Weight in certain games

I’ve been increasingly annoyed as of late by something in both multi and single player games. Now this may sound asinine but it’s definitely peculiar and definitely aggravating. I’m talking about that paper feeling you get when shooting someone, that buoyant resonance when you strike your foes back with a mighty axe, that feathery and fluffy behemoth body who only moments ago was taking out buildings by merely sneezing. Weight! Where are you? You’ve been unkind and you’re ruining the experience.

Weight has a significant place in games, especially the contemporary ones. It gives games atmosphere and when implemented correctly even affects gameplay. Weight is something that has transformed the way gameplay feels. How your punch lands on that goon and his reaction directly impacts your gaming experience. There’s nothing stranger and more unsatisfying than feeling nothing for the feats you commit. Not every game suffers from this heinous oddity, but enough do for the experience to be adversely affected.

Let’s start with a big one, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Yes it’s sold more copies than possibly fathomable and it’s definitely a quality title but it has a glaring issue; the men are made of paper. You see, Modern Warfare 2’s mainstay is in its multiplayer component and that’s where the people are. For whatever reason, upon hitting your target it feels as though you just shot up your pack of loose-leaf paper. Why this is I haven’t got a clue. These are ample bodies full of meat and mixed with armor and other bullet-levying garb. I mean, I recently let loose 30 rounds of M4A1 anger and that guy still didn’t die. That alone is a whole different conversation but shouldn’t there be some type of weight to the people you shoot? The last time I checked our soldiers aren’t hollowed out shells or balloons. There are a lot of bullets flying around in this game and if I’m playing I don’t want the satisfaction coming solely from ubiquitous, flying numbers. I want that feeling of hitting something with a purpose, not something that’s going to collapse into a dust cloud.

 Fly away you paper soldiers!

Sometimes games learn from their mistakes, sometimes sequels expand upon a tried and true formula with winning new ideas. Dynasty Warriors is not one of those games. As an avid fan of the series (whose best game was the fifth) I can tell you that as the series stretches on the worse it gets. After playing the sixth installment and a few after, one of these all-encompassing problems is simply put; heft. The warriors of the Three Kingdoms can wield the mightiest of weapons and unleash the most explosive abilities ever conceived. Unfortunately, that mighty sword you’re wielding may as well be a very long straw and the people you’re whacking… obviously made of cotton. When your game’s primary function is equivalent to tending your oxygen garden you know there’s a problem. It never used to be like this, but as long as I feel the resistance of bubbles when swinging a giga-axe there’s no pleasing anyone.

Even Epic’s mighty Gears of War series isn’t safe from weightlessness. Unless you’re one of three people who haven’t played the original game you’d remember the stone-solid wrecking balls that are the Berserkers. These things would barrel toward you with an unstoppable force and destroy stone pillars like they were baby hamsters. Bullets, grenades, practically everything with the exception of a space laser (aka Hammer of Dawn) would have absolutely no effect on them. Why then after you take them down can they be moved around like limp, fluffy teddy bears? What happened to the unprecedented power and toughness? And it’s not just Berserkers from the first game; the featherweight attribute is distributed amongst the entire heavy Locust legion in the second game. There’s nothing like taking down multiple Bloodmounts and Butchers and then shuffling them around like hockey pucks. Suddenly, that adrenaline filled moment that was so awesome becomes somewhat of a let-down because your adversaries are just really, really ugly teddies.

 Looks heavy but you could move him with your pinky.

While there’s plenty more examples of defective weight in games there’s a large amount of titles who utilize the function well. Half-Life 2 instituted real weight, physics based puzzles that seemed otherworldly when it was released. Even Simon Belmont of the original Castlevania had weight. Just walk off an edge of anything and watch as Simon is tugged to the depths by invisible anvils attached to his feet. Weight means a lot and with it games seem to carry more meaning and better gameplay. So developers, do yourself and us a favor – give your game some heft.

4 Comments
5 Comments
Posted by infestedandy

I’ve been increasingly annoyed as of late by something in both multi and single player games. Now this may sound asinine but it’s definitely peculiar and definitely aggravating. I’m talking about that paper feeling you get when shooting someone, that buoyant resonance when you strike your foes back with a mighty axe, that feathery and fluffy behemoth body who only moments ago was taking out buildings by merely sneezing. Weight! Where are you? You’ve been unkind and you’re ruining the experience.

Weight has a significant place in games, especially the contemporary ones. It gives games atmosphere and when implemented correctly even affects gameplay. Weight is something that has transformed the way gameplay feels. How your punch lands on that goon and his reaction directly impacts your gaming experience. There’s nothing stranger and more unsatisfying than feeling nothing for the feats you commit. Not every game suffers from this heinous oddity, but enough do for the experience to be adversely affected.

Let’s start with a big one, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Yes it’s sold more copies than possibly fathomable and it’s definitely a quality title but it has a glaring issue; the men are made of paper. You see, Modern Warfare 2’s mainstay is in its multiplayer component and that’s where the people are. For whatever reason, upon hitting your target it feels as though you just shot up your pack of loose-leaf paper. Why this is I haven’t got a clue. These are ample bodies full of meat and mixed with armor and other bullet-levying garb. I mean, I recently let loose 30 rounds of M4A1 anger and that guy still didn’t die. That alone is a whole different conversation but shouldn’t there be some type of weight to the people you shoot? The last time I checked our soldiers aren’t hollowed out shells or balloons. There are a lot of bullets flying around in this game and if I’m playing I don’t want the satisfaction coming solely from ubiquitous, flying numbers. I want that feeling of hitting something with a purpose, not something that’s going to collapse into a dust cloud.

 Fly away you paper soldiers!

Sometimes games learn from their mistakes, sometimes sequels expand upon a tried and true formula with winning new ideas. Dynasty Warriors is not one of those games. As an avid fan of the series (whose best game was the fifth) I can tell you that as the series stretches on the worse it gets. After playing the sixth installment and a few after, one of these all-encompassing problems is simply put; heft. The warriors of the Three Kingdoms can wield the mightiest of weapons and unleash the most explosive abilities ever conceived. Unfortunately, that mighty sword you’re wielding may as well be a very long straw and the people you’re whacking… obviously made of cotton. When your game’s primary function is equivalent to tending your oxygen garden you know there’s a problem. It never used to be like this, but as long as I feel the resistance of bubbles when swinging a giga-axe there’s no pleasing anyone.

Even Epic’s mighty Gears of War series isn’t safe from weightlessness. Unless you’re one of three people who haven’t played the original game you’d remember the stone-solid wrecking balls that are the Berserkers. These things would barrel toward you with an unstoppable force and destroy stone pillars like they were baby hamsters. Bullets, grenades, practically everything with the exception of a space laser (aka Hammer of Dawn) would have absolutely no effect on them. Why then after you take them down can they be moved around like limp, fluffy teddy bears? What happened to the unprecedented power and toughness? And it’s not just Berserkers from the first game; the featherweight attribute is distributed amongst the entire heavy Locust legion in the second game. There’s nothing like taking down multiple Bloodmounts and Butchers and then shuffling them around like hockey pucks. Suddenly, that adrenaline filled moment that was so awesome becomes somewhat of a let-down because your adversaries are just really, really ugly teddies.

 Looks heavy but you could move him with your pinky.

While there’s plenty more examples of defective weight in games there’s a large amount of titles who utilize the function well. Half-Life 2 instituted real weight, physics based puzzles that seemed otherworldly when it was released. Even Simon Belmont of the original Castlevania had weight. Just walk off an edge of anything and watch as Simon is tugged to the depths by invisible anvils attached to his feet. Weight means a lot and with it games seem to carry more meaning and better gameplay. So developers, do yourself and us a favor – give your game some heft.

Posted by Nintendude

I completely agree. When the life of an enemy is gone, weight often says "farewell" with it without any good reason. Good write, keep it up.

Posted by KaosAngel

Shouldn't all games weigh the same?  I mean, is a Blu-Ray lighter than a DVD, or maybe it's the case?  How do you weigh downloadable games?  I'm so confused...

Posted by JJWeatherman
@infestedandy: 
I think what the devs have chosen to do with weight is perfectly fine. It's a gameplay issue more than anything else. Yes, they can make those big bodies unmovable masses laying around on the battlefield. But that would just greatly obscure movement of the player. I'm thinking of Gears and Gears 2, how you are always running into the dead bodys and pushing them around the map. Yes it looks stupid, but how annoying would it be of every time you ran into a dead body, you were forced to stop and go around it? Idk, physics will continue to improve but for the time being, I'm not bothered by a few weight issues here and there as long as they solve potential gameplay issues.
Posted by iam3green

some games are good like that. other games don't do it so good. physics can be good sometimes in games.