Home > The Walking Dead, Torchlight 2 > “Are PC Games All About the Terrain?” or “The Story Spectrum”

“Are PC Games All About the Terrain?” or “The Story Spectrum”

Jim Rossignol, one of the the stupidly intelligent (can that be a term?) folks over at RPS has an interesting argument, that PC games are “all about the terrain”. Well OK, it is less of an argument, and more of a thought, further fueled by the veritable Twitterati. However, I have played two games on the opposite end of a spectrum that I much care(d) about, which make me think that the best terrain alone does not a game make, and lack of other critical features can make it not worth your while.

Recently I played the first three episodes in season 1 of The Walking Dead. Stellar story, incredibly tense world, terrifying sense of dread. Now that I think back to the game in the context of this little piece, I realize that I remember little of the terrain, or if it had any major effect on me. I am sure it enhanced whichever situation it served as a backdrop for, but at the end of the day, story is what drove The Walking Dead, and I love the title for this reason.

On the other end of the spectrum is the excellent Torchlight 2, with a story so convoluted and under-developed, I literally stopped reading quest text by the second quest. The game won me over with incredible gameplay, deeply satisfying combat. Once again, when I look back at it, I have a vague recollection of the terrain, but that pales in comparison to the frantic button-mashing that took up 99% of my time.

What do you think? Do you think good use of terrain, or well-designed terrain can actually make a shoddy game passable, or it is just a background element for you?

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