reasons why you think a game should be considered a masterpiece (one of the best)

Discussion in 'Video Games' started by NeoFantasy, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. NeoFantasy

    NeoFantasy Building Worlds Veteran

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    What makes a game a masterpiece -is it the story or the music, the graphics or the gameplay.

    What makes game ls like Chrono trigger or final fantasy so special that you would consider them to be one of the best.

    People have fought all across the Internet over which game is the best, but most of the time it's a biased opinion, so let's narrow down the key features of what make games so special and try and see if we can find the best games ever made.
     
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  2. tearsofthenight

    tearsofthenight Evil Sorcerer/Mystic Key Stealer Veteran

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    The impact it leaves on you after your done playing it, and what it does to you down the road as well.
     
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  3. Ruby

    Ruby Of the Earth Veteran

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    This ^

    How do you feel during the course of the game? What about when it is over?

    When I played and completed Suikoden II, my perception of games changed completely. A game that allows you to immerse yourself in it completely. A game that is believable, yet unbelievable at the same time. A game that leaves a hole in your heart when you are finished with it. THAT is a truly exceptional game. 

    First person shooters are a dime a dozen, those are not revolutionary or exceptional. Racing games, fighting games (there are some exceptions here), and sports games, are all lack-luster. All designed to be repetitive as hell.

    But, RPGs? Those are the rule-breakers. Those are the games that set themselves outside of the box, and set the box on fire. Games that create whole worlds, with history and characters that just blow your mind with the amount of thought and creativity that went into the creation of said game.

    That is a masterpiece.
     
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  4. NeoFantasy

    NeoFantasy Building Worlds Veteran

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    @ruby exactly: I remeber playing fire emblem awakening for the first time and being glued to my 3ds for days and when I finaly beat the game...it was like wow I felt like I was there and once j best it a was thrust back into reality. A good game keeps you entertained, but a masterpiece Makes you apart of its world. When characters actualy become more than just pixels and text is when a game has mastered the art of storytelling.
     
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  5. tearsofthenight

    tearsofthenight Evil Sorcerer/Mystic Key Stealer Veteran

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    NEO
     
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  6. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    Play Nier. Seriously. Play Nier. (and this is the right answer)
     
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  7. TherainED

    TherainED Guess who's here? Veteran

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    Yes. Kinda true.

    Hahahahahaha. NO.

    In any case, that's not the topic.

    So...what I would say it's neccesary for a game to grab my attention is

    -Aesthetics. Good aesthetics is a very important field inside a videogame. Most people just dismiss this part, but if done well, they bring only benefits. For good examples of unique aesthetics see: Bastion, Transistor(bestgameevah)

    -Coherent mechanics. Because Dark Souls should've had fishing mechanics. Because Just Cause 3 should have fishing mechanics. Because Hotline bash-a-russian's-head-in Miami should have had fishing mechanics.

    -Careful and sparing use of cutscenes. But forreal tho, who thought that having a film director as a videogame director would be a good idea?

    -A good story. Because Destiny suddenly looks cooler. Because Borderlands already looked cooler than Destiny for a reason. Because Transistor is the best game ever made for a reason.

    -Variety. You know, the Ash Lake, Lost Izalith, Anor praise-the-fricking-sun Londo, Elleum Lloyce...no, wait, no, that one's from Dark Souls 2, scratch that. Still, you get the idea.

    -A good amount of content. Replayability counts as content. Transistor, Bastion, Demon Souls, Dark Souls, Dark Souls 2 even.

    -Impact. Because Dark Souls just flips your world around. Because Transistor leaves you wanting more. Because Hotline Miami is that satisfying. Because Spec Ops: The Line leaves you with a shock and in awe.
    And that would be it. At least from my point of view. Oh, and, please, try the examples. None of them are dissapointing.

    Oh, and also:

    Big Boss gets some points for this one. Soundtrack's amazing.

    EDIT: I've decided to add a TL;DR because I feel like people are gonna ge too lost in either the sarcasm or the hyperbole.

    When I speak of aesthetics, I mean the combination of soundtrack+artstyle, not waffikz.

    I refer to coherent mechanics in the sense that coherent mechanics usually help deliver a cohesive story. Borderlands is about looting and killing, and the Borderlands' mechanics are designed to follow that idea.

    When I refer to good story, I don't mean only story. I mean plot+characters. Usually, great stories end up ruined because this or that character hasn't been well rounded out.

    Variety, not just in eviroment, but in enemy types, weapons or spells. If the only things you have are soldiers that get stronger the further you go, it's a bad game. No discussion. This ties in with "content". "More variety" tends to go paralell to "more content".

    Finally, a good execution on (for me) at least three of this fields brings the impact at the end. The apotheosis, if you may, won't come unless most of the parts are leading to it. Gwyn is an example, the ending of Spec Ops, Transistor and Hotline Miami are others.
     
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  8. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    To me, a great video game is one that can fully engage me on a visceral, intellectual, or emotional level.  A masterpiece is one that can do so on two of those levels.  I've never played a game that fully managed it on all three fronts, but that's the goal that I aspire to when I sit down with RPG Maker and work on my dream game. :)

    I don't think it's so much "the graphics" or "the gameplay" or "the story" that makes a game wonderful, but rather how they all work together to immerse the player and make him feel engaged in these more intangible ways.
     
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  9. Vox Novus

    Vox Novus Knight of Whispers Veteran

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    I enjoyed Nier, there was a lot done there well especially how it encouraged seeing the game in a whole new way for new game+'s I can't think of any other game that has done that in that way. Only problem for me is that the game wasn't fun to play that many times, combat was off at times with magic being way too overpowered compared to melee. Biggest thing for me especially during my first run where I did more of them is the sidequests were just excruciatingly boring and uncreative. Upgrading weapons never feels worth it because it is an absolute chore and ends up being an unnecessary part of the game anyway. I could go on, the game gets its music, and story spot on though.

    My thoughts:

    Its the impact it leaves on you of course as Tears said, developers can make a good game there are a lot of those but making a game that goes beyond that takes much more.
    My favorite game and the game I consider the best is Chrono Cross. Why did this game leave such an impact:

    Music: The soundtrack in Cross is easily one of the grandest out there, if you won't play Cross get the soundtrack at least. The songs are filled with so much emotion and they fit there scenes to the letter.

    Gameplay: Cross has a turn based battle system that has its own unique way of utilizing the attack command and making it useful but not something abused. (I won't go into all the details about it though.) It ends up effecting how you use skills, there is also an elemental system that even effects the battle field in how strong elements are depending on the element of the field.

    Freedom and Customization: The player can choose from a wide variety of characters to have in their party (There are 64 if I remember crrectly) and its up to the player to give those characters the skills and spells and even items they will use in battle allowing you to craft characters your way. The player is also given freedom at times to take little sidepaths that vary the story slightly and will effect recruitable characters.

    Writing/dialogue and Story: The story of this game ends up being complex and by the end it relates to chrono trigger in a lot of ways than initially it seems; the story requires the player to think. The game does a good job of convincing you many times its telling one story when it is really telling another entirely. One major thing worth pointing out is the depth of dialogues in the game, since there are so many characters. Characters all have their own little way of speaking that is expressed in the writing of the dialogues. You have characters that have their own little mannerisms, characters with accents or who speak in a combo of french in english. 

    Graphics: For the time the graphics were great due to it being at the end of the playstaytion's life cycle.

    Re-playability: This is a game you can play many times (you need four files to get all the characters). Given the variance already with the character dialogue each little adventure will feel slightly unique based on the characters you travel with in your party. Then thereis multiple endings, getting all the characters and their best skills, collecting all the window skins, finding rainbow shells, an optional boss fight. Quite simply put this is a jrpg that essentially keeps on giving and giving to the player over and over again leaving an impact every time.

    I could go on and on about this game and every little fine point of the story on why I think it does so much that makes it so great.
     
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  10. C.W. Plainview

    C.W. Plainview Veteran Veteran

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    When talking about the "best game of all time" or a "gaming masterpiece", I think a lot of people tend to interject too much subjectivity into it, as you said. I think there is a distinction that needs to be made between something being the best, and something being your favorite. When talking about games (this also applies to other art forms like film and music), it's hard to objectively compare them in quality, because there is so much that goes into making any individual quality game, and people's tastes and opinions vary too much on what makes a quality game. It's not like a track race or any other comparative competition, where quality is usually measured objectively. In a track race, the winner (and therefore "best") is usually the fastest. There are no room for opinions, and so there is little to be disputed.

    For me, most of my favorite games involve atmosphere, exploration, or player choice, usually a mix of two or all three of these to create overall engaging gameplay. Metroid Prime, Piranha Bytes RPGs (Gothic, Risen), Dark Souls. And when I say player choice, I don't mean narrative choice, but gameplay choice (how many different options I have at getting past a gameplay situation). In my opinion, story and narrative is one of gaming's biggest banes when implemented poorly. It's become more common in recent years with the Hollywoodization of games (Naughty Dog games, Assassin's Creed, pretty much every big "AAA" game released now). Even "classic" games like The Legend of Zelda are starting to rely more heavily on story, to negative effects I feel. Two games that I think effectively implement story are Super Metroid and Shadow of the Colossus. In these games, the story is sparse and services the gameplay. Final Fantasy VI is another good game with a great implementation of story. While it isn't exactly "sparse" (let's be honest, most JRPGs aren't), it services the gameplay well because the large cast of characters and their unique abilities are a vital part of the battle system and party customization. The open world exploration of the second half of the game (where you hunt down your party members one by one) is also benefited from the story and its characterization. It makes that part of the game all the more impactful and satisfying. Where on the other hand with a game like The Last of Us, that story could've easily been better serviced as a film or a book. And the gameplay also suffers, because your gameplay choices don't affect the story, and so the gameplay exists in a vacuum separate from the story, creating pacing problems for both elements. In Final Fantasy VI, you can choose on the Floating Continent to either wait and risk death to save Shadow or safely hurry and leave without him, and the game continues on with your decision, with no option of going back.

    More to my first point, another person may highly value story over gameplay in a game like The Last of Us, a game that has been critically acclaimed as one of "the best" or a "masterpiece" of the previous generation of consoles. The emotional weight of the story may outweigh the gameplay for some people. While I would respectfully disagree, I'm not one to tell a person what their favorite game should be. It's all subjective. And games can service people in different ways, like all art forms.

    Just my two cents.
     
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  11. Touchfuzzy

    Touchfuzzy Rantagonist Staff Member Lead Eagle

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    Ok, on Nier, because I think it is a masterpiece.

    I don't think Masterpiece means flawless. I don't think Masterpiece necessarily means that its even has to be all around good. Nier has a ton of faults, but what it does well, it does so well that it blows away almost every other game I can think of.

    Its not a masterpiece because its the best game ever (its not), or for that matter even close. Its a masterpiece because it approached the medium in a very unique and interesting way, and succeeded in being an experience I will never, ever forget.
     
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  12. Blackheart

    Blackheart Developer in Training Veteran

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    Many things, I think good "Game feel" is one of the most important things. Does everything feel responsive? Does each action you take not only make a difference but feel like it makes a difference? A good example of this I would say is Kingdom Hearts 2 (well all of the KH games but KH2 does it best in my opinion), all of your moves leave hitstun on opponents, the combo finishers have weight and the complexity of strategy all blends together very well to make fast, snappy, exciting combat. When all the elements of the game have good synergy is when a game truly has masterpiece potential. This is mostly from a gameplay standpoint, not story though.

    Storywise I personally think games that give characters personal development as they focus on their main goal is a great way to get the player invested and really care about the characters, the journey should affect the characters, not just be a means to an end. Tales of Symphonia is an amazing example of this, even the villains in the game have character development which truly shines because their development has impact even with them being on screen less than 5% as long as the main party.
     
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  13. Niten Ichi Ryu

    Niten Ichi Ryu Grey Lords Emissary Veteran

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    Sorry, but I'd say there are no real answer to this.

    Too much subjectivity.

    And a term that has been abused by entertainment industry.

    Historically, the master piece was the work an apprentice would do when leaving companionship and being raised to the status of master. So it really just mean something really well crafted.

    There are no guidelines to define what makes and what makes not a masterpiece.

    @Ruby I also find a bit ridiculous the claim that non RPG can't be deemed masterpieces.

    Someone may love FPS, and find the last COD a masterpiece, while hating RPGs... What makes your opinion more valuable than her/his?

    What YOU deem a masterpiece comes from a gut feeling.
     
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  14. Stapleton

    Stapleton Underground Veteran

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    lol I don't think she said her opinion is more valuable, but was rather just simply stating her opinion.

    And I see where she is coming from.

    Majority of the games i've played lack creativity and are just the same ol game with updated graphics or changed colors.

    An RPG is usually a lot more expansive when it comes to the content than your typical FPS and therefore is riskier.

    An FPS usually clings to whats safe. Not many vary as widely as RPG's in content.

    However that risk can pay off and a well done RPG can make you feel like you were alive inside of it while playing.

    Keep you up at night wondering why so and so had to die.

    I haven't ever stayed up wondering why my kill/death ratio in COD was negative.
     
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  15. Blackheart

    Blackheart Developer in Training Veteran

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    You mentioned FPS games and not staying up all night thinking of K/D ratios, I'm going to mention that in a competitive multiplayer game, whether it be COD, Street Fighter, Smash Bros, Starcraft or LoL, the potential to brainstorm about stuff and have the game stuck on your mind at all hours is very common.

    Smash Bros is a game that personally I will always come back to and enjoy developing my skills for because there are always new and exciting things that can happen in every match. That is what makes a game that is entirely non story focused worthy of being a masterpiece, the dedication that a well designed competitive game has of developing a community and having real life stories be created by the players on a day to day basis.
     
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  16. Niten Ichi Ryu

    Niten Ichi Ryu Grey Lords Emissary Veteran

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    @stapleton, sorry but it sounded more like a statement than a "in my opinion".

    When I say I don't get moved by this or this type of games, that's an opinion. When I say all those games are lacklustre and not creative or revolutionary, that's bashing the taste of others.

    @blackheart, spot on!

    Go tell a team that spent their time crafting a game: sorry folks you don't qualify for masterpiece because your genre is out of scope for this category... They won't agree.

    I don't even think COD guys go to work thinking : OK, let's make another lacklustre game, because we are not creative anyway, we just here for money.

    To go back to the craftsman example, imagine a furniture maker making his masterpiece chair, and the Painter comes and say sorry mate, that's just a chair, 4 feets, one seating, nothing original...

    Oh and for the note I do not like COD as well, but that's just my opinion.

    Live and let live
     
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  17. Ruby

    Ruby Of the Earth Veteran

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    I never made the claim that non-RPGs can't fall into that category. Everything I have stated was personal opinion/experience. In my experience, ALL first person shooters are lack-luster. In my opinion, sports games are boring, I can get that on TV if I so choose. From the fighting games that I have personally played, only a select few that mostly have already been mentioned in this thread have captured my attention.

    From the RPGs that I have played (Which again, are few, so my opinion is very limited), each one has brought something new to the table, a new world, new characters, a new story. A world that sucks you in and calls to you to learn everything about it, a rich history, characters that belong in the world, a captivating story that breaks your heart.

    ----------

    You can't just say no this is wrong. You aren't allowed to have an opinion. You can't say that because you don't feel a type of way about something, that no one else is allowed to disagree. The cool thing about humans, is that we all think and feel differently. We all have our own definitions of words, and we have our own real-world examples of such. So if I want to say that all new-aged games suck, I am entitled to say that. Which, I am not saying at all.

    I am/was also not "bashing" the tastes of others. You are allowed to feel how you do as well. Most of us are adults, or at least we should act like adults on this forum. I simply answered the question that was asked in this thread. Nothing more. 

    If YOU feel as if a FPS is revolutionary? Awesome, and I am happy to see your examples and play them and maybe have my mind changed. But as of this moment, I don't feel that way.
     
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  18. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    I agree with Nitenman. There is no such thing as a masterpiece game from objective standpoint. It can only be a masterpiece for you specifically as a player.

    To me, games I give 10/10 scores to are any one of the following:

    - Games that resonated with me on a very deep level.

    - Games that kept me addicted to playing, where I could play them for 2 hours straight and not realise how fast the time went, and when not playing the game, I want to come back to it again and again.

    - Games where I felt "This game was simply made for me".

    And I bet the above will apply to most people, but which games keep us addicted or resonate with us will differ from person to person. For me personally:

    - As far as narrative goes, I enjoy darker stories with injustice, corruption, grey morality, anti-heroes, anti-villains, conspiracy, betrayal, and so on, and most importantly to stay focused on the main plot and to keep a good pace. (e.g. Deus Ex and Mass Effect games did this for me)

    - As far as gameplay goes, I like to be intellectually stimulated. I want to be able to attain my goals through planning, preparation, and strategic execution. If a game makes me use my brain cells rather than kill them, then it's a huge plus. (e.g. Dark Souls, Titan Quest, Orcs Must Die did this for me)

    And yes, fighting, racing, and FPS games can be masterpieces for some players. Let's not forget - we are the RPG-loving audience, so those twitch-reflex games will appeal to us much less than to some other players. Having said this, I can enjoy an occasional FPS (Half Life 2 anyone?) or a racing/runner game (e.g. T.E.C. 3001) because of the overall execution.
     
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  19. Omega Weapon

    Omega Weapon AKA Laura Veteran

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    Bastion and Transistor.

    Unique artstyle, in both, and at least Bastion has a Killer soundtrack. (haven't played Transistor with sound, yet, I normally game without sounds on... sad but true)

    Solid mechanics, and in Transistor a unique battle system that is a middle ground between turn-based and real-time, and not in the FF sense.

    Especially Bastion is special to me, as I was recommended that game by someone I look up to, in terms of writing Role-plays.

    The narrator comments on almost everything you do, and he has a pretty nice voice to listen to.

    Another thing, Bastion was Supergiant Games' first game!

    The only complaint about Bastion that I could have, is that the game is TOO SHORT!
     
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  20. Matseb2611

    Matseb2611 Innovate, don't emulate Veteran

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    I'll probably get a lot of people hating me for this, but I didn't like Transistor at all. Nothing about it appealed to me personally (not the art, not the music, not the narrator, and not the gameplay), which goes to show that even games that appeal to a lot of people don't appeal to everyone. Haven't played Bastion, but not sure if I want to after my experience with Transistor.
     
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