This ignores how they interact or elements on the borderline between being in different categories. Is the interface a graphical or gameplay matter? Are settings and characters story or gameplay?
gameplay > story > music > graphics
a responsive and fun to play game saves almost everything else being bad
a good story saves most bad music and graphics
good music saves poor graphics
i would say the interface itself is a gameplay matter, the visual representation of the interface is a graphical matter
a nice poppy interface that is a joy to use can have a pretty shitty graphical presentation and still be great
Every game has different priorities, but while bad music can severely damage a good game, it can't really save a bad game. Gameplay is usually the priority since it defines your experience more than anything else, but lots and lots of good games have had mediocre or bad gameplay and done just fine so it's obviously not the end-all be-all that fans want it to be.
I'd rather have such priorities listed in in order in game descriptions. Because who wouldn't want to play a "third person shooter > clay-like > Dixieland > dark comedy?" Or perhaps you feel like more of a "photo-realism > crime > business sim > hard rock"?
Depends on the game. Normally I would go Gameplay > Story > Music > Graphics, but for some genres (Phoenix Wright style games for example) the Story is much more important than the Gameplay (though I disagree with the common belief that story is more important than Gameplay in an RPG).
And a game that's really phenomenal in some of the lower levels can really pull things around. Like a game that looks as good as Okami, I would probably love even if its gameplay WEREN'T fun. And there are games with soundtracks so good that I forgive them for everything else they might do wrong, like Chrono Cross.
...what's an example of a really BAD video game soundtrack? The closest I can think of is unmemorable, which by definition isn't outright hurting anything.
There seems to be a misconception that graphics don't matter, because NES games are fun. I really don't get that. Yes, NES games are fun but they're just that: fun. We have so many more things than just fun now. Would Wind Waker be as enjoyable as it is if not for its beautiful art style?
And for RPGs and Adventure games, I think writing trumps all. The fact is, turn-based RPGs and standard point-n-click adventures have boring gameplay. If there wasn't any kind of style or engaging story compelling you to keep playing, you'd drop it.
People often say graphics when they mean art direction. Fidelity is good, but it's really only a tool.
>The fact is, turn-based RPGs and standard point-n-click adventures have boring gameplay
Absolutely disagree in every way possible. And I'm hardly alone. Do you think people play Pokemon for the story?
There is this conceit among certain RPG fans, an assumption that 1.) the writing in RPGs is good (which is no more true than any other genre--if anything, NONE of the most well-written games that come to mind immediately for me are RPGs) and 2.) that every other RPG fan shares this conceit.
I love RPGs, turn-based or otherwise. I like making numbers dance, and leisurely choosing my tactics from a selection of options based on the details presented to me, without having to deal with the stress of twitch-gaming. RPGs are relaxing while still being engaging. They're about building recipes for strong performance and seeing how well those recipes work. Really, to me, RPGs are the ultimate meta-game--they are about discovering the rules and the nuances of those rules and finding ways to bend them to the breaking point through the combination of the vast number of customization options that RPGs give you.
If anything, RPGs are one of the few forms of gameplay that I *don't* find boring. Twitch gameplay (which I would count as pretty much any form of action game, FPS, and even a lot of action RPGs) manages to be both stressful and tedious at the same time in some odd paradoxical cauldron of suck. Strategy games are better, but they seem to become rote much more quickly than RPGs. Sim games are good for about an hour of "Wow, it's cool that they thought to simulate that" and then they're just harddrive-stuffers.
RPG gameplay is fun for those who find mathematical exercises fun but like to see them put into practical applications (for given values of the word "practical." I'll admit that dragon slaying isn't a commonly called-upon skill). The fact that you personally don't enjoy that type of challenge doesn't make it a "fact" that RPGs aren't fun.
>Do you think people play Pokemon for the story?
No, I think people play Pokemon for the monster raising, multiplayer trading/battling, nostalgia, all social aspects that don't apply to most turn-based RPGs. They certainly don't play it for stat managing or the battle system.
Err, how do you separate stats and battle mechanics from, you know, battling?
This ain't Tamogotchi. "Monster raising" is just Pokespeak for "Level grinding" and "CharOp."
Managing equipment and all that.
There's a lot more to leveling up in Pokemon besides stat increases.
Regardless, what I said holds true: Pokemon is very much a social game. I've never seen anyone play Pokemon totally by themselves. You can't say that about most singleplayer RPGs, unless it's an MMO. So it's a bad example of RPG gameplay over story, because the things in Pokemon that make the gameplay triumphant are totally unique to Pokemon.
>I've never seen anyone play Pokemon totally by themselves.
Most people I know play it by themselves. The closest they get to social interaction in a Pokemon game is trading something on the GTS.
My personal problem is that I'd love to be more social with it, but the only guaranteed places you can find others who play are also the places that will think you're a pedophile. It's awesome if you already have friends who are gamers and might join in, or already play themselves, but it's not like bars or restaurants hold an 18+ Pokemon night. :(
Kids, the main audience for this, play it all the time at school with their friends. Remember those "Pikablu" type rumors we used to make as kids on the playground? That kind of stuff is still going in this generation. Everyone at my college that still plays video games hangs out in a corner of the dedicated game room a lot of times playing Pokemon on their 3DS's and socializing.
Yeah when they go home they play it by themselves, but they're not exactly isolated from the rest of the world anymore because of the various online features.
Regardless of what children do, it is clear that there are a lot of people out there who play for the fun of playing it, with little regard to the excuses you're making for why that game doesn't count.
How is "Pokemon is not a common example of an RPG" an excuse? It's a fact. If anything you're the one making excuses for not coming up with other examples of gameplay being more important than the story in a turn-based RPG, if you're so right.
I can rave all day about how much better the gameplay in Final Fantasy X-2 is then the first FFX, about how it's totally nonlinear and the combat is incredible. But the game still sucks, because the writing is an atrocious pile of vomit that's like a middle finger to the fans.
>But the game still sucks, because the writing is an atrocious pile of vomit that's like a middle finger to the fans.
You have terrible opinions.
> People often say graphics when they mean art direction.
This argument, of separating the graphics from the art direction, I could never understand. It would be like separating the music from the game from the composition and recording process, it doesn't make any sense. Without the onscreen graphics the art direction are just drawings.
IMO, it's just an easy way to say "I like this game's graphics" without appearing to be a graphics whore.
>There seems to be a misconception that graphics don't matter, because NES games are fun. I really don't get that. Yes, NES games are fun but they're just that: fun.
In reality, a LOT of those old games also had pretty damn good graphics back in the day. The first Super Mario may look crude today, but to a wee lad like myself back in the 85 who was stuck with atari (and my bro's commodore 64) graphics, that thing looked unbelivably cool and it sure is one of the reasons why the game attracted my attention. Graphics have always mattered, it really isn't a modern trend.
Right. And the 80s/90s are probably the only time you could really make a distinction between graphics and art direction. Games like Final Fantasy or Legend of Zelda had great concept/official art, but the graphics at the time couldn't even begin to express it. These days, though, there's no need for that distinction: even our handhelds are capable of amazing detail, so there's no excuse for graphics not to match the concept art except, perhaps, in very little details.
Take Child of Light, for instance. In one of the "Making of" interviews, someone (producer? art director?) said that the concept art wasn't meant to be some ideal, but to actually be within the game. Transistor seems much the same.
However, I can understand someone liking the graphics but not the art direction. Wind Waker is a good example of this: the animation and graphics are awesome, but the choice of cel-shading turned a lot of people off.
The difference between graphics and art direction is the difference between some "Real is Brown" shooter and Okami, or Katamari Damacy. It's saying that a game might have lower polycounts or lower res textures, but still look better than a game with more because of the artistry involved in using what they have.