Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Too Much to Do

A dream many gamers have is a game who allow them to do everything. If they want to go swimming they can go, if they want to become Batman they can become Batman, things like that. Of course, programming something like that would take years, thousands of people and a NASA worth supercomputer. So, the closest we get with this dreams is games like Skyrim and GTA. Games who gives its players plenty of freedom.

In Skyrim, you can fight, craft, steal, talk and participate in an almost endless stream of quests. it is the dream of anyone who played table RPGs some time in their lives. The problem in a game of this scope, a problem GTA share, is that everything it does it is not the best thing in the gaming world. They ended up having some pretty mediocre gameplay elements in the mixture.

This is way less cool in person.
It is not that Skyrim or GTA are bad games. They are great. If you analyze each aspect of their gameplays separately, sure they would suck but because they offer so much variety and have other qualities outside it (Skyrim living and believable world, as are the GTA cities) that we are able to forgive some of the lesser elements because it works great as a whole.

But it make me wonder, do I need a game where I can do everything in a so-so manner or should I choose games who make one thing, but make this one thing amazing?

Maybe I will not have an answer for everyone, but I honestly prefer to have few things done right than a lot of things done just acceptable. I am replaying Mass Effect 2 and when I compare it to Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect 2 have way more things to do. Things like hacking,  scanning and probing planets, the Hammerhead.

But god, how I hate those things. They are more time wasters, done just good enough to not break the game, that I dread the fact I need to play those mini-games. The Hammerhead missions are some of the worst possible I have played.

This is a problem I already talked about before. Adding variety for the sake of variety. That is why I loved Mass Effect 3 more than ME2. They just cut all the useless crap and stream-lined it. And that made the game way more enjoyable for me. I know a lot of people loves to have some break over the constant repetition of gameplay.

But I prefer to repeat a pleasant task over and over than being interrupted of it because some designer at the studio decided to add some 'variety'. Variety is only good if done right. And if you don't have the time don't even bother including it.

Not only that, sometimes I feel that developers try to cram too much in their games. Not only mini-games, but too much systems in it. JRPGs are the worst, with a dozen given systems for everything you want to do. Battle become a nightmare where you try to keep at least three different bars and four different systems in check to be successful.

Sometimes you are overwhelmed with too much to do, not all of it good enough to justify its mere existence. And many times I just ignore completely all the secondary stuff. If it is not fun or if there is lots of better things to do, why bother?

Focus is not a bad thing. Sometimes it gives you some of the best games ever. Variety is not bad, as long as it don't overwhelm you or just distract you from the really nice things. You know, like eating a plain great stake or having to find the delicious meat between the mashed potatoes, salad, bread, fries, onions and all that stuff in the plate.

It is more sad to me to have plenty to do and not wanting to than having only one thing to do that I really want to do. And many games need to stop trying to do more than they can. That way, we can ended up with better experiences for everyone.

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