Dumbed down gameplay is not the way to play
Posted on Saturday, May 31 2008 @ 18:34:06 Eastern
I can't help but notice how much...easier games are becoming. Yes, I may be slow to the realization, but nevertheless, our favorite games of today seem to be more watered down than melted ice in a glass of milk. Of course games should never be so hard to the point where it's all trial and error, but if the game doesn't push us to use our brains, then it feels like we're are just on a slow trolley watching the scenery go by. While many games are becoming easier as I said, it seems like Nintendo is really pushing that envelope with their "games for everyone" slogan. They want to make their games appeal more to the casual/non gaming crowd while at the same time make those same games appeal to the core crowd with the use of the famous brands like Mario and Zelda. Nintendo needs to realize that you can't have it both ways.
There's two types of watered down gameplay I noticed, one for single player and one for multiplayer. In the single player games, it's becoming harder and harder to actually lose due to enemies being weaker than a wild dog and puzzles so easy to solve that even your father could figure it out. Twilight Princess is one example of this. Enemies merely cause 1/4 to 1/2 hearts worth of damage, which I like to call "scratch damage." You know, damage that is so damn tiny that you wonder why the foe is even bothering to attack your maxed out buffed character. Even Zelda's bosses are laughabily weak, doing at least one whole heart damage at best. Combine this with very easy to find healing items and you're in for a game where the words Game Over might as well never have existed.
Metroid Prime 3 falls under the dumbed down gameplay as well. No, the action itself is still pretty fluid and requires more skill, but the fact that you are told where to go and what to do every step of the way makes me feel like I am being treated like I'm a kid with brain damage and the game thinks I'm simply not capable of carrying out the tasks without assistance. I know I have to assemble a god damn bomb and I know where the 3 parts are, so I don't need constant reminding on where those parts are.
Smash Bros. Brawl is another victim and this is for the multiplayer aspect. First, the tripping. Who knows what the hell went on in the programmers' heads when they thought of this, but having characters randomly trip is not a good thing for a competetive match. Fine, it may be OK for a friendly match with a party, but not giving players the ability to switch this feature on or off is a major NO-NO! Next, the items. Yes, I know most "No items, Final Destination only" type of players don't play with the items, but for those that do, there are a few items that are simply not worth it due to chance. The thunderbolt and stopwatch are capable of hindering other players, but there is a good chance those items will actually backfire. I was used to having item containers explode on me and I would actually use that against other players, but I shouldn't have to worry about my own item usage backfiring.
Lastly, Mario Kart Wii. Yes, I know the game is all about items and whatever, but the problem here is Nintendo decided to go and make it where sucky players have a chance of beating a skilled player, much more than the last Mario Kart game. And by sucky, I don't mean people who just happen to be in the back of the pack, but more for people who are always in the back. With the thunder cloud being a more hurtful item than helpful, POW blocks shaking loose your items, and more Spiny Shells than you can shake a Koopa at, the game seems to love punshing the skilled in favor for the weak. Combine this with cheating AI, and you're bound to spew out every curse word you can think of.
Of course these games I listed are still damn fun, but the change in the game mechaincs to favor the non fans is hurting the people who play regularly. Nintendo has to wake up and realize that if you're going to make a game that appeals to the casual and a game that appeals to the general gamer, you can't combine the two and expect great results. Don't sacrifice one fanbase to appeal another.
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