Games. Games, games, games. What makes a good game? The plot? The game play? Graphics?
As far as the plot is concerned, I hardly think it’s as black and white as: plot = good game, no plot = bad game, or vice versa. There are plenty of amazing titles out there which have little or no plot and keep people playing them time and time again. However, these games tend to be all but: RPG, action-adventure, first person and in some cases horror. Games that get their success without plot are usually fighting, or non serious games. Take street fighter and mortal combat for example. Although, both have manga and an anime series behind them, as games, their background plot is completely irrelevant. Yet both have given me, my friends and many others countless hours of entertainment and laughter through competitive game play alone.
With non-serious games like the Overlord games, the Guitar hero/rock band franchises, plot is also completely irrelevant. In the Guitar hero/rock band games, plot is completely nonexistent, but the co-operative play and through the number of games the player clearly enjoys playing and listening to, the game is endlessly replayable. Although Overlord is an RPG style game, the pure stupidity and dark humour in the game make the game hilarious to play and quite addictive. Although the plot is there, it’s rendered completely pointless and easily forgotten in your mad rush to bash the next thing remotely cute.
On the other hand, which kinda threw a spanner in the works in my opinion, was in World of Warcraft how plot managed to actually spoil the game. Although I never really got into the game, I was a big fan of Warcraft 3, and rather enjoyed the story. For then the sequel game, as an MMORPG, a genre which I usually live on, to have a new story completely contradicts Warcraft 3 and its expansion was a big disappointment. Even people who claim to be the biggest fans of the game, just can’t explain the oddest of twists to me.
Thankfully, most RPGs and FPS games have a decent plot which I have come to love. Games which I just must mention and stand out way above the crowd for me would be Final Fantasy VII Abe’s Oddysee and the Original Fable. Both FFVII and Abe’s Oddysee had deep and completely original story lines in Fantasy and completely held my imagination. Despite the fact that FFVII’s typical Japanese fighting system is probably my least favourite of all time, that wasn’t enough to put me off from playing it over and over. Another thing which gripped me to this game, and also to Fable, was my connection to the characters. I didn’t realise the extent to which I felt like the characters where real until, Aerith in FFVII and your avatar’s mother in Fable died. When both of these characters died not only was a shocked, but I actually felt upset...sad much? Lol well it’s true. Deal with it.
On the plus side though, this kind of connection and depth of plot has been achieved in FPS games. For me, particularly the Halo franchise. Ever since Halo: combat evolved, I’ve been addicted to the plot, trawling through books, chat room theories and shedding tears of laughter with friends in the endless amounts of multiplayer game play to be had online. In addition, I noticed by the release of Halo 3, that I really didn’t want Cortana to die. For all I cared master chief could have died and Earth be destroyed, as long as she didn’t die I was happy. But gladly it didn’t come to that, but equally it didn’t have a clichéd ending that made me want to vomit, leaving my pleasantly satisfied after decades of war with the Covenant.
Even strategy games CAN benefit from an amazing plot, as previously mentioned, Warcraft 3 and also by Blizzard, Starcraft and its expansion Brood war. Though, equally, strategy games don’t really need to be fuelled by plot. Games like the Total War series are vaguely historical and have no plot as the game played different with every new game started. Equally however, games such as Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium wars, *shakes head* can have a plot so bad and pointless it destroyed a potentially good game.
To draw this thesis to a close, in conclusion I don’t think that plot is the be all and end all of a successful game by any means. It is completely subjective to the intended audience and genre. However, a poor plot can easily destroy what could have been a good games, just as much as boring and monotonous game play can.