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Author Topic: An appreciation of RPG stories, east and west  (Read 3392 times)
Eusis
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« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2011, 04:03:30 AM »


Only by merit of SO4 having the good sense to give summaries if I skip, though I hear the Private Actions aren't skippable and given that I'm a sucker who tends to want to sit through a game's cutscenes I'd probably have to avoid SO4 or risk going mad. Golden Sun Dark Dawn could be a worse offender in some ways from what I played, while the presentation's too low to reach the awfulness SO4's exhibited it's excessively verbose for a work that really isn't engaging at all, and since there's no full blown skip you'll just have to skim dialogue.
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Lard
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« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2011, 08:07:35 AM »

Not really, most fantasy WRPGs had some sort of sci-fi component (particularly the Might and Magic games*). The heavy Tolkien-ness only really started after the LotR films got popular. Sort of.

Whut?

No. That is incorrect.
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Arhkaos
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« Reply #17 on: April 11, 2011, 10:45:51 AM »

Only by merit of SO4 having the good sense to give summaries if I skip, though I hear the Private Actions aren't skippable and given that I'm a sucker who tends to want to sit through a game's cutscenes I'd probably have to avoid SO4 or risk going mad.

Well, actually you can sleep instead of doing PAs during travels, so yeah you can actually litterally skip them. Honestly I liked how SO4's story was bite-sized: every planet has its own sub-plot.
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« Reply #18 on: April 11, 2011, 11:54:02 AM »

Gameplay is more important than story for me. I will sit through a game that I think has a horrible story if I enjoy the gameplay enough. Eternal Sonata is an example of that. About 3/4ths through the game I just started skipping all the cutscenes and at a certain point I was fighting the last boss and didn't even realize it was the last boss.

If a game doesn't have compelling gameplay then odds are I won't be interested long enough to find out if it has a good story or not.
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badsanta
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« Reply #19 on: April 11, 2011, 12:10:59 PM »

I can tolerate an RPG that focuses mainly on gameplay if the game itself is rather nice, and if the story it has is either in the background, doesn't have much of an impact either way, or is just plain non-existent. However, if any RPG, including the ones with good gameplay, clearly tries to tell some sort of story, but fails at doing so, so much, that I feel like I'm getting slapped in the face more then once, (Persona 3, I know you're well-loved, but I'm looking at you,)...I just can't stand it. \=
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Summoner Yuna
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« Reply #20 on: April 11, 2011, 12:42:44 PM »

Great discussion, people! Keep 'em coming. Oh, and just a little disclaimer. I'm in no way endorsing the thesis that story should be the sole or even prevalent aspect of an RPG. Far from that. I love battling, beating bosses, and doing sidequests as much as anyone else. But, in my personal case, the experience becomes much more richer and fuller if there's a strong narrative backing up all the gameplay aspects. It provides more of a reason to stick with the game to completion. If we don't give a single damn about the characters or the world they inhabit, why even help them trough their journey in the first place? There have been cases in which I stuck with a game because the gameplay aspect was entertaining enough. For example, I stuck with FFVIII until the end and even went as far as doing every sidequest (including beating Omega Weapon) because I love the classic Final Fantasy ATB system. However there are some things that I find unacceptable: 1) The only truly useful GF in combat was Doomtrain for his awesome ability to inflict enemies with a million status effects, and 2) even though early in the game GFs are useful to inflict damage they become obsolete pronto as you refine cards and equip them to buff up stats because contrary to popular legend base stats do matter in FFVIII to a certain extent. That's in the gameplay department as for story, as I progressed through it I thought "Wow, Squall spends more than half the game being an insolent twerp and now they want me to believe that he falls head over heels in love with Rinoa and is all heroic and selfless." At least with Cloud you had somewhat of an excuse, because he was subjected to a lot experiments. But, as much as I love Barret's backstory with Marlene, they did a great disservice to his character by making him curse every other word.

Every fantasy or sci-fi story requires suspension of disbelief, but that doesn't mean that the character's personalities don't need to be well defined and constructed.

In the end everything requires balance. I doubt anyone (including myself) would like to play a game where the battle system and character progression are so irremediably broken as to render the game nigh unplayable even if the story is absolutely genius. In similar fashion, I find it hard to believe anyone would waste 50-60 hours of their time in a game where they have absolutely no emotional investment in the narrative. It'd be akin to masochism.   

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« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2011, 12:52:58 PM »

Quote
I find it hard to believe anyone would waste 50-60 hours of their time in a game where they have absolutely no emotional investment in the narrative. It'd be akin to masochism.   

The Pokemon fans would like a word with you. (Not including me though.)
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Summoner Yuna
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« Reply #22 on: April 11, 2011, 01:05:09 PM »

Quote
I find it hard to believe anyone would waste 50-60 hours of their time in a game where they have absolutely no emotional investment in the narrative. It'd be akin to masochism.   

The Pokemon fans would like a word with you. (Not including me though.)

LOL, everyone loves their Pokémans.

On a serious note, Pokemon has never been about narrative. It focuses on other aspects to drive the player to complete the game. (The impulse to catch 'em all. Maybe, I should explain that sentence you quoted. I personally find it hard that people have the drive to complete a game without emotional investment, I'm not ruling out the possibility that it is perfectly possible for some people to get enough drive from the gameplay aspect alone. There's nothing wrong with that, but in my particular case I couldn't bring myself to do that. Maybe that's why I don't play Pokemon. I hope this explains my point further, because now I can see how that sentence of mine you quoted could be construed as rushed and quick generalization. I know that there are gamers who feel like I do in this respect, but there are a lot others who don't.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2011, 03:20:25 PM »

Not really, most fantasy WRPGs had some sort of sci-fi component (particularly the Might and Magic games*). The heavy Tolkien-ness only really started after the LotR films got popular. Sort of.

Whut?

No. That is incorrect.

Maybe but it's incorrect in a potentially informative way. A lot of older WRPGs WERE straight up swords & sorcery but I don't really think that's Tolkienesque in and of itself. The thing with LotR is that it had this whole sweeping globe-trotting epic thing going on which is traditionally more the realm of JRPGs. The more straight up fantasy WRPGs were usually a lot smaller in scope -- maybe a single city, or a dungeon.
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« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2011, 03:33:35 PM »

Quote
I find it hard to believe anyone would waste 50-60 hours of their time in a game where they have absolutely no emotional investment in the narrative. It'd be akin to masochism.   

The Pokemon fans would like a word with you. (Not including me though.)

Time on B/W: 131 hours, still going.

For me, the fun is about putting teams together. A lot of my time is spent breeding for particular stats/natures, and then training to enhance those stats or make up for their shortfalls. As simple as the game seems, it can be much more complex if you decide to invest yourself into it.

Catching them all is a concern, but not the first (I am almost done with this generation though).
« Last Edit: April 11, 2011, 03:53:58 PM by Vanguard » Logged

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Aeolus
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2011, 09:09:05 PM »

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One of the main drives why we play RPGs is the story.

I play RPGs to kill things with MAGIC MISSILE.

Do you put on your cloak and wizard's hat when you do?


Only by merit of SO4 having the good sense to give summaries if I skip, though I hear the Private Actions aren't skippable and given that I'm a sucker who tends to want to sit through a game's cutscenes I'd probably have to avoid SO4 or risk going mad. Golden Sun Dark Dawn could be a worse offender in some ways from what I played, while the presentation's too low to reach the awfulness SO4's exhibited it's excessively verbose for a work that really isn't engaging at all, and since there's no full blown skip you'll just have to skim dialogue.

To be fair to GSDD, it did an admirable job of replicating the GS experience that everyone knew and loved. All it needs is it's version of The Lost Age and we'll be there.


Many people dislike Cloud from FFVII and Shion from Xenosaga because they are what's in vogue to call "emo", or rather brooding.
I see that quite often but I always thought Squall was much more emo than Cloud, ive never heard anyone say Squall was emo.

Cloud was a case of everybody misremembering what his deal was and how emo he wasn't until Advent Children came out and rewrote him into the spiky haired prick he is today (Kingdom Hearts didn't help his case either). Squall wanted to be a loner more due to the fact that everyone around him was a moronic one-dimensional anime than anything else. And Shion's problem was that she was grossly underqualified and later a cunt.
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MeshGearFox
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2011, 10:16:36 PM »

Quote
Do you put on your cloak and wizard's hat when you do?

No, that's only when I'm statutory raping interns.

ZING!

Quote
Everything else you said about Squall and Cloud

Agreed. Especially at Advent Children. The things that I took away from FFVII were:

* Environmentalist story.
* Buncha stuff about how reality is subjective
And maybe, going from that, you could draw a further conclusion that the game was really about large pseudo-governmental entities manipulating people's views of reality which basically just turns it into an eerily preminiscient and gutpunching parallel of pretty much all of Western society over the last decade.

I think what most people that weren't me took away from FFVII was ZOMG BISHIE SEPHIROTH.

And then Square was the whores to their fanbase.

Of course I'm probably wrong and it realty was just about bishie Sephiroth and I am horribly overthinking things. This is why I am never going to get laid. That and the tractor accident when I was 12.
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Bytor
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2011, 11:53:17 PM »

Great game play will not overwhelm a poor story for me, heck if I wanna simply fight I'll play Guilty Gear or Darkstalkers, those series of games are great fun, but they're not (to me) great games. If the game is simply about battles with little or at least little of a story that interest me (Killzone for instance) I tend to get bored pretty quickly. However, a great story will keep me occupied for a much longer time even if the game play is not as good as I'd like (Star Ocean: The Last Hope for instance and Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits is another that comes to mind). But I understand it really is all about different people's desires and what makes one of us enjoy one game that another hates (heck, I've given up on trying to get my friends to play Xenosaga). Now when the game is balanced that is when it really is something exceptional, games like Persona 4 and Tales of the Abyss were to me almost perfect and equal in every aspect. I think it all boils down to getting to "know" the characters, after all, there's no way I'm going to really care about their plight if I don't understand their desires and get a feel for where they are coming from and why they are doing whatever it is they are doing and/or trying to accomplish. This is what makes a great game to me, the investment I have developed with the characters lives. This is true whether they are "good guys" or "bad guys", even if I disagree or dislike them I still have been drawn into their lives and have become emotional about them. Couple that with (even) good game play and I am satisfied.
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« Reply #28 on: April 15, 2011, 12:09:11 AM »

Not really, most fantasy WRPGs had some sort of sci-fi component (particularly the Might and Magic games*). The heavy Tolkien-ness only really started after the LotR films got popular. Sort of.

Whut?

No. That is incorrect.

Maybe but it's incorrect in a potentially informative way. A lot of older WRPGs WERE straight up swords & sorcery but I don't really think that's Tolkienesque in and of itself. The thing with LotR is that it had this whole sweeping globe-trotting epic thing going on which is traditionally more the realm of JRPGs. The more straight up fantasy WRPGs were usually a lot smaller in scope -- maybe a single city, or a dungeon.

Bard's Tale. Pool of Radiance. Phantasie.

They all say hello.

I can't say either way about the Ultima games, I never played them.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2011, 12:10:51 AM by Lard » Logged

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Demon_Princess_Kay
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« Reply #29 on: April 15, 2011, 04:26:34 AM »

The world and it's characters are important to me than the plot itself. For example I'll use Majora's Mask. You have a moronic main plot, some evil mask is gonna destroy the world by sending the moon crashing down on it, but outside of the main plot you have a vibrant world full of character. MM is one of the few games I ever cared to get everything in, and multiple times at that. The quests involving the characters were all great, and made you feel like you were actually in a living breathing world. The Anju Kafei questline even made my cry.

I guess my order of importance is Immersion factor (how well the game actually makes you feel like you're in it's world)>Characters>Story. Gameplay and Fanservice are variables. I can get through a shitty story and a boring world sometimes if it has a good combat system, and/or a decent amount of fanservice. SO4 is a good example of this since I adore it's combat system, (and Reimi <3) yet hate pretty much everything else about it.
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