Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Should story based action games be difficult?

So I’ve been playing some relatively modern and mainstream games lately, and it’s obvious they are all very-much story based and designed to be completed.
The thing is some parts of some of these games seem to unnecessarily bog-down the progression by being harder than the vast majority of the game.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I like arcade games with a high difficulty curve, but these are action games, designed to be completed within a certain time-frame.  I think the problem occurs when you get a boss stage or level that seems to grind the game by forcing you to play through it again and again before you can progress the story, or when a certain part of a level is suddenly and unexpectedly hard. If you aren’t used to hard game-play it soon becomes infuriating rather than challenging, chiefly because it is holding you up from progressing in the all-important story.
I know some people have complained about mainstream gaming becoming increasingly easier and designed to be completed (the walk-through game, as some have called it) but if it is a story based game I want to be able to hack/slash or shoot my way through that story without coming up against an inappropriately placed hard grind – whether it be a boss or a particularly difficult part within a level. I can see how this could be interpreted as bad level design.
I don’t think the idea of a ‘walk-through game’ is inherently bad. Surely it’s the experience that matters most, and these games are generally designed to take a set number of hours to complete. So any sticking point is just that, a point where you are stuck and unable to perform the main goal of progressing through the story.