06-03-11 - Recommend me a video game

I think I tried this post before, but let's try again :

No space marines. No WW2. How about just no marine/soldier theme in general. I'm not a big "violence in video games is bad" banger, I just think it's boring. And it's not my fantasy. I don't want to be a fucking soldier, shooting people is horrible, why do you want to pretend to do that?

Not gray or brown. Give me some damn color and beauty. I want to be excited to see the next level, and I want to be surprised and blown away and delighted when I do. There are endless possibilities for fantasy worlds, you can do better than warehouses.

Not primarily about combat ; especially not repetitive combat, like shoot these 20 guys, okay now shoot 20 more guys. Bleh, I'm bored.

Not "Don Bluth" semi-interactive , ala "Press A now" - you pressed A! good for you, monkey! (I'm looking at you, God of War). (actually I kind of liked those games when I was a kid even though it was uncool to like them; my favorite was "Cliff Hanger" which I just learned is actually a Lupin The Third movie!! crazy, when I watched Lupin a few years ago I didn't make the connection)

No giant inventory trees or management games or spread sheets; I do work when I'm working, I don't need to do work in my game.

No abstract puzzle games. I'll play chess or go or something if I want that.

Absolutely no frustrations. Long load times or annoying UI or one bad level that gives me instadeath for no reason - the game's going in the bin. If the game makes me scream at it or grind my teeth in frustration, I don't need that in my life.

My favorite games are generally "light RPG's" like Faery Tale, Zelda, Drakan, where I get to run around a big world, but without a bunch of fucking dialogs, and without managing a big group of characters and stats and such (I generally love true RPG's for about the first quarter of the game, but then you get too many people in your party and too many items and spells and it just becomes a huge pain in the ass).


Wes Bigelow said...

Osmos dude! (http://www.hemispheregames.com/osmos)

The actions you can take are simple but the physics are just spot on and the gameplay is surprisingly deep. Wonderful game!

Ash said...

Mount & Blade Warband:

No space marines. Tick.
Not gray or brown. Tick.
Not primarily about combat. Depends. It is in part about combat.
Not "Don Bluth" semi-interactive. Tick.
No giant inventory trees or management games or spread sheets. Tick.
No abstract puzzle games. Tick.
Absolutely no frustrations. Absolutely tick.
Light RPG. Hell yeah!

stinkz said...

de Blob 2 - http://www.deblob.com/
Outland - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outland_(video_game)

vanbirk said...

Psychonauts - it's colorful, creative and one of the best platformers I've ever played.

ryg said...

Psychonauts is great, but a certain sequence close to the end probably breaks the "Absolutely no frustrations" rule. You don't miss much gameplay-wise if you abort there though, though you do lose the plot resolution :)

That said, if you haven't played it and aren't put off by platformers in general, it's really worth checking out. It's a bit uneven, but it's got several sections where it really comes together brilliantly.

Adrian said...

Pirates! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_Meier%27s_Pirates!_(2004_video_game)

Agreed that Osmos is a very good game.

Yann said...

I would definitely recommend "Beyond Good & Evil" in this situation.
It is between an RPG and a platform game, within a colorful world.
I remember having been extremely and positively surprised.

A. said...

The Witcher 2? It's a quite "light" RPG, but combat experience may be frustrating at first.

jfb said...

Space Rangers
My favorite turn-based RPG/real-time combat/adventure minigame/every genre game. You can get it on gog.com. *Extremely* challenging on medium difficulty. Space Rangers 2 is similar but much easier, perhaps to attract an American audience (Space Rangers is Russian). I like the original better. To hear some in-game music, YouTube for Space Rangers Fei Theme.

Tetris Battle Gaiden
This is especially fun to play two-player. This is a SNES game, but you can find an emulator.

cbloom said...

Hmm "Space Rangers" looks kind of interesting.

I used to adore space trading games. I played tons of Trade Wars and Galactic Warzone back in the BBS days.

The top-down 2d view reminds me of the ancient Amiga space trader game "Awesome" which I always wanted to be awesome but never was.

This also reminds me that "Homeworld" was pretty awesome, and I like a good old fashioned Wing-Commander-style space shooter, I think "Colony Wars" on the PS1 was stunningly good for PS1.

I always wanted to make my own space trader game, but I'm afraid the genre is quite dead.

Matt Enright said...

Have to agree with Psychonauts and Beyond Good and Evil - two well loved games that didn't sell particularly well and it's a shame.

Is it too mainstream to suggest Portal 1&2? They are also gaming canon, regardless of your discipline (good mesh of design, technology, and writing).

Nino Mojo said...

I supposed you have tried Katamari Damacy?

I got lucky enough to try this game without having heard anything about it, and I was blown away. It's in the category of the "wacky japanese" games but it's brilliantly original, and you feel the sincerity of the creators.
Try the first one on the PS2.

Maybe even better: Have you tried Pikmin 2? (NOT Pikmin 1). It's colorful, the world and the creatures you will encounter are really original and creative. There's combat but it's special and cute. The interface is not as intrusive as in Zelda games ("hey, you found a ruby for the 4512th time, but I'm gonna tell you how to use it once again because you're a moron").

I kind of liked Pikmin 1 but it was an annoying game on many levels. I was blown away by the perfectionof Pikmin 2, the controls are better, the Pikmins are smarter and not annoying to control anymore, and the game world absorbs you, there's a great feeling of exploration and treasure hunting.

Play the Gamecube version, not the Wii version, which is harder and slower to control because of how they mapped the camera to the wiimote's dpad.

Sorry if you already tried and didn't like those games.

B. Landers said...

Others have mentioned Beyond Good & Evil so I'll mention another one of my favorites instead, Okami. People often describe this as Zelda except with a wolf, paintbrushes, and a Japanese mythos. More or less you're dropped into an open-ish world (you open more of it by advancing the plot) and sometimes the dialog does go on a bit too long, but none of the puzzles in the game made me scratch my head. The "dungeons" in Okami usually rely on visual cues and less on "push box A on switch B" and such; you'll spend more time wandering the world instead of spelunking.

extrememoderate said...

Settlers. Or Settlers 2.
Or, if you want an RPG, Baldur's Gate 1 or 2.

Raigan said...

N :)

DoomRL (okay, it's Space Marines and guns and whatever but in turn-based ASCII it's quite different)

ZapM: zany sci-fi roguelike

Eschalon Book I and II are really great one-character CRPGs:

The controls in Spelunky are probably a bit too finicky for you...

Transcendence is a nice roguelike-ish Star Control 2/Escape Velocity type game:

Everyone seems to love Minecraft/Terraria/Ace of Spades, all of which seem to fit your requirements.

Also I'm assuming you're already done with the classics like System Shock 2, Cave Story, World of Goo, Braid, Portal, Armadillo Run, and also the modern roguelikes a-la Legerdemain, ToME, etc..

Viktor said...

Re: space trading games, I actually DID make one recently.
It's for Android, so if you have one of those phones you could check it out:
Deep Dagger

Viktor said...

You can try Little Big Planet 2, its frustration metric is really, really low, looks gorgeous and the rest of your conditions are met.

galaktor said...

have to second portal 1+2

cbloom said...

"I supposed you have tried Katamari Damacy?"

That's one of my favorite games of all time, just because it came out of left field and surprised the hell out of me. Just when I thought games were all the same and boring and derivative and focus-tested and generic, Katamari Damacy was a unique, quirky work full of genuine humor and creativity. I get the same feeling from Vib Ribbon and also the Eric Chahi games and to lesser extent the Oddworld games ; I want something I've never seen before, I want one man's creative fantasy, dreams from the mind of a madman ; I want an ambitious failure, not well-executed predictable monotony.

I'm really not a fan of the modern "polished" games like Portal and World of Goo. They just feel so focus-grouped, they're so intentionally cutesy. They're like stores in the mall that are playing upbeat music and pumping in cookie smells, and it all sort of makes you feel good but in a disgusting soul-less way.

cbloom said...

BTW I'm surprised to see pretty much zero recommendations of modern mainstream games (other than Portal and LBP).

Uncharted 2
Mass Effect 2
Castlevania LoS
Dragon Age 1/2
Red Dead Redemption
Assassin's Creed 2

are these games not actually any good?

Yann said...

Well, Mass Effect 2 is excellent, but if you played the first episode, you will find the new one "quite the same", since all games mechanics are kept intact.
If not, please try it, this is a jewel.

All other games you mention are, in mind opinion, boring : very well executed, but too traditional, and too long.

As it stands, i stick to my recommendation : Beyond Good & Evil is a very pleasant surprise, with something unique i've yet to find again.

Raigan said...

Dead Rising is worth a try, and Crackdown, but both are far from perfect.

brian said...

I really enjoyed Assassin's Creed 2 but mostly for the immersive experience of it. The gameplay was much better than the first and didn't often distract me but the real hook was the setting - I didn't really love the old Biblical country setting of the first one; I loved the Italy setting of the second. Freerunning around Venice and seeing a tower way way off in the distance at the other side of the island and plotting out a course and sprinting over there, trying not to make mistakes and recovering gracefully when I did, all to end up perched on the top of a tower with an amazing view... pretty awesome, I must say.

I've always preferred "games" that are well-realized worlds worth inhabiting, and viewed that way, the mechanics just have to be relevant and integrated enough to give me something fun to do while I enjoy this awesome space.

Like AC2 has a bunch of collectibles games based around the town that is your family's where your manor is; they're totally transparent collection games but that's fine, it's enjoyable in a simplistic mechanical way and, again, gives me a reason to explore this awesome space.

These days I'm mostly playing driving games, after Dirtfish I went out and picked up Dirt and Dirt 3. Still waiting on the good wheel to arrive so for now I'm playing with the controller, which sucks. Dirt 3 seems pretty solid, though.

Assen said...

Mass Effect fails your "no space marine" rule. I loved it for being hard sci-fi in a sea of orcs and two-handed swords.

The 2008 Prince of Persia is breathtakingly beautiful, but more than a little bit repetitive in gameplay.

Not sure whether it violates your "abstract puzzle" rule, but give Ilomilo a look - it's colorful and fanciful and somebody's weird dream (only one, though).

Nino Mojo said...

I really liked Uncharted 2 because despite being a store in the mall with a cookie smell, it's that but well done. But I think you will hate it.

I really don't feel that Portal was soulless by the way, it was really interesting and the texts were fun and pretty original. Haven't try 2 yet.

If I understand your taste, you're a bit like me and you like to feel sincerity from the creator(s).

Journey on the PS3 looks like it's gonna be genuine and sincere, also The Witness from Jon Blow, I have no idea what it's about and yet I already know it's going to be a sincere vision so I want to play it.

Psychonauts was pretty sincere too, but I agree with the comment above that it's seriously frustrating (because it lacked focus and bug testing in the end, IMHO).

Mass Effect can be pretty rad at times, and pretty lame at others. But if you liked the first one, you might be disappointed that they cut the freedom to explore in the sequel (WTF??). That wa my favorite thing in ME1, being able to choose a planet and land on it and venture left and right and "oh a corpse, what's it doing here?" and "looks like there's just nothing on this one".

I've heard they removed the ability to explore planets with a vehicule because too many retards complained about the physics ??? If so I want to end humanity.

Glutinous said...

Red Faction: Guerilla. Or Red Faction: Armageddon - but I have yet to play that yet. It's a shooting game... truly destructible environments really opens up the gameplay possibilities. :)

AndroidBlogger said...

I just bough Kirby Epic Yarn last week, essentially for my kids, and I'm just amazed by how beautiful and how imaginative has been their work on this game !
Every new level, there is a new setup that fit perfectly well with the game.

Perhaps it is too easy / childish for you, but IMHO it's one of the most interesting game of this year !!

Phil Teschner said...

Another reason people probably didn't recommend any of the modern games is the second part of this quote of yours:

"I don't want to be a fucking soldier, shooting people is horrible"

Mass Effect definitely has you doing this, so do Uncharted and Read Dead. The rest of the titles also generally solve everything through violence albeit not in a war like setting.

Now if you don't mind actually using a gun and causing mayhem I would recommend "Just Cause 2". Huge open world for you to explore and cause destruction in. The reason for killing in this game is so ridiculous and the game knows it. I find the violence pretty unobjectionable on that front. Sort of a GTA without taking itself serious and way more open.

cbloom said...

Oh yeah, I'm not completely opposed to shooting in games, I just don't want it to be the *only* thing I do.

I just prefer a game that has a sense of humor, imagination, fantasy vs. taking itself seriously and trying to be "gritty" or realistic.

Aaron said...

I'm playing Bulletstorm and having more fun than I've had with a game in a long time. In addition to shooting it also has kicking and 'lasso'-ing, and it definitely does not take itself seriously.

Jacek Masiulaniec said...

Teeworlds. It scores positively on most points.


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