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Author Topic: The "no-penalty" death trend  (Read 2162 times)
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Teggy
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« on: August 25, 2008, 04:45:18 PM »

Too Human is the third recent game (that I know of - the others being Bioshock and Bad Company) to use the "no penalty" death. That is, dying has no significant effect other than to bore you with an animation or force you to run some distance back to the place where you died. All enemies that you killed are still dead, any damage you have done remains. You can even die during a boss battle and simply come back and keep whittling it down.

I have been known to get stuck in games, so at times I welcome this feature, but I can't help feel that I have lost a sense of accomplishment when playing a game like this. I can't come up with a good reason for a developer to use this mechanic other than they made the game too hard and needed a way around it.

What do people think about games going this route?



As an aside, sometimes developers need to give the players a break, too. I was playing F.E.A.R. this weekend, and came to the end of a chapter where I was forced to use up all of my health packs and managed to escape with a sliver of health.  When I started the next chapter, I was given nothing - no health packs, and I wasn't even healed! I joined up with my team on a helicopter - no one could heal me up? So I am on the 4th chapter and basically screwed.
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The Grue
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 04:47:55 PM »

There actually is a death penalty in Too Human....your armor takes damage.  So, if you die enough, you would be without the benefit of that piece of armor unless you go back and get it repaired.

As for your question, I like it as I find I have less and less time to play games and so having to redo large sections is becoming less and less attractive.
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 04:53:33 PM »

don't bother me - tho having it as an either/or option would seem to me to be the best way to go...
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 04:54:52 PM »

I love it.  I want to experience a game, not parts of it over and over and over again.

Though I agree an option to turn it off would be good for those of you more hardcore than I.

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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 05:05:57 PM »

I have a mantra about this that I always repeat in response to this issue: Death is its own penalty.

I feel no need to be punished further for dying. The fact that I died at all is bad enough.
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 05:28:38 PM »

I'm not a fan at all of the 'no death penalty' thing we're starting to see more and more of in games. Yes, people can just abuse the save/load system instead, but I'd prefer it that way.

Maybe I feel this way because I'm an old-school gamer, so who knows.
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« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 05:30:50 PM »

Quote from: The Grue on August 25, 2008, 04:47:55 PM

As for your question, I like it as I find I have less and less time to play games and so having to redo large sections is becoming less and less attractive.

+a lot.  Besides, I"m typically far more interested in advancing the story than feeling like some sort of uber-l33t gamer because the game is "challenging". 
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 06:10:50 PM »

Not that I was planning on buying Too Human alone after all the negative reviews, but I'll definitely never buy this game now that I know about this "feature." I like games that challenge me, and where's the challenge if I'm in a boss fight and the boss never gets his health bar restored? I can just die over and over again and simply run back and keep attacking him until he's dead. Might as well just put a 'Win" button on the controller.

I felt the same way about Bioshock until they released the patch that disabled the Vita-Chambers.
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« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 06:57:04 PM »

The no death thing allows for a game to flow a lot better than abusing save/load.  I'm all for designers adding in a penalty option, but I'm against taking the option out.  I understand some people want incredible challenge in a game.  I'm not one of them, but let them have their cake, too.  I just don't have time any more, and I know from experience I will just stop playing.  Most recently, it happened with Contra 4 for the DS.  I didn't pick up Bangai-O Spirits or Final Fantasy IV for these very reasons.  I know these are supposedly phenomenal games, but I won't bother with themn when I have other, non-punishing games to play.  I'm even proudly (and slowly) playing through the first Ninja Gaiden in Ninja Dog mode.

A little rambly, but there you have it.  No death penalty =  thumbsup
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 07:07:46 PM »

Somehow I doubt Too Human would somehow morph into Ninja Gaiden if they reverted back to your last save when you died. Doesn't Too Human have  difficulty levels that you can adjust on the fly? Why isn't that enough?

I'm certainly not asking for incredibly challenging games, I just don't want to breeze through games without getting some sort of sense of accomplishment out of the experience. Game stories simply aren't good enough to make playing through an easy game satisfying.
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« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 07:11:46 PM »

In FPS i usually save like mad cause I don't wanna redo everything. and by save like mad I mean after EVERY fight. I'm so compulsive with that, I find it rather annoying but I can't stop doing it.

I've been replaying bioshock on pc(steam deal + new computer=good times) and i find myself hardly saving much. usually after 20 minutes or a big daddy fight, which are so much easier with a mouse + kb. So I would say I don't really mind it much in fps games. I think for RPG's I would like it in. They are generally easy enough and starting over is really the only thing that adds challenge. Unless you're a SMT game.
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 07:12:33 PM »

Here's the thing, though.  When I am playing Too Human,even though it has no death penalty other than the cut scene and taking damage to my armor that will stack up over time if I die too much, I am trying my hardest not to die.  It's not like I sit there and think, "oh, well there's no death penalty so I am just going to go at this over and over and who cares."  I still try my best not to die and the great thing is if I do die, I am not frustrated.  What a difference.
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Andrew Mallon
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« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 07:21:07 PM »

Quote from: The Grue on August 25, 2008, 07:12:33 PM

Here's the thing, though.  When I am playing Too Human,even though it has no death penalty other than the cut scene and taking damage to my armor that will stack up over time if I die too much, I am trying my hardest not to die.  It's not like I sit there and think, "oh, well there's no death penalty so I am just going to go at this over and over and who cares."  I still try my best not to die and the great thing is if I do die, I am not frustrated.  What a difference.

Do you get any sort of sense of accomplishment though? You don't get frustrated, but you also probably don't get much of a sense of reward either. If I was fighting a boss and died when he had a sliver of health left and then ran back to find him in the same state and could one-shot kill him, I would feel cheated. Dunno, I haven't played Too Human so I don't know if that's a likely scenario, but if it is it would completely ruin the game for me.
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« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2008, 07:23:09 PM »

Quote from: The Grue on August 25, 2008, 07:12:33 PM

Here's the thing, though.  When I am playing Too Human,even though it has no death penalty other than the cut scene and taking damage to my armor that will stack up over time if I die too much, I am trying my hardest not to die.  It's not like I sit there and think, "oh, well there's no death penalty so I am just going to go at this over and over and who cares."  I still try my best not to die and the great thing is if I do die, I am not frustrated.  What a difference.

same thing with me and bioshock right now. I just oh, well I don't really need to save because it's not game. But I don't try to die. to mention there appears to be more FA kits than I ever need, I don't remember this much on the 360. But yeah, it keeps the frustration level down. It sucks not being in high school and being able to spend 8 hours a night gaming. I like challenges, i don't like over frustration anymore. i don't have the time.
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« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2008, 07:33:03 PM »

I like the idea in principle, but it needs goods execution in order to work.  In Bioshock, if I was near death, it was easier to just die and respawn that to try to continue.  This made Big Daddy fights more of a war of attrition than an epic battle.  Also, game's shouldn't "punish" the player with tedium.  In most MMORPGs, death is punished by making you push the W key for several minutes to get back to your corpse.  The death animation in Too Human sounds like something similar.  These are the early days of this new system, so hopefully, with time, developers can find a balance that leads to better games.
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« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2008, 07:33:44 PM »

I really enjoyed the "no death penalty" in Bioshock.  The Big Daddy battles were much less frustrating than they would have been otherwise.  If this continues to be a trend, that'll be fine with me. smile
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« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2008, 07:59:53 PM »

I like it.  Give hardcore players the option not to use it, but I certainly appreciate the option.  The more chance there is for big set-backs and disappointment means there is a bigger chance of me quitting the game and not coming back to it. 
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2008, 08:05:25 PM »

I'm all about the new way of handling death.  My immediate two previous games played; Gears of War (Stuck at end of Act 4 when the last rocket -launching guy comes into a house 40 ft across and starts letting loose...and then I have to replay the whole section over) and right now I'm trying to get through Suikoden Tactics - an srpg with ONLY custom units, that have the ability to die permanently.*  Games are meant to be fun, not a freaking trial by fire.  If we want to test our uber skills, that's what on-line deathmatch is for.

* Bets part is, on of your more useful tank characetrs has a irremovable item on him that makes all enemies in the area attack him.  And this character can die permantly.  And there's no way to replace him if he does.  Dogmeat didn't make me reload as much as Eugene from ST did.
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« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2008, 08:11:54 PM »

I love the rewind feature from Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time, that was a great way to handle "cheap" character deaths with minimal player downtime. I also love the frequent "checkpoints" in Portal; that was done so well that I don't think I ever once had to go dig up a game save to reload due to dying. I think I manually saved maybe once every half hour or so. I love the way death is handled in Diablo 2, especially since if you throw up a portal every so often it's quick and easy to get back into the thick of things.

I like death being quick and painless to recover from, as dying is penalty enough. However, I don't like cheapening content by doing stuff like leaving encounters half-finished (or enemies still wounded) after dying.
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The Grue
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2008, 08:15:59 PM »

Yeah, games with rewind are great.  Braid is another example of that.  That kind of mechanic actually makes you want to kind of experiment with how you play because you aren't afraid to lose time.  Nothing is more frustrating than boss gauntlets with no checkpoints along the way or bosses with multiple forms and the same thing.  At least give me a checkpoint between each one.  I have played video games since Pong and I fully appreciate the evolution of gaming beyond how punishing they used to be.
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« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2008, 11:25:16 AM »

I haven't played Too Human, so the only games I've played so far with this mechanic are Prey and Bioshock. If the trend is more towards Bioshock, I have no problem. If the trend is more towards Prey, then there is something wrong.

Instead of having no penalty as a way to help people finish the game, IMO they should focus on a good auto-save system, combined with the ability to save anywhere. Even if someone never saves on their own, they should never be more than 15 minutes away from where they died. Even that can be stretching it if the game itself is very frustrating. Having the ability to skip cut scenes is a must too. It's inexcusable to load up a save game, and then have to wait for 5 minutes or longer before starting the boss battle.
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« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2008, 11:36:09 AM »

one of the greatest games I've ever played, would never let you die...and I absolutely loved it... Secret of the Monkey Island - they even joked about it ingame... anyways ,for me, its the journey, the mood, the setting and the whole package together, that makes a game. In cases of games like Doom, death is certainly a large part of it, and as such, you SHOULD be punished for it, for it adds to the adrenalin experience...

"oh god, oh god, we're all going to die" ;-)
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« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2008, 11:56:23 AM »

I never used the vita chambers in Bioshock- if I died I loaded up my most recent save (I'm just hardcore that way).  Also, I wouldn't allow myself to kill a big daddy unless I did it without dying...

Diablo II is the first game I can think of that I played that didn't really penalize you for dying...other than having to go back for your stuff. Maybe you lost some gold too?

I think it was a fine mix because you had to fight your way back to your corpse to get your equipment.  That'd be a fine norm for me.  You aren't penalized per se, but you do have to fight in a weakened state to get back to your good stuff...
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« Reply #23 on: August 26, 2008, 03:14:18 PM »

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on August 26, 2008, 11:56:23 AM

I never used the vita chambers in Bioshock- if I died I loaded up my most recent save (I'm just hardcore that way).  Also, I wouldn't allow myself to kill a big daddy unless I did it without dying...

Diablo II is the first game I can think of that I played that didn't really penalize you for dying...other than having to go back for your stuff. Maybe you lost some gold too?

I think it was a fine mix because you had to fight your way back to your corpse to get your equipment.  That'd be a fine norm for me.  You aren't penalized per se, but you do have to fight in a weakened state to get back to your good stuff...

What you just described is totally a penalty, IMO.  Fighting back to your loot in a weakened state through all the bad guys you just cleared?  PITA.
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« Reply #24 on: August 27, 2008, 02:01:50 PM »

I kinda wish it was optional. "on death  [ ] respawn in place   [ ] play like a man from last save"

but I also hate games that don't let you save frequently enough. playing final fantasy 4 on DS is pissing me off a little that I have to go through 5 fights to get back to the bosses, then watch a cutscene again, etc. come on, the boss battle is gonna be tough, why make it tedious?

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« Reply #25 on: August 27, 2008, 02:24:03 PM »

I like how they do it in platformers like Ratchet and Clank. You don't have to worry about saving the game, and you just start again from the start of the last sequence.
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« Reply #26 on: August 27, 2008, 02:28:21 PM »

Optional death penalty: When you die, punch yourself in the leg, hard. You determine the intensity of the death penalty.

I was gnoig to say punch yourself elsewhere, but I didn't want Myto to feel left out.
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