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Author Topic: A lesser of two evils thread: storylines  (Read 1517 times)
Dincrest
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« on: August 21, 2006, 08:19:20 PM »

This is a thread about storylines.  These can be storylines in RPGs, other genres of video games, books, movies, TV shows, anime, whatever.  

I'm sure many of us have experienced stories in any and/or all these media that fell into these categories:

-the story starts off really strong but it loses steam and the middle and end sections are blah.  

-the story starts off pretty blah but as you forge your way through it, it becomes really good, especially at the end.  

Of course, you find the ideal where it starts off strong, maintains its momentum throughout and ends strong.  But this thread is not about those ideals.  

On the one hand, a story with a strong beginning can hook you in but if it loses steam, you'll put it down.  On the other hand, a story with a stronger ending could be awesome once you hit page 200 but it's for naught if you can't bring yourself to get past page 50.  

Which of the two former scenarios would you prefer?  Does your preference depend on the medium?  Would one be easier to deal with than the other in an RPG as opposed to a book or TV series?  Anything else about this you want to discuss?  I figure since many of us here are into storytelling this might be a semi-interesting discussion.
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Eusis
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 08:20:50 PM »

While it's harder to get into something that starts off weakly, I prefer having to deal with a boring start/set up than something that looks awesome at first, then winds up pissing me off with how poorly it ends. A weak start hurts more in books/movies than games however, as a game with good gameplay has that as an incentive to keep on plowing through, with the improving story being a nice bonus.
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Dade
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2006, 09:17:59 PM »

Final Fantasy VIII.

The End.
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kyuusei
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2006, 09:42:24 PM »

I'd probably prefer the strong beginning. I'm already hooked, and if it starts to lull, I'm probably still reading/watching/playing in hopes that it picks up momentum again.

If it starts off slow, I have less of that motivation.
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2006, 10:23:25 PM »

How about a third option, a story that is great at the beginning, great at the end, but seriously loses momentum in the middle. I think the perfect example of this would have been The DaVinci Code. From when they get into the Swiss bank vault until they hit England... *Yawns*
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Eusis
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2006, 10:27:21 PM »

Yeah, good point. And some trilogies are kinda like that, with good beginnings and ends, but crap middle installments. The reverse can hold true too, a slow beginning and poor end, but an awesome middle.
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Superflat
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2006, 11:34:37 PM »

For games with sequels I would prefer the second game (ie. the end) to be better than the first. I mean, you can always read a plot summary or download the cut scenes for the first game and play through the spectacular second, but if the first game had an amazing plot and the second one just plain sucked, it would be annoying among other things.

As for single games/books/movies, I would prefer a slower beginning with the promise that the story became really good by the end. This is for a similar reason as the above, which is that you can always chug through the first section and get to a really solid plot, but it would suck to have an amazing beginning ruined by a bad ending. I guess that works more against sequels, seeing as you have to get through a full game, however good it may have been, to get to a bad story.
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Jimmy
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2006, 01:45:17 AM »

I'm a firm believer in strong storylines throughout. Though if I'm given a preference I'd like the story to start off strongly so that it can catch my interest. If it can do that then generally I'll stay intrigued enough to want to know how it ends, but not always.

Video games are one exception as I can generally stand shitty stories if they have addictive gameplay. Megaman X6 is the best example I can think of as far as this goes. It has a decently conceived but very poorly executed story, yet the gameplay is enough to keep me entertained despite my distaste for the plot. As far as RPGs are concerned Grandia III is a pretty good example.

Games that supposedly have fantastic stories but poor gameplay won't hold my attention for long. I hear Xenosaga Episode I has a great story, but this game had two things going against it. First is the ten hours I played of the game weren't strong enough plotwise to interest me, and second is the boring and slow battles that were just painful for an action-oriented gamer like myself to endure.

Lastly, if I don't find the gameplay appalling or the plot a completely inane I have been known from time to time to play through a game because I enjoyed a character or two and wanted to know what happened to them. The best example I can think of for this was Final Fantasy X. Auron, Lulu, and Kimahri all caught my attention as having a lot of room for growth. Unfortunately Kimahri didn't develop at all and Lulu wasn't as well done as I thought she could have been. So in the end the only payoff I really had from the game was Auron. Good characters generally tend to make a story memorable for me no matter the quality or what format it is presented in..
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