What makes a game worthwhile?

14 Jan

What makes a game worthwhile?
by Dave Lucier

Ok, so… My first post, not only here but anywhere, so stay with me, this could be a bumpy ride. Truth be told, I don’t know what I want to do with this space on a regular basis, or even if I do want to stick to only one thing, so for now it will be review/op-ed/randomness as I have stuff I want to post, and hopefully it will be entertaining/informative enough that you dear readers will like it. Please if there is anything you’d like to see me tackle/review let me know, I’d love to be able to turn this into a question and answer or reader request based article but obviously that will require some regular readers first now wont it?

Replayability

To start off I’ll talk about some of the things I will be looking at when I do reviews that I don’t feel a lot of others do. The first is Replay-ability. Yes plenty of others do go over this when reviewing a game, however 99% of them just equate it with how many ways you can go thru the game, or how many times you HAVE to play through to get everything. This definitely should be in every review, however it doesn’t always equal replay-ability. To me replay-ability is how much you would WANT to play through the game again. I don’t care if there’s 2 ways through every level if by the time I’m done with the game I don’t have a desire to play it again. This to me is a huge fault while reviewing open world or “sandbox” games and even some RPG’s. Reviewers will note that there are hours upon hours of stuff to do, like collect 50 hidden beer bottles or kill every monster at least 50 times to get a insanely overpowered game-breaking weapon. Now again, I don’t have a problem with these things IN a game, I just don’t think it automatically equates to wanting to play the game again or longer, it almost never does for me. Examples of games that I would rate 10 out of 10 on replay-ability are Deus-ex, Chrono Trigger, and Devil May Cry. Now the first two probably wont surprise anyone, as they are widely regarded as two of the best games ever made, and do have multiple paths/endings. However that is not the only reason I have played them through so may times, its because they actually make each path worth taking, and enough options where its still fun no matter how you replay. Which leads into the 3rd and probably oddest choice. Devil may cry is again, widely known as a good game, and that’s because it is. Lots of fun and action and fairly easily accessible. However I have never seen it referred to as a “replayable” game. Whereas I’ve replayed it about 5 times just because of how good and how fun a game it is. As opposed to lets say GTA III which I loved, but only played through once. This is what I don’t think I’ve ever seen mentioned in a review when talking about replay-ability and I plan on doing that here.

Fun Factor

The next topic that I plan on giving front row treatment that most other reviews put as a secondary topic is fun. Just plan unexplainable fun. Now some reviewers will mention this in the text of a review, but rarely does it go beyond that, and I’ve never seen a review that actually has that as a measurement, which I currently plan on doing.

There are some games that despite all their flaws, are just fun. Now this is 2nd hand but a game I keep hearing about that I have yet to play is Earth Defense Force 2017. Basically per the reviews the game falls short on most fronts, graphics/sound/gameplay features, but is still somehow fun. This is something that needs to be in more reviews as a game can also succeed on all those fronts, but still not be fun. For me Final Fantasy 12 is the best example of that, I played for a few hrs said “well this is a solid game, seems really well done.” and haven’t played it since. I am aware that this is also highly subjective and I will do everything I can to make sure that when this comes up ill give my background, (IE: what other games like this I’ve enjoyed) and I’ll also do my best to compare it to other games as far as the fun factor goes to make sure that it’s clear what I think is fun.

So for example, “the fun factor of the game is right up there with Devil May Cry” If you, unlike me, didn’t have that “fun factor” with DMC then you probably wont feel the same about this game. Now seeing as I used the phrase fun factor 3 times in 2 sentences I think that’s probably a good indication of  what I should call the rating going forward.

Learning Curve

The final point I plan on taking care to give its due in my reviews (that wasn’t intentional I swear) is accessibility or learning curve. Again something that gets briefly mentioned in most reviews usually “the game has a decent learning curve” and that’s it. I plan on going in depth and letting you know how and why the accessibility works the way it does and again, comparing it to other games to let you judge for yourself.

Essentially this is what I always look for in reviews when I’m shopping for a game, I’ll look for at least one high score and one lower score and look to see if they actually say the same thing and then judge for myself based on that. That way if one reviewer thinks the combat system is innovative and fun, and the other says it is confusing and overly complicated but both describe the exact same combat system I have a much better idea of what I’m getting into and I hope to be able to give you that same level of detail as well on all fronts. So that’s my review style in a rather large nutshell, and hopefully soon I will have an actually review for you to enjoy.

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