This is a subject that Im sure everyone has floating around in their minds somewhere. Modern game developers are focusing more and more on art designs and details than anything else. The only few game genre's that get the pass are racing games and the occasional sports title, and thats only for the simpe reason that they are meant to feel as realistic as possible, as if you were watching a live event on TV. but other games do it to a degree that isnt even necessary. let me explain in a better way so you dont just assume im saying something stupid like "graphics are too good"
i recently got around to Firewatch, which had some of the highest reviews of the past 3 years. i wanted to know more about what the story would be like so i took to youtube to watch some lets players and get the gist of what it was really about before buying it. well, that was my original plan before watching them play through the entire game, and that only took about 4 hours. while the game did look amazing and i loved it the entire way through, i realized soon after that the game was actually not that good. if you dont want to spoil it, then skip the next 2 paragraphs
so where do i start. the story goes like this- you want a break from life after your wife got dimentia and left the country to live with parents. so you take up a job as a watch tower look out for the summer. from there you go on various tasks while talking to a girl over the radio who you never actually meet. as the story progresses, you start finding weird things in the woods, like a transcript of all your conversations with the girl on the radio, a fenced off area nobody was aware about, and even two girls who you meet early on are reported missing a week later. your character believes that you are being studied while in isolation in the woods and the two of you start going crazy. the man who is following you even finds things out about you that were never said by you and at one point tries to frame you for burning down the forest. at the end of the story we find out that the man behind it all was a friend of the girl you meet. a few years ago he accidentally got his son killed in a cave and has lived in the woods trying to hide it ever since. everything that happened to you was his attempt to... i dont even know to be honest... i guess he felt that closely monitoring you would help him hide or whatever and its all a big metaphor for human nature.
but there were so many plot holes it wasnt even funny. the man had set up a huge fenced off area full of military equipment with no explanation to how he got any of it while camped in the woods. you find out that he left his son to rot in a cave and he tried to hide it forever, but why not just go to the police and try to help him? the whole reason for him tracking you was because you briefly saw him for a split second at the beginning of the game. in a normal situation, anybody would have brushed that off and moved on. hell, he would have had a better time hiding if he ignored your character and the girl entirely. the man confesses it was only him who was behind it, but we see his tent with 3 beds in it, and there are even clues left in a local campsite that campers recently departed from, leaving us to believe an entire organization was behind this.
alright, back to my point. this game was short, had a bad story, yet it has amazing review scores for being very visually pleasing and immersive. not to mention the story was short with only one outcome. so while i wanted to buy the game i now have no need to because ive seen everything, there was no gameplay whatsoever besides walking, and its only 4 hours long... my point is that you could trim it down and you essentially have a movie. thus why i say video games are becoming too cinematic. for whatever reason i stared playing Pac Man on my 3DS and got addicted for weeks. Why? becuase every level, although short and basically the same can be played a million different ways and have infinite enjoyment instead of a 1-off. you could never play Pac Man only one time through and say you fully experienced it. we need more games like that where someone can enjoy it endlessly at their own leissure. not a movie where you have to control where the main character walks. i gave a similar review on steam for Dr. Langeskov and it was also negative. why? you walked around the whole time, it was 15 minutes long, and i never felt a need to go back to it. if games want a story, at least do something like Xenoblade Chronicles where it can last longer than a movie. otherwise, it should just be a movie.
im gonna stop rambling on now. but what do you think? is it time to drop these cinematic experiences and return to what gaming was about before, or do you prefer this direction?