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Constant radio/narrative chatter in open world games.

 

One of the seductive aspects of an open world game is blissfully roaming the beautifully created environment and exploring all the nooks and crannies. But recently I've really noticed a lot of these games have inordinate amounts of white noise in the background. You could argue they contextualize the missions but generally they just grate. I'm much happier just listening to the breeze, or sounds of animals in the distance but it's hard to enjoy this when you have some mindless radio chatter assaulting the eardrum.

 

I think developers believe there needs to be stuff 'happening' all the time but I prefer the confidence of Breath of the Wild (a rare exception) that gives you breathing space to just enjoy the world.

 

I'm probably getting old. Or maybe it's just a matter of taste. When I go around to my girlfriend's house she has the TV on in the background all day. All day. Even though it may be on a low volume it does my head in. What's wrong with a bit of quiet contemplation?

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2 minutes ago, Mawdlin said:

Constant radio/narrative chatter in open world games.

 

One of the seductive aspects of an open world game is blissfully roaming the beautifully created world and exploring all the nooks and crannies. But recently I've really noticed a lot of these games have inordinate amounts of white noise in the background. You could argue they contextualize the missions but generally they just grate. I'm much happier just listening to the breeze, or sounds of animals in the distance but it's hard to enjoy this when you have some mindless radio chatter assaulting the eardrum.

 

I think developers believe there needs to be stuff 'happening' all the time but I prefer the confidence of Breath of the Wild (a rare exception) that gives you breathing space to just enjoy the world.

 

I'm probably getting old. Or maybe it's just a matter of taste. When I go around to my girlfriend's house she has the TV on in the background all day. All day. Even though it may be on a low volume it does my head in. What's wrong with a bit of quiet contemplation?

 

This could be easily fixed by having a radio that can be easily turned on or off. I've often though that having a police radio you can tune into for a constant stream of randomly-generated crimes for you to run around trying to stop would be pretty cool. Crucially, though, you'd have to be able to turn it off!

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12 hours ago, Qazimod said:

I think the later GTAs let you hang up without answering whenever you get a call, which is nice when I’m already in the middle of something and the last thing on my mind is bowling, Roman.


You can put your phone on do not disturb, but it turns itself off if you use your phone. This is extremely annoying in V, where sometimes you will get a phone call during free roam that triggers a mission, which is wack. Sure, I was trying to do this other thing but I guess I’ll follow the yellow line on the map instead. 

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23 hours ago, Mawdlin said:

Constant radio/narrative chatter in open world games.

 

It's not just open world games for me, I was driven half mad by the constant waffling of Bastion and Transistor.

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  • 3 months later...

Games that are made the way games are made because that's how games are made.

 

Bare with me here.

 

I started Remnant: From The Ashes last night. I'd been eyeing it up for ages, was interested in it before launch, finally got round to it. This is a game that's pitched as Dark Souls but a shooter. So you'd think the big things there would be freedom of exploration, combat - specifically bosses, and shooting. Remnant starts with a tutorial, because that's how games are made. But there is no shooting in the entirely linear tutorial, just the one melee move that you spam over and over again. Because you don't let the player just play the game, that's not how games are made! You have to introduce the concepts one by one. You make a tutorial for a shooter that has no shooting in it.

 

So you smash your way through a couple of enemies at a time before the game sets up a big battle. But instead of fighting the battle, there is a cutscene of the battle. Because that's how games are made.

 

Then you wake up in a bunker after being rescued. You're told by the leader of the people who live there that she'll help you if you reactivate the generator for her. But you need to go and see Rigs, because Rigs has your weapon. So you wander around until you find Rigs, and Rigs tells you your weapon is broken, but you can get another one from some other dickhead. But you don't know where the other dickhead is, so you wander around talking to some more dickheads who tell you where the dickhead with the weapons is. The dickhead with the weapons is in the room with the generator. At this point you might be asking yourself why the leader didn't just tell you to go to the room with the generator in in the first place. But they didn't. Because that's how games are made.

 

You finally get a gun. You have a lackluster fight in a dark room. The generator is turned back on. You talk to the leader who tells you to find a computer terminal that activates a big glowing crystal that teleports you in to the game proper. You have to bumble around for a bit doing this. The game makes the first big battle in the game in to a cutscene, but you have to play through this tech support bollocks? That's how it's done. That's just how games are made. Now you're in a grey and brown ruined city, there's a grey and brown sewer dungeon. It's been an hour and a half and nothing of note or interest has happened yet. The dramatic highlight of this was another player joining my game and we shot at giant glowing hearts while waves of generic melee attackers rushed us.

 

You didn't need to lose your weapon, and you didn't need to be given a gun because you should have started the game with one, and you didn't need to run from one person to the other to the other because the developers could have just put all those people in the same room as the commander and got all that dull preliminary nonsense out of the way in one go. You didn't even need to turn the generator on, you could've just gone in to the main game when you woke up.

 

But you still do all that. You fucking have to. Because that's how games are made.

 

Now look at the opening to Dark Souls. A game that at the time was resolutely NOT how games were made. You wake up in the Asylum. It's a small area, but you have the run of it. You are given a choice of (broken) weaponry. You meet a boss straight away. It's exciting and scary. You are not taught explicitly that you are not ready to face the boss, you learn it. You explore, you figure things out, you beat the boss. You have been presented with the entire game structure in miniature within that first hour - you have a very good idea of what to expect and whether you will enjoy it. You have been entertained. You have not been patronised, or left waiting, or forced to jump through hoops.

 

Draw your own conclusions.

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I know people complain about hand-holding in games but for some, the opposite - games that require you to figure out where to go, what to do next - is as big a turn-off. If I get stuck in a game and my interaction with the game becomes limited to wandering around an area looking for some clue about where to go, randomly pressing A/X in front of NPCs and reading their drivel, I get very, very bored and frustrated. I realise that I'm in the minority and people like to 'explore' but I'm the opposite; I want to be involved in some challenging gameplay. So if that means the game has to throw a big neon arrow onto the screen to show me where to go next, I'm all for it.

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I don't know why everybody always references Dark Souls as some unique take on throwing you in at the deep end and letting you just find your own way, loads of games do it going all the way back to the dawn of time. It's the equivalent of football didn't exist before the Premier League.

 

 

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Just now, Gabe said:

I don't know why everybody always references Dark Souls as some unique take on throwing you in at the deep end and letting you just find your own way, loads of games do it going all the way back to the dawn of time. It's the equivalent of football didn't exist before the Premier League.

 

 

 

Dark Souls is just the easiest point of reference for a third person action game. I think it was one game in a broader trend of bringing back design philosophies that had fallen out of fashion over the 00s. The X-com reboot and games like FTL and Spelunky were other aspects of it.

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On 31/07/2020 at 10:40, Rsdio said:

 

It's not just open world games for me, I was driven half mad by the constant waffling of Bastion and Transistor.

 

I was listening to the BOTW while at work yesterday and on numerous occasions I had to check the stream was still playing as it uses short gaps in the music to beautiful effect.

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25 minutes ago, Camel said:

I know people complain about hand-holding in games but for some, the opposite - games that require you to figure out where to go, what to do next - is as big a turn-off. If I get stuck in a game and my interaction with the game becomes limited to wandering around an area looking for some clue about where to go, randomly pressing A/X in front of NPCs and reading their drivel, I get very, very bored and frustrated. I realise that I'm in the minority and people like to 'explore' but I'm the opposite; I want to be involved in some challenging gameplay. So if that means the game has to throw a big neon arrow onto the screen to show me where to go next, I'm all for it.

 

I almost wrote another paragraph at the end of my rant to complement the Dark Souls bit about Space Marine, the WH40K shooter from around the same time Dark Souls came out.

 

That's a straight forward linear action game that stops short of the big neon arrow, you get a dinky 00s style waypoint marker instead sadly, but gets straight down to business. In the first hour and a half of Space Marine you've cut your way through 100s of Orks, got to play around with a whole bunch of different guns, axes and big fuck off hammers, enjoyed a bunch of pitched arena encounters with varied terrain and enemy setups and taken down a massive 20ft robot ork bastard at the end of it. It has scale. It has spectacle. It has the meatiest, messiest gunplay you could ever hope for. It strips out most of the cruft that shooters at the time were getting increasingly bogged down in.

 

I don't think out and out action is what Remnant was going for though, so I left it out. But Space Marine is another example of how you open a game in my opinion. You show the player the experience they're in for. You don't tease them with the prospect of maybe experiencing something a few hours down the line.

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