Listener Homework: Do Games Surprise You Any More?
  • Hey all, this week's Listener Homework comes from Sunflower4K:

    sunflower4k said:
    When was the last time a game system pulled off something you didn't think it was capable of? My last time was playing Hitman: Blood Money, in the Mardi Gras stage on PS2, and going outside and seeing about FIFTY people milling around. I really didn't think the system had the horsepower for that, and it surprised me.

    Do you find yourselves dissecting the technical side of games enough so that it impacts the experience?

    In other words, has any games surprised you recently? This isn't in the sense of the survival/horror "boo" sense of surprise, but more like, "damn, I didn't think the [insert console] was capable of that". Write your thoughts and experiences in 250 words or more. Extra credit with cited sources (i.e. example games).
  • Games still surprise me regularly, Chronologically descending I could call upon God of War II (for pushing the PS2 to it's limits), Gears of War (for graphics I didn't think I'd see coming for a long time) or Dead Rising (for having such a sheer amount of zombies on screen with no slow down whatsoever - probably the most impressive of the bunch tbh) But all of these are just technical achievements. Nothing that shook the gaming world to it's core or anything.

    The last (and perhaps only) game that truly surprised me and took my breath away was Shadow of the Colossus. I never thought I'd see something so outstanding on a video game ever, especially on the PS2. It's an impressive feat to create a world so incredibly beautiful in a medium such as video games, but it worked and, I think I speak for the majority of it's players here, spoke to us on more than an entertainment level. One finds themselves in awe of what the team at SCE have accomplished.

    I've never had so much fun or been so involved in climbing trees, picking fruit, chasing lizards, attempting to hit birds from horseback or scaled an epic building in search of a secret garden. And these are just the peripheral aspects of the game, never mind clambering atop giant colossi or exploring the prettiest game world since Ico.

    It really was a transcendent experience for me, and was worth infinetly more than the sum of its parts.
  • One moment from games that I especially remember for it's "Holy Shit!" factor was the Battle of Endor in Rogue Squadron 2. You start off flying towards the Death Star, turn round and see the Imperial fleet behind you, and then move towards it to start fighting. In the distance you start to notice a cloud of what looks like dust, but it keeps getting closer, until you realise that every one of the hundreds of grains it a Tie Interceptor, flying straight at you. As they sweep past you, they make this ungodly noise as they start to open fire. Truly an epic moment, and an amazing achievement by Factor 5.
  • This is a good listener homework :)

    Has to be said that I don't get surprised by games that often, although I have to agree with Joe, The graphics in gears was just absolutely outstanding, and I think that game really showed off just what the 360 could. But it was not just the graphics, the whole direction of the game was unbelievable, the way that they would suddenly zoom away from your character to show you something, it made the game feel so Epic and movie like, that was deffinately surprising and even when I play it through a second or third time i still get that feeling...that was deffinately a surprise for me.

    Another game that surprised me was Oblivion...I have a nasty habit of not using roads in that game and just B-Line for my destination, but you dont realise how big the world is until you get to the top of a mountain and look can quite litterally see as far as the eye can see you can see towns in the distance, or oblivion gates that are miles away. There is no Fog or popup or anything, and I just think that is amazing, and that really surprised me!

    cant really think of anymore right now though


    PS....Halo 2 campaign surprised me when it just stopped...and it wasnt a good surprise...its the sort of surprise you would feel if you rounded a corner and got hit by a car...
  • Normally what with previews and game hype I rarely ever get suprised when actually playing the game. Yep, saw that feature on that preview video, yep heards that on that podcast review thing. Buying a game blind can be a risky buisness what with all the crappy ones that come out.

    But oblivion where you get out of the sewer and just walk off into the hills, that was something which suprised me.
  • Although gears was a surprise in technical terms, i find myself bowled over by the evolution of story in games. Looking at final fantasy X, the characters and the cutscenes seemed nearly alive. The stunnung world and isolation felt when playing through the simply magnificent shadow of the colossus (mentioned in an earlier post) was another great surpise. Even the look and style of games like okami and odin sphere suprise me, just because of the simplicity. Those two games arguably looked better than any ps3 or 360 title.
  • I've just played Black on PS2 and damn, it looks just like X360/PS3 game. Something else i'm suprised about is the difficulty of retro games(mainly Megadrive to me).....I find them more difficult now as to when I was a 6 yearold.....
  • GTA San Andreas blew me away based on its expansive terrain and complete open gamplay.

    The last game that truly blew me away though, was Oblivion. The graphics, the landscape, the open world. All of that was incredible, but what truly blew me away like no other game has was the ending.

    When you walk into the temple and the two giants are battling each other over your head as you are looking up watching the fight and trying to avoid getting stepped on.

    man - o - man

    What an ending.

  • What game surprised me is more of a game that when I played it and realized there was no difference between two console versions. It was the port of Resident Evil 2 from the Playstation to the Nintendo 64. I honestly though I wasn't going to get video cut scenes. I though it might be some in game stuff. But no. It was full motion video on a cartridge. Not CD like the Playstation that really surprised me. I had no idea that, that would be technically possible.

    Now a days the wow factor is almost gone, there is very little a system could do.

    Besides that one the only other one that really got me was Pokemon yellow for the old gameboy. It had to be a shocker when you hear Pikachu say, "pika" I though. This is a Gameboy, it can't have voice. Granted it was crude but it did the job and you knew what you were hearing.

    It's when a system like the ones above old one that you knew were limited that did simple but yet amazing things for it's time that amazed. These days if something spectacularly technical happens, I'm a bit impressed but expect for the hardware to be pushed so those jaw dropping moments don't occur for me.
  • theres not really much to get me surprised about a game anymore other that the graphics. when i first saw oblivion footage after playing tons of morrowind (the previous one in the series, for the uneducated) my jaw hit the floor. compared to what i had seen before it was amazing, and the graphics just kept getting better. i had the same experience with gears of war. that and npc counts. i was amazed dead rising didnt lag, even in the demo.
  • God of War II surprised me several times in the level design and scope.

    Psychonauts consistently did with the way it messed with me. Especially on the Napoleon level where the scale looped around into infinity.
  • misere said:

    Psychonauts consistently did with the way it messed with me. Especially on the Napoleon level where the scale looped around into infinity.

    Ahhh good point. Psychonauts blew my mind several times. I was surprised at how amazingly messed up the Men in Black level was, it made me realize that you can really squeeze some amazing creativity into games.
  • Hrm, thinking about it ... not too much, I think the last game to really do it for me was Resident Evil 4 for the Gamecube. I had really given up on that console for the longest ass time... and when that came out, and I had only heard good things about it I rented it and it blew my mind. I guess at this point in my "gaming career" it's really going to have to be sometimes earth shattering in the gameplay of a game, because I not overly someone who plays a game for graphics although they are a nice accent to any well put together game.

    There is always a company that finds a hole in the market for a game that I hadn't thought of or I didn't think was possible, but they do it usually to the point where it's like, "Oh that's neat" and not blowing my mind. The Grand Theft Auto series always does it here and there, but not in one giant lump to the point where I'm just blown over and seizing from the gaming goodness. I think part of the problem is that so many games have been made with so many different elements of gameplay that the market has generally had a sample of a lot mechanics of gaming, but usually done crappily, so I've been exposed to that before... even if another game comes along and does it perfectly.

    There is always innovation, and new stuff but it's been a long time since something has blown me away, since it needs to be in a perfectly presented package.

    I expect too damn much... oh well.
  • Quite a few games have surprised me. But only one or two did it in a way i enjoyed...

    I kinda got tired of playing "new" games, that were just old games redone. And have started just playing skill/reaction games like CS:S and DoTA (WC3). Anything multiplayer is good, nothing like a little... SON OF A BITCH STOLE MY KILL!!!!! Gonna hunt him down IRL that screwballin MOFO!
    O now he's laughing at ME!? that TEARS it! :P
  • GoW2 surprised me with the fact that I never experienced any load screens during forward gameplay in the game(I didn't finish it when I rented but I'm going to buy it for sure). The only times I experienced a "loading" message was when going back through an area, there was a brief loading message in red that came up, maybe 2 seconds, but no actual load screen. Considering the scope of the levels, I found this to be amazing on the PS2.

    I also have to play Psychonauts. I've heard only good things about the game and I can't wait to be surprised by it.
  • I have trouble being surprised about a game in that sense. I'm the kind of person that gets sucked into a game, and things like that just dont impress me. I tend to be impressed by games that I didn't expect. Like Metal Gear Solid 3, I couldn't believe how good it was. It was like finding out that you have a stash of gold in your basement. I was amazed by the graphics, and the sheer fun of doing little things.

    I like it when a new gameplay element pops out of nowhere. Like most movie base games have this, such as the recent pirates. Things like trying to survive being tortured all of a sudden becomes like a mini game, and I love things like that.

    Sometimes though, I'm absolutly astonished with an amazing vista in games. You only get this in high-quality games, but Half Life 2: Episode 1 is a perfect example of this. After slaughtering your way through a cellar, and making your way to the top, you are greeted with a closed gate. You open it up, and finally reach the surface. When you get to the top, you are amazed by the ruins of City 17. You see striders in the distance, and the citadel about to esplode. Crazy stuff like that is all that can really surprise me.
  • well games still surprise me but not in the legendary way they once did. mostly because i haven't seen anything completely new in awhile, everything is derived from something else. and on a lesser note because anything extremely inventive or new i am told of and showed countless times months before i ever play it.
  • Depends on how old you are I guess. I think that being a kid during the NES era, the games I loved the most were the ones back then (cuz that's the time when you feel most surprised about anything)... I like good graphics, but that's not the main hook for me. Actually I feel nostalgia of the old cartoony and pixelated-type graphics from old. There's this one freeware game I really love that takes back that vibe wich is Trillby (dunno if it's posted here already). It's so simple yet so fun...

    Anyway, I digress. What's most important is how stories develop through a game, even if it's simple or whatever... I still remember the old Ninja Gaiden scenes, with Irene and all the characters... it wasn't exactly Edgar Allan Poe but man was that fun.

    Games I've been surprised by lately were need for speed most wanted (probably cuz I haven't played much for about 10 years before that) and Call of Duty 4.. I got so attached to the characters... and Cpt.Price's moustache (so sexy) I don't know man. Nowadays I just look to take the most fun out of a game as I can but I don't get that much surprised with games
  • Mario Galaxy surprised me. And that was surprising because I had read every bit of information leading up to it's release. So I was surprised to be surprised :) It surprised me because it looked so good. I saw a load of screen shots and they looked good, but in person it was just even better and made me realise just what the Wii could do if someone put the effort in. Another thing that surprised me was just how good it was. All the previews from the various sights prepared me for a great game but I wasn't expecting THAT. The design of the levels was just so amazing and some of the music is absolutely beautiful. When I beat it I felt a bit sad because I'd finished it, and there'd be no more surprises, but then I just when through it all over again and it still amazed me :)
  • ratchet and clank surprises me every time its allways good every game and the story line never fails to amaze me
  • Well, the last game that surprised me was Team Fortress 2 because I wasn't really interested in it, then I bought the Orange Box and it blew me away.

    The other game that surprised me was Assassin's Creed, but not positively... you know what I mean. :roll:

    I really have to buy Psychonauts some day. I keep hearing that the game is really, really good, but I didn't have a chance to play it yet.
  • There are 3 games that come to mind when i think of a game surprising me.

    1. Gears of War (XB360)
    Not only were the graphics amazing in the game but the gameplay and controls are probably the best of any game i have played. Along with it's amazing cover system and long lasting multiplayer this game is still my favorite game and i play it close to every day.

    2. Diablo II (PC)
    The graphics arent very good and the controls are for the most part the same as most rpg's but the way blizzard pulled this game together with its character classes, skill system, level design, and replayability has got me coming back to play this game for years. As with gears i play this game many a week and have just recently got into pvp which has added a whole new element into the game.

    Prince of Persia [(Sands of Time - Trilogy) PS2]
    At the time the graphics of these 3 games were exceptionally good and the fighting system became something bigger and better as each game progressed. but what made these games wut they were was your ability to control time using the sands of time. the way ubisoft used this abiltity to not only enhance the gameplay but play a major role in the games story made these three games the top 3 ps2 games for me.
    The story was also probably the best of any game i have played to date.
  • Guitar Hero for the PS2

    This game really surprised me! When I first saw this game and the controller I was like what the hell that looks really dumb, and I bet you look even dumber while your playing the game…But then I tried it while I was at a friends house and I don’t think I was ever so least about the game being dumb, you still look rather ridiculous while playing the game but that almost makes it better. I had never played a rhythm game before and it was just really fun to get the handle on hitting notes while strumming that plastic bar. As soon as I had enough money (since it was $70 bucks for one game) I went out and bought it and played it so much my hand hurt, my eyes hurt from looking at the tv so long. Awesome awesome game!
  • ff7cc the plot and graphics were amasing (i went back to play ff7 and ff8 because of this game)
    CoD4 the muilty i found was emersive but the imigtay nature of the plkot based on events that actuley happend(the missle tests)
    skate for its controls and over all fun
    RE4 what can i say it maniged to reinvent it self as a series
    oblivion coz every one was telling me to check it out and i was disapointed (still pumped for fallout 3 tho)
    the orange box for value for mony
  • GTA defferently surprised me and I would also say GOW...

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