It must be really difficult to design and develop a video game. There are so many things to take into account. Does it have a good story? How are the graphics? Which character is Nolan North going to do the voice for? It must be tough.
If you're a hardcore gamer, there are certain things you're gonna see all the time. Creativity is time consuming and risky, after all, so many developers tend to just stick to the greatest hits. Red exploding barrels. Deathmatches. Giant spiders. These things are not going away any time soon. But often times, at least in my opinion, things that probably seem like good ideas on paper, end up being some of the most annoying things to experience in a game. I love video games, and if you are reading this then you probably enjoy them as well. There are some truly great experiences to be had in the world of gaming, and game developers will always have my gratitude and admiration for creating them. But, on the other hand, I would really like to tell you guys out there that there are (at least) five things that seriously need to stop....now.
5. "Horde Mode" style multiplayer
Biggest offenders: Gears of War 2, Halo 3: ODST, Call of Duty: MW3
Correct me of I'm wrong on this one, but I believe it was Gears of War 2 that introduced (or at least popularized) the modern formula for what seems to have become an obligatory inclusion in games with online multiplayer (specifically shooters). Horde mode is basically an evolved version of a very old gaming trope dating back to games like Space Invaders. The idea is to place the players in a situation where the goal is simply to survive as many waves of (sometimes infinite) enemies as possible. Now I'm not saying that these modes can't be fun sometimes, with the right group of friends. But on the occasions when I am able to get a gang together, I would still always rather play standard deathmatch or a cooperative campaign mission. I just think time and resources could be better spent elsewhere. Leave this format over in the tower defense genre where it belongs.
4. Bosses with glowing weak spots
Biggest Offenders: Legend of Zelda series, Resident Evil Series
Some of the best boss fights that I have ever had have been in the Metal Gear Solid games. Pretty sure everyone who has ever played Metal Gear Solid remembers saying "OK seriously what the hell?" the first time they fought Psycho Mantis. Or chasing The End through the jungle in Snake Eater. But for every great experience like those there are seemingly about a billion or so boss fights that can be summarized by the description, "memorize the pattern, attack when the glowing weak spot is revealed". I mean, it's a really lucky thing for us gamers that these guys have these spots in the first place. I can just imagine the scientists in Resident Evil hanging out, growing their giant, gross monsters in those glass tanks, saying to each other, "Ok guys so where should we put the giant herpes postule on this one?" and then the new guy says "Wait, why does it even need to have one of those? If we just don't give it a glowing weak spot then that guy with the 90s haircut won't be able to kill it!" And then they all look at each other.......and shoot him.
I don't think anuses are supposed to look like that.....he should probably see a doctor
3. InstaFail stealth missions
Biggest Offenders: Assassin's Creed series, Batman: Arkham Asylum, Dishonored
I'm gonna be honest, I actually love stealthy-assassination-type gameplay. Metal Gear Solid is one of my favorite franchises. I thought the stealth takedown options in Far Cry 3 elevated what was a good game into an awesome game (Stab two dudes in a row, then kill another by throwing the second guys knife, all in a matter of 3 seconds. Revel in your badass-ness). Having said that, we've all groaned our way through a bad stealth mission in a game before. Spend ten minutes slowly creeping your way forward and memorizing enemy movement patterns, only to get spotted at the last possible second and have to redo the entire thing. These segments have never once in gaming history been fun. I have never felt a sense of accomplishment after completing a contrived stealth mission before, only relief and thankfulness that it is over and I can go back to having fun.
2. Choose Your Own Ending
Biggest Offenders: Mass Effect 3, Far Cry 3, Fable 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I can really see how this one might seem like a good idea in theory. Let the player decide how the game ends. After all, the whole experience is about them, right? They are the one that has played the whole game up to this point, right? They've made all the choices so far, right? Makes sense. The problem is that it just doesn't work. A bad ending is a bad ending. It's one thing to watch it and be unsatisfied with how it resolves the narrative. But it is far worse to be forced into causing it yourself with a simple choice of do you want door #1, #2, or #3. And half the time you don't even know what you are choosing. Maybe I didn't want to side with character X, but I didn't know that picking the other option meant killing them! And the whole time we're all just thinking, "So how much do I have to replay and what checkpoint do I have to reload to see the other endings?" Of course the most prominent recent example was Mass Effect 3, but I'll skip over my personal thoughts on why the ending to Mass Effect 3 was terrible for now (which it absolutely was). It's been analyzed to death.
1. Quick Time Events
Biggest Offenders: God of War series, Resident Evil series, Darksiders, too many others to name
In my opinion, this is easily the most stale, trite, overused crutch in modern gaming. I understand the arguments that tout the merits of this mechanic. It's a way of making you pay closer attention to cutscenes. It's a way of making you feel more like you made Kratos do that flying triple flip whilst decapitating harpies, rather than just watching him do it. You know what? I think if they are done right, they can do exactly that. But......they virtually never are.
Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you. You're playing a game. You get to a cutscene. You put the controller down to take a sip of coffee/beer/soda and scratch your butt. All of a sudden, a little "X" in a blue circle pops up on the screen. You frantically try to grab the controller and press the button, but of course it is too late, and your character has died due to some spontaneous calamity. You proceed to exclaim curse words......I'm seeing a lot of hands up, or at least I would be if I could see through the internet (Note to self: new screenplay idea). Or maybe you have experienced the old "tap the button rapidly to escape....oh sorry, not fast enough, now you're dead" maneuver. That one's a classic. But my personal favorite has to be this one: Hit 37 button prompts in a row, only to miss one and then have to rewatch and redo the entire thing all......over.....again.
Come on Krauser, you could at least talk faster.
What do you think guys? Am I right, or am I right, or am I right? right? right? (Props if you understand that movie reference)
Or....am I wrong? Does anyone out there LIKE any of these things?
Did I forget anything that really annoys you, but game developers love?
Be sure to comment
Didn't make the list, but still annoying: Microtransactions, Day one DLC, having waaay too many collectibles, non-story based secret achievements, bloggers making lists of things