Joined: Aug 2009
RE: Blog: "Why Trial and Error will Doom Games"
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. From what I understand, you're asking me if the tension I felt was just because the gameplay was hard and unforgiving, or because the gameworld was emotionally engaging and exhausting. If that's the case, I'm not sure if I can make that distinguishment because it was both.
The beautiful thing about Half-Life (and in this case AoM) is that the character you play as is just a shell through which you perceive the world. Being a long time HL fan, I can jump right in and feel at home quickly. It is easy to immerse myself in it because the gameplay is so familiar. Everytime I see a cutscene or my character speaks, I am no longer the character; I'm an onlooker. Luckily Half-Life and AoM doesn't use much "direct" storytelling (character dialogue, cutscenes), but rather what I call environmental storytelling. It is using the surrounding sounds and visuals to convey a feeling. The good thing about it is that the conflict with the gameplay is minimal.
The premise of the mod is that you're a guy who takes drugs and starts to see and fight monsters. Only the monsters are actually real people. I think its quite ingenious actually: I was just whacking monsters like I'm used to but when I realized they were in reality people, I thought every once in a while: "who have I killed now?"
The mod was very combat oriented. In fact, the reason I think it was so tense was because it was so hard. It made the world feel VERY dangerous. It made me fear the world. The sights and sounds were suitably dark and scary but nothing extraordinary. The scares were cheap and after seeing them once, lost all their power. The danger was what created the horror. I played AoM for longer in one sitting than I have played any other horror game. That combined with my tiredness and the familiriaty of the gameplay made it become the reality. One which I was very afraid of because of its danger.
To get back on topic of the trial and error. I did a lot of it, along with other metagaming like using exploits. It did make the world lose its edge since I knew where the enemies were and in right situations the enemies were powerless. Still, I don't the game could've had the same impact on me without the harsh gameplay. It would've just become a shooter with cheap scares and a clever story premise. Could the trial and error be reduced by some means while retaining the danger? Surely, but it was still pretty damn horrific.
|04-17-2010 06:28 PM