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  1. #1
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    John Walker. You Are An Un-Player

    This Article was just posted on kotaku and i feel they missed what John was saying. They seem to be thinking that John was expecting a sandbox game, but what I think he was saying (having read the review a few days ago) is that he doesn't like the way that games are treating the player as an optional part of the experience. Leaving them out of the game so to speak, that their only role is to move the script along rather than to have any meaningful effect on the events.

    interested to see how others interpreted it.

  2. #2
    Allow me to paraphrase:

    "Dear John Walker,

    MAN SHOOTS GOOD! ME SHOOT MANS! GAME TELL ME SHOOT MANS, AND I SHOOTS THEM GOOD!

    Cordially,
    Brendon Keogh"

  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Malawi Frontier Guard's Avatar
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    Why do I even click Kotaku links.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sabrage's Avatar
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    Whereas I didn't get bored with the original RPS article, I did with the Kotaku one. So that's my meta-critique.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    We play videogames by participating with them as equals, not by becoming some god-like master over them. We enjoy entering a game, suspending disbelief, and voluntarily giving in to its limitations and restrictions and doing what is asked of us..
    So when you can't open a door till your NPC teammates catch up and open it for you, that's playing as an equal, suspending belief and following orders? Riiiight.

    Certainly, you are more than welcome to try to play Modern Warfare 3 any which way you want. Go for it.
    But you can't. You can't play it any way at all other then the way they want you too, and at the pace they want you to. If I want to open the door? I FUCKING CAN'T.

    A game that leads the player can be just as meaningful, significant, intelligent, stimulating or exhilarating as a game that lets the player do whatever they wish (within the games confines).
    This is only true if the player doesn't realize every step of the way that he's being led. If the game's design, the level progression, scripting, the interactions all coordinate in such a way to propel the player forward in the correct way without him knowing it - then you're right. But getting to a door and waiting for NPC's isn't it. Seriously. It's not rocket science, it's BAD GAME DESIGN.

    (the door is symbolic of all scripted events basically where you have to wait for scripts to play out before you can proceed)
    Last edited by DigitalSignalX; 26-11-2011 at 07:32 AM.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  6. #6
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    I hate Kotaku. It's so amazingly, shockingly shit.

  7. #7
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    What the writer of that article (and a lot of people commenting on it) don't seem to get is that the fundamental probplem with MW3s campaign isn't the lack of player freedom per se. Every game restricts the player in some way, some almost have no freedom in the way they are played (think Tetris), some have a lot of freedom (think Morrowind) and most fall somewhere in between. Every game has rules that are in the end artifical but neccessary because of technological limitations, the needs of the narrative or for gameplay reasons. But while good games have consistent, comprehensible and unintrusive rules, bad games have rules that make no sense, are applied seemingly at random and thus become immediately noticable by the player. MW3, Battlefield 3 and the likes fall firmly into the latter group.

  8. #8
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    Modern Warfare 3’s single-player campaign is currently sitting atop my Favourite Game of 2011 list.
    Wow. Ho-ly crap. Seriously. What?
    I mean, I know these things are subjective, but I guess there really is no accounting for taste. Weird, man.
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  9. #9
    Network Hub Taidan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subatomic View Post
    But while good games have consistent, comprehensible and unintrusive rules, bad games have rules that make no sense, are applied seemingly at random and thus become immediately noticable by the player. MW3, Battlefield 3 and the likes fall firmly into the latter group.
    Pretty much this. Consistency is everything in "good videogame" design.

    On this issue though, I'm going to go out on a limb and both agree and disagree with both John Walker and Brendan Keogh from Kotaku Australia. (Side note: There are different Kotakus, and it's not quite fair to damn them all as one because of the shoddy, lazy, sensationalist writings/stealing of a few staff on the "main" site.)

    While I haven't played Modern Warfare 3 yet, (and probably won't for a long time, unless somebody lends me a copy on the xbox soon) judging by my experience with every other game in the series, and the steady path they've been evolving along, I'd say that un-game would probably be an apt title for this newest instalment. I just don't see that as a bad thing.

    From what I've been hearing about the game, it's reached the point where it seems to have abandoned all ambitions of being a "good videogame", and is instead reaching to be the very-high-tech equivalent of all of the "interactive movies" that exploded in popularity in the wake of the popularisation of the CD-ROM drive in the early-mid-90's. That's okay with me. I mean, those thing were terrible videogames, (going by the way I, at least, usually judge videogames) but some of them were still great pieces of entertainment.

    From reading both articles in full, it appears to me that the two writers are judging the same game by two different sets of criteria. Our own Lord Walker is reviewing the game as a game critic. He notes the poor consistency of the gameplay, technical faults, it's moral reprehensibility, and the laughable ineptness of it's low-brow story-telling and scripting. Judged by those standards, he's bang-on right. Modern Warfare 3 is clearly not a great work of art, or even a great videogame. But is it trying to be?

    Kotaku-Down-Under's Mr Keogh, on the other hand, has reviewed the game from the point of view of somebody who wants to sit down, turn off their brain and be entertained for a short period of time, but at the same time still wants to engage, on some lesser level, in the way that only the interactive media that is videogaming can provide. He's taking into account the presumable ambition and audience of Modern Warfare 3, and the simple basis of whether or not he personally had fun. In that respect, he's calling out Walker for looking at the game from the "wrong perspective".

    (The irony of this is that we can now turn around and inform Mr Keogh that he's a bit of a hypocrite, and that his review of the RPS write-up has exactly the same shortcomings as those he claims exist in the RPS review of the game itself. He's ignored the aims of Walker's review, and not taken into account it's intended audience. It would be like writing into a magazine aimed at pre-teen girls, and critiquing their review of a manufactured boy-band.)

    So, there we go. Two different reviews, one from the point of a critic who views games purely on their own artistic and technical merits, and one from somebody who's concerned only only with their value as a piece of popular entertainment. They're both right at what they do. And then there's some silly reviewing of a review, which is... regrettable.

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    It seems weird to me that John Walker the guy who likes Adventure Games which are pretty much story over gameplay doesn't like these new fangled FPS games which are kind of the same thing. Something I've noticed.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSignalX View Post
    So when you can't open a door till your NPC teammates catch up and open it for you, that's playing as an equal, suspending belief and following orders? Riiiight.

    But you can't. You can't play it any way at all other then the way they want you too, and at the pace they want you to. If I want to open the door? I FUCKING CAN'T.

    This is only true if the player doesn't realize every step of the way that he's being led. If the game's design, the level progression, scripting, the interactions all coordinate in such a way to propel the player forward in the correct way without him knowing it - then you're right. But getting to a door and waiting for NPC's isn't it. Seriously. It's not rocket science, it's BAD GAME DESIGN.

    (the door is symbolic of all scripted events basically where you have to wait for scripts to play out before you can proceed)
    I also hated Half-Life 2.

    Actually I didn't, but I can barely stand replaying it because I have to wait for the scripted stuff to happen all the time. Same thing applies to Call of Duty. I remember Kieron Gillen argued that IW is one of the few studios that got the Valve style of scripting right. The gap between MW3 and BF3, Homefront, MoH and frankly any other imitator is astronomical. Anyone that claims they're just as bad/good/broken/same game is wrong, and that's a fact.

    You open plenty of doors in MW3. I also think it's fucking stupid to complain that you have to wait for your team to position itself, especially since Call of Duty manages to do it in under 5 seconds, but whatever.

  12. #12
    I gotta say, it's really weird to respond to a fairly impersonal here's-the-facts-ma'am review with a personal letter that constantly uses the word "I".

    As for the arguments, it's gotta be a conversation. The player says some things and the game says some things, and both things are interesting and important. If the player says too little, you're shutting them out, and they're not going to feel like they have much to do with what's going on.

    The ideal is You Do Things => The Game Reacts. MW3 doesn't do this well.
    Last edited by JackShandy; 26-11-2011 at 10:11 AM.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    The door was the pinnacle of Deus ex's design.
    Open with key, multitool the pad, hack a security system, blow the door with explosives, smack it open with a crowbar/nanoblade or marvelously bypass the door by a vent, leap over a fence (with or without stacked boxes) or just take another route.
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  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subatomic View Post
    Every game restricts the player in some way, some almost have no freedom in the way they are played (think Tetris)
    That's one of the examples many people gave over at Kotaku, and I disagree. Tetris gives you a rule set but lets you work towards its goal the way you want, rather than telling you that you absolutely have to place the square block in the lower right corner to advance.

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    That was sort of my point. Tetris gives you a very simple but strict sets of rules that are easily apparent to the player and based in the logic of the game. Within these rules however, you as the player are free to do what you want and are either rewarded with a highscore or punished by a game over. The rules are there, but they don't bother the player too much.
    In a game like MW3 (I'm speaking about single player only here obviously), there are arbitary rules on what you can or can't do that are often neither obvious to the player nor entirely based in logic, and worse they are often inconsistent between setpiece A and setpiece B. Because of that, the rules become so apparant to the player they feel constraint by it. Nobody cursed Tetris for not letting them rotate blocks diagonally, but a lot of players hate MW's SP because it arbitarily doesn't let you open doors on your own or punishes you for being faster than the game's scripted master plan. In MW3 you clearly see the seams of it's design, in Tetris you don't. (Obviously, that's a pretty unfair comparison between Tetris and a vastly more complex game, but it hopefully illustrates my point).
    Last edited by Subatomic; 26-11-2011 at 12:06 PM.

  16. #16
    Lesser Hivemind Node TailSwallower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    It seems weird to me that John Walker the guy who likes Adventure Games which are pretty much story over gameplay doesn't like these new fangled FPS games which are kind of the same thing. Something I've noticed.
    I don't think this is an accurate observation at all. Adventure games definitely try to tell a story, but modern FPS games in the MW-vein are about spectacle, not story. There's also the fact that Adventure games are cerebral and FPS are twitch-based, so there's really no logical comparison between the two (unless you were just trolling, in which case, ignore me).

    But yes, I've said it before, Kotaku AU is far superior to their American counterpart. I'd been following Kotak(a)u for a while and decided to add the US site to my feed as well and was simply amazed at how shite it was in comparison.
    I think the article was well-written, and I'm sure it was a great and convincing read for the demographic he was aiming for (fans of the series, obviously [I can't help but think the whole thing was just to get hits, but that's neither here nor there]), but after reading both his and Walker's pieces I know who's philosophy I subscribe to. I'm glad you enjoyed MW3 Keogh, but I'm going to keep supporting devs that are aiming for more than a just reiteration of last year's installation in the series.
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  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus c-Row's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subatomic View Post
    That was sort of my point. [...]
    Ah... sorry for missing that. I just saw "Tetris" and thought you were trying to make the same argument like them, when in reality we both had the same opinion. My bad.
    Last edited by c-Row; 26-11-2011 at 12:12 PM.

  18. #18
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Unaco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fiyenyaa View Post
    Wow. Ho-ly crap. Seriously. What?
    I mean, I know these things are subjective, but I guess there really is no accounting for taste. Weird, man.
    Take it you've played it all the way through then, and so can adequately judge this man's taste. What was so terrible about it that it's inconceivable someone would rate it as their game of the year?
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  19. #19
    Network Hub Nova's Avatar
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    Better question. Why appeared John's MW3 review for RPS on Kotaku?

  20. #20
    Network Hub GraveyardJimmy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirKicksalot View Post

    Actually I didn't, but I can barely stand replaying it because I have to wait for the scripted stuff to happen all the time. Same thing applies to Call of Duty.
    This is a pretty valid point. Kleiners lab, being in city 17, talking to resistance fighters. You are constantly waiting for the scripted conversation to be over. Half-Life 2 doesn't get stick for this, but Call of Duty does.

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