I’m writing these in the order that I care about them but I would like other peoples opinions.
Gameplay - I’ve always thought gameplay was king and that it the gameplay is amazing it will always find its audience. Games like Doom (2016), Forza Horizon 4, or even old classics like Mario Bros 64 will always seem to be around because they simply feel great to play.
Characters - While this may seem tied to Story there are many games that have amazing characters that make you fall in love with a game, even if the story doesn’t. I think many non linear open world games can show this like the recent Far Cry games with its memorable villains, Borderlands, Fallout or Destiny where you along for the ride cause they are not really caring where they are going specifically.
Artstyle - This one seems more controversial in modern days then I would expect. People will completely ignore or only play titles just based on visuals. People like to say it doesn’t matter but games will judge a game like The Gunk or Deep Rock Galactic just based on artstyle.
Story - A story can make a whole game and at times it even feels like the gameplay get in the way from experiencing an incredible story. Some clear examples of this are games like Undertale, Life is Strange, and The Walking Dead where while gameplay isn’t bad its really the story thats drives you to keep going forward.
Music/Sound - Some games are made due to there Music or Sound design. Ori, Witcher 3, Alien Isolation, or even Halo’s Iconic music.
It honestly depends on what type of game the developer(s) is going for. There are plenty of games that can get by on ‘just’ gameplay because the developer(s) has made sure the core gameplay is satisfying and rewarding. Other games can get by just on its story, I mean a lot of walking simulators do just that. Finally you have games where the visuals and sounds is the main draw and evokes strong emotional reactions that way and that is the point of the game.
That’s the beauty of the medium we all enjoy and how there are multiple ways to get enjoyment or memorable experiences from games.
I lose interest fast on story if the story isn’t memorable, half of the time I can’t even remember what’s happening or why this is that. I have this really weird thing where I can’t remember stories in games very well lol. Gameplay is really more key for me, the game has to be fun to play first and foremost. I think this is the reason why story goes a bit boring for me is if the game isn’t fun to actually play.
Huge Halo fan but in all honesty I can’t even remember what happened in most of them expect the big beats. Halo 5 Cortana bad, Halo 4 that robot dude, Halo 3 all I remember on Halo 3 was killing the scarab and the end mission with the worthog lol and so on. I know what’s going on when I’m actually playing the game but it goes out my brain soon as the next mission starts (probably a me thing)
I think Characters are extremely important though, if you’re playing someone who is boring or you don’t like then the game just goes downhill at least for me.
If I had to list it;
Characters / Story
Graphics / Audio / Setting
I think Graphics / Audio / Setting are all extremely important but I would say Story and Characters are a little more important because if they aren’t good I’m probably not going to play the game long enough to even enjoy the Graphics / Audio / Setting lol. Gameplay will always be #1 for me though, as that’s even more the case for me that I wouldn’t play the game long enough to enjoy the story if the gameplay is shit.
My thoughts too, though I would say where a game has characters and a story, those done “poorly” or more “barebones”, takes me out of the game a lot more than the odd mechanical hiccup or less than stellar graphics.
From a developer standpoint the gameplay loop is the most important thing IMO, it’s what the majority of players care about the most, but for me, someone who only plays single player offline games, if the characters, story, and setting don’t draw me in then the gameplay can never keep me playing a game.
I hate having to insinuate Im mentioning Vinyl but his take that videogames are a terrible medium for Storytelling is just what I consider a very wrong take. We have videogames with better stories, characters and music than traditional movies and books. Games like TLOU, Mass Effect, Hellblade, MGS, Halo, The Modern Warfare trilogy, Gears, Final Fantasy just for starters off the top of my head. They perfectly use videogames as a medium to tell compelling stories that are memorable and impactful to this day.
I get putting emphasis on gameplay > story in order to enjoy a game because that is my stance but not all opinions are right.
If a game it’s supposed to have a story, then it shall be first, if you develop the story you need the characters, after that the gameplay, the gameplay needs to be developed in what the story needs, or you are going to have a ludonarrative dissonance problem in your hands.
After you know how the execution it’s going to be, you can invest in the composition, the art style, timing, cinematics, music, etc.
If a game it’s supposed to be “fun”, then the gameplay shall be first, that said, if a game developer really want to express something the gameplay should be developed to be the bridge between what you want to say and the player, and so having the story first it’s a must.
What drove me into gaming is the same thing that made me love books, movies, TV-series and RPG: Stories.
I play games where gameplay is the only thing too, it can be relaxing or competitive etc. but my main thing is interesting stories and immersion into other worlds.
Story. Here I would also place setting, characters, world and lore. That forms the basis for the immersive experience I’m looking for.
Gameplay. It helps when the actual gameplay is fun in and of itself, be that combat or what have you. One of my favourite ways of noticing the gameplay is fun is when you make that last save for the day, and just goes crazy for a bit without consequenses
The rest. Graphics, audio etc. Not unimportant at all, but I can play a game with a great story and poor graphics, but the other way around is much worse.
For most games, gameplay is #1 and everything else is #2. There are some notable games with meh gameplay that I still enjoy because the graphics/sound/story are really good, but they are pretty rare.
For narrative-focused games, story is #1 (obviously) since the focus isn’t on moment to moment fun. Just like books though, if I get to the end and feel like I wasted my time, it’s pretty disappointing.
I always find that interesting. As I mentioned earlier on I play with no sound and I don’t have the attention span to listen to a story. The only story based games that I can really play are the ones with the worst gameplay because its impossible for me to get distracted. Like the TellTale games or DontNod games. If I want a story I’ll read, if I want a performance I’ll watch a movie, but for games I prefer gameplay that I can just play nonstop.
I primarily come to video games for relaxation and escape… the feeling of belonging to a different world for a while. I love books and movies also, but games offer that kind of immersion on an even deeper level.