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65 comments

  • Mooshon - November 12, 2011 3:37 a.m.

    I can see both side of this but do totally agree with this gaming mindset. What 'is' the actual point of a role playing game, if the only role is to get through it as perfectly as possible. Satisfaction is hugely diminished if you're actions have no consequences, and the ending is simply inevitable rather than a rewarding experience. This is probably at the core of most of the old game nostalgia. Beating a game in the late 80's / early 90's had bona fide bragging rights! Saying all that, you do what you feel is best for you I guess - but the state of games development today actually stops people from playing like this. A Completionist mentality (achievements. trophies) along with mega budget or often padded out games leads to just too much importance on your play through. I'm busy as hell and there are tonnes of games to play. I mean, am I really going to slog through 60+ hours of ME2, LA Noire, Skyrim more than once just to see how a couple of alternative decisions play out? Also, bugs. It's a good ongoing topic this one and something that all gamers, or more importantly devs, should have a think about. As you say, Dark Souls hit a sweet spot. Rock hard (read: old school) to begin with - but rarely too frustrating, few save points, one save file and massive potential death penalties putting the emphasis on getting better at it. You're always on your toes, gameplay is tight and overall a more rewarding gaming experience than I've had in years.
  • nathstyles - November 12, 2011 2:50 a.m.

    It's certainly something i've battled with myself, but ultimately I agree, with the condition that it does sometimes suck to play this way. Deaths in Heavy Rain, missed parts of LA Noire, an imperfect mission result - none feel good but that is indeed life. But then great moments like getting a good result in Mass Effect 3 without saving every two minutes compensate for that. It comes down to your own needs and how immersed you like to feel in a game world - some people aren't as bothered and that's fine, as long as they are really enjoying it.
  • Vordhosbn - November 12, 2011 2:12 a.m.

    Very interesting read. I agree to a point, but on the other hand I have been guilty of saving before every decision and reloading til I'm satisfied with the result, mostly in games like Fallout where you are constantly given choices. On the other hand, I agree. Multiple/frequent saves have not only taken a lot of the immersion out of games, but it makes the "end" of a game feel inevitable and usually under appreciated IMO. Trying to finish games like Sonic and Plok as a kid involved a long, difficult playthrough, and getting to the final stage or boss felt like a major accomplishment (especially on Plok, which I never did complete). I think a middle ground is best, the now old fashioned "Save Points" that JRPG's used to love. Spread out properly, and in the right rage-inducing amount of sparseness, they can force you to either accept your decisions or replay a big multi-hour chunk of the game, while still not punishing you for losing to some unexpectedly hard boss. If nothing else, at least the article has got some interesting points to think about. Are games too forgiving? I think so. Would NO save points be a good idea? Probably not.
  • jmcgrotty - November 12, 2011 1:27 a.m.

    I have to admit that I do this in games all the time. Having said that: It really is a bit pathetic when people do it as often as some people do (see: me). And it is a double standard in my own situation in that I often get absolutely pissed at how often saves are possible anymore, compared to the "good old days" of gaming, where your best bet was getting a code to enter that took you to a point 3 hours back in the game from where you die. On a tangent, another stupid thing I do, mostly in RPG's: I am an item whore. I can't sell items in case I need them later. I don't use items, in case I need them later (in the event that they aren't readily available). So ultimately, I often end up beating a game with my starting equipment still in my inventory and 5000 heal potions. For example, the game I'm playing right now, the only way to get MP-restoring items is to find them. Knowing I can't buy them, I will save before an attack, in case I end up needing to use an MP heal. If I end up using one, I restore the game and try to find a different method to winning that doesn't use the MP items. More pathetic things: I am in a dungeon that has 6 treasure chests in one room, each guarded pretty well. I will go through, open 1 chest, warp out, heal and save. Then go back for chest #2. If I die, I go back and try again. An extension of that: I will be fighting in a group and one of my party members die. If they are still dead at the end of the fight and don't get the exp, I go back to a save point and try again. God forbid any character not getting all the exp they should/could. In those scenarios, most people are pretty pathetic anymore. And yes, as I said above, you can count me into that crowd.
  • c-c-c-combo breaker - November 14, 2011 2:16 a.m.

    tl;dr
  • Rhymenocerous - November 12, 2011 1:06 a.m.

    I agree with this, in fact I only ever use one save file, and if something happens, such as getting caught stealing in Elder Scrolls or a soldier getting killed on XCOM, I accept that as part of my unfolding story. Heavy Rain got this right if I remember rightly.
  • Tribok - November 11, 2011 11:19 p.m.

    I frequently make use of multiple save files for many reasons, key among them being I hate having to replay the entirety of what I spent the last however many hours doing. Just as an example: in Fallout 3 I had completely skipped over basically anything to do with the main story line until about 15 hours into the game. I finally go back to Megaton after I was satisfied with the amount of side quests I'd completed and parts of the map I had uncovered. I remember there's a nuke in Megaton. I went to defuse it and I sneezed when I hit the button to perform the action. Well, I had accidentally moved the cursor to the detonate option and guess what: no more megaton. Thankfully I had a save to before I tried defusing it, and I never went near that bomb again until my explosives skill was at 100 -_-
  • Ravenbom - November 11, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    Yeah, multiple save files sucks. Who doesn't love it when the power goes out and you lose your only save file? Who doesn't love it when your little brother saves over your only save file. Everyone loves it when your only save file becomes corrupt. Speaking of LA Noire, that's exactly what happened to me. I can no longer progress in the story (or I could, with a guide) because there's no more dialogue or facial animations which are crucial to even playing the game. Go back to Dead Rising and leave games (which are supposed to be fun) to the rest of us. Oh wait, that's right, you have to restart Dead Rising with it's one save file 10 times to build the levels to even start playing the game. Personally, I do like to basically play the game without a guide, for better or worse, because I want to experience whatever consequences the game gives me. THEN, a couple years ago I started playing the "evil" path first and foremost in games and I was shocked to find out that being an asshole has virtually zero consequences in most games. It's always balanced out. So instead of telling all the other people that frequent this site that they're playing their games wrong, MAYBE, just maybe you should address this to game designers. Think about it.
  • Sinosaur - November 11, 2011 8:41 p.m.

    I completely disagree with you on the matter of multiple saves and reloads, and the entire reason that I do this is because... games that come out now are buggy as hell. It is utterly ridiculous how many games I've played where I found out that 'oh, hey, you entered this place or did this thing and it made it so you can't continue at all and your options are COMPLETELY restarting or having a back up save.' At that point, honestly, the two options for me are 'well, I'm never playing this game again after I swear and throw the controller' or 'I'm going to reload an old save before this screwed up and have to replay a ton of stuff.' Another thing about check points is quite simply in the same vein. In old games, the options were simple: either you couldn't really save or there were nice reminders like save points laying around. In modern games, I absolutely love the fact that while I am playing for a potentially few hours long period of time, I don't have to worry about saving. If I had to stop every half hour or so in Arkham City to make a save (which is what you do in games with only manual saves), then I'm going to be pulled out of the game. During B:ACs epic final section, it kept me going, grabbing me by the seat of my pants and flinging me along to save the day. If I was playing a game without check points, I know there would have been a bunch of points where I would have worried and made that 'just in case' save or the one right after I beat a boss. That just yanks you out of the action. Anyway, my comment is super long now, but while you do have some good points about accepting your mistakes (I do at least attempt to do that, exceptions being made for those prompts in dialogue that are completely misleading about what your character is going to say) and keeping the game thrilling because of those, the games that have consequences for your decisions are usually also the ones most likely to be piles of buggy crap that will drive you insane with some coding error ruining your progress.
  • danger.to.others - November 11, 2011 8:28 p.m.

    Telling developers to remove quick or multiple saves is like saying the government should have a law requiring a person eat vegatables every day. Is eating vegatables better for you than not getting them? Of course. Should they be forced down everyone's throat because the person doesn't choose to take care of themselves? Of course not! I agree, not saving just to take back your choices makes game stories meaningful and I would recommend people play that way. But it's still a choice. Personal responsiblity and freedom of choice matter even when it's something as inconsequensial as a video game. This article made me think of last night. I really regretted killing that chicken in Skyrim that escalated into the massacre of over twenty people...but I didn't reload my save! I'll have to live with the biggest "Oops" of my (virtual) life.
  • ncurry2 - November 11, 2011 8:39 p.m.

    Good analysis, I'm going to allow it.
  • kyle94 - November 11, 2011 7:22 p.m.

    I don't really see why removing multiple saves and quick saves would be good at all. It's ultimately the player's choice, and it seems unfair to take away something that has become an industry standard just because some people would prefer a stronger story because of it. If you must do something, then do something like Hardcore Mode from New Vegas, and give people the ability to choose. Or just don't reload the savegames yourself, instead of trying to force all gamers to do so. Not to mention I have plenty of memories of save games becoming corrupted, so I'm used to multiple saves. Not to mention, I always thought of quick saves as being useful as they don't break up the action of a scene as much as going into the menu to save.
  • cubine - November 11, 2011 6:52 p.m.

    I totally agree with this and I try to play like this when possible. There were so many times playing Mass Effect when I was tempted to reload and make a different decision (notably, whether or not to kill the council after reading about consequences in ME2 online) but I stuck by my choices because I wanted my Shepard to be MY Shepard, not the "best" Shepard.
  • DrIzZiT50 - November 11, 2011 6:28 p.m.

    i can't believe i read all this shiit...(last thing i need is 4 sum1 to control my gaming... :)F*#k OFF
  • cubine - November 11, 2011 6:53 p.m.

    That was such a productive comment. Thank you for your well thought-out input.
  • Rezindez - November 12, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    Actually, this article is about giving you the ability to choose your own game rather than just to follow the ideal path. Following his advice gives you more freedom than you can get by reloading your files continuously. Don't you see? Finding and taking the pre-defined correct path is not freedom. Freedom is walking your own path, however flawed, while doing what you want, being what you are, and accepting the effect of every cause you create.
  • ChaosEternal - November 11, 2011 6:02 p.m.

    You never realize how much you depend on your saves until you play an old game. For example, TES:Arena. You didn't save then you were liable to have to restart the entire game on death, or at least from your last save. (Which could be very old depending on how often you save.) Also, when I played HL1, I couldn't figure out why I couldn't skip the opening. Would I have to restart the game after every death!? Then I realized you actually needed to SAVE. Just look what checkpoints have done to me. I automatically expect if I die I shall wind up at a checkpoint and only will need to save for certain situations, like when in a challenging boss fight. Anyway, I do like your point and I shall try to follow it when I get Skyrim. It is just so hard for me to let horrible things happen because of a bad decision I made. In real life it is one thing, but having the knowledge of being able to fix things makes it so painful to me, and even if I do it still hurts because I saw it happen. Like watching a friend get killed, and then going back in time and stopping it. Just because they are now alive doesn't mean you didn't watch them die. /endlongpost
  • Rub3z - November 11, 2011 5:16 p.m.

    I like this idea. I also love Dark Souls, but Lord is it a relentless slog of a game! I've put 40 hours into it and I don't think I've even gotten halfway through, based on the loads of content I have yet to see that I'm reading about online. But I digress. Did the subject of Achievements come up? That's a very interesting and divisive subject, but I have a solution... I have a simple and sort-of divided opinion on them. I say it's wrong to outright hate them, but in some cases just extreme to invest in them. Here's what I mean. Some achievements are generic. Boring. Unintuitive. You're obviously going to come across these, because, I don't know, people expect some addition to their gamerscore for their money. In other words, these are the cheevos that just about everyone has for a particular game; i.e. beat this level on normal, etc. And then there are the cheevos that give you reason to hate cheevos. Ones that you have absolutely no interest in "earning," because you feel you'll have sold your time for the sake of improving this basically meaningless number next to your username. These mostly boil down to things like grinding for hours at a game (or in-game task, collecting perhaps) that you just don't feel that invested in. It feels like padding. But then... oh then. Their are truly great achievements. Achievements that simply sit there and quietly dare you to pursue them, either by truly achieving something great in the game or by requesting you change your perception of how the game be played. These can easily be thought of as the ones you can get for completing a game on the hardest difficulty, but the greatest examples of these are most evident in games made by Valve. I think some of you will recall the gnome-related achievements present in Left 4 Dead 2 and in HL Episode 2. Or perhaps the achievements in Team Fortress that involve you doing a seemingly ridiculous in-game action. For me one of those would be getting 3 headshots in a row without wasting a bullet. This, I believe, is tough to do in an actual game situation. For me it would require getting lucky. But I digress. I think one of, if not the best examples of this kind of achievement (and one that gives me some kind of bragging rights) is The One Free Bullet achievement in Half-Life 2: Episode One. If you didn't attempt it, or don't know it, this achievement asks that you complete the entirety of Episode One firing only a single bullet. It's marvelous. And I decided to nab this achievement on my very first playthrough of Episode One. Upon seeing that prompt come up that told me I had done it and earned 40 gamerpoints, I felt that I had earned and achieved a lot more than that. I had blasted my way through City 17, through unbelievable odds against dozens of zombies and Combine soldiers and merciless Striders and machinegun-hailstorms coming from those damn gunships, using only my trusty crowbar, the irreplaceable gravgun, some explosives and my own damned nerve. I felt proud. It's the pursuit of moments like these that I believe set video games apart from almost any other entertainment medium (you can gain some semblance of this feeling of accomplishment upon completing a large book, for example), and in the way that I have described; achievements can be that extra push gamers all around may need to have them seek out new, better experiences from their games, and more challenging ones. Because after all, if you're not willing to leave your comfort zone in a video game, what makes you think you'll leave it in the real world? A question for all of us gamers, and a good question at that. Cheers.
  • PicopicoEMD - November 11, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    I can understand you, but there's bad players, and bad checkpoint design. I'm not saying Skyrim is bad, the game is absolutely fantastic, but the checkpoint system is SO PUNISHING. I actually do save a lot of times in Skyrim, but not to let me retry battling, but to save me freaking walking time. It's no fun to walk for fifteen minutes from one city to the other, accidentally jump of a cliff, and have to walk those fifteen minutes again.Bad checkpoint systems are really the worse a videogame can have. As I see it, I am only manually setting checkpoints which are more logical that the ones the game set.
  • codystovall - November 11, 2011 5:09 p.m.

    Its just a game, if you wanna fight the dragon and not restart after you die its your choice. Dont get all analytical or philosophic and think your undermining immersion. Lets just have fun!! Also like legendaries in pokemon or the last battle on a hill. Always save before.

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