Immersive Choice and Consequence Game Mechanic

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Just the other day I wrote about Telltale Games and their choice and consequence. To be more exact I wrote about why I didn’t like the way they were implementing choice in consequence mechanics into the gameplay. I’ve promised to further elaborate on this providing the good example of incorporating choice in consequence without breaking the immersion of the game, so here we go.

 

I mentioned how I dislike there blunt and very obvious incorporation of the set mechanic. I said that the results are most likely to be “rigged” subconsciously by the participant who knows that he is being tested in some way. Knowing that you’re being tested can complicate things and messed with the player immersion. Given the choices that are clearly good or bad, selfish or noble makes the players create a fictional persona in their head and choose a solution for the current problem in game depending on how they would like their fictional characters that they’ve created to react to it rather than confronting it in a way that they themselves see fit. This usually and up with player choosing to go down a certain predefined path therefore always optioning for a specific way of problem-solving.

 

Some games even take this a step further by always assigning similar reactions and responses to same buttons on the controller, so for instance you will always press “Y” on your Xbox controller if you want your character to appear brash or violently or press “X” to be as much of a good guy as you can possibly be. I do know about you but being presented with this much control in a game where choices are supposed to have consequences is not very fun, at least not for me.

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There’s a game that absolutely defined this whole thing of player profiling for me and is perhaps the main reason why I don’t really consider Telltale Games to be that much of a choice in consequence material. Now the game in question is honestly nothing special in terms of a videogame. It doesn’t feature any groundbreaking gameplay nor it’s an action-packed or a computer graphics spectacle, no. But at one point it definitely stands out from the crowd as a (in my opinion) masterpiece of choice and consequence gameplay. The game talking about is Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (SH:SM for future references).

 

Let me get this out of the way right now. I’m not saying this is the best Silent Hill game, I’m not even trying to compare it to other Silent Hill games, and simply saying that this game an exceptional job at tackling down hardships of successful choices and consequences gameplay. Whether it’s the best or absolutely the worst entry in the franchise is absolutely not the subject of discussion here.

 

Since I don’t want to spoil anything major I’ll be brief and because I believe that there are still people who haven’t got the chance but have always wanted to try this game, I’ll be very short.

 

From the moment you start playing every action you do is counting towards a hidden scoring mechanic that will directly impact how the game story unfolds, what you will be facing in the future and of course, how the game will end for you. There is absolutely nothing that will ever highlight a specific action, making it stand out from the rest. Everything you do (and I do mean everything, even some trivial actions are given some weight) will feel natural and of even importance and for the most part it’s because everything actually is taken into account, not just some major highlighted events. Were it not for the disclaimer about the game “psychologically profiling you as you play” at the beginning, there would be nothing at all throughout it to actually indicate that it has heavy choice and consequences mechanics.

 

What’s also both impressive and terrifying is the fact that this game is a horror game, and a very bizarre one, even when compared to other horror games, which makes the thought that the game will actively keep profiling you psychologically as you play it then using that information to change itself in order to create your own personal nightmarish world much more scarier and uneasy. If you’ve ever played or saw a Silent Hill game even for a short while, you know how bizarre and nightmarish these games can be. Even though SH:SM’s theme is entirely different than the rest of the franchise due to the fact that it’s actually a reboot, a reimagining of the original game it succeeds in creating just as eerie and unpleasant atmosphere as the previous games have (at least it did so for me).

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The worst thing about this is that I have sworn not to spoil major game elements while talking about them which is usually fairly easy to do but, as this game is so much different than the others it’s literally impossible to mention even the tiniest of its ingeniously subtly implemented gameplay mechanics without ruining somebody’s first play through which something I definitely don’t want to do, not with this game.

 

What I will say is that the game has a combination of 3 endings and 3 epilogue’s which explain why the ending and gameplay was as it was in the first place so, a total of 9 combination of stories can be experienced from Shattered Memories (which makes the fact that there are no unlockable bonuses upon completion very lame, which then again makes the fact that I’ve finished it for countless times even though I knew that speak volumes about the game itself). If you value choice and consequence gameplay, do yourself a favor and try this game. It is available for PlayStation 2 Nintendo GameCube and Sony’s PlayStation Portable, and the best thing about this is that it’s also playable PC through an emulator for any of these three consoles.

 

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PC Games to Play With Friends

PC Games to Play With Friends

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I get this one a lot. I’m frequently asked if I know any good games that are multiplayer and can be played as a local co-op or multiplayer. Frankly speaking there are a lot of games like that and it’s kind of puzzling to me how come that nobody is aware of them. Multiplayer has always been a big part of gaming and to me, it was a huge part of both gaming and growing up as I used to play games with my friends when we had free time. In fact, some of my most fond childhood memories are actually those of playing games with my friends and brother. We used to have so much fun in front of the old TV. For those reasons exactly I want to help others experience local co-op and multiplayer gaming in general as best as I can so, here are some of the best new and old cooperation games to play with your friends and family.

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Portal 2

Many people save this one for the last and for those exact reasons I’m going to put it first on my list. It is highly likely that you’ve heard about it by now and it’s even possible as you’ve already played it, unaware of its co-op potential which is, fairly speaking, what sold the game the most.

I’m talking about Portal 2. This game is just genial! I’ve played through it so many times that I’ve lost count of it. I remember the first time when I played it with my brother and then sometime after I played it with my friend. It didn’t even feel old even though my memory was slowly coming back to me and I mostly knew solutions to the puzzles, but then we discovered the community maps which offered endless supply of cooperation joy.

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If you’re unaware of the game you must’ve been living under a rock. It’s one of the most iconic games of our time. Developed by Valve, the same guys who developed and published Half-Life 2 games (I’m not even going to assume that you are unaware of Half-Life titles), Portal 2 is one of the most successful and most enjoyable co-op games ever made.

The aim of the game is to place a set of portals with a loop off entry-exit point in order to overcome so many types of obstacles and dangers throughout your “course”. I say course because you play as a pair of robots who are test subjects to a very intelligent artificial intelligence obsessed with science, progress and testing. It is also completely deprived of any empathy and regard for any kind of living being so you may expect quite a number of dark humor jokes.

Suffice to say, if you haven’t played this game and it so happens that you have somebody to play it with, go get it. Go get it right now and thank me later for this will possibly be your best co-operational experience ever. That’s all I’ll say about Portal 2 even though I could write volumes.

 

FIFA17 (and probably PES)

I bet you haven’t saw this coming! Yeah, who would’ve thought that I was actually a football fan, right? Truth be told, I’m not, I am not by any means a football fan. In fact I do not even like to watch any kind of support unless perhaps some major eSports event with a couple of friends while having a beer.

Now, even though I do not generally enjoy sports in real life I have to admit that I found FIFA17 very addictive and insanely enjoyable when played with friends.

It was never my decision to download and play a football themed game but a friend of mine insisted that I play with them and that I should just download it from the Internet. Of course I didn’t do this and instead bought the full FIFA17 game from Origin just to play it for a couple of hours with a friend (yeah, I know it’s stupid but my friend was going through a very difficult time and I did that to cheer him up and I would do it again).

We play for a couple of matches and I’m like “hey this is not bad!” while pretending to actually enjoy the game. After a couple more matches I’m like “OMG this is not bad at all. This is great!” only this time around, there was no pretending.

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The game is very competitive but at the same time very optional. You can play just for fun or to prove that you are the supreme player among your friends!

To my surprise I even tried playing this game in a single player mode I was simply hooked on a way that this game tells the story of a young football player trying to make it to the top. It is just as playing some RPG game where your choices define who you are in the end and how the story will unfold for you. It’s pretty impressive and I was hooked up very fast with the way that they’ve incorporated storytelling and decision-making into freaking sports game! It was so good that I used FIFA17 coin generator just to make the as best team as possible and max out my stats so I can easily progress with the story (because obviously, I’m not that good at sports games since this is my first one ever). Now my proudest confession but that doesn’t really matter, what I’m trying to say is that it’s a good game and that it completely absorbed me.

If you’re having some kind of prejudice for football games and are generally not enjoying sports in real life just like myself, do not hesitate to try a football game when your friend asks you to because, believe me, it’s not about football, it’s not about support it’s about playing with your friends and football is something that many people like. So even if your friend is not a gamer he may occasionally enjoy a match of a game that is football themed even if they don’t usually game. Because of that, be open minded and try to play a game with your friends even if it’s not what you would usually consider playing om your own.

 

For now these two should suffice and  provide you with more than enough fun and action for both you and your friends. I’ll definitely continue with this post about cooperation games in the future, but for now, honestly I’m just feeling really, really tired and I need a good night sleep. Until next time, stay cooperative!

Why I Don’t Really Like Telltalle’s Choice and Consequence System

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6Telltale Games, what are they about? Ask everybody and you will get a straightforward answer: choice and consequence.

 

I have played through many Telltales very successful games and it would be a lie if I said I haven’t enjoyed them. These were all very enjoyable and sometimes even emotional stories. I don’t really view those titles as your conventional, every day video game, no. In my opinion these are something else. I dare calling them interactive shows because that’s how it feels to experience a Telltale release from my perspective.

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It’s clear that these titles are heavily revolving around storyline, nothing to deny there. It is also true that as you progress that same storyline, you are very often presented with a decision-making sequences. During the sequences the player is forced to make some hard or easier decisions depending on the situation and it’s entirely up to them what to do. This way the story progresses in a way that YOU wanted to progress. It takes place corresponding to and taking into account the actions that you’ve chosen therefore creating your own, personal story, right? Well I don’t think that it’s quite like that and here’s why.

 

You see, these games are doing a good job of telling you exactly what matters and what choice will have significant consequences. The players are not interacting with the world in a way they probably would have if they were oblivious about the fact that their actions are being observed closely and taken into account. Think about it. When you are being tested and you know that you’re being tested, you’re doing everything you can in order to pass that test. Now there’s no passing or failing involved in these games but the fact that you are aware of the fact that your next action will have a significant weight is most likely to significantly if subtly affect your decision-making.

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Every major turn of events, every moments in sequence where you required to choose between branching dialogues or actions or paths is so very much deliberately highlighted for you so that you would never make a decision whose consequences you might not like in the future. It is just another example of how the games are afraid to let go of our hands and simply let us play and enjoy the gameplay, eventually dealing with the consequences of our own free, uninfluenced choices.

Furthermore games like these are, hmm, how doI explain this…

I don’t want to say that they’re linear because they’re not but in a way they are not exactly dynamic either. What I’m trying to say is that no matter what you do you will always get to the same point in the end and the only thing that’s different is the road you’ve taken to get there. I don’t want to spoil much about any game but let’s just say that the only thing different for me in my two playthrough’s off The Walking Dead were the hostile NPCs that I’ve encountered and the way that I’ve dealt with them. All the story’s key moments were pretty much exactly the same, changed by a minor, unimportant turn of events that in the end all led to the same epilogue. And this was the case even though I was purposely choosing all the different actions than on my first play through!

I’m planning to write about a game that I think is the real example of choice and consequence soon so, check back regularly if that sounds good to you.