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ZidaneNL (User)

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"Always working on something..."

Is the quality of games declining?

ZidaneNL | 1024d ago
User blog

I recently finished Bioshock Infinite and I can honestly say it disappointed me. It just didn't feel like the game Levine was making it out to be. Sure, the story and atmosphere are amazing, but there was one very important element that left a sour taste in my mouth. What's that, you ask? The actual gameplay...

I figured I was perhaps the only one to feel like this, so I discussed it with a couple of friends on TeamSpeak. To my surprise, they actually agreed with me that Infinite's gameplay simply wasn't that good. At first I couldn't exactly figure out why, because it was years since I played the original Bioshock. There was just something about that game that felt better.

I did the most logical thing and reinstalled it to find out what that was. It took me only ten minutes before it hit me like a brick: the gameplay doesn't hold you back. Infinite limits you in every way possible. Only two weapons, two active vigors and four pieces of clothing. In the meantime, Bioshock allows tons of active weapons, multiple plasmids and a shitload of tonics.

This made Infinite feel like a major step down, in fact, dare I say it, casual. This is somewhat confirmed by Infinite's boxart, as displayed above. Irrational Games stated they went for this one to appeal to the shooter market. That's fine and dandy, but not only does it look like the game is for the average shooter player, it actually is for the average shooter player.

I can complain about the lack of diversity amongst enemies and how vigors are barely used against you, but I do not wish to bore you any further with a rant about Infinite. Instead, I wish to propose a question that popped up in my head after playing said game. Is the quality of games declining?

Now, this is not the first time I have asked myself this. Last year was the worst gaming year for me in... well, years. Diablo III wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, Borderlands 2 was plagued with issues (particularly on the PC), Mass Effect 3's ending was... "interesting", Battlefield 3's DLC couldn't keep me interested and I can think of more examples where I simply didn't enjoy the games I was looking forward to.

Now, that also begs a different question. Am I myself perhaps tired of gaming in general, making it harder to actually enjoy games? Could very well be, but I recently discovered Warframe and I can't stop playing it. Simply because it's so much fun to play. That's what I feel is lacking in games nowadays: the fun factor. You know, the reason we are playing in the first place.

After the Minecraft 1.5 update came out I was once again hooked to that game. Why? Because it's fun to play. I'm noticing more and more I am falling back on games I am having fun with and they tend to be years old. Examples are Killing Floor and Team Fortress 2.

I have seen so many games come and go in the past couple of years and I can only remember a handful that really grabbed me by the balls. So yeah, is it me being an "old" fart or are games declining in quality?

ZidaneNL  +   1024d ago
Thanks for the approval. :)
IcyEyes  +   1023d ago
Don't let your memories overwrite the reality ...
I can assure you, this generation has an awesome overall quality... from Journey to Halo, with thousand of awesome indie games... even some amateur games are pretty nice.

If people think games show a decline in quality its just not fair for all those developers who work REALLY hard to give to all player awesome games. Most of them (developers) just LOVE to do their work because they love videogames. Look at Cerny for example. He is a man who spent all life to create videogame and when he talk about Ps4 he just spread a lot of passion.

I never understand people who love everything that belongs to the past because the older games had more "soul" or were more "funny" or "anything" was better.
I mean, my 7yo niece totally loves LBP. She completed all levels and she created some from scratch. One day she will remember LBP and her PS3 like something magic in her life, she will have awesome memories, like you guys have great memories about some old games, but the truth is LBP is one of the best platform game ever and LBP is all about modern gaming, current generation, etc ... So our present will be the past for my niece ... a very great past.

I TOTALLY respect you point of view Zidane, but for example you wrote :

"Now, this is not the first time I have asked myself this. Last year was the worst gaming year for me in... well, years. Diablo III wasn't exactly what I expected it to be, Borderlands 2 was plagued with issues (particularly on the PC), Mass Effect 3's ending was... "interesting", Battlefield 3's DLC couldn't keep me interested and I can think of more examples where I simply didn't enjoy the games I was looking forward to."

Yes, its about all about you.
I totally enjoyed all the games you described because I never expect to play the games I have in my mind. I just keep my mind clean and try to enjoy the game I have on my monitor... and that is the same approach younger people have with games ... and probably the same approach you used to have years ago. Probably few years ago you used to play games with your friends on your couch and you get more fun than talk to them with a mic. For sure have friends with you is a LOT more fun ... Lan party for example are incredible, regarding the game you play!

I discuss a lot about this topic with all my friends and colleagues... in the end its only a matter of perception because, really, developers just do all of their best to create great games and if you want we can do a recap of all the games we played in the last 2/3 years and you will find we have been flooded by amazing games.

Ps nothing personal with anyone and I want only to share a different point of view. Hope you enjoy the long message.

IcyEyes  +   1022d ago
I cannot reply in the other tread sorry :(

You wrote :

"And the same can be applied to the fun you have with Killzone 3. To me, it was horrendous, abysmal compared to Killzone 2. It didn't even compare. And yet you say that it's only memories that causes him to have fun. "

Killzone 3 is awesome. Killzone 2 is awesome. If you think KZ3 is horrendous compared to KZ2 probably you don't play it enough ... anyway.
You say :
"...and yet you say that it's only memories that causes him to have fun. "

Sorry but this is a pretty poor statement since I dont get fun from Kz3 only because memories. I STILL play KZ3 ... and KZ2 to be honest (I got the 1% in the first month of the release ... so I play it a LOT). So no memories involved here, just pure fun for me.
Ok, next time I will avoid other reply :)
Have a good day.
Tultras  +   1024d ago
This generation, it wasn't really anything great to begin with.

You can argue with Halo, uncharted, killzone, everything.

I love those games, but can they come close to the games from previous generations? Never.

Just like you said, The games of the previous generations didn't have good graphics ( from today's standard ) and were limited by many ways in the gameplay, but they had a certain.... Feel to them which the games of this generation failed to produce ( for a completely unknown reason to me. )
cpayne93  +   1024d ago
For all the better graphics, physics, and smoother controls I honestly don't enjoy games from this gen any more than the previous two gens. In fact I enjoy it less. I find older games usually have a much bigger barrier of entry, but once you get used to them they offer a much more satisfying experience. I actually just bought Jet Force Gemini, Wave Race 64, Body Harvest, and Ocarina of Time used in a game shop near my college.
MonkeyNinja  +   1024d ago
Completely agree with you. I have a 5yr old niece that plays games (got her started at 3!) And she'd rather play older games like Crash Bandicoot, Mario (SNES ones), Donkey Kong Country instead of today's games. She doesn't find most current games appealing for very long. But she also enjoys DKC Returns, Jak & Daxter, Ratchet & Clank, and Tomb Raider (Yes, the newer one. She's made it to ~35% on Normal difficulty, which goes along with the idea that games are getting easier).

The point is that games really were more fun. I find myself playing SNES and PSone games I've never played and having more fun with them than today's games. There are as lot of good ones, like Ni No Kuni, GoWIII, LBP1&2, but mostly today's generation of games lacks soul. I think the passion that most devs had is gone. Look at Rare. Or Squeenix. Or EA (during PS2 days. Remember EA Big?).
cpayne93  +   1024d ago
Yeah within the past couple years I got around to playing mgs1 and conker's bad fur day, and I enjoyed both of those games much more than most games that have come out this gen. Lately I've bee finding more enjoyment with older games, sometimes its hard to play with the "outdated" controls, but like I said in my other comment, after you get used to them it offers a much more satisfying experience. Heck even though the controls for older games can be harder to get used to, there's a lot more room for improvement of your skills than there is in most games today. I actually wrote a blog on all of this.
Jek_Porkins  +   1024d ago
It's all relative honestly. I grew up with the NES, Sega Master System and those early consoles, and when I go back and play most games on them, the games are bad, they play bad and are really difficult.

That isn't to say that there weren't some quality games, but back in the 80's and 90's exclusives really mattered because third party games for the most part weren't up to par.

Now third party games are better then ever, but we have a new breed of gamer's who are never happy with anything and feel entitled to everything! I've never seen so many complaints in my life, that has been the biggest disappointment for me personally this generation, not the games, but rather the gamer's themselves, or the vocal minority.
specialagent4532  +   1024d ago
Is not being entitlement, is just today's games are heavily monetized. Buy the game, pay for dlc, pay for online passes, etc. Independent game developers are the only ones trying to bring new ips and innovative games. Is too difficult for mainstream developers to make new titles due to publishers not willing to take risks. A lot of games lack alternate endings, mini games, alternate p aths, free unlockables, secret doors passage ways, online servers for some games shutting down in a month or two (EA is known for this). You are telling us to shut up and accept with open arms this new direction of gaming hell no
Jek_Porkins  +   1024d ago
You are making my point, entitlement. Don't like something? complain, then complain some more. You aren't forced to buy DLC or Online Passes/Season Passes. They are totally optional, as are Micro-Transactions.

Do you not understand that games are business? Try owning a business once and then get back to me, it's tough work and you need to make money back in order to stay in business.

As I said earlier, people will find something to complain about these days no matter what it is. Box art for example, I mean who gives a crap really? I don't!

Get over it, game for fun, game as a hobby, but just shut the heck up and game!
Letros  +   1024d ago
Yes, I'm more excited for some of the Kickstarter games than the AAA releases.
specialagent4532  +   1024d ago
Can't wait to play consortium ^_^
ZidaneNL  +   1024d ago
True! I am very much looking forward to Planetary Annihilation and that's just one example. I tend to lean towards indie developed titles nowadays. Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs is also on my wanted list.
Jyndal  +   1024d ago
Totally. I can't wait for Crate Entertainment to launch the Grim Dawn alpha.
GodsPerfectK7ng  +   1024d ago
Did you even play Bioshock 1 & 2 bro those games are Epic and you were disappointed with infinite???
SonyPS4  +   1024d ago
Most "AAA" games nowadays are mostly flare and little substance. They lack any soul for exchange with "zOMG LUK @ DAT GRAFIKS BESTEST GAME EVAR!!!!!1!one." The majority of games I play nowadays are niche titles like 3D Dot Game Heroes, Demon's Souls, Dark Souls, Ni no Kuni, Tales of Graces f, the Hyperdimension Neptunia games, the Atelier games, Disgaea, Persona, etc.

Much of these games are bad, but at least (to me) they are actually fun.
Valenka  +   1024d ago
I don't believe the overall quality of games are declining - I think it's lack of focus on crucial aspects. You could have the most graphically advanced game of the generation, but that doesn't excuse a 5 hour campaign with little to zero replayability, with a $60 price tag.
TechnicianTed  +   1024d ago
'Is the quality of games declining?'

No. There just seems to be a lot of people with rose tinted glasses on nowadays. The quality of games has improved quite drastically this gen, but people like yourself are so rooted in the past you don't actually see it.

There are loads of classic games from yesteryear, but there are many that wouldn't have been possible last gen. Look at games such as Uncharted 2, Demon's/Dark Souls, Mario Galaxy, Red Dead Redemption, Mass Effect, Bioshock (Yes, that includes Infinite ), The Witcher 2, Skyrim, Gears of War, etc, etc.

There are tons of games this gen THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE LAST GEN. But your last gen fantasies have you believing that no quality games came this time around.

Maybe you are tired of gaming and need to take a break and come back when you can appreciate what we have now, instead of keeping one foot in the past and saying -

'They don't make 'em like they used to'
cpayne93  +   1024d ago
I don't think quality has necessarily declined, in the end, it comes to what you prefer in games. The last couple of gens cannot match the atmosphere and storytelling of the current gen, but there are elements of gameplay which have been lost this gen, with the exception of certain games like Demon's Souls. The focus has shifted towards cinematic gameplay, and though some people prefer it, I don't because it feels like the controller is getting taken out of my hands. Read my blog if you want my full opinion.
sweetSWAGGER  +   1023d ago
I think you're missing the point of the blog. The argument has nothing to do with technical quality, it's talking about GAMEPLAY quality. Sure, Uncharted 2 looks gorgeous but it isn't a player-driven game. Is it a visual, cinematic wonder? Yes. Does it give you room to think, strategize, explore and experiment for yourself, so that you enjoy a personal experience that's unique to you and no one else? ...not really.

Then again, Uncharted 2 is a bad example because Naughty Dog managed to get you engaged in both a cinematic AND interactive way, including a movie-like adventure feeling, damn fun gameplay and interesting unlockables. However, ZidaneNL is talking about the kind of game that doesn't limit the player, but instead encourages them to experiment and explore without having to rely exclusively on an open-world structure to do that. Games like X-com, Dishonored and Dark Souls are of the few truly player-driven games I've had the pleasure of experiencing this gen.

Hell, Halo 4's single-player offers the player more of an open battlefield experience than Battlefield 3's... that's just sad.
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Ravenor  +   1023d ago
To be fair, how many PLaystation or N64 games gave you that freedom? Ogre Battle 64 or other JRPG's sure, but anything more action oriented has only improved. I've lamented the loss of things like the original Ghost Recon(1+expansion packs) and Rainbow Six (1-3) but are they or were they ever driving the industry? Were people like me who enjoyed the original titles enough to keep something like that alive? Did it have room to grow?

It's exactly as TechnicianTed says, nostalgia goggles mixed with the slight disappointment of what this generation of games turned out to be. I expected more than the evolution of PS2 and Xbox games we got and I think that is contributing more to this feeling that games of yesteryear offered more.
sweetSWAGGER  +   1023d ago
Ravenor, you don't need to be dramatic. It's not like there aren't games today that offer the player that kind of freedom (the examples I list are all modern games, mind you), it's that the casual, cinematic game is becoming the go-to experience for a lot of developers, and we all know why: It's specific, looks nice, and appeals well to casual gamers (who, sadly, are the majority).

Developers are apparently under the assumption that in order to tell a narrative in a single-player AAA title; we need to limit the player down to every simple step they take through a level. Throw in a set-piece here and a couple of drawn-out QTE's there. Games like Heavy Rain are fine; those are story-driven games. Battlefield 3 on the other hand, doesn't have that excuse. No, DICE, you don't get to take a game called "BATTLEFIELD" and offer a single-player experience more linear than every Call of Duty game combined. How is it that Bad Company, a spin-off game, plays more like Battlefield than a game in the main series? The BC demo alone let's you go cross-country... in a jeep... GETTING CHASED BY A TANK... THROUGH THE WALLS OF A HOUSE!!!

In Battlefield 3, that kind of moment would be a cinematic set piece riddled with Quick time events. So instead of letting each player have their own unique experience by simply playing the game, you decide to fix it so that every player get's the same experience.
GEO9875  +   1024d ago
Whetever games are declining in quality comes down to someones opinion, i think they have improve because old game from ps2 and stuff have ugly ass graphics eww..
I rather play cod over mgs1 cuz cod has better graphics, no is not trolling, is a opijnion
majiebeast  +   1024d ago
I think FPS invasion didnt help this gen.
Ravenor  +   1023d ago
There have always been plenty of shooters, perhaps not so much on the consoles. But they've always been there by the truckloads.
StinKyNuGz  +   1024d ago
Only few developers push the bar higher naughty dog,quadic dreams,343 wow I can't think of anybody else ohh yea kojima
Jyndal  +   1024d ago
I was feeling jaded about gaming in general as well, recently. I had just come out of my 5 year WoW addiction, and was looking for something that would give me that same feeling of discovery and immersion.
It took awhile to shake that off. I jumped into various MMO's, single player adventures, puzzle games, and it seemed that I would only play something a day or 2 before I would grow disinterested.
Eventually, I landed on DC Universe. Being an old lover of comic books, I fell in love with the game immediately. I guess it just takes the right game or game series to come by to re-invigorate your interest in gaming.
Don't let a few bad apples drive you out of the orchard altogether.
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goldwyncq  +   1023d ago
A few reasons why this generation wasn't quite as good as the previous ones:

1) Multiplayer: Why is it that almost every AAA game developer feel the need to include multiplayer in their games? Worse, its being shoehorned in games where it doesn't even have a place (Tomb Raider, Bioshock 2, God of War). Instead of just focusing on single player which matters the most, devs choose instead to waste countless resources on useless multiplayer patches and dlcs. And don't even get me started on multiplayer trophies and achievements.

2)DLCs and Microtransactions- I appreciate a good dlc every now and then, but unfortunately most dlcs nowadays are either overpriced or severely lacking in content and value. Take the latest Assassin's Creed 3 dlc for example, The Tyranny Of King Washington. Each of the 3 episodes cost $9.99. Add them up and you'll get half of the game's entire price. After reading some of the reviews, I'm not even sure if the overall price is remotely justifiable.

3)"Moviefication" of games- In any game, gameplay must be the priority. It doesn't matter how good the story or the characters are, if the gameplay is crap then the whole game is too, period. I'm all for cinematic experiences in video games as long as they don't skimp on the gameplay. Good gameplay involves a clearly defined objective and set of goals, a control scheme that's easy to understand, and most of all giving players an adequate challenge. And as mentioned in the article, that's what most games are missing nowadays: the fun factor. In my opinion, most developers should strive to make their game as interactive as much as possible.

4)Lack of innovation: That's definitely one of the most common complaints about games this gen. Developers seem to be afraid of taking risks and pushing their respective games forward. There are a few exceptions, and those games tend to be the most memorable.

And that's about it. I agree to some extent that games have somewhat declined in quality over the last few years. The next generation will have to do a lot to redeem the video game industry.
Tultras  +   1023d ago
I also think it's because of the sense of difficulty and wonder.

Most games these days walk you through everything.

Which is why, when I played dark souls, I felt like I was living through the glory days of last gen.
TooTall19  +   1023d ago
Current gen has been my favorite gen so far. I get way more value for $60 than I did back 10-20 years ago. Bishock Infinite is easily worth $60 to me. Shooters as a whole have gotten significantly better.

RTS on PC are also doing very well. I put 50 hours in the COH 2 BETA and had a great time with it. It also feels rewarding because of the thinking involved. A genre I think is suffering would be racing. I miss non-car racers like Wave Race 64, Extreme G, and Road Rash.
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-Gespenst-  +   1023d ago
I totally agree, all my favourite games are on the Ps2, the SNES, the Ps1, the DS, the PSP, and the N64.

I have a few theories.

Games have become big as an industry as well as within popular culture. More money at stake means less risk and more palatable and easy experiences. Any feelings of casual-ness or of artistic compromise are usually a reflection of this- of cashing in on trends and stagnating. The boundaries of what a game should be aren't pushed as much these days- ideas aren't as innovative, and we're seeing some pretty uninspired stuff getting churned out, just like hollywood blockbuster films. Tried and tested formulas guaranteed to appeal to lowest common denominators and to yield high profits.

Another possible reason. Games have just become too graphically and aurally complex. There's too much going on at once in a current-gen game, and it overwhelms the player. Like in everyday reality, we put up defense mechanisms against the relentless barrage of information and sights and sounds, and learn to filter stuff out. Previous gen experiences were more contained and manageable, and therefore more memorable. Now, I'm not sure I agree with this myself so much, but it's certainly possible. I mean there are a lot of Snes rpgs with really complicated and detailed tilesets and they were still memorable despite that, but maybe you can't compare that to the audiovisual blitzkreig that characterises a lot of games these days? And despite this, I'd concede that I do have good memories of a select few games this gen, and perhaps I just need to give it a few more years before nostalgia sets in, but I'm not sure. Games these days seem to spellbind me less that previous games. And it's not rose-tinted glasses and nostalgia either, I can go back to old games and still love the heck out of them.

Some people think you just need to more open minded to experiences, but there's a point at which open-mindedness becomes anti-critical, and you're just lapping up what the industry churns out. That's an incredibly dangerous way to be and can foster a pretty messed up and pliable culture. Bad stuff can be transmitted though items of culture- bad assumptions can be inculcated in us about race, sexuality, history, reality etc. We shouldn't act entitled, but at the same time, we shouldn't let these companies take our agency by brainwashing us into buying the same crap over and over- cynically tricking us into thinking it's good while they amass wealth and power and clout over our lives.
-Gespenst-  +   1023d ago
A solution to the problem I raised in the second paragraph might be better narrative / story / writing in videogames. A good narrative makes a game world more coherent, immerses the player more, and makes sense of the audiovisual content. Not that everything in a game world should necessarily be explained- mystery is essential- but a stronger narrative would definitely help- a stronger sense of what the game is all about- unless of course you're aiming for something arty which obviously is an option- if for example a disjointed and jarring narrative is key to conveying what you're trying to convey. A game like Crysis epitomises what I hate about games these days- all technology and graphics, crap story that's tacked on and doesn't serve to make the game coherent- it's just an audiovisual massacre. The technology / graphics boner that gamers and developers have needs to stop, story needs to be given much more priority than it currently has.
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Warj  +   1022d ago
An interesting piece, and a question I asked myself repeatedly until I finally stopped purchasing new games entirely.

I think to really delve into this issue would require for more than a simply reply or blog post (more like a mid-length essay). There are many factors for why people could be upset, just as there are many factors for why many find this generation to be the best. I've thought about going in and really writing it out in detail, but figured I was just old and bad at games.

Kind of nice to know (after reading the post and comments) it is not just me who is frustrated.

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