather than trying to befriend them, you can still spare them when they're sufficiently wounded. If you insist on dealing the final blow even when it's entirely unnecessary, then you can probably expect someone to call you out on it.

Also,

Redryhno:

Thanatos2k:
I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Eh...while I would say it's pretty good, it's such a slog to play through if you don't like bullet hells. It falls into the same trap alot of story heavy games do that aren't puzzles or P&Cs, in that it is much better to watch than it is to play. Honestly can't give it GOTY, still Witcher3 for me.

No way is it more fun to watch this game than to play it. It's pure exhilaration to beat bosses and respond to new attacks and the various tricks the game plays with your interface.

And that's a bit unfair, Nier innovated through it being an alternate universe in a game series, not just something brand new.

Uh, if Square had never said that Nier was related to Drakengard, no one would have drawn that conclusion. They really have nothing in common, especially storywise.

Luminous_Umbra:

Thanatos2k:
I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Agreed. And honestly, the sheer level of detail with choices and options just blows my mind. It's a "choices matter" game that actually has choices that matter, but also goes up and beyond.

And what I find amusing about the genocide route and Yahtzee's comments on it...

It gets even more meta.

The game knows exactly what you're doing.

Thanatos2k:
snip

Uh, if Square had never said that Nier was related to Drakengard, no one would have drawn that conclusion. They really have nothing in common, especially storywise.

Apparently there was a planned interquel before Cavia went under.

Fair question - is "best written game" enough to qualify as "best game"?

Thanatos2k:

Redryhno:

Thanatos2k:
I mean it's not just best written game of the year, it's straight up game of the year. Every boss is a pure joy to fight, and the game has some seriously subtle meta humor. It's also absolutely masterful at building expectations and then subverting them.

Oh, and the best game soundtrack since Nier.

Come to think of it, Nier was another game that subverted its genre by integrating elements of bullet hell shooters. Interesting....

Eh...while I would say it's pretty good, it's such a slog to play through if you don't like bullet hells. It falls into the same trap alot of story heavy games do that aren't puzzles or P&Cs, in that it is much better to watch than it is to play. Honestly can't give it GOTY, still Witcher3 for me.

No way is it more fun to watch this game than to play it. It's pure exhilaration to beat bosses and respond to new attacks and the various tricks the game plays with your interface.

Subjectivity HO!

And like I said, if you don't like bullet hells, *HINT*HINT* it's a bit of a slog. I don't mind the new tricks, I'm glad that the mechanics change. Doesn't make it less boring that all you're doing is dodging, spamming the mercy button, and downing food to keep your hp up long enough to trigger the peaceful outcome. Hell, I'd say that outside of what happens in the box, the gameplay is bare bones.

Johnny Novgorod:
Fair question - is "best written game" enough to qualify as "best game"?

Apparently so...sucks that it released this close to the end of the year, because I have a feeling it's going to be another Dragon Age Inquisition, where it wins a dozen awards or something, and then people will look back about a month later and go, "I really want to play that again", start playing and then go, "wait...THIS is what I thought GOTY was?". Granted, there's going to be at least some people that still like it, but it just didn't hit anything for me. Maybe it's just a bunch of hipsters and genuine Earthbound/Mother series fans talking it up or something.(was never all that interested in it myself)

Redryhno:

Thanatos2k:

Redryhno:

Eh...while I would say it's pretty good, it's such a slog to play through if you don't like bullet hells. It falls into the same trap alot of story heavy games do that aren't puzzles or P&Cs, in that it is much better to watch than it is to play. Honestly can't give it GOTY, still Witcher3 for me.

No way is it more fun to watch this game than to play it. It's pure exhilaration to beat bosses and respond to new attacks and the various tricks the game plays with your interface.

Subjectivity HO!

And like I said, if you don't like bullet hells, *HINT*HINT* it's a bit of a slog. I don't mind the new tricks, I'm glad that the mechanics change. Doesn't make it less boring that all you're doing is dodging, spamming the mercy button, and downing food to keep your hp up long enough to trigger the peaceful outcome. Hell, I'd say that outside of what happens in the box, the gameplay is bare bones.

This sounds like...."If you're bad at the game it's not fun."

Which...sure, ok? Avoiding attacks IS the battle system. If you came wanting regular turn based combat you really came to the wrong place.

I mean, what's the difference between attacking every turn and sitting there every turn? You deal "damage" to the enemy and then have to avoid the counterattack. It's really the same either way.

Dark Souls is not a bad game if you can't beat it. Shadow of the Colossus is not a bad game if you can't figure out where the weak points are and give up. This game is not a bad game if you're unable to adapt to the battle system. This game is in fact a really really good game. Perfectly avoiding attacks long enough to win the battle is fun as hell.

Zacharious-khan:
I liked the Genocide run, The two fights you actually have in that run really hit home for me the lengths at which they're going to crush you like the monster you are. The thing is Undertale would have been crap without the Genocide ending. You aren't acting morally good if its literally the only option. Knowing it's there, even if you never take part elevates the other two.

I'd really agree here. If the Genocide option didn't exist, then it would just be 'what if we make an RPG where instead of fighting the monsters, you befriend them?'

Thanatos2k:
So go through the game only in Genocide mode. You should get more than enough entertainment. There's absolutely no silliness to be found there.

That's the other problem. I'm not a sociopath.

I want to care about the characters, but being mildly annoying isn't a reason for me to kill everything. It is, however, reason enough for me to want to avoid them.

I can deal with a little silliness, but watching the fight with Papyrus just put me off of the game. A bad first impression, I suppose.

The game really has something for everyone.

I'd also like to point out that there is no such thing as a piece of entertainment that appeals to everyone. I don't care for the art style, I don't care for the meta-humor, and I don't care for the combat system. That doesn't make the game bad...I just don't think that it's for me.

Thanatos2k:

Redryhno:

Thanatos2k:

No way is it more fun to watch this game than to play it. It's pure exhilaration to beat bosses and respond to new attacks and the various tricks the game plays with your interface.

Subjectivity HO!

And like I said, if you don't like bullet hells, *HINT*HINT* it's a bit of a slog. I don't mind the new tricks, I'm glad that the mechanics change. Doesn't make it less boring that all you're doing is dodging, spamming the mercy button, and downing food to keep your hp up long enough to trigger the peaceful outcome. Hell, I'd say that outside of what happens in the box, the gameplay is bare bones.

This sounds like...."If you're bad at the game it's not fun."

Which...sure, ok? Avoiding attacks IS the battle system. If you came wanting regular turn based combat you really came to the wrong place.

Right....because saying "I don't like this" automatically means "I'm bad"...I got halfway through the genocide run's final boss(trying not to spoil, I think you know who I'm talking about) fight without using healing dude. I enjoy and have beaten some of the harder Osu beatmaps. No armor, no shield, all dodge/parry DS1&2 runs. It's not about being bad, it's about "I find this very annoying, to a point that it isn't enjoyable to play this game even though I enjoy the dialogue and story".

SlumlordThanatos:
I want to care about the characters, but being mildly annoying isn't a reason for me to kill everything. It is, however, reason enough for me to want to avoid them.

I can deal with a little silliness, but watching the fight with Papyrus just put me off of the game. A bad first impression, I suppose.

Again, you might wish to give the demo a try. It's where most of us got the first impression from - and a far better one, for that matter.

EyeReaper:
Seriously, am I the only one who finds this game kinda hypocritical?

Literally everything is trying to kill you, but you're a terrible person for killing in self defense.

In the genocide run

I dunno, it's a wonderful game and all, but It's definitely on the lower end of my top ten RPGs, not the summit. And I feel that the success of this game is gonna start another flood of "artsy" "retro" indie games trying to latch on to the success like remoras. which I'll totally hold against it.

First off The indie community already has a ton retro artsy games. Hell I would call it a stretch to call this game artsy. Second while this game has a pretty rabid fanbase the actual sales numbers are only OK.

Eric the Orange:

EyeReaper:
Seriously, am I the only one who finds this game kinda hypocritical?

Literally everything is trying to kill you, but you're a terrible person for killing in self defense.

In the genocide run

I dunno, it's a wonderful game and all, but It's definitely on the lower end of my top ten RPGs, not the summit. And I feel that the success of this game is gonna start another flood of "artsy" "retro" indie games trying to latch on to the success like remoras. which I'll totally hold against it.

First off The indie community already has a ton retro artsy games. Hell I would call it a stretch to call this game artsy. Second while this game has a pretty rabid fanbase the actual sales numbers are only OK.

Eh, it's sorta artsy. There's the LOVE and EXP subversions, the pacifist run thing. There's alot of "high-minded criticism" regarding options in games and completionist attitudes.

And as far as the fanbase goes, I haven't been told to go rot in hell yet, so already it's better than my run-ins with the Star Citizen fanbase.

Eric the Orange:
the actual sales numbers are only OK.

I wouldn't call two hundred thousand sold games in a month and a half "only OK". Sure, it's not much by AAA standards, but it's still a pretty good number for an indie game.

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