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What do your favorite games have in common?

Soapy

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I've been thinking recently about what commonalities might be shared between my favorite games. What makes these my favorites as opposed to those?

What about you? What common elements, if any, exist between your favorite games? Is it genre? developer? designer? gameplay elements? Something less obvious?
 
Platforming. Looking back, I have fond memories of the old SNES Mario games and Super Mario 64, Banjo Kazooie as well as Spyro 1-3 and the Jak and Daxter series. Now, my favorite games are the Uncharted series (also by Jak and Daxter's developer) and Devil May Cry series.

Equal parts story and gameplay.
 
Ninjas, and Stealth mostly, next to empty-handed or melee based combat. Female protags.
 
I love so many games that its hard to pin down. I love anything with great atmosphere. Like I loved bioshock. I also love big adventure games like uncharted 2 and 3 and the new tomb raider. I love exploring in games. Whether the exploration is linear or not, I wanna feel like I've discovered something new
 
I like a lot of different stuff but thinking on it most of my all-time favorite games are science fiction and story centric.

I obviously want the gameplay to be good but I'm more likely to forgive mediocre gameplay if the story is impressive and compelling than I am to forgive a mediocre story if the gameplay is good (though it has been known to happen).

So in that respect I am a story guy.
 
Off the top of my head: initial, almost frustrating difficulty when first starting out, which then turns to enjoyment after I learn to master many aspects of the game system and discover its nuances. The weirder and stranger these systems first appear to be, the better. Being able to clearly recognize that the hours you've put in has made you a much better player than when you first started is very rewarding.
 
Exploration. Doesn't mean the game has to be non-linear, it just means there's things off the beaten path for the player to find that other players may never find.
 
This took some thinking. Ultimately I think it's a sense of freedom and choice. Being able to toddle off and do my own thing, or makes choices that effect the game-world, even something small like customization. Which isn't to say I don't like a good linear shooter or whatever now and then, Max Payne, The Punisher, Tomb Raider, etc. Looking at my favorites though, Return Fire, Carmageddon, GTA, Worms, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect, and so on and so on, there's a clear sense of freedom in either movement, choice or both.
 
Story, the ability to just wander the **** off into the distance and deal with everything later. I like to just explore the area, if that means I spend twenty hours walking to a mountain and trying to climb it when you can't then so be it.
 
A sense of adventure and bright colors. Grandia, Skies of Arcadia and Lunar: SSS all rank high on my all time list.
 
Stealth, 3rd person view, Customisation if a game has these I'm there, think:

Hitman/Metal Gear/Deus Ex/Skyrim

Play and enjoy others but these would have to go down as my top picks
 
I have no idea. Just games that can make me excited for a hour or so at a time because that is all I have time for unfortunately.
 
Just to add to the list. Player choice and CAPCOM. Fighting games.
 
Action, adventure, exploration, collectables and varied environments. I think that covers the Arkham games, Assassin's Creed, Uncharted and Ratchet and Clank pretty well.
 
Longevity, I tend to go for games that have a lasting appeal (God of War, Uncharted, etc.). I love games that you can continue to play as the time passes and its still a fun experience.
 
Free roam, pure and simple.
I'll play any game in any genre, as long as it's free-roam sandbox. **** linear gameplay.
 
Third person view. Great combat system. Diverse gameplay, with combat, stealth, and puzzles. Games like Arkham City, Devil May Cry, and Zelda games.

One thing I really appreciated about the new Tomb Raider, was that it was free-roam but still had a linear feel that kept the story going. I hope more games attempt something like that in the future.
 
Third person view. Great combat system. Diverse gameplay, with combat, stealth, and puzzles. Games like Arkham City, Devil May Cry, and Zelda games.

Ohh yes, I should have mentioned that before. I don't think I've spent money on a 1st person game since the original Left 4 Dead.
 
Something that isn't just a linear game. Has to be an aspect of free roam to me. Also games that feel like big worlds and dont feel like nothing exists outside the stories your playing.

My favorite games are the Mass Effect Trilogy and the Arkham Series. Watch Dogs also looks like a perfect game for me. Also a fan of Assassins Creed but I feel like those games can be far too long. Assassins Creed 2 could have been cut down a hell of a lot IMO.

Games as well have to feel like they are building up to something IMO as well. When I look at reviews, what it says about the ending always interests me. There is nothing I hate more in a game than investing 30 hours, got my character perfected, the side characters are characters I legitimately care about and then the ending is crap. Which is why the ending to Mass Effect 3 is still painful for me. By far my favorite world in any video game.

I also just completed Borderlands 1 (I know very late) and I really disliked that ending. Felt like something big was happening. Then, credits. Me and the friend I was playing it with just sort of looked at each other thinking "what?".

And maybe it's just the generation I was introduced to with gaming it has to look good. Sort of movie-esque in its look. Old PS1 games just do not appeal to me unfortunately.

So yeah for me -
- rich big world (Mass Effect is perfect for this)
- Aspect of free-roam
- Length that fits the story
- Rich characters
- Decent graphics
- Strong ending
 
There are certain tricks in gameplay, maybe
You do stuff, not just one thing and go on
And then there is what Alchemyst said
 
I like to think that I have a wide taste when it comes to games. There are several genres that I generally don't dabble in but among my favorite titles you'll find some pretty vastly different beasts; from something like Super Mario World to Red Dead Redemption. That being said, I do have commonalities in what I like. I'm usually drawn to narrative games with strong writing and characters. But at the same time the gameplay has to be equally strong.
 

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