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Howdy listeners, I know we missed the preshow discussion last week, but Josh was only able to tear himself away from his new How to be a Man handbook long enough to record last week’s show.  Hey, who could blame him?

Anyway, Josh is still doing an arbitrary number of sit ups and push ups, so I have taken it upon myself to post this week’s preshow.

As usual, we will be telling you about all the awesome, and not so awesome games, we have been playing.  I’m sure Chris will announce one of them as the greatest game of all-time and Paul will use some exotic British turn of phrase, you don’t want to miss it.

Also, as a special guest this week we will be featuring the excellent Christopher Matulich a.k.a Timmy Walnuts, or as I LOVE to call him…The Nuts.  He will be weighing in his opinions, and as all of our new guests, we will destroy him with our superior knowledge.

Our main topic This week will center around freedom in gaming. Is there such a thing as too much freedom, or too little?  Are we searching for the ultimate comfortable balance, or is this another case of verbal masturbation?  Whichever it is, and I’m hoping the latter, it’s going to be a great show.

So, flip up the little legs on the back of that dusty keyboard and feed us some comments!  What do you think about freedom in gaming?  Which do you prefer and why?  Feel free to ask us whatever you like, and we will do our damnedest to answer any and all of your questions.

  1. Personally, I find freedom in general to be a little much. Don’t get me wrong I like it as much as the next guy, but a little structure wouldn’t hurt. Far Cry 2 comes to mind with this aspect in the fact that while it was still linear and you had a set mission, you could tackle it in a bazillion different ways. I call this the good kind of freedom. *Prepares for sh*t storm*. The Bad kind of freedom I usually associate with a lot of open world games because ( in my eyes ) they just drop you in a giant playground and leave your to your devices. my main beef with this is that In a game like GTA ( was gonna pop up eventually) I just do the story missions and don’t even bother with all of the extra stuff, because it usually feels like a waste of time, tacked on or just plain sh*tty. Ultimate Spiderman, Hulk Ultimate Destruction,Scarface The World is Yours and possibly others make it feel like its wasn’t a waste of time by giving you an incentive ( whether it be superpowers or the fact that you were one of the greatest gangsters of all time ). That’s my view in a nut shell.

    Sorry if that came off as a mouth full I just need sleep.

  2. I’m always aiming to find games with, not necessarily the most freedom, but the most options. This is why Heavy Rain appeals to me so much, as do most games that allow storylines to branch out, evolving as you play.

    Games such as Fable, that promise freedom but deliver so little, are my number one pet peeve in RPGs. Give us more freedom, more options, and more ways a game can be played, and I’ll be happy.

    Go die in a hole somewhere, Molyneux.

  3. I like that we’ve started insulting each other via front page posts, Chase.

  4. I prefer linear games that make you think you’re just exploring what looks interesting, whereas the game is really leading you down a specific path with its design. Having little offshoots from the main path here and there for secret pickups and what not is okay, but I don’t feel a game journey can really be all that strong if it isn’t controlled by the designer. The best experiences come from when the designer is in control but the player doesn’t realise it.

    Having several options to tackle specific tasks is okay, but not too many options that the design starts to falter.

  5. Born free! As free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows! Born free to follow your heart!
    Yeah, erm, let’s hope I has something more to say around podcasty time.

  6. @ kowbrainz

    YES. Just like Half-Life 2, where you *felt* free but were actually being funneled down a path the whole time to keep the story moving. Made the game flow perfectly while still giving you a sense of exploration and, well, freedom.

  7. I don’t think very many games can give you true freedom, because then where would a storyline come in? True freedom would mean you could become a farmer and never do anything else until you died.

    Most of the time the choices you get to make in a game are limited as hell. Even big RPG titles rarely have the amount of variation that would make it seem as if you had a real amount of choice in your actions.

    I don’t think we have enough freedom yet, and until we do I have no idea whether it will end up feeling convoluted.

  8. There is such thing as too much freedom. I think it is really important to ensure you retain key elements in a game such as a sense of direction, story and progression.

    Mainly what kowbrainz and Nick said, it requires that good amount of balance where you feel you are exploring, whilst you are still being pushed through a tunnel to reach the end.

    Equally, I personally think the only way a game can have too little freedom, would be you watching it, while it plays itself for you.

  9. I actually prefer games that don’t offer too much freedom. When the developer has more control over where the player goes, they can do more to control the experience to make it more intense and unique. Take Uncharted 2 and COD4 for example. Those games are very linear, yet the developer uses that too their advantage to create absolutely incredible single player experiences.

  10. Freedom can be iffy, as I’ll go in more depth come the podcast. But my biggest concern lying with freedom is the morality system that, for the most part, is also included. Theres just SO much that can/should be done with it, that it always disappoints me. I wrote an article about it a ways back, but I’ll be bringing in some points from there, along with some fresh ones, to show up these guys who claim “superior knowledge” over me.

  11. Bad news folks, Chris Matulich got lippy in the comments section, and is no longer welcome on the Limitcast.

    :(

  12. Morality systems should serve as a constraint on freedom if you follow a good path. Being good rarely has any negatives in a video game, with the exception that you can’t just steal anything that isn’t nailed down.

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