Videogame Hot takes

  • I guess this is turning into a Last of Us thread so here's my Part II hottake:

    The game would have been better if you played as Abby before you played as Ellie, at least in Seattle. I think it could have made the player more conflicted when doing what they did as Ellie, getting those themes across a bit better.

  • @capnbobamous I've seen this suggestion a few times but I don't agree.

    For me, the entire point of playing as Ellie first is to make you empathize with her. Especially if you've played the first game and are attached to Joel, the experience of watching your beloved "father" being brutally executed in front of you, especially in what seems to be an arbitrary act, is so revolting and infuriating that you the player will be in the same state of mind as Ellie the protagonist.
    Therefore as you play through the first half of the game, you approve her actions, you want revenge as much as she does, you hate those assholes. Of course, you've seen snippets of Abbie before the murder so you know deep down she must have her reasons, and you suspect it may be related to Joel's actions in the first game, but still, those assholes!
    As Ellie continues her rampage you slowly start to question her actions, detach yourself from her, maybe this is going too far, aren't we killing way too many innocents at this point?
    Then they flip the script and show you what you were fearing all along: Abbie and her buds were actually perfectly fine people, Abbie's dad was senselessly murdered too, the exact reason why you went on a killing spree, so how dare you judge her? And the more it goes, the more you get attached to these characters, and relive how you killed them all, and you feel shittier and shittier.
    Until, in my case, at the end you're 100% rooting for Abbie, or at the very least want them both to stop and go their own way.
    All this would not have worked nearly as well if you played as Abbie first. All these mixed emotions and inner conflicts would be lost.

  • Might as well jump on the TLOU2 train.

    TLOU2 has the best gameplay of modern naughty dog games but is worse than 1 in almost every other way(excluding technical aspects of coirse) the settle setting in particular gets stale and lacks the variety of 1

    Jedi fallen order Is very mediocre and frankly seems rushed

    Horizon zero dawn and zelda:BOTW have the same issue of making the open world annoying/resource draining to traverse and as such paces out some rather good story aspects way too much...

    And lastly racthet and clank:going comando is a 10.

  • The directing in TLoU2 is actually not very good and hurts the excellent story.

    Rime is one of the best games this gen and only me and Damiani can see this!

  • @nimbat1003 said in Videogame Hot takes:

    frankly seems rushed

    Game is not great but I strongly agree this part. Don't rush the sequel for God sake!

  • @axel Just some words so that the spoilers don't show up on the main page. Doot doot doot that's probably enough time.

    Whilst I agree with what you're saying, I think you had the ideal reaction that they wanted you to have, which is great. Problem is, I don't think as many people felt that way. Personally, I never hated Abby. I was sad that Joel died, but I was never angry because I knew that Abby's reasons for killing him were likely justified. We saw what he did at the end of the first game. He's a lovable character, but not an innocent one.
    I think I'm in the minority there, though. What I'm seeing more often are those who hate Abby even during her section. They never get that feeling you got because they spend the whole game prior seeing Ellie's actions as justified. They are just as angry as Ellie, so when they get to Abby's section they are completely unwilling to see her side, viewing the whole thing as manipulative and inorganic.
    If they were to put Abby's section immediately after Joel's death, I think it could flip the whole thing on its head. Yes the player likely hates Abby at first, but I think that hate could more organically simmer down into understanding if the player is given time with her that isn't preceded by ten hours devoted to their hatred of her. Maybe the player doesn't grow to like her, but they should understand her and see her as a person, not a villain. This then makes Ellie's quest afterward much more bittersweet. The player still likes Ellie, but they are able to view what she's doing through a much different lense, making them much more conflicted about it. The themes of hate and revenge are furthered because the player shouldn't want Ellie to go through with it. They've already seen the consequences.

  • @nimbat1003 I just finished Jedi Fallen Order a few days ago, feels like it still needed more time in the oven. As I wrote here some sections seem like place holders or at least still needing a lot of design tweaks.

  • @capnbobamous I'll do the same and add some buffer for spoilers.

    I've also seen a lot of people criticize the game because they felt what you describe: "They are just as angry as Ellie, so when they get to Abby's section they are completely unwilling to see her side, viewing the whole thing as manipulative and inorganic."
    To me it's sadly very telling of the type of person they are, if that's how they go through real life too. Explains a lot about certain groups of people who deny facts and stick to their preferred version of "reality" despite all evidence to the contrary, as exemplified by recent political events, if you catch my drift ;)
    Also them saying it's manipulative is a ridiculous argument in my opinion, because that's literally what every story ever told does. It's the entire point of storytelling, to frame a series of events from a specific angle to make the viewer/reader/player/listener feel a certain way. So again, it sounds like these people are just refusing to have their minds changed by the revelation of new facts. About a virtual character! Scary, but not surprising.
    Back to your suggestion, I understand what you mean but it feels to me that switching to Abbie right after Joel's murder would make the above people hard-quit the game even faster haha. I do agree that I probably reacted the exact way ND expected me to, that's why it worked so well for me.
    It would be interesting to make a switched cut of the game, show that to people who haven't experienced it before, and see their reaction.

  • Abby was actually my favorite character in the game, I really started to dislike Ellie and frankly most of the supporting characters.

    The emotional manipulation in particular annoyed me, personally playing game I killed every dog first before clearing out the people and then they want to make me feel sad for this one dog you killed earlier, same with the pregnant women but who got in there situations from frankly stupid decisions, not too mention by that point Ellie has stabbed her way through half of seattle.

  • The N64 is a terrible console with dated ugly poor controlling games. The Sega Saturn is a way superior console with far better games that are still perfectly playable.

  • Everytime I see threads like this, I'm always reminded that I'm such a softie. Even with TLOU Part II, I don't have any substantial critique for it. The hottest take I can think of is that cover-based shooters are the easily the best kind of shooters.

  • @bam541 said in Videogame Hot takes:

    The hottest take I can think of is that cover-based shooters are the easily the best kind of shooters.

    That's a bit harsh man, don't you think? :/

  • Regarding all the TLoU2 polemics it made me realize that I enjoy fiction in a different than many. My thing regarding the characters was as simple as "does their motivations make sense? Yes." And that's it. The game didn't made me hate anyone, or love. I think that's a sign of good writing, being able to get in the skin of every character and feel their actions and motivations make sense in the context they're drawn in.

  • @el-shmiablo
    One of the things I've been trying to do for my TLOU video is actually all about the flashbacks (which I'm going to try and finish this weekend) especially since the flashbacks flow much better thematically and fit the narrative better when in chronological order, it also it would give a sort of countdown until the story really kicks off.

    Not to mention the gameplay elements of the flashbacks they boil down to being tutorials.

  • @scotty what do you mean? It's a perfectly fair thought ( ̄ω ̄)

  • Games should never be longer than 35 hours, and very few games should be longer than 30. If you are not a role playing game you shouldn't be longer than 22 hrs.

  • This isn't a spicy hot take but I feel like the expectations from both publishers and players alike make it very difficult for a video game to say or use the media itself to do anything truly meaningful.

    What I mean by expectations is how gamers want to trim the fat — tried and true satisfying gameplay with no bullshit. Whereas publishers pretty much want the same thing with a massive return on their already massive monetary investments.

    We live in a world where PlayStation's Jim Ryan is claiming new IPs are risky because they cost around $100M. Publishers aren't going to let a game director, even one with pedigree, putter around for a few years trying to envision a meaningful game about themes like loss or grief. Likewise, gamers don't want too much experimentation in their games either. If you're going to tell a story about grief, it isn't going to be like 2019's Midsommar, it's going to be a big violent shooter like The Last of Us Part II.

    And to the crux of my hot take; I think this is a issue. What are developers, directors, and publishers physically doing within the video games they create that helps add meaning to the game through gameplay systems or other avenues in-game? Normally challenging stories default to button mashing, shooting, or non-gameplay (so to speak).

    Recently, Nakey Jakey put out his TLOU Pt II review and he said something along the lines of "If TLOU2 really wanted to be challenging, it wouldn't have been a typical shooter game," (paraphrased) and that has been lingering around in my mind for a while. Something similarly hot on my mind is the film Ghost World from 2001. Essentially, it's an indie film where a teenager tries to figure out what she really wants in life. I really enjoyed the story but also some of the techniques used to emphasize the theme of isolation. Through some half assed internet research, I learned the director didn't have any extras in the frame to make the setting feel alienating and isolating to the characters. It's just a random example of how a film managed to use the media itself to evoke a feeling from me.

    So let's try to imagine a world where a game director on a small or large budget really digs in for a few years and uses the power of game theory to design a vision that truly embodies the theme of alienation or isolation. I have a hard time imagining it. At least not in an effective way. Ultimately, we always seem to land on killing zombies, fighting people, or some other tried and true gameplay system.

    What I really want to see but I don't think can happen easily is for somebody to just really go for it. How can a game have a meaningful commentary or theme without resorting to extremely familiar territory? Conversely, how will the gaming community react?

    Ironically enough, one major conflict in Ghost World is an art teacher character with a completely warped sense of art needing to be socially meaningful. I don't want my point to come off like I'm holding gaming to some higher standard when solid gameplay is and always has been more than enough to satisfy myself and the millions of gamers worldwide. That said, I never finish a game and say "wow — I really sympathized with these characters from both a gameplay and story standpoint".

    I'm also not trying to say video games have never committed to strong visions either. I think of Super Mario Brothers or Dark Souls as games with unfettered commitment to strong game design visions that are executed perfectly. Likewise, we recently got something like I'm describing in Death Stranding. A game about a disconnected society and the gameplay itself helps champion its' themes. It wasn't perfect but I think it's going somewhere with the idea that you don't need a lifeless empty world to portray a fragmented society and you also don't need to be shooting bad guys too.

    I hope you stuck through me with all of that, but I really want to walk away from a game feeling WOW'd through its execution of a point or purpose through in-game techniques that aren't necessarily moulded to genres or commercial viability.

  • @naltmank

    I think my first actual anger towards a bloated game was Shadow of Mordor in 2014. That game had like 2 things going for it — Batman combat and Nemesis system. Everything else was awful including the open environment (small ugly camps), dum dum AI, extremely poor writing, and ass boring missions. Yet, the developers insisted on extending this game out longer and longer. I think at around 25 hours they introduce the mechanic of riding trolls and they randomly even brought in a second more vibrant open world that is disconnected from the first open world but plays the exact same way.

    It just kept going and going for the sake of extending the length until it abruptly ends with no story payoffs. That was some of the most offensive stretching I've ever seen in a video game. That should've been wrapped up in 15 hours with open world exploration as an option beyond the main story.

    I really miss games like God of War or Uncharted that are single player masterpieces which can be finished in 8-12 hours. Lean and perfect.

  • @dipset People forget that Chrono Trigger is only like a 20 hour game despite the fact that it's a JRPG, and it's widely considered one of the greatest games of all time

  • Banned

    @dmcmaster Exactly. I just that if the flashbacks had been presented as the first part of the story it would give a much better emotional setup for certain controversial events in the game.