Poll

What do you look for first in a game?

Gameplay
Graphics
Story
Sound
Originality
Snuffleupagus
The Game Developer

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Offline Lorric

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What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I've seen some talk about what a game should be about on HLP before, and what a "real" game is, but that's not what this topic is for. There is no what a game is "supposed to be", it's subjective. I am simply curious about what people here look for first in a game. Thus the poll. But of course you can all feel free to talk about what your first and foremost requirement is in a game, and I'll be very interested in that too. I hope we can have an interesting and fun poll and discussion.

The options I've chosen, I don't know if you can edit in more poll options, but if something comes up that I've missed, I'll add it if I am able. The options seem pretty clear to me, but I'll add some clarification for what I see them encompassing:

Gameplay - This one is pretty obvious, everything you do and are allowed to do in the game, but I would also say replayability would fall under this category.

Graphics - Quality of visuals, smoothness of frame rate, art style...

Story - The story of the game, the World, the characters and their development, immersion and atmosphere...

Sound - Quality of the music soundtrack, effects, and voice acting quality would come under this too, along with it's simple presence if you hate games which make you read.

Originality - I think this deserves it's own section. If you're always on the lookout first and foremost for something different and unique, and love games which break the mould, this one is for you.

Snuffleupagus - Strange tradition of HLP that if I don't put in, people will moan at me. :D

The Game Developer - The track record of a company can mean a lot. Do you go for companies with a good track record? Are you loyal to a specific brand or group of brands first and foremost? This option is for you.

So there you have it. I think this will be interesting to see where the votes fall, and to listen to people talk about why it's important to them. For me, it's gameplay first and foremost. I play a game to play a game. I love a good story, but I can watch a movie or read a book for that. A game with fantastic gameplay and no story or a bad story will trump a game with a fantastic story and nothing special gameplay every time. I also actively hunt games thatnot only have that good gameplay, but a high level of replayability. I love a good bargain, and I love squeezing every last drop out of my games. And the perfect scenario is a game where it's pure pleasure all the way for hundreds of hours of gameplay.

This would be the ranking of the points for me:

Gameplay is vastly more important to me than the other 4 points. Story after that is much more important than the other 3 points. Then it's graphics, which again is much more important than the other two, with the exception of a magnificent soundtrack. And then soundtrack, which is much more important than originality. Originality will attract my attention, but the other fundamentals must be in place before it will exert any weight on my decision whether to buy or not. Originality in a game which scores high in gameplay will enhance the experience for me. Gameplay trumps all. Make a game with excellent gameplay, and I'll be very forgiving of other flaws. And you can make a game which is excellent in the other 4 categories, but I will not buy it if the gameplay is mediocre, or the game is short. Say hi, Asura's Wrath. The outstanding example of this. Of course there are exceptions to how low you can go in a specific point. It won't matter how good a game scores on the other 4 points if the framerate is unplayable or the soundtrack makes my ears bleed... :ick:

So, over to you... :)
« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 04:31:21 pm by Lorric »

 

Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
gameplay.  all the rest is details.  it's a nice bonus when the rest is good, but really doesn't matter much to me unless it's so bad it's distracting.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I think story and gameplay go hand in hand; for me a game must have a plot, but even the greatest plot would be miserable if the gameplay was utter crap.  That said, I have played through some excellent games with some truly awful mechanics because I loved the plot and themes, so story was tops for me.
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Offline Scotty

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I can't vote for multiples, so I'm abstaining from the vote for now, though I do have an opinion.

For me, Gameplay and Story are intrinsically and inexorably linked - by which I mean that I want a game where the story shapes the gameplay, and the gameplay supports the story in such a way that both work toward a common interest.  I don't want gameplay to demand the story work a certain way, and I don't want the story to force what would be good gameplay to the wayside because it doesn't make perfect sense with the story.

Mass Effect (particularly 2 and 3) accomplish this fantastically.  The story explains in great detail why the game works the way it does, and then the gameplay supports the story by giving the player a way to meaningfully direct and execute game functions in a way that brings the story to life.  Bioshock does so similarly - Adam is one of the biggest parts of the entire game from a story perspective.  It brings together the entire narrative, and then the gameplay revolves around it to an extent that I believe that Adam does the things it does and caused the things it did.  This, I feel, is where Bioshock Infinite critically failed:  While the gameplay was there, and the story was there, the two were linked only superficially.  Vigours filled the niche of Plasmids from the first two games, but there was no reason for them in terms of the narrative, except as a way to retain gameplay similarity to the first two games.  The best part of the whole story and gameplay link is something that the best players tragically miss.  It's implied that every time you die, the perspective of the player switches to a 'new' Booker that has done everything the old one did, up to the critical difference of not dying at the point that you did.  It's a good effort by the dev team, but it's too little compared to everything else they missed.

Wolfenstein: The New Order also does this, in a slightly different way.  Captain Blaskowicz is a hulking, Nazi-killing magnificent specimen of humanity on a one-man war against everything and anything that has a swastika on it, and the game lets you do exactly that.  If you want to charge into the middle of the room, assault rifles akimbo blazing and gunning down man and machine alike, you can do that, and if fits the story that Wolfenstein is trying to tell.

Compare that to, say, the recent Call of Duty games.  The gameplay is there - mostly unchanged for years, but it's there, and it's serviceable.  The story is there - it's not that great, but it's a story.  But the gameplay doesn't drive the story, and the story doesn't drive the gameplay.  The story drives the scenery that you're not looking at as you gun down terrorists, and the gameplay drives how frequently and in what manner you gun down terrorists, but they're not linked in a way that brings out the best in both.

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
For me, Gameplay and Story are intrinsically and inexorably linked - by which I mean that I want a game where the story shapes the gameplay, and the gameplay supports the story in such a way that both work toward a common interest.  I don't want gameplay to demand the story work a certain way, and I don't want the story to force what would be good gameplay to the wayside because it doesn't make perfect sense with the story.
I suppose that is the perfect scenario of the two, at least for me, with Gameplay first and story second.

However, it does cut down your options of choosing games. For me, a conflict between story and gameplay, I'd always want story to give way for gameplay.

Take a game like Alien Storm for instance:


If you haven't played it, pay attention to the demos before the player starts the game. Pay attention to the three types of stages in the game. If you want to watch gameplay, pick another video, because this one looks tool assisted to me.

It's a fun game. Three fun types of stages, a diverse collection of enemies.

But from a story standpoint you can pick so many holes in it. If the busters have as much firepower as they have in the shooting and running stages, why are they bothering getting up close and personal with the aliens in the normal stages? Similarly, why are they moving slow when they can run so fast? If you can call down spaceships and airstrikes, why even bother fighting on the ground at all? If those tentacle monsters have so many diverse abilities, why don't they use them all at once (they melee you in normal gameplay, can fly in running and shooting stages and have a ranged attack in shooting stages.) When the robot self destructs you get a new robot. If the busters have an army of robots, why aren't they all out there at once? And when the busters are arriving in their fancy vehicles to the levels, why aren't they just using these on the aliens? And then there'd be all the arguments about how troops with guns would just mop up all the melee-based / short range attack aliens, never mind bringing in tanks and such. The list I'm sure goes on and on, I've just ran this little lot up off the top of my head right now. If the game had to account for all this stuff it would cripple it and a fun game would never have been released. But letting gameplay take priority, you get a fun game.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
Me? I look for a story. Gameplay only has not to be unbearable. Story is what makes the game a piece of art for me. A mindless MP-only 3rd person shooter isn't art. Spec Ops: The Line is. It might have crappy multiplayer and medicore gameplay (not to mention I'm not fond of 3rd person), but the story more than makes up for that. Overlord is another example, with some gameplay mechanics being downright bad, but it's one of my favorite games of all time. Even if gameplay is unbearable, story might hold the game up, but I can't play such games for long and thus don't get immersed in the story as much. It's story for me. Other things are secondary.

The only exception to the rule are simulators, which I'm fond of, because they give you some idea of how what they simulate looks IRL. They tell a story about how to fly a helo or drive a tank, if you will. Even in that case, it's not "gameplay" in traditional sense, but rather realism. I don't mind if it's hard, but it has to be true to life. Indeed, there are many cases when making things realistic, but "simplified" actually makes it harder (though those "simplifications" likely do benefit the designers...).

As for sound and graphics, they are very nice to have, especially in simulators, in which I like to get deeply immersed (again, realism. Photo- and audio-realistic looks and sounds are also important for the simulation itself).  Really primitive graphics are a hit on immersion, but it takes really primitive/downright bad ones.

 
Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
request a "designer knowing what the **** they're doing" option
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Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
request a "designer knowing what the **** they're doing" option
Would a "The Game Developer" option suit you?

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I've added "The Game Developer" to the poll anyway, as I think it's a good option, and edited the OP to include it in the list there as well.

 
Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
Story.

Gameplay is secondary. But gameplay still has to be decent.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for example, along with most of what Ninja Theory puts out has a great story with beautiful environments that reminded me of Nausicaa from Miyazakai, however some critics complained the 3rd person gameplay was not as good as God of War for example. Me I still loved it.  Haven't played Heavenly Sword yet, but it's one of the reasons I picked up a PS3.

 

Offline Rodo

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I think....

Gameplay: The better it is, the more willing I'll be to invest my time on it. Not talking about playing 12hs straight, but how much time will the game remain between my interests throughout the course of the days/months/years. Eventually all of them decay.

Graphics: It's an addon, some games do not require fancy art style or top rendering engines to produce desire to play. It's necessary however if you want to captivate a big audience.

Story: Important for personal reasons, I like playing a game that tells me a story or leaves some teachings behind. That doesn't mean I don't play games without story. Thinking minecraft right now..

Sound: It's an addon, but an important. I'd dare to say far more important than graphics.

Originality: Goes hand to hand with gameplay and adds to the factor that will determine my willingness to keep investing time on it or not.

Snuffleupagus: I say yes!

The Game Developer: Is irrelevant if the game comes out of the blue, it only matters if you are expecting a sequel or a remake.

What do I look for?...

Mmmm... It's a tricky question.
I'll resume my thought process for you, make whatever you want from it.

First I come to know the game, whether it be for personal interest or coincidence.
Then I check some gameplay footage if it's available, if not I check trailers.
I decide I might like it or not depending on the type of game and the content of what I'm seeing, the key factors to this decision are related to my past experience with games of the same sort/type of what I'm watching and my expectations of what should a game of that sort/type might be like.

« Last Edit: August 11, 2014, 08:07:12 pm by Rodo »
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Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
Top priority for me: Tie between gameplay and story. I love a good story in any form, and gameplay is, after all, the point of the game. If one of the two is especially good, the other only needs to be tolerable for me to play it. Transcend, for example, had a top-notch story even though the gameplay wasn't particularly good. The classic Descent games had extremely addictive gameplay despite the minimalistic story. But the best games are the ones that master both story AND gameplay, becoming truly memorable: Shadow Genesis, Command and Conquer: Tiberium series (the first three anyway), the classic Ace Combat games, Halo (well... the fourth one needed some work) and so on. The combination of a good story and good gameplay is greater than the sum of its parts, as a good story makes the gameplay more meaningful.

Third place actually goes to sound. For me, sound is a bigger deal than graphics- probably because I'm kinda a music person. A real good soundtrack makes good gameplay more exciting and a good story more impact. Ace Combat and Halo have this in spades.

Next up: Graphics. It's nice to have fancy graphics, but as long as they're above my "annoyance threshold" (which depends on the genre, but for a first-person game is a little below Descent), they don't make that much of a difference.

Originality is variable. If a game is a rip-off, I'm not interested. But as a rule, whether a game is traditional (like Halo) or non-taditional (like Kairo) doesn't impact the QUALITY of the game IMO.

The game developer is also variable. Bad ones can improve, and (more commonly) good ones can decline. The only devs who I ever got excited about for their own sake were Notch and Chris Roberts.

All Hail the Snuffleupagus!
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
To me, all of those are equally important, maybe not as much the developer. If a game has any two of those things, I'll try it if it's cheap enough. Another aspect not mentioned yet, is "A Recommendation". If Total Biscuit says something is really good, chances are it's actually really good.

The best game I've played in recent memory, continues to be "To The Moon" (seriously, play it). Gameplay-wise, there's not much. But the story and soundtrack are simply amazing, and catapults the game far past where it's art and gameplay possibly could. Skyrim has lots of those factors, primarily art, sound, and gameplay, so it's not surprising it's a great game. FTL is a game that's almost all gameplay, but does it spectacularly, with story (the story you write yourself) being a huge factor too.

TL;DR: Snuffy, because everything is important, as long as one or two of any of the factors are good enough.

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
Thanks for the replies everyone, I've enjoyed reading all your different perspectives. keep them coming! :)

And I absolutely am interested to hear from people who don't have a defined favourite aspect to vote for. Scourge of Ages, you have a way of approaching it that I didn't think anyone would have, valuing everything equally and being happy if two aspects are strong.

As for To the Moon, I've heard about that. And I've only heard good things. Really good things. But it sounds like it falls into the trap Asura's Wrath does, and thus I'll probably watch a let's play of it sometime as it neglects my number one reason to buy a game despite excelling elsewhere.

As for "A recommendation" I don't think I want to put that up, because you'd still be looking for a reason why within that. A particular developer would put their own stamp on things, but a recommendation has no impact on what the game itself contains.

 
Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
As for To the Moon, I've heard about that. And I've only heard good things. Really good things. But it sounds like it falls into the trap Asura's Wrath does, and thus I'll probably watch a let's play of it sometime as it neglects my number one reason to buy a game despite excelling elsewhere.

I'd recommend actually playing it, unless you can find an LP without commentary. You'll want to be able to explore, or pause, or rush without pressure. It gets a pretty big discount almost every big Steam Sale

 

Offline Sarkoth

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
I think story and gameplay go hand in hand; for me a game must have a plot, but even the greatest plot would be miserable if the gameplay was utter crap.  That said, I have played through some excellent games with some truly awful mechanics because I loved the plot and themes, so story was tops for me.

Seconded. Those two things are what makes or breaks a good game. A truly good story can carry modest gameplay and vice versa. But of those two things are missing, it can never be a good game. Not even with infinite snuffleupagus.

Edit:
"To the Moon" is marvellous. I also liked "Gone Home" quite a lot, although the topic probably isn't for everyone.

And one game that also deserves a mention is the Mount and Blade series. It doesn't look pretty, the gameplay is sometimes clunky, due to being sandbox there is almost no plot, sound ist very repetitive, and I still played more than 1000 hours of it. Because it does a perfect job of just sucking you in. Can't wait for the release of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord.
Also, just like with FS, there's an insanely dedicated modding community. Mods are great. FS is great.

Speaking of which, shouldn't be "moddability" another point in the poll? This is HLP after all!
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 06:56:51 am by Sarkoth »
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Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
Speaking of which, shouldn't be "moddability" another point in the poll? This is HLP after all!
That would fall under gameplay.

 

Offline Dragon

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
No, not really. You can have a completely unmoddable game with great gameplay, or a game where you need all the mods people made for it to be worth playing.

 

Offline Lorric

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
No, not really. You can have a completely unmoddable game with great gameplay, or a game where you need all the mods people made for it to be worth playing.
If the developers made the game moddable, that to me is steps they took towards enhancing the gameplay experience of the game, thus it would fall under gameplay.

 

Offline InsaneBaron

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Re: What do you look for first in a game? [POLL]
No, not really. You can have a completely unmoddable game with great gameplay, or a game where you need all the mods people made for it to be worth playing.
If the developers made the game moddable, that to me is steps they took towards enhancing the gameplay experience of the game, thus it would fall under gameplay.

A good question. Actually, I tend to think of a modded game as a new game all together (therefore Shadow Genesis and The Antagonist are assessed completely separately in my book). It depends on the extent of the mod though; some "mods" for some games are just graphics upgrades or balance tweaks rather than new campaigns or suchlike.
Doesn't matter what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — "No, you move." - Captain America

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