The Importance of ‘Objectives’ in Games

An aspect of games I often feel doesn’t get enough attention would have to be ‘objectives.’ After all, in most games they are suppose to be what drive you from point to point! More specifically though, I’d like to talk about them in first person shooters. Mainly since this is where they can be the most important.

In a lot of FPS games, your objectives can sometimes be a big part of the story telling. Depending on the FPS, it can be hard to have lengthy cut scenes to flesh out the story and tell you what to do, mostly because doing that would bring your game to a grinding halt when you should be getting excited for the next shoot out. This goes double for FPS games where you are a silent protagonist! Since they can’t even complain or question what they are doing.

Some games do this super well though! Half-Life 2 and Bioshock come to mind. Even more so in Bioshock‘s case as it worked it’s objectives into the overall story. Recently I played through the Metro series. Namely the first two games, Metro 2033 and Metro Last Light. And I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first but not so much the second. And when I gave it some thought, it really came down to the objectives of the games.

Now before I continue I should probably say that I think both Metro games are pretty good games. But I can’t deny how much more I enjoyed the first. I won’t go too into the story of each but the series takes place in the metros of Russia after the world was destroyed in nuclear war. Everyone who survived the war now must live in the metro due to the radiation and monsters that cover the surface. Said monsters are beginning to pose a bigger and bigger threat as well, which is what causes our main character to embark on his journey! The story and setting of each game is honestly really good. The setting and atmosphere in particular stand out! The games are based on a series of books. And the games were even made with the author of said books, Dmitry Glukhovsky, working with the developers!

The games are also rather similar to each other. They each share very similar game play and game mechanics. Yet 2033 very much has a leg up on the sequel, Last Light. And this mostly comes down to the objectives and what’s really driving you through the games. While I have not read the books myself, I have heard from people that have read them that while 2033 follows the first book of the series pretty well, Last Light on the other hand is almost completely original. At first I thought this would be a good thing! Maybe this way they could make the story and world work better in a game setting. Sadly I was rather mistaken…

In 2033 you always feel like you are moving. It feels like you are getting things done and tackling new problems as they arise. Last Light on the other hand, despite having you go more places and see more things, makes you feel like you are getting practically nothing done through out the game. And this mainly comes down to the objectives. In Last Light you are always chasing something or someone. And rather than actually find what you’re after it is instead always pulled away from you at the last moment until the very end of the game. Where it isn’t even that satisfying to confront because the game long build up was certainly not worth it in the end… I feel like this probably comes down to the fact that the developers didn’t have a book to fall back on when it came to the story. It’s just really baffling that such a simple thing can change so much. I honestly feel like I would have enjoyed the game much more if nothing was changed besides the objectives and what was driving me from point to point. If the game at least had me chasing after new things and actually managing to do something when I got to them, it wouldn’t feel like I was constantly doing absolutely nothing whenever I finished each objective. It really soured an otherwise really enjoyable experience! So much so that I’m actually going to wait to pick up the third game in the series now, Exodus.

But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Have any games that were bogged down by lackluster objectives? Or maybe you don’t feel that objectives play that big of a role in games at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

And thanks again for reading the post! If you enjoyed it, feel free to leave a comment or give it a like. Maybe share it around on Twitter. Any interaction is appreciated so don’t be shy!

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