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Things I'm sick of games making me do

If there's one thing videogames have become exceedingly good at, it's forcing tedious, mind-numbing busywork upon unsuspecting gamers. Repetitive and tawdry tasks, or uninspired, frustrating, cut-and-paste missions infest an inexcusable number of games, and it's getting pretty dire.

I'm sick of games making me do the same old shit, and it's about time somebody did something. Nothing solves the world's problems quicker than a sarcastic list column, so join me as I stomp my feet over the miserable chores that videogames keep imposing upon me.


Lockpicking

Role-playing games are all about immersion, about sinking one's self into an experience and enjoying the flow of a game's world. Nothing breaks that flow quicker than having to stop every five minutes to watch a poorly rendered image of a bit of wire going into a lock.

Picking locks appears to be a firm favorite of Western RPGs, appearing most recently in Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Alpha Protocol. It seems that whenever a game feels like being able to open a door is just too easy, they'll throw some awful, frustrating, poorly explained little lock picking sub-game into the mix.

Lock picking is boring, irritating and contains less gameplay than the first 30 minutes of a Metal Gear Solid game. Stop it!


Hacking

You can't have lock picking without hacking, right? A huge amount of games these days love to stuff their environments with computer terminals and electronic locks that are just begging to be hacked.

Usually taking the form of a minigame that wouldn't even be considered kosher on the latest Carnival Games knock-off, these insipid little tasks serve no real purpose, are usually completely arbitrary and take you out of the experience in the exact same way as picking locks. When I'm in the middle of a hard-hitting first-person-shooter or sci-fi RPG, the last thing I want to do is stop for five minutes to move little squares around or play "spot the password" like an idiot.


Sneaking around in a non-stealth game

Stealth games are called stealth games because they're all about being stealthy. Action games, role-playing games and shooters are not called stealth games because THEY'RE NOT ABOUT BEING STEALTHY! Try telling that to the dozens of games that shoehorn in some dreary stealth section in order to create an artificial sense of gameplay variety.

Games both good and bad have tried to randomly inset stealth into their decidedly non-stealthy games - Beyond Good & Evil, Wind Waker, Uncharted... you could compile an entire list column out of games with pointless stealth. The worst part is many of the games' engines aren't designed for stealth, because that's not what they're intended for. Having AI, controls and environments geared towards heavy action aren't going to work out so well for stealth. You know why? BECAUSE IT'S NOT A STEALTH GAME!

When I want to be stealthy, I'll play Metal Gear or Splinter Cell. You know, a STEALTH game!


Climbing

What is it with all the climbing, lately? Uncharted, Assassin's Creed, inFAMOUS, it seems that so many games want to follow the Prince of Persia path, although they tend to do climbing with half the finesse and elegance that Ubisoft once did. The climbing in Prince of Persia had a great flow to it, while this generation's slew of climbing games feel ponderous and slow most of the time.

I'm bored of hammering "A" to wearily clamber up a building, or methodically trying to find the one beautifully rendered ledge that I can grab among an army of beautifully rendered ledges that I can't. I wouldn't mind the climbing so much if they weren't in so many games this generation, but they are, and they're really quite dull now.

This is why I actually liked Prototype (screw the haters). Being able to just run up the side of a skycraper is infinitely preferable to something like Crackdown, where you have to just spam the action button and pray that you don't randomly fall off.

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89 comments

  • Redeater - September 22, 2010 9:46 p.m.

    Bioshock 2 was so much improved without the tube puzzles.
  • FrozenImplosion - September 22, 2010 9:51 p.m.

    So agree with the last one, only thing is: sometimes the stupid b*tch is your damn partner! COUGH COUGH SHEVA.
  • Redeater - September 22, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    Alright I will say it. Nice job on the Ico rant. I never understood the whole love for that game because I hated the whole escort thing. So you at least have one person who will agree with you. (Just wanted to put that in before the flood of hate comes in.)
  • OnyxOblivion - September 22, 2010 9:55 p.m.

    @FrozenImplosion Sheva is great...when YOU equip her right. Give her a Sniper Rifle and she'll be deadly as hell. On topic... Fuck Ico! I spent $40 on that over-rated game! SotC was great, Ico is not!
  • FNG - September 22, 2010 10 p.m.

    Fallout wouldn't be the same without hacking and lockpicking.
  • Radagast107 - September 22, 2010 10:02 p.m.

    the lock picking in oblivion was pretty sweet, given it did take time, but it was your skill not the computers on weather you got through that door!
  • Felixthecat - September 22, 2010 10:05 p.m.

    Agreed with almost all of these. I despise hacking/lock picking unless it's done well and I certainly hate games where you have to look after a character you don't control. Climbing, for me however, is fun. It slows the game and usually makes it fairly more visceral. I also enjoy stealth, it doesn't matter if it isn't a stealth game, because being stealthy in any game is enjoyable for me. But of course, it kind of boils down to how it's done. If it's boring, crappy, slows the pace of the game completely and, overall, ruins the experience, then it's a problem. If any of the things you listed are even remotely enjoyable though, then I don't see a problem.
  • ThePurpleDragon - September 22, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    I liked the stealth sections in Uncharted :P I have to agree with the rest, though. Lock picking in Fallout in Oblivion could have been done better.
  • musashi1596 - September 22, 2010 10:11 p.m.

    Careful now.
  • NightCrawler_358 - September 22, 2010 10:16 p.m.

    I absolutely hate escort missions in games, especially if the person is yelling at you for help. If i wanted to hear an annoying woman in my ear all the time, i would be playing Ocarina of Time.(not saying it isn't a great game)
  • Jacko415 - September 22, 2010 10:18 p.m.

    FUCK GOD DAMN ESCORT MISSIONS! but the lockpicking in Fallout 3 wasn't so bad if you could just FIND SOME FUCKING BOBBY PINS! WHY WERE THERE CLOSE TO NO BOBBY PINS AND SO MANY DOORS!?!?
  • bradmillow0 - September 22, 2010 10:26 p.m.

    I don't really mind lock picking. I don't like it, but I don't think its that bad.
  • garnsr - September 22, 2010 10:31 p.m.

    This sounds like you mostly just want to run down corridors, blowing things away. I'd like to see an article about the things you like games making you do.
  • Rojoco - September 22, 2010 10:32 p.m.

    Leave ICO alone! >:(
  • reverandglass - September 22, 2010 10:33 p.m.

    I would argue that Uncharted was set up well for stealth and climbing is cool too in the right context. As for the Ico criticisms you're all souless. Before the game came out I was sent a postcard of Ico wrapped in bubble wrap with a note telling my to look after her and you know what I still do, not one bubble has been burst. I cannot wait for the HD collection.
  • Triplzer0 - September 22, 2010 10:37 p.m.

    I hate stealth portions! If I wanted a stealth game I'd get one...and there's a reason why I haven't yet. I don't like them. Stop shoe-horning these sections into my action games or my FPS games.
  • Imgema - September 22, 2010 10:41 p.m.

    Stealth in non-stealth games is annoying and boring as hell. And i always hated that mission in Goldeneye where you had to protect that lady (i forgot her name).
  • ultimatepunchrod - September 22, 2010 10:53 p.m.

    yea the climbing in all the games mentioned was good. and ubisoft made Assassins creed as well as PoP and the new PoP used the same engine as Assassins creed 2
  • Gameguy94 - September 22, 2010 11:02 p.m.

    I must disagree with lockpicking, hacking, and climbing I slightly enjoy climbing in games and the few hacking games I don't like are Bioshock's. Fallout 3's lockpicking actually feels pretty natural if you ask me.
  • TruckThunders - September 22, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    While I don't hate every game element in this article, I'll agree that all of them are getting old and overused. Good article, Mr. Sterling.

Showing 1-20 of 89 comments

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