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Another list thread: Best Setting/Premise/Theme in a game

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  • Another list thread: Best Setting/Premise/Theme in a game

    I'd like to know what games you think have the most unique, interesting, or otherwise high-quality setting, story, background, concept, or theme. there are dozens of "best game of all time" threads, and other branching "scariests" and "funniests", but I dont recall anyone discussing this before. (yes, i did a search)

    My picks:

    1) Black Mesa, Half life. Incomparable to almost any other game out there. The mood and concepts (eg city 17 being eaten alive by a skyscraper) are what make me look forward to HL2.
    2) Fallout series. Apocalypse done right. I dont think it would have been half as cool art-wise if Black Isle had'nt chosen a 50's style.
    3) Thief 1. Medieval / Magic done right. Avoids fantasy cliches, and is very scary for a stealth game. (i dont think Thief II had as good of a mood or atmosphere)

    i would have put Aliens versus Predator, but i only think it was a scary game, not one with a very original or enjoyable atmosphere.

    yours?
    "Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

  • #2
    System Shock 2 --> creepy
    Final Fantasy VII --> The music and dialog made the mood.
    Chrono Trigger --> The music and dialog made the mood.

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    • #3
      Nice thread idea. I'm going to focus on the atmospheric ones.

      One classic that has still (!) a unique atmosphere is Alone in the Dark (the first, 1992). Tends to be quite ugly nowadays, though...

      System Shock (the first)! It was one heck of a month in 1995 when I played through that one. System Shock 2 was very interesting also and had a good atmosphere, but somehow I lost my interest in the game somewhere after the beginning.

      Ultima VII - The Black Gate was/is my favourite Ultima. And now most of the reasons why I liked it can be found in Morrowind...

      Ultima Underworlds were good too. Don't specifically remember how far I got with those, I recall playing them both quite far.

      In Baldur's Gate II, the temple of Lathander is the single most aesthetic place I've seen in a computer game. Always stirs my heart somehow, it's the ambient music and the Lathander statue combined. I feel at peace, or something.

      (And now, having finally played Thief through on expert, I'd say that Thief II has as a whole a better atmosphere and more interesting levels. Sure, the Haunted Cathedral maps were atmospheric, but the trickster levels were a real turnoff. Ugly and annoying.)

      I have to think of some more games...

      (EDIT
      Oh! Ufo - Enemy Unknown, the first X-com game, don't remember what name specifically it had in the US (X-com, Ufo Defense?). It's still good. And the first time it was bloody scary. Xenophobia at it's best. The egg-laying aliens who turn your men into zombies are still creepy. I remember reading somewhere that someone was planning to remake the original Ufo/X-com game with the Silent Storm engine ...

      X-Com Apocalypse had a good idea and was technically nice, but they had botched up the atmosphere. If only that game would have had that dark cattle mutilation theme the first had... And not those ridiculous looking aliens.

      And lastly, King of Dragon Pass is one of the most unique games ever made. If you like a really original strategic story-based fantasy setting (Runequest/Hero Wars), try it.
      My cats are black! How about yours?

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      • #4
        1.Deus Ex = Great atmosphere and a great storyline.
        2.Thief series = Love stealth games and medieval themed games
        3.Shogun:Total War= Great atmosphere and I have alway's been interested in the Asian culture.

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        • #5
          Heh, difficult, coz the difference between "favorite overall" and "favorite atmospheric" games is very small in my book, but i'll try.


          Carmaggedon 1 - dunno its just anarchy at its best. Screw the commercialized other parts with their shitty music >=p

          Gothic 1 - Remarkable : the underground temple of the sleeper. Especially the entrance is impressive.

          Gothic 2 - Most beatiful videogame world ever made.

          Resident Evil 1 non-DC, PSX - the classic, although i wouldnt replay it anymore i think. The garden house with its stalky music is one of my favs, the final Lab with its almost sad, desolate atmosphere too. Too bad both is lost in the GC remake.

          Resident Evil 2 - same here, best Resi, but soo old already too. Gotta love the ruined city at the start or the first parts of the police HQ.

          Ultima 9 Ascension - hehe finally there are some Computers out there which can run it smoothly. Overrun by time and clearly inferior to Ghotic now, but back then it was fantastic. Another "lives in my memories" ^^

          Silent Hill 1 - jeepers that game gave me the creeps.

          Red Faction 2, PS2 - cant understand why some people diss it. Gritty, in your face, brutal, good levels, hammer music. If ya liked "Total Recall" (the movie) youll love this one too.

          Unreal - uh, need i say more? Think i said that already in some other thread, but the level when you come out of the colliseum after fighting the first stone giant and you see the little nali village and then approach the mountains and see the merc ship laying on top of them was class. Sat there drooling on my keyboard for 5 minutes. Another good one : coming outta the vortex riker and hearing that music. Sniff.

          Medievil 1, PSX - Im not sure if it came before or after "Nightmare before Christmas" but it has that Tim Burtonesque touch for sure. Very unique. Id even dare to say if ya see it on a bargain shelf somewhere, buy it.

          Summoner 2, PS2 - flawless, but sooo pityfully short. My brain kept screaming "I wanna go there too, why is it blocked, more of it, more of it, waaa" everytime i played it. A perfect little world. Buy if ya dont know it

          Neverwinter Nights - it'll suck you in and never let you out again (kinda ^^)

          Exluded already mentioned games like : Morrowind, System Shock 2, Final Fantasy 7 , Baldurs Gate 1 and Thief to prevent this post from becoming even more bigger :razz:

          Worth mentioning : Aliens vs Predator 2, Metal Gear Solid 1, Max Payne 1. Although they had a wee bit too many stupid/shallow/boring aspects imho to make it on my list.
          My leet Thievery Map
          My leet UT3 Map
          My leet AS Map

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          • #6
            1. Alice - Absolutely insane (lol literally) atmosphere. Alice almost defines wierd games, and it does a good job of it. (really amazing, each different chapter has it's own emotion, gives every area of the game a unique feel)
            2. Red Faction - In the beginning when you and the other miners are revolting.... so awesome, has an incredible feel to it.
            3. Thief 1/2 - No explaination needed.
            4. System shock 2 - Just downright scary.
            <-- Resident Nightblade suggestion attorney...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bucchus
              Nice thread idea.
              Thanks. My name is J.C.

              Originally posted by Bucchus
              (And now, having finally played Thief through on expert, I'd say that Thief II has as a whole a better atmosphere and more interesting levels. Sure, the Haunted Cathedral maps were atmospheric, but the trickster levels were a real turnoff. Ugly and annoying.)
              i totally agree that the level design of Thief II was superior to Thief. I also agree that the trickster / underworld levels were hideous, and that killing the trickster was one of the easiest, least daunting tasks in the game. yet the story, especially the character of constantine, i liked much more than Thief II. there are lots of interesting ironies in the series, too. for example, morals: garret says he's a "good" thief. it is hard for the player to decide whether or not he is actually decent or not, and the sense of right and wrong is warped. also especially interesting is the use of light and dark: the evil comes from the shadows/dark (as some of the little Hammerite quotes in the cutscenes attest), yet Garrett needs to use the shadows to defeat it.

              Originally posted by Skull
              3.Shogun:Total War= Great atmosphere and I have alway's been interested in the Asian culture.
              i totally agree. i'm a fan of Japan. i even have a little samurai lego man on my desk. he's yellow.
              "Tyler sold his soap to department stores at $20 a bar. Lord knows what they charged. It was beautiful. We were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them."

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              • #8
                I'd just like to add my vote to the "Thief is spiffy" pile, and then put in that I found Avernum's setting to be rather interesting an unique. I've not seen another one quite like it. The massive underground cave system inhabited by weird monsters and illuminated by glowing fungus and stuff idea was a good one.

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                • #9
                  Thief 1. Medieval / Magic done right. Avoids fantasy cliches, and is very scary for a stealth game.
                  Couldn't say it any better!


                  I'd like to add Battlezone (The remake) to this list. Great story (Several twists, I remember this was the first game where I was actually pissed at a fictional character*), very fun to play, the maps could be tense. Stuff like mysterious artifacts spread around the maps made things interesting for me, even if they didn't actually pertain to anything but to help back up the story.

                  *A side character who turned out to be a traitor...and how it explained the disadvantages I'd been experiencing.


                  Well, I can't really think of any others. Battlezone is my favorite game of all time, Thievery coming in a close second, and then Thief.
                  Garlisk's Fantasy Art Gallery
                  www.usyetzer.com

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                  • #10
                    Resident Evil Outbreak
                    Salsa: The Z axis is the Acromaster's domain

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                    • #11
                      Planescape! I world where belief is a powerful force. Need more be said?

                      .hack series - What other game has you playing a 14 year old who's playing a MMORPG? Pity the game itself could be better. Still heaps of fun when one of your party yells out "Oh no! My cookies are burning!" and logs off. The l33t speaking npcs are fun too.

                      Ultima 7 part 2 also had an interesting setting - a land where the battle wasn't between good and evil, but between order and chaos. And the effects when order won were devastating.

                      Arcanum's setting was pretty good two with science vs. magic. Pity the game balance was broken.

                      Kingdom Hearts - Combines Final Fantasy with Disney without becoming (too) childish. Brilliant! "All world's return to darkness! The heart is no different!"
                      Immortius' Forge

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                      • #12
                        I have to pick Call of Duty.You can't get more atmospheric than this game.Especially with the Russian campaign.You have people dying all around you,explosions going off,machine gun fire zipping by your ears.Also,a poor sap huddled in the fetal position mumbling nonsense,the officers shooting soldiers who try to desert.It just all sucks you in and makes you feel like you are really there.

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                        • #13
                          My two favourites would be Planescape: Torment and the Thief Series.

                          Other good ones:
                          Baldurs Gate Series
                          Sacrifice
                          Unreal (The original one)
                          Half-Life
                          Dungeon Keeper
                          Black & White

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                          • #14
                            Undying,

                            a clive barker game (he made Hellraiser and wrote a load of horror books) truely amazing game, really sinister, one bad thing I would say is that about 3/4 of the way thru it starts to get crappy and too arcadey, but it makes shivers run down your spine.
                            ~TuF~

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                            • #15
                              1. Thief both of them - the tree beasts made me not want to go into the forest.
                              3. System Shock 2 - I am currently playing it....those spiders are giving me a hard time. And I am the "Insect?!"
                              4. Half Life - I hated those ticks!
                              5. Unreal - one of the first dark and gloomy games I played. All those noises...
                              6. Quake I and II - that snowman always scared me and it was so hard to kill.


                              I have not played Deus Ex yet but intend to.
                              formerly littlek

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