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Author Topic: Horrible design choices in otherwise great games  (Read 4165 times)
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Teggy
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« on: April 08, 2008, 02:03:59 PM »

I'm playing COD4 on hardened difficulty.  I got to the
Spoiler for Hiden:
flashback bit
where you need to protect another soldier until help can arrive. I got to the last segment, and was getting frustrated to no end because I couldn't survive long enough.

So here you have a game that tries to be pretty realistic in that you are almost always paired with a group of other soldiers that use real-life tactics (flashbanging rooms before entering, etc.) and requires you to use cover and cover fire to survive. But then it puts you in a situation where you have one
Spoiler for Hiden:
somewhat crippled
fellow soldier who sits out in the open yet can't die, and forces you to become Rambo against waves of enemies.

I wound up looking up a guide since I was getting fed up, and more often than not, the guides told you to just hide, so that is what I did - hid in a ticket booth until the reinforcements showed up.  I was getting rained on with grenades, but of course no one bothered to actually come around to the door to shoot me.  If a large number of players decide the best way to get through a segment is to exploit the game, that's bad design. It's not quite as cinematic, but I think COD2 did a better job of immersing you because it didn't have these kinds of slip ups.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2008, 03:36:02 PM by Teggy » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008, 02:12:47 PM »

interesting use of spoiler tags, not sure what you were hiding and what you were showing slywink

Overall the whole game revolves around finding the trigger point that stops the waves of enemies, then mopping up the ones that already spawned and repeating until you get to the end of the game.  It's fun if you don't think about the fact that that is all  you are doing. 

I agree though that it's bad design and trigger points like this are what really irk me in both COD4 and R6V:2
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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008, 02:16:28 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on April 08, 2008, 02:12:47 PM

interesting use of spoiler tags, not sure what you were hiding and what you were showing slywink

Overall the whole game revolves around finding the trigger point that stops the waves of enemies, then mopping up the ones that already spawned and repeating until you get to the end of the game.  It's fun if you don't think about the fact that that is all  you are doing. 

I agree though that it's bad design and trigger points like this are what really irk me in both COD4 and R6V:2

These are the types of things that make me appreciate Halo 3's campaign.  Each level is like a sandbox.  CoD4 is great the first time through if you just roll with it.  But is is ultimately just guys coming out of spawn points over and over.
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Teggy
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2008, 02:28:14 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on April 08, 2008, 02:12:47 PM

interesting use of spoiler tags, not sure what you were hiding and what you were showing slywink

Heh, well I was just trying to hide the plot points that might ruin a surprise for someone playing the game. For example
Spoiler for Hiden:
your partner's legs are hurt because a helicopter falls on him! Didn't want to give that away.
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2008, 02:43:51 PM »

The level in Bioshock where you have to escort the Little Sister ruined the game for me.  All through the game they don't stay at a corpse for more than a few seconds and you end up having to protect the one that not only needs to harvest the ADAM but go through their pockets, pull out any gold fillings and then do a cavity search.

Going back quite a bit, there was Space Quest 1 where, in the very beginning, you have to win on a slot machine several times to advance in the story.  seriously, moving forward hinges on a random game of chance?
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2008, 03:01:20 PM »

I think a lot of people also hate the controller reversal during the final boss of Beyond Good and Evil, although as it is the very last thing you do in the game and meant to be difficult, it didn't bother me that much.
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2008, 03:04:18 PM »

Command & Conquer 3 is one that sticks out for me.  Fantastic game of Nod vs. GDI...oh wait, here is the Scrin.  Bleh.

If the game was GDI vs. Nod all the way through I think more people would have finished both campaigns.  I know a great deal of Nod fans that haven't finished the Nod campaign because they don't want to fight the Scrin again after pushing through the GDI missions.
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2008, 03:09:02 PM »

The entire ending level(s) of Psychonauts = EPIC FAIL.
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 03:13:58 PM »

Quote from: Teggy on April 08, 2008, 03:01:20 PM

I think a lot of people also hate the controller reversal during the final boss of Beyond Good and Evil, although as it is the very last thing you do in the game and meant to be difficult, it didn't bother me that much.

I just turned the controller upside down for the portion of the fight that did that.
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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2008, 03:18:54 PM »

Quote from: whiteboyskim on April 08, 2008, 03:09:02 PM

The entire ending level(s) of Psychonauts = EPIC FAIL.

Meat Circus.  +1
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2008, 03:32:02 PM »

That COD4 level end you talk about is the lamest level I've ever played in a game.
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 03:37:46 PM »

  • Fallout 2 - Opening dungeon
  • Starcraft - Can only select 12 units
  • Monopoly - Making you do math to figure out what to do on the Income Tax space
  • Rock Band - No solo world tour
  • Dragon Quest __ - Not releasing in the US
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2008, 03:39:56 PM »

Gears of War.  Let's just say: light, back of a moving vehicle, black bats in the night sky.  Hated that part (especially on the hardest difficulty).
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2008, 03:42:37 PM »

Quote from: depward on April 08, 2008, 03:39:56 PM

Gears of War.  Let's just say: light, back of a moving vehicle, black bats in the night sky.  Hated that part (especially on the hardest difficulty).

Didn't mind that section at all but the final boss in Gears of War gets my vote. 
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2008, 03:44:15 PM »

Pausing the game to change camo and stuff was okay in Metal Gear Solid 3...but did we really need to be a nurse and bandage our broken leg if we fell from a high ledge, put some ointment on a burn, or treat a poisonous snake bite?
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« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2008, 03:47:35 PM »

I thought the boss fight in Bioshock was godawful, and totally out of place.

There was an awful lot of Mass Effect that was poorly done also.  Pretty much all of the sidequests and planetary exploration.

And in Rainbow 6, why do I have to target my wounded teammate to have my other teammate heal him?  In fact, why do I have to tell my teammate to heal the wounded teammate in the first place.  They're standing right next to each other.  What's wrong with you?  Can't you see the man's in pain.  Instead, I gotta go find them and say, hey buddy, how about sticking a hypodermic in your friend lying on the ground right fucking next to you.

Assholes.
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 03:48:51 PM »

The escort mission in Brute Force is one that comes to mind for me; level was far too small to be used for such a mission. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, many of the levels in Brute Force fit into the category of game ruiners.  icon_confused
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« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 04:02:33 PM »

Rainbow Six needs the option for the soldiers to ask you stuff like: Permission to heal teammate? or Permission to keep running into this wall while you have your ass handed to you?
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« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2008, 04:03:23 PM »

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on April 08, 2008, 03:47:35 PM

I thought the boss fight in Bioshock was godawful, and totally out of place.

There was an awful lot of Mass Effect that was poorly done also.  Pretty much all of the sidequests and planetary exploration.

And in Rainbow 6, why do I have to target my wounded teammate to have my other teammate heal him?  In fact, why do I have to tell my teammate to heal the wounded teammate in the first place.  They're standing right next to each other.  What's wrong with you?  Can't you see the man's in pain.  Instead, I gotta go find them and say, hey buddy, how about sticking a hypodermic in your friend lying on the ground right fucking next to you.

Assholes.

You don't have to target the teammate to have the other one heal him, just hit up on the pad and the non-wounded guy will heal the downed one.  The reason they wait until you tell them too is because they don't know if you want him to heal the guy or keep trying to kill the bad guys.  Sometimes it's prudent to get him up ASAP even under fire, but other times you're better off having the AI guy provide cover fire while you heal the guy or just both of you killing the last of the badguys before healing.

Asshole
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« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2008, 04:03:51 PM »

The final boss in Conan was another doozy. Cheating bitch of a fighter to start with, then if you somehow managed to beat him with the limited health scattered around, you had SIX MORE CHEATING FORMS to fight through. Know how I won the fight? By trading the game in at EB and getting something else that was, you know, fun.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2008, 04:17:53 PM »

The latest example of this that occurs to me is Burnout: Paradise City. Get your Burnout license, then they dump about 110 events in your lap with NO FREAKIN' RESTARTS. I didn't mind having no restarts until the game got really difficult in the elite section. Divide that shit up into 25 events each to earn your Elite C, Elite B, Elite A, and Burnout Elite licenses WITH RESTARTS and I'd still be playing. With all the different routes and shortcuts, this game requires experimentation and memorization at the highest difficulty settings. Driving from the wind farm back to the baseball stadium after a narrow loss is the opposite of fun. It just adds insult to injury.

This game could have been the best Burnout ever simply by adding one menu option: RESTART EVENT. Instead, you have to recommend it with one big, glaring caveat.

P.S. I'm all for games that enforce driving around to your missions. A lot of people found fault with Mafia for that reason but I loved it. That game has a narrative and driving around lets you soak in the atmosphere. But Paradise City is pure racing without any need for that kind of enforced immersion. Bah!
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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2008, 04:27:10 PM »

Speaking of which, once you find the barriers to smash through you lose track of where shortcuts are. I stumbled onto one during a race where I, swear to God, had no clue where I was going. I get knocked off course by another racer but instead of crashing I fly off a cliff.... only to land on some kind of suspension not-a-bridge over an industrial sector. I'm still flying along assuming the race is over for me, but curious about where I'm going. I wind up coming out right near the finish line about three minutes ahead of the next closest racer. Could I find that shortcut again? Not likely. Now, if I could mark the map where it was, that would be a different story.
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2008, 04:33:19 PM »

Quote from: Kevin Grey on April 08, 2008, 03:42:37 PM

Quote from: depward on April 08, 2008, 03:39:56 PM

Gears of War.  Let's just say: light, back of a moving vehicle, black bats in the night sky.  Hated that part (especially on the hardest difficulty).

Didn't mind that section at all but the final boss in Gears of War gets my vote. 

Gets my vote as well, somehow that fight just felt broken and I almost didn't complete the game becuse of it.

Also, the last few missions in R6V2 were really bad, enemies were shooting me through literally inches of space where I wasn't covered.
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2008, 04:33:58 PM »

Quote from: kronovan on April 08, 2008, 03:48:51 PM

The escort mission in Brute Force is one that comes to mind for me; level was far too small to be used for such a mission. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, many of the levels in Brute Force fit into the category of game ruiners.  icon_confused every single game, ever.

Fixed that up for ya.
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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2008, 04:34:56 PM »

Burnout + sandbox + no restarts.

That's a big one there, went from must-have to ick-no.
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« Reply #25 on: April 08, 2008, 04:57:27 PM »

All of Assassin's Creed.

Game mechanics were superb, climbing model was outstanding, graphics were excellent, combat model was neat. Then they go and make every mission a game of copy/paste doing the same thing over and over and over again. It was a colossal waste of potential.

The game's mission design should have been closer to an open world game like GTA, with each map having a variety of unique subquests you could do apart from the storyline missions.

I still had a lot of fun with the game, but it was kind of heartbreaking to enter a new city and realize you'd be doing the exact same thing you did in the last city....and the city before that.....and the city before that....
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« Reply #26 on: April 08, 2008, 05:03:58 PM »

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on April 08, 2008, 04:33:58 PM

Quote from: kronovan on April 08, 2008, 03:48:51 PM

The escort mission in Brute Force is one that comes to mind for me; level was far too small to be used for such a mission. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, many of the levels in Brute Force fit into the category of game ruiners.  icon_confused

Fixed that up for ya.

Double fixed.
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« Reply #27 on: April 08, 2008, 05:10:21 PM »

Quote from: depward on April 08, 2008, 03:39:56 PM

Gears of War.  Let's just say: light, back of a moving vehicle, black bats in the night sky.  Hated that part (especially on the hardest difficulty).

+1.  One of my most hated moments in gaming ever...
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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2008, 05:13:05 PM »

1. Guitar Hero 3 boss battles.

2. All Pro Football 2K8 inablity to save custom playbooks.

3. Mechassault 2 multiplayer's lack of allowing players to choose their mechs before the match.

4.  Lair's Sixaxis control scheme.

5.  MGS Sons of Liberty (Raiden)
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2008, 05:31:01 PM »

Quote from: denoginizer on April 08, 2008, 05:13:05 PM

1. Guitar Hero 3 boss battles.


I haven't really played GH3 that much, but I liked the boss battles when I did play...oh well...to each his own, I guess
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« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2008, 05:48:40 PM »

A few games come to mind:

1)  The Splinter Cell Series - Trial-and-error gameplay.  I managed to struggle through the first game in the series, but playing through Splinter Cell: Double Agent just isn't fun.  A few of the earlier levels were amazing, such as tapping on the ice to lure an enemy, then breaking through, pulling them into the icy water, and stabbing them in the heart, but the overwhelming level of trial-and-error necessary to get through the game is just too much for me to handle.  And the terrorist headquarters levels may have been a good idea, but they're executed poorly as I loathe levels with time constraints.  I want to be able to explore at my leisure, not within a certain time frame leaving little room for error.  Even using a walkthrough guide isn't enough to get through the game. 

2)  The final boss battle with Ares in God of War - No other boss fight has ever summoned the Golden Cock Monkey with such vigor.  I've never had a game make me so angry. 

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« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2008, 06:00:22 PM »

OK, this is going to be a very personal peeve I'm sure, but I wish there were no boss battles in Metroid Prime games (well, I haven't played the 3rd).  Exploring the world is so much fun that I hate having to spend long stretches trying to beat bosses.  I'm currently on the second temple boss in Prime 2 and haven't touched the game in a few weeks because I don't feel like dealing with it.  Come to think of it, I'm not really a big fan of the dark world in Prime 2.
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« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2008, 06:04:03 PM »

Quote from: PeteRock on April 08, 2008, 05:48:40 PM

A few games come to mind:

2)  The final boss battle with Ares in God of War - No other boss fight has ever summoned the Golden Cock Monkey with such vigor.  I've never had a game make me so angry.

Golden Cock Monkey?  LOL...That boss fight was seriously fucking annoying...

Quote from: Teggy on April 08, 2008, 06:00:22 PM

I'm not really a big fan of the dark world in Prime 2.

Agreed...I played Prime I through at least 3 times, and I don't think I even made it halfway through Prime 2 before giving up on it.  Prime 3 is fantastic.  The boss battles in both 1 and 3 were highlights for me, so I have to disagree with you on that front.
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« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2008, 08:09:04 PM »

Jak 2 and Mass Effect are the two that spring to mind.  Both are a mix of awesome moments and terrible "what were they thinking?" moments.  The ludicrously crowded streets in Jak 2, combined with the need to drive across the city all the time, really sapped the fun out of the excellent platforming sections.  With Mass Effect, the very first sidequest you get requires you to either have an almost-maxed out Charm/Intimidate stat or fight your way through a building full of powerful biotics  confused  That's only the start of the problems with the sidequests.  Jak 3 fixed the problems of Jak 2 to create an all-around amazing game, and I'm really hoping Mass Effect 2 will do likewise.
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« Reply #34 on: April 08, 2008, 08:19:16 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on April 08, 2008, 04:03:23 PM

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on April 08, 2008, 03:47:35 PM

I thought the boss fight in Bioshock was godawful, and totally out of place.

There was an awful lot of Mass Effect that was poorly done also.  Pretty much all of the sidequests and planetary exploration.

And in Rainbow 6, why do I have to target my wounded teammate to have my other teammate heal him?  In fact, why do I have to tell my teammate to heal the wounded teammate in the first place.  They're standing right next to each other.  What's wrong with you?  Can't you see the man's in pain.  Instead, I gotta go find them and say, hey buddy, how about sticking a hypodermic in your friend lying on the ground right fucking next to you.

Assholes.

You don't have to target the teammate to have the other one heal him, just hit up on the pad and the non-wounded guy will heal the downed one.  The reason they wait until you tell them too is because they don't know if you want him to heal the guy or keep trying to kill the bad guys.  Sometimes it's prudent to get him up ASAP even under fire, but other times you're better off having the AI guy provide cover fire while you heal the guy or just both of you killing the last of the badguys before healing.

Asshole

Really?  Didn't know that.  Well, they should have made that more obvious.  Assholes.

Also the Mako in Mass Effect.  There was just nothing fun about driving that fucking thing around.  God that game was tedious.  Except for when it was awesome.
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« Reply #35 on: April 08, 2008, 08:38:02 PM »

Quote from: rickfc on April 08, 2008, 06:04:03 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on April 08, 2008, 05:48:40 PM

A few games come to mind:

2)  The final boss battle with Ares in God of War - No other boss fight has ever summoned the Golden Cock Monkey with such vigor.  I've never had a game make me so angry.

Golden Cock Monkey?  LOL...That boss fight was seriously fucking annoying...

Ask rrmorton to share.  This has gone down in OO forum lore.  Unfortunately with OO down at the moment I can't provide a link to the original thread.  Classic.
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« Reply #36 on: April 08, 2008, 08:54:51 PM »

Quote from: IkeVandergraaf on April 08, 2008, 08:19:16 PM

God that game was tedious.  Except for when it was awesome.

I think you've summarized this thread perfectly with those two sentences.
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« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2008, 09:15:55 PM »

peterock, i urge you to try the xbox version of double agent and chaos theory.  both are much better than the 360 version of DA.  no headquarters missions to worry about.  the core gameplay is both challenging and rewarding. 

jak 2 was so bad i stopped playing it halfway through.  not sure if it was some race missions or what, but it was so consistently aggravating i quit. 

that mission in r6v1 where one guy must hack a laptop in the middle of a stage while 50 badguys come at you at once.  your other ally is not smart enough to use the lmg the way he should and ends up getting sniped, forcing you to run into the middle of hell to save him, usually resulting in your getting killed or the hacker getting knocked out.  another moment where i just said F it and uninstalled after quitting the game.
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« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2008, 09:19:05 PM »

I'm sorry. It's still too soon, too painful for me to talk about Golden Cock Monkey. I just... can't.

Quote from: Purge on April 08, 2008, 04:34:56 PM

Burnout + sandbox + no restarts.

That's a big one there, went from must-have to ick-no.

When the game hits $25 or less, make sure you put it back on the Must Have list. It's far too good for ick-no.
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PeteRock
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« Reply #39 on: April 08, 2008, 09:38:22 PM »

Quote from: Caine on April 08, 2008, 09:15:55 PM

peterock, i urge you to try the xbox version of double agent and chaos theory.  both are much better than the 360 version of DA.  no headquarters missions to worry about.  the core gameplay is both challenging and rewarding.

But do they still have similar trial-and-error gameplay elements?  Many situations have only one ideal solution, and all other attempts end in sorrow.  You are forced to play the same situation over and over again until you get it "right".  There are rarely, if ever, any opportunites to find a different solution.  There's one "right" answer, and all other choices result in death and a reload screen.  Being forced to replay the same damn situation over and over again is like experiencing your own version of the film Groundhog Day, but without the humor.  After numerous attempts the game just stops being fun and instead falls into an exercise in frustration.

While playing through Assassin's Creed I found it to be refreshing to not have to replay sections over and over again because the game didn't like my particular solution to the situation.  I really like Splinter Cell and wish it wasn't such a difficult, frustrating game full of trial-and-error used to artificially extend game length, but each and every time I try to go back I quickly learn why I stopped playing in the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth place.  And not only is the game full of trial-and-error, but it's hella tough, force-feeding you the trial-and-error experience whether you like it or not. 

I'm not sure I can bring myself to buy two more games in the Splinter Cell series if they involve further variations of what I've come to despise about the series.     
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