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Guardianjmt
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Top 5: End of an Era
« on: November 04, 2013, 05:30:19 pm »

With next gen launching this month (yes you read that right) I thought we could look back at this generation and discuss our top 5 in a variety of topics. Not just top 5 fighting games, or arcade games, or indie hits, or whatever, but other things too.

So for this inaugeral edition, I thought we'd do story. Specifically, story moments. Because while a lot of games have had great stories, not as many have had moments that have so clearly defined this generation. But for those moments that have, they deserve to be mentioned here. Spoiler warnings necessary, of course.


Top 5 Story Moments of this generation:


5. Batman: Arkham City -- The struggle between Batman and Joker is well known, between comics, TV shows, and the movies. And the story in Arkham Asylum, while very good, was ultimately the same as a 1000 other Batman stories: Joker has a plan for all of Gotham and Batman has to stop it. Arkham City changed all that. Joker was dying and Batman had to come to terms with it. Did the Joker deserve it? Should Batman save the Joker? Could Batman live with that responsibility? The end of the game changed the dynamic between Batman and Joker forever. And if you played Harley's Revenge DLC, you see how it affects Batman several months later.

4. Heavy Rain -- A game that has been polarizing on this very forum, Heavy Rain nevertheless is a game rich in story. And while there may be plotholes in the story depending on how you play and what ending you get, ultimately the plotholes don't matter so much as the choices you make, and the ending reflects all the choices you make. But the one moment that I'm reminded of is when you are tasked with killing a random person in order to save your son. It's one thing to force yourself to cut off your finger. But to kill a random person who you don't know, and you don't know why they've been targeted for death, all to save your son forces players to consider what they would do in that very moment. It's the very definition of putting players in the shoes of the character.

3. Fallout 3 -- There's a number of awe-inspiring moments in the game, like when you have the option to blow up Megaton or you first encounter your first huge Super Mutant outside of the radio show. But it's when you first step out of Vault 101 that gets me. Everything is blurry at first, but then your eyes adjust to the sunlight and you see the world before you. And it's all open to you. There's no direction for you to go, no quest for you to take on beyond finding your father. Everything is wide open to you. It's a moment that still gets to me, and I've sunk over 100 hours into the game.

2. The Walking Dead -- Unlike Heavy Rain, your choices in The Walking Dead don't actually make a difference. You'll still follow the same plotline, albeit in different manners with different people in the mix and different people liking or disliking you. But it's the manner in which things happen which makes this fact irrelevant. Everybody's story does play out differently. It's the end of the game where perhaps the only real choice happens. And yet, it's not the choice that puts the game on this list. It's the relationship between Lee and Clementine. What other game could make you feel for a kid the way you do for Clementine in this game? With the way the game ends, the final conversation between Lee and Clementine puts things in a whole new light. What you tell her matters, not for what could happen in season 2, but for you, and for her. Your words will forever shape the path she takes through this crazy, scary world. And they'll show what you feel about this situation and this world. It will help define you. That's the masterpiece of this game.

1. Red Dead Redemption -- Red Dead tells the story of John Marston. A decent man who made some bad choices earlier in life and is now paying the consequences of those choices, along with his family. As you travel through southern U.S. into Mexico and back to the U.S. you see just a common man struggling to not be ruled by the government or other men who seem to have more money and guns and power. There's two moments actually in this game, which is why it's at #1. The first of course is the ending. After bringing in the last man of his old gang, John is returned to his family and his farm and goes back to live a simple life. He's given the chance to have a moment of peace again. But then the end happens, and John realizes he never was free. It's poignant, and seeing his son years later pick up the pieces and finish the mission underscores the impact of his choices.

The second moment is when you arrive in Mexico. You hop on a horse and ride to your destination, which happens several dozen times during the game. But it's the song that plays, along with the beauty of the landscape, that makes this moment worth remembering. It reminds you that you, as John Marston, are far from home. It's a peaceful moment, a calm before the storm of the events of Mexico.



Honorable Mention: Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 -- The Call of Duty series is known for bombastic action sequences that would be right at home in a Michael Bay film. But there's one mission which has defined Modern Warfare 2, and it's funny because it's a mission that you have the option of skipping. No Russian. The meaning of those words is powerful. It's a mission which still is talked about, 4 years later. Seeing innocents slaughtered in front of you is horrifying, even though it is "just a game" and even if you don't participate, you can't do a thing to stop it. The series may have flaws, but there's no denying the narrative power of this mission.
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 06:37:33 pm »

Well, that interrupts my post that I've been working on for a while, but WHATEVS

So yeah, when do people deem this generation to be "over"? In some ways, you could say the PS2/Xbox/GCN era isn't over yet as PS2 games are still coming out (albeit sports games, but still).

Obviously, a PS2 game is going to stick within PS2's generation. When Trails in the Sky Second Chapter comes out for the PSP next year, it will fit into what we're now going to have to start calling "last gen" very soon. But what about its PC version?

But what about games that split the generation? Is Watch_Dogs going to be a product of the new WiiU/Xbone/PS4 generation? Or will it be the last gasp of the PS3/360/Wii? Is Assassin's Creed IV, having released first on PS3 and 360, considered a current gen title or a next gen title?

And what about PC games? Will an indie game like Escape Goat 2, which will probably launch after the Xbone and PS4 arrive, will it automatically be considered next gen? What if it gets ported back to, say, XBLIG? Or XBLA on 360? What about Apotheon, which will launch on PC next year?

What about Early Access games like Mercenary Kings that technically haven't launched yet?

I've been thinking about these kind of things for a while now, so I know what I'd say to most of these questions (Trails will stay PSP, Watch Dogs will be next, Ass Creed will be current, PC games will be next gen starting 2014), but I'm curious how everyone else feels.

Top 5 Story Moments coming soon.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 06:37:51 pm by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #2 on: November 05, 2013, 08:45:56 pm »

I'll try to be the least spoiler-y I can, but if you want to keep your experience fresh when you play through Saints Row: The Third, Bastion, 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Ghost Trick, and, for some reason, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, stop reading now.


***********************************
TOP 5 STORY MOMENTS
***********************************

5. Saints Row: The Third - What I Got

A well executed twist in a storyline or a superb ending are the quickest way a video game can get me to love its story. As someone who annoyingly and unconsciously tries to decipher and predict every little shocking reveal or twist in every piece of narrative, a story isn't really that enjoyable if it follows the same beats as what I expect. Whether it is books, plays, movies, television, video games, etc., anything that is able to catch me off-guard will make the story exponentially more enjoyable.

Saints Row: The Third doesn't have the best ending. It doesn't have the best story even. And there sure as hell aren't many shocking twists in the narrative. You're gonna have to look at the rest of the games on this list for any of those.

Yet, there was a defining moment in the game that did catch me off-guard. It's a super small, insignificant part of the game that takes place not even during a mission, but during a simple drive from point A to point B. The scene is this: your character gets into a car and, after a short conversation with her (or his, if you're weird) good friend, begins singing the song on the radio with them. That's it. And it's not exactly beautiful singing. It's off key, the characters are constantly messing up lyrics or singing at the wrong times or laughing or playfully chiding each other.

But it's a weirdly beautiful and entirely genuine moment in the game. It was unexpected from a game that used phallus imagery in its marketing and an over-the-top action scene as its opening mission, but it managed to pull it off so magically that nearly everyone who played the game loved it. It's incredibly hard to do these sort of things in video games without them feeling forced and a considerable effort and directing skill must have been necessary for the scene to sound like all of the voice actors were just singing between takes and goofing off with each other. In a game filled with carnage and chaos, its strange that a happy-go-lucky scene sticks out so much, but it acts as a reminder for the characters (and, in some ways, even from the developers to the player) that, as the lyrics say, "life's too short, so love the one you got."



4. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King - "Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven?"

I'm a huge Warcraft lore nerd. It's been a series I've played for almost as long as I can remember. I played through every mission in the Warcraft trilogy of RTS games, frequently read Warcraft lore, wikis, and speculation online, read the comics and some of the books, and had read almost every questline in vanilla World of Warcraft and Burning Crusade. So you'd think nothing would surprise me in this universe I had been so thoroughly invested in, eh? Well, despite all of that, Wrath of the Lich King got me pretty good.

And I hadn't even hit the level cap yet.

The Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate is now an infamous event in the Warcraft lore that, while you didn't actively get to participate in the actual fighting, you had a huge hand in making possible for both the Alliance and the Horde. A lot was riding on that battle and it made the knife that was stabbed into your back hurt that much more. Yet, it was a little more personal if you played a Horde character. You were not just betrayed by an ally in battle against a common enemy, but betrayed by a trusted part of your own faction. And worst of all? You gave the betrayer the knife. A long, seemingly innocuous quest line had you accomplish everything your betrayer needed to put their dark plans into action. It was not a pretty ending for those who dared split from the Horde, but it was a moment few expected. It drove a huge stake between the Alliance and the Horde, killed several very important figures in the Warcraft universe, and made not just the members of the Horde, but the player themselves question the motivations of an entire race.

Needless to say, the implications of the Wrath Gate are still being felt two expansions later. One wonders whether the Horde will ever be able to live down their failure or if that race can ever be truly trusted again.



3. Ghost Trick - Thinking Inside The Box

Ghost Trick defines its gameplay mechanics through the exploration of the main character's (Sissel) ghostly limitations early on. Everything that transpires in the game's story follows the rules of its gameplay systems, never faltering in order to give you a cheap, shocking reveal. Likewise, everything in the gameplay is 100% valid in this universe where ghosts can change the past and interfere with the lives of the living in order to save them from a grisly fate. Both the story and its gameplay fit into a nice little box of possibilities and rules that make the boundaries seem obvious and almost limiting. Yet, the game's genius is how far they are able to explore within that box of plausibility in order to provide the player with ever changing gameplay challenges and some truly shocking twists, and one of the most insane, shocking, and satisfying endings in video game history.



2. Bastion - "I see your star. You left it burning for me."

I hate the introduction of moral choices in a game's ending. They're such a contrived way of forcing player agency into a story that is largely linear. It jeopardizes a strong finish to a well constructed story and rarely does your experience actually benefit from your small contribution. Even rarer still is that small (usually binary) choice thought out enough to account for all situations, all motivations, and all perspectives on a character that has likely remained largely silent throughout your journey with him/her.

Yet, Bastion is the exception. It transitions its story skillfully from a guided experience to one that is purely within the players hands. This new found agency over the Kid is not something as ham-fisted as being freed from mind control or anything supernatural, just a simple, subtle, beautiful change in the UI, gameplay design, and delivery of the story that makes your ability to steer the plot to its conclusion makes sense. It introduces two major choices that, despite their binary nature, account for every single kind of personality that the player has grafted onto The Kid. Both choices are wonderful in their simplistic nature and never dip into the naïve morality of good vs. evil.

With the four conclusions the game can end on, I have known multiple people who have taken each of them their first time through. Each person I ask has a entirely valid, yet wildly different justification for why they carved that path, even between people who got the same ending. They each had a different idea of who their character was and how they, the player, and their version of The Kid wanted to shape the world around them.

There is no bad ending. There is no good ending. They are just different paths, each crafted in such a way that everyone can be satisfied. Everyone can participate in the Kid's journey and take what they want from it.



1. Zero Escape: 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors - The Reveal

999 is a Visual Novel and, thus, it lives and dies by its story beats. Yeah, it might have great adventure game puzzles here and there to give you a break from the twists, turns, and tension of its thriller storyline, but everything the game does is in service of its story. And its a great story! It does a fantastic job establishing atmosphere early, has a memorable and varied cast of characters, and, as I said before, it's really refreshing to play a game with a story that embraces the conventions of a Thriller without devolving into Horror (often). But there is a certain story beat on a player's path toward the true ending that hits everyone like a hammer to the back of the head. To not reveal anything too major, it's a story beat that, in a matter of seconds, instantly solves mysteries that you have tried to wrap your head around for hours, plants new and even more pressing questions into the back of your brain, and just generally throws your perspective for a few loops. It's by no means the end of the shocking reveals left for the player in 999, but it's the one that hits the hardest, and one of the most memorable twists in video game history.


***********************************

So those are the 5 Best Story Moments that I can remember from the past 8 or so years of video games. Interesting to see how Wrath of the Lich King is the oldest game on the list, despite being from 2008. 999 was released two years later in 2010. Bastion, Ghost Trick, and Saints Row: The Third were all released in 2011, which was probably the best year in video games since this generation began in that 2004-2006 time period. Maybe 2008 could give it a run for its money, but 2011 had some of the biggest highlights in this current generation and the beginning of the next one (notably: Super Mario 3D Land).

Next up? Thinking about flipping this and posting the Top 5 Worst Story Moments. While researching the best moments, I found a ton of stinkers that I feel like raging about once again. This should be fun!
« Last Edit: November 06, 2013, 09:31:23 am by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2013, 09:26:40 pm »

WARNING: HELLA SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT

5. Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Hail Sithis.

The Elder Scrolls games have a bit of a reputation for being extremely wide but not particularly deep. There are thousands of NPCs, but most of them just sort of stare into space and mutter the same few lines about mudcrabs over and over again. You can do essentially anything at any time, but rarely does the game reward you or acknowledge you for these endeavours. That sense of freedom, however, has made the franchise a fantastic hit. The fourth game, Oblivion, allowed players to roam the center of the vast Tamrielic Empire, Cyrodiil, as well as delve into the demonic plane of Oblivion. Considerably more memorable than the main quest, however, was the Dark Brotherhood. The vast majority of the storyline revolves around getting a contract on someone who needs killing, then talking to the various other assassins in your secret underground hideout before setting out on the mission.

Towards the end, however, your elusive leader Lucien Lechance comes and informs you that there is a traitor amongst the ranks of the Dark Brotherhood. The only one who cannot be the traitor is you, the player, as the betrayal started before your joining. There is only one way to be sure the Dark Brotherhood is safely preserved, and that is a purge. Everyone must be killed, from the surly Khajiit who never quite seemed to like you, to the big amiable Orc with more muscles than sense, to the kindly Argonian who showed you the ropes. I found it to be an extremely difficult moment, one that comes close to making me use that in game freedom and simply walk away, never to return.


4. Portal 2Space?

I almost feel obnoxious including this. Both the Portal games have had a profound affect on the Internet, in which almost every major moment is turned into a meme that is then so ruthlessly plastered everywhere for the next several years that it becomes almost embarrassing. The fact is, though, that le epic meme face XD aside, the ending to Portal 2 is a beautiful, beautiful thing. For a series with a protagonist as charismatic as Link, the games throw story at you a mile a minute. Antagonists with thousands of lines of dialogue babble at you throughout your adventures. Most of it is simply for laughs (and is very successful in this regard), but some of it is important and some of it is actually rather heartwrenching. When Cave Johnson mentions off-hand in his final audio logs that he's dying from extended exposure to the moon dust used to make portal surfaces, the player likely doesn't think much of it.

Then the final confrontation comes, and the idiotic Wheatley seems to have thought of everything - even boobytrapping the stalemate button! - and has Chell on the ground, staring up at defeat...until part of the ceiling tears away, revealing the moon. With nothing left to do but give in, the player idly clicks towards it, and suddenly Chell and Wheatley are hurtling out into space. My only reaction during this moment was, "wait, what the hell did I just do?" before suddenly it all clicked. Such an extremely absurd situation made absolutely perfect sense in a way only Valve's writers would seem to be able to pull off. Ending the game on an operatic turret send-off and a final goodbye song from GLaDOS that, while lacking the popular appeal of Still Alive, was beautiful in its own way, made me glad the short and silly Portal got this sequel and will leave me content if the series ends forever here.


3. Bioshock Infinite - I'm Both.

The original Bioshock gets props as well for making it known that this was a series looking to mess with your head. The "Would You Kindly?" reveal was a great play on the dynamic between story and gameplay. The character, by idly going from game objective to game objective like anyone does when playing a game, was in fact participating in a much more sinister mind control ploy that they had no way to be aware of. Bioshock 2 wasn't bad, but lacked that same kind of punch the original delivered, and felt like an unnecessary add-on. Infinite heavily shook things up, and at first it wasn't immediately apparent why this was even a Bioshock game. The pacing in Infinite was odd. Instead of a twist part-way through, which then sent the character on the real objective, most of the major story revelations were packed into the final 10 minutes, after all the major gameplay was done.

It revealed the concept of Infinite Universe theory, which is cool but not totally original in and of itself. But the final reveal hits just seconds before the credits roll: Zachary Comstock, the main antagonist that you have been striving all this time to defeat, is an alternate universe version of Booker Dewitt, the player character. An important life choice sent Dewitt down one path and Comstock down another, resulting in two very different individuals years down the line. Booker himself realizes this only moments before being shoved backwards and drowned. Roll credits, and my brain leaking out of my ears. Yes, there are some moments throughout the story of Infinite that, upon further reflection and discussion with friends, fails to hold up all that well. But the sheer impact of that revelation the first time it struck me left me reeling.


2. Ace Attorney - The Entire Series

This one may be a bit wobbly as to whether or not it's 'current generation.' Apollo Justice certainly is, and for us non-Japanese, the games could only be played on the DS. The series had its ups and downs in terms of story moments, but is consistently one of my favourite 'visual novel' style games, that rely more heavily on listening to characters talk and making the occasional dialogue choice than any actual gameplay. The characters are quirky and lovable, there are plenty of subtle jokes all throughout, and the 'turnabouts' that gave the series its original name are often quite shocking.


1. Mass Effect 2 - The Suicide Mission

I have a feeling the Mass Effect series is about to take some hits from DoTs "worst story moments" list, so as possibly the only person on the board who loved the series the whole way through, I need to throw it a bone. Even though I did enjoy the highly controversial third game, the second was the undeniable highlight of the series. I loved the large cast of characters. I loved the plot shifting focus to a more personal level, visiting different hubs of activity such as the shady Omega and the war-torn Tuchanka. I loved getting a better idea on the various conflicts tearing the galaxy apart like a red-dressed vixen. Meeting Legion and debating whether or not even a race of bloodthirsty androids could have trustworthy elements. Helping Mordin decide if he made the right decision by helping sterilize an entire population of sentient beings, or if such a solution was immoral regardless of the consequences. Helping Jack overcome her past and then making sweet, sweet lo--

Anyway, all of the events of Mass Effect 2 culminated in a single final mission: The Suicide Run. And in a way people no doubt hoped ME3 would imitate or even surpass, it managed to encompass almost every decision you'd made throughout the game thus far. What decisions had you made? Who was loyal to you? How well did you get to know your squad? People would live or die based on your actions. Told Miranda to go to hell 10 hours of gameplay ago? You may come to regret that decision. Fail to get Tali pardoned from her accusations of treason? Well, you better hope you've got some strong soldiers who can watch her back. The mission also features one of my favourite musical scores. Running back to the ship, the collector base collapsing around you, hoping you have enough teammates still alive to pull you back onto the Normandy...

This is hands down the first moment I thought of when considering my top story moments of the generation, and after a night of researching other games, I can't think of anything that tops it. I've played through the entire Mass Effect series 4 times now, and I don't see myself stopping there. And I don't think the Suicide Mission will ever stop giving me chills when I get to it.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 08:36:34 am by Mr. Teatime » Logged
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2013, 01:32:21 am »

I would like to mention: HEAVY DUTY SPOILERS on all 5 games on Teatime's list, but Bioshock Infinite especially. I know a few people on the boards are still making their way through that one.

Still, Great list overall. Read it if you don't mind getting spoiled.

Glad to see you mentioned the last three games that I cut from my list: Portal 2, Mass Effect 2, & Ace Attorney (I had the last case of Trails & Tribulations as my best "moment" in the series). Bounced back and forth about what I should cut right up until I posted my list.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2013, 01:36:09 am by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 03:49:49 am »

Spoilers for Portal 2 and possibly Spec Ops?

PS: Teatime, I also romanced Jack.  I Just Won A Million Dollars!

----

5. Braid - Perspective

"Help!

Braid is pretty much a walking indie game cliché: its bloated, uneven narrative (conveyed through static text in a series of books) is about the most overwrought and pretentious story in the history of the medium. Putting aside the absurd hidden-in-plain-sight messages, I'm still struck by the game's ending. It's too bad Braid is teeming with such an appallingly self-important smugness, because taken as a commentary on gaming iconography (rather than nuclear warfare, of all things), the final "save the princess" moment is pretty clever.


4. Portal 2 - Occam's Razor

"The best solution to a problem is usually the easiest one. And I'll be honest: killing you is hard. You know what my days used to be like? I just tested. Nobody murdered me. Or put me in a potato. Or fed me to birds. I had a pretty good life. And then you showed up. You dangerous, mute, lunatic. So you know what? You win. Just go. It's been fun. Don't come back."

One of the highest profile new IPs of this generation ends the only way it should: with GlaDos telling you to get out of the test facility because her life was so much easier before you showed up. The entire search for Caroline - and GlaDos' supposed redemption - are instantly purged from her memory, but gaming's most passive-aggressive character proves true to her word, and Chell's final emergence above-ground is a fitting payoff after hours of testing.


3. Bastion - Full Circle

"Proper story's supposed to start at the beginning. Ain't so simple with this one."

The best downloadable title this generation is filled with wonderful narrative moments. Bastion is one of those very rare games where its gameplay actually reflects its thematic concerns. Central to both story and combat is the relationship between destruction and construction: Bastion gives us landscapes (and people) frozen in time and covered in the ashes of a fallen society. So the game's final "choice" is less about emotional manipulation (sorry Walking Dead) and more about personal revelation. Are you going to restore the "normal" world (knowing full well that the past is likely to repeat itself), or do you build something new and different from the debris?


2. Spec Ops: The Line - Deja Vu

"Wait, wait this isn't right."
"Well, it's too late now."
"Nah...no, I mean, we did this already..."
"What do you mean?"
"Ah...f*ck it. It's nothing. Just shake these f*cking guys!"


The Line is one long descent into nightmarish depersonalization, and it's the preachiest and most cynical game I played this generation. After mowing down lines of enemies from atop a helicopter turret, Captain Martin Walker has an odd realization: he's done this before (the game in fact opens with this same airborne set piece). But that's the whole point: Spec Ops speaks not only to genre exhaustion, but to the emotional ramifications of overindulging in macho shooter fantasies. If killing and violence is what we do in our spare time - if we crave these militant fantasies - what does that say about us?  


1. BioShock - W.Y.K

"Run. Stop. Turn."

The definitive moment of this console generation for me, a twist that indicts our compulsion to passively interact with digital worlds. W.Y.K  is a literal and figurative game changer: it alters BioShock's gameplay rhythms while actively encouraging introspection. There are better instances of player-avatar subversion out there, but BioShock is the most important and most shocking story of this console generation, and W.Y.K is the series' definitive moment.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 03:50:50 am by Depressio » Logged

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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2013, 02:46:55 pm »

Spoilers ahead! If you would like to go into games like Sly Cooper 4, L.A. Noire, Mass Effect 3, Mark of the Ninja, and Metroid: Other M fresh without a ton of spoilers, please stop reading now!



***********************************
TOP 5 WORST STORY MOMENTS THIS GENERATION
***********************************

5. Sly Cooper: Thieves in TimeWhat TVTropes calls "Character Derailment"

This is a simple one and I don't really have to explain it much. Somewhere in that eight year gap between releases in the Sly franchise, someone thought up the brilliant idea of taking a beloved member in the Cooper gang and killing their character oh so thoroughly. There is nothing left that resembled the character from previous games. Yes, time passed in the story and, yes, people change, but this was executed with all the loving respect as a WWE wrestler doing a sudden, unexplained, and out of character face or heel turn. It was shocking, but not in a way that felt satisfying or justified. It's sad, but I really can't think of a character in any storytelling medium that was so needlessly and ruthlessly butchered, especially since there was nothing really gained by doing it.


4. L.A. Noire - And I would've gotten away with it too if it wasn't for you meddling kids!

I was really tempted to just say "all of it". L.A. Noire is a smorgasbord of bad pacing, illogical plot twists, failed characters, gaping plot holes, and baffling contradictions. There's infamous scenes like the slapped together ending, a certain character's laughable fall from grace, the unnecessary protagonist change, and, which I still find hilarious, having L.A.'s sewers experience a ridiculous flash flood in a matter of minutes. There's so many good moments that could fit on this list, it's amazing that I was able to choose just one.

Yet, with all the possible story moments I could mitch and boan about, the end of the homocide desk is the part that still makes my blood boil. Unlike the game's finale or some of the nonsense cases here and there, the end of the homocide desk actually had potential. With you following a bunch of similar murders and determining whether it's a serial killing or convenient copycats, the game could have set up a really nice reveal at the endinge. Having a serial killer, a string of copycats, or even both being true would undoubtedly undue a lot of your work, but handled correctly and it could've matched some of the best reveals in the Phoenix Wright series.

Instead, it falls completely flat. There aren't enough breadcrumbs and red herrings along the way to keep you engaged, there aren't enough suspects to have you continuously doubt each case of being a copycat/serial murder, and the end reveal has all the care put into it as catching and revealing a Scooby Doo villian. I imagine the reveal was meant to leave a sour taste in both the player's and Cole Phelps's mouth as they moved onto the Vice desk, but it only succeeded in betraying players who were enjoying the game so far and lowering expectations for what the rest of L.A. Noire had to offer.

Which actually worked out pretty okay, because the last two acts of the game weren't much better.


3. Mark of the Ninja - Mark of the Ninja is not Bastion

Mark of the Ninja is an excellent game. If you want to hear me sprinkle it with praise, I suggest you look up my Top 10 list from last year. It's gameplay is incredibly well thought out and designed, fixing many of the long standing issues of the stealth genre by returning to the roots of the medium.

I wish I could say the same about it's story. It must have been an absolute chore to screw up Mark of the Ninja's story as badly as they did with how little story there actually is.

*exhhaaaaaalllleeee*

The story in Mark of the Ninja is mundane and insignificant. A few short animated cutscenes to fill in backstory (in the typical Klei art style that is incredibly hit or miss), some vague motivations to urge you forward, and a batch of perfectly predictable betrayals and twists with no emotional impact. You barely think about any of this as it is presented to you. You don't really have the capacity to care about a protagonist that hangs guards by their neck from lampposts just to get the jump on the next enemy he faces. So you continue onwards, scaring guards, desecrating their corpses, and blending in with the shadows until you've basically hit the end of the game. You're presented with one of the most painfully obvious plot twists in this generation, proceed to walk very slowly through a flashback sequence that is far too artsy for the unsophisticated story thus far, and then you are dropped into a moral choice. The final choice. The only story choice in the game.

I'm mad. Livid. Not every game can be Bastion. Not every game can get away with this. Most don't. Most can't. This is bad storytelling. This is bad player choice. This is just bad. Poor. Unenjoyable. Amateur. But it keeps on happening, game after game. Developers don't learn. Developers continue on, trying to artificially present the medium in some sort of higher form by dragging it through the mud.

*exhale* *inhale* *exhhhhhaaaaaallllleeee*

The presence of the choice is enough to make me angry. The choice itself is what really makes me rage.

Now, there is nothing to prepare yourself for this "moral" choice. No solid reason is provided as to why you should be given a choice now, when you blindly proceeded forward for the entire game up until this point. It even fails to even give you the base understanding of why you would want to choose either choice and what exactly the ramifications of your actions would be. Mark of the Ninja has no guiding theme or consistent moral struggle to base your decision on. It had a overarching plot that was leading to a certain conclusion, yet, there you stand, having to choose what "moral" choice you should take.

If you continue with how the narrative had been proceeding, then good for you. You've avoided the decision by blindly following the game's boring story thus far and you have saved your brain the anguish of thinking for even a second about how DUMB the choice before you is. You have played this scenario perfectly and can continue remembering the game as an excellent gameplay experience and let the story be simply forgotten.

So, here, have a cookie.

If you, however, stop to think for two seconds what the actual "morality" of your choice is about, you'll realize that it's a big 'ol cluster f. Basically, the decision is limited to two outcomes only because the designers believed it should be. There are a million different paths the protagonist could take at this time that all make sense, but the developers try desperately to make it binary by blanketing your choices with the labels of "good" and "evil", as if those concepts have any meaning during the situation or any meaning at all. Of course, I would actually commend Klei for giving the player a moral choice that is not so black and white if they, again, hadn't just tried to force the idea of good and evil down your throat and had thought about what exactly the "morality" of this moral choice is.

And if they were able to, you know, execute it correctly.

From one perspective, the "moral" choice boils down to maintaining tradition or defying its lessons. You are given a choice to shape your own actions to follow one of these paths. Which is really interesting if you take that from your own personal perspective, but you'll soon realize that you'll be abandoning that tradition in the long run if you personally maintain it and, you guessed it, defying it now will ensure tradition is maintained forever. Not having context from the game, even that seems pretty damn cool. A choice of whether self sacrifice of morality is worth the insurance of morality for all.... It almost sounds genius when I abstract it away from the game. Of course, Klei never even thought about this scenario. Instead the game pushes it as black or white, good or evil, maintaining or destroying tradition, despite it being blatantly obvious that the tradition you can try so hard to maintain is being viciously destroyed unless someone interferes.

Let's change perspective. What about looking at this as a choice between succumbing to the will of others or rebelling against them. That might work, except that both decisions have you succumbing to two nonsense arguments that are being screamed into both of your ears. What's worse is that you never really "rebel" in either ending, as you are just succumbing to whoever you think yelled louder.

Or how about simplifying it way, way down and have the ending choice be about selfishness and selflessness. One choice is very obviously better for you and one is very obviously better for a group of people that you, at this point, really only have animosity towards. So that becomes less of a moral choice and more of a "Hey, do you want an ending where you lose or an ending where you win?", which is the stupidest moral choice I've ever heard in my life.

I could go on and on, trying to decipher some sort of consistent meaning from this, but it's pointless and, frankly, headache inducing. The moral choice is a failure in every sense of the word. It doesn't have any underlying theme for the player to take wisdom from and its thick set of contradictions immediately brings the player out of the experience.  I talked about how Bastion offers smart moral choices that everyone can justify, that everyone can experience and take lessons from. In Bastion, you only ever think about the experience, about your interpretation of The Kid and what your decisions mean to the world around you.

Mark of the Ninja is not Bastion. Much like the rest of the game, once you are presented with the moral choice, you ignore the story and immediately start thinking about mechanics. Mark of the Ninja's choice isn't thinking about  how the world will react to your decision, but how the developers will interpret it.





Oh, I also forget to mention something really, reaally important: neither choice matters in the end. You are given a very, very small cutscene of your choice being performed and then it just fades to credits. Sure, you can interpret that as a copout from the developers (in the best case scenario) or an even further attempt by the game reaching beyond its storytelling means, but either way the story does not end on a satisfactory conclusion. There is still more work to be done. There is still more events to unfold. Yet the game draws the curtains and lets you figure out those ramifications by yourself.

I mean, if you care at all by this point.

And with that icing on the cake, I still can't believe that there are two more games with worse story moments than Mark of the Ninja.



2. Mass Effect 3 - Welcome to Mass Effect 3: Where the ending's a Deus Ex Machina and your choices and themes don't matter.

Teatime called it. I'm going give this series some good 'ol fashion smack talk, but my story beef really only extends to the third game at this point. The first Mass Effect game is largely forgettable from a story perspective beyond establishing the lore of the Mass Effect universe (I love its Codex) and most of its problems stem from its broken, unpolished, janky ass gameplay. The second game in the series is excellent and is the finest example of a merger of third person shooter and a western RPG gameplay. Mass Effect 2 had an amazing cast of characters, a cool overall Oceans Eleven in Space plot, and some amazing story beats that blended its gameplay and narrative together (see: Teatime's blurb about the Suicide Mission), so I can't really knock it for much of its story (though, my god, Miranda is a bad character).

But then there is Mass Effect 3. The first 95% of the game is not exactly unsalvageable in the story department. There are some great story moments here and there (especially the Tuchanka and Rannoch stuff), but, like L.A. Noire, it's the weight of a thousand sins that damns this game. The game's awkward stortytelling moments far outnumber the good ones; it does a terrible job with integrating past decisions and events; it has godawful pacing; the cast is incredibly hollow wooden and hollow, seeming like parodies of the cast of Mass Effect 2; and don't even get me started about how they ruined a lot of the gameplay mechanics. Seriously, don't get me started. I may hate the story of Mass Effect 3, but the gameplay is what really kills it for me.

Yeah, so, Mass Effect 3 is bursting at the seams with storyline and gameplay problems and even though that alone was enough for me to feel discouraged and disappointed in how the series concluded, Bioware left the biggest chocolate covered garlic clove for last. The ending is atrocious, even with the director's cut DLC and the paid DLC meant to explain a justify an ending that was obviously pulled out of someone's ass. The ending is just plain hard to watch. It does such a good job in destroying likeable character after likeable character, theme after theme, and, most importantly in the Mass Effect franchise, "crucial" player decision after "crucial" player decision. This facade that Bioware had been trying to build something bigger and better into a video game series's narrative came crashing down in an instant. There was no player impact on the story. Your choices were meaningless. Your choices carried over from game to game did nothing but help you fill a bar by a few extra points, which could be subverted with 15 minutes of near-mandatory and incredibly tedious multiplayer action.

It also ends on a huge (and very literal) Deus Ex Machina stripped right out of Deus Ex's ending. Seriously, it's eerie how close the final choices in Deus Ex are to the final choices in Mass Effect 3. I didn't even play Deus Ex, but I remember how poorly it was received by players back in 2000 and how betrayed people felt about its equally crappy choices for its endings. And video game storytelling has come a hell of a long way since then. You'd think in the dozen years since, someone at Bioware would have played that game, studied why the ending was so hated, and maybe, just maybe, talked to someone in charge about steering their runaway car away from that cliff. But they sped forward and off the cliff they went, plummeting, plummeting, plummeting until they erupted in probably the biggest internet firestorm I've ever seen. It was nothing worthy of the death threats and protesting that was going on, but man, was it worth the constant negative press.

Even if the ending was just mediocre, we would not be where we are today. Fans of that series would have been pretty much divided on the success of the Mass Effect trilogy, where message boards would be filled to the end days with whether Mass Effect 2 or 3 are better. Mass Effect would have continued to receive consistent love from the gaming press and enthusiasts as a series that may not have lived up to expectations, but was pretty damn awesome. And, hey, Bioware would have happily continued being regarded as the premier western RPG studio, even with Dragon Age II fresh in people's minds.

But the ending did happen. The ending did piss people off. The fanbase did get angry. And only a pocket of them still fight to defend and celebrate the series today, let alone the final installment. Bioware is rarely spoken about beyond the mandatory coverage of Dragon Age 3, which itself is harmed by the stigma of Bioware's recent offering. Heck, when people bring up great western RPG developers, you're more likely to hear CD Projekt Red, a company that has only made one good RPG (Witcher 2), than Bioware.

Mass Effect 3 seemed to me to be the most important story moment of this past generation. But just because it's important, doesn't mean it's good.



1. Metroid Other M - The murder of the strongest female character in video games

THE BABY  THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY  THE BABY  THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY  THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY THE BABY


***********************************

Okay, enough about story. I'm thinking my next Top 5 will be about a classic Top 5 topic on the boards: Best Soundtracks of this past generation.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2013, 05:19:25 pm by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2013, 12:30:54 am »

This is actually way harder than my best-of list.  Undecided
This is actually pretty spoiler-free too now that I think about it, so read on?

Bottom 5: Worst Story Moments

5. Borderlands 2 - Handsome Jack's mood swings

I can't put this game lower on my list because narrative is intentionally secondary to gameplay in this series. But Handsome Jack - a character who's been called one of the most iconic game villains in years - is the worst. He's the worst kind of awful - smug and obnoxious. He taunts you endlessly with meme-tinged one-liners that are too desperate and smug by half.

I can forgive a boasting bad guy, and I understand that spite and anger make for effective motivators (even in games). But what I can't tolerate is Gearbox's infrequent 180s - the same man who will talking about his horse Butt Stallion will suddenly appeal to your humanity, appealing directly to your sense of decency. It's not only manipulative, it's nonsensical, and wildly incompatible with Pandora, a literal border land where human life is routinely snuffed out as a punch line. I am all for criticizing violence in games, but if you're going to do it, do it right. Do it consistently and convey your message in a way that means or achieves something.

4. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots - Oh. Nanomachines. OK.

MGS4 did many things wrong, both in terms of gameplay and story. But perhaps its worst crime was revealing series creator Hideo Kojima as a (lovable) bullsh*t artist. When push came to shove and he was finally forced to resolve some of his decade-long plot threads, his explanations were either unsatisfactory or downright insulting. The MGS series has always wilfully teetered between reality and fiction, so really, any solution(s) were possible to these problems (and some outright didn't need explanation in the first place). Instead, Kojima says too much and speaks too often.

MGS3 is one of my favourite games of all time, but I think Kojima took a cue from the wrong game. MGS4 should have been a follow-up to MGS2's gonzo VR rambling, especially given Guns of the Patriots' PMC-populated, ID-controlled battlefields. But instead, the game seems to exist in a world where Sons of Liberty never happened, where the 1st and 3rd games are all that mattered thematically. It's a cop out.

3. The Walking Dead - The End

I spent months heralding The Walking Dead as the next big innovation in gaming choice. It brought Telltale into the mainstream by giving the player some gutsy, impossible choices - material that I never imagined would be depicted in a video game. That's why the ending is so profoundly and utterly disappointing. Everything, it turns out, was smoke and mirrors because all of your choices coalesce on a shared, communal finale. All roads lead to what is ostensibly the same scene, so ultimately, all of your desperate quick time event mashing was for naught because mashing A (or conversely, keeping the control idle) means nothing in the long term.

Games love to boast about moral choices, but they remain consistently unable to harness this interactivity in any meaningful way. (As DoT discussed in his post) But what makes The Walking Dead worse than Mass Effect 3 - with its obnoxious, 100-hour-in-the-making dud of an ending - is that no one made a fuss when The Walking Dead fizzled out. And I cared about The Walking Dead more than Mass Effect - I wanted the best for the characters because I wanted to earn an ending for them. Instead, The Walking Dead made me feel like an asshole for giving a crap in the first place. Telltale's been flirting with the idea of content transferring over for the upcoming second season, but why bother trusting them any more than I already have? As with anything in games or life, why intentionally put yourself in a situation where you're guaranteed to be let down?

2. Heavy Rain - Whisper whisper whisper GASP

I'm at peace with Heavy Rain. It took me a while, but I'm OK with it. It's still terrible, but I treat it like an extended American crime drama written by someone who has never experienced American culture outside of 80s and 90s cop movies. And that's fine. I love EarthBound because its charm comes from its off-kilter and (intentionally?) backwards assumptions about life in North America.

But what I can't accept is the reveal of the Origami Killer, which is so clumsy and nonsensical that it continues to puzzle me years later. There's absolutely no cleverness to this reveal - it flat out doesn't make sense. The game has some neat and memorable set pieces up to this point, but taken with this plot twist, half of them end up invalidated. David Cage has spoken about his fondness for MacGuffins and misdirection. This is not misdirection. The game is misdirected.

1. LA Noire - Everything

While my friend up there tried to distil the game's problems to a single mission and maturely avoided condemning the entire game outright, I'm gonna have to go ahead and condemn the game outright. I'm someone who has spent much of this last console generation arguing against games as egotistical power trips. I keep clamoring for what I broadly call "subversive" titles that undercut the comforts and conventions of the medium. So, in a way, I should love LA Noire - it's a game that gives the player neither respect nor control.

As Cole Phelps (and then suddenly his old buddy Jack Kelso for some reason?), you are so profoundly awful at your job that success of any kind is impossible. The game is a 30+ hour ode to personal and institutional dysfunction - case after case of unnavigable, plodding investigations that routinely end in failure. What you're left with is a bureaucracy simulator, but one that offers no statement other than "corruption is everywhere." The thing is, there actually are bureaucracy simulators. Lots of them. Some of them even promote a modicum of thought. (Hell, look at Frog Fractions) But LA Noire offers us nothing but a bland, empty world full of bland, empty characters. And its ending - supposedly the culmination of your years of investigatory work - is a joke, speaking to the title's central and insurmountable misunderstanding of what makes a game - any game - remotely enjoyable.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 02:13:15 am by Depressio » Logged

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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2013, 03:25:02 am »

Good listmjan! Borderlands 2 was a solid [dis]honourable mention on my list for pretty much the same reasons you mentioned and, despite not having played them, I sort of saw the Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid 4, and Walking Dead coming, due to how much you actively complain about those games.

It doesn't excuse it, but it seems like a lot of your perspective  on L.A. Noire stems from you either being really bad at it's gameplay or just really hating it.

We both took away two very different impressions of Cole Phelps (my Cole Phelps was a know it all, goody two shoes who stuck his nose in where he shouldn't have (as well as other parts of his body (Hiyooooo)), but still, in the end, we experienced all the same laughably bad and out of character scenes in the game says a lot about how far video games have to go as a storytelling medium, especially with their defining characteristic of player choice.

Also, I've really wanted to give Borderlands 2 another chance in the past little while, as I do really like the gameplay. So I was thinking of rolling a Mechromancer, but with some slight differences as compared to my first playthrough: subtitles off, voice audio set to 0, skip all cutscenes, no Tiny Tina missions unless they're story missions, no listening to audio logs, no reading any text in the game, and co-op as much as possible. As complete of a story isolation from gameplay as I possibly can in order to see if that game can be good.

I'll report back with my findings.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 03:27:04 am by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2013, 12:04:12 pm »

I expected the Heavy Rain hate, and I'm not surprised by Mass Effect 3 (which I still haven't beaten yet but dagnabit I will at some point) but L.A. Noire throws me for a loop. I am surprised by that one. Also I love that the end of The Walking Dead, which I said was one of the best moments, was one of Depressio's worst.

Anyways, Worst Top 5 Story Moments, huh?


1. Apollo Justice Ace Attorney: I like Apollo Justice. Pretty strong game, all things considered. And the question that hung over all the whole game concerns Phoenix. What happened to him? Why was he disbarred? What could he have done?

So you get the chance to play his final case, which is fascinating, as you see a younger Gavin, and cameos by Gumshoe and the patrolman whose name I forget. And you go through the case, all to find out...he was set up? Seriously? We'd been led to think that Phoenix had betrayed his values and deliberately fabricated evidence to try to win a trial. To find out that he was just handed this evidence, without a chance to investigate it, felt like a stinging blow to the credibility of the story telling. It was a disappointment that soured the rest of the game.

2. The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct: Admittedly I've barely played this game. Because it's bad. Seriously bad. Probably has my vote for worst game of this generation. But right at the beginning of the game is a sign of how uninspired this game is going to be. You're hunting with a buddy when you first come across walkers. You try to save your friend but you're bitten...and then you discover you were actually playing as Daryl's dad instead of Daryl. It's a cheap ploy that's just lazy storytelling.

3. Heavy Rain: This is actually a worst moment not because of the lack of its impact or storytelling or whatever, but the greatness of the impact. Right at the beginning of the game, you play with your kids and get things ready for the birthday party, and then afterwards take your kids to the mall. When you lose one of them, there is a frantic feeling of panic as you're keeping your eye on the balloon (MY BALLOOOOOOOOOOOOON!) trying to catch up to him. The real sucker punch is when you're too late and your son is run over by a car. It got to me when I first played the game and I didn't have kids, and now that I do have kids and having recently played through the beginning of the game again, it nearly brought me to tears. The other games on this list will be here for bad storytelling, but this is a moment of good storytelling that just completely sucked.

4. Assassin's Creed Revelations: Honestly, except for the Altair stuff, the story in this game is pretty forgettable (sorry Sonic). Unlike Brotherhood, which saw Ezio finish his quest for vengeance for his father and brothers, Ezio goes to Constantinople for...something? Find out what happened to Altair? Sonic can tell you, as he's probably the only one who remembers the story. Oh yeah, and for some reason they show us meeting his wife. Which is fine and all, except she's boring. Also the Desmond part of this game is dull too. I never played the first person platforming stuff until the DLC but talking with Subject 16 about...I don't even remember what. Gameplay was still fun (except for the Tower Defense stuff which I didn't hate but I didn't think was necessary either) but the story was just blah.

5. Medal of Honor: A game I actually was highly looking forward to, this was a game that had some interesting moments but overall a VERY uninspired story. So much so that I plan to wait to pick up the sequel until it's like $5 used. For a game trying to compete with Call of Duty, they couldn't even put together a half-decent story (which for a lot of people wouldn't be hard to do to come up with a story better than in Call of Duty). For a series at one point lauded for great story and gameplay (with the highlight being Frontline) it's turned into quite a lackluster series. If it wasn't for the earlier prestige of the series it'd have fallen into the forgottenness that Alpha Protocol is in (remember that one?)


See, now I'm thinking of a Top 5 Games that Disappointed. I can think of several like that, as I'm sure many people can (and yes, ACIII and ME3 would be on a lot of people's lists I'm sure).
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2013, 12:42:05 pm »

I'm going to go out and say that Medal of Honor and Walking Dead: Survival Instinct would probably have made everyone's list if anyone here other than you played them.

I kinda agree with Apollo Justice, especially since it was part of one of the stronger cases in the series. It felt like they did a bad job in selling you the reason on Phoenix Wright's apparent fall from grace, so I wasn't really all too impacted by the twist. Also, when you actually play through the flashback scenario, it is probably the most underwhelming part of that game. Yet, I don't know. Worst moment in 8 years of video games? That's a little too much hate.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2013, 02:03:24 pm by Devourer of Time » Logged



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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2013, 12:49:18 pm »

It doesn't excuse it, but it seems like a lot of your perspective  on L.A. Noire stems from you either being really bad at it's gameplay or just really hating it.

We both took away two very different impressions of Cole Phelps (my Cole Phelps was a know it all, goody two shoes who stuck his nose in where he shouldn't have (as well as other parts of his body (Hiyooooo)), but still, in the end, we experienced all the same laughably bad and out of character scenes in the game says a lot about how far video games have to go as a storytelling medium, especially with their defining characteristic of player choice.

I don't even know if it's possible to be bad at LA Noire, now that I think about it. There are some shooter sections filled with explosive barrels and auto-aim, so I didn't fail at them. I guess I screwed up a lot of those obnoxious tailing missions where you had to have a precise buffer zone between you and the car you're following.

I didn't have any impression of Cole Phelps, other than the fact that he suffered from severe mood swings (hence his interrogation sequences), and he has an inexplicable lust for someone remotely resembling the image of a femme fatale as defined by something like Urban Dictionary. Anything that could be remotely considered character development happens offscreen or not at all, especially Cole Phelps: The Family Man.

Your Borderlands suggestion actually sounds pretty fun. But those characters are like, all in all, the worst. I'd love to play a mod where there's no speech at all. Like, not even the option for speech. Just quests given by no one.

And Anakin I have loved all of our disagreements this whole generation, and I'm looking forward to more debates next gen!  I Just Won A Million Dollars!
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2013, 02:11:02 pm »

I don't even know if it's possible to be bad at LA Noire, now that I think about it. There are some shooter sections filled with explosive barrels and auto-aim, so I didn't fail at them. I guess I screwed up a lot of those obnoxious tailing missions where you had to have a precise buffer zone between you and the car you're following.

I didn't have any impression of Cole Phelps, other than the fact that he suffered from severe mood swings (hence his interrogation sequences), and he has an inexplicable lust for someone remotely resembling the image of a femme fatale as defined by something like Urban Dictionary. Anything that could be remotely considered character development happens offscreen or not at all, especially Cole Phelps: The Family Man.
What are you talking about? You can "fail" all the investigations. It has no impact on your actual progress through the game, but it does impact who you can finger as the killer/arsonist/whatever and how your boss treats you at the end of a case.

Oh man, I forgot about his crazy, Commander Shepard-esque mood swings. And, yeah, his character is terribly underdeveloped. You are given zero reason to care about Cole Phelps's problems and his motivations make no sense when you contrast it with his weird sudden fascination with the femme fatale with your goodie two shoes, by the books normal self.

Your Borderlands suggestion actually sounds pretty fun. But those characters are like, all in all, the worst. I'd love to play a mod where there's no speech at all. Like, not even the option for speech. Just quests given by no one.

Want to join me for the border landings?

Also, I did a quick google search. There's a mod to remove the cell shading (???) from the game, but no mod to remove the story.

I'll never understand PC gamers.
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2013, 02:40:07 pm »

CEL shading. CEL shading!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'll do a list too! I rarely ever get one out but I PROMISE.


Even though most of mine have been taken.
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Re: Top 5: End of an Era
« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2013, 03:01:04 pm »

I knew that, I just mistyped it.
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