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What elements make for an immersive game?

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I began my second playthrough of BioShock Infinite last night, and it ended up making me think a lot about immersiveness in video games.

I was both looking forward to it and dreading it for around a year now. It’s rare for the second time through with something to have the same magic as the first time, since there are fewer surprises.

So I was surprised to find that the game has much the same effect on me so far this time. I have the same sense I did before of being transported from my mundane life, and really being in this other place and time, immersed in this different atmosphere. The sense of place there remains unique.

Having played BioShock 1 and 2 now, I have to say those are also very atmospheric games—but not quite on the same level for me. And now I think I can list factors which play into why BioShock Infinite seems to have this uniquely immersive pull on me:

  • It’s in first person. Third-person is too detached and limiting, which is why this game beats TLOU for immersion to me—even though TLOU is very immersive.
  • You have time to stop and look around, and are in fact encouraged to do so. BioShocks 1 and 2 spawn too many continuous enemies to do this conveniently.
  • The soundtracking is often minimal, with the ambient sounds of the city in the foreground. This is more like “real life” than continuous soundtracking.
  • There are often things going on in your environment, many of them unique events. These are timed with your movements so that they seem spontaneous, both drawing you forward and encouraging you to stop and pause and pay attention. In short, the game is paced for you to explore and savour.
  • This is entirely subjective, but I find Booker very easy to relate to. We have a lot of the same reactions to what we see, so it is easy to be immersed both in the world and in his mind.

From your experiences gaming, what factors do you think help make a game immersive to the point where you truly feel like you’ve left the room and travelled to the game world?

@DylanC @killamch89 @kingpotato @The Blackangel @Alyxx @Aerielle del Rosario @Executor Akamia @skyfire


Edited by StaceyPowers
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For me this in no specific order. 

1. Graphics. something like no mans sky. or similar games. 

2. Plot deep as darksiders. 

3. Some multiplayer elements like say fortnite? battle royale mode with jungling capacity. 


These three things are in my current radar. Ofcourse I am taking character development and story for granted here.

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What draws me is the character personalities and storyline. To really get me into a game there has to be at least one character I can relate to really well straight at the beginning. Some would call it "kindred spirits". Then as the story progresses, there has to be some kind of conflict that keeps pulling me in. Be it an inner conflict with the character or something they have to face outwardly. I have to feel like I am the character in question. 

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Plot and gameplay 100%
sure the atmosphere and graphics are a plus, but when the story is good and the gameplay is on point I get sucked in right away. If the plot is bad I will normally skip the cutscenes or just do something else entirely while the cutscene is happening. 

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Some games can really stand out and immerse yourself without a good story. If the environment is beautiful and have as much time as I want to explore and pretty much go at my own pace and do what I want, then I can get pretty immersed. Just today I bought a flash drive and saved all my photos I've taken in game. And I'll tell you, later on I'll look back on those photos and have new nostalgia when I'm an old raisin. 

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