#1 Posted by Phatmac (5919 posts) -

I'm a devoted fan of health packs and it has been disappointing to notice that regenerative health has replaced it. I don't have a problem with regen-health as it is the next logical step over health packs in some ways. I just like the inherent challenge that health packs deliver if pulled of right. The danger of being on low health and searching for health packs in the environment is more engaging to me. I prefer it over being in cover and waiting for my health to recharge. Perhaps shooters these days have made me desire health packs over regen-health. I still had a great time with Resistance 3 last year and it had health packs instead of regen-health. So my main reasons that I like health packs is the it makes combat more interesting for me. I don't hate regen-health I just feel that it is played out in most FPS. So which health system do you prefer?

#2 Posted by Zaccheus (1829 posts) -

Health packs are great if done well. There were so many great health moments in HL2 where there was so much tension on low health and great release on the sight of a health station. Resistance 3 did a pretty good job with that too. At it's worst it can be really annoying thought. Regen is just easier for the devs and for the players.

#3 Posted by EquitasInvictus (2067 posts) -

Health packs often made my play style a lot more prudent and tactical back in the day whereas nowadays I love tanking with regenerative health.

I remember when I first played a game with regenerative health -- it was the most liberating feeling ever!

#4 Posted by mwng (1030 posts) -

Depends, if you're talking about the kind of health pack you can carry about or the one that's consumed on pickup.

#5 Posted by commonoutlier (140 posts) -

I would think that that sort of thing depends on how the rest of the game is designed. There are certainly some instances where I think health packs work more than regenerative health and vice versa. But as you pointed out, I think that ties into where the challenge lies. In Team Fortress 2, I think it'd be a rather different game with regenerative health, probably making some classes and items useless...but in games where oftentimes you're trapped with low health, like a lot of the war games, it'd become rather frustrating to be caught in a spot like that with no hope of overcoming problem without starting over.

I think it's sometimes pretty interesting when games mix it up and have elements of both. Tokyo Jungle is sort of like that, if you count health and hunger as two health-like things...your health regenerates, but you have to eat in order to fill up your hunger meter, which to me is sort of like using a health pack. Sort of?

#6 Posted by SuperWristBands (2281 posts) -

Nope. At least not in an shooter. I always feel frustrated if I go into a combat scenario with low health.

#7 Posted by EpicSteve (6909 posts) -

I dreamed a scenario where a popular game brings back healthpacks and I hear a younger person yell, "What the fuck are those!?".

#8 Posted by haggis (1674 posts) -

It depends on the game design. Before cover systems, it made more sense to have health packs because the game design was always forcing you forward. Now with most games having some sort of cover mechanic, your progress gets halted. There's no drive toward making it through an area to reach a health pack because you're often forced to hunker down. Now, there's no particular reason you couldn't still have health packs in those games, but health regen seems like a reasonable choice for encouraging people to get into cover.

People were saying the same thing, essentially, about health packs back in the day--that they were played out. People wanted something different. I'm not sure I prefer one over the other, really. Game designers choose which way to go based on pacing and the general fiction behind the game. I don't see why some ambitious game design in the future might give an option for either one, based on the choice of the gamer. Then we'd be arguing over which one made the game easier or more difficult.

There's always something to argue about.

#9 Posted by JasonR86 (10007 posts) -


Not to be that guy but here goes...

I'm sure no one else does it's just you.

#10 Posted by peachesrcool (87 posts) -

Enemy's that drop health packs> Regenerative health as perk or skill you invest into> Regenerative health from the beginning> Health packs in the enviroment

#11 Posted by WilliamHenry (1257 posts) -

Nope. Regenerating health has ruined the concept of health packs, at least for me.

#12 Posted by ajamafalous (12448 posts) -
@JasonR86 said:


Not to be that guy but here goes...

I'm sure no one else does it's just you.

At least he didn't say "Am I the only one?". 
Anyway, yes, I vastly prefer health packs to regenerative health. I'm a sucker for old school FPS game design in general, though. I want health kits, twitch aiming, lots of movement, etc. Doom/Duke/Quake/UT are the quadfecta for me.
#13 Posted by Phatmac (5919 posts) -

@JasonR86 said:


Not to be that guy but here goes...

I'm sure no one else does it's just you.

Yeah I know I should have worded the question better! Oh well.

#14 Posted by Sbaitso (608 posts) -

I also prefer health packs, but wouldn't mind a limited regenerative system to keep you from being in fucked situations with no health, like if you could only regenerate to 35% health or something.

#15 Posted by 49th (3048 posts) -

I like Bioshock style where you have to use them, or just have some kind of healing spell type dealeo.

#16 Posted by MentalDisruption (1744 posts) -

I kind of like a combined system a bit better. Have the health bar sectioned off, each section will regenerate unless it is completely empty, and health packs get you those empty sections back.

#17 Posted by Morningstar (2321 posts) -

Yes, I hate regenerating health.

#18 Posted by Wong_Fei_Hung (735 posts) -

Depends on the game and whether they're over used. I tend to prefer regenerating health in shooters.

#19 Edited by Aetheldod (3914 posts) -

I prefer scrounging health packs to use them as I want (FEAR 1 / Stalker style) I love carrying my medpacks to use them when see fit , but next would be health packs as the FPS of yore , I dont like regenerative health although I do like the Halo style shield regen/medpack combo

#20 Posted by Hizang (9359 posts) -

Hmm, I'm not sure, if done well both of them are good.

#21 Posted by Little_Socrates (5834 posts) -

In multiplayer, I vastly prefer regenerating health. But I don't tend to care about the gameplay in single-player games with regenerating health.

#22 Posted by jozzy (2053 posts) -

I like the way Dark Souls does it. You get a finite amount of "health packs" (estus flasks), and they refresh at specific places in the game. That works really well for that kind of game, it creates tension.

In shooters I like regenerating health though. I guess it just depends on the type of game, regenerating health in XCom would be silly.

#23 Edited by Superkenon (1556 posts) -

On one hand, in a game with regenerating health you can usually die so fast that quick-reflexes are constantly key, and the action is a frenzy. On the other hand, generally all you need to do is run behind something if you get hurt. In so being, it almost doesn't matter if you get hit.

In games with health packs, it's a huge bummer (in a good way!) when you get hit because it might be awhile before you can do anything about it. You're taught to become skilled at dodging attacks, rather than simply being able to mitigate all damage with a well-placed pillar. The con, however, is that should you be full-up on health, armor, or whatever else, you're enabled to simply brute-force your way through a situation.

I believe the latter is the option for me. I prefer the kind of 'survival' gameplay that results from prevalent pick-ups, to the 'hide-and-shoot' syndrome that a lot of games suffer from. I think it'd be best if we saw a marriage of these styles though. @MentalDisruption's suggestion is an appealing one, for instance. I would also be happy just to have a game not regenerate your health during combat, putting more emphasis on not getting shot in the first place.

#24 Posted by zaglis (912 posts) -

God. Regenerating health. Easily the ONE of the worst things that has happened to video-games, all regen health does is make them mind numbingly boring and kinda make them all play the same, no need to use new tactics, completely removing any sense of tension or real challenge.

Only game I can think of that would actually be worse if it didn't have regen health is Borderlands.

#25 Posted by ImmortalSaiyan (4745 posts) -

It depends on the game. Largely I prefer games to not have it but it sometimes is fine. Like in Gear of War.

#26 Posted by Demoskinos (16320 posts) -

@EpicSteve said:

I dreamed a scenario where a popular game brings back healthpacks and I hear a younger person yell, "What the fuck are those!?".

While it was kind of a half step since they still had regenerating shields Halo Reach did have health packs.

#27 Posted by Enigma777 (6228 posts) -

@SuperWristBands said:

Nope. At least not in an shooter. I always feel frustrated if I go into a combat scenario with low health.

Yup. Bad level design becomes way more apparent with a health pack system.

#28 Posted by Sackmanjones (5206 posts) -

I'm actually a fan of the hybrid of both ( used by resistance and re6). You have like 5 sections of health and each one can regenerate but if a section depletes you need some kind of health to gain it back.

#29 Posted by Salarn (484 posts) -

It's purely a game flow design decision. If you have regenerating health you can always build every combat situation knowing that the player will be at full health, making it much easier to balance. Also for the player they don't have save scum every small decision wither or not clearing a room was 'efficient' enough (see Breaking Brad Doom ][ )

Now that decision comes at a trade off. If the player doesn't need to look around for health then they will focus on progressing forward and not search the world and scratching at every wall for secrets. Think of the pacing of the game, and the style. Searching for health works is slower more deliberate games like horror but for faster action games like gears it's not a fitting choice.

Even if health is represented by a number, don't forget that numbers don't have to be equivalent. Some games have a non-linear curve to how damage is applied, this can directly tune the tension of health in a game. For example, if heath was represented on a scale of 0-100 buy adjusting the median value of the player's health you can directly effect how much tension there is in the game. There is no global right way to handle health, if there is good design behind the health system it will make the game more enjoyable but can hurt the game if it's poorly designed/implemented.

#30 Posted by falling_fast (2548 posts) -

depends what kind of game it is. they both have their advantages.

#31 Posted by JoeyRavn (5122 posts) -

I can't help but see Health Packs as an unnecessary burden nowadays. Some games get it right (the aforementioned Dark Souls is a great example of immersive implementation of the system), but, on average, I hate it.