Did You Ever Notice: The Star Destroyer in Force Unleashed?

Did you ever notice that developers these days are continuing the trend in their games of putting more and more enemies in, just to pad out the length? Take the Star Destroyer sequence in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this year for example. I think it would have been safe to say that everyone would've been happy just doing the analog motion of ripping the craft out of the sky (without the stupid alignment thing) while really cool stuff played out around you like the way it happened in the trailer. No getting up every five seconds to deal with annoying TIE Fighters in a badly designed arena. Things like this remind me of the masterpiece that is Shadow of the Colossus. In Shadow they didn't add anything that would break the tone of the game as a whole. It was only you, your horse and the giant colossi. Nothing else was populating the world but a few lizards crawling on the ground, which were hardly enemies. They were just there to scamper away from your horse's galloping hooves (and get stepped on). Not every game has a tone of desolation as Shadow did, but they should be holding onto what makes their game interesting. Not enough developers think about their product as a whole anymore. They just think of what will happen throughout the length of their game and then proceed to make everything else on a moment-to-moment basis. The scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Yoda pulls Luke's X-Wing out of the swamp was entertaining and engaging without any extra crap thrown in there. There were no enemies or action scenes between, just the struggle between a living being and the Force.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be action in games at all, but most great games know when to break the action for an interesting part that doesn't involve killing enemies. Gears of War 2 for example, ended an incredibly action-packed segment by throwing you inside a giant worm's insides and asking you to just marvel at the sights; the only real action happening was the running between lethal parts of its digestion system. Yeah there were a couple of those spider-things you shoot at, but most of the time you were supposed to be running past them anyway. That was a very focused part of a great game. This focus made cutting the arteries with your chainsaw all the better as well, as your only enemy was the ever-increasing pool of blood surrounding you. If they added 3 Locust Drones to fight after each artery was cut, would that have made you enjoy that segment any more?

I think games nowadays have to cut most of their ties with their 8-bit brethren. Sure developers can learn from them by using the mantra of "find something fun to do and keep doing it" like Epic did with Gears 2, but padding your levels out with useless enemies meant only to make your sequence more frustrating and add 'challenge' is idiotic. Games don't need to have challenge at every turn. Sometimes gamers are refined enough to just appreciate the spectacle of something great.

21 Comments
22 Comments
Posted by SpikeDelight

Did you ever notice that developers these days are continuing the trend in their games of putting more and more enemies in, just to pad out the length? Take the Star Destroyer sequence in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed this year for example. I think it would have been safe to say that everyone would've been happy just doing the analog motion of ripping the craft out of the sky (without the stupid alignment thing) while really cool stuff played out around you like the way it happened in the trailer. No getting up every five seconds to deal with annoying TIE Fighters in a badly designed arena. Things like this remind me of the masterpiece that is Shadow of the Colossus. In Shadow they didn't add anything that would break the tone of the game as a whole. It was only you, your horse and the giant colossi. Nothing else was populating the world but a few lizards crawling on the ground, which were hardly enemies. They were just there to scamper away from your horse's galloping hooves (and get stepped on). Not every game has a tone of desolation as Shadow did, but they should be holding onto what makes their game interesting. Not enough developers think about their product as a whole anymore. They just think of what will happen throughout the length of their game and then proceed to make everything else on a moment-to-moment basis. The scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Yoda pulls Luke's X-Wing out of the swamp was entertaining and engaging without any extra crap thrown in there. There were no enemies or action scenes between, just the struggle between a living being and the Force.

I'm not saying that there shouldn't be action in games at all, but most great games know when to break the action for an interesting part that doesn't involve killing enemies. Gears of War 2 for example, ended an incredibly action-packed segment by throwing you inside a giant worm's insides and asking you to just marvel at the sights; the only real action happening was the running between lethal parts of its digestion system. Yeah there were a couple of those spider-things you shoot at, but most of the time you were supposed to be running past them anyway. That was a very focused part of a great game. This focus made cutting the arteries with your chainsaw all the better as well, as your only enemy was the ever-increasing pool of blood surrounding you. If they added 3 Locust Drones to fight after each artery was cut, would that have made you enjoy that segment any more?

I think games nowadays have to cut most of their ties with their 8-bit brethren. Sure developers can learn from them by using the mantra of "find something fun to do and keep doing it" like Epic did with Gears 2, but padding your levels out with useless enemies meant only to make your sequence more frustrating and add 'challenge' is idiotic. Games don't need to have challenge at every turn. Sometimes gamers are refined enough to just appreciate the spectacle of something great.

Edited by TeflonBilly

I noticed it being utter dogshit. Whoever let that part of the game stay that way for release should never be allowed to touch coding tools again.

And this is from someone who like Force Unleashed. that part nearly ruined the game for me.

Posted by TheGTAvaccine

Yeah, that was probably the worst part in that terrible game.

Posted by HandsomeDead

Dead Space is the absolute definition of enemies for the sake of enemies. I have no idea how that game is supposed to be a horror when the enemies appear as regularly as in a typical FPS.

Posted by Shadow

That would be stupid.  The whole point is that something like that is supposed to be impossible, even with the force.  There would be no impact to it if the general dude said "There is no choice, you must rip it out of the sky!" and Starkiller went like "okay" *yoink* "done, now what?"

Posted by Damonation

I would have preferred if that sequence was just a cut-scene.

Posted by SpikeDelight
Shadow said:
"That would be stupid.  The whole point is that something like that is supposed to be impossible, even with the force.  There would be no impact to it if the general dude said "There is no choice, you must rip it out of the sky!" and Starkiller went like "okay" *yoink* "done, now what?""
No you're missing the point. Lifting a Star Destroyer with the Force is hard because of the actual weight of the thing, not because there are waves of annoying TIE Fighters circling you while you do it. It would have been cool if they came up with a way to convey the difficulty of being one with the Force in this way without useless enemies. Like they did with Yoda in Empire. The fact that Damonation said it should be a cutscene proves that at least one other person wouldn't have minded making it less interactive than it was. I'm saying that if all you do is yank the sticks down it's pretty much a cutscene ayway. I say to you that if it wouldn't have been interesting the way you described it then how was it so awesome when he did it in the teaser? All he did was decide to yank it and then yank it. But it was awesome.
Posted by dsplayer1010

I noticed that it was a pain in the ass.

Posted by SpikeDelight

It was a pain in the ass. It really pained me though that they managed to screw that up. HOW!?!?!?!        

--sigh--

Posted by Chokobo
HandsomeDead said:
"Dead Space is the absolute definition of enemies for the sake of enemies. I have no idea how that game is supposed to be a horror when the enemies appear as regularly as in a typical FPS."
Horror isn't about enemy numbers, it's about atmosphere.
Posted by OfficialJab

To the OP, no I don't see that. That's how it's always been, and it's only in these later generations of games that people are no longer calling it difficulty, they're calling it poor game design.

That section would have been worthless without the enemies coming in. It's not even as difficult as people let on, either. It was fun and challenging, like the rest of that game. One of my favourite parts.

Posted by Gameboi

I noticed how much it frustrated me, if that's what you mean.

Edited by SpikeDelight
OfficialJab said:
"To the OP, no I don't see that. That's how it's always been, and it's only in these later generations of games that people are no longer calling it difficulty, they're calling it poor game design.

That section would have been worthless without the enemies coming in. It's not even as difficult as people let on, either. It was fun and challenging, like the rest of that game. One of my favourite parts."
To you I have to say this: Do games now even need to be difficult at all anymore? If you are from the NES generation I can see why you would think games should be confined to such a handicap, but if you think outside of the box for a second, what are games really? The cop-out answer would be to say that they are entertainment meant to stimulate the senses and challenge the user, hence the name 'video game'. I don't think games need to stimulate you at all, or at least not in the way they did in Contra or Street Fighter. I say you should look to films for a parallel, (and there's a difference between being a parallel to films in thier historical progression and just trying to imitate feature films in content and structure) sure in the early days they needed to have some kind of real catch as to why people see them, like the fact that there was a faraway country with beautiful scenery or cutting-edge special effect for the time, but now those coexist with others meant more for your mind, and the medium is accepted as something that can feature content smarter than just eye candy. I think games should be able to stimulate your mind just as well as films can, in fact they have the potential to do it a lot better. The satisfaction you get from doing something in Half-Life 2 is seriously rewarding, and in the way that most games (note that most games besides HL2 use cutscenes- a handicap left over from trying to copy movies) can't replicate. The pure way of telling a story through this medium, one in which the user has at least a little bit of control over what happens, makes all the difference. Any part of Half-Life 2 could have played out in a passive medium such as films, but instead the fact that when a setpiece happens you affected it or when characters are talking, you, not a camera, are looking them makes it so much more engaging. I have gone on record going so far as to say that games can't be successfully translated to film because film is an inferior form of storytelling. Half-Life 2 won't make a bad film because its story isn't good enough, it's because the story is completely up to the user. Making this a static, and therefore boring sequence of images ruins the way the story in Half-Life 2 pans out. I stick to this statement.

I have also gone on record saying that our entire industry needs to change its name, since developers and people arguing about 'games as art' subjects have used the term 'video game' as a crutch to make their games hang onto bits and pieces of the 8-bit coin-ops of our past. The day when we wake up and realize that we don't need to make players pay by the death anymore is truly the day video games transcend their restrained roots.
Edited by LiquidPrince

That part was pretty bad, but I liked the game. The first time I tried it took me like 20 minutes to finish, mainly because during the last part there is a glitch where it tells you to go the wrong way. However once you figure it out, you can basically get passed it in about 3 minutes. Still annoying, but the game overall was, I think, fun.

Also, this one reason why I like Prince of Persia. People say it's easy, but I say no, it's not frustrating, there is a difference, It doesn't throw ten million enemies at you to pad it's gameplay, it merely asks you to keep moving very fluidly.

Posted by Matthew
SpikeDelight said:
"I have also gone on record saying that our entire industry needs to change its name, since developers and people arguing about 'games as art' subjects have used the term 'video game' as a crutch to make their games hang onto bits and pieces of the 8-bit coin-ops of our past. The day when we wake up and realize that we don't need to make players pay by the death anymore is truly the day video games transcend their restrained roots."
Very well put.  It would be appropriate for the industry to undergo a change in name, but 'game' is so synonymous with what is out there today, that I don't see a change coming in the near future that is going to be openly adopted and used by the public at large.
Posted by SpikeDelight
Matthew said:
Very well put.  It would be appropriate for the industry to undergo a change in name, but 'game' is so synonymous with what is out there today, that I don't see a change coming in the near future that is going to be openly adopted and used by the public at large."
It's the sad truth isn't it? A boy can dream though, can't he?
Posted by vidiot

The sheer mention of that Star Destroyer sequence makes my blood boil and my head begins to pulsate. It's pretty much a common agreement, that it was a phenomenal failure from a game design decision and a technical one. I remember after watching the initial trailer of the Star Destroyer being pulled down from the sky and then listening to a game designer talking about how the sequence was going to be part of the gameplay and be something "special".

Jesus, I would have just taken a cutscene and be done with it.

Talk about padding. That whole sequence was just lazy. It didn't help it happened to go out of the way to include the worst mini game ever invented. There are way's to make you feel like you are doing something extraordinary and difficult.

Metal Gear Solid 4 had a hallway...and a triangle button... And what followed was one of the most gut wrenching sequences I have ever played.

Posted by Matthew
vidiot said:
"Jesus, I would have just taken a cutscene and be done with it.

Talk about padding. That whole sequence was just lazy. It didn't help it happened to go out of the way to include the worst mini game ever invented. There are way's to make you feel like you are doing something extraordinary and difficult.

Metal Gear Solid 4 had a hallway...and a triangle button... And what followed was one of the most gut wrenching sequences I have ever played."
I hate to use it, but OMG!  Seriously, my pulse was racing while I was pounding on that button for the entirety of the sequence.  And when I started to hit some of the edges towards the end of the hallway, I totally thought I was going to lose it.  But when I was listening to the Snakecast the boys here did, it almost seemed like you were naturally going to hit some edges...Kojima is just crazy awesome like that.
Posted by TeflonBilly
vidiot said:
"Metal Gear Solid 4 had a hallway...and a triangle button... And what followed was one of the most gut wrenching sequences I have ever played."
Hell fucking yeah, best gaming moment of the year. I was almost screaming at Snake while doing that but not of frustration, but at elation that I'm making it, but only barely.
"C'MON SNAKE! YOU*RE NOT TOOL OLD FOR THIS SHIT YET, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT!"
Posted by LiquidPrince
TeflonBilly said:
"vidiot said:
"Metal Gear Solid 4 had a hallway...and a triangle button... And what followed was one of the most gut wrenching sequences I have ever played."
Hell fucking yeah, best gaming moment of the year. I was almost screaming at Snake while doing that but not of frustration, but at elation that I'm making it, but only barely.
"C'MON SNAKE! YOU*RE NOT TOOL OLD FOR THIS SHIT YET, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT!""

Yeah, I genuinely thought I was gonna die!

Posted by TheJollyRajah

Force Unleashed is just one of those games that everyone considers mediocre, but yet, it still sticks out as a game that's fun. Weird indeed.

Posted by SpikeDelight
TeflonBilly said:
"vidiot said:
"Metal Gear Solid 4 had a hallway...and a triangle button... And what followed was one of the most gut wrenching sequences I have ever played."
Hell fucking yeah, best gaming moment of the year. I was almost screaming at Snake while doing that but not of frustration, but at elation that I'm making it, but only barely.
"C'MON SNAKE! YOU*RE NOT TOOL OLD FOR THIS SHIT YET, YOU GOTTA MAKE IT!""
Exactly. One of my favorite gaming moments ever. I was muttering under my breath "Don't you fucking die on me" louder and louder until I was screaming it! That was so fucking intense!