Story vs Gameplay - Where do you end up?
  • I was talking to Yuzo, Tobin, Swoopes, and Quahgg about this and it really made sense why we don't all agree on enjoyment in certain games - for instance, T&Y haaaated Assassin's Creed, and Swoopes and I loved it. I was invested in the story, and thought the whole thing, even the ending, was really good. T&Y were more concerned with the actual gameplay mechanics, and it basically boiled down to the fact that I will be more forgiving of a game's mechanics being mediocre if it has a story that I really enjoy.

    So, in the case of Mass Effect for instance, I was very, very much into the story and could deal with the touchy, imperfect, not normally fun battle mechanics because I had a very effective drive in my brain telling me I needed to finish it, and I wanted to.

    So what about you? Is the story the most important thing? Is gameplay the most important thing? Can you strike a happy medium between the two? Also, where does user generated content in games fit? Can a promise of UGC in a game lead you to accept it more than it should on its own merits?

    Your thoughts...please~
  • I agree with you sunflower. I can be lenient on a game's shitty elements if the story is very captivating. Mass Effect is a perfect example... I was so tired of the combat... but the story about the Reapers made me play until I had one of those awful videogame headaches.

    However gameplay is very important as well, and I also think if a game is very fun, a shit story wont bother me either. Lost Planet is a good example of that. The story is......well... what story? But it was actually pretty fun for the budget game it was.

    To me, I think the gameplay is more important to a game's success. The game has to feel right and natural. If COD4 had no story at all, and you just ran around shooting, I would still consider it a nominee for game of the year, because it feels so freaking good.

    As for User Generated Content... it doesnt put the game over the bar for me. I wouldnt buy a Tony Hawk game just because i can create a skatepark. I also dont think I would miss it in a lot of games where its not essential... but if Need For Speed Underground lost its customization it would be ass.

    Great topic by the way.
  • I love games with a good story. When I buy a singleplayer game I tend to look for something with a story that makes me want to see the end (just like with a book). I also tend to forgive such games' gameplay flaws (just like I would forgive the author for his bad writing-style). In some cases I also accept games that let you create your own story, in some way. I tend not to loose interest in Singleplayer games that have good gameplay but no story pretty quickly.
    In that case I need others to play with me. Multiplayer is a whole different thing, where gameplay becomes crucial. Playing with others also adds a whole new dimension. In fact, the laughs you have with other gamers can make up for flaws in gameplay (kinda substituting the story, in that case).

    UGC does play an important role for me. The main reason I am going for the PC as my platform for games are all the stuff you can get from the modding community of so many games. I have played Oblivion with mods, which made it look and feel 10 times better. STALKER, the same. In some cases it adds to replayability. It may add to story. Improve upon those gameplay flaws etc.
    However, I cannot tell if I ever bought a game solely based on the fact that there is a lot of stuff to download. Maybe, Unreal Tournament 2004...
  • Well, the fact I loved Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy pretty much answers the question. That game offered very little in terms of gameplay, as most of your interaction with the game was either through the simple movement of your right analog stick, or quick time events. But I was able to look past that because I loved the story and was keen to see how it played out. I'm pleased to say I wasn't disappointed.

    KotOR is another example because I didn't like the turn based battle approach, but IMO it had the best ever story in a game. Although Mass Effect delivered better gameplay on top of great story, I will still say I enjoyed KotOR because I loved the story so much.

    I also enjoyed Assassin's Creed for the reasons you stated Sunflower. It was a little disappointing in terms of gameplay, but a good plot was its saving grace.

    Of course it's nice if a developer can achieve both great gameplay and a great story, but my personal experience with games proves to me that gameplay isn't everything.
  • Fahrenheit is indeed the perfect example. Thanks for reminding me, AshGooner.
    And KotOR, well, I cant really remember the battle sytem, all I remember is the story. I think, that is not a bad sign.
  • Well I've enjoyed plenty of games with great gameplay and shitty to non-existant stories, and less games with great story lines but bad gameplay. So, even though I love a good story, I surprise myself in saying that gameplay is more important! Never thought I'd say that.

    Having said that, if I'm hooked by the story, I'll go through pretty much anything! For me the perfect illustration of fighting gameplay to get to story is Half Life 2. I just recently got the Orange Box, and have realised that I'm pretty much bored of straight up shooters- damn! The story elements of HL2 are superb, and I'm dragging my arse through the shooty bits to get to the story bits. There's nothing wrong with the shooty bits, in fact they're very well done, but they're just not my thing any more.
  • I pay absolutely no attention to the story in games at all. I skip almost every cutscene and then the game has dialog where you have to press a button to continue I just button mash through it as quickly as possible.

    I can't say I care about gameplay mechanics either that much. Basically, I'll continue to play a game as long as I'm having fun and I feel like I'm making progress. That's why I liked Assassin's Creed so much even though I have no idea what the story was even about. I could see the flag count ticking down one-by-one as I jumped around the city collecting the flags.

  • I view them both equally, but not in the way you would think. I am willing to forgive flaws of one for a better of the other. In no way does that I mean I accept crap gameplay for story or vice versa; but it means games like Oblivion where there were numerous flaws in the design I support and love due to the rich background (generic, but rich) and story.

    Games like Crackdown where there is shit for story are cool too. Just be fun if your going to slack. Or go completely ridiculous like Castle Crashers.

    To bad games can't all be Bioshock with the best of both worlds (although that game lacked replay value in my opinion.
  • I enjoy both, though I prefer if the game is fun, over if it has a cohesive and well thought-out story. Granted, if the story is good, I enjoy the game even more. It's like frosting on the cake.
  • Story will always come up first for me that is why I have beaten games like The simpsons Game and futurama the game great stories mediocre gameplay
    But I do like a good story with fun gameplay a good but an odd example would be Amped 3 which had a engaging story of bizarreness with excellent snowboarding gameplay
  • Back in the days of Atari 2600 and NES I didn't care much about storylines in the game. Simple stories such as the classic oh crap our princess has been kidnapped, go kill the monster that got her and bring her back. The games I enjoyed had amazing gameplay and easy stories to follow. If the gameplay flatout sucked from the start of the game I would be pissed and stop playing it. When I first started to really enjoy storylines was with more complex games such as Zelda, Final Fantasy etc. Zelda II is an example of a game I kept playing because I enjoyed the story even though I didn't enjoy the gameplay. I was only 10 or 11 though when Zelda II came out and I had all the time in the world to play games. I'm an older gamer now though with much less time then I had back in the day. In order for me to really get into a game it needs to have a decent story to get me interested, and then good gameplay to keep me playing. If the story sucks but the gameplay is amazing I'll keep playing it because its still a fun game for me to play. If the story is good but the gameplay is crappy I'll stop playing it because my time to me is more valuable and I hate to waste it on frustrating gameplay just to see a good story move.

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