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What is your ideal environment or setting for a game? [roundtable]
 
Not for every game, but for the majority of the ones you play.

I am on a hiatus from overwrought, humorless games that take themselves too seriously. That isn't the type of environment that I want to inhabit for 12 hours. Unfortunately, it seems to be becoming the norm. I also don't see the point of realistic environments. After all, I can just go outside and shoot people whenever I want.

I guess my ideal is a bright, colorful, cheerful, stylized, relatively pastoral 'alien' environment, with a healthy dose of charm and a tongue-in-cheek 'story' (or no story at all). Consistency is a lot less important to me than variety. And I love when developers move beyond polygons and standard rendering techniques, as in Okami and Valkyria Chronicles.

Games that come close to my ideal? Super Mario Galaxy, Metroid Fusion, Wind Waker, Animal Crossing, Wario Ware, Yoshi's Story, F-Zero GX... that's all I've got, for now, although I'm sure there are more.

I meant to make this a more holistic discussion, but now it seems mostly visual. Whatever.

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Posted: 02/04/10, 17:53:22  - Edited by 
 on: 02/04/10, 18:01:21
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I have a thing for colourful settings. Nintendo games usually have me covered in this area (also, Critter Crunch is a vibrantly colourful game, and it's a big reason I love it). I'll stray from colourful environments once in a while if the setting compels me to, such as a God of War (sucker for greek mythology), or Bioshock (city at the bottom of the ocean).
Posted: 02/04/10, 17:59:25
Anything otherworldly, and not based on reality. One that oozes with style in every detail. Or, if it is based in reality, does it in a new and interesting way.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:13:28
I guess it depends on what kind of gaming mood I'm in..but If I take a look at my game library.. I have a lot of colourful games myself..

Other then the ones you metioned, games like DeBlob, Boom Blox, NSMB Wii, RRabids 2, all put me in a cheery or relaxed mood and are pretty light hearted in the story department.. I like the simple yet agressive style of Mario Strikers Charged and for long adventure stories Super Paper Mario comes to mind as stylized.. Zack and Wiki is another great one..

I don't have many realistic type games..I think the closest to realism I have is RE4/REDC..that's about it... I like games that seperate themselves from the real world as much as possible - imagination helps me relax and like Anon said, Nintendo already has me covered in that department..in spades.

S
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:19:52
Paper Mario has a great style, but Boom Blox always struck me as the most generic representation of 'bright, colorful, and cheerful'. I dunno. Great multiplayer game, though.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:32:57
Depends on my mood.

Sometimes I'm up for a relaxing romp through a colorful fantasy-land (Super Mario Galaxy, Critter Crunch, etc.).

Other times I want to traverse real-world environments and engage in relatable stories with "real" humans (Uncharted 2, Assassin's Creed 2, etc.).

I can see where one would feel the burn from overexposure to gritty, war-epic shooters like GTA IV and Modern Warfare 2, but painting with broad strokes and suggesting the "realistic" = brown/gray shooter doesn't show the whole picture, imo. Though it's not the majority, there are lots of quality realistic games out there that don't involve shooting someone in the face. You just have to dig around a bit. On a related note, I can't wait to get my hands on Heavy Rain. **drool**

In the final analysis, I couldn't imagine going without one or the other, even though I go through phases where I do prefer one more.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:43:29
Either bright and colorful or in the snow. I love when environments are full of life and bursting with color, because that draws me into a game more. A big reason I don't like a lot of the modern-day FPS games is because the environments look dead to me thanks to all of the browns and grays...it's lifeless. I loved how Okami balanced the dark and the light, and I really felt like I was looking at a water-color painting the whole time I was playing through it.

Also, snow. Let's face it: snow levels often get overlooked in games today. Case-in-point: Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story. Let's look at all of the environments: a lively town, a forest, caves, two castles, railroad tracks, underwater segments and...one little tiny section of Bowser where things were frozen half of the time, and even then there was no snow. I just like snow. Give me more of it.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:44:07
Did you enjoy Lost Planet?

New Forms said:
I can see where one would feel the burn from overexposure to gritty, war-epic shooters like GTA IV and Modern Warfare 2, but painting with broad strokes and suggesting the "realistic" = brown/gray shooter doesn't show the whole picture, imo. Though it's not the majority, there are lots of quality realistic games out there that don't involve shooting someone in the face. You just have to dig around a bit. On a related note, I can't wait to get my hands on Heavy Rain. **drool**

In the final analysis, I couldn't imagine going without one or the other, even though I go through phases where I do prefer one more.

That's the thing. Heavy Rain looks absolutely boring to me, on both a visual and gameplay level. It seems like it could've just been an interactive, branching DVD with real actors. I don't really see the point of digitizing it, and, as I wouldn't watch a humorless suspense movie, I don't want to play a humorless suspense moviegame.

I'm not saying that I'm representative of anyone else, though. That's just my view. I really could give up 'realistic' games forever. I'd be totally happy if every game took me to a radically different unrealistic place.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:52:22  - Edited by 
 on: 02/04/10, 18:53:36
A game world, to me needs to be completely engaging. It needs to make me forget I am playing a video game but taking part in the adventure. Metroid Prime (all of them), Twilight Princess, Wind Waker, Tales of Symphonia (both), Final Fantasy 8, and Paper Mario games are excellent at making me feel apart of the world. The mechanics of a game need to make sense to me, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles The Crystal Bearers is a perfect example of that. When I play a game I want to interect in the environment eventhough it does not cause story responses or major gameplay changes.

Games can be made or broken by their game world. Both Assassins creeds are broken to me, sorry. Halo? Broke. Darksiders? Broke. Those worlds are just not engaging to me, I need more meat in my games. Fable is a good start but it falls short with bugs and gameplay hitches. Maybe if they made a polished fable game that ran at 60fps then i would be immersed in the experience, but as of right now fable is a joke in that department.
Posted: 02/04/10, 18:56:06  - Edited by 
 on: 02/04/10, 19:15:39
Yeah, that's a good point. I prefer an organic feel. It's hard to describe, but, even though Ratchet & Clank has visually attractive, fairly varied environments, the worlds (in the PS2 games, haven't played the PS3 ones) never felt alive to me.

I wonder what that's a function of. Maybe you can generate a more organic feel by having flora and fauna and using polygons for detail, instead of relying on textures?
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:08:19
It doesn't really matter to me - so long as the game is fun, I don't mind "where" the game takes place. I do happen to like games that feature a lot of variety, though. Y'know.... games that have the "jungle/woods" area, the "snow level", the "fire/lava" level, the "sky" level, etc. RPGs are good at delivering that, which may be why I like the genre so much.

I'm not against games that have static or "set" environments, though. I'm also a fan of the Resident Evil games, as well as Metal Gear and the like. All those don't really have variety.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:08:57
Yeah, I feel the same about Heavy Rain. I guess there's a market for it, but I fail to see why you would get that game instead of watching 6 movies for the same price.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:13:42
My tastes are too eclectic to have a preference for a particular setting. I have favorite games, but even then I would not prefer that a majority of the games I play have a similar setting to those. I'm the same way with music and everything else.

In my opinion, the main strength of video games is that they can provide a multitude of various fantasy settings for a player to immerse themselves in. In contrast to the real world, where in reality we are stuck with the realm that we exist in, virtual reality allows us to escape to whatever world we want to put ourselves in. Therefore, seeing as I am never satisfied (probably because of my eclectic tastes) with one setting forever, I would never want anything restricting me to a particular setting.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:23:23
My favorite setting ever has to be most of the levels in Banjo-Kazooie (N64). I found them to be the perfect size, perfect style, and just enjoyable to roam around.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:26:28
@casper884
Would it be fair to say that you don't enjoy when games stick you back into 'reality', then?

anon_mastermind said:
Yeah, I feel the same about Heavy Rain. I guess there's a market for it, but I fail to see why you would get that game instead of watching 6 movies for the same price.

That remains to be seen, really. Sony fans don't always support exclusives very heavily.

(I have a theory on that, though (and the low-ish attach rates). I think that a TON of people bought the PS3 primarily (and perhaps ONLY) as a Blu-Ray player. Analysts say that the entire Wii market isn't 'addressable', but those people still bought a console to play games. I think a significant chunk of the PS3 'fanbase' (based on my personal experience) is genuinely un-addressable, as in they don't even like games.)
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:29:09  - Edited by 
 on: 02/04/10, 19:29:28
I never played Lost Planet, but I think the environment looks great. It reminds me of John Carpenter's The Thing for some reason.

On Heavy Rain, I'm invested in the grounded nature of the game. It seems to throw away the cliche video game protagonists and their "One vs The World" Rambo game mechanics in favor of a more genuine, realistic and dare I say, completely mundane landscape. I can see where many would consider gameplay sequences such as a father brushing his teeth, playing with his child, or helping his wife cook dinner mind-numbing, but to me it feels like completely unexplored territory in the game world.

It's kind of like The Sims I guess, but the difference is that instead of being a simulator, it looks to be trying to evoke genuine emotion through the vehicle of human drama...the every-day kind, not the Rambo kind. This is a novel concept in a hobby that leans to heavily on either Stress or Fear as the sole emotive force behind gameplay scenarios. Heavy Rain attempts (according to the developers) to explore a full range of emotions in the narrative.

Whether they succeed or fail is anyone's guess, but I applaud their attempt to shake things up a bit.

Either way, I'm sure it will be a love it/hate it experience anyway.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:35:35
Easily Sci-Fi. I love me some futuristic environments. Though with enough variety, and sometimes color to make it interesting. Don't make it all outer space or dark like Dead Space. As you can probably guess already the Metroid games, specifically Metroid Prime fit perfectly in this category. Corruption is the best. The perfect blend between organic, alien worlds and sci-fi-esque space stations and futuristic environments.

That's normally what I prefer, though ironically my favorite video game area of all time doesn't fit into this category. And that is...




Sandover Village from the original Jak & Daxter
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:42:32  - Edited by 
 on: 02/04/10, 20:27:56
I still like pulpy sci-fi, but medieval fantasy is really starting to overstay its welcome for me. Orcs and elves and dwarves, oh my!
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:45:17
anandxxx said:
I still like pulpy sci-fi, but medieval fantasy is really starting to overstay its welcome for me. Orcs and elves and dwarves, oh my!

Agreed.

Titles like Oblivion and Dragon Age make me yawn.
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:47:01
Omigod, the last high fantasy demo I played (Divinity II, maybe?)... I just wanted to kill myself. The English accents. Always with the fucking English accents (and maybe Scottish brogue for dwarves). The 'thee's and 'thine's. The comely wenches, in full Oktoberfest garb.

Brrrr...
Posted: 02/04/10, 19:56:18
Haha! For real.
Posted: 02/04/10, 20:08:23
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