What Makes a Good Game?
So as the years go by humans create better and more powerful technology and wouldn't you know that also means games get better. Looking back to the days of old Pac-Man and Pong we have come a long ways, but even today many developers don't put a whole 100% into their work, sometimes that could be the gameplay or it could be the story itself, so what makes a good game? Here we go into detail.
A videogame is like a interactive movie, instead of sitting back and letting the people act like idiots you instead get to take control and act like an idiot. As with movies it needs to have a plot: A beginning, a center and a conclusion. Throw in a bit of conflict in there and we are good to go.
The problem with alot of games however is while the graphics may look incredible the story sucks, take for example The Force Unleashed 2, the plot makes very little sense when compared to the first game which leaves the player feeling confused and annoyed. Some twists and turns in a game can work quite well, as long as the player is keeping up with the pace of the story and what is happening. Taking a random character from the game and making them the final boss or having someones long lost brother appear without any knowledge of him throughout the game makes no sense.
A good game needs to have a easy to follow story, if your player is halfway through the game and can't tell you what the heck is going on then there is an issue. As I said some twists can sometimes be beneficial to a game, such as in Kirby Return to Dreamland when you find out Magolor the little guy you have been helping actually turns out to be the main bad guy, it is an excellent twist and makes the character feel betrayed.
Stories that don't follow a linear path, not to say that it always has to be straightforward, they tend to be clouded, such as Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2. The player gets confused about all the enemies, the Darkness and then the appearance of the Nobodies in Kingdom Hearts 2. A story can be wild and flamboyant but as long as the story is easy to understand.
Characters are an important part of a game, at times they will help you in battle or give you some helpful advice.Or just be a random NPC that wanders around and about. In any case these characters are crucial to make the world around you feel more real, Skyrim does this very well as it has many different NPC's and even some that will help you or give you missions. They have a bit of dialogue and actually act like a person, well as much as a humanoid reptile can.
The characters make the world feel full, if you didn't have any NPC's it might as well just be you playing by yourself. Characters fill the world with life, giving it more realism rather then just having an empty world. Minecraft does this wonderfully, even when you can't find any humans or other players wandering about you can still find all sorts of animals that wander about, it gives the world more fill, rather then being like Fallout where there's barely anything walking around besides things that want to kill you.
Good characters at least have a few lines of dialogue, makes them feel more real rather them just repeating one word continuously. They act rather normal unless you want to put a few crazy crackers up in there, but other then that the characters should be there to not only interact with but actually make it feel like a world to explore.
The atmosphere is what gives the world its feeling, games such as in the horror genre will leave you with a melody that feels menacing or if a sudden change in the music happens it puts the player in a state or paranoia, they don't know if something is about to happen or not.
The atmosphere gives the game a vibe, when the vibe changes it makes the player notice it. Take for example Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. The music is constantly playing on a loop, even in the cut scenes it plays. So when you have a touching scene when two lover reunite and there's some evil music playing the same kind that has been playing ever since you started playing then it doesn't give the player that warm feeling. Having atmosphere being the same constantly doesn't work, music is one of the things that give the game atmosphere and if you just have the same crud playing throughout the game on a loop you lose much of the atmosphere.
You need to change the mood slowly, like I said in horror games once the music suddenly changes it make the player feel strange. You need that, make that change to make the player feel strange.
The game play is what the players wants to be near perfect, the story can take some slight leniency but not the game play. The game play is important because you need a balance, not boring with nothing happening for awhile and not a mess with a million things happening at once. You need to space it out.
Batman Arkham City did this greatly, they spaced out alot of the missions so it wasn't all just a big mess but they still had other things to do as you went about to the next mission. Collectibles, side missions and other activities are somewhat helpful for making the player explore and not just go from mission to mission. Mafia 2 had it like that so while the world was nice and big there was no real reason to go out and explore the world.
Games like Super Mario Sunshine, Red Dead Redemption and Grand Theft Auto 4 did it in a way to where you can explore the entirety of the world but still have things to do. However GTA 4 did have that annoying "Cousin do you want to go bowling?" thing that I hated.
The gameplay needs to be smooth, worked on. You cannot have a million missions crammed down the players throat or add in things like Escort Missions or Races where there shouldn't be any cause believe me no one like Escort Missions. They make the game annoying especially when the person you need to escort is an idiot and runs right into traffic.
Overall games can be very hard to make so I will give props to the creators and everything, but if you ever do something like having the ending only be able to be seen by buying DLC or having some terrible endings like Mass Effect 3 then people will begin to despise you.