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Old 08-06-2009, 09:41 AM   #161
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Seems like most folks around here long for the way games were made back in the "old days".

I don't really know what those games were like because I didn't play many AG's until fairly recently, however I hear TLJ mentioned all the time as being the pinnacle of adventure gaming. And if it is, I personally don't see it. Perhaps I didn't give it a proper chance, but I bought the game, (paid a good price for it to), and frankly found it boring. Not because of a lack of action or anything, but I found the puzzles quite ridiculous for the most part, and the story pretty convoluted.

My first AG was actually the first real computer game I ever played back in 99 or so, and that was Amber Journeys Beyond. That game enthralled me for a couple of months (I didn't realize there was something called a walkthrough back then haha). I loved that game, but found something called Half Life shortly after Amber, and got consumed by the FPS genre for years.

And I still like the occasional FPS although my preference is an FPS/RPG, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, but sadly there's very few of them made, so I turned to AG's for something with a little more meat on its bones a couple of years ago. After all, you can only save the world by your lonesome so many times before it starts to become stale.

I guess my point is that I figured games like TLJ and Still Life would be as good as Amber, and in my humble opinion, neither is. I've played some very good AG's, (Indigo, Lost Crown, Culpa, Post Mortem), but none captured my attention like Amber did. Nostalgia? Maybe. However now, looking back, I think it's not so much that Amber was that great, but that the genre hasn't really evolved very much since then, and has even gone backwards in some respects.

Some people here say the FPS or RPG genres haven't evolved either, but while there haven't been radical changes, they've definitely improved the gameplay with smarter AI, squad based tactics, physics, and better dialog options.

I just don't see that with the typical AG. And it seems like every time a dev does take a chance, people don't like it, so they keep pumping out the same thing Amber did over 10 years ago. I mean why not? There're cheaper to make and people buy them.

So I guess I'm in the minority around here, however I have to believe that there's "others of my kind" haha, that want a bit more innovation.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:50 PM   #162
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Saving the world in Mirror's Edge involves a combination of skills and, yes, brains. The world in this game is one giant puzzle to navigate. As such,
this game may not translate well into one that you can play by solving adventure game type puzzles. Click the image or here to see how this game handles both story and challenges in ways essentially similar to adventure games.


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Originally Posted by mgeorge View Post
And I still like the occasional FPS although my preference is an FPS/RPG, Deus Ex, System Shock 2, but sadly there's very few of them made, so I turned to AG's for something with a little more meat on its bones a couple of years ago. After all, you can only save the world by your lonesome so many times before it starts to become stale.
What do you mean by "a little more meat on its bones"? Do you mean to say that a given adventure game is more substantial than a good game that features similar elements (challenges, narrative, exploration, character, etc.) but is of another type? If so then how does the story of a game like Deus Ex (which happens to be one of my all time favourites) handle narrative progress in a way that an adventure game can do better? Is it just the sheer quality of the writing? Is it the pacing? If so, then how does that explain many adventure gamers' complaints about the subpar quality of writing in adventure games in the past several years? Also, would it be true that only good writers and designers do work on adventure games?

Saving the world, from what I've witnessed playing different kinds of games, most often involves being the sole saviour. The differences are in how you save the world. In a typical adventure game it's usually and conventionally through solving puzzles (beat the slider puzzle and save all of mankind....LMAO!); in a FPS you shoot or blow up whatever is trying to destroy the world; in a tactical action game like Hitman or Metal Gear Solid or Splinter Cell it's through a combination of brains, brawn, real time strategy, patience, and timing; in an RPG it's how strategically you've developed your hero to handle various obstacles; in a specific game like Mirror's Edge, where the environment itself is a kind of puzzle, it's through combining athletic skills, evasion, timing, and martial arts.

In any case, no matter how you choose to save the world, very, very good games offer the challenge in different ways. It's up you, the player, to choose which game best suits your own preference on how to save the world. The "meat" can take on different forms depending on the player.
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Old 08-06-2009, 06:57 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens View Post
What do you mean by "a little more meat on its bones"? Do you mean to say that a given adventure game is more substantial than a good game that features similar elements (challenges, narrative, exploration, character, etc.) but is of another type? If so then how does the story of a game like Deus Ex (which happens to be one of my all time favourites) handle narrative progress in a way that an adventure game can do better? Is it just the sheer quality of the writing? Is it the pacing? If so, then how does that explain many adventure gamers' complaints about the subpar quality of writing in adventure games in the past several years? Also, would it be true that only good writers and designers do work on adventure games?
What I meant by that was, I thought, by going to AG's I would get better storytelling than I would in say, an FPS or RPG, because as has been discussed, that is what AG's are traditionally known for. Storytelling. And as for the typical FPS, I generally do.

As to RPG's, or my favorites, an FPS/RPG hybrid I honestly haven't found an AG that matches the quality of the story in Deus Ex or SS2 or VTM Bloodlines. (Bloodlines is second to only Deus Ex in my all time favorite games.) The Witcher is another example of good storytelling, or Mass Effect. The Thief games were brilliant as far as I'm concerned as well.

So yes, another area I've been somewhat disappointed are the story's I've come across in AG's which I've already discussed a bit in the "more innovation?" thread which I thought was going to be merged with this one.

Either way, I've really liked some AG's and I'll continue to play them. I know it sounds as though I'm bashing them, but I'm not really. The slower pace of them can be a refreshing change from the more action orientated games I normally play.

BTW; It's kind of weird you put the Mirrors Edge thing in there. I started playing it recently and it's a good example of how creative people can put a different spin on the FPS genre.

Last edited by mgeorge; 08-06-2009 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:27 PM   #164
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Thanks for clarifying that, mgeorge!

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What I meant by that was, I thought, by going to AG's I would get better storytelling than I would in say, an FPS or RPG, because as has been discussed, that is what AG's are traditionally known for. Storytelling. And as for the typical FPS, I generally do.
I understand this. Yeah, traditionally - or at least theoretically - adventure games are supposed to be known for [the quality of their] storytelling. And yet, at least anecdotally, we get many complaints from gamers themselves that the quality of today's adventures aren't as good as those of yesteryear's. What the hell happened? Did all the good writers of adventures back then get replaced by English Lit failures and dropouts? Did the very talented writers instead get hired by non-adventure game companies?

Quote:
As to RPG's, or my favorites, an FPS/RPG hybrid I honestly haven't found an AG that matches the quality of the story in Deus Ex or SS2 or VTM Bloodlines. (Bloodlines is second to only Deus Ex in my all time favorite games.) The Witcher is another example of good storytelling, or Mass Effect. The Thief games were brilliant as far as I'm concerned as well.
At the same time that the quality of writing and storytelling of most adventures declined, the quality of writing and storytelling in other kinds of games dramatically improved! Weird, yes? You would think that many adventures would only get better with their writing, but the opposite happened.

Yeah, Deus Ex had some of the finest writing and dialogue in the steampunk tradition, while Thief had a very sexy low key noir kind of edge to it. Mass Effect? OMG, sometimes I replay certain scenes in it JUST TO EXPERIENCE THE WRITING AND STORY AGAIN! Remember the scene with Sha'ira? I look forward to a bona fide adventure game that can match the quality of the writing and dialogue and execution of Mass Effect. Note that all the narrative scenes in this game are in-game, in real time.


Mass Effect. Click the image above for an example of the confluence of good writing, dialogue, acting, and direction in any kind of game, not just adventures.

Mass Effect, as well as many other non-adventure titles like Deus Ex, Max Payne, and Grand Theft Auto IV, look to have taken what the adventure games of 10-15 years ago did so well and adapted them to great success and on new terms. There are some adventure games in the past few years that feature good writing, but great storytelling is no longer exclusive to the adventure game genre. Even you have to agree to that.

Quote:
Either way, I've really liked some AG's and I'll continue to play them. I know it sounds as though I'm bashing them, but I'm not really. The slower pace of them can be a refreshing change from the more action orientated games I normally play.
It's interesting you state this because, in terms of stories at least, in a lot other games (non-adventures) the stories are revealed in a slower pace, as a brief respite from all the action and tension. Again Mass Effect is an excellent example of this.
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:47 AM   #165
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Given that I haven't played Mass Effect (sadly, because I really wanted to), the game is just an example, an excellent example - based on your opinion - of an RPG that did story and storytelling right.

Nevertheless, ME is a rara avis, in my opinion, or at least when it comes to RPG and storytelling: Bloodlines had a strong narrative, plenty of atmosphere and lots of detective work, plus a segment - the haunted hotel - that was basically an adventure game, with documents to read, clues to piece together and many rooms to explore (* la Dark Fall). If ME is equally strong, that makes two of them. But when it comes to other titles in the genre - Morrowind, Oblivion (my absolute favorite), The Witcher, Drakensang, Divinity, not to mention things like Diablo or Sacred - the narrative framework is still severely underused.

That's the same thing for adventures. For a title that coherently pushes the boundaries of the genre, innovating it from within, there are many hackneyed titles with rather dull stories and convoluted conundrums. And the same, I think, can be said for any other genre out there.

Innovation is a rare thing, otherwise it wouldn't be innovation.

As for the superlative storytelling, I never thought that it was exclusive to the adventure genre. I still think, though, that - if done well - there is no other genre like adventures capable of enhance the narrative*.

* Mind you, I'm thinking mainly of investigative/mystery titles, which are a sub-genre almost impossible to convey in a FPS or in a RPG, since it suppose no other activities that the brainy-logical-deductive process of finding an answer.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:21 AM   #166
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intrepid Homoludens View Post
I understand this. Yeah, traditionally - or at least theoretically - adventure games are supposed to be known for [the quality of their] storytelling. And yet, at least anecdotally, we get many complaints from gamers themselves that the quality of today's adventures aren't as good as those of yesteryear's. What the hell happened? Did all the good writers of adventures back then get replaced by English Lit failures and dropouts? Did the very talented writers instead get hired by non-adventure game companies?
And this is what baffles me. You're right. Many folks around here get very excited at the prospect of the newer games coming out, and then become disappointed when they do arrive. Especially a sequel to one of their beloved "classics". Dreamfall being a perfect example.

Love or hate Dreamfall, (I personally thought it was overrated, but good), it is an example of trying something new in the genre, and I respect Tornquist for taking a leap of faith and deviating from the norm. Obviously whether it worked or not is very debatable as these very forums will attest.

Still Life another good example. While I never finished it, (the baking puzzle turned me off), most folks seem to think the sequel is inferior. I tried the demo, and rather liked it, but like most games nowadays, I wait for a price drop before I buy.

But I think there's a reason for all the debate.

3D has been introduced to the genre now and making it's way into more and more AG's. ACKKKK!! NO!!! Sorry, couldn't resist.

And while I agree that most AG's that implement it haven't gotten it right yet, eg; Dreamfall, Indigo, SH, I believe it is the wave of the future whether people like it or not. I do think there will always be a market for the classic point and click, but even now we tend to see more and more 3D games coming to the market.

It's a natural progression, and that's why I personally still have high hopes for the genre.
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Old 08-11-2009, 10:40 AM   #167
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Was some time i checked in here so i did a fast read through of the latest pages and here's my opinion.

I think the biggest problem about why developers can't take AG's to the next level don't first and formost lies in the AG genre. I think the problem is more widespread then that. I think the whole game industry needs to experiment more with the media and try to push the limits of what it's capable of, then i think we will see genres like AG's evolving to new and exciting things.

And this is not a "Can games be art" opinion that have circle the internet for the last year(s) so everybody that gets very upset by that can now calm down cus this is not one of them. I think a big part of the game industry is in a bad loop right now, afraid of trying new stuff, building their companies like unstable card houses depending on money from the big publishers. But the good thing is that we see more independent developers succeeding without big budgets and teams of 200 people, just look at Eskil Steenberg, a one man army developing a MMO called LOVE . It's a pretty uniqe case but i think it proves that you could do pretty awesome stuff without a team consisting of 200 people and a budget on XX millions.

So i think if deveoplers are starting to take risks and do new cool stuff many will follow and try to do the same. I have only worked in the industry for two years now but I'm already tired of the attitude and status of the industry, so on my spare time I'm developing a isometric puzzle/adventure game called Pathfinder ( Random level concept that doesn't tell anything about the game.) and doing small prototypes that will try to explore more of the game/interactive media.

And my opinion on non-linear games like Oblivion that tries to have a good narrative and a open world. I really want them to feel linear with the narration and when you make an important choice it should just be under the hood, the story shall proceed along the branch you choosed just as if it the game was scripted to go that way. But that's just my what i would want from these non-linear/open world games. So one of my prototypes that I'm currently working on is about "Dynamic interactive storytelling", trying to have a non-linear game that feels very linear.

So this was just some random thoughts, popping out of me, hope it made some sense.
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Old 03-23-2010, 12:52 AM   #168
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Bumpage for a development which I think could potentially be useful for adventure games.

Bioware’s Old Republic MMORPG will be more story driven. Usually in MMORPGs, at the max level, people do raiding or PvP, at least in the mmo’s I’ve played. They are both great fun, but after 6 years I find any addition welcome.

From various statements by Bioware people, it seems to me that the endgame in the Old Republic, will not be gear focused but rather story focused. This, of course, does not exclude raiding/pvp options but rather adds a new dimension in MMOs, which so far have given little incentive to keep questing at max level.

How is this related to adventure games? I believe it is, if Bioware manages to create a story driven MMORPG, certain milestones for successful MMO adventure games will have been achieved.

Blizzard already has used the so called phasing of areas in wotlk, more advanced features of this to be used in Cataclysm, and I find this technology very fit for MMO adventures but I expect Bioware to go a couple of steps further. I am very keen to see what technologies are being developed for group questing/solo questing, and what incentives will be given to keep on questing.

In my opinion, if Bioware comes up with a great story driven leveling & endgame, this is big news, especially considering the impact this could have on adventure games. I’d really love to see e.g. a persistent Melee Island world, it could signal the revival of the adventure genre.

discuss
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Old 03-23-2010, 04:53 AM   #169
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I'm very skeptical. They may say "SWOR will be a very story driven MMO" and I'm hearing "There will be a lot of cutscenes". There may be a huge overarching metaplot and that alone can make most Star Wars fans go bonkers, but I doubt endgame in SWOR will be much different from what we have in WOW or FF XI. I'll wait for the game release so see if I'm mistaken.
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:54 PM   #170
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I'm doubtful about any MMO being story driven only because I think it will be a very hard thing to achieve, but it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off.

I played Guild Wars for about a year, and a few others from time to time, but they all seem to be the same after a while. Without a solid story there's not really much reason to play them, other than becoming "uber" and being more powerful than everyone else. And that was my biggest issue with them. To many very immature people playing them.

Pertaining to AG's though, I think I actually might like an AG MMO. Why not? I know there's a Myst online game and although that type of game isn't my cup of tea, it could be a lot of fun roaming around with a bunch of other AG'ers trying to solve puzzles and whatnot especially if there was a good story to tie it all together.
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:13 AM   #171
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I'm doubtful about any MMO being story driven only because I think it will be a very hard thing to achieve, but it will be interesting to see if they can pull it off.

I played Guild Wars for about a year, and a few others from time to time, but they all seem to be the same after a while. Without a solid story there's not really much reason to play them, other than becoming "uber" and being more powerful than everyone else. And that was my biggest issue with them. To many very immature people playing them.

Pertaining to AG's though, I think I actually might like an AG MMO. Why not? I know there's a Myst online game and although that type of game isn't my cup of tea, it could be a lot of fun roaming around with a bunch of other AG'ers trying to solve puzzles and whatnot especially if there was a good story to tie it all together.
MMOs atm have been indeed about minmaxing your character, I was in a *top EU Guild* so I am quite familiar with raiding at the highest level, server firsts, finding your own tacts before a ton of videos comes online by other top guilds. I'd lie if I didn't admit I enjoyed it allot.

Now I don't play wow but I log from time to time, mainly to have a chat with guildies. In wotlk I have seen things moving towards another direction, in tbc only 3 guilds were progressing in Sunwell, only us had cleared the original (lvl 60) Naxxramas and only two guilds had killed C'Thun. Now, the whole server is at some point in ICC, maybe not in hardmodes but they still run the final raid dungeon. The game becomes more and more gear independent, not because gear isn't important anymore, but because it is very easy to get uber gear now.

What I am trying to say is that mmos are moving away from the everquest, hardcore-raiding, model. Blizzard announces a new mmo, based on totally new concepts & said it is going to be totally casual and Bioware wants SW:TOR to be story driven.

Even though I don't know how gameplay will look like at max level, there are some hints they'll stick to their word and make it story driven,

1) There is an audience for it, even many pro-hc raiders I know cba to raid anymore and wait for SW:TOR to play a more casual mmo.

2) Technology is being developed for it, I was quite impressed with area phasing in wotlk and in Cataclysm it can only get better. Phasing is very important as it allows thousands of people to progress on a questline and alter the environment they see, the area changes are not permanent for the rest of players.

3) Bioware does make good stories & good characters, it's what they do and they do it damn well, I don't see them trying to avoid implementing their strongest asset as game developers.

Will there be raids? I hope so. Will there be pvp? I'd be surprised if not but my expectation is to also see an additional path of progression, a story-driven progression path.

Of course, until we see the actual game and reach max level, it is all speculation but my gut feeling is that we are going to see a game with deep story being the main point of playing it. If this is done for an rpg, with some tweaking the same technology can be used for successful mmo adventure games.
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