Well I decided to write this blog not only to get a quest done (damn this addictive new feature), but also to spread my views to hopefully other like minded individuals, as well to hopefully entertain you all. Please enjoy!
A good game, what defines it? Is it perfect reviews from licensed critics on big fancy websites who are paid to give their opinions on a particular game? The more independent reviews that are not as subjugated to being paid to give good scores? Or is it simply what we see and experience with a game that defines its quality? I think its obvious that its the 3rd option as I am the kind of person who has their own set opinion, but is not afraid to give someone with a differing view the time of day. I believe what makes a game "good" can be expressed in a simple formula.
Part 1 The Story The story of a game is pretty much the purpose of the game. Without a good story it is almost impossible for the final work to be anything but decent. However to simply tell a good story is one thing, but to make the story good enough for a massive audience to want to play over and over again is key. This is especially true for games that aren't meant to be played a couple hundred times such as epic RPGs like Final Fantasy. When you play a game like that its story is almost guaranteed to be at least 40-60 hours long, and usually doesn't leave a lot of room for replay value. However should a story that is so enticing come around that not only fills that time gap , but stays so intriguing and complex that the player is almost forced to play the game again just to see more of the story, then that can cover up for almost any other fault the game might have.
So simply put the component of the story in our formula is as follows: Story that is not only epic, but able to be enjoyed multiple times.
Part 2 The CastThe cast of characters in a good game normally accomplishes similar goals. They are relate-able as so the player can connect with them more, they look good; this is mainly accomplished by graphics or the basic design of the character, they aren't annoying/useless so we don't want to abandon them the first chance we get (See many RPGs for examples of this), and they sound good (See Part 3 for more information). If we are going to be playing with the same cast of characters from anywhere from 8-60 hours they had better be good. From action plat-formers such as God of War with one single protagonist to epic RPGs such as Persona 3 with up to 8 party members to pick from; it all depends on the genre of the game in question. How they act throughout the story and during game play also helps to determine if this part of the formula is properly achieved. A good character is one that is not too overpower both in voice and strength ( see Lu Bu in any Dynasty Warriors game), but not too weak as to not want to use ever in the game or hear in a cut scene (See Cait Sith from FFVII). This should be applied to the entire cast. I know what your thinking, "What about characters that exist for comic relief? They can be annoying and useful at the same time!" Just remember kids not every formula is perfect and yes there are plenty of comic relief characters in games, and some can be useful. However just think about this one comic relief character in particular and I think you will see my point... Wakka....I think I'm done here.
Character component of the formula: Cast that is relate-able, fun, varied, awesome, and useful.
Well we have made quite a bit of ground here now haven't we? However, we have only touched on 2 of the 5 components I believe are necessary for our formula to be a success. Check out my next blog post in the next few days for the rest of this discussion, and the final formula. Have something you want to add to this? By all means leave a comment below, I eagerly await what the Giant Bomb community has to add.