Game Design Sins.

We all know these. It's those little things that game developers don't seem to be able to get right - the little things that piss us off and ruin a game that might be perfectly awesome otherwise... but THAT ONE DIFFICULT PART OF THE GAME WITH A SAVEPOINT BEFORE A LONG UNSKIPPABLE CUTSCENE JUST MAKES YOUR BLOOD BOIL.

Those things! Those are what this list is about - things we want to see less of in future games!

List items

  • Really. Even the Metal Gear Solid games allow you to skip cutscenes, and they are among the most Cutscene-heavy games in existance - and don't get me wrong, I think Cutscenes are very important for the enjoyment and the suspension of disbelief for the player. However, there are so many games who handle cutscenes wrong - like placing unskippable cutscenes after a save/checkpoint.

    The Unskippable Credits are a related, if not quite as severe sin.

  • Come on. I start a second playthrough, and I have to suffer through an hour long tutorial? Why can't I skip this?

    That said, those tutorials have become fairly rare - guess it tends to be more of an "easy first level", instead.

  • Specifically, I'm referring to games with mixed single-player/multiplayer achievements. Modern Warfare 2 got it RIGHT (though the Spec Ops bit is questionable...), Crackdown 2 got it WRONG. Monday Night Combat got it right, Halo 3 got it wrong.

    And so on.

  • *sigh* Even developers who acknowledge that Escort Missions are a problem get Escort Missions wrong. Can it be done right? I don't know - but the one in Metro 2033 (where you carry the kid on your shoulders), is probably the one that got it the most right (besides making me motion sick :P), in pretty much all other cases, you are escorting someone who moves slow, runs into enemies (and dies) or does something else you did not expect, seemingly just to piss you off.

    Still haven't played ICO, but it sounds like they got it right as well.

  • That's right. Open World/Sandbox games (MMO's are not covered here!). Specifically, I'm looking at Grand Theft Auto and all of it's clones and variants (Saboteur, Crackdown(s), etc). What all these games have in common is that they've blown their entire budget on crafting an enormous setting, but seem to have almost no content (or worse, content that makes the world less believable!), which makes the games feel like second-rate MMOs, except there are no other players around.

    And yes, Grand Theft Auto 4 is definately one of the games I'm talking about here. Assassins Creed: Brotherhood is not.

  • Specifically, this is in reference to cliffhangers at end of games - the open ends that are just there to keep the door open for a sequel. Halo 2, Mafia 2 and many others are included in this category. An open end can be ok, occasionally, but I feel it's hard to get right without the player feeling like they did not get any closure.

  • I'm talking about traps you can see a mile away, but have no way of avoiding. In some cases, you even normally have the tools to deal with the trap, but the game keeps you from it. There's one of these scenarios near the start of Spec Ops: The Line. You come across a group of enemies that are clearly not dead, but for some reason, your weapons don't appear to be functional in that area... until the trap is sprung!

5 Comments

Avatar image for vodun
Vodun

2403

Forum Posts

220

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Vodun

Could you link to Modern Night Combat? I haven't heard of that one. Is that the new game by Uber Ward?

Avatar image for mnemoidian
Mnemoidian

1016

Forum Posts

478

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 26

Edited By Mnemoidian
@Vodun: 
We aren't talking about that right now! ;)
Avatar image for ahoodedfigure
ahoodedfigure

4572

Forum Posts

41781

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 64

Edited By ahoodedfigure

My big issue is when cutscenes get repeated after you've seen them once. I don't mind seeing them a single time, although very long ones feel a bit crippling no matter what, especially if you're not at a rest period. Cutscenes used to be a relief in arcade games, where you could shake the blood back into your hands and get a bit of a reward for your skills before being thrown back in. I think some games do get carried away, although I'm not as down on them as others are (as long as it's just once).
 
The tutorial obeys the same rules in my head. I don't mind learning stuff the first time, but after that...  it's often why I have trouble getting into Bioware games a second time. I want to just jump past everything and try new stuff, and often their games force you to learn mechanics each time because, well, it's actually considered to be part of the game's content.  Argh.
 
From what little I know of achievements, I'd rather they be extraordinary achievements than things like "congratulations, you've moved on to the next stage of the game" like some games do.
 
Escort missions can be done right; you'll know this after you realize "holy shit, I did an escort mission and didn't even notice." There've been a few like that, but...  hm, maybe this is the subject of a blog post in the making.
 
As a fan of open world exploration, there's not much I can say here except it all depends on, yes, what you can actually do in a place (but that, to me, includes exploring interesting locations, even if you can't break into every window).
 
Once in a while I'll be OK with cliffhangers, but they're way over used. From what I've heard of Infamous 2, they've done something that's earned my undying respect. But I'll say no more :)

Avatar image for mnemoidian
Mnemoidian

1016

Forum Posts

478

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 26

Edited By Mnemoidian

@ahoodedfigure:

Cutscenes: I agree, I love cutscenes, but especially in places where after a reload I need to take 2 steps, enter a half a minute or longer cutscene, and then go for a hard sequence... it just kills the flow of the game.

Tutorial: yeah... it's a bit of a catch-22 situation, I guess. We don't want seperate tutorial levels, as people just jump into games without doing the tutorial anyway... but when we like a game enough to start a second playthrough, we get bogged down in a slow, unskippable tutorial.

I guess the best option would be to make a "no-tutorial" version of the tutorial-level... but where's the value in that, for the developer, if only 5% of their players start a new game that's a lot of development without a lot of gain - maybe.

Still, you can of course make good and bad required tutorial sequences.

Open World: LA Noire and Mafia 2 kind of worked as Open world games for me. I knew all that stuff was out there, but I never rarely felt compelled to stray off of the beaten path...

And yeah, the end of inFamous 2 works great, but that's not really the cheap cliffhanger type I meant :)

It's more like... you write a story as you normally would, but just as the story starts wrapping up, nearing the climactic battle at the end - it just plops a big "TO BE CONTINUED" on the screen.

Avatar image for ahoodedfigure
ahoodedfigure

4572

Forum Posts

41781

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 6

User Lists: 64

Edited By ahoodedfigure
@Mnemoidian: The best tutorials are the ones that give you the basic toolset, and let you figuring things out for yourself by experimentation. Best for me, anyway. I know some people hate that stuff. And I guess that only works as long as you remember all the controls. I've had a few games where I forgot one basic maneuver and had to go back to the beginning to find out what it was because their in-game help was inadequate.
 
I knew what you meant by cliffhanger; I was more saying Infamous 2 did a nice sidestepping of that bad tendency.