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What's more important? Story or Puzzles?

posted by Ezny on - last edited - Viewed by 216 users

'Which do you think makes a better adventure game? Great story, or, Great puzzles?'

Just curious what people's position is on this.

Obviously they're BOTH important, but which one do you think trumps the other?


Oh and this is concerning adventure games, of course.

edit: Not voting until a few others do, not that it will influence my vote in any way. Let me know [or let mods know actually] if you think there should be additional poll options.

Equally important will not be an option.

39 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • @Majus said: It’s also the motivation for the player to solve puzzles at all, isn’t it?

    Also, to someone who is just discovering adventure games I would say this is 100% true.

    But to a veteran or experienced adventure gamer, I think solving fun new puzzles, in general, adds to the motivation.

  • Crazy game design related thing: in a well designed adventure game, the story IS the puzzle. Think of Curse of Monkey Island and how almost every puzzle, especially on Blood, involves Guybrush trying to save Elaine.

    A similar principle applies to most games, actually. Half the reason game writing is so shit 99% of the time is that you're always sent off on long periods to do some random, unrelated secondary mission. Kills any pacing.

  • Yeah, that's what I was saying, they're the same.
    Just imagine a novel, or a movie. The hero has a problem, and needs to overcome obstacles to solve that problem. That's the story.
    Obviously, that's also the puzzles when it goes from book/movie to adventure game.

    I just can't see how they could be separate so I can't say which is more important, they're the same thing as far as I'm concerned. What makes a good adventure game IS making sure that they're the same thing (so, no puzzles that have nothing to do with anything, for instance).

  • I feel like great puzzles can't elevate a game with just an ok story as high as a great story can elevate a game with just ok puzzles.

    Then again, I absolutely love Professor Layton games which ride exclusively on the puzzles. So I kind of contradict myself here.

  • Here' my opinion:

    It is a game after all. If the actual gameplay is somehow less important than the story, why make it into a game?

    Of course they're both very important, and the game would suffer as a whole if either were weak. But for me, I think puzzles have a slightly higher priority because they are what makes the game a game after all.

    If the puzzles are not challenging enough, it's more like I'm just 'turning the pages' so to speak to further the story, rather than rising up to a challenge and feeling like I actually accomplished something. I think this is the core of what gaming is, isn't it? Feeling like you rose to a challenge and accomplished a goal.

    When I play an adventure game, I'm always looking forward to enjoying a new storyline, but I also want to play a game, and be challenged. If I didn't want that, I'd just watch a movie or read a comic ect ect.

    However, with that said I DO think there are some adventure games that did cross the line and make them OVERLY difficult to solve [Discworld comes to mind] but for me personally that never affected the story for me in a negative way.

    I don't think too much stress should be put on pacing either. After all everyone is going to explore the game world in a different way, and at their own different pace. I don't see any need to push the game forward at a regulated tempo. Maybe that's just me though.

    I wish I coud explain this better, that's the best I can do for now.

    I'm not referring to any games in particular, just adventure games in general.


    edit: and I do agree that the puzzles should be related to the story, and not just puzzles thrown in for puzzling sake.

  • I can't possibly vote on this one, because what makes a great adventure game is that the story and plot run along side by side, seamlessly. Every story has conflict and problems that need to be worked out. Playing as the hero in an adventure game is the same as a book, you just don't get told what to do next in an adventure game, you have to figure it out yourself. Which is what makes it so much fun.

    Although, there have been maze puzzle and other things that seem a little out of the context of the story, but if they are integrated well enough, they don't need to seem forced.

    If you are talking about the amount of uncontrolled story (cutscenes) versus puzzles (meaning the walking around and figuring stuff out) than I would say the puzzles should have more time in the game. I never liked watching endless cutscenes. I want to play the game myself to figure out the story.

  • @Linque said: I feel like great puzzles can't elevate a game with just an ok story as high as a great story can elevate a game with just ok puzzles.

    I have to disagree, but that's just me.

  • I said story, which is odd, because puzzles are the only thing I would consider essential. There are a good few adventure games out there where I've not understood the story one bit, but still enjoyed solving the puzzles and stuff, but I cannot think of a single adventure game where I've understood the story and not the puzzles.

    I guess while puzzles are the 'fun' bit, in order for a game to really excel, it should draw you into its world, and can only do that with a first rate story.
    Is my view anyway.

  • I guess this is like asking: What's more important? The cereal or the milk? :D

    I understand what you guys are saying.


    Oh and I don't mean cut scene time... Just in general.

    edit: ok how 'bout this? 'Which do you think makes a better adventure game? Great story, or, Great puzzles?'
    Less confusing?

    edit: I give mods full permission to make that the OP title, but I'm not sure if it will fit... At any rate I give you permission to change the poll's question to that... please? :D

  • @doodinthemood said: in order for a game to really excel, it should draw you into its world, and can only do that with a first rate story.

    That's true.

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