Podcast: Bad games with a great story

podcast-dreamfall-1b

Sit down at the boiling pot, stranger. Let me tell you a tale. A sordid tale, full of fascinating lands and captivating characters. A story of wonder and flame, strangeness and warmth. Would you like to hear it? Great. Just play this rubbish cover shooter for a half hour. I’ll start the introduction when you hit the first checkpoint.

Welcome to the RPS podcast, the Electronic Wireless Show. This week we’re discussing some great stories that come packaged with terrible games.

Last week we did the reverse, talking about good games with rubbish tales worked into them, like Far Cry 5. Now we’re praising storyline and grumbling about gamebits. John thinks Dreamfall had an amazing story full of moving scenes about faith, let down by an awful 3D adventure interface. Katharine hates looking at the wall in Soma, because the underwater robo-facility is so intriguing. And Brendan is sad that Pyre had a fiddly netball game attached to a warm tale of friendship and justice. Some say we should take a “holistic” view of games and stop splitting them into “story” and “what happens when you do the buttons”. But forget that. Can’t you see these awful tank controls?

You can listen above, or go straight to Soundcloud where you can download it for later.

You can also get the RSS feed here or find it on iTunes, Stitcher or Pocket Casts. Campfire music is by Jack de Quidt.

Want to write in with questions or suggest a theme for a future episode? Now you can, to podcast@rockpapershotgun.com.

Links:

Adam didn’t care for Soma as much as us :(

But here’s Steven Messner on its strengths

Soma’s safe mode lets you delete the monsters

Have you played… The Longest Journey?

A Dreamfall retrospective

Ragnar Tørnquist on Dreamfall and faith

Pyre review

You’re not the hero of Pyre’s revolution, and that’s the point

Zunless Zea Zubmariner lured Pip into the water

Alec’s choose-your-own-review of Torment: Tides of Numenera

ER: The Game is good-not-good

Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice review

The Walking Dead: Season One, Episode One review

Have you played… Spec Ops: The Line?

70 Comments

  1. Jokerme says:

    Let’s turn this comment section into “suggest a bad game with great story” section please!

    Everybody knows the good games with great stories but the bad ones are hard to find and I’m a sucker for those. I don’t care if a game is bad (unless it’s offensively bad, there is a limit to everything), just give me that juicy stories!

    We don’t have to stick to “bad” games, either. Games most people don’t know with great stories also works.

    • pentraksil says:

      I heard a lot of positives towards Cyanide’s “Game of Thrones” Game is really not that great but I heard a lot of very positive things about the story. Some of the best they played in fact.

      • MacPoedel says:

        I logged in to say just that! First game that came to my mind. Personally I didn’t think the gameplay was that bad if you compare it to the first Withcher game for example, but the story fits in very well in the Song of Ice and Fire series. The DLC was crap though.

        This also reminds me of the Telltale Games. I haven’t finished their Game of Thrones game, but I did like the story in The Wolf Among Us, and the game itself not so much.

        • gwathdring says:

          The GoT Telltale game was not great. I’m not a big GoT fan, so perhaps others would like it more but I felt it was an even more frustrating and boring version of the key GoT shtick: all of the interesting plot ideas get shoved aside so someone can prove they’re willing to kill or hurt characters. But now add the filler stuff that makes it a Telltale game and add in the half-choices that define the series and already put a lot of people off when the variant outcomes don’t all end in death and plot dead ends.

          • gwathdring says:

            I say this as someone who rather like several of the other Telltale games and don’t mind the CYOA sleight of hand necessary to create the impression of meaningful choices.

      • Werthead says:

        Gameplay is okay, the story is pretty good. Both take a while to get going: the first 2 hours or so of the game is quite painful and then it gets a lot better.

    • kud13 says:

      Planscape Torment is an obvious one.
      If you consider interacting with items to be “story” and combat to be the only “game” part.

      EDIT: also, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2. The story (dialogue and voice-acting) are sublime, but the game itself literally has you touring the same 8 locations back and forth 3 times, with occasional detours to solve a bunch of puzzles in the designated puzzle area, with dreary combat.

      Story: 20/10
      Combat: 3/10
      Locations and pacing: 2/10

      • mitrovarr says:

        Yeah, Planescape torment kind of ruins its own combat by having a very specific ‘correct’ character build to get the most out of the story, which leaves the player character little room to develop and experiment as a combatant.

        • Someoldguy says:

          Other than being able to choose whether to adventure as fighter, mage or thief and swap between them when you wanted to?

          You needed certain stats to start decent and peak before the end of the story to get the optimum ending but that didn’t hinder your combat options that significantly. You couldn’t be a pure grunt STR/CON fighter with no smarts, but being early D&D there weren’t significant combat options for a grunt to unlock anyway. The casters were always the ones with choices while the grunts just took and dealt direct damage. Morte was there from the outset to fill that role.

      • Werthead says:

        That’s very reductive. There’s more to a game than just fighting. PS:T puts fighting on the table as an option but you really are encouraged to go for dialogue and diplomacy every time, and if you follow that approach with very little combat, the game is brilliant.

        And the combat’s not great, but it’s hardly an unmitigated disaster. It’s pretty much the same as Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, just not with quite as many detailed combat build options. But it’s hardly unplayable.

        • kud13 says:

          i agree, which is why I added the qualifier.

          Pretty much everything that involved reading and picking conversation options (whether it be interaction with characters or items) tiewd directly into the story. And it was great.

          but trudging around Sigil and being swarmed by hordes of thugs (and later on, rats) was tedious, and you could not always escape the combat and flee to the next screen.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      Enslaved: Odyssey to the West has a really good story, but really bad and repetitive gameplay. I watched the “movie version” of the game after playing a third of it.

      It’s one of those games that might be bearable or even fun if I really dive into the combo’s and whatnot, but it all feels like a bad investment of my spare time. Hunted: The Demon’s Forge, a game I played in parallel with Enslaved also has a good story and better gameplay, so I played half the game before looking up the rest of the story on youtube.

      • LostMyWay says:

        Enslaved was great in my opinion, combat and world. It would be near top of my ‘under appreciated games’ list

        “repeatative” is the laziest criticism in gaming, all games are repetitive even the greats. No such thing as one that isn’t.

        • Seyda Neen says:

          That’s fair. Repetition in itself might not be the problem. People complain about “repetitive music” a lot but music without repetition is almost non-existent, and not exactly pleasant or even interesting to listen to besides as novelty. I think what they mean is the context surrounding the repetition isn’t different, so nothing is gained from continuous listening.

          The same can be said about games that don’t feel repetitive. The context in which you perform repetition is always changing. That context can be narrative or difficulty or probably plenty of other things. Games that feel repetitive aren’t changing enough context.

        • Premium User Badge

          Earl-Grey says:

          The only thing that ruined Enslaved for me was the Playstation 3.
          It ran like ass (which is a strange thing to say, considering that an ass can run pretty well if it has, like most do, legs attached.
          It ran like legless ass, then).

          It also made some choices with it’s color palette that I found rather garish, and it had those weird over-exposed orange-/pinkish lights that some Unreal Engine games occasionally had back then.

          Should probably give it a second chance sometime.

          • Flopdong says:

            I’d say Enslaved is worth a replay, I played it on PC two years ago or so and had a good time. I can agree with the complaints that the combat system is a bit simplistic, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the experience for me.
            Personally I quite liked the visual aesthetic of the game, most post apocalyptic games are so brown. It was nice to see blue skies and green plants for a change

        • kud13 says:

          I’d say its repetitiveness comes from the fact that aside from a few boss sequences, you are constantly fighting the same 3 varieties of robots.

          I liked the level variety, the story was OK, and the platforming worked. But the combat got fairly boring towards the end, due to this lack of variety.

          This is why I feel “Remember Me” was a superior game to “Enslaved”

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Pretty difficult. Ok maybe the modern Shadowrun games qualify.
      The stories were good but I’d say the combat and the menus were barely ok.
      The Void? It didn’t had a comprehensible story either but a great setting and atmosphere. Gameplay was toxic.
      Adventures like The Longest Journey definitely.
      But usually I don’t tend to buy or play games with bad gameplay. Just read up on the plot if someone mentioned it as nice.
      I’ll also not count Deus Ex (original) or PS:Torment as I found the gameplay entertaining enough while not really memorable.

  2. BlankedyBlank says:

    I’ve been told that Spec Ops: The Line is surprisingly good, but I just could not get past the bland shooter gameplay.

    Edit: Of course, I’ve commented before listening and now see it mentioned in the tags. Doh.

    • pentraksil says:

      I don’t agree the gameplay is bad, just average. When it came out it was more than OK, wouldn’t call it bad IMO. But yeah, story and the war and human nature narrative was top notch.

  3. Someoldguy says:

    Interesting that this is released on the day that Hellblade is up for 9 BAFTA Game awards, including best game.

    • Flopdong says:

      I thought Hellblade was great all around, do they say it has bad gameplay? (I’m at work so I haven’t had a chance to listen to the podcast yet)

      • Someoldguy says:

        The combat elements / combat controls were not loved when it was reviewed last year. I’m not the kind of wizard that casts pods, preferring to read from scrolls, so I’m only going by it’s inclusion in the linked games here.

        • Addie says:

          The combat is fairly shallow – if you were expecting a reasonably deep brawler (eg. like Ninja Theory’s previous game, DmC Devil May Cry) then it isn’t that. Also, I didn’t see the shield-breaking move come up on the tutorials, and only found it through button pressing, and without it combat is really slow, you keep having to wait for your specials to charge. But it is a fairly short game, equally balanced between story, hunting the environment, and combat, and for the combat to be more complex than it is might throw the balance off. It’s not really the point that you should be rushing through the story to get back to fighting, for instance. It’s still a beautiful, well-paced and thoughtful game, especially for the price.

          • Flopdong says:

            I think you’ve summed up the combat pretty well, it was fairly simplistic in terms of combos and options. But it also wasn’t the entire point of the game. If the combat was too difficult and complex it could detract from the story.
            Generally in games when I get stuck on a difficult section for awhile, I’ve pretty much forgotten the story by the time I beat it and have to remember what has been going on.

  4. Hyena Grin says:

    I dunno if I just somehow missed it, but I was surprised to not hear To the Moon listed anywhere.

    Though to the extent that it had ‘bad gameplay’ it was more that there was so little gameplay that it was basically unobtrusive and largely irrelevant. And that would open up an awful lot of games of a similar bend, no doubt.

    But still, in terms of story/gameplay contrast, To the Moon is definitely very starkly weighted toward having an excellent story with very little concern regarding gameplay.

    • Colthor says:

      Definitely To The Moon, although I remember the button-pressing far less favourably than you. I played through it with my partner (short straw takes the controls) and we both thought it would have been better if it hadn’t been trying to be a game.

    • MazokuRanma says:

      Something like Gone Home could be added to this category. I adore the game, but you could almost put it into the category of ‘Walking Simulator’. It’s really just an interactive storybook.

  5. gwathdring says:

    I’d tentatively propose Dragon Age II and Dragon Age Inquisition. Dull as dirt to play and not without problems in the writing and storytelling, but overall both do some interesting things I don’t see a lot in video games. Dragon Age II tells a story over a longer period of time than most games with a linear narrative do that has some neat payoff … that is let down pretty badly by the ending and the gameplay.

    Inquisition has a lot to say about it’s protagonist as a character and the role of faith in their life and in the lives of the supporting cast. I didn’t like it as much as Dreamfall was praised in the podcast, in part because it is such a vast thing that it has more room to make mistakes in the name of creating drama. But in particular I think it has a coherent protagonist to a degree somewhat unusual for a Create Your Own Character sort of game. It’s a mind-numbing thing to play, though–the worst sort of open world where it’s just a singleplayer MMO grind. It has some of the same problems as are becoming archetypal of ye olde Bioware games at this point, but it’s a more personal and coherent feeling version of most of these elements to me.

  6. mitrovarr says:

    Final Fantasy 7 is probably the second worst of the Final Fantasies in terms of gameplay, but everyone likes the story (I think it’s overrated but certainly it is popular). The combat is too easy, there is little strategic depth because you only can field 3 characters, most of the combat options show up only after they’re already obsolete, and you spend most of the battles watching obnoxious overlong summoning animations.

    FF8 has even worse gameplay but I’d hesitate to call the story great.

    • Premium User Badge

      Risingson says:

      Everyone?

      EDIT: with videogames the canon has that thing that if you find 10 magazines saying a game is great and the fans saying a game is great, the game is canonically great. No critical analysis required.

      There is nothing great in the FF7 or FF8 narratives. They are precisely what let the games down and keeps them from hiding their gameplay flaws.

    • LostMyWay says:

      I think you’re confusing your own opinion for absolute truth.

      The majority of people loved FF7s gameplay. I think that’s undeniable to be honest. Ask people what they remember and it won’t be the story other than the obvious death moment, it will be fighting or Diamond, Ruby, or the optional summons. Chocobo breeding. That’s the gameplay.

      The story was nonsensical start to finish. My best mate is a FF7 fanatic and he still can’t explain it coherently after almost 20 years.

      I realise some old school FF fans didn’t like it, but they certainly were not the majority who bought it.

      • Someoldguy says:

        Lets face it, if you were a PC gamer, FF VII & FF VIII were the only FF games you got your hands on anytime close to when they were new, apart from the MMO. It’s hardly surprising they’re mostly well thought of by the PC fraternity. I enjoyed FF VII so much back then that I levelled up all the Materia and bred all the chocobo etc but no way would I replay that grind these days. The story seemed reasonably unique back then in being willing to kill off major player-controlled characters and mixing high tech with guns, magic and swords.

        • Flopdong says:

          I remember playing FFVII on PC, it was so buggy it was barely playable. Pretty sure most people with fond memories of the game played it on a Playstation

          • Someoldguy says:

            Strange, because I played it twice on the PC back then and don’t recall any issues at all.

        • Son_of_Georg says:

          I’m with you. I’ve always been a PC gamer, and I played through FF VII several times, including all the optional stuff and the extra grind to max out levels. Were there games with better stories out there? Sure, but this was at a time when I bought maybe 3 games per year. I think the characters hooked me more than the story, though I liked some of the twists even for their nonsense. I can’t imagine trying to play through it again today.

  7. gwathdring says:

    This is a tough one for me because most of the games I can think of with good stories I also find to be good games generally.

  8. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    Well, Assassin’s Creed 1 for example, but hey, a good narrative is part of what a game reward can give. Back then in the 8 bit era it was wow a picture! another music cue! another background! another enemy! Then with adventure games it was a mix of an advance of the narrative and some more beautiful screens. Being rewarded with a good story for playing a repetitive game is, well, something very common since, I don’t know, nearly 30 years ago?

    • LostMyWay says:

      No such thing as a non repetitive game.

    • Merus says:

      One of my strongest gaming memories is of the party assassination in AC1, where soon after you walk in, it becomes clear that your target has spiked everyone’s drink, and your cunning plan to mingle in the crowd goes straight to hell because you’re the only one not writhing on the ground.

      It sticks in the mind, still, nearly ten years later.

      • gwathdring says:

        Huh, I had entirely forgotten about that.

      • Premium User Badge

        Ninja Dodo says:

        I remember disliking that scene cause I spent some time scouting out the location beforehand figuring out exits and approaches, and then when you go there at the appointed hour a cutscene happens and you’re forced to stand in the middle of the courtyard completely exposed, negating any plans you may have had. Same thing with the one in Jerusalem that ends in a chase. Preferred the missions that had a little more freedom, like the one with the guy on the boat.

  9. brucethemoose says:

    I nominate Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    The storylines aren’t great, but they’re sometimes interesting, and there are a TON of them. The scenery and music are nice. All in stark contrast to the hotbar gameplay that makes me want to bang my head against a brick wall.

    Maybe The Elder Scrolls: Online too, from what I hear? I guess alot of MMOs fall into this category, bar PlanetSide 2 of course.

  10. fuggles says:

    Man, I liked the story in dreamfall, wrote opinioned words on it. But chapters… Eugh, that was really bad story.

  11. Cor Cordis says:

    Bionic Commando (2009), I remmeber it as negativly reviewed, but I enjoyed it

    • Flopdong says:

      I never played Bionic Commando, so I can’t really say if it was good or not. But I always got the impression it was unfairly hated just because of the “your robo-arm is secretly your dead wife” plot point. Every time someone said the game sucked, that was the only reasoning they could provide for why they felt that way.
      I have always fell more into the “story doesn’t matter as long as the gameplay is fun” camp

    • Premium User Badge

      zapatapon says:

      In my memory, that was rather an example of really fun gameplay with a completely ludicrous story.

  12. LostMyWay says:

    I got it the wrong way round with my comment, great first post, like saying hey “I’m new and I’m an idiot”

    Good story, bad game is much harder, I think because a good story can’t rescue a bad game but a good game can rescue a bad story. So I’ll never find out if a game I hate had a good story because why would I play a bad game to the end?

    Here’s a maybe controversial shout… Bioshock Infinite.

    Calling it “bad” is harsh though, it was just mediocre but expectations made an average game feel bad at times. Lovely game though. To look at and unravel, just a shame about the tiny shooting galleries and mediocre FPS.

    • Flopdong says:

      For me, the original Bioshock is much, much worse than Infinite. Most of the weapons and powers did so little damage that they were practically worthless. By the end of the game I just whacked everything to death with the wrench, which was by far the most effective weapon. The respawn chambers made it even worse, I didn’t even bother to conserve health because dying just meant I would just wake up 50 feet away with no real penalty.
      Compared to that garbage, Bioshock Infinite’s mediocrity was a breath of fresh air.

  13. malkav11 says:

    I’m in a minority on this, I think, but I find the story – not the main plot, which is real dumb, but the surrounding narrative and characterization and worldbuilding, which occupy so much more of your time – to be the main redeeming quality of Mass Effect 2. I didn’t like almost any of the gameplay changes they made from 1 when I originally played it, and then when I went back for a replay with the DLC installed, I actively hated every second of the combat and all of the tremendously empty and pointless surrounding mechanics. But I sure do like hanging around with the very model of a scientist Salarian.

    I think a more relatable example would be something like Corpse Party, though. By and large, the writing conjures really bleak, disturbing horror scenarios that are among the best in gaming. But for some reason they made it in RPG Maker, even though it’s not an RPG and the engine is really poorly suited to the limited gameplay present (mostly trying to run away from and/or around malevolent spirits), rendering what were supposed to be tense sequences just really obnoxious and frustrating. The followup is a full on visual novel and the original really should have been. (Alas, the followup isn’t nearly as interesting.)

    • PseudoKnight says:

      I’m not sure you’re in a minority? I just played through both 1 & 2 last month for the first time. They significantly improved the shooting mechanics in 2, but then streamlined the tactical/strategic part of the gameplay. It ends up being less interesting even if the it’s more mechanically rewarding. (except for the overloaded action space bar) I went from using every ability in my arsenal and positioning/using my allies carefully to get through tough battles in 1, to mostly soloing and primarily shooting my way through everything in 2. So the gameplay was mediocre for both games (for the most part) but in different ways. (it can vary based on what you specialize in; i was infiltrator) But it was all worth it for the universe and characters.

      • malkav11 says:

        See, I don’t think the shooting was improved in 2. I think it’s comprehensively awful, where the first game was at worst fine. So given that, and the number of Best Game Evar type lists ME2 has been at or near the top on, I think I’m probably in the minority. :P

        • PseudoKnight says:

          No, the shooting mechanics were DEFINITELY improved. But you may think I’m talking about something I’m not. The precision, control, and feel were all smoothed out a lot in 2. You may not have noticed with the weapons you chose in 1, but it was a very poor shooter. It’s why a lot of people recommend the shotgun. Tactically 1 was more interesting, though.

      • Son_of_Georg says:

        Could this be an example of people loving the world and story so much that they forget about the awful combat? I kind of felt this way about the whole Mass Effect Trilogy. I cared a lot more about the characters and story than the combat. ME3 made big improvements, to the point that I enjoyed multiplayer with friends. But when I think about what I liked in that series, it is always the part where I was flying around in my ship with my awesome crew, not shooting the 3,215th Geth in the head.

        • PseudoKnight says:

          I wouldn’t call the combat awful, though parts of it were. It was engaging, but it wasn’t why you were playing. If it was all real-time with no pausing, then I’d call it awful. In 2, they could have gotten rid of the pausing and it’d still be passable. However, in 1, the repetition of scenery was terrible. I don’t know how people replayed that game. I’d even find 2 hard to replay. But it’s still totally worth it to play both through once, even today.

          For comparison, RIGHT before I played Mass Effect, I tried playing Tomb Raider (2013). I couldn’t stand the combat and most of the other gameplay. And as janky the camera was in Mass Effect, the camera is so much worse in TR (I liked Anniversary and Legend). I’m having a hard time finding any reason to keep playing that game. If you feel like you’re fighting the controls, then the gameplay can be called awful. That mostly only happened in Mass Effect 2 with the universal space bar button sometimes hurdling a barrier or interacting with the wrong thing. In Mass Effect 1, the sniper rifle sway was also ridiculous, but not a deal breaker. The FOV was terrible in both, but not to the point of nausea because it had decent camera control for a 3rd person game.

    • gwathdring says:

      I liked some of the supporting cast in ME2, and I liked the overarching concept of the suicide mission. It’s the detail work of blending that together that I was most disappointed by. The awkwardness of taking the time to do loyalty missions, the issue of Shepard’s revival, the reasons for working with Cerberus, the complete refusal to engage with the plot of the first game in any meaningful way, the Collectors … for me it is exactly in the story rather than the plot where it falls down–some standout supporting characters and performances notwithstanding.

      Mass Effect 1 was exciting when I first played it and I liked the Space Noir backbone to the whole proceeding. The combat mechanics were abysmal but I even kinda liked the weird, long Mako rides and the elevators. It was a game that definitely wasted a lot of my time in combat but I liked that it was slower and more laid back with other things. I won’t argue that the Mako stuff was a good idea overall, but it kinda worked for me in spite of itself.

      Mass Effect 3 was a wild mess of well realized supporting cast arcs and a horrible overall story arc crashing together with an incoherent jumble of the themes and plots from the preceding two games. But, crucially, I enjoyed the moment to moment mechanics a bit better. It felt less like the combat was wasting my time even if it was still paced awfully and there was still far too much of it. That combined with the joy of the cast and the sheer scope of the thing probably made it my favorite experience of the three. It didn’t have the false urgency of 2 to live down, it didn’t have as much clunk and tedium as the first, and a lot of the resolutions for various characters were sold really well.

      I don’t know that I think any of them are particularly good at storytelling, but I think all three of them feature excellent writing and performances. ME3 is the only one I would play without the writing to help me through–and indeed did with the multiplayer despite expecting the worst from it.

      • gwathdring says:

        I’m tempted to say that ME2 took out a lot of the clutter from ME1’s combat and replaced it with dull cover shooting with tacked on MMO-style cool-downs on everything that made it more interesting than that. ME3 brought the pace and intensity of the special abilities up to par with the sped-up shooting and gave classes more reasons to abandon cover. Playing as the Vangaurd in particular across all three games is a really interesting experience as it went from feeling mostly the same as the other classes to having the interesting charge ability and being able to use it too infrequently to having some really satisfying and fast-recharging combos and a nice risk-reward cycle with the exploding shields and such.

        Similarly, it felt progressively more fund to use biotic pulls and throws across all three games. I would love to see what the slower, more tactical feel of ME1 would result in with the same degree of improvement and polish that went into eventually producing the ME3 combat system though.

        • malkav11 says:

          The shared cooldown on abilities and inability of most biotics to affect any enemy that wasn’t down to their red health bar made them vastly less enjoyable in 2. Later things got better. (Particularly in Andromeda.) But it’s definitely not a steady upward rise.

  14. Mario Pajas says:

    Wut? Spec Ops was a good game. It has a better ai than many modern games and it was a hard game, not a casual shooter like Call of Duty.

  15. Henke says:

    Deadly Premonition – the wonderful characters and a story that gets properly effed up towards the end kept me playing despite the second-rate RE4 gameplay.

    Anachronox and Lost Planet 3 – both written by Richard Gaubert, who really should be allowed to write for a good game one of these days.

    Brutal Legend and Psychonauts – ok the gameplay wasn’t bad, just mediocre, but the characters and story were still the main reason people loved these two games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      I think Psychonauts and Brutal Legend don’t get enough credit for their mechanics. They’re not flawless certainly, but they’re really enjoyable to play. Psychonauts might not be up there with Mario, but it’s one of the better 3D platformers on PC in terms of game feel and Brutal Legend’s main weakness is just that its learning curve is all over the place and doesn’t explain many of its strategies very well and then it ends before you get to really explore the possibilities and see (ie play) all the factions… but the feel of exploring the world and the battles, when played properly, the combat and all, are pretty fun.

  16. Konservenknilch says:

    Pretty much every Cryo game.

  17. Xelias says:

    My problem with Soma wasn’t really the “Gameplay” with the monster. But just the feeling that they were there to check the “horror” box. The game’s story didn’t exactly justified them. They were aggressive for no reason and I think they’d have been WAY more scary if they just went through their own motions without minding you, maybe only “attacking” you if you did some sort of action that triggered them, something like that?

    In any case, they really “broke” the immersion and didn’t worked with the story at all

  18. Muzman says:

    I’m the rare one who thinks that Deus Ex : Invisible War had a good story in a fairly poor game. Admittedly I’m weaving a particular definition of ‘story’ to arrive at that.
    I like the conspiracy scenario they came up with and I liked where they took Helios’ ‘meditation’ from the end of the previous game.

    It’s a drum I’ve beaten a lot before but it’s a rare instance of a sequel that’s actually trying to develop the concepts of the previous game rather than just repeat them with some escalation thrown in. For a sci-fi game series that’s dealing with some pretty complex pol-sci in the first place, that’s significant.

  19. Kinsky says:

    OFF by Mortis Ghost. It’s an RPGmaker piece with excruciatingly bog standard JRPG combat and some areas that are really annoying to navigate, but it’s otherwise a pretty fantastic bit of surrealism with an interesting world, creepy ambience, and a good soundtrack. It’s free to download, Google it.

    • Kinsky says:

      Also, since walking simulators are basically just novels with some token interaction thrown in, I’ll throw in Actual Sunlight and Little Red Lie. Both made by the same guy, both really simple pieces gameplay-wise, but with extremely compelling writing (and Little Red Lie is very cleverly subversive in a lot of ways).

  20. vorador says:

    Murdered: Soul Suspect. Or a pretty interesting detective game ruined by having to play tag with shrieking phantoms.

Comment on this story

HTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>