Tag Archives: the witcher 3

All Open-World Games Need “Discovery Tour” Modes

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Assassin’s Creed: Origins is going to have a “Discovery Tour” mode that will strip out the story and combat and let players simply explore the game’s open world with some commentary from historians. People are already lauding this as an excellent use of all the historical research that goes into the Creed games. I think similar functionality should be expanded to virtually all open-world games.

It’s really just another step in the conversation surrounding “story mode” difficulty levels. I don’t see “discovery tour” as an actual difficulty mode though, but just another way to get use out of the art assets developers spend so much time and money putting into games. Maybe it’s not for everyone but it could offer some people yet another reason to buy a game. Continue reading

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“Story Mode,” Action Games, And Interactive Fiction

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So Horizon Zero Dawn is the latest big budget game to include a “story mode” or what people are calling super-easy modes now. While some may argue against modes that significantly de-emphasize or nullify combat, they’re really part of a larger trend along with “walking simulators” and new adventure games. Continue reading

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Which Games Do New Game+ The Best?

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Among the changes Horizon Zero Dawn is getting with its 1.30 update is a New Game+. I feel like that feature is sort of coming back a little bit and developers are only just now realizing its benefits. It’s really a wonder why more games aren’t doing it.

I’m not gonna go counting but I feel like New Game+ is one of those things that was more common in the heyday of original PlayStation and PlayStation 2 games, and then was forgotten in the rush for more heavily scripted linear games. I remember New Game+ being a notable inclusion in Dead Space back in 2008, and we’re starting to see it slip back into relevance with popular games like The Witcher 3. Like HorizonDishonored 2 has had New Game+ added post-launch. Continue reading

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Zelda Breath of the Wild is a Case Study in Game Tutorials

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You know what else The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild gets right that so many other open-world games miss? The tutorial.

I’ve heard very little mention of how the game’s initial area: The Great Plateau, does such a great job of being a thick tutorial without actually feeling like a tutorial. It’s worth comparing it to how a lot of other modern games, particularly open-world games. Continue reading

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My Reactions To Different Weapon Durability Systems

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Undoubtedly the most divisive feature in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been its weapon degradation system. The discussion over it has gotten me looking back at how I’ve reacted to weapon degradation in previous games only to find it hasn’t been a uniform reaction at all.

In short, weapon degradation is one of those things that in the context of game design is just a tool to be used in different ways. Different developers may use it to different effects for different kinds of games. Like open-worlds in general or quick-time events or whatever else, I don’t believe weapon degradation is universally good or bad. Continue reading

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My 2016 Top 10 Games List

People seem to think 2016 was generally an awful year, but at least it was a good year for video games, probably even better than 2015. 2015 I feel is when AAA games emerged from a sort of rut that started after 2011 as developers were getting used to new hardware. 2016 is proof some kind of good trend is in full swing. I usually don’t force myself to pick 10 games I think are the best of a year, but the fact that I was actually able to pick that many games I immensely enjoyed this year is a great sign.

One thing I also noted is the games on my list tend to be exactly the kinds of games that performed somewhat below expectations commercially because of changing trends in the business. The big budget game business is starting to favor continuous services providing online interactions and rolling content updates. Most of my favorite games were singleplayer with little online interaction — the kind of game that generally stays the same after the initial purchase. I feel like we got a lot of great games of that type in 2016 — games where the developers somehow got a lot of resources to invest not into devices for player retention, but into simply crafting good level design and pretty game worlds for players to explore. Maybe that’s why their weakness in the marketplace against Games As A Service was more visible this year.

Before I start on the list though I should go over the games I couldn’t get to in 2016 and actually didn’t mention in my earlier post about this. Firstly, a lot of seemingly great RPGs came out in 2016, particularly on handheld systems, that I never even tried to find the time to buy or play. Fire Emblem Fates and Shin Megami Tensei IV Apocalypse look like perfectly fine games. Pokemon Sun & Moon also got quite a bit of hype and praise but I’m so hopelessly far behind in Pokemon I mostly just scrolled past it all on my social media. I want to get to it someday though. Also, I pretty much didn’t touch most of 2016’s indie games. I think I was able to finish Firewatch and Inside and that’s it. I bought a few others like Oxenfree and Hyper Light Drifter. I’m sure a lot of those games were great, it’s just that the more time-heavy AAA games got really good in 2016.

And onto the list, starting from the top:

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On Modern Open-World UI And World Design

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The games I’ve been playing recently have mostly been open-world games or games where you have to find objectives on large maps, and in all of them that has necessitated things like mini maps and waypoints. I’ve posted at least once before about how much I hate waypoints because they can break immersion. Gamasutra however published this past April an excellent article laying out the drawbacks of waypoints and how we got here. I implore you to at least read the first few lines. Continue reading

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Why Some Might Dislike Witcher 3’s Combat

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I finally got back into The Witcher 3 with the Hearts of Stone expansion pack. Every time this game is discussed online you get people who couldn’t play it because of the “terrible combat” or “terrible gameplay.” I’ve been a defender of Witcher 3’s systems on this site but the expansion has made me think more on just why many people feel one way or the other way about the combat and other systems in this game. I think it’s biggest problem is the difficulty curve, which clouds the depth CDProjekt RED put into Witcher 3 for a lot of players. Continue reading

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Fallout 4 Is Basically Borderlands 3

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When writing the last post I realized I hadn’t really followed up on my initial post about Fallout 4’s opening and how it felt more like a first person shooter than a role-playing game. I guess most people who’ve played the game have already figured it out by now, but the rest of the game pretty much continues that pattern. Continue reading

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Is Open-World Fatigue Even Real?

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After coming off all these massive open-world games from 2015 like Fallout 4Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, part of me thought I’d spend the beginning of 2016 taking a breather with smaller, more focused games. I was wrong. Open-world fatigue seems to be spreading among people who play all the big games, but I don’t really feel tired of them yet as I start the first Witcher 3 expansion, continue on through Elite: Dangerous, and prepare to start Grand Theft Auto V. With Elite specifically I don’t think I’ve gone over what separates the latest entry from other open-world games (a lot). Continue reading

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