Worst Video Games Mechanics Of All Time
Video games have come a long way over the past 30+ years. From 2D side scrollers to multi-choice, open world RPGs, gaming has advanced thanks to the hard work and dedication of developers, who have constantly pushed the boundaries of technology and have always looked to innovate in their work.
Useless AI Companions
Having a computer-controlled companion alongside you has become the norm in many games, so it’s a shame that the majority of them can fall into one of two categories: completely invincible or absolutely useless.
One of these is clearly preferable to the other, but having a companion who can’t die can get distracting after a while. The Call of Duty games are known for this; you’ll be in cover trying to recover from the two bullets that have put you close to death whilst your team-mate will be absorbing gunfire like a magnet. This gets particularly annoying when that team-mate later dies in a cutscene – all the drama gets removed from their death when you’ve just seen them take a D-Day style assault directly to their chest.
On the flip side, having a companion who is useless is even more frustrating. Either they die at merely the hint of danger, causing you to replay the level again, or they just wander around and won’t actually contribute to the battle, leaving you to kill everyone yourself.
Getting the balance of a companion who is vulnerable to death but won’t die at the drop of a hat, and who will help with the mission without doing it for you, is challenging, but it’s something developers need to master
Levels in games can’t go on forever, so there has to be some kind of barrier stopping you from trying to go off into the distance that doesn’t exist, or from taking the easy route in a level. However, a lot of developers have gotten lazy with how they present these ‘invisible walls’ to players.
Nothing breaks your immersion in a game more than seeing your hero unable to climb over the knee-high wall between them and the rest of the city, or when they can break walls with their bare hands but can’t move the cardboard box that’s blocking the stairs in a building, or open the broken door that’s holding onto its frame by a splinter.
Obviously there have to be limits to how you can interact to the gaming environment, but there needs to be a bit of realism to it. Having a literal invisible wall stop you from going somewhere is like seeing a film character take a long detour when they could just go down one empty road – it’s just stupid.
Simply make sure every barrier is realistically explained and it’ll be fine. Large walls, barbed wire fences, an NPC physically stopping you: yes. Small fences, rubbish bags, thin air: no.
Pretty much replacing the check-point system, the auto-save feature seen in many games today does exactly what it says; it saves your game automatically so you can turn it off and pick up where you left off without having to worry.
Or at least that’s how it should work. With games that have auto-save only, it can become quite a task just making sure your game has actually saved, thanks to the way developers implement the system. In many open world games, completing a task usually causes the game to save. However, what counts as a task worthy of auto-save differs from game to game; some games save only after completing missions, meaning if you’ve gone collectible-hunting you have to start a mission just to make sure they’ve been saved, whereas others save your game every time you so much as open your inventory, which can lead to the game saving mid-battle when you’re nearly dead.
This confusion with knowing what makes your game save means you often have to run around doing extra things just to double-check that your progress has indeed been counted. Surely developers can just add a manual save to their games alongside auto-save? Pressing pause and saving was perfected with the PS1: this is an example of one mechanic which has got worse with improved technology.
Source – Whatculture