Tag Archives: the witcher 3

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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Obligatory GOTY Post, 2015 Edition

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Every year I seem to count a different number of “top” games I played. I don’t like having to struggle to figure out a top 10 or top five or whatever. Do the academy awards have a set number of nominees they have to have every year? I just go over whichever games in a year actually stood out in terms of quality as well as how continually drawn I am to them, no matter what number they come up to. In 2014 that number was pretty much zero (maybe one), this year it’s three, listed in order below.

As I said last time, I like to think of 2015 as the year when AAA video games became interesting again. Not since 2011 had I been truly hyped about any new major game coming out. I’d also like to say that 2015 seems like a year when we got some unusually good writing in video games. Some other people say it’s also been a great year for adventure games. I don’t know if that’s true or if I just hadn’t been playing enough adventure games or games with good writing in previous years. In any case, both of those trends seem to be set to continue into next year if nothing get’s delayed. Continue reading

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Do RPG Weight Limits Need A New Approach?

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Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3 have made me realize that one problem I’ve never seen an open-world RPG solve is that of carry limits and encumbrance. I talked about it a little bit in 2012 but developers haven’t really done anything significant about it since then and I think the common game mechanic needs to be reexamined from multiple angles.

I understand why we have carry limits of course. It’s not about realism at all, but more like a rule of games because being able to carry and/or sell literally everything could break the difficulty. In many cases managing an inventory is supposed to be part of the challenge. My issue with the system though is that leaving it up to an arbitrary number above which the game restricts the player to walking speed seems like simple and haphazard design. This is especially true when the rest of a game like Fallout 4 or Witcher 3 is so complex. Other, technically smaller games actually tend to have a more measured and nuanced approach. Continue reading

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Linear Or Sandbox Game — Why Not Both?

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The sentiment I’m starting to sense is that a lot of people are speaking out against the sort of resurgence of open-world games we’ve seen in this new console generation. I believe I already covered how I think we’re just getting too many bad open-world games, but I think another problem is how right now it seems like we have to choose between open-world or super-linear. There used to be a middle-ground that mostly isn’t there anymore. Continue reading

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The Witcher 3 Was Almost An Open World Adventure Game

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The Witcher 3 has pretty much been received as a seminal, almost flawless game in the eyes of many. While I’m inclined to believe it is one of the best crafted video game worlds I’ve seen in recent times, I feel I must talk about one of the few but persistent things that keep it from perfection. One of Witcher 3’s main elements brings it close to a kind of video game I’ve long wanted to see, but falls just shy of the goal. Continue reading

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