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The 10: Game Features That Need To Die

Posted on May 20, 2012 AT 05:59pm


10.  Useless confirmation screens

When I’m busy on a quest to find the red keycard to open the door, why are you asking me if I want to pick up the red keycard? It’s one thing to ask someone if they have to deal with item management, but even then, key items should not be tied to your inventory. Honestly – if I decide not to pick up the red keycard, what else am I going to do? Would there be any upside to not picking up this keycard?

9. Unskippable cutscenes

It’s pretty cool to be in front of a cool cinema introducing a boss, and watching a totally righteous 2 minute cutscene of the boss destroying buildings, stepping on people, and causing mayhem only to have him turn his gaze toward you, and the battle begins! It’s not cool to lose to the boss, (especially a gimmicked boss) and continue your game, and have to view that battle again. Heaven forbid you have to view it a third time – eventually you end up getting up, setting a mental note in your mind of approximately how long it is while you start boiling water to cook for dinner. Then, you realize you missed your window and go running into your room, making a dive for your controller, as you are just a few moments too late and the boss kills you. Your frustration builds, you hit continue, and you go back to the kitchen to find water boiling over, making a mess of everything you ever wanted to eat. See what you’re doing, developers? I know you’re proud of your cutscene and want us to watch it every time, but let’s be real–it’s ruining dinner.

8. No time limits in conversation

This one’s kind of sensitive. A lot of people like to mull over their choices, spending time weighing the pros and cons of their upcoming decision. I feel that having timed conversation choices makes for much more natural sounding dialogue, forcing decisions on the fly and not giving people time to lean over their computer and look up what the “correct” decision is on GameFAQs. Some people say “Well, I need to take my time, because like, for instance, the decision at the end of Mass Effect 3…” and that’s perfectly doable. You don’t have to have time limits on everything. Take a game like Alpha Protocol, though, and tell me the time limit in conversations in that game isn’t a wonderful thing.

7. No animations when being shot/hit

The term “bullet sponge” is one of the worst things you can hear when describing a shooter. The entire focus of being in a shooter is…wait for it…SHOOTING. If you’re going to do one thing, which is shooting, you need to make damn sure that everything involving your shooting is fun and gives an immediate payoff. Having men in t-shirts and cargo pants that can soak up multiple body shots makes me irritated, Uncharted. Let’s all try to do it like Rage, which had people reeling from shoulder shots. Let’s have enemies that make you wonder if you finished them or not. Bullet sponges work with machines, but for goodness sake, let’s make sure people are reacting properly to bullets in their skin. That’s all I’m asking.

6. Save points in RPGs/Manual Saves

I can only imagine that save points were implemented because an autosave wasn’t feasible. Perhaps an autosave would have taken too long. Maybe, with the large amount of data needed for some games, saving is just too much for the system. Besides setting up a manual save before bosses, there’s not really that much room for the player to abuse a manual save system. Let people play how they want to. It’s only fair. Still, one thing that will make me stand up and quit a game I’m enjoying is to make me lose progress. I remember, once upon a time, I was playing Final Fantasy VIII and I had to be at work – but I was in the middle of a boss fight. “Well, I’ll save after he’s dead. Surely there’s a point where I can save.” No. “…I’m now 30 minutes late. Surely…somewhere in here…” No. It wouldn’t be until I was over an hour late that I even had the chance to save my game. There’s no reason not to let you manually save at the least. Kill this mechanic, please. It has no place in this world.

5. Turret sections

There’s nothing more irritating than a turret section. Why? You’re stationary in a turret. Your ability to either pass or fail this section completely depends on one thing – your aim. If you want to force people to be good with their aim, make the whole game on rails. Why bother giving someone a moment where they have to sit in a stationary spot and get abused for having poor aim? Turret sections need to pack their bags and leave, and only show their face in an on-rails shooter.

4. Unskippable tutorial sections

I don’t think anyone likes to “Look to the left, Master Chief. Now look over to the right. Okay, good. Now, look up. Good. Now look down. Good.” and on, and on, and on forever. I’m a lot happier with the option of going down the Idiot Hallway for those who don’t know how to look up and down with dual analogue sticks. There’s a reason why most games will let you re-map your controls. Let this go.

3. Lazy management of inventory weight

Oh, everyone hates inventory weight limits. The odd game may carefully balance what they’ve created to make it so you are making real decisions with what you are carrying, but a whole slew of sloppy games add it in as a way to artificially extend the length of the game. What a waste. Let’s get our inventory screens together and get rid of this, the world will be a better place without this mechanic. I always mentally have an issue when I need to drop a two handed sword in order to pick up a recipe for beef broth. Maybe that’s just my problem, but I think there’s a better solution.

2. Lazy QTEs

An example of a good QTE is in Resident Evil 4, where you had a tense battle in a dark area with your knife, against your former teammate, Krauser. Even though the QTE lasted a few minutes, it was well thought out and tense, which made for a very memorable boss fight that was carefully balanced to provide the right amount of suspense.

Compare the Resident Evil 4 scene with the final boss scene in Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine. This boss battle does multiple things wrong involving QTEs, the least of which are repetition. You simply hit X or Y three times, then mash A. Repeat ad nauseum. What makes this game’s QTE segment even worse is that timing is not an issue; the QTE is merely a suggestion. It never keeps you on the edge of your seat by varying which buttons to push, content to offer you a very simple sequence that you shouldn’t fail after you realize it is a pattern. Furthermore, the game gives you a QTE at the end of the game, despite having absolutely no QTE segments in the entire game.

The sad truth of the matter is that lazy QTEs like this are a developer’s idea of implementing their idea of something really cool to happen in the end, despite it having no bearing on the gameplay that you’ve been a part of for the past six or so hours. There is no mechanic for punching out a bad guy while plummeting 10 miles to the ground, but they shoehorned it in. It’s a shame, and it hurts your game as a whole. Take the final boss fight back to the drawing board if you’re considering this – it’s jarring and unpleasant and can leave a bad taste in your mouth despite being a wonderful game in all other areas.

1.  Confusing “Progress Lost” messages! / Manual Saves

This one can mix with the automatic checkpoints and manual saves – stop telling me that I am going to lose all unsaved progress when I just saved! This message has managed to show up repeatedly even in games that do have “save and exit” as an option. I understand we don’t want to lose our data or progress, but you have me second guessing my choice. Should I exit? Maybe I didn’t save properly. If I do exit and lose it, when was my last save? Was it an auto save? There has to be something better.

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