Unless it’s some kind of puzzler or simple racing game, the basic premise of most releases is to have a story that the user can engage with and follow from point A to point B.
It certainly is the main factor that differentiates one FPS from the next and a lot of effort is put into creating worlds that we can be immersed in and lose ourselves in for hours on end.
For me, those up there claiming the glory of well constructed stories include the Half-Life series, Deus Ex, Assassins Creed, F.E.A.R., Myst, Limbo, Max Payne to name but a few. There are hundreds more.
My concern is that in this day and age we’re focusing too much on the technology used to pump out the latest visual effects rather than on the storyline.
I know that’s not the case for all recent games, but when I look at the length of time it takes to complete modern titles I’m not impressed.
I shouldn’t be paying £30-40 for a title that is completed in five hours or less. That to me a is a failure on the part of the developers and publishers in the creative element of the game.
The latest incarnation of Battlefield lasted seven hours for me and had an immense story that I wanted to last just that little bit longer. If the single player had made it to ten hours then it would have made it my top contender for game of the year.
To say that the focus is on the multi-player element is too much of a scapegoat these days. Many developers are considering the online element to be the main part of their new releases and not just a way of extending the single player side.
For me that’s like turning up at a cinema and being handed a camera to film the entertainment myself. Not good enough.
When you consider that Modern Warfare 3 took over £250 million in the first 24 hours of sales you need to ask if the price should be adjusted to be lower when so much of the experience is generated by users online?
In the past, the multi-player was an after thought and often badly implemented so I agree that it should get more time, but not at the detriment to the single player game which I still feel should be the core development focus.
Borderlands gave me over 200 hours of entertainment (including DLC) which is amazing considering the initial investment. The bonus was that you could work your way through the game either as a single player or in co-op mode. You had that choice.
It might be that I’m just getting older and moaning a bit too much, but I do expect more from modern titles than just a pretty explosion added in for good measure.
They don’t make them like they used to!