Tuesday 22 January 2019

Design: Longer Combat isn't always more Fun

It's just more tedious.

[Part of the Design Folder]

How many times do you think you need to stab someone with a sword, or shoot with a gun, before they die, or at least are incapacitated enough to stop fighting? RPGs in particular have a nasty habit of making this number waaaay higher than it should be.

Yes, combat doesn't have to be realistic in games but it has to be fun! Dark Souls is a decent example as boss fights are varied enough to require learning and require no repetition (unless you fail), and that the more mundane enemies are often slain quickly, or quickly slay you.

The Assassin's Creed series was doing good too - using the counter-kill system which made combat through the swarms of baddies not only fun but kept the games tempo up. That is until they made AC: Unity. Gone is the counter-kill ability, replaced by parry / slash-slash-slash button mash. Oh, so just like Dark Souls right?

Wrong. Dark Souls has a wide array of enemies with different behavior patterns and attacks and as I said, combat ends quickly. AC: Unity has the same 4 dudes in various skins on an endless, respawning loop and some are HP sponges for no other reason than "this zone is harder, so the baddies should have more HP". They are also so frequent which ultimately makes them a chore rather than a fun experience. Stupid design Assassin's Creed: Unity. Stupid design.

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