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Which games do you think represent the gold standard in story-telling? [roundtable]
 
Self-explanatory. I don't want to skew the discussion, so I'll be brief, for now.

Super Metroid, Ico, and Prince of Persia - Sands of Time. Arkham Asylum was also very strong, with judicious cutscene use. I will even give a shout-out to Maniac Mansion, for being an adventure game that amused me and had multiple paths to victory, instead of a series of roadblocks that required a FAQ.

As far as the worst - god(s), SO MANY. I'll just start with Metal Gear Solid and (post VI) Final Fantasy. I kind of want to throw Modern Warfare 2 in there, for completely failing to flesh anything out or follow anything up or even be interesting, but the CoD franchise actually has some cool storytelling touches, like perspective changes, and such. I'm also going to throw GTA onto the fire, because the linear aspects of the storytelling and progression are totally at odds with the open world nature of the game.

And, just to piss all of you off, I'm going to include Metroid Prime. Fuck scanning. To death. Retro (or whoever it was) ignored many of the best aspects of Super Metroid storytelling, and instead amplified the worst, most discontinuous mechanic in the game. I would only accept all of that flat, textual narration if it was Zork Prime.

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Posted: 01/06/10, 19:31:52  - Edited by 
 on: 01/06/10, 21:35:37
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NoName said:


EarthBound is the gold standard in story-telling. From the start of the game until the climactic ending, the game's story had me hooked. The plot may have been bizarre, but that's what made for an even greater telling of the story. The dialogue was as witty as it was emotive, and the cast of characters as endearing as they come. The story encouraged me in a subtle way to truly care about what was going on in this world I had now become a part of; to care about each and every character to a fine degree. Never did the story feel choppy, or forced, for it always flowed in a manner that kept at just the right pace, at just the right moments. The worlds were ripe with detail and the music utterly bewitching. So much love and care was poured into this game and the story therein, that it's impossible not to feel it whilst playing. And like any good story, EarthBound's is one that has stayed with me from the moment I began Ness' quest so many years ago. Beating the game was one of the most memorable moments in my gaming life. It was simply the best ending of any game I have ever completed, bar none. So many conflicting emotions, leading up to one heck of an experience. It was the perfect ending, to a perfect story. EarthBound is, and shall always be, the gaming love of my life. Nothing short of gold standard story-telling could have achieved such a bond.


Earthbound along with Dragon Quest V and FFVI are the next jrpgs I plan on playing. Everyone raves about all 3 so I'm not sure where to start however you may have convinced me to go with Earthbound. I have so many other games to play and some big games I need to get/finish (Mass Effect 2 later this month and currently playing Dragon Age: Origins), however I'm really, really looking forward to all 3. I'm not a big fan of the contemporary jrpg, however there was something special about the 16 bit ones.
Posted: 01/08/10, 16:26:41
I will say this. If a first-person game from the perspective of Penny from Inspector Gadget were to be made, no developer would be a better candidate than Retro.
Posted: 01/08/10, 17:29:45
Simbabbad said:
It'd be great if you stopped jumping at people with different opinions.

I don't even mind scanning. I'm saying it could be easily handled in a way that suits everybody.
I thought you were interested in discussing this. Apparently not. My mistake.
Posted: 01/08/10, 19:51:25
You two are having the same exact argument about scanning Anand and I have had many times in the past.

We do it better though.
Posted: 01/08/10, 20:10:29
Well...it's hard to have a discussion with someone who plays the 'it's my opinion' card every time you break down his arguments.
Posted: 01/08/10, 20:24:53
@bpumpkin777 Most everyone does that though. In the end you either agree to disagree, or everyone gets bitter. That's why I prefer doing my real arguing over on IGN, I don't care about it anymore so it is easy to walk away from and take a deep breath.

PS. How did you manage to get an age of 2010 on your profile?!!?
Posted: 01/08/10, 20:35:39  - Edited by 
 on: 01/08/10, 20:36:12
.... I like the scanning in the Prime games. I don't think they take anything away from the series - but then again I'm not a HUGE Metroid fan, so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about.

Even when the scans "tell" you how to defeat a boss or solve a puzzle, there's still the execution of it that's left to the player. And maybe it was just me, but I still found that rather challenging. And maybe my memory is foggy, but I don't recall many (if any) of the scans telling the player *exactly* how to defeat a boss. It might give a hint as to where to find the weak point... which isn't too different from say, Zelda, where the boss's intro animation blatantly shows off the creature's weak point (massive, glowing eye or overly-exposed tongue, etc.).

Speaking of the Prime games, how do y'all feel about Hunters on DS? I'm a fan.
Posted: 01/08/10, 20:44:25
I can't believe I am the first to mention this, but...Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Perfect pacing and storytelling, has you traveling through time, experiencing the global plotline from a plethora of different perspectives in different parts of the world, linked to a central "hub". Really, an excellent game.
Posted: 01/08/10, 20:55:43
^ Agreed with Eternal Darkness. That was one of my favorite games last gen. Truly awesome.
Posted: 01/08/10, 21:00:46
Yup. Eternal Darkness was great. Easily one of the best Cube games that I owned. The perspective change that centered around the main plot through various time periods I found to be incredibly refreshing and it kept the game from ever getting stale. Even if you disliked one portion it was only one very small aspect of the game.

That and Beyond Good and Evil are absolute travesties in the fact they aren't getting a real sequel. 2 of the better games from last generation that for whatever reason never caught on.
Posted: 01/08/10, 21:54:40
I've read some of the responses and I think it's hard for some people, including myself, to remember a game that we haven't played in awhile and remember how good the telling of a story is compared to the story itself... For example, Chrono Trigger is amazing (so I'm a bit biased) but as already pointed out, the plot itself is a little cliche. I think if the telling of the story is fantastic, it doesn't matter how overdone the plot line is, you tend to forget that part and just think "Wow what a great story" even though in your subconcious mind, you have seen/read it many times before.

I was going to put in Eternal Darkness but I was beaten to the punch. Then I thought of Beyond Good and Evil..and .....shite. It's been said already too.. ;)

A lot of RPG's have the same type of story (someone trying to control the world in some way) but I enjoyed Tales of Symphonia a lot - The characters were likable, I laughed a few times, and always wanted to keep moving. That is what makes a game a good story teller

S
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:04:37
I wasn't a big fan of Eternal Darkness, but I thought the story was pretty decent (if a bit dry). Really good sound design, too.
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:07:55
I'll add another.

The Longest Journey. Considered by many to be the apex of the point and click adventure genre, it's one hell of a fine game, with an outstanding story and characters that you wont soon forget.
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:12:02
@Zero
LOL....I have no idea! Pretty cool though. :op
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:39:28  - Edited by 
 on: 01/08/10, 22:43:17
It's about presentation though. Your first post in here was basically implying that intelligent conversation is pointless with those who dislike Prime and straight up saying that they're all whiners who are too "lazy" to read.

Not the best tone for friendly banter, no?

Now, I admit my post was a tad bit harsh on Anand too, but Anand and I are IRL friends and this is a long running thing between us. We already know the respect levels exist so we can goof around about it.
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:46:55
@Zero
I said that because he said 'Fuck Metroid Prime and its scanning'. He obviously said that the way he did to get a rise of Metroid Prime fans. And then after my response I put a smiley face cuz I knew what he was doing and I was willingly biting. I was being sarcastic and it wasn't meant to be insulting or biting, although I do stand by my opinion of scanning and where it belongs in those games.
Posted: 01/08/10, 22:57:17  - Edited by 
 on: 01/08/10, 22:57:44
Nah, that's just Anand. He swears a lot, but he is like a big ol' teddy bear. I think it'd honestly kind of difficult to get into a bitter argument with Anand. He comes off with harsh language and everything but he is like the most totally chill and ok with whatever person I know.

And I agree about scanning, I thought it fit well, and Metroid Prime is pretty much near perfect on almost every level to me and one of my favorite games ever (as you will see if you go to my profile and check my game scores). But there is no point getting all stressed out about it.
Posted: 01/08/10, 23:05:21
I do genuinely hate scanning, and I was kind of tweaking all you Prime fans, but a scanning debate wasn't the point of the thread. It was more just to solicit everyone's opinions on successful and unsuccessful methods of storytelling. It's fine to (peacefully) take issue with people's views, and scanning threads are always fun, but that wasn't my intention.

Zero said:

Now, I admit my post was a tad bit harsh on Anand too, but Anand and I are IRL friends and this is a long running thing between us. We already know the respect levels exist so we can goof around about it.

Yeah, man, that didn't bother me at all.

*tear runs slowly down cheek*

I actually have a wicked-nasty temper, but it only comes out very infrequently, and only with family. Even then, the white-hot rage only lasts for a couple of seconds. Apathy is a wonderful thing.

Deadpan humor is often misinterpreted on the internets, though.
Posted: 01/08/10, 23:11:04  - Edited by 
 on: 01/08/10, 23:27:12
Shadow of the Colossus is the winner for me. I have been gaming since I was three and no game ever made me have such an emotional attachment. I cried when the horse does not make the jump but throws you off its back best moment in gaming story telling ever. F Peter and his dog. Thats attachment, not throwing a ball and petting a dog. By the way i hate Fable and Fable 2 even more.

As far as Metroid scanning I can see all your guys points and understand why you like or do not like. Im with Simbabbad, loved scanning and learning about the story and ecosystem but having to scan to not only be told where to shot but before you could even hit the boss there was not my favorite. Dont mind the hints like Zelda gives though.

EDIT: And I would of punched Milo right his face if I had gotten the chance to try it out. Lets see what kind of reaction that would of gotten from cute little Milo. Where the hell did BC go.
Posted: 01/09/10, 07:24:55  - Edited by 
 on: 01/09/10, 07:26:52
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