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Extra Punctuation: The Rise of Rail Roading

"If interactive media is to evolve then developers need to embrace the notion that the player is a participant in the story, not some inconveniently self-aware aspect of it that has to be herded into line. Because honestly, if you feel you can't trust the player enough to create their own spectacular set pieces then maybe you should just be making films."

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escapistmagazine.com
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Sub4Dis2300d ago (Edited 2300d ago )

I believe he is very largely addressing games like Uncharted here. games where you never feel as if you had anything to do with the spectacle taking place on screen. but when i think about it, i can't think of many games that do this just right. i suppose an example would be of games like the elder scrolls series. if i had to come up with a game where the best moments are player driven, then i'd have to give it to halo.

but to be honest, i'm not sure the best games really allow this to happen. for example, i would consider half-life 2 to be one of the best games of all time, and the game really does make you feel like YOU are the reason why the resistance is fighting back, but aside from shooting, do you really have much to do with the best moments in the game? how is channeling that rocket into the helicopter while you're trying to navigate your way across the underbelly of a bridge any more engaging then the train sequence against the helicopter in uncharted?

then i realized the difference. uncharted holds your hand...the entire time. and if you don't play the sequence just right, you fail and have to start over. and every few feet you are greeted with a cut scene that allows the level to move forward. half-life 2 doesn't do this. you can choose to engage the helicopter whenever you want. you can try to sprint across the bridge and then fight later, you can attack it early, or you can try to avoid it all together.

there are a group of ppl that say you can't take yahtzee seriously because he's just trying to be funny, but the truth is funny is the niche that allows him to give honest opinions about a game while still being marketable. he's actually a pretty wise reviewer and i trust him more than any mainstream review outlet.

good article.

EDIT: i know he mentions uncharted and says "at least you get to choose if you fall or not," but that's not exactly a choice is it? that's my biggest problem with the uncharted series...even when you feel as if you have wiggle room, you really don't. if you fall, you die...even if the fall is 4 feet because the developers didn't add in a ledge to allow you to compensate for that fall. you just have to start over. if the choice is 'follow this linear path' or 'press circle and die,' you're still being dragged by the nose. that's linearity to an extreme and completely "inorganic" as he describes in the article.

if a sequence ALWAYS plays out the same way and you always have to follow a linear path, it's almost the equivalent of holding down the play button of a movie.

Hazmat132300d ago (Edited 2300d ago )

i dont think uncharted is a hold your hand kind of game they give you guns and kill bad guys same with half life. and why compare 3rd person shooter to a 1st person shooter? to me uncharted is a fantastic storyline gameplay and funny charters unlike the main guy in Hl never talks they give more emotion in Uncharted and more of a movie star where your the star of the movie half life is a great game but i think its time to go with the times and not bow down to old king. that is until HL3 comes out. lol

that can be said for half life no matter how i play run throght it for fight like hell the out come is always the same. "good job Mr Freeman!" again this is my point of view i dont want to start a battle with 2 games i like lets just say both games are great even with there flaws thats what makes a video game a video game great my space bar is deleateing words again... lol

rdgneoz32300d ago

He brings up UC3 because he wants to downplay it over Gears (see below). And as you said, compare a 1st person shooter to a 1st person shooter. Hell, the article does mention UC3 but says...

"Look at action-adventure climbing sections such as in Tomb Raider or Uncharted. There's usually a fixed path, but you're free to let go or jump in the wrong direction. Maybe you'll find a secret. More likely you'll die a hideous splattery death, but at least your fate is in your own hands. Compare that to the climbing from Enslaved, which doesn't even let you jump or fall off a ledge unless you're aimed squarely at the next designated climbing spot."

"I believe he is very largely addressing games like Uncharted here" - no, wrong... He likes that even though its linear, you still have a choice to jump to your death, or like in some parts of the game, find a secret treasure or such that's hidden. If you want hand holding, you definitely need to see Enslaved's platforming sections. Also, if Sub thinks UC is linear with hand holding, curious what he thinks about Gears.

"i'm not sure why ppl are tricked into thinking uncharted looks so great. it does look really good, no doubt about that; but those pictures you linked from ign...i don't see how you can look at them and not see that gears is definitely superior. everything is sharp and detailed, the lighting is immaculate, the environment just looks clean; it's just way better looking than i thought it would be. uncharted character models lack detail, the environments look great, but the lighting isn't nearly as good as in gears."

Sub4Dis2300d ago

hey moron. it hasn't nothing to do with gears 3. in fact, i never even mentioned gears 3. you're just another ps3 fanboy who wants to downplay the perspective of another gamer by pitting your fanboyism against someone elses. gears 3 has a lot of flaws....i was solely addressing the hand-holding that takes place in uncharted as an example.

the fact that YOU are clearly a fanboy DOES NOT mean that everyone else is. grow up.

vyke32300d ago (Edited 2300d ago )

then i assume you're not the one who said this right?
http://n4g.com/comments/red...

ReservoirDog3162300d ago

I can't really understand why some people think linearity is a problem. There's different flavors to games. Some are immersive and overwhelm you with choices and others are very tight with one set path. Both a good for what they are.

Yeah you can argue personal taste but that's like saying comedies are too restrictive since everything has to be funny and only dramas work. It doesn't make sense. There's different things for different moods. Just enjoy things for what they are. They wanted* to make that kinda game.

Now a game like Crysis 2 tries to give you multiple options that are clearly spelled out and (in my opinion) failed terribly. A linear game trying to be expansive but has broken mechanics. Stealth isn't turning on invisible and walking through the level. It's hiding. And the shooting felt too effective to mess around with enemies that could see from 100 yards away (just rented Crysis 2 from gamefly [3 months for $17 if refered by a friend!] and was thoroughly disappointed by it).

SilentNegotiator2300d ago

Uncharted is HARDLY the worst offender, or even close. I'm not surprised that YOU would choose that as an example, though.

Anyway, good article, ZP. Although some of it eerily reminded me of the first Jimquistion on The Escapist. Great minds think alike, though.

Sub4Dis2300d ago

there are tons of examples. but uncharted is an overhyped, not-nearly-as-good-as-ppl-pret end-example. people are just morons these days who want the most dumbed down, simplistic experience, and uncharted plays on that almost better than anyone. the story isn't interesting, the characters are cliche, the gameplay is linear and boring and ALWAYS plays out the same way. it's just not a great game...but ppl hail it as the best game of the generation and that is because gamers this generation are unlike anything we've had in the past. they are movie watchers...non-gamers...ppl that need their hands held to get from point A to point B. ppl can pretend uncharted is great...i'm okay with ppl liking it...but when it comes to quality in GAMING, uncharted completely misses the boat. it's a scripted, linear, non-replayable, boring game that people love cuz they are dull drolls that need overly-simplistic games to make them feel like they belong to something.

uncharted really just kind sucks. and anyone that's ever played a game that requires any type of a thought would realize that....unfortunately...that&# 39;s the minority.

agentace2300d ago

What the hell are you on about sub. Uncharted is an amazing game, it has one of the best singleplayer experiences this Gen.
And im not a so called "movie watcher", Demons souls(also got platinum on it) is one of my favourite games of all time and im looking forward to dark souls just as much as im looking forard to uncharted 3.

floetry1012300d ago (Edited 2300d ago )

Uncharted is a great series and a fantastic game altogether, but it ain't perfect. I must have played through Uncharted 2's campaign 5 times or more, to the extent that I nitpick every detail, from the games pacing to the perceptive use of "in-game" cinematics. I think he is addressing Uncharted to some extent, not as the problem, but as the blueprint for many developers to water-down their product, thus creating a cinematic game that holds the hand of the player.

It goes a lot deeper though. Someone made a comment berating Half-Life, when they obviously missed the concept of Gordon Freeman being "you". Needless to say, it's one of the finest examples of level design in any game (also evident in the sequels). There are no way-point markers, no on-screen instructions, no flashing items to pick up or attach to etc. In other words, there are very few externalities to break the flow of the game. You are told to get from point A to point B. How you get there is up to you, discovering is half the fun.

Uncharted is a prime example of a controlled experience done right. Linear games are fine as long as the developer nails the pacing. Some might argue Final Fantasy XIII was too linear, but it's been designed specifically to keep the pace up, the battles frenetic and the plot moving briskly.

Other developers read into it wrong, don't trust their own instincts and are concerned that an audience might not understand certain aspects of the game. Notice that Yahtzee doesn't say "game" but "interactive media", a slight, but important difference in the treatment of an art-form. A "game" is for children, "interactive media" is for everyone. Developers need to be making interactive media with adults in mind. Younger gamers should catch on when age permits.