If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Tldr: at the last paragraph...
I've always thought as I grew older playing video-games, that they were starting to focus a little too much on storyline instead of gameplay and everything surrounding it. It baffles me that going from this link most of the games on the top ten lists are the ones with the simplest storylines or the ones with very little to no cutscenes; yet recently the focus of gaming has shifted to more storytelling and less gameplay. I'll use MGS4 (Metal Gear Solid 4) for example where I was quite disappointed at the fact that a cutscene ended, and I ran 6 steps and then another cutscene interrupted me.
My thoughts on this issue are that square has had a huge influence on the industry with Final Fantasy and all it's associated games. Their RPGs were always great for their stories, but square always managed to please the fans in terms of visuals, difficulty and their villains. I'm certain that their name flourished in the western world once Super Mario RPG and Final Fantasy 7 were released. Square games have a pretty loud fan base compared to Mario or Zelda fans even though the majority of their games do much much better in ratings with both reviewers, casual and hardcore players.
Nevertheless for Square as a developer and publisher, even though I loved their games, they have started to fail me. Their gameplay has evolved very little over the years to the point where the Tales Series has started to surpass them in terms of quality. I've witnessed the Tales development grow from Tales of Phantasia all the way to Tales of Symphonia and there's no disagreement. In terms of RPGs free roaming in battle is definitely better.
Another concern of mine that it seems that movies and games are trying to merge on both ends. The only successful movie I've seen that has succeeded in doing so is "Scott Pilgrim vs The World". That movie as much of an example as it should of been, has not been seen by many. On the gaming end we have Heavy Rain, which was alright, but there was no real consequence to failing anything if you think about it; the story is the gameplay when you look at its genre. Shenmue would probably be a better example of a good movie like based game. Even in Shenmue I did run into the problem of wanting to be able to performed the actions shown in the cutscenes. Running into the thought "Wow that was cool, but I wish I had been the one doing that" isn't very pleasant. In my eyes I think Metroid usually has the perfect balance.
There seems to be a correlation with how much storytelling is involved in a game and how difficult it will be throughout. Is it that they want to get the players through the whole process without getting stuck and with fear of ruining some sort of flow that could of possibly been introduced through the story being told? How much is too much?
Well I just thought about this after hearing the recent "The Loading Bar" with their review of "Yakuza 4".
I was also sent the video at the bottom in response to an issue going on with young gamers of the new generation. Although the video itself is a farce, there is some truth to it.
Script and voices from the show PurePwnage
That video was a statement against Yahtzee that Pure Pwnage did a few years ago.
I'm not trying to start a flame war here, but Yahtzee is a comedian, not so much a reviewer. His whole bit is focusing on flaws and I find that funny. Too many people try to take his reviews seriously and you can't do that. If you don't like his style of humor, that's fine. Just a different opinion.
It's true that a story really hooks you into a game, but there are the hardcore games out there for people who want them.
Square-Enix's game quality has gone down because they decided to start pushing out more games instead of focusing on a few, quality titles. Their heyday were the SNES and PSX era where they didn't farm out a lot of games, they took their time. (Though there were a few great titles that got screwed at the end of their development cycle, like Xenogears.) Add to that that these companies don't have the time or budget to focus on innovating (Hideo Kojima has stated this in interviews concerning the state of the Japanese gaming industry). So we're left with inferior products. Plus there's Tetsuya Nomura who is like the Zack Snyder of Japanese development. He has a unique visual style, but seems to be better off when he is reigned in.
Story plays as much of a role as it needs to.
Games are ultimately about gameplay and the interaction between player and software. If the story gets in the way of that interaction and lessens the player's involvement then it is too much story. If the player has no motivation to progress or continue a game then maybe there isn't enough story. If the player's interactions are aided and enhanced by a story then it is perfect.
But similar to movies that constantly explain things to the audience rather then show them. I want to experience a game's story rather then watch or read it. If I wanted to watch or read a story I'd pick up a book or a movie. Games should have an interactive narrative which involves the player interacting within the narrative.
Arguing that games are simply time wasters that have no artistic capability and should only exist as a giant dick wagging competition between nerds, as Pure Pwnage describes, is just as fucking retarded and misguided as the retards trying to turn games into movies.
Story is a gamplay aide and not much more. The correct amount is determined from a case to case basis.
My pick for game that best exemplifies a story's function in games:
In most games I see, it doesn't quite play enough of a role, though it is very hard to incorporate a story right through a videogame, and give you the lasting impression. The Final Fantasy titles seem to do this the best, but I'm sure there's many games I've missed out on that are of worthy note too.
The perfect game would balance the gameplay, and story together, and allow both to flow freely. But in most cases, the "complete objective" style doesn't allow for this.
WTF was that video?
And Portal is a game that perfectly combines game and story. What is he bitching about?