I’ve been told recently that I have some very “unreasonably strict” opinions, whether they be about video games or the many, or rather few, uses of ketchup. I think they are just opinions. That being said, I will write down a few of them today and focus on video games. The ketchup article will be coming soon, so stay tuned. That’s a tease.
I chose my 5 biggest pet peeves in gaming that have affected me recently enough that I remember them because I am sure there are more from the past. After saying that I give the honorable mention to the N64 controller. Three handles for two hands, enough said. Here we go:
Of all game mechanics, this one may irk me the most. This doesn’t apply 100% across the board because there are times where jetpacks can function within a game and create a fun experience. Those instances are in games like Titanfall or Overwatch. The similarity in these two games is the games were built around these ideas. Titanfall is a parkour runnin’ gunnin’ super soldier with Jetpack meets Mech game by design. In Overwatch Pharrah has a jetpack, a high damage rocket launcher and only a little health to balance her glass cannon role on the battlefield.
Where jetpacks fall from the sky for me is when we saw them introduced into games like Halo, Battlefront (2015) and even worse so in Call of Duty. These franchises have always excelled at having solid fun multiplayer. Maybe they had some balancing issues here and there but overall loads of fun. And then came the jetpack. I could have forgiven this misstep in Halo: Reach because it fit the theme. They were also trying to introduce this new class-based-shooter idea and frankly you can absorb a lot of punishment in Halo so I never felt severely disadvantaged by not using a jetpack even though a lot of players insisted on using one.
After playing years of Halo and Call of Duty installments, I honed my sensitivity, learned my playstyle, and suddenly there are Spartans and “advanced” soldiers launching around at new vectors that I don’t want to track them through the air. Jetpacks also have the ability to demolish well designed maps by exploiting the air above. I am sure maps could be designed for aerial combat but that just isn’t my experience. Banshee dogfights in Halo were tons of fun, jetpacks weren’t. Sure they can create some flashy “Xbox, record that!” moments but overall I think they do more harm than good in competitive multiplayer environments. As for Battlefront (2015), they stuck their jetpack that LITERALLY EVERYONE USED BECAUSE IT WAS SO DANG OP behind a grind XP wall. That was a mistake.
2. Weapon Durability in Breath of the Wild
This is a HUGE problem that could have been remedied with the smallest detail. I am all for the light survival elements in the vast world that is Breath of the Wild, however, they were implemented in a way that I would feel guilty if I gave this game a perfect score. There are too many instances that my stick or sword breaks mid-combat and the lack of tight controls grinds my experience to a halt trying to pull out a new stick! I have 4 sticks, just let me use one of the other 3! An auto-replace weapon is all the game needs for me to enjoy the combat. Breath of the Wild leaves me wanted to avoid combat at almost any cost. This is not how a player should feel in any fantasy action game.
3. Playstation “Triggers”
When the PS3 launched they gave the world a response to the “much cooler” triggers found on the superior XBOX controller. Microsoft made a massive influence on the future of how we would play game by adding those bad boys on the original “Duke.” These triggers created a more precise and visceral experience to any game with a projectile weapon. Sony’s rebuttal was lackluster. Two squishy “triggers,” if you could call them that, named L2 and R2. They just did not feel like triggers and to make matters worse most the games coming out at that time didn’t even map the “fire weapon” action to the (insert choice expletive) trigger!
4. Cooking in Breath of the Wild
Another unfortunate decision in a game that some consider a 10/10. The cooking is fun for a minute discovering what kooky combinations you can come up with using the ingredients you’ve foraged on your quest. However it quickly becomes “I want to cook my dang apples and mushrooms! All of them! Stop playing this silly jingle!” If I have already discovered a recipe can I please just cook the max number of portions? That way I can get back to playing the game. I don’t want to hold the apple and put it in the pot. I really don’t. There’s a theme in BotW, it’s bogging a great game down with silly systems, making it a good game and I don’t wish to participate.
5. Good Mobile Experiences Crushed by Pay to Play Mechanics
I understand how these models work for mobile games so they can make money. I get it, I really do, but I strongly believe a game should never put a wall up between a player that wants to play the game and the game. Marvel Puzzle Quest, WWE Champions, and Disney Tsum Tsum are great, but I hate that I get to play so many games expending my “lives” and then I have to wait 15 minutes for them to recharge so I can play more. Can I just sit down and poke bubbles for an hour? I also want to spend money on your game because I enjoy it. I want to spend money on collecting Tsums, not getting more playtime. But instead I choose to spend less because I cant play the game as I choose on my own time.
If it was an upfront fee to unlock “unlimited lives,” I’m in. Alternatively, come up with a model to entice me to buy your silly rubies, rupees, sapphires or whatever precious colored gem your greedy little heart desires that lets me play the game. If I can play the game, I will probably spend more money. If I have to wait to play, I will probably lose interest and move on to something shinier. Look at Clash Royale, you can play as much as you wish. Want to open your chests quicker? You can use gems. That’s great because when I want to sit and grind trophies I can. I have free will. Thank you, Clash Royale. I will continue to play with my Tsums, but I will be peeved about it.