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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, '14, 7:59 pm 
I just want to precise that I've never tried this famous Red Dead Redemption (surely a big mistake but as now I'm only playing on handheld devices.. it'll be hard for me to try it !).
And I'll surely not play the Last of Us too ! Surely unfortunately but...

I understand what you are telling ! Maybe I've read too quickly this article but as it's in English, even if I can read it without problem, maybe some parts are surely harder to understand !
But we agree : great games are everywhere and some games are goins to be the best for someone while it'll be the worst for someone else ! :)
Linear or non linear, open world or no open world : the best is to have fun with video games !


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, '14, 11:00 pm 
Wolf Bird wrote:But linear is not necessarily problem. I'm currently playing the Last of Us, which is pretty linear, but I'm definitely loving it (even if I can only play it for about an hour at most because of how tense and creeped out I get). It's about how each element contributes to the overall experience, which is something that Square seems to be missing on some level.


Having a linear RPG and a linear Action/Adventure game are two different things. Action/Adventure games almost require some form of linearity to keep you on track and move you to your next objective. One of the defining things about RPGs are the ability for the player to explore the world, and it's much more of a turn off for an RPG to be linear than an Action/Adventure game.

I personally do not mind linear RPGs, but it seems like a lot of people do, considering how much hate the linear Final Fantasy games seem to get.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, '14, 12:11 pm 
Same for me : no problem at all about playing linear "adventure" RPG ! (As with the different travels through the world(s) and the map(s), a lot of RPG's are "non linear", except for their scenario :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, '14, 1:45 pm 
VistaBlade wrote:Having a linear RPG and a linear Action/Adventure game are two different things. Action/Adventure games almost require some form of linearity to keep you on track and move you to your next objective. One of the defining things about RPGs are the ability for the player to explore the world, and it's much more of a turn off for an RPG to be linear than an Action/Adventure game.

I personally do not mind linear RPGs, but it seems like a lot of people do, considering how much hate the linear Final Fantasy games seem to get.


I'd disagree on action/adventure games requiring some form of linearity (though I guess that could depend on how you define that). Again, sticking to Red Dead since it's what the article cites, I'd call it an action/adventure game more than anything else, but in no way is it linear. Sure, you have your mission markers, but you can do those missions in basically any order you want (to a point) and there's plenty to do on the side if you so choose. So I'm going to stick to the last I thing I said…it depends on how each element contributes to the overall experience and more and more, I think developers are finding ways to make more things fit for more genres. I also wouldn't call the The Last of Us action/adventure, it's far more survival/horror. But there, linear totally works, and it's something Naughty Dog is very good at. My point is that neither is inherently better than the other, it depends on the overall experience you're trying to deliver.

I think with RPGs at this point, because more open western RPGs can now compete with JRPGs, there's a greater and greater expectation for the open-world experience western RPGs deliver. And Square seems to have tried that, but couldn't quite find the integration of open-world and solid story telling. I respect them for trying, but I'm not sure whether it's a good move for them to keep trying that at this point.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Fri Feb 28, '14, 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 28, '14, 5:55 pm 
I agree Wolf Bird. Western RPGs have upped the ante on open world RPGs. People are starting to get used to them and now going back to linear JRPGs can be tough for them.

The thing that gets me is that Square Enix has already made good open world RPGs in the past, like FF 6, but these days their non-linear efforts just don't seem to be as interesting. I remember playing FF6 for months and months, just trying to reach every area of the map in order to look for secrets. FF games just don't seem to have that "will to explore" anymore.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 6, '14, 7:56 pm 
Wolf Bird wrote:I think a problem is, as the article writer points out, the bubble Square-Enix has put itself in regarding open world and storytelling. There seems to be an odd perception that you need to guide players on a closed, linear path to tell a good story. Yet anyone who's played a Rockstar game, or western RPG, knows this is simply not the case. You can have a big open world with a huge amount of freedom and tell awesome stories, and Square-Enix just can't quite seem to figure out what makes games like Red Dead Redemption so successful. So they try to take inspiration in the wrong ways, while missing what makes those games so loved.

I think one thing to fix is a lot of unnecessary complexity. Again, I haven't played an FF game since VIII, but the 'draw' system and all the micromanagement in that game felt like a complete chore to me. Unnecessary complexity, to me, just bogs games down.


I don't think FF8's system was that complex to be honest. Tedious? Yeah I won't argue against that, but the system wasn't any more complex than what FF6 used. If there's any current-day FF past 8 you should play, it's 9. It's definitely less complex in terms of battle mechanics (It has a fixed job system, but uses skills learned from equipment for a touch of customization) and is pretty fantastic all around!

Linearity isn't the issue, it's just something people like to point out because they can't quite articulate what they don't like about recent FF games. I've seen a full playthrough of FF13 on youtube, and while I've never played it I can definitely see why it's so divisive and I can't fault someone for either liking it or hating it.

Linearity really isn't FF13's issue, it's the general execution of the game people don't like. However, most people generally aren't good at making their points in a very articulate/intelligent way (I'm not saying they're stupid, but compare a professional writer to your average high school student in terms how they put their points together in writing and you'll see what I mean) so a lot of them adopt the "LINEAR IS BAD" meme going around.

@VistaBlade are you referring to the 2nd half of FF6? Because the first half of FF6 is exceedingly linear. It's a very well done kind of linear though, but linear nonetheless. It's also funny how the 2nd half of the game is the part people hate the most about FF6 and yet it's the most non-linear part of it.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 6, '14, 8:55 pm 
Yep, FF8 system's was VERY tedious and that is surely for that reason that I didn't like at all this FF ! :( Even if the scenario isn't that bad at all ! (But I've never finished it... and think I'll never !).
About FF6, I've never finished it too ! What a shame but the game is great, even the start of this famous "second part" with a real non linear adventure. And those fantastic musics...
So... the only FF that I've ever finished is the Fourth one :)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 6, '14, 10:58 pm 
Hukos yes I was referring to the second half of FF6 with the destroyed world. It has lots of areas to explore and lots of hidden gems to uncover.

I may be in the minority, but I really liked the Junctioning system in FF8 and I enjoyed the game overall. There is a big learning curve with the Junctioning system though.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 7, '14, 1:28 am 
I actually fall in the camp of preferring the second half of FF VI, myself, even though the first half is amazing and much more structured, the World of Ruin is just so desolate and I love the feeling of finding all the party members and making the last trek. But generally, yeah, I think a game or an RPG can work in either way, structure can be a very good thing, as in the case of most older RPGs and say, Mario Galaxy, but something more open-ended like an MMO or Mario 64 work just as well in their own way. It's all a matter of execution.

The only thing I don't like about attempts to make games more open-ended is that they often feel meandering to me. I probably do prefer something more structured, myself, there's nothing more annoying to me than wandering around trying to figure out what to do next.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 7, '14, 1:38 pm 
Hukos wrote:I don't think FF8's system was that complex to be honest. Tedious? Yeah I won't argue against that, but the system wasn't any more complex than what FF6 used. If there's any current-day FF past 8 you should play, it's 9. It's definitely less complex in terms of battle mechanics (It has a fixed job system, but uses skills learned from equipment for a touch of customization) and is pretty fantastic all around!

Linearity isn't the issue, it's just something people like to point out because they can't quite articulate what they don't like about recent FF games. I've seen a full playthrough of FF13 on youtube, and while I've never played it I can definitely see why it's so divisive and I can't fault someone for either liking it or hating it.


Tedious may be a better word. Either way, though, FFVIII's systems, in the end, completely turned me off and I have absolutely no desire to go back and give it another shot. I've never played FFIX. I'll keep your recommendation in mind, but considering how many other games I have in my queue and my general disinterest in JRPGs at this point, I really can't say if I'll ever get to it.

And I can agree on execution, both for FFXIII and games in general. I find "linearity is bad" to be a bit simplistic, but if it's executed badly or doesn't fit with the context of the rest of the game, I think it can be a fairly easy thing to criticize since and open or linear world basically gives a game a large part of its overall structure. I mean, open worlds can be poorly executed as well. IMO, exhibit A there is No More Heroes. As much as I do love that game overall, the open world was pointless and made the game a lot more tedious than it needed to be in a few ways (not game breaking for me, but it's something I absolutely criticize). While I don't mind satire or artistic statements (really, I love both), doing either of those at the expense of gameplay is a gamble. I was glad when the open world was removed from the second game because it added nothing. It's all in execution and what anything brings to the overall experience. Neither linear nor open world is inherently superior to the other.

Bragatyr wrote:The only thing I don't like about attempts to make games more open-ended is that they often feel meandering to me. I probably do prefer something more structured, myself, there's nothing more annoying to me than wandering around trying to figure out what to do next.


An open world that does that would be first on my list in 'how to poorly design an open world'. Every open world game I've played that's good has some kind of journal or mission/quest list (Bethesda games) or mission markers (Rockstar games) so that when you're done exploring and sandboxing, you can just turn to that to see what to do next and where to go. I do like the freedom of open worlds, but they need some mechanic to give structure and not every game needs an open world. Fast travel systems can help a lot in that…though I have to admit I don't think I ever used fast travel in Red Dead Redemption because the world is just so beautiful.

Honestly, I've occasionally had more trouble figuring out what to do next in The Last of Us sometimes than I have in my recent open world gaming. But I'm pretty sure the designers intended it that way because it works in the overall experience surrounding that game.


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