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Game design choices that completely ruin the game?

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1 hour ago, youxia said:

That's only possible in a scenario where you have enough exploration/story/whatever content to justify "natural progression". Of course such content is not easy to manufacture, and games could be very short if that was the case so naturally some sort of grinding is used.

 

Secondly, there are many people, myself included, who actually enjoy this side of RPGs - character building through experience, which is mainly gained via combat. So we don't have a problem with there being a lot of it, as long as it's well designed and balanced.

 

Making absolute statements about game design is a risky business :)

In that case, the game has a bigger problem, which is that the game developers have failed to create meaningful content and must instead fill their game with what essentially amounts to nothingness. If I was the developer at that point, I'd just turn up the EXP levels and be satisfied with a short RPG, provided that it at least has a fun battle system.

 

Incidentally, the shortest RPG I have ever played completely lacks EXP entirely (though it is still possible to gain levels... not that it really does anything) and there are a few characters in that game that are not capable of gaining levels. That game itself is worthy of mention as a giant example of terrible game design, now that I think about it. It's Fellowship of the Ring on the GBA, and it is truly a pile of trash in literally every aspect.

 

Another incidental thing that involves levels, and grinding in particular, is the PS2 remake of Tales of Destiny and its Director's Cut. If you grind on the world map with everyone set to Auto, Barbatos will eventually show up, ask you why the hell you have been in that area for so long, and absolutely annihilate you because he literally cannot be beaten. That is truly brilliant game design in every way.

 

If you like a battle system, that's fine, as is grinding because you want to, but being forced to gain a ton of levels because the game's natural EXP rate is too low = bad game design.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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1 hour ago, Steven Pendleton said:

In that case, the game has a bigger problem, which is that the game developers have failed to create meaningful content and must instead fill their game with what essentially amounts to nothingness. If I was the developer at that point, I'd just turn up the EXP levels and be satisfied with a short RPG, provided that it at least has a fun battle system.

 

Upgrading, character building, fun battles are things are very, very far from "nothingness". Saying so is a symptomatic amongst people who prefer to perceive and consume games as story-centered experiences, and promote this whole "grinding = always wrong" myth. If this is anybody's prefered style then it's fine, I have no problem with it,  because there is enough room for different approaches, and even though it's not my cup of tea at all (I think games should concentrate on gameplay, not stories, for the obvious reason).

 

Of course there are many examples of games with truly terrible grinding, but that does not mean that the entire concept is inherently flawed. Eg early Final Fantasy games are as much fun to play as watching paint dry, while the likes of Blue Dragon or Digital Devil work fabulously. BD even has special "grind areas" :)

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9 minutes ago, youxia said:

Upgrading, character building, fun battles are things are very, very far from "nothingness". Saying so is a symptomatic amongst people who prefer to perceive and consume games as story-centered experiences, and promote this whole "grinding = always wrong" myth. If this is anybody's prefered style then it's fine, I have no problem with it,  because there is enough room for different approaches, and even though it's not my cup of tea at all (I think games should concentrate on gameplay, not stories, for the obvious reason).

 

Of course there are many examples of games with truly terrible grinding, but that does not mean that the entire concept is inherently flawed. Eg early Final Fantasy games are as much fun to play as watching paint dry, while the likes of Blue Dragon or Digital Devil work fabulously. BD even has special "grind areas" :)

You misunderstand me; my position from the beginning is that required grinding, as in "you literally have a 0% chance of progressing without doing it" is bad. The rest of your statements I agree with.

 

Optional grinding is not good or bad. It simply is an option that exists, and it is up to the player to do it or not, and while I refuse to do it, it's fine if someone else wants to.

 

As for story-centered-ness, I do not care how good of a story a game has if it's unplayable because it's boring to actually play, like the original Shin Megami Tensei. This is the reason that I find the overwhelming majority of turn-based RPGs to be 100% unplayable, but there are a few exceptions, like strategy RPGs and things that use Press Turn.

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On 8/26/2020 at 6:52 AM, AAA177 said:

I'll generally echo everyone's thoughts by saying I wish games weren't made to be so difficult, and would always allow Konami-code-like options. This especially goes for earlier games, such as ones on the Nintendo Entertainment System. Never understood that design model. Maybe the thought was no one would ever play to the end on most games, and the system wouldn't have a long lifespan?

Put yourself into the era ok?  We're talking 1980s after the market (NA) went bust.  Nintendo dominated doing some smart and perhaps even some questionable moves.  They needed to pump the market age that demanded it the most then, it wasn't adults, it was kids and teens mostly your K-12(if that) group.  IT was still then on the whole seen as a toy market and serious gaming was computers and going to the arcade.  Kids can make no money on their own unless they have a chore list to get an allowance, and you'd in the day make a dollar or maybe 5 dollars a week doing stuff.  Games were like $30-50 in range, and outside of a family member on b'day and christmas time giving you a cart you hoped for (or santa doing it) that's it.  They had to make even shorter games that weren't endless point racking arcade stuff last, so they made them tough but rewarding in being tough as long as they were designed fairly decently.  Short of just being some gifted type like 'The Wizard' from the movie or the song 'pinball wizard' who just nails it out of the gate, they had to work it knowing someone would get maybe 2-5 games a year, and they also had to battle with jerks at rental spots too.  They wanted to find any way to make a game last a lot of hours, both to last as a buyer, but also to screw over rental shops (and the renters) so more copies would get bought.

 

15 hours ago, Lost Dragon said:

Later stages of Metroud Prime on the Game Cube, you'd be hit by electric bolts from the space pirates weaponry, so your character instinctively puts her arm up in front of her face to shield it, fine, but when you'd been holding down buttons to lock-on and charge your own weapon and now lost both...

That was some infuriating crap.

I'm surprised you'd not complaining about the larger asinine design flaw Nintendo harped on about being a good design choice because it's not a FPS but a so called first person adventure...my ass.

That lock on you struggled with with the hand going up.  I'm sure you remember you basically have to stand there like a human bullseye while space pirates acting like Quake III bots flail and fly around locked on instantly unloading hell on you.  Can you do this?  Nope.  Stand there, get shot, hold one button to track a target down manually, another to then attain and hold that lock, then use the fire button to get even...until the hand goes up.  The game is fun, but late game it's 100% ruined on that, yet it's amazing fun on the Trilogy since you get the aiming control of the Wiimote that evens the playing field.  Even I think Nintendo realizes it was stupid, it's the default control for MP1 and MP2 on Trilogy and 3 is designed that way to start.

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17 hours ago, roots.genoa said:

Same here, and I would add "physics based" (which usually sounds like a good idea until you realize it's completely broken).

There was a time I would vote a lot on Steam Greenlight, and many games seemed to be described as "Open world MMO physics based procedurally generated roguelike RPG with a crafting system" and I'm not exaggerating that much. 😑 Of course these very ambitious games were developed by only one or two guys. Most of the time, they expected the physics and procedurally generated stuff would "create" the gameplay and level design on their own... A bit like the first Halo that relied too much imho on AI and physics and had a terrible level design, which was particularly apparent in the library level in which the enemy AI is far more basic.

 

Oh man, I swear I've seen so many indie games with descriptions similar to that. XD

 

Pretty much as soon as I see anything like that I nope out right then and there.

 

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4 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Put yourself into the era ok?  We're talking 1980s after the market (NA) went bust.  Nintendo dominated doing some smart and perhaps even some questionable moves.  They needed to pump the market age that demanded it the most then, it wasn't adults, it was kids and teens mostly your K-12(if that) group.  IT was still then on the whole seen as a toy market and serious gaming was computers and going to the arcade.  Kids can make no money on their own unless they have a chore list to get an allowance, and you'd in the day make a dollar or maybe 5 dollars a week doing stuff.  Games were like $30-50 in range, and outside of a family member on b'day and christmas time giving you a cart you hoped for (or santa doing it) that's it.  They had to make even shorter games that weren't endless point racking arcade stuff last, so they made them tough but rewarding in being tough as long as they were designed fairly decently.  Short of just being some gifted type like 'The Wizard' from the movie or the song 'pinball wizard' who just nails it out of the gate, they had to work it knowing someone would get maybe 2-5 games a year, and they also had to battle with jerks at rental spots too.  They wanted to find any way to make a game last a lot of hours, both to last as a buyer, but also to screw over rental shops (and the renters) so more copies would get bought.

That's actually a very good point. I remember waiting to purchase Donkey Kong for Atari 800XL. Wish I still had it. I believe it was priced at $40. That was four weeks of saving from my paper route. I literally remember that, waiting to get the money to acquire it. So I do acknowledge this analysis. Also, another thing occurred to me about which I forgot: I suppose, at some point, the difficulty level of games promoted the industry of assistance. Published guides for titles could be purchased (they still exist, but probably not to the degree as they did in the past), and video-game magazine subscriptions surely benefitted. Plus, am I mistaken, or wasn't there phone calls one could make at a premium price? Haven't thought about calling lines to get info, or whatever, for a fee (I'll have to search this, but weren't they called 900-lines?) in a long time, but I think you could do that to get pre-recorded help. Not sure if that was during the Atari age as  well. Never considered the rental-shop angle, by the way...like I say, good point...

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7 hours ago, Tanooki said:

Put yourself into the era ok?  We're talking 1980s after the market (NA) went bust.  Nintendo dominated doing some smart and perhaps even some questionable moves.  They needed to pump the market age that demanded it the most then, it wasn't adults, it was kids and teens mostly your K-12(if that) group.  IT was still then on the whole seen as a toy market and serious gaming was computers and going to the arcade.  Kids can make no money on their own unless they have a chore list to get an allowance, and you'd in the day make a dollar or maybe 5 dollars a week doing stuff.  Games were like $30-50 in range, and outside of a family member on b'day and christmas time giving you a cart you hoped for (or santa doing it) that's it.  They had to make even shorter games that weren't endless point racking arcade stuff last, so they made them tough but rewarding in being tough as long as they were designed fairly decently.  Short of just being some gifted type like 'The Wizard' from the movie or the song 'pinball wizard' who just nails it out of the gate, they had to work it knowing someone would get maybe 2-5 games a year, and they also had to battle with jerks at rental spots too.  They wanted to find any way to make a game last a lot of hours, both to last as a buyer, but also to screw over rental shops (and the renters) so more copies would get bought.

 

That was some infuriating crap.

I'm surprised you'd not complaining about the larger asinine design flaw Nintendo harped on about being a good design choice because it's not a FPS but a so called first person adventure...my ass.

That lock on you struggled with with the hand going up.  I'm sure you remember you basically have to stand there like a human bullseye while space pirates acting like Quake III bots flail and fly around locked on instantly unloading hell on you.  Can you do this?  Nope.  Stand there, get shot, hold one button to track a target down manually, another to then attain and hold that lock, then use the fire button to get even...until the hand goes up.  The game is fun, but late game it's 100% ruined on that, yet it's amazing fun on the Trilogy since you get the aiming control of the Wiimote that evens the playing field.  Even I think Nintendo realizes it was stupid, it's the default control for MP1 and MP2 on Trilogy and 3 is designed that way to start.

It's been some years since i played Metroid Prime on the GC and other than my issues already detailed, all i can remember is being impressed by the atmosphere created by the work put into the environmental design, audio etc. 

 

Some annoying sections with the Morph Ball, but up until then i had been enjoying the game. 

 

 

# I should point out i have never been into the 2D Metroid titles, dabbled with it on SNES, got into it on GBA for a while, but more a fan of things in the genre, such as The Sacred Armour of Antiriad on the C64, Shadow Complex on 360 and Strider on PS3. 

 

 

You've described my frustrations far better than I, you literally were a sitting duck for your foes and it does sound like Nintendo realised it was a critical flaw and addressed it with the Wii version. 

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5 hours ago, AAA177 said:

I suppose, at some point, the difficulty level of games promoted the industry of assistance. Published guides for titles could be purchased (they still exist, but probably not to the degree as they did in the past), and video-game magazine subscriptions surely benefitted. Plus, am I mistaken, or wasn't there phone calls one could make at a premium price? Haven't thought about calling lines to get info, or whatever, for a fee (I'll have to search this, but weren't they called 900-lines?) in a long time, but I think you could do that to get pre-recorded help. Not sure if that was during the Atari age as  well. Never considered the rental-shop angle, by the way...like I say, good point...

That it did. Early computer and gaming magazines (pre-Nintendo Fun Club/Power) had not just information about upcoming hardware and software but you could find help.  And around that you had people who published game help books that covered many or just one, crazy stuff when you think of some of the sources as there were things like professional publishers trying to act cool to the kids making help book like COMPUTE! for one I remember.  And there were as you said phones, you're right, call in numbers which either were long distance toll unless you were lucky, or those lovely 900# type rackets where it was like 2.95 the first minute and another dollar each additional, and it was either a real person with books (like Nintendo play counselors did) or the recorded type.  I've had some of those earlier books I've scrounged out of garage/church rummage sales and even spots like old libraries and half price books over the years.  Long before Nintendo decided to make a useful Zelda 2 book, some private type on his own typed one up, even using old keyboard symbols to ASCII map approximation of those dungeons to get the help across.

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2 hours ago, Lost Dragon said:

It's been some years since i played Metroid Prime on the GC and other than my issues already detailed, all i can remember is being impressed by the atmosphere created by the work put into the environmental design, audio etc. 

 

Some annoying sections with the Morph Ball, but up until then i had been enjoying the game. 

 

 

# I should point out i have never been into the 2D Metroid titles, dabbled with it on SNES, got into it on GBA for a while, but more a fan of things in the genre, such as The Sacred Armour of Antiriad on the C64, Shadow Complex on 360 and Strider on PS3. 

 

 

You've described my frustrations far better than I, you literally were a sitting duck for your foes and it does sound like Nintendo realised it was a critical flaw and addressed it with the Wii version. 

I dabble here and there for fun when I feel it, but I can not ever take the GC release seriously because of the controls they screwed up then covered up calling it a first person adventure.  They made a big mistake having the visors use up the c-stick and not just having it off a menu like weapon swapping.  You're on it though, the game really was that adventure so it was a good smoke and mirrors answer due to the insane designs that were so well done.  Most of the game was in smaller/small-ish spaces and even the open stuff often was handled with pathing so you could still keep incredible attention to detail and a fluid sense of motion retained.  In a way like how higher end modern games got Switch ports that blew people away like Dark Souls Remastered.  You play to the audience(in this case hardware) using smart choices to maximize output, and Nintendo(retro) did it so well the games still don't appear dated.

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Yeah, Metroid Prime definitely has some issues for sure, but overall it's pretty good aside from each rerelease of the game removing more and more of the sequence breaking.

 

Metroid Prime 2, though... that game is truly a mess.

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I can't stand "quick time events" in games, unless the entire game is quick time events (ala Dragon's Lair).

 

I am in theory opposed to RPGs that require grinding, but I've yet to play an RPG that actually requires you to sit there and tediously gain levels just to advance—and I am a massive PC and console RPG fan, the genre is pretty much all I play other than a shmup here and there.

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3 hours ago, newtmonkey said:

I can't stand "quick time events" in games, unless the entire game is quick time events (ala Dragon's Lair).

 

I am in theory opposed to RPGs that require grinding, but I've yet to play an RPG that actually requires you to sit there and tediously gain levels just to advance—and I am a massive PC and console RPG fan, the genre is pretty much all I play other than a shmup here and there.

I'm ok with them most of the time, but Halo 4?

 

Nahhh

 

 

And Resident Evil 4,come on Capcom, why not just go the whole hog, have a klaxon start blaring and a voice shout YOU ARE PLAYING A VIDEO GAME, to truly break the immersion and be done with it?. 

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I mentioned timed sequences in graphic adventures but...

 

- Action sequences in graphic adventures usually don't end up well. The perfect example is Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: boxing works but there are too many fights and the flying arcade stage is just... well, abysmal. It's optional but a terrible thing in an amazing game. (At least starting the plane is fun using the in-game manual).

 

- Freaking mazes in graphic adventures. See Manhunter: New York or Zack McKracken for reference.

Edited by IntelliMission

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Black Bars popping up during specific parts (usually cut scenes) covering 25% of the screen for no reason, as far as I can tell.

 

This may be really petty, and I’m not entirely sure if this has ever “ruined the game” for me, but it sure does diminish the overall vibe a lot.  It’s always been a grip, but I started playing Shadow of Colossus (PS4) today, and it completely ruins the splendor and beauty of the world they’ve built, taking me out of (what should be) remarkable moments in the game.

 

Has there ever been a game where they added anything and the player is like "I sure am glad those black bars popped up at the top and bottom of the screen, covering those beautiful graphics?"

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On 8/28/2020 at 1:43 AM, AAA177 said:

That's actually a very good point. I remember waiting to purchase Donkey Kong for Atari 800XL. Wish I still had it. I believe it was priced at $40. That was four weeks of saving from my paper route. I literally remember that, waiting to get the money to acquire it. So I do acknowledge this analysis. Also, another thing occurred to me about which I forgot: I suppose, at some point, the difficulty level of games promoted the industry of assistance. Published guides for titles could be purchased (they still exist, but probably not to the degree as they did in the past), and video-game magazine subscriptions surely benefitted. Plus, am I mistaken, or wasn't there phone calls one could make at a premium price? Haven't thought about calling lines to get info, or whatever, for a fee (I'll have to search this, but weren't they called 900-lines?) in a long time, but I think you could do that to get pre-recorded help. Not sure if that was during the Atari age as  well. Never considered the rental-shop angle, by the way...like I say, good point...

Gamer hotlines were a thing. But some of them costed more than Ms.Kleo.

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Lots of games have lame hit detection. Like you have to punch or shoot an enemy at a precise point in front of your character, but all the enemy has to do is occupy your space and you take constant damage. I understand this on old games like Atari, which may not have processing power to do much more than sprite collision detection, but from late 8-16 bit era on? This is just sheer laziness.

 

Rpgs. People love these, and give free passes all the time, but, and this is especially true of jrpgs, the games are often poorly designed and grinding is required to advance (think typical final fantasy games) due to this, I much prefer Euro or us rpgs, which are usually better balanced, or even open ended (which hides grinding, if any is needed)

 

Un-god-damned-skipable cut scenes. If I want to watch a video, I watch videos. I play games to, well, PLAY the game.

 

This last one is for fighters, or most anything by rare, but stupid insane level cheap bosses. Seriously, the games great, then your on the last level of boss and just get your ass ripped. I often say I love rare games, but I've finished very few of them due to this..but the first 90-95% was indeed great.

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39 minutes ago, Video said:

Lots of games have lame hit detection

This reminds me of a thing that annoyed me a lot in the first Turrican (more people will find out about that shortly with the new compilations I guess).
In this game, being hit doesn't make you invulnerable for a sec, so your life meter keeps shrinking til the enemy stops going through you - which can take a lot of time since enemies tend to move in wave patterns. 😑

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I guess you can't really consider a savegame feature a game mechanic, but it happened to me twice in different RPGs that I ended up screwing over a 30+ hour savegame by saving at the wrong time.

 

First time was with FF8, I went to Ultimecia's castle underleveled, couldn't figure out how to properly level up from there on since anything could kill me quickly. Ended up abandoning the game, I still haven't finished it to this date. I believe there was a message about how you couldn't return back once you go to her castle, but if the rest of the game allowed me proceed with lower levels it didn't feel much like a warning.

 

Similar thing happened to me with FF Tactics: The War of the Lions.. this boss called Cuchulainn shows up in a place where you also cannot return back to the rest of the game to keep on leveling. He has a selection of attacks that none of my party members could effectively counter, so after giving it a bunch of tries I also gave up on this game. This battle pissed me off so much because I love the game as a whole, I've restarted it some months ago and I'm slowly leveling everybody to destroy him completely this time.

 

So I guess there's something to be said about games that allow to save and not allowing you to return back to a better place causing the whole game to become worthless at that point. It could be considered an issue from the past though, I haven't seen this behavior in modern games.

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Thunder Force III

 

Those gates that close in front of you and guarantee you a death if you're not at the far right edge of the screen (you know, the place where enemies spawn in your face) when they close can go to hell. Thankfully, the game is still great and very easy, so I can overlook it, so I guess this doesn't completely ruin the game and after a while you will probably remember where those gates are so it won't be that much of a problem. Also stage 4 in general is stupid aside from the awesome music because it's basically an entire stage of things that can trap you in a way that you can't avoid without a death, just like those annoying gates.

 

One other thing is the vertical scrolling in Thunder Force IV. I always feel like I'm missing stuff because I can't see the entire screen at the same time.

Edited by Steven Pendleton

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On 9/6/2020 at 3:15 AM, roots.genoa said:

This reminds me of a thing that annoyed me a lot in the first Turrican (more people will find out about that shortly with the new compilations I guess).
In this game, being hit doesn't make you invulnerable for a sec, so your life meter keeps shrinking til the enemy stops going through you - which can take a lot of time since enemies tend to move in wave patterns. 😑

This was the first thing I thought of when I saw this thread.  I think Turrican 1 and 2 on the Amiga are completely unplayable due to this.  It's so easy to not realize that you're in contact with an enemy until you have a sliver of life left.

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On 9/6/2020 at 1:32 AM, Video said:

 

Un-god-damned-skipable cut scenes. If I want to watch a video, I watch videos. I play games to, well, PLAY the game.

 

This x100

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Hah I'll third that.  I remember a huge issue with it in the PS1 games, and Final Fantasy VII had some pre-boss whoppers that could go like 10+ minutes easy so if you ate it, insult to injury on that one.  Magnifying the suck to it, ANOTHER RELATED GRIPE... long winded combat animations you can't bypass, which again FFVII was guilty as sin with on espers and some high ball spells too (at least later stuff like Skies of Arcadia allowed you to hit the action button to cut it out.)

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Not being able to quit a mission and make changes, which would make the mission less frustrating, just killed Mad Max on PS4 for myself. 

 

 

Had been enjoying it, until i reached the defeat Stank Gump Death Race mission. 

 

I'd done as the game advised, upgraded car with heavy armour etc, but that just had it handling like a P. O. S in the actual race and leaving me little chance to catch up with Stank.. 

 

So,i thought i would simply quit mission, remove all armour etc and mod the car for speed. 

 

No chance, game won't let you do that and as i have been using Autosaves..  i am stuck with the car configuration. 

 

 

Won't be returning to this one again. 

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Not sure if any of these completely ruin the game for me, but they are major annoyances;

 

Tiny inventories - Played through Sword Of Vermilion a couple of years ago, and hated that there were only 8 inventory slots and some of those would get taken up by important quest items or sidequest items that could not be dropped. Lunar Knights was also bad with this because there was always tons of loot to pick up and not much room to work with. Plus certain items get rotten, which means you have to stop and manage inventory constantly so you don't get caught in a bad situation with no healing.

 

QTEs - These rarely enhance the game, and most of the time they prevent you from enjoying the cutscene. If you want to have a cutscene, then have a bloody cutscene and don't try to staple 'gameplay' to it.

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