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Edited 1 year, 7 months ago

Poll: How do you feel about the idea of a story campaign in sports games? (144 votes)

I like them. 70%
I don't like them. 6%
I don't care either way. 24%

Seeing the story campaigns available in the last few NBA 2K games as well as "Longshot" in the new Madden have me thinking about trying out some sports games for the first time since the Dreamcast era...

How do you feel about them?

I get the feeling a lot of traditional sports game fans are pretty indifferent to these modes but I wonder if they might be making the games enticing to lapsed fans like myself.

However, I am still concerned the more simulation style game play will still turn me off these modern sports games regardless of the story mode (I preferred the more arcade style sports games of old).

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#1 Posted by KingBonesaw (1382 posts) -

I play hundreds of hours of NBA 2K every year and have this to say: I've only ever "completed" one of the story modes which was NBA 2K16 because I needed to see where the story went (ghosts are involved). They're generally tied to the career mode which I always have a hard time with since I'm way into customizing every aspect of my team, I used to go and update player shoes/accessories for every single season mode game based on what happened in real life so the idea of only controlling one player doesn't really appeal to me. I've been creating my own story modes in these games for over a decade by playing a franchise mode as a bad team and turning them into champions telling my own story that didn't feature terrible dialogue and potential manslaughter. I like the idea of them having these story modes but I wish that they wouldn't make them the main mode and neglect to update their other modes.

I am a fan of the more simulation style sports games since I'm just too big a mark for the NBA that I want things to be as authentic as possible (I used to hate how for years 2K couldn't get the colours right on the Bull's red uniforms) but for the times when I want an arcade-y experience I look up different gameplay sliders that people have made to make the game a more fast paced over the top experience, which I usually do when I play as the All Star teams since nobody plays defence in the All Star game.

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#2 Posted by TheFlamingo352 (336 posts) -

I haven't bought a 'traditional' sports game like Madden in at least 5 years. I'm not saying a good story mode is enough to get me to buy back in, but it's awfully close.

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#3 Posted by Atlas (2738 posts) -

I played the FIFA 17 story mode almost to completion. It was kinda neat, in that it definitely tried to tell a human story about a young man with a dream and the family around him, but it all felt a bit trite and there were times where it felt silly. There were moments where I wanted to be absorbed in the drama and get invested, but couldn't get past their dead eyes and stiff animation - definitely uncanny valley.

I feel like there is definitely potential in the idea, but I almost think it should be a standalone game, rather than a mode in a game that's primarily just a regular sports game. I'm kinda way into the idea of someone trying to tell a seriously raw story about a young man trying to make it as a pro football player to get out of the ghetto, with the sudden rise to fame, drugs, teammate hazing, relationships, concussions, etc. Basically Willie Beaman from Any Given Sunday. There's a brilliant documentary called Undefeated about a high school football team in inner-city Memphis, and in one scene a former pro player gives a talk and asks the kids in the room two questions: first, how many of you have a relative who went to college?; second, how many of you have a relative in prison? You can imagine the response these questions got. It was totally heartbreaking.

No game licensed by the NFL, or any major sports league, would be comfortable having something like that in their game, but I can dream, right?

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#4 Posted by BaneFireLord (3563 posts) -

I don't play sports games but I still think it's a very clever idea.

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#5 Posted by clagnaught (2113 posts) -

I haven't played a traditional sports game in many a moon, however, I think it would be more interesting to sort of have a system in place that could allow you to make your own story, as opposed to going through whatever the new Madden campaign is. I imagine some of that might be in the Football Manager games, but having it act as its own mode that can be repeated sounds more interesting than going through a scripted story where talk to your ghost friend or whatever.

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#6 Posted by The_Nubster (4032 posts) -

As someone who doesn't play sports games ever, I like the idea as long as it doesn't take away from the main draw: playing the sport. I'd rather they nail that aspect and innovate and change where they need to than to introduce a story mode to grab a casual player for a handful of hours despite having to compromise in other areas in the long haul.

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#7 Posted by Pezen (2371 posts) -

Instead of a story I wished they added story-esque features that gives you the ability to express who your character is in a more customizable way. As an example, as someone who mainly play UFC as their sports game of choice, I would love to play career but add in some press conference (or in-ring interview) scenarios where you pick your answers and such to not just have the career mode be a bunch of numbers going up but not so story heavy that it feels like playing someone elses career that more often than not (in my experience) seem a little melodramatic or a sports game's version of the hero's journey.

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#8 Edited by BabyChooChoo (7091 posts) -

I love it. More bang for your buck. Also a draw for people who love single-player campaigns, but aren't always willing to pick up the new sports game every year. Assuming it doesn't detract from the core of the game, it seems like a win for everyone.

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#9 Edited by mcbisquick (54 posts) -

This may sound weird to people who aren't sport fans (and maybe some who are), but I really don't want a story from my sports games beyond the natural story taking place during a career or season. I want the ups and downs of actual sports. Contracts, injuries, earning your spot, etc. The more story the game tries to add, the less it feels like my character's career.

If the more theatrical story stuff was just a mode or an option, it wouldn't bother me that much. But particularly with the last NBA game I played (which was 2K16, so maybe things got better), I feel like a lot of potential depth was lost in the career mode to make room for some pretty god awful writing.

I don't think you have to lose the sim appeal to fans like myself in order to have a story mode or vice versa. It's just from my limited experience that the execution to do both at once has fallen short so far.

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#10 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8844 posts) -

It's a clever way to draw in both players who wouldn't otherwise have an interest in the game (i.e. me) or players who've been away from Madden for a while or who have never played one before and want a good, easy jumping-in point (also me). As a means to also put the player through a tutorial, it's really smart. I think it's a great idea.

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#11 Posted by imhungry (1111 posts) -

FIFA 17 was the first time I ever played a FIFA game alone without friends. It was surprisingly alright.

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#12 Posted by damnboyadvance (4197 posts) -

I don't see anything wrong with them. To me, it's no different than packaging a singe player campaign in with a game like Call of Duty or Titanfall. The difference is that this is unexplored territory for the Madden franchise.

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#13 Edited by Nodima (2591 posts) -

To be honest, I just don't enjoy controlling only one player on a team. I really, really, really dislike how MyPlayer feels in NBA 2K. It feels far more natural in football, but I still like the idea of having influence on an entire team. For me, my story mode (I feel like I just made this post elsewhere on these forums this week; maybe a deleted draft?) was always running the Huskers program in NCAA and trying to draft as many players as I could from my imported draft class in Madden. Once that feature was deaded I lost a lot - a lot - of interest in digital football.

I will say that if any story mode seems natural to me in a sports game, it's definitely embodying a quarterback in today's NFL. Never before has a sport felt so dependent on a single person surrounded by 21 other men on a field of play than the past few NFL seasons.

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#14 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4403 posts) -

Watching Longshot in the Quick Look made me wish it was stand alone buy. The acting and writing was great, and I enjoyed the humor. Sure, the gameplay didn't seem like anything to write home about, but that's not the primary reason I want it.

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#15 Posted by ArtisanBreads (9107 posts) -

I appreciate them and they are cool for what they are.

The big next thing for me is making story stuff happen dynamically and via systems. In 2k18 this year they seem to maybe have stuff like that going on in MyGM.

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#16 Posted by jay_ray (1569 posts) -

Watching Longshot in the Quick Look made me wish it was stand alone buy. The acting and writing was great, and I enjoyed the humor. Sure, the gameplay didn't seem like anything to write home about, but that's not the primary reason I want it.

I'd buy it a $25 price point, same with FIFA. I did buy FIFA last year, I'll probably wait to buy FIFA this year when it's on sale (Black Friday). I'm a sucker for a good sports story.

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#17 Posted by whitegreyblack (1950 posts) -

@jay_ray said:
@flashflood_29 said:

Watching Longshot in the Quick Look made me wish it was stand alone buy. The acting and writing was great, and I enjoyed the humor. Sure, the gameplay didn't seem like anything to write home about, but that's not the primary reason I want it.

I'd buy it a $25 price point, same with FIFA. I did buy FIFA last year, I'll probably wait to buy FIFA this year when it's on sale (Black Friday). I'm a sucker for a good sports story.

I would probably drop 20 bucks on a story mode Madden without the other stuff, as well. Actually, if I do end up buying Madden for Longshot, $20 is exactly the price I'd be wanting to pay.

I saw in one review that part of the challenges in the Ultimate Team mode allows you to play a bit more of the character from the campaign in more normal-Madden circumstances. It's interesting to see the game have elements related to the campaign bleed into the rest of the package, rather than just being a completely walled-off separate thing.

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#18 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7512 posts) -

While watching the Madden content, I was thinking I'd really love a whole game instead of just a mode - a "Life Is Strange" sort of game. A season of content released in 2 hr installments that has choices and characters to meet along the way. I think such a game would appeal to a much broader audiences of sport enthusiasts. Some people like football, but don't want to play Madden. Just as some people liked to watch Friday Night Lights, but didn't want to coach their high school's football team!

There can be a much broader approach to what a 'sports game' can play like or is as a game. The story based game with a sports theme could appeal to a lot of people, but I think it will really have to be a small studio or an indie. Even if Madden came out first and then a story based game 'about football' came out second people would rush to say it was a "waste of resources" or "took away" from their game.

The other issues is that the NFL or really any sport governing body has to get away from exclusive contracts with one publisher. A story based 'sports game' would be a easy if a company could get the rights to use logos, stadiums, and NFL art. Yet, EA's hold on the NFL brand just makes any sort of innovation about sports themes games -of any type- impossible.

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#19 Posted by OurSin_360 (6133 posts) -

They are fine until the become a detriment to gameplay improvements like in 2k. I think the story in fight night champion was one of the best, and the new madden one looks real good, but i hate that 2k spends more time on my career rather than making the game better.

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#20 Posted by Darth_Navster (883 posts) -

@jay_ray: I have to imagine it'll end up on EA Access in short order, so for the (I think) $5 one month subscription you could get through the story mode.

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#21 Posted by Lazyimperial (486 posts) -

I have very little interest in sports games... except when they have absurdist, bizarre storylines. If I had known that NBA 2K16 involved ghosts and paranormal madness, I would have bought it on sale and exorcised the poltergeists through slam dunking. Sounds marvelous.

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#22 Edited by FacelessVixen (2545 posts) -

Only if they're directed by Spike Lee.

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#23 Posted by mems1224 (2501 posts) -

I would't mind one if its done right but so far no one has managed to make a good sports story mode recently. NBA2k is all over the place, FIFA is decent but it was rough around the edges and Madden doesn't even let you play in the NFL. I mostly play franchise mode and that does a better job at conveying a story tbh. I just wish they would put more presentation into that like they did in the ps2/xbox era. Madden used to have a fake radio show and a better break down of whats going on around the league and that stuff has been pushed aside since 05.

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#24 Posted by KingBonesaw (1382 posts) -

@mems1224: The 2K College Hoops games were great about this. I remember there being a weekly recap show with one of the Gumbels that explained what was going on around the country that was surprisingly cool for the time.

I miss college sports games.

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#25 Edited by Nodima (2591 posts) -

@oursin_360 said:

They are fine until the become a detriment to gameplay improvements like in 2k. I think the story in fight night champion was one of the best, and the new madden one looks real good, but i hate that 2k spends more time on my career rather than making the game better.

Fight Night Champion was really awesome; my only problem with it was that it went from a pretty realistic (or at least rooted in realism) difficulty curve as you moved through the ranks of boxing to suddenly a Punch Out style set of final bosses that was flat out frustrating. I never did beat the end boss (your brother, right?). Actually, I was curious enough I looked at IGN's guide and, yeah, it didn't ramp up very fairly at all:

Tutorial: Jail fight, learn defense and then learn offense. Cool.

Joel Savon: Win a boxing match. That's fair!

Maurice Perkins: Knock down your sparring partner in the first round. Can do!

Lucius Palmer: Defeat an overly defensive fighter with calculated aggression. Clever challenge!

Mike Walker: Two knockdowns and a KO within 4 rounds. A bit arbitrary, but not unfair.

Wilfred Rosario: Defeat an overly aggressive fighter with calculated defense. Clever challenge!

Keyshawn Hayes: Defeat a fighter with one good punch; properly anxiety inducing and a test of your reflexes.

Ricardo Alvarez: Must win by KO due to corrupt judges skewing the fight; a cool nod to boxing's dark side.

Jake Morrison: Jail fight again, this time more freewheeling. Show off those damage models!

Sonny Harris and Frank Hicks: Jail fight again again, testing your management of stamina. The jail fights in this game are just fun!

Mason Brooks: Learn the new strategies of heavyweight boxing against a fighter with a glassjaw; clever inversion of the Hayes fight.

Antoine Barr: Defeat him in 3 rounds with shots to the body; more arbitrary than the Walker fight, but still pretty fair.

Antonio Chavez: Fight a guy; can do!

Raul Castillo: Win a fight against a stamina-oriented fighter; I remember this feeling a bit unbalanced, but it rewards strong technique.

Meldrick Johnson: Win a fight with one hand; if I recall, you'll fail if you throw too many right-handed punches. Almost unfair, but kind of enjoyable.

Reggie Stewart: Prove your hand is back with a right-handed knockout; entirely arbitrary and really has nothing to do with your boxing skill.

Dwight Cooper: Protect your right eye; a bit gamey, but it is a video game and at least this is something a real-life boxer could contend with.

Kobe Nichols: A corrupt referee that calls every stomach punch a low blow; c'mon, game! This is a really stupid contrivance.

Raymond Bishop: Fight your brother 'cause reasons; as a story fight goes, it's fine, but doesn't require much skill other than surviving round 1.

Raymond Bishop 2: You're in control of Isaac Frost, the Big Bad, here; infinite stamina and unfathomable power renders this the easiest fight in the game.

Isaac Frost: Run away for two rounds because he will kill you. Land 75 punches to the gut between rounds 3 and 5; definitely don't worry about conventional offense at all while still avoiding basically every punch. Avoid getting hit in the right eye more than 8 times while being unable to deal any damage for two rounds. Then, finally, four rounds of regular boxing except Frost is still strong as hell and at this point you've spent several minutes doing everything but straight up boxing that you're under immense pressure to remember what regular boxing strategy is and, again, you're incredibly lucky if you've made it this far to begin with and it was so annoying that you really, really hope you win the first time you've made it this far so you don't have to do it all over again, only you definitely do lose and then it's another several attempts before you make it back here, and then you fail again because it's pretty hard, and then you delete the game from your hard drive and spend the next six years eagerly anticipating a sequel on next-gen consoles that'll be less cheap with the final boss and equally super fun on the way to that final boss only it never comes and there's no next-gen boxing video game at all and you wonder why there isn't even a UFC version of this because it's clearly the best version of a sports video game story mode and more people should've played it so EA would make another one.

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#26 Posted by jay_ray (1569 posts) -

@darth_navster: Completely forgot about that thing, EA Sports games usually show up 6-9 months after release so that would be a great way to do it (if you have an Xbox One)