Video Games: Do Story Modes Still Matter?

Watching the news this morning I caught the story about the outcry in Iran over the storyline in the latest edition of Battlefield, and I came across a interesting interview in that segment on BBC News.

It was a fellow called James Beans from Edge International and this is what he had to say: “The average game player who plays Battlefield and Modern Warfare doesn’t think twice about the story. They’re just looking to run around and have fun in the gaming world. You can appreciate that by the popularity of the multiplayer games.”

This begs the question, do people even care about story modes? For me the only reason I ever play a game is if the story mode is gripping. The real reason why I loved Call of Duty 4 was its story mode missions. The sniper level where you are in Chernobyl has so much atmosphere, it gives you that visceral thrill of actually being in the game, so immersed you become.

The old Call of Duty’s especially COD2 also had that sense of history to them and recreating historic events. Once again the story lines were gripping. Unfortunately Modern Warfare 2 despite all its neat tricks didn’t have a hook and I didn’t enjoy that as much as I did the previous outings.

But do people care about off line story modes anymore? Do people even bother playing them or do they just head straight for the online mode? I still can’t envisage myself buying a game just to play online and not allow myself to be swept away in a good story.

Escapism is the use and gratification that I look for most in a computer game, while online can provide this, it can’t provide the same level of immersion.

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