Essential Game-Changes #1 – Warm-Up

Here’s something I think we can all agree on, some games are not suited to casual play. I’m not talking about those ‘family’ gamers, but instead the sort of gamer who will dip in and out of a game at will. Some games are easy to do this and are rewarded with long life (Burnout Paradise anyone?) but others can be positively criminal for one major reason… hit the jump to find out what it is and how I would like to see it resolved.

Too many times I have been lured away from a title by something new and flashy – or incredibly cheap and tacky – and when I return to the game a couple of months later I find myself up against a brick wall of difficulty based upon having to re-learn a control method from scratch, but often at a part of a game that is punishing. Mostly this occurs worst in games with auto/quick save points, which will normally save before a major moment in a game and being thrust back into a new world with a challenge of that magnitude to deal with, and rusty control manipulation, is nothing short of frustratingly, pant-soilingly, vein-poppingly irritating.

I can safely say that I have often had to completely restart a game, and replay a plot that wasn’t great the first time, just to reacclimatise myself to a control scheme, or to remember the layout of a city/space station/strip joint/map so that my time isn’t wasted taking wrong turns and accidentally assassinating the local PTA.

Would it hurt developers to add the same kind of training room that you find on beat-em-up titles to all games? It would remove the need for the obligatory tutorial level altogether, and allow for a plot to be unhampered by a slowly ramping up mood. One game that I feel got it spot on was Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. You could join the game without training, but the training benefited the gameplay immensely. If I go back to the game I can drop into the training chambers and blow the cobwebs off of my performance.

Refresher courses are essential in real-life situations, so why not with gaming too? It would extend the life and re-playability of many titles, which would mean that more games could avoid a fate involving the dusty shelf of mediocrity.

But that’s just my opinion, what do you think? Should games offer an area to get used to the game before being thrown back in at the deep end? Let us know.

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One thought on “Essential Game-Changes #1 – Warm-Up

  1. This has been a big issue for me – I very nearly missed out on some great gaming experiences. Two examples which still make me wince – I took a 12 month break from FF7 which very-nearly killed it (and me). RE4 suffered two restarts just to get the story and “flow” back. Now this gen allows for some great epic games, but I won’t make the same mistake again, so I wait until I know I can afford it the time.

    Release schedules, personal / social life and also perceived value for money all affect the planned start date now. I’ve been able to allow a lot of time on the last three months, so decided to tackle a few biggies – HL2(+eps), ME1, ME2 for starters.

    Yep I waited to 5 years to play HalfLife2 again, until I knew I wouldn’t get distracted.

    With painful experience one knows that a distraction is fine – but not for too long – and allowing time for a game (planning time into your life) to play and complete is key.

    Once you get stung a couple of times you make sure not to leave the beast alone for too long without stroking it.

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