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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I know a lot of gamers aren't aware, but I'm curious as to everyone's thoughts on the trend of modern AAA games having far less content than their predecessors as well as less diverse content, dumbed down and removed mechanics with no consolation, tyrannical multiplayer design that doesn't let you host your own dedicated servers, lack of modding (to a lesser extent, not the focal point of this thread), actually worse use of technology—failure to use technology to enhance the gameplay (more on this below), and the buggier less complete state these games are released in (from alpha builds to early beta is the norm for AAA games).

There are exceptions to this trend of course, but it is a trend nonetheless, and this thread would be nothing without objective examples from various genres:

- In general AAA multiplayer shooters tend to have around a dozen maps at launch while past ones on PC would often have 20 or more, to extreme cases like Unreal Tournament 2004 which has 79 base maps out of the box but this can be counted as 109 maps if you consider how much different Assault and Bombing Run versions of the maps are as they are totally different sizes.

- PvP shooter game modes that aren't as simple as deathmatch/team deathmatch or just almost mindlessly holding capture points or king of the hill are seemingly more rare today.

- AI has not evolved in the big picture. Half-Life (1998) AI remains slightly above average, same for Return to Castle Wolfenstein (2001) and Call of Duty (2003, the AI in this seems better than it really is due to well implemented scripting), Unreal II (2003) AI and Unreal Tournament 2003-2004 AI is MUCH better than your average player at FPS games (they dodge shots much better and aren't as stupid), F.E.A.R. (2005) AI remains the best combat AI of any action game (here is some good footage to demonstrate it), S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s A-Life system was the last effort to evolve video game AI that I'm aware of (and modders continue to advance it).

- AAA games that focus on any aspect of technology generally only focus on static graphics quality that looks best in screenshots and/or facial animations which alone add nothing to the game (and combined with their reduced, weaker literary influence mentioned below, it's a weak recipe). They still use excessive amounts of static lights and shadows, far more of them than 2000s PC games which can make these modern AAA games look more fake lol (and I couldn't tell you how many times dynamic shadows have alerted me to an enemy's position). Most importantly, they usually do not use technology to improve gameplay, the opposite of the 2000s PC exclusive FPS trend of finding new ways to use technology to bolster gameplay: e.g. Half-Life and Half-Life 2 physics puzzles and destructible environments and AI, classic Thief and Deus Ex's interactive environments to set up dynamic distractions for stealth games, F.E.A.R. AI and physics and particles and 3D sound with EAX (here are two more video examples: [1], [2]), Dark Messiah's incredible physics/interactive environments and elemental effects combos (example 1, example 2), Crysis using cutting edge physics in tandem with the nanosuit and vehicle gameplay, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.'s A-Life, etc.

- Expanding on the last point, sound technology (sound effects processing) has also gone backwards since the death of DirectSound3D and trend of abandoning OpenAL, though it is starting to come back slowly.

- Battlefield 1's rent-a-server only program has become the norm, versus the ability to host your own dedicated servers, customize them however you want, and use server side mods including total conversion mods that essentially convert the game into another.

- The 2000s was a period of progression and advancement, improved by technology, but now, for most genres, nothing is improving as a general trend except static graphics quality which is not terribly important.

- Abandonment of unique gun design in FPS games that makes use of advanced game technology. Instead, all we get are generic wannabe "realistic" guns that handle like airsoft rifles, even in AAA Sci-Fi shooters. No more of the unique badassery of guns seen in games like the entire Unreal franchise, Turok franchise, Wolfenstein 2009, Half-Life series, Quake 4, etc. Some examples of said badassery: Half-Life 2 Gravity Gun and Blue Gravity Gun, Wolfenstein 2009 Tesla Gun and Leichenfaust 44 and Particle Cannon, the infamous Cerebral Bore from Turok 2: Seeds of Evil, Unreal II M406 "Hydra" Grenade Launcher, Quake 4 Dark Matter Gun, etc.

- Dumbed down quest design in modern RPGs, both AAA and not AAA but AAA RPG quests are dumbed down even more. Best example is Mass Effect: Andromeda in which every quest boils down to shooting everything at a marked location, or going to a marked location and holding E to interact with something, or a mix of the two. Compare that to the dialogue heavy and role-playing heavy quest design of classic RPGs that don't hold your hand and force you down one path, like Fallout, Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.

- Aside from the Arma franchise, tactical shooters are essentially extinct. Rainbow Six: Siege is nothing compared to the mechanical genius of its predecessors as explained here. No real successor to classic Rainbow Six or even the SWAT games, everything is dumbed down significantly compared to them besides Arma which is a totally different scale.

- General lack of progression. Call of Duty series is a good example: for early Call of Duty to succeed, they had to innovate in gameplay design which they did, remain authentic to a certain degree which they did, innovate in gameplay diversity which they did for the subgenre (they consist of offensive infantry missions, defensive infantry missions, tank missions, aircraft gunner gameplay, vehicle turret gunner gameplay, infiltration missions, stealth missions, and you play as American and British and Russian soldiers, sometimes entirely different units in each, something Hollywood WWII movies and shows fail to do), and they had to stand strong technologically which they did by using one of the better engines from the time, pushing graphics quality (they were not the best, but very good), using Creative Labs EAX 3 (aka EAX Advanced HD), and most of all using cutting edge AI which far surpasses nearly every modern action game (best showcased by the very first Call of Duty game). Now? To succeed, all Activision needs to do is choose the right sponsors like Doritos, make ridiculously stupid commercials showing teenagers playing it, perhaps hire a mainstream celebrity to voice a character (bonus points for modeling the celebrity as closely as possible), and rush out a Call of Duty game every year with a single player campaign no more than half the length of the classics and hardly any diversity in gameplay and setting with typical over the top Hollywood stupidity (such as a small car derailing a train in Call of Duty: WWII, people performing stunts that only comic book superheroes would attempt), brain dead AI (literally some of the worst AI ever seen in an action game), as many historical inaccuracies as possible (e.g. reflex sights in WWII, black female Nazis, and no swastikas in WWII), and most of all a casual skill-free repetitive multiplayer component with as little content as possible (so that they can sell you more content later) that tries to give all players an equal chance of winning via perks and rewards/handouts.

- Mechanical and technological and narrative revolution is found more in non-AAA games and even mods than AAA games, such as the shooting mechanics and team gameplay of the Red Orchestra/Rising Storm franchise, and even Insurgency and Day of Infamy for multiplayer war themed shooters (and soon Squad too), Arma series and its unparalleled simulation attempts and its Apex mode (I have only seen the likes of it as mods like the Server Side Mod for Crysis, and in the three RPGs with a Dungeon Master/Game Master mode), the shooting mechanics and weapon customization of the GUNSLINGER mod for S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Call of Pripyat and Customizable Weaponry 2.0 mod for Garry's Mod, the industry leading fluidity and the mixed gameplay of Shadow Warrior 2013 and Shadow Warrior 2 (not to mention the latter's graphics quality and optimization), the mechanics and dynamic gameplay of Underhell mod (example 1, example 2, the writing/storytelling of SOMA and The Talos Principle, etc.

- Minimal configuration options especially for UI and gameplay, though this is improving in some AAA games like Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and the Dishonored series. Let The Talos Principle, Arma series (which, like the classic Thief games, let you bind macros in-game), and Neverwinter Nights series be the benchmarks for this.

- Reduced literary influence, though more widespread cinematic influence. Though it is interesting to see one of the earliest cinematic games, Anachronox (2001), also have stronger literary influence for a game and as a result showcases better world building (introduces more elements to the universe) in its first 40 minutes than the entirety of most games.

- Some must-read game/franchise specific examples: Tomb Raider series, Deus Ex series, and even the non AAA title Tyranny. This trend has unfortunately caught on with some non-AAA studios too, like every RPG studio today, as that Tyranny review illustrates and as Pillars of Eternity illustrates (example 1, example 2, and this evil playthrough playlist shows how the game basically doesn't let you actually play as an evil character, the same thing is found in Larian's games and every other modern RPG).

People are excited for the upcoming Star Wars: Battlefront II, but the 2015 Battlefront is just embarrassing compared to the original Battlefront II from 2005. Here is a comparison made before Battlefront 2015's DLC released.



2015's Thief game (this image was made before its release but that level is exactly the same) vs Thief II: The Metal Age level design example. Furthermore, the 2015 game removes or contextualizes many mechanics and has no new ones (e.g. you can only climb a few specific ledges on some maps vs climbing all ledges in the original), and it hardly has any environmental interaction unlike the classic Thief games.



Fallout 4 vs Fallout: New Vegas role-playing in a nutshell.







And just showing how this older, higher level of role-playing looks in practice in another RPG, Fallout 2. A level of role-playing no longer found especially in AAA RPGs.



BioWare doesn't know how to make RPGs anymore. RPGs without skill systems... Not to mention that Neverwinter Nights has 11 base classes + 12 prestige classes versus the 3 classes of Dragon Age and less important 9 specializations of Inquisition. Plus the role-playing comparison isn't too far from the Fallout comparison above, and Neverwinter Nights 2 has a hell of a lot more classies/prestige classes and spells and feats than the first one...







Here's another breakdown of today's RPGs vs yesterday's:






You can see from all of the facts above that this is no mere nostalgic post. As a matter of fact, I only started PC gaming in 2008, though I was a console gamer since 1999. I am only 23 years old, unlike other people my age I tend to play franchises from the first game and I made it a point to go back and play all the classics in the genres/subgenres I like. It was in this process that I discovered these facts.

Personally I find this unacceptable, but I am curious what others think especially those that are oblivious to this trend (which is probably most gamers). Be sure to check the hyperlinks throughout this post if you're not very aware of this trend.
 

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It is a natural progression of the corporate mentality of game production in conjunction with gamers who will buy almost every game.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by essanbee View Post

It is a natural progression of the corporate mentality of game production in conjunction with gamers who will buy almost every game.
That is just an undeniable truth, yes.
 

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The saddest part is - most of these things are accepted as normal because consumers are without a backbone and passionless.

I would also add how us Retail PC Gamers are being shafted at times. For example, Wolfenstein 2 had 2 Steam edition - A normal and a Deluxe edition (with season pass) for a bit more. Since few (relatively) in number PC Gamers buy games retail, and its usually fans or collectors, youd expect the Deluxe edition to also be retail, at least as an option if not the default version even (we pay more and get more).

Alas no such luck. it isnt a major problem, but its maddening to me personally. The DLC/Expansion pack culture is making collectors like me never win, no matter our move.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
How about dumbed down technology in the most important aspects for many modern AAA games (primarily action games), which have higher budgets than ever before (9 figures)? Already talked about this a bit in the OP, but see this video of modded DOOM 3.


Much more dynamic lights/shadows which was the norm for back then, particles have their own dynamic light sources, impressive animations and superior sound. Not to mention that lighting system is more advanced than most in some other ways...

8da8b4c3_allLights.jpeg


In addition to the examples mentioned in the OP and others, such as Thief: The Dark Project from 1998 having more interactive environments, more advanced sound processing, more advanced mechanics (e.g. the non-contextualized ability to climb any ledge, different terrain surfaces make different amounts of noise greatly affecting AI detection), and the ability to bind functions to key combinations compared to 99% of comparable games.
 

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It's not just games, similar dumbing down happens in movies as well.

In my opinion, gaming had a good balance of creativity and business in the past, where both gamers and developers were "winning." Now gaming heavily leans towards the business aspect and the quality of games suffers.

The business side has gotten so good, that large companies have figured out a way to make huge profits without having a quality product, thus they have no incentive to try. Smaller companies on the other hand have much more to lose and put more effort/ creativity into their games.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by microchidism View Post

It's not just games, similar dumbing down happens in movies as well.

In my opinion, gaming had a good balance of creativity and business in the past, where both gamers and developers were "winning." Now gaming heavily leans towards the business aspect and the quality of games suffers.

The business side has gotten so good, that large companies have figured out a way to make huge profits without having a quality product, thus they have no incentive to try. Smaller companies on the other hand have much more to lose and put more effort/ creativity into their games.
This is all true as well. So many mainstream Hollywood action films all use the same formula and seem as if they were made by the same crew, but were not. They just copy what sells, and what sells happens to be horrendously stupid in both mainstream cinema and gaming. Kudos to the likes of Denis Villeneuve who are in that industry, in the spotlight, but actually try.

Also I wonder if we'll ever see another film maker comparable to Tarkovsky... probably not in our lifetimes.

A less spoken about example of this atrocious dumbing down is the abandonment of literary influence in favor of shallow poorly done cinematic influence; all these cinematic games with their emphasis on animations, but pitiful writing. No, we can't have quality cinematic influence without terrible/minimal writing anymore.
rolleyes.gif


- EDIT: The Witcher 3 might be an exception to my last point there, but it isn't the rule.
 

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Thief (original) vs. AAA Gaming

Max Payne Graphic Novel *Spoilers*

Max Payne 3 Game Movie (All Cutscenes) *Spoilers*

Thief 1/Gold - Full Cutscenes *Spoilers*

Thief 4 - All Cutscenes *Spoilers*

I am 42 years old and happy to have experienced Max Payne and Thief when they were newly released.
Playing them was an unforgettable, experience, unlike most new games today.
Dark times are upon us (pun intended), but hope remains (at least I hope it does) .....
 

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Sadly the age of pay to win AAA games that would not have been a content patch or expansion a few years ago are upon us. There are just to many people who will pay 59.99 for a 3-6 hour game. I dont like it but the mass oversaturation of entertainment that is just numbing this generations gamers standards is making true well made and optimized games a thing of the past. I would not be surprised if it basically mobile quality games and "benchmark" games within 10 years for pc.
 

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My first real taste of this was Oblivion after playing Morrowind. I thought it was ridiculous then.. until Skyrim came out and confirmed that the future of games is only going to further get numbed down. There are few games worth playing these days... and the list only seems to shrink every year.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Partol View Post

Thief (original) vs. AAA Gaming

Max Payne Graphic Novel *Spoilers*

Max Payne 3 Game Movie (All Cutscenes) *Spoilers*

Thief 1/Gold - Full Cutscenes *Spoilers*

Thief 4 - All Cutscenes *Spoilers*

I am 42 years old and happy to have experienced Max Payne and Thief when they were newly released.
Playing them was an unforgettable, experience, unlike most new games today.
Dark times are upon us (pun intended), but hope remains (at least I hope it does) .....
Interesting, thanks for posting. I will be sure to check out all of these throughout the week.

That does remind me of something else I liked about late 1990s/very early 2000s games that's not necessarily better, but the stylistic CGI movies. Thief was rocking them, as were all the classic cRPGs. Much better directed than the cinematic equivalents of most modern games, which are often not very cinematic but just closeups to show off facial animations. This is especially hilarious when the facial animations are awful, like in Mass Effect: Andromeda.

Anachronox from 2001 remains by far the best "cinematic" game I've played to this day. It has as much cinematic influence as any game, but unlike modern ones it absolutely does not sacrifice interactive storytelling or gameplay or writing depth for shallow cinematic cutscenes and voice acting. Its first 40-50 minutes objectively has more world building than the entirety of the vast majority of AAA games-more world elements and themes.

I've only recorded the first 11 minutes but I highly recommend this forgotten classic. Made by the same people who made Deus Ex, one of the game series I gave a specific example of in the OP (all of its successors have 1/10th the writing depth and skill at best).

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloCamo View Post

My first real taste of this was Oblivion after playing Morrowind. I thought it was ridiculous then.. until Skyrim came out and confirmed that the future of games is only going to further get numbed down. There are few games worth playing these days... and the list only seems to shrink every year.
Not sure if you were a fan of Fallout/Fallout 2 back in the day, but either way Fallout 4 must have appalled you since Bethesda set the bar lower than ever there. It's one thing to dumb down TES the way they did; the campaign and story became an afterthought in TES (was still interesting in Oblivion I think although nothing compared to that of Morrowind, and Skyrim's was plain trash), and they reduced the amount of role-playing, but Morrowind never had a ton of role-playing to begin with (the main things were the reputation system that loaded one of three universal NPC dialogue presets essentially, and the ability to alter the story by becoming evil).

Fallout on the other hand... thanks to Bethesda it went from having the most role-playing of any video game overall (Fallout 2) to some of the least of any RPG (Fallout 4). Not to mention their lore butchering and general horrendous lazy writing in Fallout 4, AND the reduced gameplay content compared to the brilliant Fallout: New Vegas (goodbye ammo crafting and multiple ammo types, and I'm sure it had well under half the amount of weapons compared to vanilla New Vegas and less than 1/4 compared to Ultimate Edition).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charcharo View Post

The saddest part is - most of these things are accepted as normal because consumers are without a backbone and passionless.
this, to me, is the biggest issue. I despise people who blindly consume all these new titles. as long as people buy, nothing will change.
CoD for example. they just went stoneage after cod4 with their loveless PC ports.

its good to know that the last cod only sold 0.5 mil units on steam, while MW2 sold 5.5 million. should be a wakeup call for Activision, but nah, they still dont give a flying ****. nothing changed for the new one.
 

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Here we go again, lol.

Boredgunner, got massive respect for you and your posts like this since you illustrate with fine detail my thoughts about gaming now. However, if you remember me, you'd know that I grew up playing vastly different games from you, as I wasn't a PC gamer in my youth as much as I was a console gamer, and preferred traditional turn-based console RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and so on. I also grew up in arcades and was a competitive Street Fighter 2 player, as well as other classic 2D fighters and arcade action games such as shoot-em-ups. With the dominance in Western games of the FPS genre (which I have no issue with- played plenty of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament and Duke 3D in my time), especially since the first Xbox and Halo, games have followed a trend of dumbing themselves down for mass appeal and profit. Because FPS sell, and it's all they make anymore. There is very little diversity in genres anymore, how many traditional shoot-em-ups (spaceship shooters- horizontal or vertical scrolling) even get made anymore? How many Japanese turn based RPGs that are any good get made or sell well in America, other than Disgaea (which is still very niche?) What happened to brilliant games like Shining Force, Tactics Ogre and so on? How many new puzzle games get made for consoles, stuff like Puyo Puyo, Super Puzzle Fighter II, Columns and so forth? Games I loved as a kid made in that traditional console style... when's the last time you saw a new hex-based strategy game like Dark Wizard on Sega CD, or Military Madness on Turbografx-16? (Yes, I know they still make Super Robot Wars, but how many more games in that series do we need? Do they even get translated and released here now?) My point being, games that don't have amazing graphics and aren't an FPS and are still AAA are pretty much nonexistent now. Look at CAVE, who dominated Japanese arcades with bullet curtain shoot em ups in the late 90s and early 2000s, with many amazing games like Dodonpachi- they only make mobile games now! Look at Compile, who made many excellent shmups in the 80s and 90s for consoles such as Power Strike (SMS), Blazing Lazers (TG16)- they are now known as Compile Heart and make terrible waifu crap like the loads of Hyperdimension Neptunia games and other similar trash. Sigh...
frown.gif


It's honestly even worse for me- the FF7 remake looks like hot garbage. The combat isn't even turn based. I played hundreds of hours of this game in my life, completing it at least 15 times, and now Squeenix is fully prepared to butcher all of my childhood memories. Mind you, I started with Final Fantasy II (really IV in Japan) back in the day on SNES, and have finished all the games in the classic series, starting around 1992. So I'm not a fan that started with FF7 when it was huge here- I was playing the series well before that. The remake is basically using the combat engine of FF15, with a FF7 skin plastered on it. It is quite rare for me to find and play a JRPG that is actually turn-based and not some dumbed down, button mashing action RPG crap. I have nothing against action RPGs, and loved stuff like Secret of Mana, but come on.

Would you rather play this (Chrono Trigger):


Or this? (Valkyria Revolution, 2017)


(Don't even get me started on Squeenix abandoning the Chrono franchise, not having released a game since the DS port of Trigger in 2008, and shutting down an excellent fan project to remake Trigger in full 3D since they won't...)

Street Fighter is a pretty big joke now too, this video explains it VERY well- and 3rd Strike being my main game, you can imagine how I feel about SFV-


Apparently a ton of well known tournament champion players of SFIV feel the same way about SFV, including Filipino Champ, you can see this at the end of the video.

Finally- how can art as sublime as this for a JRPG (Amano, Terra, FFVI):



Be superceded with nearly ALL the JRPGs having art like this?



(I'm a huge anime fan too, and even like some modern anime, but come on!)

Sorry this was so long but I'm passionate about the games I grew up playing and still enjoy now- the level of quality coming of Japan in the last 10 years has ruined gaming for me! Maybe it's finally time to check out some of those old school PC masterpiece RPGs....
 

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I've more or less given up on AAA titles, and boredgunner's OP shows why. I remember, and still play, countless games from the turn of the century, and I don't honestly expect AAA titles to ever rival them in depth or gameplay again.

I don't think good games are profitable enough to be made by larger publishers. Making a game that isn't a carefully crafted sociological and accounting masterpiece designed for maximum return on the dollar takes a level of idealism, risk taking, and even naivety, that the big profitable studios lost in the process of becoming big profitable studios.

As far as I am concerned, Tribes 2 was the best tactical shooter ever made and if your RPG doesn't have any non-combat spells/skills in it, I'm not gonna play it.

And if it's fun to watch on Twitch, it's probably crap.
 

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Todays gaming is basically.
Hype, Pump then Dump.

Hype up the game.
Pump out the DLC, micro translations.
Dump the game after a year ready to repeat the process.

The more simple the game, The easier it is to add new features for the next version.
Once you reach a point where there are lots of features in the game. You offer a HD version of the original but only if you pre-order the next version.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

Here we go again, lol.

Boredgunner, got massive respect for you and your posts like this since you illustrate with fine detail my thoughts about gaming now. However, if you remember me, you'd know that I grew up playing vastly different games from you, as I wasn't a PC gamer in my youth as much as I was a console gamer, and preferred traditional turn-based console RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and so on. I also grew up in arcades and was a competitive Street Fighter 2 player, as well as other classic 2D fighters and arcade action games such as shoot-em-ups. With the dominance in Western games of the FPS genre (which I have no issue with- played plenty of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament and Duke 3D in my time), especially since the first Xbox and Halo, games have followed a trend of dumbing themselves down for mass appeal and profit. Because FPS sell, and it's all they make anymore. There is very little diversity in genres anymore, how many traditional shoot-em-ups (spaceship shooters- horizontal or vertical scrolling) even get made anymore? How many Japanese turn based RPGs that are any good get made or sell well in America, other than Disgaea (which is still very niche?) What happened to brilliant games like Shining Force, Tactics Ogre and so on? How many new puzzle games get made for consoles, stuff like Puyo Puyo, Super Puzzle Fighter II, Columns and so forth? Games I loved as a kid made in that traditional console style... when's the last time you saw a new hex-based strategy game like Dark Wizard on Sega CD, or Military Madness on Turbografx-16? (Yes, I know they still make Super Robot Wars, but how many more games in that series do we need? Do they even get translated and released here now?) My point being, games that don't have amazing graphics and aren't an FPS and are still AAA are pretty much nonexistent now. Look at CAVE, who dominated Japanese arcades with bullet curtain shoot em ups in the late 90s and early 2000s, with many amazing games like Dodonpachi- they only make mobile games now! Look at Compile, who made many excellent shmups in the 80s and 90s for consoles such as Power Strike (SMS), Blazing Lazers (TG16)- they are now known as Compile Heart and make terrible waifu crap like the loads of Hyperdimension Neptunia games and other similar trash. Sigh...
frown.gif


It's honestly even worse for me- the FF7 remake looks like hot garbage. The combat isn't even turn based. I played hundreds of hours of this game in my life, completing it at least 15 times, and now Squeenix is fully prepared to butcher all of my childhood memories. Mind you, I started with Final Fantasy II (really IV in Japan) back in the day on SNES, and have finished all the games in the classic series, starting around 1992. So I'm not a fan that started with FF7 when it was huge here- I was playing the series well before that. The remake is basically using the combat engine of FF15, with a FF7 skin plastered on it. It is quite rare for me to find and play a JRPG that is actually turn-based and not some dumbed down, button mashing action RPG crap. I have nothing against action RPGs, and loved stuff like Secret of Mana, but come on.

Would you rather play this (Chrono Trigger):


Or this? (Valkyria Revolution, 2017)


(Don't even get me started on Squeenix abandoning the Chrono franchise, not having released a game since the DS port of Trigger in 2008, and shutting down an excellent fan project to remake Trigger in full 3D since they won't...)

Street Fighter is a pretty big joke now too, this video explains it VERY well- and 3rd Strike being my main game, you can imagine how I feel about SFV-


Apparently a ton of well known tournament champion players of SFIV feel the same way about SFV, including Filipino Champ, you can see this at the end of the video.

Finally- how can art as sublime as this for a JRPG (Amano, Terra, FFVI):



Be superceded with nearly ALL the JRPGs having art like this?



(I'm a huge anime fan too, and even like some modern anime, but come on!)

Sorry this was so long but I'm passionate about the games I grew up playing and still enjoy now- the level of quality coming of Japan in the last 10 years has ruined gaming for me! Maybe it's finally time to check out some of those old school PC masterpiece RPGs....
I can't tell you how much I value this post. Sure it's long, but it basically helps to express how I feel about gaming in general nowdays. I first started gaming when I was 2 years old. The original Super Mario Bros. for the NES. So I think it's safe to say that I was born with a game controller in my hand. I grew up during the 90's. Was a participant during the first Console War between SNES and Genesis (and I couldn't really take sides because I owned both, but I generally leaned in favor of the SNES) and man, I gotta say, I don't care what's out there now, whether it be PC games or next gen console games -- we will never see another "Golden Age" of gaming like the 1990's again. The games that were coming out back then, on both SNES and Genesis, well, I don't have to tell you. They're classics. Games now could only dream of being as fun as the ones during the NES, SNES, and Genesis era. Back then, games were FUN. Especially the two player ones like Contra for the NES -- you just grabbed your buddy and started shooting (and hoping you wouldn't die or lose the godly spread gun lol)!

I am first and foremost a console gamer. It's in my blood. But lately, with the exception of what Nintendo is doing, I've lost interest in it because it seems like it's all the same now - an M rated (because if it's not rated M it's not cool
rolleyes.gif
) First Person Shooter that offers nothing in terms of story, relies on microtransactions and loot boxes and toxic multiplayer. Gaming has become stagnant. With very few exceptions, it's basically resorted to developers using what works instead of trying to be creative and offer a rewarding and fun experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by neurotix View Post

Here we go again, lol.

Boredgunner, got massive respect for you and your posts like this since you illustrate with fine detail my thoughts about gaming now. However, if you remember me, you'd know that I grew up playing vastly different games from you, as I wasn't a PC gamer in my youth as much as I was a console gamer, and preferred traditional turn-based console RPGs such as Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest and so on. I also grew up in arcades and was a competitive Street Fighter 2 player, as well as other classic 2D fighters and arcade action games such as shoot-em-ups. With the dominance in Western games of the FPS genre (which I have no issue with- played plenty of Doom, Quake, Unreal Tournament and Duke 3D in my time), especially since the first Xbox and Halo, games have followed a trend of dumbing themselves down for mass appeal and profit. Because FPS sell, and it's all they make anymore. There is very little diversity in genres anymore, how many traditional shoot-em-ups (spaceship shooters- horizontal or vertical scrolling) even get made anymore? How many Japanese turn based RPGs that are any good get made or sell well in America, other than Disgaea (which is still very niche?) What happened to brilliant games like Shining Force, Tactics Ogre and so on? How many new puzzle games get made for consoles, stuff like Puyo Puyo, Super Puzzle Fighter II, Columns and so forth? Games I loved as a kid made in that traditional console style... when's the last time you saw a new hex-based strategy game like Dark Wizard on Sega CD, or Military Madness on Turbografx-16? (Yes, I know they still make Super Robot Wars, but how many more games in that series do we need? Do they even get translated and released here now?) My point being, games that don't have amazing graphics and aren't an FPS and are still AAA are pretty much nonexistent now. Look at CAVE, who dominated Japanese arcades with bullet curtain shoot em ups in the late 90s and early 2000s, with many amazing games like Dodonpachi- they only make mobile games now! Look at Compile, who made many excellent shmups in the 80s and 90s for consoles such as Power Strike (SMS), Blazing Lazers (TG16)- they are now known as Compile Heart and make terrible waifu crap like the loads of Hyperdimension Neptunia games and other similar trash. Sigh...
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It's honestly even worse for me- the FF7 remake looks like hot garbage. The combat isn't even turn based. I played hundreds of hours of this game in my life, completing it at least 15 times, and now Squeenix is fully prepared to butcher all of my childhood memories. Mind you, I started with Final Fantasy II (really IV in Japan) back in the day on SNES, and have finished all the games in the classic series, starting around 1992. So I'm not a fan that started with FF7 when it was huge here- I was playing the series well before that. The remake is basically using the combat engine of FF15, with a FF7 skin plastered on it. It is quite rare for me to find and play a JRPG that is actually turn-based and not some dumbed down, button mashing action RPG crap. I have nothing against action RPGs, and loved stuff like Secret of Mana, but come on.

Sorry this was so long but I'm passionate about the games I grew up playing and still enjoy now- the level of quality coming of Japan in the last 10 years has ruined gaming for me! Maybe it's finally time to check out some of those old school PC masterpiece RPGs....
Yeah, you've shown me that Western games aren't the only ones suffering from these problems. I suppose no platform and region is safe. And you've actually hit upon an even more severe issue than the ones described in the OP; I speak of dumbing down and removing content, while you speak of entire genres or subgenres being extinguished. For anyone who cares at all about art, that is an absolute tragedy.

Some of my favorite genres are endangered, but not extinct, like western RPGs and tactical FPS. Horror was actually endangered in the 2000s but a formerly PC exclusive developer resurrected it (and raised the bar) in the Western gaming scene with PC exclusive games-Frictional Games with Penumbra and Amnesia: The Dark Descent.

This genre endangerment has given rise to another problem; the comeback of nostalgic games. In itself this obviously isn't a problem, but there is a problem within it, namely games designed to leech off this nostalgia for sales, but with none of the quality. Games that look like these classics but are still nearly as dumbed down and weak in content as AAA games in the same genre. Tyranny is the best example I've played, I provided an example and link to my Steam review of it in the OP.

Even Divinity: Original Sin 2 is a mild example; it has the quantity of content, and even the quality in some areas, but the writing and especially the role-playing are weak and designed with zero ambition. Torment: Tides of Numenera is 100% utterly without a soul, and Pillars of Eternity is perhaps 99% without one?
 

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@ Cpt Phasma:

Yes, local multiplayer is dead. You make an important point: traditional arcade run'n'gun shooters are dead. When they are made, they don't sell well and are quite niche. I too played tons of Contra, Metal Slug and so on, especially 2 player, as a kid. Still own both Contra and Super C, and a flash cart for SNES that has Contra III on it. This is another genre that is dead. There was Hard Corps: Uprising on Xbox 360 (check it out) but other than that, those platforming shooters are gone. More recently, Cuphead is in a similar style of gameplay, but I don't care for the aesthetic.

On top of that- co-op beat em ups like Final Fight, Streets of Rage and so forth are long dead. Other than HD remakes like D&D Shadow of Mystara, and half-baked, poor quality reboots like Double Dragon Neon, those are all gone too.

@ boredgunner: I don't really play tactical shooters, all I know is that's all that seems to be popular now, and I can tell they are very dumbed down. Around 2005 my uncle showed me Battlefield 2 on his gaming rig, before I got into building myself, and that he needed a flight yoke to fly his gaming buddies around in a transport chopper. Seems quite different from BF3 and everything coming after. Not my genre though when it comes to fps... hope that UT4 will be good, the last great one was UT2004. Arena deathmatch shooters don't seem popular now either and I love those.

Regarding horror games... the traditional console ones are pretty much screwed since Resident Evil has more or less been a generic 3rd person zombie shooter game for at least a decade now. I remember RE2 being very popular on PSX, and the current ones are nothing like it. Never mind Silent Hill, which has been dead in the water for ages, and we all know what happened to Konami in the last 6 years. (Probably means no more official MGS, Castlevania, or Contra games from now on.) Really no exposure to any PC horror games on my part, sorry...

RPGs on PC... damn. What did you think of the first Divinity: Original Sin? I played it for a while and found it too slow paced for me but have considered going back, as well as playing the sequel. Maybe I won't if you dislike it. As far as recent WRPGs go, I loved DA: Origins and completed it numerous times, as well as the expansion. Hated DA:2 (doesn't everyone?) but actually liked DA: Inquisition a fair bit, though yes it is greatly inferior to the original considering tactical camera isn't even mandatory.

Good space exploration games are few and far between...look at abysmal games like No Man's Sky or Star Trek Online..these games were huge on PC in the late 80s/early 90s and now they are nowhere to be found. (Wing Commander is great!) Same can be said for graphic adventures (like Sierra games), text adventures (Zork), MUDs, etc.

Really miss games like Nethack/Rogue (procedurally generated dungeon crawlers)...even had some simple ones on console like Dragon Crystal on GG and Fatal Labyrinth on Genesis. Shiren the Wanderer isn't anywhere near as good as those, or proper graphical Nethack.

I played a lot of MMOs on PC honestly, such as WoW (up to Lich King expansion, talk about dumbing down, look at that game compared to what it once was..!), Lineage 2, Ragnarok Online, etc. Missed a lot of other PC RPGs due to the time commitment to those types of games. Have heard tons of people nostalgic especially for Everquest, and Ultima Online. Can't remember the last huge MMO that came out and really blew the lid off the market... quality has really gone down there too, probably because of F2P cash shop games. Will never play another MMO again at this point... too time consuming.

I also really enjoyed the Diablo series, and similar top down loot based games...Diablo 3 was trash. Torchlight 1 & 2 were great modern takes on the genre but now that company (Runic Games) has shut down.
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The problem with modern games stems from many things, but essentially fast online multiplayer experiences were probably the beginning of the end for the really immersive, full featured, offline single player RPGs. Xbox started it and it continued with the 360 generation, food and beverage tie ins, preorder DLC, paywalls, and so on. Just look at the debacle with Battlefront II happening currently. (I like Star Wars well enough, but no interest there for me, still... $40 extra for Darth Vader in a Star Wars game? Get real.) On top of that... kids, and even adults, are rude and have no patience nowadays. Most people find the types of games you like, and to a lesser degree, the ones I like (more simple turn-based JRPGs focused on grinding and story), tedious and boring. Blame the smartphones, social media, instant gratification, one-click ordering, graphics whores, and the massive influx of gamers where gaming used to be a niche or nerdy hobby, for ruining it. The companies are at equal fault, sure, but they are simply making what they know will sell and be easy to promote- the dollar comes first. Especially when the cost of development is so high and 90% of the budget goes to graphics. Gotta sell Titanfall games with Mountain Dew tie ins to the kiddos to stay profitable, I guess.

As far as indie games... agreed. Usually inferior and not accurate to the original systems at all. 99% are essentially shovelware. Shovel Knight was pretty great, as was Cave Story. But in general I'd much rather hook up my NES for games like that, or Dosbox for stuff like Commander Keen etc. Unfortunately most of the modern ones don't recapture the magic. A lot of people seem to hate the New Super Mario Bros. series from Nintendo...They may have a different graphical style, but are at least faithful to the gameplay of the original 2D games, and Miyamoto supervised and worked on most of them. Better than playing some 25 yr olds first game design college project that he throws up on Steam, lol.

EDIT: if it's not clear, I personally think that the lack of variety in gaming now, and certain old-school 2D mainstay genres dying, is directly related to the existing games in niche genres (e.g. RPGs, others) being dumbed down. Since all anyone wants to play anymore is FPS, games in other genres have to compete with those to sell. I also think the size of the potential audience is inversely proportional to the quality and complexity of the games...lowest common denominator, y'know.
 

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Is this why I'm not all that into gaming anymore? I think the answer may be yes. I've been thinking that I really just don't much like gaming anymore. Nothing can ever catch my interest. But then I realized that it just isn't true, its the games themselves that are making me not want to game. I've gone over to mainly playing indie games, because they're the only ones that try anymore. And I've found a lot of them that are well worth playing and brought enjoyment back to gaming for me. I was having fun with this little tower defense game that nobody's heard of, call Ancient Planet. Real fun game with plenty of depth. I think we're just in a period of change right now. Some say a big gaming crash is coming. Eventually, even all the gullible dupes will have seen it all before, and not be interested. Someone mentioned the movie industry. Well if they don't make a movie good enough, it can "flop", losing millions of dollars. That is definitely NOT what they want. I'm wondering if we'll eventually start to see these big AAA games flop. Where they spend those 9 figures, only to lose all that money. It doesn't help that they're allowed to just pay off review sites and buy glowing reviews. That should be illegal, or they should have to make it very clear on the main page that they take money to talk about these games.

Losing the 9 figures they put into these lazy interactive movies that they're calling games, would be a big slap in the face, wake up call. That is the only thing these suits understand, is money. So I actually hope we're headed for a big crash, where lots of AAA houses just go out of business and disappear off the face of the earth. Everyone would dance on EA's grave and hold parties every year commemorating its death. I certainly don't buy AAA games anymore. And you probably couldn't pay me to preorder a game. Maybe the law needs to get involved, with all the bait and switch that goes on. It is illegal. They do it plenty, especially in their descriptions of the game. They'll say one thing, and deliver something that has none of the features they talked about. For the most part the AAA companies are washed up, as far as us real gamers are concerned.
 
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