My hard earned time.

BEING AMERICAN, there’s a couple things that I am automatically programmed to love; New York based sitcoms, crappy remakes of funnier British shows, and of course, convenience. It’s the whole Americana life style. I want my fast food restaurant next to my dry cleaners by my 24 hour drug store. And so help me God if there isn’t at least one coffee shop in the neighborhood. Therefore it’s obligatory that I need it in my video games as well.

That’s not to say I’m only into short 5-10 hour snacks. I’m down for a good 20+ hour four-course meal anytime, especially if it involves steak. However, it does bug me when I have to go out of my way to complete a game. And here’s a shake down on the top offenders.

The Crime: RPG Elements in the Action Adventure Genre

It’s great that developers want to add a little spice to their video games, but not at the expense of the player’s time. The problem with the whole system is that it rarely offers any major variety to the experience, and there’s barely any level of customization, so there’s hardly a reason to do it in the first place. The most recent offender is Darksiders: Wrath of War. In the game you can gather a cornucopia of asinine collectables to upgrade moves and gear.

This is mainly done by harvesting souls from fallen foes. Most of the game, the system plays out in the background seeing as you’ll be getting most weapons from the games main quest itself, and can be easily ignored and forgotten from the moment you learn that you’re going to make the Dark Lord into the Dark Princess.  However, when it finally is time to give Satan a spanking, players who ignored it will be forced into hours of back tracking to stand a chance. That’s no to say that it is a walk in the park for a player who didn’t ignore it; they’ll just be doing a significantly less amount of reverse-pedaling. Being denied the conclusion for hours on end is like pulling out during sex. ‘Nuff said.

The Verdict: If developers do want to continue the use of RPG elements, make them an extra for the die-hards. Upgrading your tactics is supposed to make the character stronger and consequently the enemies should be easier to dispose of. If I spend an hours worth of souls to make my sword spit fire, that minion that I faced in the last stage should be much easier to kill in the current one.

I remember this being just fine without orb collecting...

The Crime: Unnecessarily dull side quests

I can pin this on every PC RPG ever made, but Dragon Age: Origins comes to mind. The game is filled with quests that had absolutely no purpose. Unlike the last criminal, this one is a lot harder to punish because it is voluntary, but developers don’t get off easy in my court of law. Side quest are like a cherry sitting on top of a cone of whipped cream on ice cream. They’re not all that relevant, but you do notice if they’re missing or are misplaced. Dragon Age may have a fantastic plot, but the side quests are missing and displaced. Here are three golden rules to side quest making.

No. 1 – A reward, regardless of whether is tangible or not, my actions need to be rewarded. In Dragon Age the reward is frequently just a thank you or some information, which is okay, but recognition is better in groups, and lot is even better.

No. 2 – A purpose: there needs to be a reason the player can justify the last 20 minutes he spent doing tasks X, Y, and Z. Tasks need a reason to be done, and not just for the sake of task-completion. So no Dragon Age, I am not going to deliver that dwarf’s stupid message.

No. 3 – An effect; the completed quest must have an effect on the world in some way, even if it’s insignificant. Collecting thirty A’s for peasant family B took an hour to complete, next time I visit they better be slightly better off.

The Verdict:  Keep your side quests few and meaty. An eight-part side quest is more engaging that four 2 part side quests.


The Crime:
Pointless DLC

Dragon Age was a hot contender for this one again, but well venture to the other side of the BioWare spectrum, Mass Effect 2. But this refers to all 2010 titles so far, and what I’m assuming will become a common trend in gaming. It’s not just about the price tag, but I’m sure there’s other players like me that feel left out if they don’t have the DLC for their favored titles. It’s like going to a favored restaurant and ordering your favorite dish without any sides or a drink. It tastes the same, but at the same time it just isn’t. Listen up developers; I realize that DLC is a great way for companies to make extra cash while keeping the team on the payroll, but that doesn’t mean you need to push out every idea that comes through, and the janitor isn’t a good source for quality material either. That’s not to say that the DLC in games like Mass Effect 2 is terrible, but it’s a needless part of a greater picture. There’s only one golden rule to DLC making – Make it worth the money.

The Verdict: Bigger, pricier DLC. Keeps the teams family fed for longed and gives the company more cash in the long run.

Are there more ways developers have committed crimes against my time-manity? You bet. I could write an epic about how Assassins Creed 2 made me want to light it on fire. But Baby steps people, one day we’ll get there.

- Peter


(1 days ago) jhey said:
(1 days ago) jhey said:
(1 days ago) karl said:
(1 days ago) jhey said:
Godbless us!!
(1 days ago) jhey said:
GodbLess us!!
(1 days ago) said:
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