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Game Mechanics That Make You Weep
We’ve all experienced times when playing games where you sit there and think; “This is ridiculous. Why on Earth is this happening?”, either that or an incomprehensible scream of rage bursts forth from your foam-ravaged mouths at an inexplicable game mechanic. This here a small list compiled of a few game mechanics and other game-related annoyances that I’m sure you’ve all encountered at least once, and hate vehemently.
Quick Time Events – QTE’s:
These are horrible, and more often that not, incredibly immersion-breaking. They are a very poor attempt at player interaction with the game world, often forcing the player to repeat tedious button-smashing in order to move on from the QTE and progress with the game. QTE’s break the flow of the majority games that they’re implemented in and are mainly used in situations where actually not having a QTE would be more beneficial in keeping the player immersed in the game environment. The worst thing about QTE’s though, from many a personal experience, is when you are tricked in believing you’re watching a cutscene and then BLAM! A wild QTE appears and you grope around for your controller/smash the keyboard wildly in vain hope.
This game mechanic has been growing exponentially on the current-gen consoles and is gradually replacing the dying design whereby the player has a number of ‘lives’. Health systems will always need to be in games, I understand that. Embracing total realism will alienate all but a small core of gamers, and games that are too harsh as a standard setting pushes gamers away too. But whatever happened to health packs? A regenerating health system means that the player is never in any real danger. A quick dash behind a wall for a few seconds and you’re good to go again. Whereas a health bar means that you are always made aware of how well you’re doing. If you’re doing badly, well you start playing more cautiously and get involved more into the game instead of constantly charging in mindlessly pulling the trigger.
Lack of Adjustable Settings:
Any game that offers hardly any setting adjustment is a poorly done game. A lot of gamers hate non-inverted controls and a lot of games don’t help these people out, forcing them to play in a way that is highly uncomfortable and unnatural for them. For PC gamers, resolution is a key aspect in gameplay, and it shocks me how limited some games are in terms of customisation in this instance. The same goes for field of vision. For console gamers, FoV is not a huge issue, but it’s still there in the background. For PC gamers, the lack of a FoV slider can result in headaches, dizziness and the complete inability to play a game that they’ve waited to play for months.
In-Game Save Points:
For those of you that have played Dead Rising or Resident Evil 2, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. These are games that force the player to go to specific locations, in the case of RE2 with prerequisite materials, in order to save their progress. I honestly cannot see why this mechanic is ever, ever needed in any type of game. Not only is this design a major inconvenience to the player, it can cause you to just not play the game until you know you’ve got a window of time where you aren’t going to need to leave quickly. Of course there’s also the issue of forgetting to go to these locations for a while and dying, thus potentially losing large amounts of progress. Let’s also not forget Lady Luck and her power-cuts of enormous bad timing that can leave a player so distraught over losing their progress that they simply never pick up the game again.
These are not a problem with games that have fairly decent AI. The vast majority of games that implement escort missions, however, have terrible AI. This means that the player is going crazy trying to defend the (usually frustratingly slow moving) escortee, when it really doesn’t matter what the player does, because the stupid AI will walk the NPC right into the bullets/bombs/swords/winged demons of the enemy. Escort quests can become a bane to complete, most often completed on sheer luck and never, ever returned to by the player in fear over a heart attack.
Certain games love this mechanic. They press the player into completing a task in a usually arbitrary time frame where, upon failure, it’s game over. Besides creating a tense situation, which can in certain situations be beneficial to immersion and the storyline (but the majority of cases this is not true), timed events that lead to failure scenarios are ridiculous. They enforce a poor ruling system and can result in the player rushing through parts that they would usually take their time and enjoy playing through.
This goes for cutscenes, annoying introductions where every person who had anything to do with the making the game are credited before being able to play the game, irritatingly long death scenes, over-long forced moves that once you’ve pressed a button you’re locked into the move. I don’t need to go on much about this point, as I’m sure you’ve each experienced this excruciating mechanic at least a few dozen times.
That’s it for my short list of annoying game mechanics. I’d love to hear your tales of woe and confrontation with the confusing things games can sometimes do, so please leave your experiences in the comment box along with any other mechanics that I’ve missed!