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GN Podcast #504

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EoD - Splatoon quiet

GoNintendo 'End of Day' thought - Moments that take you out of the game

I didn't have my usual Wednesday block off this week. I had NintenDaan trade with me for that same block later today. Man, I didn't realize how much I need that block off. This week is killing me! So glad it's Friday...and I bet most of you are as well! See you in a few, short hours.

I think many people here would argue that video games are some of the most immersive leisure content out there. Books, movies, music and TV shows all bring you into the experience, but video games really put your front-and-center like none of those others can. You're the lead, you take control, you make things happen.

Being in this driver's seat, be it playing as the hero, an overseer or an entire army, is quite a powerful experience. The better the game, the more attached to the action you become. Your palms start to sweat, your lip quivers nervously, you start to twitch in real-life to avoid in-game fire. Then...it all comes crashing down around you.

I'm talking about those moments that rip you right out of an experience. Instead of playing the game and being deeply involved, something crops up that takes you out of that connection. You were so intensely focused just minutes ago, but now you're scratching your head, trying to figure out how the devs could let that moment slip through.

I actually just had one of these moments in Bioshock Infinite. I was really enjoying the game's setting, but then I started to realize that a lot of the characters had exactly the same face. Things were really ruined when I wandered over to a table that featured 3 women sitting together...all with the same face. In a game that is truly out to push boundaries and immersion, why is something like this okay?

What moments have you experienced in games that ripped you right out of the story? Was it a glitch that ruined the moment? Was it a gameplay design choice that just didn't mesh with the rest of the game up to that point? Leave us a comment and share your moments that had you troubled.

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24 total comments (View all)
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 06:22

Inconsistencies tend to annoy me. The first example that comes to mind is Final Fantasy 7. That game couldn't decide whether or not to have a super deformed style. Pick one already!

More recently, the lack of voice acting in the last two console Zeldas broke the immersion. Mainly because when the characters are talking they move as if they should be talking but you don't hear anything. It's like a bad mime show.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 06:29

If we're going to talk about FF7 then we might as well pose the question: "Why couldn't a Phoenix Down have saved Aeris when it saves your characters from so many other worse things than being stabbed with a sword?"

I just finished BioShock Infinite and found it to be an overall fascinating game with fun gameplay, an intriguing world full of social commentary, and an ending that was an expected mindfuck that also served double duty as commentary on gaming itself.

BUT there were some moments that took me out of the experience, like what you described (that happened to me on the beach, actually).

Another more recent one was another game I also really liked as a whole: the new Tomb Raider (mild spoilers from toward the start of the game here).

When Lara first kills a man, it's out of self defense and there's this big deal made of it. Then, immediately after, she magically knows how to skillfully execute like, 7 guys all on her own. Took me out of the experience for a little bit because it contrasted the game's attempts at trying to be serious and realistic with the fact that it was an Uncharted-style game of mowing down waves of enemies inbetween everything falling apart under your characters' feet.
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29 Mar 2013 07:49

The thing that comes to mind immediately for me is achievements. Specifically, achievement notifications. I have no problem with an achievement system in general - it can provide extra goals and extend the replay value of the game. And I'm fine with notifications in a game like Super Smash Bros, where part of the game is unlocking things. But I don't like notifications in the middle of a game that I'm playing for the story. Having a little notification pop up to say when you get one mid-game pulls me right out of the experience.

I like that the Wii U doesn't have a system-wide achievement system and that you can turn off notifications on Steam and Xbox 360. This isn't the case on the Playstation 3, and if a game I want is available on multiple platforms, I'll buy it on a different one.
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29 Mar 2013 08:54

Oh yes, I agree about Tomb Raider. I liked the game. But for a game that boasts about having a realistic story that explores Lara Croft and how she transits from a normal girl to a hardened survivor, those little inconsistencies just throw me off. Other than the example D3stiny_Sm4sher posted, there's the whole deal about the over the top action sequences which after the 3rd time made me go "again?"
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 08:59

because nothing is ever original.

because nothing is ever original.

because nothing is ever original.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 09:11

A game that has too many cut scenes can really break immersion. Cut scenes done well can help immersion, but if I have to stop playing every 5 minutes, it's a problem.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 09:31

The latest Zelda games have not been able to immerse me with voice acting just being one example. Look forward if this can be fixed on Wii U.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 09:58

I had some issues with Skyrim because after some time, you notice that all dialogues start to repeat themselves. People from one town say the exact same lies as another from a town far away.

In the game Oblivion, every time you talk to a character you always get that close up that becomes annoying, even with some enemies.

what took me out in the latest Zelda games is the fact that the world does not feel like its in danger when you know by the story that it is. I t happanes in many Fantasy Action-RPG games nowadays.

Puzzles in Zelda can also take me out. I preferred when there was less puzzles and more action.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 10:05

I'd say cutscenes. I can expect it to happen in RPGs, where you build up a character that dies or gets thrown in prison at the drop of a hat, or building up how powerful an enemy is only for your overleveled party to take them down in one turn, and then in the next cutscene your entire party is wiped out in one attack. It sucks, but you play the game for story, and some strategy in its battle mechanics.

But it's a different thing when it's an action game that you have full control over, and then a cutscene comes in and reminds you that you actually don't. I'm not saying all games should be at a Minecraft-level of absolute-gaming and no overarching story whatsoever until you leave The End and all that. I'm saying that games are in their best element when the player has control over their character, and forcing a player's emotional response through story is almost an act of punishing that element. It's sort of like saying 'well, we gave you enough control, you've done what you wanted, now we have to remind you why you're playing our game', whereas less forced-story in a game usually leads the player into making that decision themselves, hopefully without the penalty of 'oh by the way, everything you did before this cutscene was out of character and has been retconned, because this is what you're really supposed to be like'.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 10:27

Terrible voice acting/writing will take me out of a game quicker than anything else.

Conduit 2 & Suikoden Tierkreis are probably the two biggest examples that come to mind right now.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 11:00

Breaking the Fourth Wall really takes me out of the game. Like when the character says "Press 'A' to jump! .... Whatever that means".
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 11:45

Commander Orbit wrote:Breaking the Fourth Wall really takes me out of the game. Like when the character says "Press 'A' to jump! .... Whatever that means".

For me that one really depends on the game. If the game itself is meant to be comical in nature, then I just think it's a silly joke that shows the game has a self aware sense of humor. Now if it's a serious game that's just trying to shoehorn in some humor, then usually it doesn't come off as well because it kinda messes up the mood.

Anyway, one of the only moments I can think of is when a game becomes too frustrating for it's own good. If I feel like the game is being hard for the sake of being hard, instead of trying to provide me with a balanced out challenge, then I just get pulled right out of the immersion because I'm too damn frustrated with the game's fake difficulty. This is why I don't play games like "I Wanna Be The Guy" because "hard for the sake of being hard" is pretty much the whole point of that game.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 11:46

When the Unreal 3 engine loads and all the textures are muddy dung piles for the first few seconds. It makes me cringe and remember I'm playing an UE3 game. ugh.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 12:12

The Assassin's Creed series always did it because you're switching between two characters. That always pissed me off to the point that AC3 was the only one I could actually play since Desmond's part was very minor throughout the campaign.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 12:18

I love cutscenes. I'm surprised many of you don't like them. For me this answer is easy, loading screens! I want to buy Lego City Undercover but I heard the loading screens are bad. I'm sure I'll end up getting it but not looking forward to that.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 12:36

I had a few. Usually it's game bugs and so forth. There are times on Uncharted 3 where Nathan shouldn't of been able to make jumps. That usually gets me miffed. Or when characters do amazing moves. But in-game we can't do it.

Skyward Sword: The whole Fi and items menu repeating themselves every start up. Worst things ever.

QTE in cutscenes. When they're done good. I don't mind them. But if a cutscene is like 5 minutes. And 4 minutes of it is just dialog. Don't sneak in a QTE when I have the controller down.

And cheap AI. Mainly in fighting games. Whenever a AI pulls off a combo a human can NEVER do. No matter how fast they are. Since there's response delays in the button presses themselves.

Oh and missions that force you to lose. And you blow all your items healing or surviving.
No Avatar
29 Mar 2013 13:16

Yeah notifications of achievements/trophies really suck. I remember playing Dead Space and they actually served as spoilers because you can see them ahead. One other reason I didn't like PS3 but I only played a few games because I couldn't care about it.
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29 Mar 2013 13:53

Bugs and Glitches. It has been HORRIBLE this gen. I've also been playing Bioshock Infinite, along with Dark Moon. Now, both these games are excellent, but it does really break your immersion when you see money just floating around in the air or when you complete a mini game and it doesn't give you your reward and you are stuck there, unable to move.

Both of these games had extended development periods (especially Bioshock), so it is absolutely inexcusable for these kinds of things to happen in the final games.
No Avatar
29 Mar 2013 17:02

Physics on dead/defeated enemies. I guess it's called rag-DOLL for a reason.

I remember when enemies had some kind of dying animation or something like that. Sure, it was only a few seconds long and they were glued to the ground. But in most modern games they just fly across the screen, rotating like ferris wheels.

I'm glad this is not the case in Monster Hunter games.
User avatar
29 Mar 2013 21:58

Something I hate is when your characters get captured by a few weak enemies that you could easily take out and escape. Like I've killed hundreds of these weak ass soldiers, and slayed giant dragons, but three of these weak soldiers are somehow going to capture my entire party and theres absolutely nothing I can do about it.

Another thing I hate is when they try to make the characters look too realistic. They never look quite right to me, and are pretty disturbing looking. I don't know exactly what it is, maybe their eyes and the way they move. I just can't stand looking at them.
No Avatar
30 Mar 2013 01:26

Koopzilla wrote:
Another thing I hate is when they try to make the characters look too realistic. They never look quite right to me, and are pretty disturbing looking. I don't know exactly what it is, maybe their eyes and the way they move. I just can't stand looking at them.

I don't necessarily associate this with the topic at hand, but seeing some of these new facial tech demos for next gen, I also find it more creepy than anything. It is so close to looking real, but there is still something that is off about it, and it ends up looking like these characters have some horrible disease or something that makes them look really bizarre. Freaky stuff.
User avatar
30 Mar 2013 15:41

Too much hand holding often kills it for me. Especially when it's painfully obvious what I need to do yet the game still feels the need to tell me. Just let me figure it out for myself. I can't get immersed if the game keeps breaking the fourth wall. Skyward Sword comes to mind.
No Avatar
04 Apr 2013 13:56

As a PC gamer, performance dips.

Gameplay wise, brick walls, mostly in open world games. Your car gets hung on a ledge, you can't move, die when you spawn, things like that.

Absolutely infuriating to run the same segment in these long winded missions for something annoying. GTAIV comes to mind big time. I guess as a whole when things just don't work. Simcity issues come to mind for the most recent example.

JARRING voice work, too.

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