Favorite Elements in Games.

I thought I’d list what my favorite parts of games are in a list sort of fashion. With number 1 being the best and the further down the less the less important it is compared to the previous. All personal opinion and preference here. This will probably be a long post.

A good story to experience or to have unfold. Something that is compelling and entertaining. A game with a good story has me enthralled from beginning to end. These are the games where I just find myself playing through and losing track of time. I am not sure if everyone else get’s that. It’s where you start a game at noon, you play for a bit and then look at the clock and its midnight. You tell yourself, I’ll just play for a bit longer, then you look at the clock and its 5am. That’s what I am talking about here, where the fuck did the time go? That is when game is so good, that time is just something you lose track of, time has no meaning, no power over you, you feel outside of it. Dragon Age Origins was like that for me, as was any game in the Legacy of Kain series, Bioshock: Infinite, Arkham Asylum and City, Deus Ex and DE: Human Revolution, Darksiders 1 and 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, Red Dead Redemption, No One Lives Forever 1 and 2, and the Mass Effect Trilogy.

As a subset of the Story aspect I like well done characters and dialogue. Good Voice acting is optional but can really make the difference in a story if done well. What I mean by well done characters, is that these characters have personality or an attitude, witty or engaging dialogue, a history, having some sort of character development, being more then one dimensional (i.e.: more then just the stereotypical good or bad guy), something that can actually evoke a feeling other then I wanna be on his/her side for some perceived benefit and that you actually like or respect that character. Bioware games are usually excellent with this, in Mass Effect my crew was the most important thing to me, I actually cared for their well being and for my relationship to them. In Dragon Age, I wanted to make sure I had good friends, so I went out of my way to build up a good relationship with them and have then develop to something more then just loyal companions. In V:tM Bloodlines I wanted my character to have good friends, not just powerful allies or companions.

A good story and characters can go a long way for me, games like Darksiders/Legacy of Kain/Fallout: New Vegas were nothing revolutionary and more run of the mill genre stuff but had stories and characters I considered compelling. Legacy of Kain (and its sequels), VtM: Bloodlines, Dragon Age: Origins, and Bioshock: Infinite all had good voice acting, in combination with a good story and characters, were enough to overlook the run of the mill gameplay.

Second to a good story, would be gameplay. I am into RPG’s in a big way, so I will be slightly biased towards that. Gameplay for me is anything that you character does in game to either combat others, explore, investigate, or problem solve. This can be something like FTL where the whole game is based on moving forward to the next map to warn the fleet and then the game becomes something like surviving and/or exploring to make your ship powerful enough to travel through hostile areas. Or it can be the actual combat in the game, Darksiders and Batman are good examples of that, both are extremely fun and satisfying. Or something like Mass Effect which has a little bit of everything to make it compelling. Or it could be like Civilization V and Starcraft 2, both are strategy games but play very differently but are both are good.

Third in the list would be Character Customization. Creating your own character goes a long way to building a connection to the game. Mass Effect, Dragon Age, KOTOR, Star Wars: TOR, FFXIV, and WoW are good examples. For games like ME, DA, KOTOR the character customization makes it personal, now its MY Shepard or MY Warden or MY Revan. For TOR/FFXIV/WOW, it becomes your toon/avatar to meet others with, so much so that I still refer to people I know IRL with their WOW names.

Fourth in the list would definitely be the environment of the game, that is pretty broad and vague so I’ll list a few games to get my meaning across. Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Dragon Age: Origins (and 2 i guess), GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Arkham Asylum and City, Red Dead Redemption, and VtM: Bloodlines. All have distinctive environments where the game takes place, and are sometimes the basis of the game. The Elder Scrolls games are very good in particular about this, my favorite thing to do in those games is just to explore and do off the beaten path type things, like hunting in Skyrim or Exploring in Oblivion and Morrowind.

Fifth in the list would be the actual aesthetics of the game or it’s look and feeling. Examples of this would be games like Bioshock: Infinite, V:tM Bloodlines, Mass Effect trilogy, Dragon Age Origins and DA 2, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim/Oblivion/Morrowind, Fallout 3 and New Vegas, Red Dead Redemption, and the Batman games. You can see how little I value the actual graphics of a game, all that is important to me is that it either has a good story or gameplay.

Honorable mentions here: Romance, in games like KOTOR/DA/ME (basically bioware games) they are well done and satisfying. Investigation/Mystery, something that the Batman games do very well. Sound or Music, something I appreciate a lot, good examples are the radio stations in GTA or the actual sound track in games like No One Lives Forever (which is still really good.)

That is pretty much it, Story > Gameplay > Graphics.

UFC 174 in Vancouver

So other plans are on hold til after that. That unfortunately means, no Angel: The Complete series or any of the other DVD’s that were planned.

It will be worth it though. Probably 3 or 4 nights (probably Thursday to Sunday), usually the weigh-ins on Friday afternoon, Rogan show on a friday night, UFC on Saturday.