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What's more important in an adventure game?

posted by Fealiks on - last edited - Viewed by 663 users

The puzzles or the atmosphere?

By "puzzles", I'm talking about puzzle quality, difficulty, abundance, etc., and by "atmosphere", I'm talking about story, characters, graphics, music, etc.

I think I might be in the minority in saying that puzzles aren't all that important for me. I play adventure games not for a challenge, but to experience the story. In fact, it sometimes annoys me when I can't get past a puzzle because it stops me from advancing the plot.

Some people would disagree, though, and argue that while the story is important, it can't hold a game up by itself. A good adventure game needs some good puzzles and brain-teasers to be worth playing. What's the point of advancing the plot if there's no challenge?

What do you think?

31 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Atmosphere definitely. That's honestly why I loved Shenmue 1 and 2 so much, which are 2 of my favourite games. It was really amazing walking around Japan/Hong Kong, being able to speak to people, get directions, see all the different sights in all kinds of different weather. Especially in the original when it was Christmas, and it would snow. The story was amazing too, shame it was never finished. Puzzles are fun, but if there isn't much of a story, then quite frankly I don't have that urge to continue in order to reveal more.

  • puzzles are definatly the most important part of an adventure game, story is important but an adventure game cannot do without the puzzles

    for instance kings quest 1 had an extremely simple story compared to the rest of the series, but the puzzles were good and challenging, and they included the points system which added replay, so it spawned 7 sequils... meanwhile the first episode of "the silver lining" (unnoficial kings quest 9) was just released and it's getting horrible reviews because it's basically nothing but storyline with only 1 puzzle of any consequence, the story's pretty good so far but the lack of puzzles kills the first episode

  • Puzzles. That's probably why I both love and hate the Professor Layton games. Puzzles, puzzles, everywhere! Gah! But that said, you can't just have puzzles without a good atmosphere surrounding them, so they're both important. Puzzles are just slightly more so, IMHO.

    When all's said and done, you play games for a specific reason. You play first person shooters to shoot stuff (hence the name). You play platformers to jump around a lot. You play RPGs to beat up enemies in increasingly less turn-based battles. You play online games to be insulted by 13 year olds. And you play adventure games to pick up everything you possibly can, solve puzzles and talk to people.

  • A good adventure game obviously needs both to be good. Good puzzles without an athmosphere? Then I could just go and play Sudoku. And not to forget that good puzzles typically come from experiencing a story where the puzzles fit and vice versa.


    Good puzzles can only happen if there is a good story, setting, characters, etc.
    The puzzles don't even need to be challenging, just give you something to ponder for some minutes and then you can say "heh, clever".

    I clicked Puzzles, since if I want athmosphere, I'd just watch a movie or read a book. An adventure game defines itself through the puzzles (which as said are based on the athmosphere), therefore, if there's no good puzzles (or at least SOME gameplay that justifies the genre), then the developers should better have made a movie out of that thing.

  • It sounds to me like having to choose between having lungs or being surrounded by breathable air. They're equally important and both required for it to be considered an adventure game.

  • I think your stance might depend on the first adventure games you played. If you first played Zork or King's Quest, you'd probably say that puzzles were more important. The first adventure game I played from start to finish, though, was CMI. The puzzles in CMI were, in my opinion, secondary to the graphics and story in terms of quality, so that may be why I value atmosphere more highly.

  • The poll doesn't ask what's more required, however, it asks what you are more interested in. I say puzzles, because there might be some games that have an epic story, great dialogue and characters, but the game itself can be a true letdown. But then again, you won't want to play a great game with no good story. However, in this case, puzzles are what make the game. I play point and click games because time to time I need to take a break from just endless button-mashing to play a game that makes me think for once.

  • I say puzzles. While I think that story and atmosphere are important too, the puzzles are what seperates movies/shorts and games. If we removed the puzzles from adventure games, then we might as well be watching a movie. This is also why, in my opinion, the Devil's playhouse isn't quite as good as many people say. Sure, the story and atmosphere have been good, but the puzzles, especialy their difficulty, can definitely be improved.

  • I certainly think they are of equal importance. A lack of either can result in a less enjoyable game.

  • They're both extremely important, but I went with atmosphere. I usually don't feel motivated to complete a game unless there's something about the story, the characters, the dialogue, the art design, etc. that I really like. At the same time, though, it really annoys me when a game is all story and virtually no gameplay (like Dreamfall) or when a game features long, non-interactive cutscenes.

    Re: the early King's Quest games: they may not have had much in the way of stories, but I really loved the atmosphere. The weird, surreal blending of Disney-inspired fairy tale settings and Greek mythology in the form of blatant Clash of the Titans rip-offs and terrible puns and morbid jokes and death sequences really appealed to me for reasons I can't quite explain. King's Quest IV is one of my favorite games in the series because it has such strikingly creepy and morbid moments (such as the zombie/grave-digging/haunted house segments) that feel almost completely incongruous with the Disney-like fairy tale whimsy of other parts of the game (the seven dwarfs' house, etc.)

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