How to make a bad RPG part 2 (combat)


 Unlike the examples in this blog, this game has good combat
I'm sure you were all waiting with bated breath, but here comes the second installment of my observations/subjective opinions about what makes a bad Role Playing Game of the western, possibly computer sense. After going through such exciting topics as "Balance that makes the game either stupid hard or unwinnable", "Making everything the same" and "Being obscure enough to encourage the player to send $19.95 (that's in 1992 dollars mind you) to some PO box in Ontario in order to purchase the hint book". Now we move onto combat. Combat is an essential aspect of pretty much every RPG, in some cases The essential aspect ( Icewind Dale, Temple of Elemental Evil) and even the most verbose dialog-fests like Planescape have their fair share of murdering dudes. But what happens when this combat is bad? If the story or atmosphere is good enough, then most people don't seem to care. If it isn't, then we may have a problem. Before we begin, remember once again that these are my opinions (especially since we're getting into more concrete and thus subjective territory) and I don't necessarily consider the games presented to be bad, although I personally dislike that particular aspect of that game.

Blatant Dice Rolls in something that looks like it shouldn't have dice rolls (Or: If it looks like a duck syndrome.)

In the future, all gun shots are determined by dice rolls

This is a problem that really, really irks me. I know RPGs are about progression, but nothing kills my suspension of disbelief like aiming straight for a dude's head with a pistol and missing. While I'm not going to say that every "Action" RPG deserves this derision (The problems with Fallout 3 and New Vegas' combat has very little to do with the occasional missed shot at long range) I am going to complain about the ones that make it blatant for all to see that your skill as a human being has very little to do with it and it's all about how many points you put into whatever, especially if you have to put a lot of points into it. This is very much a sin of degrees, especially regarding the context in which the combat scenarios occur. How accurate are the guns themselves? Do I have to stand still or something in order to get a “Critical Hit”? How many people do I have to murder during the course of the game? All these are questions one must ask in this regard. Example: Deus Ex

A sterling example if ever I saw one. While I'm not deriding Deus Ex at all (in fact, I think it's pretty good so far, this obvious flaw notwithstanding) I do have issue with the way it handles the shooting. Alpha Protocol had a similar problem, and I'm sure I've made my opinion on that game clear. Clearly, Deus Ex is trying to be an RPG first and all that, but does that mean that I can't hit the broadside of a barn unless I stand totally still for 5 seconds or put all my points in weapon skills? As a super nano-agent with the most hilariously monotone voice ever, shouldn't J.C. Denton be able to hold his sniper rifle still for just a second? It's good that the game offers other avenues for the player to go through, but the second I'm forced into combat I'm less than cool with whatever is going on. It doesn't help that the game is so stingy with it's experience points, handing them out 50 to 100 at a time while the next rank in rifles is about 1600 more than you have at the moment. Nonetheless, as long as the game continues going the way it is, and doesn't do anything really stupid you can expect to hear more from me about it in the future.

Unstrategic Strategic Combat


On a similar note, while obvious dice rolls are the bane of action RPGs, these are the bane of traditional ones. It's fairly simple: If the game gives the illusion of requiring thought from the player, but instead just leads to a Diablo style clickfest (but without the viscerial appeal or quick thinking required of Diablo. Don't believe me? Try going back to Diablo 1. Now try not to die. Hard, right?) This is usually more of a problem when there is only one player created character, and while I still think there's some strategy to be had in regards to stuff like fallout (but really, let's be fair: Fallout's combat isn't that strategic, but at least you can shoot people in the balls. Fallout Tactics probably is strategic.) these games are clearly just an issue of being a high enough level or being lucky enough to have the dice rolls go your way.

Example: Arcanum

 Once again, I am talking about this game. Sue me.

Well, Duh. You weren't expecting me to not use this game at some point, right? I mean, it's only that one RPG that I talk about all the time whenever I mention bad RPGs. Sooo, yeah. Arcanum has two settings for combat: Real Time and Turn Based. Neither is especially good. The real time option is far too fast for its own good, leading to a lot of unintentional player death, whereas the turn based option isn't really all that strategic. In either case, you're going to click on a dude, hope that your attacks hit and maybe cast the occasional spell if you're into that sort of thing. There's no Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale style thought of "If you change your tactics, you may be able to survive". Generally speaking, if you can't survive it's probably because you're not a high enough level. Now go solve some boring sidequests! Lionheart is also a pretty good example of this, relying on spiking the difficulty through throwing a bunch of guys at you and hoping for the best. Man is that game the most milquetoast thing I've encountered in a while.


Boss Battles that are exponentially harder than anything else in the game


Like any genre that isn't point and click adventure or train simulator, RPGs occasionally have boss fights. And like any genre, occasionally these boss fights may suck. Who could forget fighting the likes of Sarevok for the first time and totally getting worked over? Well, I had to cheat to beat Sarevok, because I really didn't want to play the game for another 10+ hours at that point just so I could be a decent enough level to even have a chance. It's not so much the difficulty that bugs me as the rise in difficulty, which combined with any or all of the things I've listed in this blog and the previous one may cause a negative user experience. But whatever. You already know this.

Example: Alpha Protocol


 Yep. This game too.
Basically, this section was just an excuse for me to rag on how much I hate Alpha Protocol's boss battles. Certainly, other games (games I like included. Temple of Elemental Evil has your party fight a Balor, a creature far more powerful than your level 10 group should have to deal with) have this issue, but the boss battles were probably the one singular thing about that game that sucked more than any other. They have an unrealistic amount of health and armor and then randomly rush you with damaging melee attacks. If your character is more stealth inclined or just hasn't bothered to put points in hand to hand, these battles can be agonizing. Even if so... they probably still suck. Bullet sponges man.

And with that, I think I'll conclude the second part of this blog series. I'll probably take a little longer (or shorter, depending on where I go) on the story aspect blog, as that will no doubt be a fairly contemptuous and subjective issue, and I don't want to throw myself to the wolves. Maybe I'll talk about the different aspects or cliches that really annoy me rather than talking about overarching stories as if they mean anything.

EDIT: Part 1 (Mechanics and Structure)
22 Comments
23 Comments
Posted by ArbitraryWater

 Unlike the examples in this blog, this game has good combat
I'm sure you were all waiting with bated breath, but here comes the second installment of my observations/subjective opinions about what makes a bad Role Playing Game of the western, possibly computer sense. After going through such exciting topics as "Balance that makes the game either stupid hard or unwinnable", "Making everything the same" and "Being obscure enough to encourage the player to send $19.95 (that's in 1992 dollars mind you) to some PO box in Ontario in order to purchase the hint book". Now we move onto combat. Combat is an essential aspect of pretty much every RPG, in some cases The essential aspect ( Icewind Dale, Temple of Elemental Evil) and even the most verbose dialog-fests like Planescape have their fair share of murdering dudes. But what happens when this combat is bad? If the story or atmosphere is good enough, then most people don't seem to care. If it isn't, then we may have a problem. Before we begin, remember once again that these are my opinions (especially since we're getting into more concrete and thus subjective territory) and I don't necessarily consider the games presented to be bad, although I personally dislike that particular aspect of that game.

Blatant Dice Rolls in something that looks like it shouldn't have dice rolls (Or: If it looks like a duck syndrome.)

In the future, all gun shots are determined by dice rolls

This is a problem that really, really irks me. I know RPGs are about progression, but nothing kills my suspension of disbelief like aiming straight for a dude's head with a pistol and missing. While I'm not going to say that every "Action" RPG deserves this derision (The problems with Fallout 3 and New Vegas' combat has very little to do with the occasional missed shot at long range) I am going to complain about the ones that make it blatant for all to see that your skill as a human being has very little to do with it and it's all about how many points you put into whatever, especially if you have to put a lot of points into it. This is very much a sin of degrees, especially regarding the context in which the combat scenarios occur. How accurate are the guns themselves? Do I have to stand still or something in order to get a “Critical Hit”? How many people do I have to murder during the course of the game? All these are questions one must ask in this regard. Example: Deus Ex

A sterling example if ever I saw one. While I'm not deriding Deus Ex at all (in fact, I think it's pretty good so far, this obvious flaw notwithstanding) I do have issue with the way it handles the shooting. Alpha Protocol had a similar problem, and I'm sure I've made my opinion on that game clear. Clearly, Deus Ex is trying to be an RPG first and all that, but does that mean that I can't hit the broadside of a barn unless I stand totally still for 5 seconds or put all my points in weapon skills? As a super nano-agent with the most hilariously monotone voice ever, shouldn't J.C. Denton be able to hold his sniper rifle still for just a second? It's good that the game offers other avenues for the player to go through, but the second I'm forced into combat I'm less than cool with whatever is going on. It doesn't help that the game is so stingy with it's experience points, handing them out 50 to 100 at a time while the next rank in rifles is about 1600 more than you have at the moment. Nonetheless, as long as the game continues going the way it is, and doesn't do anything really stupid you can expect to hear more from me about it in the future.

Unstrategic Strategic Combat


On a similar note, while obvious dice rolls are the bane of action RPGs, these are the bane of traditional ones. It's fairly simple: If the game gives the illusion of requiring thought from the player, but instead just leads to a Diablo style clickfest (but without the viscerial appeal or quick thinking required of Diablo. Don't believe me? Try going back to Diablo 1. Now try not to die. Hard, right?) This is usually more of a problem when there is only one player created character, and while I still think there's some strategy to be had in regards to stuff like fallout (but really, let's be fair: Fallout's combat isn't that strategic, but at least you can shoot people in the balls. Fallout Tactics probably is strategic.) these games are clearly just an issue of being a high enough level or being lucky enough to have the dice rolls go your way.

Example: Arcanum

 Once again, I am talking about this game. Sue me.

Well, Duh. You weren't expecting me to not use this game at some point, right? I mean, it's only that one RPG that I talk about all the time whenever I mention bad RPGs. Sooo, yeah. Arcanum has two settings for combat: Real Time and Turn Based. Neither is especially good. The real time option is far too fast for its own good, leading to a lot of unintentional player death, whereas the turn based option isn't really all that strategic. In either case, you're going to click on a dude, hope that your attacks hit and maybe cast the occasional spell if you're into that sort of thing. There's no Baldur's Gate or Icewind Dale style thought of "If you change your tactics, you may be able to survive". Generally speaking, if you can't survive it's probably because you're not a high enough level. Now go solve some boring sidequests! Lionheart is also a pretty good example of this, relying on spiking the difficulty through throwing a bunch of guys at you and hoping for the best. Man is that game the most milquetoast thing I've encountered in a while.


Boss Battles that are exponentially harder than anything else in the game


Like any genre that isn't point and click adventure or train simulator, RPGs occasionally have boss fights. And like any genre, occasionally these boss fights may suck. Who could forget fighting the likes of Sarevok for the first time and totally getting worked over? Well, I had to cheat to beat Sarevok, because I really didn't want to play the game for another 10+ hours at that point just so I could be a decent enough level to even have a chance. It's not so much the difficulty that bugs me as the rise in difficulty, which combined with any or all of the things I've listed in this blog and the previous one may cause a negative user experience. But whatever. You already know this.

Example: Alpha Protocol


 Yep. This game too.
Basically, this section was just an excuse for me to rag on how much I hate Alpha Protocol's boss battles. Certainly, other games (games I like included. Temple of Elemental Evil has your party fight a Balor, a creature far more powerful than your level 10 group should have to deal with) have this issue, but the boss battles were probably the one singular thing about that game that sucked more than any other. They have an unrealistic amount of health and armor and then randomly rush you with damaging melee attacks. If your character is more stealth inclined or just hasn't bothered to put points in hand to hand, these battles can be agonizing. Even if so... they probably still suck. Bullet sponges man.

And with that, I think I'll conclude the second part of this blog series. I'll probably take a little longer (or shorter, depending on where I go) on the story aspect blog, as that will no doubt be a fairly contemptuous and subjective issue, and I don't want to throw myself to the wolves. Maybe I'll talk about the different aspects or cliches that really annoy me rather than talking about overarching stories as if they mean anything.

EDIT: Part 1 (Mechanics and Structure)
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Posted by Animasta

at least a few of AP's bosses can be cheesed: if you run around the center of the stage, he'll never catch up with you.

Posted by GunslingerPanda

How to make a bad RPG: Get bought by EA.

Posted by Video_Game_King

Train simulations have no bosses? I beg to disagree:

  

Posted by ArbitraryWater
@GunslingerPanda:  I think the correct term would be: Force your team onto an 18 month dev cycle to make a 30+ hour game, but more or less same difference. Of course, let's pretend you're not talking about Dragon Age 2 or what have you, do you have any other examples of RPG sequels that suffered from their new corporate masters?

@Laketown: When I played through AP, I pretty much had to cheese every single boss. Especially the last one. What I would do is go inside the room where he was, shoot him with chain shot or whatever, go out then quickly go back in so he couldn't use that stupid chaingun and back and forth and back and forth until whatever relevant powers I had had recharged. My point was: I shouldn't have to do that in any occasion. Really, if it didn't have those stupid boss battles my opinion of AP would be less derisive and more ambivalent. (Interestingly enough, playing Deus Ex has given me a pretty good indication of what Alpha Protocol wanted to do in terms of game design. I dunno. I think Deus Ex did it better in some ways)

@Video_Game_King: I dunno. Can Final Fantasy VI really be grouped in with the masterpiece of microtransaction based train simulation software known as Railworks? If so, I want to see a video of the part of Railworks where you have to fight a ghost train with your train and then let the proprietary physics engine take over.
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Posted by Mento

Dave all but suplexed that train Sabin-style in that Railworks QL.

Combat's definitely a tricky thing to get right in any kind of RPG. The biggest hurdle for designers is not only creating encounters that require some contemplation from the player beyond "mash the mouse button until all the bad things go away", but to repeatedly do so for the length of the game. It's something that only gets trickier as you get close to the end and the player has evolved their characters in any one of a hundred different directions (depending on the complexity of the character development, of course). I try and keep that in mind if the difficulty curve has gone all screwy on me.

For me personally the biggest crime is making your combat system boring. Invisible dice rolls and "that one boss" are omnipresent issues in most RPGs that should really be phased out, but overall they're not dealbreakers. If the combat's boring (re: your second section), though, I think that's probably a death knell. That and maze-like dungeons with no maps and constant random encounters. I hate those. Cover those next.

Moderator
Posted by Video_Game_King
@Mento:

I take it you're not a fan of JRPGs, or at least some of them.
Posted by Mento
@Video_Game_King:  Definitely not a fan of some JRPGs I've played. Plenty are content to rest on a simple "keep hitting X" menu-driven turn-based system more often than not, especially for non-boss battles. Some like the MegaTen series make it work by putting some considerable tactical thought behind it, but any game that needs an "auto" battle button clearly isn't doing enough to make its regular encounters compelling.

But there's also a lot that do something different and interesting with combat. There's a huge number of JRPGs out there (though that number dwindles considerably when you limit it to those released in Europe) so it's easy enough to find something that sets itself apart. It's one of the more diverse genres, thankfully.
Moderator
Posted by GunslingerPanda
@ArbitraryWater said:
" @GunslingerPanda:  I think the correct term would be: Force your team onto an 18 month dev cycle to make a 30+ hour game, but more or less same difference. Of course, let's pretend you're not talking about Dragon Age 2 or what have you, do you have any other examples of RPG sequels that suffered from their new corporate masters?  "
What are you talking about? I haven't even played Dragon Age 2.
Posted by owl_of_minerva
@ArbitraryWater:  RPGs that suffered a short dev cycle or got screwed by the publisher: Fallout 2, Baldur's Gate 2 (fluke it turned out as well as it did), Alpha Protocol, Temple of Elemental Evil (forced to remove evil options and mature content for a Teen rating), Vampire Bloodlines, Arcanum, Icewind Dale 1/2, Knights of the Old Republic 2, Gothic IV (developed by someone with no RPG pedigree), Might and Magic IX and on it goes. Although EA forced the closure of Origin Systems and ruined the quality of its games (a pattern repeating itself with Bioware) you don't have to be bought out to suffer at the hands of a publisher.

Anyway, although I agree with the rest of your analysis, your critique of dice-roll action games is purely a statement of preference and not justifiable. Deus Ex and System Shock 2 aren't action games but rather RPGs. Being forced to specialise is a characteristic of an RPG, you can't expect someone to be equally skilled with all forms of weapons. Also, what would be the point of having different builds if you could be equally successful no matter what you went with? That is bad RPG design 101, although it's acceptable for an action game. Removing progression and increased ability would ruin the character development side of the game, and the only reason it's become such a problem in the eyes of the general gaming public is the prejudice of people who don't understand RPGs. In any case, the problem ceases to exist when you perceive a game like Deus Ex how it should be perceived:  dicerolls = a hybrid that emphasises RPG elements and if the character builds and storytelling with player choice are handled well, then it's a good game. If player skill is prioritised focus on it as a shooter (Mass Effect 2), if character skill then it's an RPG (Deus Ex). Deus Ex is the best action/RPG hybrid ever made.
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@Mento:  Yeah, I guess that's what I was trying to say in regards to the second option. The combat in games like those inhabit a dead zone between strategy and action that offers neither and is usually dull and/or frustrating. The thing is, once we get to mazelike dungeons and no automaps, we're usually at the point where my sphere of knowledge ends. Even Might and Magic II (1989) had an automap, and I find that game totally unplayable.
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Edited by ArbitraryWater
@GunslingerPanda:  I'm sorry. I just assumed you were talking about Dragon Age 2 because that's the cool thing to hate these days. If not that, what were you talking about?

@owl_of_minerva: Alright. All of those are, in fact, examples. Especially pointed is that every single game that Troika made (all 3 of them) is on that little list of yours. The thing is, most of those games are good despite only having 2 years for development, and if any sort of "Unfinished Business" mods are any indication, what was missing was *usually* not that important to begin with (KotOR 2 being that usually. Of course, they can only restore what's actually still in the game, so even then the mod feels out of place).

Opinion or no, it's not like Strategy RPGs, where the peanut butter-chocolate nature is fairly obvious and the results usually delicious. Action RPGs that focus on the RPG side in expense of the action side just start feeling like really bad action games because the element of action still exists (and arguing about player perception is like Denis Dyack saying that people who didn't like Too Human "weren't playing it right"), and If Deus Ex is supposed to be an RPG from that combat angle, it's not a very good one even then. That game for me is very much more than the sum of its parts, because none of them have aged all that well. The action is, as I said, clunky, sluggish and artificial. The RPG elements aren't pronounced enough in some areas (I've been playing for like... 7 hours and have only found 2 powers?), yet are too pronounced in others (aforementioned dice rolls) and the stealth is... like a less good version of Thief. Which is apt, since it's the same developer. It's all these things working in tandem, when combined with the dynamicism of the mission structure that gives it merit in my eyes. Expect more on that soon enough...
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Posted by GunslingerPanda
@ArbitraryWater said:
" @GunslingerPanda:  I'm sorry. I just assumed you were talking about Dragon Age 2 because that's the cool thing to hate these days. If not that, what were you talking about? . "

The cool thing to love; Mass Effect 2.
Posted by S0ndor

I would like to submit enemies that are premanently immune to certain damage types for your consideration. The most obvious example being Diablo II, where characters that deal fire damage basically can't play on Hell difficulty and have to rely on other players for 90% of the time. 

Posted by Brodehouse
@owl_of_minerva:  I understand the difference between an action game and an RPG, but it's a simple act of designing action that actively frustrates a player.  Designing a game where the player is required to place his reticule over a dude and pull the trigger at the right time is actively engaging him... taking it out of his hands at the last moment by having the bullet fly wildly is subverting the player's contribution.  It would be similar to a platforming game where 20% of the time, the character stumbles and only goes half the distance.  The player's gameplay contribution (timing both the moment and length of a button press) is being subverted by hidden systems.  Imagine a stealth game where regardless of how well you stay out of the enemy's vision radius, your character may occasionally cough beyond your control unless you've put experience points in Benelyn. 

Simply put, if the reticule doesn't matter, it shouldn't be there.  The game should not require the player to perform tasks that it ultimately deems statistically irrelevant.

Furthermore, if you took everything people loved about Deus Ex and even System Shock, the combat would be near the bottom of that list.  They loved the setting, the style, the plot, the characters, the (at the time new) ways to progress such as hacking or stealth... the reason why both of those games had multiplayer that no one liked was because the pure action was not strong.
Posted by ahoodedfigure

I'd say my experience with Arcanum was more complicated. I usually found that I could roll with the turn-based combat if I approached it a certain way; it was more when you combine that style of combat with the problematic false build syndrome that I wound up getting exhausted with it...  At times though I really felt like I was just clicking away to expend my AP. 

Makes me want another Wizardry or Might and Magic style multi-member party with static tactical choices, even if that's not everybody's bag. That way you get a lot more choices rather than a few, and can concentrate on how those all interrelate.  X-Com had an AP system and felt a lot more tense and dynamic, even though there weren't too many more options. A lot of that had to do with facing and alertness. I wonder if there's something to that that could be exploited down the road by RPG makers, especially since things are going a bit too far in the FFT direction at times.

Posted by Yanngc33

Dragon Age 2's first boss fully justifies point number 3

Edited by owl_of_minerva
@Brodehouse: This is why action RPGs in general are a bad idea, as RPGs belong firmly on the side of the strategy/puzzle divide. However, as far as hybrids go, System Shock 2 and Deus Ex are as good as it gets. I would disagree that the player should have the complete control that you assert though: it's only because of hitscan weapons and wholly unrealistic mechanics typical of the action genre (not that it's a bad thing per se) that players have gotten so used to always hitting their target or aiming with perfect accuracy because of the "movie camera with legs" approach. Deus Ex and System Shock 2 are much more RPG than they are action because of what I've already mentioned: RPGs place character skill above player skill. If there's enjoyment to be had from the combat (and very few RPGs have combat that isn't shit) it's from seeing the character's progression through perks/skills/equipment. Placed in a context of character development, the stealth and shooting have a different valuation, namely that the action is not that important in-itself, but more as a means to advance the character and provide structure to the game.

@ArbitraryWater: As stated above, I agree about the action in action RPGs being bad, but how visceral the combat is isn't that important to games derived from the strategy genre, and even if they have action elements, they are far less foregrounded from a design standpoint. I'm sure you'd see the fallacy if people were judging Fallout or Baldur's Gate solely on their combat. It's important to get the genres (or % in case of hybrids) correct before making an assessment. The action mechanics are rather unimportant in DE because it's impossible to do anything well without building the character in that way, thus placing the emphasis on builds and skill progression - it is an RPG with action elements rather than an action game with RPG elements, in other words. The fact that Deus Ex has three almost-equally valid playstyles is massive, and puts it in a class of RPGs almost without equal. I can only think of one other example, Fallout, as having a comparable level of different approaches being built into the game. So even if the builds could be better handled in Deus Ex, that three different approaches are generally present at all times is still impactful enough to make those choices meaningful. It is utterly insanely ambitious what that game tried to do. And as for the ability to change the story, again Deus Ex is in rare company. Some of the branches are subtle and difficult to find, not holding the player's hand through "choose A or B" with superficial differences.

So I disagree that the game hasn't aged well: it is flawed because it tried to do way too much, but it still succeeded quite well in terms of RPG mechanics. It could stand refinement, but unfortunately its sequel failed to do so and no one else has even tried to do anything comparable except perhaps Obsidian with Alpha Protocol, and you see how well it turns out when you don't have a blank cheque like Romero did with Ion Storm.
Posted by ArbitraryWater
@ahoodedfigure:  If those RPGs that Egge/Demiath is always pimping are any indication, those turn based tactical party RPGs still exist in the Indie Zone. You're just going to have to shell out a surprising amount of money for them. Alas, I guess that's the only real way to profit when your audience is super niche. I thought what I played of that Avadon game was interesting and clearly well thought out, but I have other games that I own to play first before I start spending $25 on a game that is only like 100 MB in size, if that.

@Yanngc33: I dunno. When compared to some of the more bullshit bosses in that game (ROCK WRAITH. Also that time where you fight that High Dragon) I found Meredith to be almost paltry by comparison. Of course, at that point I also lowered the difficulty to normal because I just wanted to get the game over with. I imagine that wouldn't be a fun battle on hard.

@owl_of_minerva: This ultimately seems like a discussion we should be having when I write my Deus Ex blog. I just got to Hong Kong, so I'm sure I still have a while to go. I would say that I'd be done by the end of the week, but I have a research paper rough draft to write by friday, and I don't want to procrastinate until the last second. I dunno. Expect it around next week. I'll agree with you on one thing though: That game is mad ambitious, and it's crazy that it succeeds as much as it does. It's a pity the individual mechanics aren't all that great, leading to the more than the sum of it's parts feeling that I described earlier. Interestingly enough, It's also made me want to try out System Shock 2 (well, that and Bioshock also making me want to see what it's like). Of course, all the legal avenues to obtaining that game are ludicrously expensive price gouging level, almost to the Final Fantasy VIIth degree. It's a pity that EA doesn't ever seem to want to release its old stuff. SS2 is the #1 most wanted game on GOG after all.
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Posted by ahoodedfigure
@ArbitraryWater: You're equating file size with amount of content, now? You know  that's not a good indicator.
Posted by Little_Socrates

Would you consider Demon's Souls an example of #3? I never got far enough to see the difference between the later levels and the bosses. Not out of difficulty, just eventually moved on.

Posted by Blade_Hunter

Deus Ex didn't had good combat because of the stats were poorly calibrated, the game doesn't use dice rolls for the shooting, it just keep the inaccuracy state for too long and each time you upgrade your weapons the necessary aiming time to reach accuracy is shorter and weapon damage increases.
Other than that with a few tweaks the game could have been good even at on this specific area
Damage scale, recoil, crosshair shrink and expand and overall weapons stats if they are changed in the right way, you can have good combat.
Games like fallout 3 have more of the rolling dice in combat than Deus Ex

Posted by brc2000

Yup. Arcanum has terrible combat. Still love the game for everything else though,