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Are Triple B games a thing?

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Thread title, and if so, what are your examples? Show your work, credit will not be given if you do not show your work. Since this is your final exam and worth 70% of your grade, I recommend you show your work.

Context: some friends bought Godfall on Epic Game Store and I was like YOLO sure let's play together (since we're basically done with MonHun World and that was our big multiplayer game). Godfall itself is...ya know, fine? Let's break it down.

- It's nominally a 3rd person action game with a ton of flashy effects and attacks. It looks great, but there's lots of technical issues (with the PC release at least) that hamper that (lots of frame drops and freezing and stuttering). The environments themselves look fantastic, but there's only (again, impressive looking) three areas and missions just have you go to small sections of each larger region. Think Twilight Princess' overworld areas and imagine selecting a mission from a menu that just has you explore one particular corner, and maybe that's a close approximation. tl;dr: looks great, but with technical issues and limited scale and scope.

- The story is a complete afterthought; it's the magical space future and hey; you're some guy in a lion robot suit. Your brother is another guy in a robot dog suit, and he's doing...uh...stuff that's bad so he can do space magic and become a God. You walk through a level that looks like it was ripped from Warframe and find Female Zordon and she's like hey we gotta go...like...fight the bad guy. And that's it. There's one line of dialogue mid-mission that is "You are walking through an old ruin." And that's it. Nothing before or after that. Like...no shit, I knew that? tl;dr: the story is an afterthought, only there because something has to glue everything together. There is dialogue and the voice actors are fine and everything is competent, but there's literally only 2 NPCs in the entire game so it just adds up to not really much of anything.

- The game is a "looter slasher", in other words a loot driven game like Destiny or...that Tom Clancy game? The Division? The one about Washington DC getting blown up that Ubisoft said "wasn't political". That one. Anyway. It's a loot driven game, and the way gear interacts with one another is satisfying. Uh, except for when you pick up a piece that's completely useless or gives a minor buff in an insanely specific circumstance and it's like...why does this exist. There's also skill trees (that can mercifully be changed for free at any time...more games should do this!) and augments you can equip that give you bonuses. Lastly there's 12 different suits to pick from...but the suits themselves are all mostly the same, only offering slight differences between how you would play (most suits just give you a 10% chance to inflict a particular status effect and that's it...and all status effects are just DoT effects and nothing else, so you basically pick a suit that matches your weapon's element damage and that's it). tl;dr: there's a lot of progression systems, and most are satisfying, but some are just complete blunders and there are some suits and mods that feel completely inconsequential.

- Lastly the combat is fun and actually kinda deep once you get all the special moves unlocked. There's a lot of things to keep track of; fighting multiple enemies, with blue power attacks that need to be parried and red ones that need to be dodged or interrupted with one SPECIFIC move that requires a gauge to build up...a gauge that also powers multiple other attacks too. There's also weapon techniques that are powered by one or two other gauges depending on the weapon class, a Devil Trigger style power up, special attacks that require proper input timing, dodge attacks, parries (with super generous timing) and blocks, a powered up state based on attacking non-stop, a way to power up your shield that you can use to power up certain attacks (and lose the buff in the process)...it's all just...a lot to take in, but pretty fun! ...that said, the game is easy even on "Hard", and I haven't gotten to the true end game yet but I'm not 100% sure it'll keep my attention for long. Which is fine; it's not a live service game and not meant to last forever. But the combat feels good enough that they maybe could've squeezed some more out of it and just...didn't. tl;dr the combat is great but there's kinda just...like, not a lot to DO with it. The story is short and the endgame is one of two modes that have limited lifespan.

So! I submit to you all: Godfall is a triple B game.

It looks great, but has technical problems. The levels are gorgeous, but small and repetitive. The combat is great, but the game is short and it's over before you can fully realize it's potential. The progression systems are fun, except for the (major) ones that are nearly irrelevant. The story/presentation is competent but completely inconsequential. The game LOOKS (dare I say it) "next gen" at first glance, but if you stick around for even a few minutes you immediately begin to see cracks in the facade. It LOOKS like a big triple AAA polished experience, and since it's a launch PS5 title is was pushed to be that by the marketing guys...but it clearly is a smaller scope game made by a small team that has maybe or maybe not pulled it off.

FWIW I'm having fun with it, but I just keep coming back to the idea of it being a "triple B game". It's something I called it completely off the cuff and I can't help but feel like it makes complete sense. Am I crazy? Is this a thing? Are there other triple B games?!


Last word: if nothing else, this game has two innovations that I love. The aforementioned free respecing of your skill tree at any time, and unskippable cutscenes...that you can open the (now slightly opaque so you can still see the cutscene) menu during and fuss about with your inventory during. If you're gonna have unskippable cutscenes, this is the way to do it. Let me play inventory Tetris while Zordon talks about...I dunno, crystals.
 

Becksworth

Aging Hipster Dragon Dad
Surely it's AA? By videogames standards anything under 80% is a raging trash fire, apparently.

I could see the possible distinction between “A tier game that is purposely smaller in scope than your stereotypical AAA kitchen sink approach” like your average Platinum game for example, and “Game that has AAA aspirations, but fails to achieve them.”
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
You see these sorts of graphical showcases, especially around system launches, but are actually quite short or limited from a gameplay perspective. Games like Ryse: Son of Rome come to mind, or the later-released The Order: 1886, which apparently had been in the works since 2010. And yes, you get games like this throughout the lifespan - those that primarily focus on graphics over gameplay - even at the tail end of a console's life. I would argue that despite all its success, The Last of Us also falls into this category. On PS3, it boggles the mind how good it looks and sounds (the presentation truly is fantastic!), but the gameplay itself is merely decent.
 

SabreCat

Sabe, Inattentive Type
(they/them)
You see these sorts of graphical showcases, especially around system launches, but are actually quite short or limited from a gameplay perspective.
Heavenly Sword came to mind when you mentioned this, but a Wikipedia check revealed that didn't come out until nearly a year after the PS3's launch. Huh.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
My favorite games are all 9-volt.
 
I'm not sure what "triple" is doing in this categorization.

That being said, I think I like it more as a term than AA because I don't understand what "triple" is doing. Triple A is just marketing garbage and not something that grew organically out of anything, so AA really doesn't have any meaning except relative to publishers or developers that self-present as Triple A. (There is a tier of games that people now refer to as "AA" because people have accepted "Triple A" as a natural term, but there was never a time when mid-tier or high-but-not-blockbuster-high budget games were more commonplace and those games were called "AA.") "AA" kind of accepts "Triple A" as a natural term and debases itself before it, while "Triple B" calls attention to how dumb "Triple A" is to begin with. It's videogames, so every tier is Triple, for some reason. There are Triple A games, Triple B games, Triple C games, and maybe even Triple Indie or Triple Self-Published or Triple Twine games. People love Nintendo for its Triple First Party games, etc.
 

Issun

Could be a fren
I've usually encountered the term "AA" to refer to something that's not quite indie but clearly not a AAA game either, with the Life is Strange series being the prime example.
 

conchobhar

What's Shenmue?
(he/him/his)
It's videogames, so every tier is Triple, for some reason. There are Triple A games, Triple B games, Triple C games, and maybe even Triple Indie or Triple Self-Published or Triple Twine games.
"Triple I" for slick, polished indies is a term I have seen used with no irony.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
If we're going by old-school baseball categorizations, it would be AAA, AA, A, B, C, D. (Only A-AAA plus a small Rookie League are currently active.)
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Surely it's AA? By videogames standards anything under 80% is a raging trash fire, apparently.

Yeah the game is getting savaged, which makes sense cuz it's not great, but it's fun for what it is, and I think that's enough. But I don't think AA makes sense for it?

I mean...I really want to make a distinction here. This isn't solely about budget. That's a factor, sure, but it's also...like, every good decision in the game is met with a bad or at least marginal one. The game just kinda ends up being a net even in terms of good/bad decisions, but the sum still manages to be greater than it's parts. Is this making any sense to anyone?

Like calling it an "A" game in any capacity feels wrong, but calling it a SUPER AWESOME B game makes total sense. Ya know?
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
I've always thought of "AAA" mostly in terms of budget. Like, what the game is meant to be - a tentpole for that publisher. It can also be a stand-in for the sort of generic, mass-market, and safe games, but I don't think that's necessarily fair; those games deserve a place, too. And sometimes those can be colossal flops, even if they're quality entertainment, so... yeah, can't hinge it on success.

I totally get what you're saying. Intended AAA games can definitely end up being B-tier games in the end, and sometimes B-tier games can be freaking awesome. (Speaking of which, another game that comes to mind that felt like it straddled the line between AAA and B-tier product was Luigi's Mansion. I love the game, but the size and scope were clearly smaller than the typical Mario launch title.)
 

Issun

Could be a fren
I would posit that how we feel individually about a term that has entered the popular lexicon has no bearing on its position in said lexicon.
 

Torzelbaum

????? LV 13 HP 292/ 292
(he, him, his)
I'm not sure what "triple" is doing in this categorization.

That being said, I think I like it more as a term than AA because I don't understand what "triple" is doing. Triple A is just marketing garbage and not something that grew organically out of anything, so AA really doesn't have any meaning except relative to publishers or developers that self-present as Triple A. (There is a tier of games that people now refer to as "AA" because people have accepted "Triple A" as a natural term, but there was never a time when mid-tier or high-but-not-blockbuster-high budget games were more commonplace and those games were called "AA.") "AA" kind of accepts "Triple A" as a natural term and debases itself before it, while "Triple B" calls attention to how dumb "Triple A" is to begin with. It's videogames, so every tier is Triple, for some reason. There are Triple A games, Triple B games, Triple C games, and maybe even Triple Indie or Triple Self-Published or Triple Twine games. People love Nintendo for its Triple First Party games, etc.

"Triple I" for slick, polished indies is a term I have seen used with no irony.
Would that mean that hentai games are Triple X?
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
I loaded a level up the other day and my light attacks didn't work. Heavy attacks did, my shield did...literally every button worked except the one you hit the most.

I found a red mod that, if you equip it in a slot that has 2 red mods next to it, will increase your damage in Rampage state by a certain amount depending on how much those adjacent mods boost your Might stat. The amount it would boost your Rampage damage was ZERO PERCENT. It's the second rarest mod type you can get, and if you meet it's strict conditions, it literally DOES NOTHING

There's something about this game. It can't be triple A, it just can't...it can't be anything but B. It's too stupid and bad. But it's on the face of it an "A" game...I dunno man. Triple B, it's real. I can't get rid of this dumb idea I had.

Would that mean that hentai games are Triple X?

Wrestling games are Triple H

Excellent work
 

4-So

False is the dawn that promises anything
I have this on PS5 but haven't played it yet. I'll have to check it out. I don't expect much of it, honestly. Just something to waste some time with. It's to the PS5 as Killzone: Shadow Fall is to PS4 or as Perfect Dark Zero is to XB360. You could play worse; you could play better.
 

Destil

Red Mage
(he/him)
Staff member
No, skyrocketing production costs have pretty well clamped out this space in the modern era.

You either put out fairly small games or your risk the entire studio with billion dollar budgets every title.
 

Sarge

hardcore retro gamin'
Maybe the Switch (and whatever follows that) is where A/B-tier games could continue to thrive? Seems like targeting lower specs (basically handheld) could allow a lot more of those sorts of games to exist.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I feel like Jedi: Fallen Order fits this bill. It's fun! But it has a ton of issues (at least on the PS4, which is how I played it).

Starting with the most significant identifier of modern AAA-ness, the graphics. Environments look great, but the game is rife with texture issues. They often load too late, and I even had one cutscene where the textures loaded several seconds behind their models, and this reset whenever the camera angle changed. Also, wookiees look awful.

As far as gameplay, running around and using your force powers feels good, but the combat was frustrating at best. I don't think the game ever explains to you that you're supposed to use your lightsaber like Sekiro and deplete enemies' stamina, which is further confused by the fact that the first time you get to use the lightsaber, you're chopping down a bunch of stormtroopers who die in one hit. I felt like I never got a solid handle on the combat, all the way through the final boss. Blocking and parrying always felt like a bit of a crapshoot whether or not they were actually going to work.

The game's cast is almost uniformly very good...except for the main character, who I felt just wasn't a good enough actor for the role. The evil fallen Jedi guy you fight later in the game was also a bit too obvious/over the top.

Audio-wise, the music and sound design are both excellent, but a lot of the time the speech was visibly out of sync with the characters' mouths.

Despite all this, it's a fun game and I enjoyed my time with it. I'm not gonna play it again, but it succeeds on some level. It feels a bit unfinished, I think, like a relatively late-stage version of the build that needed a few more months of polishing. Doesn't quite reach the AAA heights you'd expect from a high-profile Star Wars game, so what else can you call it but Triple B?
 
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