Gameplay Traits You Like (or don't mind) That Everyone Else Whines About

Sure there have been games we like that all the critics and fans hated, and games that got all the hype that you saw as horribly flawed. But are there any gameplay experiences, in general or in specific games, that everyone seems to complain about, or rave about, and you don't see the fuss either way?

Linearity: Maybe it's just my paranoid nature, or maybe I've been burned by too many games that were so endlessly open-ended that I got overwhelmed, or got burned because I made "the wrong choices". Regardless, I like a linear structure in my games. Sure I enjoy a little freedom of choice now and again, but it's not that big a deal to me if I get the same conclusion either way. Plus, I like to feel like there's some special pre-ordained conclusion or story arc that my character is working towards.

Replayability: I'm a huge movie buff. That's why other people find it shocking to discover my relatively small video collection. Why? Because other than the odd exception, I don't really have much of a desire to see most movies over and over again. I experienced it the first time, and now I'll move on. Gaming is even more of an investment. I have no desire to play most games over again at a harder difficulty level just for a little more story, a slight change in how I play the level, another ending, etc. There is too much of a backlog of good games I haven't touched yet. "A memorable experience, but there is no incentive to play the single-player campaign again after you're done." When I see that line in a gaming review, I shorten it to "A memorable experience."

Length: This one gets me most of all. Great games are constantly followed by posts and critic reviews saying "The one flaw in this game is that it is too short." Okay, I hate games I can complete in one sitting that I paid good money for, just like anyone else. But I find a lot of people giving too much value to length. I have played a lot of games that exude so much class and atmosphere, and so little in the way of pacing issues, that I'm glad the game ends in 8-12 hours (or an RPG in less than 30), leaving me wanting more. What good is a really lengthy campaign if it gets frustrating or runs out of steam? This is especially true in platforming or action games, where the whole thing becomes repetitive all too quickly. Alternately, there have been many games praised for their length that I get too bored with to ever finish by the end. It helps that I tend to be a "find everything/stop and smell the roses" guy, so when a game is 8-12 hours, I'll be spending 12 on it without a doubt.

Dead Rising save game system: BRILLIANT. Don't like it? Don't die! Gamers have gotten too conditioned to brushing off death like the most minor of inconvenience. Death should be pretty damn bad, and you should hate it. Anything that breaks the gamer's habit of blasting through scores of enemies with absolutely no concern for self-preservation is good to me. There's a major limit to how deep an experience can be if the "ultimate consequence" is no consequence at all. (See: Prey, a decent game reduced to a completely hollow experience thanks to reducing death to even below previous levels of consequence)

Lack of online, or poor online play. I don't want all those young whippersnappers on my gaming lawn anyway.

psu_13 wrote:

Lack of online, or poor online play. I don't want all those young whippersnappers on my gaming lawn anyway.

Same. For most games, I don't give a rat's ass about multiplayer.

Length: I wonder when gamers started to complain about game length. I remember playing Target Earth on Genesis and having to find places to rest so my character could regain health because you only had one life and 3 continues. It was frustrating, but I loved it. The ability to save anywhere shortened the length of a lot of games (except for the Max Payne games, they're just short).

Save Systems: This ties in with game length. I remember when Alien vs. Predator came out and the complaints about the lack of a quick-save system. I loved the atmosphere in that game. Walking around hearing nothing and then all of a sudden you hear a click on your scanner. The fact that I knew I couldn't save helped create a great amount of tension. Nowadays, I often find myself replaying long segments in games because I become so engrossed that I forget to quicksave (most games autosave at certain points so it's not that big of a deal).

Linearity: I love linearity, as long as there's no backtracking (I hate backtracking). I hate linear games that try to give the illusion of non-linearity. Stop putting so many doors that you can't open in games!

I don't like when game reviews point out traits that are inherent in the genre they are reviewing.

* Fighting platformer: "Gameplay gets repetitive after a while as you continue beating people up". Oh really ? (I still blame reviewers like that for burying the genre of games like "Fighting Force". If there was a 2-player Fighting Force for a modern system, I'd buy one immediately).

* Minor clipping problems present in many 3D games at certain odd situations and rare camera angles being blown up out of proportion as some sort of inferiority in the engine.

Redundant statements:

"It is a mixed bag"

"The framerates are silky smooth" (for a game like Bejeweled, Lumines, Tetris, etc).

---

About the subject of linearity. I like linearity. What I don't like is that most games with a linear storyline pretend like they're something else. Fire up "Beyond Good and Evil" and you got a seemingly vast world where you can get lost for hours, but it's just a linear non-interactive game with some make-up, the same old puzzles and the switch hunt.

I'd rather linear games be honest. Don't force me to explore every redundant corner of a giant map (often without the said map). I want less stalling and more linear fun. I guess thats why co-op beat-em-ups have such an appeal to me.

kuddles wrote:

I have played a lot of games that exude so much class and atmosphere, and so little in the way of pacing issues, that I'm glad the game ends in 8-12 hours (or an RPG in less than 30), leaving me wanting more.

I'd be thrilled if most new games could last to the 8-12 hour range in one playthrough, especially the shooters. When I complain about length it's because I'm watching credits before the five hour mark. Everyone has the line in a different spot in the sand, but the current trend of games makes me fear that in a decade I'll be complaining, "Gears 5 is awesome, but dang I beat it in half an hour!"

Legion wrote:

Dead Rising save game system: BRILLIANT.

Absolutely.

Quintin_Stone wrote:
psu_13 wrote:

Lack of online, or poor online play. I don't want all those young whippersnappers on my gaming lawn anyway.

Same. For most games, I don't give a rat's ass about multiplayer.

I understand shunning the nebula of public asshats out there, but I like playing with you guys.

I don't mind collecting things, those tacked on scavenger hunts that took the dev's twenty minutes to throw in there. In the end most objectives are all about getting to a certain location anyway, the collectibles are just a more honest form of that.

-Lack of multiplayer: If I see another hitman review whining that there is no mp I will find the writer and fiberwire them in the elevator.

-The level treadmill complaint

Length rarely bothers me if the game is good. Hell many of my favorite games from the 8 - 16 bit era could be finished in under an hour. I'll play it again if it's good.

This entire thread.

Why force something one way? Give me the god damned option to have either save system (Dead Rising),

Edwin wrote:

Why force something one way? Give me the god damned option to have either save system (Dead Rising),

Yes. If you like it the way they have it.. play that way.

I don't, and that's why the game still sits on the shelf with only an hour and a half or maybe two hours of total playtime into it.

I was just using that as an example since it was first brought up. I've never played Dead Rising so there is my disclaimer about it.

I just hate limitations. Give me the option to play it either classic style (the way the devs intended it to be) or any other way I want.

*Legion* wrote:

Dead Rising save game system: BRILLIANT.

It took me a few days playing it to come around to it, but I agree with you on this. It would have been a *much* different game with a different save system...I like the current version a lot!

Edwin wrote:

I just hate limitations. Give me the option to play it either classic style (the way the devs intended it to be) or any other way I want.

Yeah, they talk about their vision of what they want the game to be or something.. but newsflash guys.. it's not a movie. It's a game. If it pisses me off an hour and a half in I just stop playing and don't see the rest of the game. If a movie's crappy I do tend to finish it anyway because.. hey, it's only two hours and when it starts sucking I don't have to go back and rewatch the incredibly boring first hour and a half.

I'll echo the short games thing though. If it's in the 8-12 hour range I'm happy, and if it's shorter but I enjoy replaying the whole game I'm even happier.

Good thread, kuddles.

*Legion* wrote:

Dead Rising save game system: BRILLIANT. Don't like it? Don't die! Gamers have gotten too conditioned to brushing off death like the most minor of inconvenience. Death should be pretty damn bad, and you should hate it.

I don't mind dying, I just don't like repeating large sections of the game over and over. And I don't like instant death because the AI cheats or is incomplete. I'm looking at you, Rainbow Six, you shooting-through-walls hax0r. Why am I dead? Oh, because there is an AI shotgun barrel sticking through a foot-thick concrete wall, aimed at my head.

I prefer the system in Metal Gear games; you have one type of gameplay (stealth) and if you make a mistake you have the option to fight your way out of your own troubles. If you prefer, you can skip the stealth altogether. It's like 2 games in one.

Oh, and I love custom UIs. Every game should have a UI like an MMO, you can format and mold it exactly the way you want it.

Length. Honestly, I -prefer- shorter experiences, nowadays. I look at Torment and go "I'd really love to play that again, but where am I going to find the 100+ HOURS that I'd need for that?"
Especially since they're never 100 GOOD hours. Almost every developer needs to be beaten with a rolled-up newspaper emblazoned with the concept of PACING.

See: Resident Evil 4. The game turned into a goddamn slog. "Wow, I get to.. kill more zombies. And more. And, oh yes, more. And their AI stops trying to flank me and just.. rushes me. Great."

Multiplayer.
Occasionally fun, but I'll never buy a game for it anymore.

Windows, Goddamnit.
Yeah. I got a new X850XT, and it was working, and now it has decided it won' work. I don't know why. I don't really -care- to know why. I just want it to WORK FOR FSCKS SAKE. I am getting VERY tired of reinstalling my drivers. And I don't want to spend more money to buy a new OS. Therefore, my consoles are getting a lot more attention lately. If only I could put my AGP card into a Mac laptop.

Total and complete lack of narrative. Is the game a string of fun experiences tied together with a loose or non-existent narrative? Sign me up. It keeps the game modular and replayable.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

I understand shunning the nebula of public asshats out there, but I like playing with you guys. :(

I love playing with GWJers. I put in 3 hours every Thursday for 2142. That's about my limit though, because multiplayer games often involve scheduling and most games can't be paused if I want to get a snack or hit the head.

"Simple" kid's games - this annoys me no end. You get a reviewer pinging an E-rated game because his Ninja-Gaiden twisted idea of difficulty levels doesn't go with the average 8-year-old's. The game's designed for the eight-year-old, though. Ditto under the same situations for "repetitous", "shallow", etc.

Quintin_Stone wrote:

That's about my limit though, because multiplayer games often involve scheduling and most games can't be paused if I want to get a snack or hit the head.

Homoerotic banter or a typo? You decide.

souldaddy wrote:

I don't mind dying, I just don't like repeating large sections of the game over and over.

That's the consequence. And that's what adjusted the way I played Dead Rising in a hurry. Removing that threat would give me little reason to care about whether I died or not.

And I don't like instant death because the AI cheats or is incomplete.

Yes, this is especially true in a game like Dead Rising. If the player is going to be punished for being careless and dying, the game can't bitchslap a non-careless player with a cheap death.

Thin_J wrote:

Yeah, they talk about their vision of what they want the game to be or something.. but newsflash guys.. it's not a movie. It's a game.

If all you desire are interactive experiences that don't aspire to any sort of higher artistic vision, there's tons of them out there for you. I would hate if the gaming art medium stopped there, myself.

If it pisses me off an hour and a half in I just stop playing and don't see the rest of the game. If a movie's crappy I do tend to finish it anyway because.. hey, it's only two hours and when it starts sucking I don't have to go back and rewatch the incredibly boring first hour and a half.

So? A book takes longer than two hours and I'd imagine you stop reading it if it sucks for the first part. Complaining about that would be just punishing books and games for being books and games, and not being movies. I'll watch a crappy movie too, and quit a crappy game, but I don't see how that has any bearing on anything at all, short of just pointing out that they're not the same thing.

Cut scenes.

Cut scenes, cut scenes, goddamnmotherfrikken' CUT SCENES!

There's a consequence to dying?
Fine.
You want me to replay the same bit of game again & again until I get it right?
Fine.
You want me to waste 2 hours of my life, in discrete 2 minute packets, watching the same badly written, poorly acted, ill-conceived & pointless scence, again & again & again...

Why can I not skip a cut scene in the 21st century? We've developed ion ray guns and portable communication devices to shame Captain Kirk - and yet still I have to waste precious time processing oxygen, while fratically stabbing the X button in a vain hope that the machine will get some idea of what I'm trying to achieve and skip the bloody cut scene

Staats wrote:
Quintin_Stone wrote:

That's about my limit though, because multiplayer games often involve scheduling and most games can't be paused if I want to get a snack or hit the head.

Homoerotic banter or a typo? You decide.

Wasn't a typo, so I guess I'll go with homoerotic banter.

Baggz wrote:

Cut scenes.

Cut scenes, cut scenes, goddamnmotherfrikken' CUT SCENES!

This is the thread where you list the unpopular things you like, not hate.

Lack of goals. This I love. Why does anyone need clearly defined goals? It's a game, not a job. I'd rather play with the game world than do virtual chores.

*flame suit on...*

(OT: kuddles, is your avatar a shot of Juliette Binoche from Kieślowski's Blue?)

Quintin_Stone wrote:
Baggz wrote:

Cut scenes.

Cut scenes, cut scenes, goddamnmotherfrikken' CUT SCENES!

This is the thread where you list the unpopular things you like, not hate. :)


Sometimes my vitriol on this subject just shoots everywhere - like an angry pr0n stud

Lack of story in an action game. If the action is good, then as long as the story doesn't annoy (Gears of War) or is so ridiculous as to be funny (Devil May Cry) I have no problem with it. What I do have a bit of a problem with is when a game fails on both counts (Lost Planet), but as long as I can skip the cutscenes and the action is fun, that's fine by me.

Lack of gameplay innovation in a story game. The exact opposite of the previous item. As long as a story based game (ie, an RPG) has a compelling story and interesting characters, I don't really care if the basic mechanics are about the same as they were five iterations ago (Suikoden 5). It's a wonderful bonus when a story game does do something interesting with the gameplay, but as long as it is competent and not overly repetitive, I'm fine with it.

Lack of length and difficulty in action games. Give me the ability to have at the core experience of an action game, let me get my fill of it, and let me move on. It also helps that I suck at action games, and thus they take me a bit longer and seem a bit harder than they do to most people, but as long as I've had my fun, I don't need it to be drawn out. For example, I wouldn't have minded one or two more levels in Gears of War, but I was pretty much satisfied with what was there anyway (and it took me close to 10 hours, maybe a bit more, to get through it).

Length in story games. People will always complain that an RPG is either too short or drags on too long, but as long as it was long enough to serve the story, that's fine. I will admit that I do often wish for more out of these games, though, as I feel like there was more to the world or the characters that could have been explored. But so long as the developer has done justice to their world, story, and characters I don't care if a game is 30 hours or 130 hours.

Long cutscenes. While it is always nice to have the option of skipping them, I prefer that a game take its time developing its characters and story, as long as they are presented well. Just don't make me sit through bad voice acting. If you don't have the budget to get good voice actors, don't bother -- I'd rather just read text.

Random battles. While I don't love the concept, I don't mind them either. If a developer can find a way to work the battles into the world exporation space, or even just have avatars for the enemies you are going to encounter, that is great. But if it is going to prevent them from designing a compelling world for me to explore, I would rather that they don't bother. Either way, make your design choices, stick to your guns, and give me something interesting to experience.

Linearity: Right there with you. I actually don't mind it very much when it makes sense. Heck, even when it doesn't make sense, as long as it serves the game in some way I'm usually fine. It's only when the game throws stuff at me that goes counter to the nature of it all and I'm somehow suppose to read the developers minds. For example, if I can't enter any of those fake doors, don't expect me to find the one door that actually functions several hours into the game.

I realize this one is a bit of a dead horse, but...
Graphics: Putting the graphics vs gameplay angle completely aside, I don't personally expect the graphics to blow me away from a technical standpoint. What I do expect is for there to be some art direction. So forget the great pimple rendering techniques, give me some soul and style.

Lack of ultra high definition graphics: While they are pretty to look at, they do not make a game. My favorite example of this was Command and Conquer: Renegade. From the get go,the developers said that they were not trying to push the graphical envelope with the game, but were rather gearing the engine towards being able to have giant maps allowing you to enter and exit buildings (with no load times), as well as drive different types of vehicles. The game was released and was bashed for it's "Quake 2" era graphics and did not sell well causing the sequel to be canned. I had a blast playing C&C:Renegade and thought it was one of the most overlooked games ever released. I enjoyed the gameplay immensely and did not for once care that the graphics were considered dated at the time.