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Why are video games so complicated these days?

post #1 of 36
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Last year I played Mass Effect 2, Alien: Isolation, and Tomb Raider (2013). I really enjoyed these titles, but all of them left a feeling that video games these days are too complicated. They all had lots of useless info that didn't help at all during the story, and they were full of researches that didn't affect the gameplay, at least not enough for me to notice them.

When I was playing Tomb Raider, seeing all those skill points to spend and all those notes that didn't concern my goal, I remembered the first game, back in the 90's. That game was much simpler but equally hard, the real challenges were the puzzles and fights, not managing points and info. All the info I got during the intro, the rest was up to me to figure out. Man, even in games filled with info, like JRPGs, 90% of the info available was directly connected to the quests the player had to complete, you read it and immediately knew where to use what you learned.

These days many times while I'm gaming I feel like I'm filling data sheets and reading reports like someone who works in an office. I know there are guys who enjoy choosing where to put those points and reading all that info, but probably there are plenty of people who would like to play AAA games that have straight to the point info and a simpler gameplay.

For me it seems developers are missing the point when they make new games. Instead of changing all the various aspects of each game, they just add more and more stuff.
Edited by jlucio - 5/14/15 at 10:08am
post #2 of 36
Yep have to agree on that a bit but like you mentioned some people do like them.. you should try playing Deus Ex if you have not already it is really great open world one of the best i have played. They are going to release Mankind Divided soon which is the follow up biggrin.gif
post #3 of 36
Part of the reason is 3-D graphics period so they keep bending the characters and environments and interface till perfection is achieved.
It took a while for graphics to catch up to make them more like 2-D like with Pillars of Eternity which couldn't be possible in 2002 with 3-D graphics cause it would look too simple due to lack of textures.

I do think that what qualifies as good graphics today then 10 years ago is really skewed too if you look at the Witcher 3 compared to Dark Age of Camelot Dark Age of Camelot looks like the better more immersive game due to simplified environments interface and textures.

Then you have painted games like Dishonored which is a cross between a art statement and looking realistic.
Edited by Shiotcrock - 5/20/15 at 7:26am
post #4 of 36
I think it has to do with the changing nature of videogames. What "play" is and why we engage in it is a complex topic to discuss.

But, to make things simple, it's because videogames are becoming more than tests of skill or gauntlets of challenges. The extra notes and research in Tomb Raider aren't there to help your final goal, you're right. But they are there to flesh out the world and create a backstory. To give the island history and sense of once having something.

Think of the audio diaries in the BioShock series, and that's what Tomb Raider is going for.

What a player thinks about these slow but sure changes in some videogames depends on his or her mindset. You mention that these don't add anything to the final goal, that a game from the 90s was simpler yet just as if not more difficult. You approach videogames as puzzles or challenges. Not all players solely think about videogames in that respect, anymore, however. Many people love finding out about other characters or the world around them, even though these don't add to the challenge or difficulty. It's not better or worse, really. How much a person enjoys it just depends on mindset.

For example, I don't really enjoy super difficult games. There are exceptions. I love Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2. Even then, I like those games to an extent. I really enjoyed finding out about the history of the island in Tomb Raider, and I love games that tell stories. It makes me feel engaged while I play. I don't really care for challenging difficulty or barely solveable puzzles. I challenge myself with my work every day, so for my leisure activities I prefer something different. I guess most people who play videogames like the extra things involved, which is why more and more games are including them. This also probably has to do with the fact that videogames have gone from a niche activity with a very specific subculture to something that most people play.
post #5 of 36
I agree with the OP. Some games make you invest time and you have to remember things from each time you play. I still love playing Portal and Crysis. Why, because if I pick of from where I was 3 months ago, I can just play, no worry about points or who was doing what.
Crysis brings up a good point also, the first one was awesome, open game play, you could skip areas if you wanted, just explore etc. The second one came out and it was too much of a console type game, specific goals that had to be completed, checkpoints, not game saves, very limited exploration, very linear. I don't really game much anymore, just don't have the time, but also because nothing interests me.
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post #6 of 36
Those are all simple games. I'm the opposite; I feel games are far too dumbed down these days. It is a matter of fact that games are less complex than they were 10-15 years ago, generally speaking. Using Mass Effect 2 as an example, it is missing many of the skills from the first one, and the entire inventory system is gone (and so is the armor customization if I recall correctly).

Mass Effect 2 doesn't have any useless information; the Codex exists to clarify things and add backstory to give you an educated perspective, because Shepard is supposed to know most of those things. I don't know what "researches" you refer to.

Here are some examples of how dumbed down modern games are compared to their predecessors:

90e918b3_star_wars_battlefront_comparison_chart_update_1_by_playstation_jedi-d8s86f2.jpeg




I'm not ten years old, I don't play games just to waste time. I want a challenging, versatile experience that doesn't just hold my hand. To each his own of course. I'm the type of guy who wishes Neverwinter Nights 2 had more than the 29 skills, 15 classes, and 24 prestige classes that it already has (even though it has more skills and classes than any other game I've played). I'm the type of guy who likes Wasteland 2's rule/stat/skill system (and Fallout's even more of course, but this is just a modern example).


Edited by boredgunner - 5/27/15 at 4:52pm
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post #7 of 36
I'm with Gunner, I find most games these days to be too simple. If I just wanted to waste time I could sit and stare at a wall for free (or play mine sweeper). When I buy a game I expect an immersive, complex, and intriguing experience that is worth my time and money.
    
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post #8 of 36
There are different definitions of "wasting time". A videogame is not inherently better simply because its difficulty is more complicated, or its systems more difficult. I would find spending hours and hours trying to figure out a ridiculously difficult puzzle to be a waste of my time.

Obviously, the majority (or at least plurality) of people who prefer videogames with fleshed out narratives, worlds, lore, and characters is larger than those who wish for games to be like they were 15-20 years ago.

While there are examples of "dumbed down" games, there are also many examples of games that are even more difficult. Many 4x, strategy, and turn-based strategy games have high difficulty or contain complex systems. Bioshock Infinite has its 1999 mode, and Fire Emblem has complex relationship systems that directly effect gameplay. If they player chooses to have permadeath on, this can have an even more complex and difficult effect on gameplay. Many action-RPGs like Diablo 3, Torchlight 2, and Path of Exile have several levels of difficulty, with the highest ones being extremely difficult. The "Souls" games, like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, are also famous for their extreme, punishing difficulty.

The market serves everyone, just in their appropriate proportions.
post #9 of 36
One could contend that while you may consider a self-described overly difficult puzzle to be a waste of time it actually serves to improve mental agility if puzzles of such difficulty are undertaken often enough. Also, difficulty doesn't actually speak to complexity. It only speaks to the challenge one faces in completing or playing the game. Further, just about every game I've played has a difficulty option but since it isn't a graduated paradigm we get games that are far harder on "easy" than others were on "hard".

As far as strategy games go I don't think there is much of a middle ground. The game is either very deep and complex in terms of micro-management and typically turn based or very straight forward/simple.

That aside I'd argue that while the market serves most but it doesn't, in fact, serve all. I, for example, would like to see an RTS game with the movement style of Homeworld, the fleet building of Empire at War, the galactic conquest of SoaSE, ground battles with the detail of WiC, with graphic fidelity like EVE, and subsystem management and customization like Endless Space (to a point anyway). A resource system like the one in Anno wouldn't hurt either where one would need to transport and manufacture/produce a decent number of items needed for their faction to be able to function. I have yet to find anything like this, and yes, I do realize how unique a taste this may be.

I'm not saying I don't enjoy occasionally loading up a modded ME2 and running through blasting everything with my easy mode reverent HMG but it isn't how I typically enjoy playing nor is it what I want for the first few play-throughs.
    
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post #10 of 36
I actually find FPS games of today are a lot easier compared to the 90s.

Anyone can finish Crysis, COD or Farcry campaign with barely any effort.

While it was nearly impossible for a casual gamer to beat HL1, Doom 3, or Duke Nukem 3D without cheating.
Edited by edalbkrad - 5/28/15 at 12:30am
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