Thursday, 12 December 2013

Things games should not do, part 2

More gripes coming up

Ultimate versions of games:

Setting: You spend £40 on a game, you get it home and play it, it's fun and fast paced, you're enjoying it and after a while you hear they're releasing new characters for the game which will be (assumedly) moderately priced, new people to play as with new move sets and new tactics to learn and discover. THEN, a month or so after you bought this, you hear they're releasing an ULTIMATE version of the game that has all the stuff you bought and bought extra of, in one game with MORE things to buy and download that will only work for the ultimate version.

This is one big dick-slap to the face for all players out there. You blow cash on a game, then the DLC THEN have to blow cash on the new game, thus negating your original purchases, followed by MORE cash on the DLC that will only function on the new game.

This is not the first time this has happened, but back when it began, it wasn't such a concern because of the manner in which games were being made and distributed. Years back we had similar with Street Fighter 2. First was SF2 sporting 8 chars, 4 bosses. Then came Street Fighter 2 Turbo, faster, 8 chars AND bosses to select from, some key differences between fighting and moves (i.e. Ken and Ryu being functionally different). Then came SUPER Street Fighter 2 Turbo, with more differences, 4 extra characters not seen before, spruced up graphics and refined engine for combat.

Each game was released full price. Back then, at least you got the extra stages for the 4 characters added, use of bosses, new characters and so on with the games that were released and the advent of super moves and power bars etc. Back then you couldn't download the games or install updates, there was no other way to release the extra characters other than to have a new game (or some odd mix up with connecting cartridges and I'm only really looking at Sonic and Knuckles here).

THe problem with this is that today, you CAN get new DLC rather readily online for people to download and install and don't have to buy games. Which does make the football/sports games redundant as you can download lists of players for teams and perhaps likeness of players instead of buying a new game. Keep the machine online and you can change the stats on the fly or even if they're injured in real matches, keep them off the game at the same time. Potentially, just ideas here.

But to release an "ultimate" version these days when DLC can be installed and updated, is only a means to rip off customers and force them to spend more of their hard-earned (or easily pocket-monied) cash. The only way this is viable is if there's people that cannot, for whichever reason, gain online access to the game and its functions and would have to purchase the ULTIMATE version, although other games sell the DLC as a cheap off-set anyway... Fallout 3 did it... Why not here? I'm guessing it's because of a want for cash after some other games by the same company didn't quite perform as adequately as they'd originally thought that they had.

Restarting the skill set:

Setting: You've been playing the game for a while, gathered the weapons as you've gone, powered up your character, levelled up through the systems and amassed a wealth of cash and abilities the likes of which have taken you a considerable amount of effort and difficulty. You move onto the next chapter but that's when it happens. Your powers are gone, your weapons removed, your levels reduced, your bank account bankrupted and you're back to square one in the game as if you'd never even played it in the first place. Frustration sets in, the futility of everything hits hard when you realise that the hard work you just put in, has been abitrarily removed.

It's a simple and quick way to pad a game out. Falsely pad up the game to get the player to work a little harder because as a game, it's run out of ideas and the only route now is for making it more difficult to the player by limiting the very skills and strengths they've been able to win and learn. Games will try to justify it "you got captured and all your gear is removed" or "your life is over, now your son/daughter takes up the mantle" or "you awoke from the dream and none of what you did actually counts or matters" or even the more insidious "You had to drop your weapons to run through a desert and carry the bare minimum". In some cases it would make sense, but then why have that whole situation before this event if you're only going to drop stats, weapons, skills and send them carrying on into the ever increasing, exponentially curving, difficulty? To make the game last longer.

Most annoyingly (And I'm citing Fallout 3 add-on, The Pitts) when you're high level, wearing the armour of a TANK in bipedal form, you've gone toe to toe with hundreds of enemies, many larger and more powerful than yourself and you've come out wearing their skulls as an ill-fitting hat. To then go to a new place and meet people that DECIDE to capture you while armed with nothing more than a few ill-fitting jeans and t-shirts whilst wielding a few iron bars. People and enemies you've obliterated in droves were stronger than these munchkins and you've been accosted by far worse, carrying far more powerful weapons while you yourself were armed with less deadly weapons and armour than you have at this current point in the game. It's like taking on the entire enemy army, complete with tanks, choppers, jets, boats, nukes etc, surviving it like a bad-ass only to return back to your own team and get mugged by someone holding a fish as an offensive weapon.

This is just how it is done badly and something like this is just arbitrarily shoe-horned in like this.

In a storyline setting, it's feasible to see WHY it would need to be done if moving from one character to another, but then why not have that story as another game? Or reassure us that the new character won't be all we have next and we'll be moving back to the other, the original character, in the near future?

Yet games like Infinity Blade do the generation game/cross over and has the stats of the character move with the new character (The game does explain the situation in a roundabout manner but until THAT point, it's all about generations and kids coming along to kill a dude)