In a world where Gears Of War 3 can be widely-praised for its plot and script, Mark Butler argues that game critics need to have higher standards when it comes to stories.
After playing Dark Souls I have questioned why half of these lesser story driven games even bother with a story at all. That is not to say I don't love a good story driven game mind you.
Totally agree. Can u imagine games with incredible gameplay and an incredible story. MGS, Uncharted are prime examples of this. It blows my mind when a game with the story of Halo and Gears is considered "masterful storytelling", while games that actually deliver on the goods get shunned. It just shows the sad state of the gaming media and their supporting websites. Shameful.
You stole my avatar :'(
Well it all comes down to opinion, Halo actually does have a unique and established story (Actually I believe it established the Sci-fi Genre for Video Games). I definitely agree that MGS has a great story, and UC too. However some would say that Uncharted has taken many elements from action-adventure movies and only twisted it slightly to make it it's own. So okay? You're mad because these websites have their own opinion... Shameful.
What's shameful is you putting UC's story and plot on the level of MGS's. I've said this numerous times that UC's narrative and the way it tells it's story is a cut above the rest, but the actual story and plot is nowhere near that level. Bioshock is the only game whose story and plot is something way more creative and engaging, which puts it on the level of MGS, and Bioshock is only one game out the series, while MGS has numerous sequels to explain its story and plot. Gears has very deep backstory that I feel hasn't been explained through the games very well, which people confuse it as having a bad story.
Bioshock... Bubble up.
You think Uncharted 3 has masterful storytelling? lol. Its story did make anysense what so ever, Talbot, Cant die, Then all of a sudden he can. Drake, Sully, Chloe and Charlie have 2 secret locations that only they know about and yet both location have Marlowes men are there, So that obviously means one of them is leaking information but you never find out who. Talbot seems to have some Mythical power to tell the future, Disappear and survive being shot, Yet you never find out why or how. For no apparant reason the pirate king guy pretends to have captured sulivan and only after Drake has killed what must have been around 90% of his crew does he tell Drake he was making it up. And the whole reason Marlowe and Talbot wanted to go to the secret city and capture the genie was to have hallucinogenic darts to control people. But then BEFORE they went to the Secret city to get the hallucinogenic stuff they had already shot both Drake and Charlie with the hallucinogenic stuff. So if they had already made some hallucinogenic then what was the whole point in trying to find the location of the secret city in the first place. Finally after Drake has been shot but the hallucinogenic liquid that Marlowe hadnt discovered yet, Marlowe tells Drake that she knows who he really is, But before we find out anything she dies. Its a stupid story poorly told. I think this forum post sums it up perfectly http://boards.ign.com/uncha...
We're talking about the same world where Twilight and Harry Potter are praised for their writing, right? You may like the stories, but the writing is far from praise-worthy when compared to others of the same year and even genre.
People actually praised Twilight for the writing? Edit: That is really hard to believe unless people are confusing liking the story as good writing.
@cgoodno I am in awe of how many bubbles you have!
I agree. Bad storytelling, and I don't mean stories with minor plot holes or inconsistencies, should make a game lose points. I am talking the 'I am space marines, aliens bad we good' and them trying to make you care about your one dimensional characters with clumsy dialogue, cliche characters and the emotion of a cardboard box. Characters that could fall into an abyss and no one would really care and stories you forget the minute you stop playing. @ DeathAvengers. If you say that about UC taking from action adventure movies then you have to drag everything else for doing that to. Just about every game, including Halo, takes all of its ideas from movies and T.V. shows to the point of being cliche. From Evil Dead to Star Wars to Star Trek to Power Rangers to Starship Troopers to Aliens to Blade Runner. Don't even try to pretend that Halo's story was unique. It is the same space marines/soldiers fighting advanced aliens story that has been floating around for ages since Aliens and V for Victory
Great article, if I could write I'd swear I'd written this thing myself.... Except for the praise heaped on LA Noire, holy cow what an awfully constructed piece of work, especially suddenly being expected to care about your protagonist's personal life after seeing NOTHING of it for the first ten hours or so, it's like if Star wars had introduced Darth vader with him making the 'I am your father' speech. Also for an interactive experience all about solving crimes, forcing you to finger the wrong guy (huh huh, finger) while knowing that's exactly what you were doing, just for a forced 'gotcha' moment later on was just insane. Then of course there's Cole 'fly off the fucking handle whenever I doubt someone' Phelps himself, perhaps the most hateable lead character ever, and all without having any personality to even hate at all. The king of the creative/story side of games has to be Valve. The Half-life and Portal franchises are not 'interactive movies' they're not 'cinematic experiences', they're games and they show exactly what a game can be. Alan Moore once claimed he writes comics that he hopes will be untranslatable to other formats, that they will demonstrate things comic books can do that no other artform can. I think that's what Valve does with games, they don't tell stories you wish you could see in a movie instead and they don't try to emulate other mediums. They use their chosen medium to express the story in the way only it can. Think about a game like Portal 2, hardly any non player characters, in fact no humanoid npcs at all and a mute protagonist but they still manage to create one of the most intelligent immersive experiencs of last year, in any medium.
Right on the money . Fantastic Article .....supply and demand .... Lets begin demanding !! The problem is that video gaming began with graphics and game play and story kind of tacked on so there is still a massive hangover . Its also more difficult for the average gamer to understand story when a game is played in 2 hours sessions over a 6 month period . But , Wow there is so much BAD story telling and in any other media these publishers would go totally broke . One day story telling WILL catch up and the publishers that really can will make the cash ..........
The other issue would be, do critics actually understand what makes a good story? I'm not sure they do.
It took decades for a solid format to writing movies came into place. Doesn't mean every movie has to possess the "standard" format, just that once the format hit (think Citizen Kane or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid), it elevated the entire movie industry up from the dregs of mediocre entertainment to a viable art that could stand on the shelf of classic literature. Video gaming as a whole is still in its infancy. The strides it's made in so short a time is actually quite shocking when compared to the evolution of the poem, play, novel or movie. Yes, storytelling is the piece that's taking the longest to get down, but chalk that up to the fact that the video game artform is the only artform that fully integrates the participant (us the gamers), with the artwork we've been given to observe. Unless you consider the puffs of air or splashes of water in 3D movies, or when actors talk and ask questions of the crowd in a theater setting, there is nothing that allows the observer of a piece of art to enter the art equal to video gaming. That is the true artwork of the video game: the player's participation and control. It's the work of the artist to create a world where the gamer is awed, the programmer's work to make sure all the actions play out perfectly, etc, etc. This has been the mainstay of the industry for the majority of it's existence, save for those few games that truly pushed the limits of interactivity and storytelling pre-mid 1990's. The problem, like others have said, is that the storytelling in games is measured against the other forms of storytelling: fiction/literature and movies. The problem with that is those forms of writing do nothing to incorporate the player any further than as an observer. To judge writing in video gaming by that standard is a disservice to the art of video gaming I just mentioned. More and more the games we play are developing something more akin to interactive storytelling especially from companies like Bioware and Bethesda. These games are taking writing in a direction that can be called more video game writing, instead of comparing it to fiction or scriptwriting. The 3 best examples I've played that didn't employ a choose-your-own-adventure type of gameplay, yet the storyline still sucked the player into the work through dialogue and and gameplay are Xenogears, Portal and Shadow of the Colossus. All excellent in video game writing in my opinion (when choosing stuff wasn't in the game i.e. Mass Effect, the Witcher). Hopefully the trend continues with pushing the artform of video game writing, and not just relying on fiction and movie scriptwriting, because video gaming is neither of those. It incorporates the two artforms, but is much greater than that as well.
I know certain guys on this site that are awesome story tellers maybe they should write these games they have fantasy down to a T.
Gears 1 had a good story, it was full of mystery. Gears 2 and 3 stories were terrible, especially three.
I have put some thought into why the Gears story (especially 3) is just so terrible, especially given the effort that goes into a lot of the other aspects of the game, and I suspect it has a lot to do with the movie that is currently in development, as well as the comics, novels, DLC and no doubt future sequels and prequels. They want to force the fans of the games to explore the other media in order to fill in the blanks, all to make more money. In my opinion, if I am going to spend £40 on a game, then invest my limited time playing it then I deserve to have the necessary elements of the plot explained to me in the game. I dont need everything, but a gamer deserves to have the bare essentials explained, otherwise the experience is ruined. I suspect that Gears will explain it all over time, but that will not take away from the fact that my first play through of Gears 3 was tarnished by me going 'what the hell?' most of the way through.
Totally agree with the 'what the hell' feeling playing SP for the first time, they really didn't answer anything well. It is probably one of the worst finales of all time for me in terms of concluding a story-arch in either games or movies. The gameplay and MP are probably the best in the series but the story was utter garbage. The Gears series always seems to take one step forward and one step back with each release.
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