When I play a video game I look for and enjoy many things, but first and foremost I have to say story is not a reason to play any game.
Gameplay is king. I understand what Nintendo means when they make games. The story is just there to provide something to showcase the core gameplay. There’s not much there and yet most of there games are well received because they play well.
Limbo may be the pinnacle of the minimalist gameplay movement. It’s a game that may never age and never lose it’s beauty. The gameplay itself is very simple and there are no needless tutorials or elements added to ‘pad’ the game. The story is what you make of it, there is no voice over or dialogue at all but you don’t need it to figure out what to do or how to do it. And the graphics are gorgeous. Just simple black and white but beautifully rendered and the look is striking. There will come a time when all your current AAA games look old and obsolete, that will never happen to Limbo. In 50 or 100 years it will still look the same and still handle wonderfully.
It doesn’t have to be cutting edge graphic wise but it does have to look nice. I will gladly play snes games in their 2d glory instead of torturing myself by playing n64 or psone games that look terrible with their fancier 3d graphics.
Story on the other hand I don’t take seriously in a game. I go into it expecting it to be dumb, full of terrible acting and unlikable characters, plot holes everywhere and I deem it a rousing success if I don’t cringe while story is being told to me. With so little expectations going into almost every game I play I’m rarely offended or disappointed in the story, since I expected nothing from it. I understand why people can get upset over a terrible story I just don’t. I read a lot and it’s hard enough for a professional writer to write well (and let’s face it most of them don’t) that I laugh when I think of some amateur hack with no discernible skill trying to write an award winning story for a fucking game. The more complex, gritty, realistic or mature they try to make something the more laughable it becomes. If they would just admit they can’t write we would all be better off.
Tomb Raider worked for me because I truly enjoyed the core gameplay. The story and characters are already being forgotten and it hasn’t been a week since I finished it. Ditto DMC, I killed the demon king….that’s all I can tell you. Had fun playing it though. Dungeon Defenders is a tower defense game so let’s face it there is no story it’s replaced with strategy.
Finally the joy that is Dark Souls, I love it and it’s story. There really isn’t any story and that’s what makes it a good one. It’s hard to run into plot holes or bad acting when you don’t really have anything to go on. You get background information on things and you can find some secrets but in general you get what you put into it. You can run straight through and never see Ash Lake or find out what Anor Londo really looks like. If you can’t or don’t save the few npc’s you meet in certain levels you don’t acquire any information they would have given you. Don’t save Logan from Sen’s fortress then you don’t see him in Duke’s Archives and if you don’t save him there you don’t get your treasures from him after. But the key is it doesn’t take anything away from the game since you don’t know you’re missing out on anything and when you do find out something like that it makes it worthwhile since it’s not just given to you.
So yeah….that was longer than I thought.