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Author Topic: Adventure Games: Then & Now.  (Read 16773 times)

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DasWheel

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Adventure Games: Then & Now.
« on: June 06, 2006, 10:47:51 PM »

As the new meat, I figure I should at least PRETEND like I'm part of the group. As such, my first attempt at initiating a discussion:

As with many of you, I've been an adventure fan from days long past, particularly of the Big Dogs in the Sierra/LucasArts kennel as a lad. In fact, if memory serves, my first exposure was: "Police Quest: In Persuit of the Death Angel" (original) on my cousin's old IBM Frankenputer. Also, like many of you, I can definitely concur that it's been a bad decade for us Adventure-seekers in terms of selection, with very few choices, and even fewer GOOD ones within those.
That said, anyone care to opine or discuss some of the newer adventure blood that's been released in the past, oh, six years or so? Now, I'm not talking about the great homages we've come to love from places like Himalaya, AGDI, or Phoenix, I'm talking about the stuff that bears little resemblence to the classics, yet still falls into the category of AG.
Ex. Anyone ever play a Konami game c. 2001 called "Shadow of Destiny?" ("Shadow of Memories" in Europe and Japan) The interface surely wasn't what I was used to when it came to Adventure Gaming, and puzzle-solving of the classic variety was practically nonexistant, I still had a barrel of fun with it, my old Adventuring gland getting a workout after years of disuse; story wasn't bad either.

Before I ramble on any longer, I invite everyone to discuss at will.
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SirWulf2

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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2006, 11:11:29 PM »

I certainly agree that the selection of Adventure games has been rather subpar, there are a few of them that has kept my interest going.

I never have played Shadow of Destiny...

Probably my favorite 'new' Adventure is The Longest Journey.  They aren't kidding, it takes me forever to play through it, and the mixture of environments are very impressive, mixing both Sci-Fi and Fantasy in a somewhat logic sense.  It's sequel, Dreamfall is also decent, but by adding some twitch-based combat, it distracts from the story a bit.

The Syberia series I have also enjoyed quite a bit.  It certainly seems like a good old-school style, and good story.

I've recently played Scratches, which is a old fashioned 'trapped-in-old-haunted-house' thriller styled Adventure, in a good way.  It was actually refreshing to see a new take on an old style.  I enjoyed it, though I'm sure some won't.

Indigo Propechy sits on a thin line.  You can consider it an Action/Adventure, that seems to use a DDR style interface to solve puzzles and combat, in a rather unique and interesting way.  Its mystery and drama keeps you going, and as the choices you make can make a slight difference in story, there is some replayability.

And... I'm talking too much!
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haradan

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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2006, 12:55:42 AM »

Well, I have to say I did play Shadow of destiny some years ago but I never really got into it. It was one of the first games I decided to try after the Fall of Sierra and the subsequent Dark Ages of adventure games, so I was kind of searching for something to fill the gap and it wasn't what I expected, but I should probably give it a second chance now that the wound has healed. ;)
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JustLuke

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« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2006, 01:52:01 AM »

My favourite adventure game of recent times by far is Ankh. I consider it to be leaps and bounds above tedious, oh-so serious, pretentious and overly wordy twaddle like The Longest Journey, and yet even Ankh features somewhat shaky dialogue and humour that falls flat 80% of the time.

Whatever happened to the great light-hearted and comedic adventure games of the past? Modern adventure games take themselves so seriously - they have substance but no style, and they also lack that nice, subtle Americana (for want of a better term) feel that the best Sierra/Lucasarts adventures had.
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MusicallyInspired

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« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2006, 03:17:51 PM »

I agree with you to the letter, JustLuke. They're so serious and....empty. Serious is good, Fate of Atlantis proved that, but even that also had humour. That's half the reason why I think most people (gaming industries included) don't think adventure games can work nowadays. All they see are games like The Longest Journey, Syberia, etc. While all excellent (And even they admit it) it just feels empty. Like you're not accomplishing very much (plus the soundtracks are pretty bland and not exciting). It's this that probably causes most action gamers to feel like they're wasting their time with adventure games. If more of the oldschool "alive factors" were incorporated I think that adventures would stand a much better chance. Basically I think adventures of today are looked on and treated as art; intriguing, complex, and altogether confusing. Although art is a good thing. Adventure games certainly are an artform. But you gotta bring the level down a couple notches and make it down to earth. Not so it's completely easy, but just so it's interesting to the common person.

Which is what I'm confident Al Emmo will provide. :)

As for my favourite adventure outside the classics, I'd have to go with Riven (even though it too is still older). I have all the Myst games but so far I'm stuck at the beginning on Exile and can't seem to get any farther, so out of the ones I've played, I like Riven the best. Although Myst comes close. My fiancee loves Syberia, though.
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Angelus3K

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« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2006, 09:39:09 AM »

I have Ankh but not yet played it. I'll get right on it if you recommend it!
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Sartori

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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2006, 07:59:23 PM »

Shadow of Destiny, I saw this title mentioned earlier here. This is a very good game - quite solid in every respect of the word. I didn't entirely know what to expect upon playing it at first - and yes, it's definitely slow at points - but it is most certainly an intruiging adventure.

I'll agree that it's not for everyone, but since the death of Quest for Glory and company, it's a nice breath of fresh air - at least in reference to storytelling. The humor isn't quite all there. But this is fine - it's not the same style of game.

I'd recommend all adventure fans at least *try* this title for a while with an open mind.

Otherwise, as far as recent adventure games go.  . hmm .. King's Quest II VGA? ;-) Honestly, there's not much. I end up playing the same old classics again and again. It's just the best solution for the dead genre. :-(

Anyone have thoughts on Broken Sword series? I'm liking the Templar game, it's entertaining.
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MusicallyInspired

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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2006, 12:05:19 AM »

I have the first and third Broken Sword games but I have yet to play them.
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haradan

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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2006, 01:31:54 AM »

Well, although I like the humor we find in series like SQ, Larry and of course QFG (and from what I've heard, Al Emmo) I don't think that games being "too serious" is such a bad thing. KQ4 was pretty serious and it was one of the best in the series, and the same goes for SQ4.

I didn't feel Syberia 1 and 2 were "empty". A little illogical at times, and hmm, I don't know hot to put in english, but like too many things to do in order to acomplish some stupid little task (tedious?  :confused: or something like that) yeah, at some times, but the atmosphere was good and I found it even touching at the end.

I'll give Ankh a try, anyway!
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trudysgarden

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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2006, 07:54:44 AM »

I would have liked to buy Ankh, but I objected to the price, so it'll wait until I can buy it used.

Shadows of Destiny - I started this last fall, couldn't get into it at the time but it's still on the drive.  

For humor you can't beat Psychonauts (I know, not an adventure game).  I've put off finishing it because I enjoy it so much.  Tough game, though.

I actually fell asleep at the keyboard while playing Syberia with my daughter.  Will never live this down with her, since she loved it.

Totally agree that the games that have been released in the last few years lack a certain sparkle, I haven't found many of them that compelling and have caught myself more than once wishing during the middle of one of them that they would just get on with it, for crying out loud.  For this reason I now play more action/adventure and RPGs.  In fact I just finished Keepsake and kind of wish I could take a broadsword to the main characters in return for the torture of all the to-ing and fro-ing they made me do.

Two that I found myself thinking about when I wasn't on the computer playing them:  Still Life and more recently Secrets of Da Vinci - The Forbidden Manuscript.  I'm hoping I can add Al Emmo to this short list soon.

happy trails,

Carolyn

Sartori

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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2006, 10:04:06 AM »

I tried Syberia my self, which I failed to mention in my earlier post. Unfortuantely, it was to dismay. I wasn't enthralled at all with the characters, setting, or initial plot. Though I didn't make it very far, all I encountered was drabness and graphical errors. :-(

We're playing Super Mario Bros. 3 around here lately. Waiting for Al Emmo..
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JustLuke

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« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2006, 07:11:32 AM »

The problem with many new adventure games (such as The Longest Journey, Syberia etc.) is that whilst they are strong on plot they are weak on storytelling. The ideas are there but the designers just don't have the storytelling or writing abilities to effectively express them. This results in poor pacing and humour, long-winded dialogues and shallow characterisations. The games often remind me of the sort of stuff that sixteen year old would-be authors/poets produce - they aim for profound, deep and meaningful but achieve pretentious, cliched and shallow.

Adventure games (of the lucasarts/sierra type) are a unique tricky mix between story and puzzles, and many of the skills that are required to create a quality adventure game just can't be learnt in the game industry. If you look at the best adventure game designers they possess talents and professional skills that they gained prior to joining the game industry.

Given talented people to create the media, it's pretty easy to create an adventure game - just not to create a good one.
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haradan

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« Reply #12 on: June 15, 2006, 01:23:37 AM »

Quote
The problem with many new adventure games (such as The Longest Journey, Syberia etc.) is that whilst they are strong on plot they are weak on storytelling. The ideas are there but the designers just don't have the storytelling or writing abilities to effectively express them.

I think I see your point. Good ideas, not-so-good storytelling? I guess it makes sense that talent and experience are necessary ingredients for a good game. After all, the Coles had experience in theatre, Jim Walls was a police officer, hey, even Al Lowe WAS bald! :laugh:

Thanks for making it clear. For a moment, I thought that the seriousness of the games was what was being critisized. I love serious games as much as humour ones (just like books).

I agree that later games generally lack that special spark, anyway.

trudysgarden wrote:

Quote
Two that I found myself thinking about when I wasn't on the computer playing them:  Still Life and more recently Secrets of Da Vinci - The Forbidden Manuscript.  I'm hoping I can add Al Emmo to this short list soon.


I liked Still Life quite a bit, good atmosphere, but the puzzles were absurd at many times and the ending just sucks, I'm afraid.
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Angelus3K

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« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2006, 11:49:11 AM »

Quote from: "Sartori"
Anyone have thoughts on Broken Sword series? I'm liking the Templar game, it's entertaining.


Shadow of Destiny, if I'm thinking of the PS2 game by Konami, I loved that! Great story and good puzzles. Felt like a movie at times.

Anyways, definetly try the Broken Sword series, its in my top 3 all time favourite adventure games!!

Broken Sword 4 is also due out this September so get playing!!
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DasWheel

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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2006, 04:13:37 PM »

Well, it's great seeing all of these varied responses and discussion points; not to mention seeing a bunch of suggestions of what to play to get my little adventure fix. Speaking of, would anyone think less of me if I said that I'd yet to play "The Longest Journey?" I know, I've known about it for years, but never sought it out; don't ask me why. I think I kept confusing it with "The Last Express" for some reason, (because, y'know...They both start with "The" :doze:) but I've got a friend more than willing to lend me a copy.  Anyway, I don't know if anyone here has a Nintendo DS, but if so, you ever hear of a game called "Trace Memory?" ("Another Code: Two Memories" across the pond) I've been playing it, and having a great time, though I'll admit that a good chunk of it is a pixel hunt at points,(what do you expect with a stylus interface?) it really uses the DS' capabilities to make puzzle solving unique. Well, that's all I got. You?
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NightShift

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« Reply #15 on: July 02, 2006, 01:10:59 AM »

Trace Memory, you say?  I'll have to check that out.  Myself, I've been stuck playing Brain Age.  This is quite possibly the coolest and most addictive game that I've ever played!  Starting out, I really hated Sodoku, but felt strangly compelled to keep trying to beat my time.  It seems that now all I can think of is why am I doing anything but playing more Sodoku?  Actually, I'm gonna go and play some more right now!
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Pidgeot

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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2006, 05:39:35 AM »

Another Code really is a good and interesting game (or rather, tech-demo-disguised-as-a-game), the main problem is that it's a bit short - it doesn't take more than 4-5 hours to complete even if you don't know the solution.

Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable experience while it lasts, and it has some very interesting puzzles which take advantage of all the features of the machine.
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Pidgeot
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fov

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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2006, 07:02:47 PM »

I really enjoyed Trace Memory.  It may be short, but it was a lot of fun and had a great atmosphere.  I'll probably replay it sometime in the near future.  I'm looking forward to Cing's next adventure game, Hotel Dusk.

Phoenix Wright is a great adventure game for the DS, if you can find it.  A sequel is coming out in January.  Another adventure game called Touch Detective will be out in a few months, too.

Oh - and Shadow of Destiny is one of my very favorite games.  Really, really unique.
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Pidgeot

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« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2006, 03:54:50 AM »

Quote from: "fov"
Phoenix Wright is a great adventure game for the DS, if you can find it.  A sequel is coming out in January.


OBJECTION!

...the real release date of the sequel isn't known yet, as both Nintendo and Capcom have issued conflicting information - Nintendo says October '06, while Capcom says Q1 '07.

That being said, it really is very addicting. I could hardly put it down when I got it.
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Pidgeot
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Sartori

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« Reply #19 on: July 04, 2006, 09:16:21 AM »

Quote from: "Pidgeot"
Another Code really is a good and interesting game (or rather, tech-demo-disguised-as-a-game), the main problem is that it's a bit short - it doesn't take more than 4-5 hours to complete even if you don't know the solution.

Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable experience while it lasts, and it has some very interesting puzzles which take advantage of all the features of the machine.


I'm surprised you're on an adventure gaming website if Trace Memory's length is a problem for you. . . seriously.

Trace Memory is awesome and Phoenix Wright is FANTASTIC.

Phoenix Wright 2 and 3 are already made, so it's a translation and interfacing issue that must be delt with. It'll be here soon. :-)
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Pidgeot

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« Reply #20 on: July 04, 2006, 10:10:47 AM »

I never said it was a very big problem, just that it was the biggest. There's a difference :)

PW2 and 3 are indeed already done, albeit for GBA, and it did surprise me a bit to hear it would take so long for PW2 to come out. Then again, they will have to change at least one puzzle (and graphics) in case 1,
Spoiler
since it is based on two different ways to spell the name "Suzuki" in Kanji
, so I guess that WOULD take a little while.
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Pidgeot
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Sartori

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« Reply #21 on: July 04, 2006, 10:37:23 AM »

Quote from: "Pidgeot"
I never said it was a very big problem, just that it was the biggest. There's a difference :)

PW2 and 3 are indeed already done, albeit for GBA, and it did surprise me a bit to hear it would take so long for PW2 to come out. Then again, they will have to change at least one puzzle (and graphics) in case 1,
Spoiler
since it is based on two different ways to spell the name "Suzuki" in Kanji
, so I guess that WOULD take a little while.


Ah, I get ya.


Just to reiterate to anyone who missed it: buy Phoenix Wright immediately. One of the best DS games around with the most captivating gamelpay/characters I've seen in what feels like years. Most exciting thing I've played in gaming in the last few months aside from playing Nintendo Wii.
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