Favorite and least favorite in-game lore

For me, my favorite in-game lore has to be the Mass Effect franchise. Sure, Mass Effect 3's ending killed the very lore that made Mass Effect good in the first place, but at least its spirit lives on within the minds, hearts, and souls of fanboys like myself. I just loved the way BioWare made that franchise more than just "stop the ancient Reapers from committing galaxy-wide mass genocide," by not only creating all those unique alien species, but also making them feel like real people via their respective histories and cultures. If anything, the Mass Effect saga might as well have no Reapers to save the galaxy from at all, and it would still be awesome, because it would still have that deep, intricate lore BioWare poured blood, sweat, and tears creating, just as they normally do with most of their other games.

As for what I believe is the crappiest lore in video games, it would have to be Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary storyline. Sure, it's actually a game-mode, and not a full-blown game in itself, but I'm putting it in anyway because it's still a fictional in-game universe with its own lore, albeit one that sucks like the rest of Subspace Emissary. Even with the backstory explained on the Smash Bros. Dojo site, it still was one big convoluted nightmare, one that makes even the idea of this mode being the only quicker way to unlock hidden characters pale in comparison!

Now, granted, I actually liked Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in spite of all of those complaints like tripping and the lack of Melee's speed. The reason was because it was still such a great game, even after four years since its first release. It's just that I'm only saying that the Subspace Emissary story sucked, just not the rest of the game that was actually good, and more than enough to compensate for that mode regardless.

What about you, and why?

The Deus Ex lore has always been fascinating to me. The direction of technology development more so than the corporations/governments stuff, but both are done really well. The technology angle is why I enjoy the Half Life and Portal lore as well.

I can't think of a game off the top of my head where the lore absolutely sucked - I guess I find the Elder Scrolls stuff amazingly convoluted and hard to follow simply because of how much is there, but it's not exactly bad. Just messy.

That's really hard to say because I like a lot of different lore for different reasons.

Planescape is superb.
WoD (Vampire: The Masquerade) is rich and details.

Play both of those games and you get that feeling that it is so much more than just this one game you are playing right now (which is 100% the case as they are P&P RPGs first).

I really like the World of Darkness lore )old obviously, the new one doesn't have much there). At the same time it can also be really irritating and stupid. Case in point: the Tal'mahe'Ra. To put it into perspective (and a spoiler for size)

Thankfully, they got wiped out when their HQ was worst than nuked.

Also, anther example. Samuel Haight. Sure, organisations, global conspiracies, ancient beings - they can all be overpowered. Ol' Sammy there is a single dude who is... how should I put it - imagine a twinked min-maxed character. You know them, right? The player would have spent a lot of time to track down, compile and assure the working of the most broken combinations of powers, rules, effects and everything. Well, think Pun-Pun - that's close enough, although Samuel doesn't have quite the same power level, only the method he reached it similar. So yeah, Samuel Haight is sort of the Pun-Pun in the World of Darkness. Only with one difference - he's a legitimate in-universe character. While Pun-Pun relies on some perhaps rather obscure rules and loopholes, Samuel Haight is the result of some writers going "Let's see how much we can push this concept." and going overboard with giving him stuff.

Here are a couple more for me:

Favorite Lore: While Golden Sun and GS: Lost Age were both criticized for their lackluster lore, I thought it was pretty okay, not the best in the world but enough to get me more into the far superior psynergy-driven puzzles, collectible djinn, and turn-based battle system. I liked the way it told the same story through two opposing sides, neither of them the true heroes or villains. I also enjoyed the idea of alchemy simply being Golden Sun's equivalent of Final Fantasy 1's elemental-crystals and FF7's life-stream, and while it wasn't original, at least it was done well.

Least Favorite Lore: Remember when I mentioned Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary storyline? Well, that game wasn't the only fighting game with a crappy lore, as there were plenty of other fighting games with lore so awful that they might as well not even exist, like Street Fighter, Dead or Alive, and Soul Caliber. I think the reason it's like this is because when you're trying to incorporate a story in a video game, it's usually a lot easier to do so if multiple heroes on the same side worked together as a team despite their many differences, which is better accomplished in RPGs and action/adventures. Fighting games, on the other hand, don't have the luxury to do that, because all those alleged "good guys" are often forced against their will to kill each other to determine who gets to fight the main-antagonist, as opposed to unite against said antagonist like any normal band of heroes would!

Seriously, Chun-Li and Guile are both trying to avenge their loved-ones respective deaths at the hands of M. Bison, and yet they have to fight each other to determine which one of them gets to fight that villain, while the loser is left to rot? Seriously, I didn't see Cloud and Tifa do the same thing as those two Street Fighter characters, because they were... you know, working together against a common enemy, rather than killing each other to determine who gets to fight said enemy while the other does nothing?

im with you on Mass Effect. i love the universe Bioware created...then destroyed. but still.

also, Halo is similarly awesome.

my least favorite has to be Final Fantasy. i mean, i have no idea what to make of it.

The Fallout universe is my favorite lore. It's intriguing and dark enough to make me want to read every damn journal and listen to every holotape.

I however was not overly impressed with what Mass Effect offered and despite the many hours sunk into TES I'm not taken with that lore either.

Don't laugh but Halo. The Fall of Reach was an awesome sci-fi book that the game Reach pretty much crapped all over, but still. There was another in the series too, not that crappy Flood book but the one that came out after that that delt with the other surviving Spartans and their sacrifices and current location that was also awesome.

Can't think of a least right now.

Favorite: Final Fantasy XI: Online. It is a great and severely underrated game as far as story and lore are concerned.

Least favorite: Soul Calibur. Seriously...it just needs to stop. Same story and ending every single time. Just circle and fill in which applies best to get the main campaign of just about every single Soul Calibur game:

I, _______, am searching for the (Soul Calibur/Soul Edge) to defeat _______, destroy the (Soul Calibur/Soul Edge), and (restore balance and order to the world/bring utter chaos to the world).

Age of Mythology. Yes, I know it's all real mythology. That's why I like it so much; it's educational.

Mass Effect. In the first one, I spent a good amount of time just reading all of it.

Favorite: There are many good examples, many of which have already been mentioned. One that hasn't been mentioned is Myst - I like the way it gave you books to read and a world to piece together.

One for the wall of shame is Dragon Age, particularly 2. It's like Eragon in that it's both incredibly derivative, yet somehow manages to fail where the things it's derivative of succeed. There are exceptions - the dwarves, for instance, belong in a much better fantasy universe.

My favorite is, without a doubt, Halo. But, that's mostly because of the books, so if you're talking about JUST in game stuff... I guess it'd be a pretty close four way tie:

Dragon Age
Assassin's Creed
Alan Wake
Chrono Trigger/Cross (which is odd, as I've yet to beat Cross)

I just love the characters and the stuff they go through. And Ezio Auditore may be one of the greatest heroes and characters I've ever seen in a game.

Now, for le...

WAIT.

I see that someone else said Halo, hold on one second.

Swyftstar:
Don't laugh but Halo. The Fall of Reach was an awesome sci-fi book that the game Reach pretty much crapped all over, but still. There was another in the series too, not that crappy Flood book but the one that came out after that that delt with the other surviving Spartans and their sacrifices and current location that was also awesome.

Can't think of a least right now.

Just so you know, a lot of information in Halsey's journal, as well as stuff released on Halo Waypoint's site, clears up the vast majority of plot holes Reach created. The Halo universe is tighter than ever now that 343 took over.

EDIT: Totally forgot to continue on with "least". Well, then, my least favorite has to be, as much as I love the game, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. It's just... I don't know. The story is great in it's own right, but if you look at the lore behind it, it's so dull and odd and nonsensical. I won't spoil it for those that want to beat the game and find out for themselves, but yeah... it's no masterpiece.

A close second would have to be Castlevania. I've never been a huge fan of the series but dear GOD is the lore convoluted.

Vykrel:
my least favorite has to be Final Fantasy. i mean, i have no idea what to make of it.

That could be because Final Fantasy isn't just one world with one lore, it's 14+ distinct worlds each with their own distinct lore.

ZeroMachine:
My favorite is, without a doubt, Halo. But, that's mostly because of the books, so if you're talking about JUST in game stuff... I guess it'd be a pretty close four way tie:

Dragon Age
Assassin's Creed
Alan Wake
Chrono Trigger/Cross (which is odd, as I've yet to beat Cross)

I just love the characters and the stuff they go through. And Ezio Auditore may be one of the greatest heroes and characters I've ever seen in a game.

Now, for le...

WAIT.

I see that someone else said Halo, hold on one second.

Swyftstar:
Don't laugh but Halo. The Fall of Reach was an awesome sci-fi book that the game Reach pretty much crapped all over, but still. There was another in the series too, not that crappy Flood book but the one that came out after that that delt with the other surviving Spartans and their sacrifices and current location that was also awesome.

Can't think of a least right now.

Just so you know, a lot of information in Halsey's journal, as well as stuff released on Halo Waypoint's site, clears up the vast majority of plot holes Reach created. The Halo universe is tighter than ever now that 343 took over.

If you want, it doesn't have to be game-stuff, provided that it's a spin-off to a game that reveals additional lore the game alone couldn't provide, rather than just from the game itself alone. In other words, yes, you can count the Halo novels, since after all, Halo did start out as a video game, and the books were spun-off from that video game series.

EternalNothingness:

ZeroMachine:
My favorite is, without a doubt, Halo. But, that's mostly because of the books, so if you're talking about JUST in game stuff... I guess it'd be a pretty close four way tie:

Dragon Age
Assassin's Creed
Alan Wake
Chrono Trigger/Cross (which is odd, as I've yet to beat Cross)

I just love the characters and the stuff they go through. And Ezio Auditore may be one of the greatest heroes and characters I've ever seen in a game.

Now, for le...

WAIT.

I see that someone else said Halo, hold on one second.

Swyftstar:
Don't laugh but Halo. The Fall of Reach was an awesome sci-fi book that the game Reach pretty much crapped all over, but still. There was another in the series too, not that crappy Flood book but the one that came out after that that delt with the other surviving Spartans and their sacrifices and current location that was also awesome.

Can't think of a least right now.

Just so you know, a lot of information in Halsey's journal, as well as stuff released on Halo Waypoint's site, clears up the vast majority of plot holes Reach created. The Halo universe is tighter than ever now that 343 took over.

If you want, it doesn't have to be game-stuff, provided that it's a spin-off to a game that reveals additional lore the game alone couldn't provide, rather than just from the game itself alone. In other words, yes, you can count the Halo novels, since after all, Halo did start out as a video game, and the books were spun-off from that video game series.

Oh, then hell yeah. Halo is my #1, by far.

Well since you said that books count... Halo. :)

Favorite lore: Half-Life.

I still want an official Half-Life game set in the Seven Hour War or the immediate aftermath. You know, some kind of story and setting where the Combine's technology hasn't been integrated to a significant extent, if at all.

Hell, didn't a few snippets of cut HL2 dialogue say that the Citadels were literally dropped out of the sky through the portal storms? That would be pretty cool to see, and could even provide a new benchmark-worthy scene if there's a bunch of lighting and particle effects. And for all the Adrian Shepard fans (of which I am one), perhaps that could be the game that brings him back, only to lock him back up or kill him once the war is over.

Least-favorite lore: Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

I'm going to have to agree with a lot of people. While Brawl was a great game, Subspace Emissary was convoluted, confusing, messy, and didn't offer much depth or character growth. It was just a shoehorned story mode that was created to replace the Adventure mode, which wasn't all that bad to begin with. Don't fix what ain't broke, Nintendo.

EDIT: Wait...an EternalNothingness thread? That's not about how much you think Sonic sucks!? Color me impressed.

Favourite: Assassin's Creed. Particularly number 2. I loved the way you unearth that stretching conspiracy going from some of the first humans to modern day, and the conspiracy itself.

Least Favourite: I don't think anything I can think of deserves the spot. It's going to be some fighting game or something that'll win due to it being shoehorned in for no reason. Or some really old game like Gubble that no-one's heard of.

BEST: The Ansem reports from the first game.

WORST: The reports from Birth by Sleep.

I'm going purely off of what they do to the story.

Elder Scrolls lore is my favourite lore.
Though that is also the problem with the game, it's a world driven narrative rather than a character.

But all of the Mythologies, and Cultures, and People are all really well thought out and recorded in a manner that our history was.
A lot of contradictions not out of inconsistencies but because they took into account who was recording the lore. What was their cultural lens that they viewed the world with.
One of my favourite stories showing this is:
http://www.imperial-library.info/content/ancient-tales-dwemer-part-xi-azura-and-box

The ending of the story is different from each culture.
The Dunmer say she knew the big picture all along and cursed him.
The Altmer say she, the flawed non-Altmer god, was tricked by some simple stage magic.
The Dwemer version.. Doesn't exist anymore, their ending that contradicts the religion and view of gods were forgotten in light of the better more truthful ending.

As for my least favourite lore..
Probably Silverfall's lore. There's little of it but it's still there.
The whole premise, to me, seemed like they were trying to tackle the Technology vs. Magic that was a popular theme of Arcanum.. But without all of the philosophy.
Also tree hugging elves.

canadamus_prime:

Vykrel:
my least favorite has to be Final Fantasy. i mean, i have no idea what to make of it.

That could be because Final Fantasy isn't just one world with one lore, it's 14+ distinct worlds each with their own distinct lore.

to this day i'm still puzzled that people don't understand this, yet go on and on about how horrible the games are. *sigh*

OT:

Favorite in game lore? hard to say...

probably mass effect, even after that abysmal ending. I just like all the races and how everything works together the way it does. If there was one game that I had become reality, that would be in my top 5.

least favorite, would probably be borderlands, not that there was much, but the ending mixed in with the absolute shit no civilization that everything is in that game, i'd probably say that. (although the game was still alot of fun.)

Lilani:
Favorite: Final Fantasy XI: Online. It is a great and severely underrated game as far as story and lore are concerned.

Least favorite: Soul Calibur. Seriously...it just needs to stop. Same story and ending every single time. Just circle and fill in which applies best to get the main campaign of just about every single Soul Calibur game:

I, _______, am searching for the (Soul Calibur/Soul Edge) to defeat _______, destroy the (Soul Calibur/Soul Edge), and (restore balance and order to the world/bring utter chaos to the world).

Have you played SCV? So fucking funny, it's like the story writers were MALFESTED! just scraping the bottom of the cliche barrel while heaping scoops of awkward into the mix.

You take it from here Max XD

OT: Hmmmmm, I feel like I need to mention Dark Souls in this... Every single lore related thing is implied and there are almost zero direct facts in there.

You need to have a base foundation of facts which you can imply stuff from, DS just has a miasma of implications that could mean absolutely anything.

I would love to get into the lore of that game but if I have to go and read the wiki to get the very base story and character arcs then the game has failed completely. For example Ashe Lake is supposedly the base of the wrold and it supports the entire world above it and was the place where the last dragons died. How do i know this? Because NorthenLion mentioned it in his LP...

'K good lore, good lore... Well ME as the OP says is epic lore-wise. I am really drawing a blank here, all the story driven games i'm thinking of don't have "lore" exactly... The Ace Attorney games and Persona 4 probably don't count as having proper lore do they?

Umm, Bioshock! I'm gonna go with Bioshock! And Portal 1 and 2, though the lore is sorta dampened by it actually being set in the HL universe, in my opinion anyway.

 

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