which do you prefer "gameplay or story" before purchasing a game?

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I tend to look at the battle system a lot before making a purchase on a game. Story's tend to not gain my attention because I tend to focus on gameplay elements like collecting and leveling up.

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Depends on what game it is. Most games I prefer the gameplay but alot of games I just play for the story and nothing else as well.

Strong gameplay.

I play MGS games expecting both, which isn't common.

A thing of beauty, strength, and grace lies behind that whiskered face.

wow. tough.
I'd say gameplay for the majority of times.
Not much story in racers lol!

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If I want a good story, I'd read a book or watch goodfellas. Game with a good story but so so gameplay is so so to me.

Generally gameplay. In the case of story driven games, both gameplay and story

I think that in this thread, we'll see a direct correlation between increasing age and increasing love of gameplay over story.

That said, gameplay to the max. I usually ignore stories these days unless they're actually mature (in the "targeted toward adults" sense, and not the "blood and swearing/targeted toward male teenagers" sense.)

"'Casual games' are something the 'Game Industry' invented to explain away the Wii success instead of actually listening or looking at what Nintendo did. There is no 'casual strategy' from Nintendo. 'Accessible strategy', yes, but ‘casual gamers’ is just the 'Game Industry''s polite way of saying what they feel: 'retarded gamers'."

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So how would you explain a RPG?

Depends on the game.

I couldn't care less about story in a fighting game or 2D shooter.

In an RPG it's actually kind of important to me.