Some Game Design Tips
I play a lot of video games. From Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne, to Tales of the Abyss, to Marathon, and all other sorts of different games. Recently, I stumbled upon a little gem called God Eater. Okay, technically the title of the one released here in the United States is called Gods Eater Burst, but I think just saying “God Eater” is a lot easier.
Now, I love God Eater. I’ve played over ten hours of it already, and I know everyone on the entire planet has already made the comparison, but it’s like a fast-paced Monster Hunter with fifty times more ridiculous anime bullshit where you swing around a sword twice your weight at speeds no human with the muscle build of a swimsuit model could possibly do. GE is fast, looks good, easy to get the hang of, and most importantly; fun.
Now, GE doesn’t have all the depth of MH, and that’s fine by me. In fact GE has a lot of things that MH didn’t, such as a lack of grinding hit boxes that weren’t complete bullshit, and friendly A.I. that could actually fight. Need an item from a monster to make a weapon? Go fight just one of those monsters, as opposed to 18, and you’ve got everything you need. GE also features tutorials telling you how to do everything you’ll need to know, you don’t need to gather up an entire armor set for one skill, you don’t have to worry about negative skills having an unreasonable impact on your fighting, etcetera, etcetera.
Look, you and I both know I’m not bringing this up just to talk about how awesome the game is. I could do that, but I’ll save that for comparing good games with bad games that have bigger fanbases. So why am I bringing up GE? Simple.
Seriously, fuck this medieval scorpion knight guy. Fuck him and his stupid fucking tail whip.
Now, the entire fight isn’t so bad: It offers legitimate difficulty that isn’t too bullshitty, and he doesn’t really have much other than shooting a few projectiles at you.
But, as I mentioned above, fuck his tail whip. Yes, it’s easy to block, even if the range is a little fucked up and annoying. My problem is this:
His legs elevate him to much. When I’m going up to stab his legs until he falls over so I can gotcha bitch his face in, he has a nasty tendency to use his tail whip, which–even though I’m UNDERNEATH HIM–hits me and launches me away.
This leads to the point where I give you all amazing tips on designing games. Because it’s obvious that a person who has never designed a game in his life is the best person to give advice for game design! I’m just that awesome.
#1: Fixing the Tail Whip Problem
This one is probably the easiest: Fix your fucking hit boxes. As I mentioned before, GE is much, much better about hit boxes than MH has been, but for some odd reason, everyone is still fucking retarded when it comes to this. You know how the giant scorpion’s tail is what he’s using to attack? I don’t know about programming hit boxes, but for fuck’s sake, the whole body should not be the hit box in the middle of an attack unless the whole body is in use for an attack.
I cannot stress this enough, even though I shouldn’t fucking have to. It’s not hard to understand. The tail is what is used for the attack. Limit the hit detection to the tail contacting with the player’s hit box. Is this hard to understand? Monster Hunter Freedom Unite’s Tigrex had the exact same problem. He is trying to bite me. He hits me with his chest. How does that count as a hit, guys? Simple: It doesn’t. Yes, I’m sure the rib cage of a dragon hitting me in the face is very painful, but for god’s sakes, it’s just not going to have the same effect as his nice, sharp teeth.
#2: When Multiple Enemies are Appropriate
This one also shouldn’t be too hard to understand. And this is also a major problem with GE. Y’see, long before I met our friend, Mother Fucking Cheap Ass Scorpion, there was a mission that kicked my ass far, far, far worse.
Now, I like a challenge. I really, really do. But you know what’s just plain unfair? Sicking three major bosses that I classify under the Why Won’t You Die? trope on me. At the same time. In a small area that makes it hard to split enemy forces up. When all of these bosses are fast and fire very nasty projectiles at me.
You know what?
Just. No. There are certain levels of bullshit I will tolerate, and this is not one of them. Look, game designers, I know it’s tempting, but you know what? Monster Hunter, God Eater, the Tales of games… None of these, and I mean none of these are meant for one-on-multiple combat. At all. You want to know why? Look at Devil May Cry 3. Look at God of War II. Look at No More Heroes. Notice something about these three?
Among other things, your attack range is much wider, and the enemies recoil when taking damage. They stop what they’re doing because you hit them. It’s fine when bosses don’t do this, but for fuck’s sake, it’s not fine when you have three fucking bosses all at once.
And before anyone asks, yes, I did tell my team members to disperse, and I did run away. The problem is that GE was dead set on killing me and ended up having a bird that can rip off Street Fighter and hadouken people and a fucking tiger that shoots lightning chase me and only me. Which, I admit, looking back, is funny.
What is not funny, however, is Tales of the World: Radiant Mythology’s unholy “Trial” battles, where you end up fighting 1-on-3 matches, and more often than not they’ll have a healer on their team. A healer with no magic limit. The only reason these fights are even physically possible is because the A.I. in that game is too retarded to actually heal itself most of the time.
From what I’ve seen this can get far, far, far worse in the sequels. I saw one video where it was a 2v4 match… And the entire enemy team was 4 swordsmen. The fight was over in about thirty seconds flat. I tried to find said video, but at the time of writing I couldn’t get to it. If I find it I’ll post it up later.
#3: Herp Derp I Mix Da Turn Bays’d Kum-Bat Wit Da Reel-Tiem Kombut
Let’s divert from GE for a moment to talk about something else. Tales of Symphonia is one of my favorite games, and one of the RPGs I grew up with. The story also helped form who I am today. Symphonia is not the problem here. You know what the problem is? Symphonia’s fanfiction.
I refuse to call it a sequel.
Dawn of the New World is by far one of the shittiest games I ever played, and it’ll get what’s coming to it… In the future. For now, let’s talk about one particular aspect of the game: The hi-ougis, or “mystic artes.” One is too wee-a-boo, the other is too retarded. Take your pick.
Hi-ougi-mystic-medium-fighty-things are the special moves of the game. Y’know, they do massive damage and the like. The problem? They freeze all gameplay to do so, and you don’t need to be anywhere near the enemy for it to contact.
Fanfiction of the New Planetary Facepalm wasn’t difficult. Ever. Anything remotely difficult in the game comes from the Mystical-High-Weed-Ninja-Artes that the bosses spam. And I do mean spam. You’ll probably get hit with more hi-ougis in this one game than you’ll get penis extension offers in your e-mail. It hits every single member and reduces their HP to one. Shut up about whatever you’re going to say, because if you played the game, you would know there was no way you are ever stopping these attacks. The animations are long, tedious, stupid, and in the cases of the comedic relief villains, not fucking funny.
This would be fine–annoying as hell but fine–in a turn based game. But the Tales games are real time. So after this long annoying animation, every single character in your party gets knocked back, and you’re guaranteed to lose half or more of your party when the boss walks up and smacks a party member in the face, killing them instantly. This, Bandai Namco (whom I shall refer to as Bamco from now on), is not good game design. In fact I don’t know what it is. Besides retarded.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll probably post more tips for what should be common sense in game design later. Probably revolving around camera issues.