Gamers Blog: Things I hate about Games: Part one of Many


Video Games are a beautiful concept. The way I feel about games is how I think people felt about books in the 1600’s. It’s so very easy to lose yourself in an epically designed world, or get stuck into a particularly addictive game. As wonderful as they are though, there are a few elements of the modern video game that developers seem hell-bent on including, despite how annoying or frustrating they may be. A great cartoon character would describe these as “things that grind his gears”. I’m hoping to put a short piece on this site about each infuriating aspect of gaming as they come to me. If you’ve got any video game niggles then you should leave them too!

Part One: Protection Missions

This all came about during God of War 2 – arguably one of the greatest third person action adventures ever made, and the PS2’s swansong. I dare anyone to pick up this hack-and-slash fest through ancient mythical Greece and not have a smile on their face. Despite its greatness, it does happen to contain one of my least favourite gaming concepts ever.

Towards the end of the game, you have to protect a “philosopher” that you have just freed from a prison cell from hordes and hordes of enemies using your blades. The philosopher walks in a profoundly cowardly way across a small bridge of impending doom to get to the other side, at a pace that would make most tortoises blush. Whilst you are fending off the legions of the underworld, the philosopher takes his sweet, sweet time sauntering across the bridge, more often than not, walking into the waiting jaws of the closest hellspawn. Should the philosopher lose all his health, its game over for you.

Perseus03

Why in the hell do developers put us through this? Why give a character the worst AI imaginable, and make them take a leisurely stroll through what should be a sprint fest? This bridge is by no means long. Your character, Kratos, can run across this bridge in about 10 seconds. The protection mission takes a good 3 or 4 minutes because of the sheer amount of enemies that are thrown at you, and the impractical pace of the philosopher. I understand that the developers want to create a challenge – but it just ends up being cheap and hugely frustrating.

Even the Legend of Zelda, one of the greatest gaming franchises of all time is guilty of the protection mission crime. The most recent Zelda outing, Phantom Hourglass on the DS has Link seeking out 5 lost sisters on a ship, and taking them up to the top of the ship where their big sister is waiting for them. What they don’t tell you though, is that these sisters are afraid of their own shadow, and within 5 steps of leading them to the top, they will scream and cower in fear in the corner. The game tells you that they are afraid of the enemies dotted around the ship, and it’s your job to kill them wherever possible. This is fair enough, but the number of enemies there are in comparison to how often the sister will scream and cower is unforgivable. It’s not even like they follow you again automatically when the enemy dies, you have to go and talk to them about “how it’s OK to be afraid”. Give me a break.

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And that’s why I hate protection missions! They’re a cheap, tacked on way to extend a particular area of the game that usually has immensely poor AI and ends up being a slam-your-controller-on-the-floor fest.

More gaming niggles coming soon!

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