Author Topic: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games  (Read 3094 times)

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
I didn't find Sands of Time combat hard, it was just repetitive. Combat in the second game was better but the mood of the story tried to get too edgy with heavy metal, swearing and chain mail bikinis in the rain. Haven't yet gotten to the third game. Forgotten sands was decent if forgettable.

The problem for me with sands of time is the hand-holding. Whenever you entered an area, the camera would pan around and show you which way to go rather than letting the player figure it out for themselves. Then it was just a matter of executing the moves.

In fact hand holding is a massive pet peeve of mine in general. Games which tell you what to do before you get a chance to fail. Arkham Asylum, Gears of War 3 are some of the games guilty of this.

 

Offline Mongoose

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Prince of Persia : Sands of Time. - Climbing the Tower of Dawn without the Dagger of Time
I can certainly understand the frustration with that segment, but I honestly kind of liked it myself.  I think Tycho of Penny Arcade said it best a long while back: that segment was the true "final boss" of the game, with the actual final Vizier fight being just something of an epilogue.  It was basically the game's way of saying, "Okay, you've been using these skills the whole game and honing your platforming, now let's see if you can hack it without that safety net below you."  Like I said, totally get it if that choice didn't work for you, but it clicked for me, and I got much more frustrated at myself than the game for my failings in that sequence.

And yeah, Warrior Within was totally 3EDGY5U, Godsmack soundtrack at all.  Fortunately Two Thrones was a big swing back towards the original in tone, and wound up being a solid finish to the trilogy.

 

Offline Mr. Vega

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Mask of the Betrayer. The Spirit Eating mechanic.

It still might be the greatest CRPG ever made, every bit the intellectual equal of Planescape: Torment and packing a far stronger emotional punch, remarkable in its use of elements of a D&D fantasy setting as a metaphor to deconstruct real world religion (especially the doctrine of salvation by faith alone)...and they make you constantly worry about having to recharge your spirit meter by suppressing your hunger in proximity to enemies, or by devouring them (thus increasing your hunger for them and making the meter deplete even faster). You don't insert a time limit gameplay mechanic into a wordy CRPG that's meant to be played at a slow, methodical pace. There is at least a mod that reduces the rate at which your spirit energy depletes to the point that it's only a little distracting, but still, what the hell was Obsidian thinking?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2014, 09:53:11 pm by Mr. Vega »
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Assassin's Creed:  7 step process just to exit the damn game.

Pause
Exit
Exit Animus
Walk around in confusion thinking maybe it's an interactive lobby type of thing.  Approach doors, the computer, etc. looking for the exit command.
Futilely attempt alt-f4
Pause again
Exit
Wonder why the **** you aren't out of the game yet and slowly build rage as you search the title screen you're now at for an exit button.  Mash escape repeatedly.
Sign back in to your profile.
Wait for **** to load again.
See exit button, dare to hope it's the way out of the labyrinth.
Click exit button, sigh in exasperation at the designer who forced this upon you.
I like to stare at the sun.

 

Offline An4ximandros

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Mask of the Betrayer. The Spirit Eating mechanic.
I personally enjoyed that. It was reminiscent of very old D&D where everything was literally trying to kill you for the slightest ****.
Missed a lever? It deactivates the spike floor on the room below you'll go to in an hour; Read the runes on that wall? They are eldritch rules, your mind is now full of fthag'hn; Didn't bring enough food for the trip? You starved to death.

 

Offline Hobbie

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
EVE Online.

They removed the really good cloak, warp, and gate firing sounds and put in airy fairy noises. I hate airy fairy noises.
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Offline CP5670

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
I remember that issue in Dishonored. It was quite obvious and annoying in the Golden Cat level in particular.

any modern game with a checkpoint-only save system. 

This is by far my biggest beef with modern FPSs, and the main reason I don't play them much these days. It means the game is either trivially easy, or wastes your time in replaying sections repeatedly. I actually go out of my way to play the few games that have it. It's amazing that a feature that was once completely standard is now considered a great thing to have.

 

Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Assassin's Creed:  7 step process just to exit the damn game.

Pause
Exit
Exit Animus
Walk around in confusion thinking maybe it's an interactive lobby type of thing.  Approach doors, the computer, etc. looking for the exit command.
Futilely attempt alt-f4
Pause again
Exit
Wonder why the **** you aren't out of the game yet and slowly build rage as you search the title screen you're now at for an exit button.  Mash escape repeatedly.
Sign back in to your profile.
Wait for **** to load again.
See exit button, dare to hope it's the way out of the labyrinth.
Click exit button, sigh in exasperation at the designer who forced this upon you.

After discovering how ridiculous that was, I quickly started to just ALT-F4 from the game itself.  Then I uninstalled it not long after.
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
i tried alt-f4.  it didn't work.  task manager is the only other way i can kill it, but that's not all that much less annoying.
I like to stare at the sun.

 

Offline jr2

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Are you on a laptop or a desktop that has duel-function F-keys?  (your F1 - F12 keys also function to turn down the volume / brightness / sleep / wifi etc).  If so, you might have to also press Fn as some models default to the alternate behavior and to press F4 you would have to Fn+F4, so Alt+Fn+F4.  This option is changeable in the BIOS for the laptop I observed it on (Compaq, so HP probably does it too).

 
Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Alt-F4 worked for me is asscreed.

 

Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
tried it again from in-game and it worked.  i guess it's just the menus or something where it doesn't work.  well that's a relief.
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Offline AdmiralRalwood

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
My biggest beef with Assassin's Creed 1 is the lack of subtitles. Well, that and an annoying tendency to get killed by the sometimes-clunky controls; I was profoundly grateful that both issues were addressed in the sequel... although while the controls got better with every game, they never really managed to avoid accidentally killing yourself by jumping in completely the wrong direction.
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Offline CP5670

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
Assassin's Creed is a good example of a series that was ruined by checkpoints. Given the open world environments in those games, the lack of saves is a deal-breaker for me. The games have a lot of good ideas but are tedious and frustrating to play because of this, and I pretty much gave up on the series after the second game.

 
Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
I never found the checkpoints frustrating in the open-world sections of Assassin's Creed because there were almost no long-lasting negative consequences. During scripted 'missions' they could be very annoying, though.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
I might have liked Assassin's Creed better had I (1) played in on console and (2) played it when it was first released.  Trying to play it on PC in 2013 just made me think it was generally terrible, repetitive, unnecessarily restrictive, and the save system was brutally bad.  I agree with CP; especially as I'm accustomed to open-world games like TES series, Fallout, etc that allow you to save anywhere.

I'm sure the later games in the series are better, but the first one has not aged well - and it's not that I dislike older games (hell, I finished the original Thief series not that long ago), but just that it is now a game with an immense amount of unrealized potential and an equally immense amount of frustrating little missteps that make it absolutely not worth playing today.
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Offline MP-Ryan

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
I have another entry for the list:  Dead Space.

When Dead Space was first released, it had marketing that made it look considerably like a modern and streamlined System Shock 2.  Space horror with RPG elements?  What's not to like?

For me, Dead Space had three things that absolutely killed it, despite the game itself having a great deal of promise (I ultimately never bothered to finish it):

1.  Manual save points at specific intervals only.  This doesn't increase the horror or difficult; actually, in a horror game it's a terrible design decision because once you have gone through the a section once and died, all the horror is now gone and you know exactly what to expect.  Therefore, why am I being forced to replay 3-5 minutes of tedium to get to a combat sequence that I failed?  This makes NO sense.  SS2 and Bioshock handled this much better: in addition to manual saves, the presence of Vitachambers or QR units in the combat areas ensured that combat sequences were not tedious and monotonous; you got the horror, you finished the skill test, and you moved on.

2.  Jump-scares and music.  Take off your headphones in Dead Space and there's no more horror.  Notice that an empty room you've walked into has vents.... an attack is therefore imminent.  The "scares" were cheap and utterly predictable.  Dead Space's horror aspects were no environmental and atmospheric, like a good horror game, but based entirely on jump-scare mechanics, which turned me off immediately.

3.  Awful controls, and awful camera.  There is a reason most horror movies switch to first person or fixed camera points at points of tension, because it puts the viewer into a locked viewpoint and makes them emulate the victim/subject of the plot in the circumstances.  Humans process horror and fright due to lack of information; the more information you have, the less frightening a situation.  Horror games usually approach this in one of two ways: first-person perspective (SS2, Bioshock, etc), or fixed camera angles (Resident Evil).  The over-the-shoulder third person breaks immersiveness, because you can't see what you should be able to see if you are the player, and it eliminates the horror, because the obstructed view is not due to player position in the environment (a la Resident Evil) but simply awful camera movement.  Just.... NO!  Furthermore, frantic escape is a common and important aspect of horror atmosphere, and Isaac simply doesn't have that option.  Instead of frantic movement, your options are to shoot well or reload the last damn save point.  Couple with the camera movement, it makes the parts of the game that should be the most intense simply a shooting gallery.
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Offline Klaustrophobia

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
the biggest problem i had with dead space was the slow as piss movement and control scheme.  i don't think the system employed brought anything better than just a standard shooter scheme would have. 
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Offline NGTM-1R

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
The original Command and Conquer: Fixed missions with fixed forces are okay, if you give recon enough to avoid fights. (You didn't always do this, but you realized that when Tiberian Sun came.) Fixed missions with fixed forces trying to hunt down stealth units are not ever okay.
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Offline CP5670

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Re: Bad Design Choices in Otherise Excellent Games
The second Assassin's Creed is generally much better than the first one, with a better story and more diverse missions, but it still has the same irritating save system. I played it once and liked it, but would not want to play it again or any further games in the series because of the save system.

In C&C, I think GDI mission 14 was the only one where you had to do that. I always liked those limited-force missions and their puzzle-like gameplay better than the base building ones, which frequently just felt like skirmish games.