Contrived Game Design

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I encountered a completely mad bit of game design in Lost Odyssey last night.  Don't read on if you don't want a (minor) spoiler.

At one point in the game you get locked up in a prison cell.  To get out, one of the characters in your party throws a magic gem at the guard which makes him lose his memory.  You then persuade him to let you out, which he does without much resistance.  Far fetched (why didn't the guard go and ask someone?), but just about plausible.

Then you have a section where you have to sneak past guards and cameras without being seen.  If you get caught you're sent back to the cell, where the amnesiac guard then spots you and says (paraphrasing)

"Oh dear, you seem to have been locked up again, I'll have you out in a sec."

He then lets you out to try the stealth section again, seemingly oblivious to the fact you've just been bundled in the cell by the other guards.  Since I'm rubbish at stealth this happened about four or five times, which just became preposterous.

It totally breaks all immersion when stuff like this happens in games - I'm ignoring the fact that the other two characters in your party disappear when you're exploring the world and then reappear for battles, cut scenes and plot points.

Game designers - STOP IT!!!

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There should be a law against stuff like this. Back in the "good old days" when games were new, this kind of thing might have been ignored by the player. But now?! You've got to be joking.

Definitely seems like the designers were out of ideas as to how to make that repeatable. Perhaps if you were able to pick up the magic gem and reuse it each time it'd make it a little more plausible. After two times it'd piss you off having to go through the "please let me out" speach though :)

The thing is, there's already a mechanism built into the game to handle this more sensibly. If you lose a battle, it says "Game Over" and gives Retry and Quit options. Hit Retry and you're back where you were in a few seconds. It's also contrived, but it's a convention that's been around for decades that game players accept naturally.

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This page contains a single entry by KeefJudge published on March 26, 2008 12:49 PM.

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