Rogue-like fatigue?

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FinalDasa

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#1 FinalDasa  Moderator

It's inevitable. When any game gets popular other developers soon want to mimic whatever worked in the original game in an effort to be successful.

PUBG and Fortnite didn't invite the battle royale genre, but both games brought their own flavor to the concept.

Rogue-likes have been around for decades and seen a consistent surge in popularity for several years now. So much so that when a new game suddenly gets discussed online I'm not surprised when it ends up being another rogue-like.

Just this year saw Risk of Rain 2, Crying Suns, Slay the Spire, Dicey Dungeons, and Void Bastards get released.

That's a lot.

So do you feel tired of rogue-likes and their rogue-adjacent cousins? Is there another genre you're much more exhausted of?

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csl316

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#2  Edited By csl316

Metroidvanias. Symphony of the Night is my favorite game of all time (tied with Mario World), but whenever I see a cool looking 2D platformer I get bummed out when it's a Metroidvania. Which is why I was so excited to see Valfaris turn out to be a linear shooter.

I suppose this ties into open world fatigue I have for 3D games. I prefer games with a tighter experience overall these days. It wasn't always the case, but getting dropped into a giant world powerless, then getting your bearings and eventually owning the environment is such a long, tedious process if not done well.

If done well, it can really capture me (*looks at Hollow Knight at the top of my personal GOTY last year, Bloodstained being high this year*). But one or two of those games a year is more than enough. They've hit the same space for me as RPG's, racing games, multiplayer shooters, and yes... roguelikes. One a year.

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Humanity

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Maybe not genre but this year more than any other I've gotten tired of open world games and the lack of tightly paced, linear adventures. What before was this great sense of wonder and exploration for me in these sprawling adventures has now turned to exhaustion. I'm currently making my way through Jedi Fallen Order and I do sort of wish it was just a A-to-B-to-C linear adventure. I appreciate the metroidvania attempt and it works, more or less, but it also means you revisit planets several times just to go back to that one door you couldn't open before or that wall you couldn't get over. I'm curious about the story and these are stopgaps that don't really add all that much to the experience for me.

I guess the open world "genre" if you will kind of broke me this year. Even games traditionally beholden to strict rails like Uncharted or God of War have begun introducing these open worlds - the most prominent, and in my opinion misguided one of those this year, found in Gears of War 5. Games are getting more and more expensive to make so I see single player experience in of themselves are more risky and less favorable choices for publishers to back. So you tack on some XP bars, some open world farming and back tracking, and you boost your linear story into a linear story with some busywork in between.

Open worlds aren't a bad thing in of themselves, but in 2020 I wouldn't mind some linear games to blow through that aren't 30-60 hours long.

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fisk0

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#4  Edited By fisk0

Fantasy themed CRPG's. Hopefully something is changing after the success of Disco Elysium, but I've been really bummed out that the CRPG revival of the last 4-5 years ended up meaning countless Baldur's Gate clones set in Forgotten Realms knock-offs rather than taking the mechanics of the infinity and black isle engine games and applying them to a variety of settings. It was the fundamen tal game mechanics that made me love those games in the 90s, not casting magic missiles on orcs.

When it comes to roguelites/likes, I'm only burned out in the sense that there have been so many of them in recent years that fundamentally misunderstand the whole concept, turning them into progression based loot games which you can just brute force over time, rather than having you learn a core set of mechanics and applying them on an almost infinite variety of maps.

I fell of the Battle Royale genre hard specifically because of the lack of procedural generation. Back when it started getting popular it kinda had that myth about every match being different since you newer knew what you'd find, then it turned out that in almost all the games specific areas were associated with specific loot, and then it was just like any other multiplayer shooter just at a bigger scale.

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BoOzak

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#5  Edited By BoOzak

@csl316: For whatever reason I just cant get enough of Metroidvanias, i'm not sure why but I just never tire of them. I understand why you would though, theres so many these days. (it's great!)

I share your fatigue of rogue likes (OP) but I was never a huge fan of the genre to begin with.

For me it's souls likes. I've played through damn near all of them but thats because I enjoy a good hack 'n slash melee based action game and now there are very few of those that dont have tacked on mechanics derived from the Souls games.

Dont get me wrong I also enjoy action RPGs but one of the problems I have with them versus a pure action game is that you can always just over level your enemies, i'll always be wondering whether a fight is too easy/hard due to whatever level am I. The lack of combo variety is another issue but obviously i'm comparing apples to oranges, I just wish there were a few more oranges...

@humanity said:

Maybe not genre but this year more than any other I've gotten tired of open world games and the lack of tightly paced, linear adventures. What before was this great sense of wonder and exploration for me in these sprawling adventures has now turned to exhaustion. I'm currently making my way through Jedi Fallen Order and I do sort of wish it was just a A-to-B-to-C linear adventure. I appreciate the metroidvania attempt and it works, more or less, but it also means you revisit planets several times just to go back to that one door you couldn't open before or that wall you couldn't get over. I'm curious about the story and these are stopgaps that don't really add all that much to the experience for me.

I enjoyed Fallen Order but the metroidvania aspects were really thrown together, it kind of reminded me of the original Lords of Shadow in a weird way, but at least in that you could easily go back to an area to get stuff you missed or couldnt aquire. In Fallen Order it takes forever because the level design consists of very windy areas, very few of which actually connect together.

The souls aspects were also completely pointless but i've ranted enough about that. (still a good game though!)

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tacobelmont

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They're not as pervasive as they once were, but tower defense. I think the breaking point for me was Assassin's Creed Revelations having a tower defense minigame for your forts or whatever, so I made myself avoid that whenever possible. Pretty easy to do, but still something I had to micro-manage when all I wanted to do was sneaky stab some bad dudes.

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devise22

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I'd probably say I'm with the OP here that I'm also starting to feel a bit of the Rouge-lite and even adjacent fatigue. That genre in particular has been such an indy darling due to some very good and high profile successes that it's seen every attempt under the sun at trying to keep it fresh.

Honestly more than anything I think the biggest fatigue for me right now is a byproduct of too many games trying to be too many things. I mean look at something like Bloodstained, for example. It's a metroidvania but it also has heavy crafting, rouge-lite, and RPG mechanics. This generation has seen a rise in the standardization of so many mechanics that used to be specific to a single genre in a way that has saturated me entirely on some of these game concepts. It's probably why retro games can and still have such a huge impact/audience. It's nice to play a platformer that's just a platformer, etc.

I think this is especially the case as @humanity states regarding open world games. Because everyone is open world they all are taking their choices and putting their spin on a series of the over saturated mechanics I mentioned above. At some point though we hit a wall where all these games feel too much like products which are a little overly fine tuned.

Especially considering that for the most part a lot of these games are trying to fill the same "spot" for a lot of players. If your currently playing something with deep/engrossing RPG mechanics it's so much easier now for other games even if they only doing half the RPG stuff to systems wise feel so similar that you wouldn't be playing both of them at the same time. It's probably why a game like Tetris can have so much success, as it did last year. It's nice to have truly different types of games to play at the same time and the more and more these genres continue to bleed into each other the harder it becomes for some of these games to co-exist, which is kind of a bummer if you think about it.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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Rogue, you monsters. Rouge is what you wear when you’re feeling fancy for your big date.

I can’t really say as I’m burned out on anything save maybe for anime-tropey RPGs. Which I guess I must not be too burned out on them because I sure do keep buying them and then staring at their titles for five years before playing them.

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Relkin

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Not tired of them (or anything, really), but there definitely have been a few of them where I'm disappointed by them being rogue-likes. Where I'd rather they would be handcrafted experiences, instead of rolling the dice on proc-gen giving me a good time.

Not from this year, but both Moonlighter and Flinthook are good examples of this, and I've got some complicated feels about RoR2, as well. I like that it's a rogue-like/lite, but I enjoy playing those characters so much that I wish there was some more authored content in addition to the main game.

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#10  Edited By Onemanarmyy

nah i don't really feel that. Like the games mentioned here are quite diverse. Slay the Spire & Dicey Dungeons share the deckbuilding aspect, but i don't think about these games while playing Void Bastards or Risk of Rain 2. It's just such a different experience. Not familiar wih Crying Suns, but that seems to be a hex-tiled strategy game. But i guess the rogue-like gravy that has been poured onto those games could just as well have been replaced with the linear-design gravy so fair enough.

That said, i do sometimes feel like games are being hamstrung by being a roguelike. Where the replayability of the game is highlighted but the actual gameplay moments are just not very captivating at all because it's so obviously built out of the same building blocks. Or they become games that are all about dying a bunch of times to unlock better stuff that eventually might lead to a successful run. I've recently looked at some Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup and that's a game that you could beat on your first try if you had the required knowledge, whereas something like Rogue Legacy very much wants you to die over and over. Personally if progression & unlocks is a major part of your game, i'd rather go through a wide array of designed environments and unlock these things as the story progresses.

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I get burned out on roguelikes after one run lol. I dont get the whole do it again feature of them.

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@devise22 said:

Honestly more than anything I think the biggest fatigue for me right now is a byproduct of too many games trying to be too many things. I mean look at something like Bloodstained, for example. It's a metroidvania but it also has heavy crafting, rouge-lite, and RPG mechanics. This generation has seen a rise in the standardization of so many mechanics that used to be specific to a single genre in a way that has saturated me entirely on some of these game concepts. It's probably why retro games can and still have such a huge impact/audience. It's nice to play a platformer that's just a platformer, etc.

Yeah, the crafting is one of the main reasons I didn't try and get back into Bloodstained after I hit a game-ending bug. I'm just kind of over that system in games. I'd rather play a game that focuses on its strong pints as opposed to a bolted-on grindy, RNG-heavy system.

Also, I get that for some being able to play a different way than everyone else (or change up your playstyle for replays) is a big thing, but for me it kind of takes away from the game as a whole. I end up feeling like I'm playing it the wrong way or missing out on something.

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#13  Edited By BigSocrates

I'm just tired of busywork in general. Whether it be rogue-like that require you to run the same areas over and over, open world bullshit that forces you to spend much of the game doing boring traversal stuff to get to the actual game parts (or doing repetitive and usually not very interesting activities) or crafting/grinding stuff...just give me the good parts of the game to play please. If a game is truly great and has incredible mechanics that make it fun to do stuff then I can enjoy some of these things (for example Breath of the Wild with its great traversal mechanics and filling every inch of the world with stuff to do or find) but most games just aren't at that level. Even God of War 2018, which I adored, irritated me with its open world quests that make you row your boat around to all these little islands just to do one or two things. The huge amounts of great dialog during those bits did make it better, but eventually I just got tired of the rowing to actually playing the game ratio.

Developers seem not to understand that there's a price to pay for "more content." Often that's making the content worse than it would be if there were less of it, or diluting the good stuff. It's not always the case, but I think that it's especially true for games that are just okay and would be fine if they didn't outstay their welcome, but then do because they are full of all this padding.

My personal best recent example was Agents of Mayhem, which could have been a semi-okay action game but instead was an intolerable slog full of copy and paste "lair" dungeons and super boring open-world stuff. The actual story missions were...mostly okay (until they forced you to do yet another super repetitive lair) but they were buried under so much junk that I actively hated that game by the time I finished it.

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cikame

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I like making progress and seeing new things in games, as such Rogue-Like's have never really appealed to me, i'm sure lots of clever development goes into making them but for me it doesn't translate into a worthwhile experience. I want to check out Dead Cells and Void Bastards at some point, but everything i've tried before now has been lacklustre.
As far as fatigue goes... nothing really, the genres i really enjoy see less and less releases as time goes by, so there's plenty of room for more of everything.

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#15 rorie  Staff

I dunno, I kind of still really dig rogue lites and metroidvanias because you can kind of sit down and play them for half an hour at a time and get some progress done before doing something else. I kind of fell off playing RDR2 after it came out because it felt like I needed to sit down for a couple hours at a time. But to each their own!

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I love the genre, and it's a very wide one, so keep 'em coming, I say. Open world fatigue is definitely hitting me, however.

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BigSocrates

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@rorie: I get what you're saying, but I think it's a little unfair to compare rogue lites or metroidvanias against only sprawling open world behemoths like RDR2 in this regard. There are lots of handcrafted games with short, digestible campaigns where you can make substantial progress in half an hour. The Spyro Reignited Trilogy was great for this for me. You can play a single level, or just mop up extra objectives and collectibles for a bit, and then move on quickly. Similarly something like Donut County (which only lasts a few hours anyway) or even the Uncharted or Tomb Raider games can give you a sense of progression in 30 minutes.

On the flip side if you have a bad run in a rogue lite or you get lost in a metroidvania you can easily waste 30 minutes accomplishing nothing.

I really like both Slay the Spire and Enter the Gungeon, but those games were super grindy for me and I had lots of lengthy runs where I felt like I hadn't accomplished much. Flinthook was even worse because that game is really tough and eventually the stuff you buy isn't actually of much use. I think the grindy nature of some of those games is one of my major issues with them. The gameplay really has to be on point for it to be worth it because progress can be so incremental and frustrating, especially if you're like learning a boss and it takes you half an hour just to get another attempt on him (as opposed to a traditional game where you might be able to save right outside a boss room.)

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OurSin_360

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I feel like some potentially great games become mediocre or bad because they turn them into rogue-ish type games. I guess I understand though, it lets you keep the game going longer without actually making more content but I am more into complete games where I get to keep everything when I level up and progress normally.

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I do miss more normally structred games for formats like the indie action game. Now a lot do employ a Rogue like structure. It can be good but moderation is enough.

I definitely miss games with discrete levels more right now than anything, be they action games of the AAA type or indie, or even also say racing games. i get the developer issue with content, however I do think there are perhaps creative ways to solve those issues and repurpose things.

@oursin_360 said:

I feel like some potentially great games become mediocre or bad because they turn them into rogue-ish type games.

Hot take to a degree but one example I have for this is Dead Cells.

The game plays so well, but the whole world and structure is extremely boring. Instead of having to come up with a creative or sprawling map like a Metroidvania like say Bloodstained, it had those randomly generated levels which had very repetitive and lackluster lay outs. Maybe this was updated, but when I played it, most levels were just a straight shot across where occasionally you would go down into a tunnel for bonuses. That was really it. I would have loved to see such good combat and mechanics in the non-roguelike structure. I do like how it elegantly handles the quick level up system too, but I think that combat and feel/look in a normal Metroidvania would have been an even better game.

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Kalimando

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My problem with any rogue like attempt is the valley that it generates between skill and understanding.

Take dark souls for instance, many enemies are only difficult because you don't understand what they can do, while others require skill or investment in stats to overcome. In either case you need to invest time to develop both.

This divide can be applied to many roguelike games but unlike FROMSOFT many developers don't have the time or budget to strike that balance

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@devise22 said:

Honestly more than anything I think the biggest fatigue for me right now is a byproduct of too many games trying to be too many things. I mean look at something like Bloodstained, for example. It's a metroidvania but it also has heavy crafting, rouge-lite, and RPG mechanics. This generation has seen a rise in the standardization of so many mechanics that used to be specific to a single genre in a way that has saturated me entirely on some of these game concepts.

It's funny to me because I was a big RPG fan growing up in spite of having to learn to love turn based combat and those sorts of aspects. Basically the compromises made to combat. I couldn't stand playing Morrowind and having your weapon swing through an enemy and missing. I always wished one day action games would get that stuff.

We've seen it by now in most every game that's coming out but it shows you the importance of the delivery, the interconnecting systems, and the depth. In a lot of these games it just feels silly.

For an example, I really like Control and the crafting aspects are fine because they are so in the background, but its really silly when you look at it. You have these discrete materials you just pick up and who cares about which is which as they are these abstract concepts and things, you can level up system you have to craft random add ons for yourself and your weapons when you already get a shitload of them around the environment as is, and they are already color coded for rarity to begin with. In the end you are improving your weapons and things.

So what the hell was wrong with Resident Evil 4's shop system? It was doing most all of that in a way simplier and more effective way. (Control is great otherwise and this doesn't even bother anything about the experience since you just ignore it but it's silly when you look at it). With a lot less, you can do more. Like the RE 4 shop or I'd say Souls crafting at its best, which usually had one or two things to find and when you found them it was an exciting moment and you weren't really guessing about any part of it.

That's the thing with these games is they include these systems but don't want them to be so meaningful (or don't make them feel so by making the gains you get leveling up say purely numbers going up) that it all becomes busy work.

Some effects these inconsequential mass of systems create is

1) diluting the leveling up experience. Instead of feeling excited when you get a new ability or feel meaningfully stronger when you level up, you get these gradual upgrades that are mostly the same. In an effort to have multiple systems, you make the upgrades less meaningful (see the Perks in Outer Worlds that were just basic stat increases over say actually being perks).

2) making no one care about any of it. If its small and focused and improvements are meaningful, I care. See say the Souls series handling of gear and upgrades. When its small percentages and I'm picking up TONS of loot, I dont' even bother to check it out. Especially in some of these games that already feel like cake walks anyways to get through.

I also have one maybe hot take about RPG and systems in games now is that I am not a fan at all of how freely many games let you respec at will or totally shift your build at will with different abilities. Or in general let you fill in a whole tree easily. To me that seems fine in theory but brings down build differentiation which matters in RPGs, even to a lone players experience. It creates a feeling when you as a player see a lot of options before you and need to choose your way through that is not a negative feeling even though you are technically missing out, but in fact feels cool and like there is real freedom there because you know you need to pick and choose and work to your strengths. It's a whole way of thinking that is nice on paper because it's about respecting the player but in the end actually doesn't respect their experience.

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#22  Edited By Bonbonetti

I'm tired of so many 3rd-person games being soulsbourne types: Darksiders 3, AC Odyssey, God of War (2018), Jedi Fallen Order, Sekiro, Nioh, Remnant, Outward, Elex, and so on ... and so on. At first glance, these games look cool to me, but I as soon as I see or hear a reference to Dark Souls or Bloodborne, I completely loose interest in the game. It's a major turn-off for me.

( ... that's not entirely true, I do really like The Surge games, but that's it. And for the record, I do recognize the artistic genius behind the Dark Souls series itself.)

It's the same with rogue-likes. For me rogue-like has become synonymous with: "we can't be bothered writing a storyline, making characters and thought-out levels, here's some random things thrown together, nothing is balanced, hope you like it".

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I have literally been chasing the feeling Spelunky gave me when I played it for the past 7 years now. I will look into and most likely purchase anything that mentions procedural generation or permadeath. My collection of just roguelike/lite games is in the hundreds at this point. And while I have found plenty of games I really like, not one has made me feel the way I'm looking for. But I'm not sick of looking yet. If Spelunky 2 can't do it, maybe I'll give up.

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#24  Edited By DrunkenVike

I don't know if I'll ever tire of *good* roguelites. The best ones have so many possibilities in each run that you may never see the same combination/run twice. I think they get really stale when there's not enough variety, and it's on the developer to work extremely hard to make sure there's enough.

But there's only so many 2D pixel platformers I can play in one lifetime, I'll tell you that. Celeste was invigorating because the dash was used in so many novel ways but there's not much room left to innovate.

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SloppyDetective

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I've never found the rogue-like/lite that really worked for me and I go and dump a 100+ hours into it. I've played most of the big ones: Rogue Legacy, Binding of Issac, Spelunky, Dead Cells, Enter the Gungeon, FTL. But none of them really clicked for me and I started to think it just wasn't my genre. Then I started playing Hades and I love it. It feel like SuperGiant hit the perfect balance between story/progression/gameplay. While in early access I've put about 13 hours into the game; I'll play for a few hours, then put it down for a couple months and pick it back up after an update. Can't wait for a full release when I'll probably start fresh.

Like others have said, I am tired of every AAA game having to have a little bit of everything in it. It would be great to have more higher budget but focused games. I feel like once you get into that level of development there's so much money involved in developing out these systems that it seems like a waste of money to cut them - even when they clearly aren't fully realized.

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Shindig

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I liked Sparklite enough to finish it but the bigger ones haven't grabbed me. I tend to see a few of them for review and, after a nice, comfy drought, they seem to be making their way back into my workload.

The one thing I need from these is a sense of persistence. That and a hook to keep me coming back. Sparklite had that in abundance and I need that foothold to really get into one.

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FancySoapsMan

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I kind of got sick of rogue-likes a while ago. There's a lot of game that I thought looked cool but lost all interest in as soon as I found out they were rogue-likes.