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What makes a game "good"?

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June 18, 2011 12:24:37 AM

Hi there,

I was just interested in what you guys think makes your favourite games "good"? What specific things about them are so good that you spend hours/days/weeks/years of your lives enjoying them? Go ahead and tell us, I'm actually really interested to pinpoint the precise things for you? :) 

Thanks,
-Nih

More about : makes game good

June 18, 2011 4:16:40 AM

I'm assuming you're referring to mainstream PC games, though I've played a few excellent Flash time-wasters xD
I like Crysis 2 because its mechanics are excellent, compared to other FPS games I've tried. Combat feels more natural than in other games. I couldn't really pinpoint the specific tweaks that make this work, though. Also, I like how its AIs are actually not completely pinheaded. It's more realistic than many games while still remaining fantastical enough to be an escape from the real world.
Also, it's graphics are incredible. I kinda play for that.
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June 18, 2011 8:00:16 AM

morrowind, oblivion, fallout 3 are probably my fav 3 games. Key things for those games

- the idea of exploring a huge open world.
- many different types of quests
- Leveling up and getting all sorts of different weapons, abilities and items.
The one FPS i have enjoyed in a while was Crysis and crysis warhead. Again they have large open worlds. I cant stand playing trough doom clones just running through passageways blasting enemies till you get to the end. The multiplayer in crysis 2 is very good, i dont know why, but the formula just works. controls are very direct and dont feel clumsy like some online fps. It has a fairly big stealth aspect to it which is great. But any game formula will get old (ie doom clones) if you play enough of them. Innovativeness is a must, not just following the same formula with every game. I also hate long/lots of cut scenes, i want to play a game, not watch a movie. Also good gfx without hefty system requirements is good, i dont want to upgrade my pc every year. Good scalability in this respect so the game runs well on a range of equipment is good.
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June 18, 2011 8:35:42 AM

Graphics and story_I just need them that is why I like original Crysis and Original Mafia(xccelent story)
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June 18, 2011 9:44:11 AM

gameplay is the big 1, story, if its story based, then gfx and sound.
im at the other end as far as crysis goes, i think its 1 of the weakest games i ever played. looks good but has no replay value and to be honest doesnt have much in the way of playability. warhead was a step towards a better game and it leaps and bounds ahead of crysis in this area. much tighter gameplay made for a more exciting game over all... it still looked good but not as good as crysis. but because it had better gameplay it was a better game. IMO.
half life 2 is probably my pick for the best game of all time. great story, bags of gameplay and looked stunning for its time and in some respects still stands up today.

1 of my all time faves is an 8 bit title called boulderdash way back in 1984 i couldnt stop playing it. come to think of it there are a lot of 8bit titles i would pick as good games but on todays pc theres no where near as many maybe 2-3 dozen really top draw 1s. where as on my old atari i had over 200 games which i would say at the time were great. (most dont hold up by todays standards but at the time they were the daddys danglies.
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June 18, 2011 10:17:20 AM

@Kajabla - any games are fine :) 

For me personally it's immersion that makes the game for me. I get immersed by depth and strong atmosphere, and I guess story factors in to that. That's why I love games like TES:o blivion, simply because there's so much depth and scale, and it creates so much atmosphere which gets me so immersed :)  Obviously dumb mechanics, AI or visuals ruin that immersion for me, but it's still my major factor.

As for Crysis, I have to agree with HeXit, that whilst I enjoyed the first play through, I found it to have little/no replay value.

Interesting replies, thanks :)  keep them coming if you're still interested.

-Nih
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June 18, 2011 3:42:47 PM

I think it's games that give you a feeling of accomplishment, but not without a challenge. For example. a game where you pop bubble wrap bubbles might be fun for a few seconds, but has no lasting value because it's too simplistic. However, Kane and Lynch 2 gave me no end of frustration trying to kill enemies who would hide behind cover for 10 seconds then pop out for a half second. it was frustrating to kill them and I didn't feel accomplished. I liked the plot and the characters, it just wasn't fun to play.

Controls are a big part of it too. Ports are generally named in this area, RE4 was a great game, but the PC port was crap because the controls were all sorts of wonky.

Basically I suppose it's ease of use, and challenge and accomplishment rolled into one that gives a satisfying experience for me.

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June 19, 2011 2:09:47 AM

I only just picked up The Witcher about 6 months ago (long after it had been properly patched) and found it to be one of the greatest games.

The dark and enthralling storyline was more than enough to have me spending my weekends at the PC and the gameplay was refreshing enough so that it didn't feel like an oblivion clone. Not that an oblivion clone would be all that bad :) 
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June 19, 2011 5:27:40 AM

HEXiT said:
gameplay is the big 1, story, if its story based, then gfx and sound.
im at the other end as far as crysis goes, i think its 1 of the weakest games i ever played. looks good but has no replay value and to be honest doesnt have much in the way of playability. warhead was a step towards a better game and it leaps and bounds ahead of crysis in this area. much tighter gameplay made for a more exciting game over all... it still looked good but not as good as crysis. but because it had better gameplay it was a better game. IMO.
half life 2 is probably my pick for the best game of all time. great story, bags of gameplay and looked stunning for its time and in some respects still stands up today.

1 of my all time faves is an 8 bit title called boulderdash way back in 1984 i couldnt stop playing it. come to think of it there are a lot of 8bit titles i would pick as good games but on todays pc theres no where near as many maybe 2-3 dozen really top draw 1s. where as on my old atari i had over 200 games which i would say at the time were great. (most dont hold up by todays standards but at the time they were the daddys danglies.


Original Half-Life 2 is also my favorite,great story,physics,weapons,sound and I like most the non-combat gameplay instead of cut-scenes which describes the story of hl 2....and It is the best graphics game of my inbuilt intel G31 express chipset........but game crashes are big issues in this steam game.
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June 19, 2011 1:39:32 PM

For me,any game that offers solid gameplay mechanics and doesn't get easily tedious is good.Good like slightly better than average though.Franchises like CoD belong in that category as they are fun but do not offer anything special.
The games that stand out though offer other important values including the above.The most important imo are immersiveness,attention to detail,rewarding gameplay and no handholding.The witcher 2 is the latest example of a great game.It's visuals and sound are top notch,it has a challenging but rewarding gameplay and it makes you feel like you are the character and not his pilot.I enjoyed mass effect 2,the kotor games,crysis,metro 2033 and many others for these reasons.
Rts games are a completely different thing though.They must allow gamers to express their creativity as much as possible.The total war games through the complex strategies you can use and the warcraft rts with their editors are my personal favorite due to this.
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June 23, 2011 4:28:37 AM

Re-playability, I despise paying an hours salary for something I don't finish let alone don't play again. NWN with it's online was amongst the best for me ever by that standard though the total war games are close in to it by that standard amongst titles in the last 10 - 15 years. Further back then twenty years the rules are different which is kinda what I thought hexit might have been getting at.... viva la' 8086
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June 23, 2011 6:18:54 AM

^ Funny, I find Total War one of the most repetitive series... It's one of those that I always lose interest in fastest, despite really enjoying it.

-Nih
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June 23, 2011 8:08:46 AM

There are many factos to be considered wbile gaming , as far as me i would first consider the graphics of the game and then the gameplay. The gameplay should not be repetitive as i observed in assassins creed like "Go and kill someone" and then we will go there and kill them just like the same old thing what we have done before.

The gameplay has to be like a story and we have to in that story every second just like god of war series or uncharted 2. This is one kind of gameplay i like the most.

I think some of you guys remember the good old game commandos 1,2,3, i lked it the most at that time cuz of the sneaking capability and killing the enemies with different techniques.
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June 23, 2011 4:33:13 PM

the ironic thing is, that the most popular games in the world (SC in asia, CS stateside) are so incredibly repetative (START ROUND/SEEK ENEMIES/DESTROY ENEMIES/GG, NEXT MAP)
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June 23, 2011 6:28:57 PM

I game is good if...

You can play it for a while without getting bored

There are close to no hackers while playing online

It is meaningful and not completely useless. Like if you do something, you get something, not just an achievement saying you did it (World of WarCraft)
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June 24, 2011 1:26:08 AM

internetlad said:
the ironic thing is, that the most popular games in the world (SC in asia, CS stateside) are so incredibly repetative (START ROUND/SEEK ENEMIES/DESTROY ENEMIES/GG, NEXT MAP)

So true (WoW.) You don't often see it at first, but suddenly you realise you're doing the same thing over and over again.

I found Far Cry 2 for example, to be one of the most repetitive, flawed games I've played in recent years. I just couldn't stand the way everything was so repetitive, right down to the way that you couldn't walk 5 feet down any road without being attacked by the nearest passer by...and that carried on in every area relentlessly, for the whole game (at least, until I got bored and decided to watch my window paint dry...)

Games need depth, choice and scale to remain interesting. I think the only reason why repetitive games like COD are interesting is because of the multiplayer aspect, because players will always find new ways to innovate and play the game. Every encounter is slightly (even marginally) different, and the tactics, and your response to them can change much more quickly than if you were playing with scripted bots. Also, there's something much more satisfying knowing that you just beat a real person, which sort of brings out a competitive quality in people which is extremely gratifying compared to single-player, and that competitive streak drives them to try harder, either buoyed by their success or stirred up by their failure. The games you listed are exactly the same.

In a way I think this is a bad thing, because it's conditioning people to only value things which they find most gratifying. A prime example is the World of Warcraft community. They clammer for more content because they find it so great, and then when they struggle to access it, they plea for an easier game which is more accessible at the same time missin out on the things that the majority see as redundant (lore, stories, added depth and secondary pursuits.) So the developer caters to that, reducing the importance of those things, when actually it was those things that made that game popular in the first place. Now that community is divided, the majority wanting flashy, thrilling, casual friendly content, and the minority wanting either that depth and value the game used to offer back, or at least harder, more challenging gameplay - as many WoW players would agree, the game is now going to pot (I think because of the mentality that was allowed to grow and fester until it consumed the customer base.)

Call me boring, but now I see fellow teenagers who have no morals, or no understanding of patience, effort and the value of a journey, all because they want to rush to the shiny reward at the end of it all, because they've previously garnered the best results from that formula. There's no value in hard work anymore, because it's 'boring', and it doesn't offer the instant gratification the subjects feel it 'should'. The WoW community often represents that in itself, and I see it every day. Things have to be easier, faster, simpler, so that people can be gratified sooner, and then that becomes the norm, and the next thing, they want that gratification even faster, and then faster, faster... It extends beyond games - it sort of pervades everything, from corporate decisions ("we won't make Crysis 2 PC orientated despite the reputation they helped us form, because they're the minority, and we want more money more quickly than justifies dealing with all that"......"perhaps we can do it afterwards as a side-thought?") to just every day people decisions ("I want sex at age 14 because I want to be a big boy/girl and it looks fun - I don't understand why the law asks me to be patient so clearly it must be wrong...derp.")

Personally, I think games are one of the main causes of this. What better way to educate people than by allowing them to make virtual choices inside a virtual world with no physical repercussions? Especially considering games are one of the major forms of media, spread among millions (maybe billions) worldwide. If one game holds a bad message, even if the developers don't perceive it as such (you can hardly call thrilling gameplay bad, even though I feel the effects of it can be psychologically negative as I outlined above) then it gets taken in by millions of players, even if it's just subconsciously. It almost reminds me of the subliminal messaging school children experienced in Nazi Germany (practising maths by calculating how many jews a bomb would kill) but I'm not going to go all X-Files on you on top of everything else I've spouted out in this post :p  Still, it's a point of interest at least, particularly if you're a sad, lonely, hyperbolic being such as me, who enjoys such activities as chess, waking to hear the morning bird song and counting power-cuplink ticks in your head (+1 to anyone who gets the reference.)

Haha, well I went overboard, and I didn't explain that half as well as I wanted to. I think I've managed to paradoxically succeed and fail at being a nerd at the same time :/  I am more or less normal, I promise.

Meh, might stir up some debate at least.

Think I'm gonna go to bed now

-Nih
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June 24, 2011 2:45:46 AM

Besides compelling story, good graphics, and innovative gameplay with tight controls? meh nothign really
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June 24, 2011 6:08:48 AM

Re-playability is a major factor. Personally, I picked up Metrro 2033 but haven't played it more than once (I did try to though!). I want a game that can pull me towards it whenever I'm bored with other games.

Another thing (though I dunno if anyone else has faced this) is that while a game gets you engrossed, it shouldn't get you in an irritable mood once you've stopped playing it. This happens with me A LOT when playing Far Cry 2. I love playing that game purely for the open world and amazing graphics, but its a sloooow game and calls for a LOT of patience! It takes a good 20-30 mins to complete a mission but it feels like its only been 10 mins. That's why IO end up losing my shirt everytime I get up after playing it!. I've made it a point not to play that game at the end of a long day at work......for my own safety! :D 

Funnily, this issue doesn't happen with any other game! I can easily play Left 4 Dead 2, Mafia II, AvP, COD's, BF2BC2, etc for a good while even after work and still not be perturbed.

Another very important factor: Game mechanics! By far, and till date, Crysis warhead tops the list! I hate RPG's coz I don't like the gazillion cut scenes forming an essential part of the storyline. I liked the way Half Life 2 got that covered. No cut scenes! All in the free roam mode! And if you don't wanna wait for the entire conversation, just walk on and the game continues!

Of course, there are factors like graphics, physics, etc. Suffice it to say that Crysis and Half Life 2 more than got those covered! Kudos to the teams who developed them!

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June 24, 2011 7:36:42 AM

I find a certain charm in games as well, sometimes in it's flaws. I loved the shitty voices in every STALKER game so far, and i played that god awful LUGARU game from the humble indie bundle 2 for hours even though it frustrated me to no end.
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