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Gaming is a cyclical beast. The industry goes through fads, hypes them up, and then eventually, players get so sick of those fads that they move on to something else. I can’t help but feel like a few of these fads have lasted a little too long, and so, I thought it prudent to point out a few that are starting to get on my nerves.
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1. Open World RPGs
Remember when Final Fantasy got super popular and everyone and their mother attempted to make a JRPG? Well, that didn’t work out, and now it seems the industry has shifted its focus to open world games. My issue with a vast majority of these games is that they are as wide as an ocean, but as deep as a puddle.
They just don’t offer much in the way of immersion, or indeed the ability to actually role play as someone and have it feel meaningful. That isn’t to say that there haven’t been some excellent examples of Open World RPGs recently (The Witcher 3 comes to mind), but even in games like Fallout 4 you are forced into the role of one person who has some super important, time sensitive thing they need to do, only for you to say “Nah screw it” and go kill wasteland creatures for 60 hours cause the story can wait.
Actually, I think Deus X was one of the only even remotely recent games that poked fun at that concept, and if the game told you someone was going to die if you didn’t help them soon and you ignored it, they died! I just want a quality RPG experience. I don’t care if it’s “on rails” and my ability to explore is limited, I just want to feel something again.
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2. Grinding in Multiplayer Games
Okay, so this one probably won’t ever go away, and I’m highlighting it for that exact reason. It’s a perfect setup for game developers. They don’t want to have to keep wondering how to entertain you with your $60 purchase, so they include arbitrary level requirements for guns, skills, game modes, etc. just to make you grind it out for hours on end.
Honestly, I feel like grinding is often just a carrot on a stick in front of me, where no matter what I do, no matter how much time I sink into the game, I’m never getting that “thing” I want. The same thing can be seen in MMORPG games, which I don’t play, but I know enough about to say that a lot of the time, you are just grinding to max level in order to go do the stuff you actually want to do. There shouldn’t be some artificial barrier between me and what I want to do that limits my fun; that’s not gaming, it’s work.
To be fair though, people who aren’t video game enthusiasts and who just buy a few games a year expect to be able to sink a lot of time into games, and I feel like developers have had to bow to that wish and inject their games with pointless filler just to ramp up the amount of hours someone can brag to their friends they’ve put into the game, or to make it feel like it was worth the money.
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3. Quick-time Events
If you want to keep reading this article, press (X) on your keyboard right……now! Did you do it? You better have.
Okay, did that feel like a game to you? No? Well, that's not odd, because what just happened is not a game…it's a command. I think QTEs (quick-time events) are the most worthless and pointless things on this little list of mini-rants, and it’s because they offer no value to anyone as far as I can tell. Some gamers want open worlds, some gamers want to grind, but who really wants to sit there and hit a few buttons when they are told to just to continue on with the story?
I’m surprised these have lasted as long as they have, as I remember when God of War first came out, critics and casual gamers everywhere were skewering the game for having so many QTEs that added nothing to the game…and that was ten years ago! Now it seems like we have whole games who are entirely QTEs, and I just don’t get it. I understand that not everyone likes the same things, but man…I feel like this is stretching it.
Well, that’s my short list of things I really feel like gamers could do without in the near future. It’s not to say that all of these things are inherently evil, but I do think that developers falling back on these tropes is starting to stall the creative engine that progresses gaming. Let me know what you think in the comments below, and feel free to share your opinions of things gaming could do without.