Monday, 17 June 2013

Rate me and I will Berate you




I have recently been reminded of how annoyed I get at being rated.  I have just played through  Gears of War Judgement, which is a decent sequel, of the not really as good as previous games type. They haven't made many changes to the gears formula,  but one of the few they made annoyed me a great deal. Instead of having a grand sweeping narrative they broke the game into 15-20 minute sections,  and then they assigned a score to each section, with the aim to get up to 3 stars per section, yes, like Angry Birds. So they manage to take a grand sweeping (if massively violent) narrative and turn it into a score attack game. 
                                                                                                                                                                  I as a gamer I don't respond well to being told that I am playing a game wrong,  and that is exactly what this was. You may well be having fun and then the game happily points out that you really should have gotten a couple more headshots and you were knocked down one too many times to get the 3 stars.  Well screw you game,  it is my choice I will play the way I want and not let you put me off having fun.  I had a very similar feeling when they introduced mission completion percentages into the Assassin's Creed games with Brotherhood. The whole idea essentially saying that, well yes you haven't failed,  but you haven't done it properly,  have you.  



This is a concerning turn for me,  I know that I am probably in the minority here but while I love games I hate restrictions. The idea that there is an optimal way to play,  the "right" way annoys me more than it really should. I realise that games are inherently performing obstacles,  but the way really good games do it  is by offering a great experience that allows you to forget this.  And stuff like star ratings are merely reminders that you are, essentially,  jumping through hoops for no real reasons. And for simple puzzle games like tetris that is fine,  because it is giving you are chance play through things again and again to beat scores, there is no narrative to get in the way. 

It is strange because I loved People Can Fly's previous game, Bulletstorm, which had a similar scoring mechanic. However that game rejoiced in the silliness of the scoring and had a narrative to explain it, something that neither Assasin's Creed or Judgement have (ok AC does but barely). But perhaps more importantly whilst being creative with the kills in Bulletstorm was encouraged, it never made me feel like I have failed for not getting the elusive mega monster kill.

Humm thinking about it this maybe why I never give a crap about achievements.

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