Have we now passed the trend of "dumbing games down to make them more accessible"

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Because to me this was a talking point issue back in the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii days of gaming.

Where long time game franchises had their a lot of their legacy features and challenges removed and nerfed to become easier and accessible so that new players can get into it thus increasing possible sales.

There were a lot of examples of this but I think the most notable was Bioware games at the time.

Specifically the jump from Mass Effect 1 to 2 and Dragon Age Origins to 2.

Mass Effect 2 removed a lot of things from 1 that made it feel like it was "dumb down" they nerfed the amount of skills you can have, they removed the planet exploration on the MAKO vehicle and replaced it with Planet Scanning. And became even more like a FPS.

Dragon Age 2 was even worse in that regard. No making your own character, combat became a button masher, no large and braching dialoge trees, now we have the Mass Effect wheel which is actually limiting, everything felt smaller, etc, etc.

But back on topic, this was a trend that we gamers hated back then, but I feel that now that trend is now passed us. Like I feel new games now both AAA and Indie have offered experiences that don't feel like they are dumb and easy so that everyone can play them. Like Doom Eternal for one was bringing back the old school gaming challenge. The upcoming RPGs like Cyberpunk, Vampire Bloodlines 2, and System Shock 3 seems to bring back the depth that RPGs are sorely lacking.

Fun fact: Doom and early FPS were considered the "dumb" tier of PC gaming back when they first appeared. So, we have and we haven't. Already had and we'll never pass it.

Fighting games are more dumbed down than back in the ps3 days but at the same time things like Monster Hunter are unapologetically complex and celebrated for it. It's a mixed bag in the end.

I really don't think games have been dumbed down at all. How complex was Super Mario Bros, versus Mario Odyssey?

People like to use the references of old RPG's as if they were any more complex. Usually within the same series. But i don't really think that is the case.

Games are more complex now than ever. And it isn't just in the gameplay systems, it's in the world and the way the game reacts to what's happening.

Let's take the Final Fantasy 7 Remake as an example. Comparing the AI interactions to the original is obvious. But then look at the system in place. It's hard to argue that the game is dumbed down.

People like to accuse games of being dumbed down because they either don't like or don't use the new systems in place in whatever new game they are playing. Just because you didn't use the system doesn't mean it was dumbed down. Different doesn't equal dumb, neither does streamlined.

I never thought any of the Mass Effect games were dumbed down from previous entries because I didn't really use the RPG mechanics in any of the games. I tended to like 2 and 3 better because the core shooting gameplay was better and the character customization stuff was just not that important to me.

I didn't mind the changes from Mass Effect 1 to 2. Honestly, all the skill points and stat allocation didn't really make the game better. It was just more fiddliness and busywork. The gunplay in ME1 was utter butts. Having more obfuscating stats, equipment and percentages doesn't make a game more deep or better. Oh hey look I leveled up and got skill points, which I can now use to increase some parameters by a few percent. I'm fine without any of that nonsense, I rather get something more tangible per level up.

Classes were overall improved in ME2, each with their own unique skills and traits. ME1 classes was quite literally just various proficiencies chopped up and the pool of existing skills just mixed and matched among them. There really wasn't much point to not playing the Soldier in ME1 since you could just hotkey all your companion skills if you wanted access to tech/biotics. Might as well do that and have the plus of being able to use all gun types. ME2 onwards had really fun class specific skills like the Vanguard's Biotic charge so there was kinda a point to playing them.

I honestly did not miss the Mako segments. Those were just lazy. Planets were just awful to navigate and ultimately all you get to do is bump your stupid Mako all over the place until you find some generic room of enemies and loot. Repeated a billion times. I'm not quite ready to say that planet surveying is a better alternative, but the Mako planet exploration wasn't great either.

ME2/3 were hella more fun to actively play. Having more superficial stat points, gear and nonsense underneath doesn't improve gameplay. Instead of farting more skill points down a length bar, each level up had more of an effect. Instead of juggling nonsense guns that were all functionally the same besides stats, each gun has its own unique performance and behavior. An action RPG embracing more solid action gameplay is not a bad thing. The roleplaying elements in terms of exploring, talking to people, choices are all still present.

Once you have real time action gameplay, I think it is necessary to cull certain RPG mechanics. Having all sorts of percentages and stats makes sense in turn based/semi-real time type games where you have to simulate what is going on. Lining up my crosshair and having my shot go completely wide because my gun skill is low just feels like garbage. I think there can be a degree of balance, like make crosshair focusing slower, have guns recoil more, scope sway, slower reloads etc - inconvenient shit but circumventable with player action and still believable with regards to a character having low proficiency with a particular weapon. But having shit miss even though it looks like it hits, or in ME1's case - just having derp amounts of spread isn't very nice.

DA2 wasn't really that different under the hood from DA1. Combat didn't really become button mashing, at least not on the PC. You could still just set it to auto attack and leave it be. Camera was slightly butts but you could effectively just zoom out and play it like you would DA1. Level design was complete and utter butts though with the worst degree of copy-pasted dungeons and silly amounts of enemy spawns. I honestly don't remember DA1 having large and branching dialogue trees, so I'm not sure what you are getting at here. I enjoyed DA2's "take the piss" dialogue option. DA3 is where it completely shat the bed IMO with its bizarre MMO-esque gameplay. Skills were largely dumbed down and the camera became even worse.

There are mechanics so called RPG fans like to vaunt as having depth, but I find having lots of stats and numbers to be superficial nonsense that I am happy to leave behind. It adds complexity, but not necessarily good complexity.

Older Elder Scrolls games was probably one of the worse ones. While I did think it was absolutely weird that Skyrim completely ditched all stats - I was surprisingly fine with it.

Deus Ex Human Revolution and Mankind Divided have been simplified from the original Deus Ex, but to me it is a good thing. It is overall more elegant. There aren't stupid skills that nobody ever sinks points into like goddamn Swimming or Environmental Training.

Wasteland 2 was a recent-ish attempt at the whole old school train of thought. And honestly the amount of skills in it didn't really add to the game, it just caused it to be oddly balanced and have frustrating amounts of requirements if you wanted to maximize loot/dialogue options. Was it really necessary to have Alarm Disarming, Safebreaking, Lockpicking, Electronics, Brute Force etc... all of which perform the same bloody function for opening a goddamn door? Having weapon categories divided into so goddamn many just meant... some weapons are bound to be ass. Pistols/SMGs/Shotguns were all kinda poo and the only reason to specialize in those is just to better deal with some early game ammo scarcity(might as well spec into melee instead). Assault Rifles were stupidly OP and with the right kitting out, made Sniper Rifles goddamn pointless. It's a great example of a lot of goddamn complexity not adding to or enriching the gameplay at all.

I really liked how Pillars of Eternity dealt with the whole issue of locks/traps and what have you. There was one skill - Mechanics. This is good, simple, elegant, does not require stupid amounts of specialization and stat management. Just have one dude good at mechanics.

I have no idea how Cyberpunk and SS3 are going to handle their RPG mechanics, but I hope it doesn't just do old school for the sake of old school. I'm fine with some older mechanics just remaining a part of history. I'm not going to miss the fact you could completely bugger your ability to progress in SS2 just through poor skill allocation.

CritialGaming:
I really don't think games have been dumbed down at all. How complex was Super Mario Bros, versus Mario Odyssey?

I don't think that's a good comparison, that's two very different games altogether. Mario Bros. is "about" getting all the way to the right of the screen. Mario Odyssey is about a thousand different things. A better comparison would be Super Metroid vs. whichever was the last one. If you ignore the shitty blitzball spin-off, Metroid has always been about finding your way through a maze, with complexity being added to the same basic premise over and over.

Regardless I think the whole "dumbed down" flair is exaggerated. The bulk of the evolution in gaming has been about integrating as many consumers as possible. What people remember as Nintendo Hard were remnants of the archaic arcade system where you only had so many lives because they wanted your quarters, and everything had to be done in one sitting cause save files weren't a thing, and games were extra challenging because they were so short that they needed to stretch the experience and add replayability by killing you off as often as possible.

Are we talking "complexity" like going from a game about dread and unknowable horror to team-based shoot-the-mans or are we talking about "complexity" like going from having to memorize 40 slightly different fighting game combos per character to having a half dozen moves with per character that mostly share input commands?

Whether or not it's "good" is based entirely subjectively.

The better word to use is streamlining. Since sometimes, it vastly improves the game. Like in the case of Mass Effect, streamlining is an improvement. One of the most criticized aspects of Mass Effect 1 was how horrendous the inventory system was. There was just way to many skills that could have easily been merged. Do I think the all or nothing approach was needed? No, but it was an improvement in my eyes when they streamlined it. I actually dislike Andromeda since they brought way too much of that stuff back.

What makes you think any of the unreleased games are going to be making a comeback to the "good 'ole days"? They look no different than what we have now.

Johnny Novgorod:

CritialGaming:
I really don't think games have been dumbed down at all. How complex was Super Mario Bros, versus Mario Odyssey?

I don't think that's a good comparison, that's two very different games altogether. Mario Bros. is "about" getting all the way to the right of the screen. Mario Odyssey is about a thousand different things. A better comparison would be Super Metroid vs. whichever was the last one. If you ignore the shitty blitzball spin-off, Metroid has always been about finding your way through a maze, with complexity being added to the same basic premise over and over.

By that logic you (or anyone) can't say that Fallout 3 is a dumbing down from Fallout 2. Because they are very different games right? I mean technically every game is a different thing, despite being a sequel they usually have their own identities. Mass Effect 1,2, and 3 might be the same series, but each one is their own game with their own progressions, mechanics, and stories. The only factor that links them is story and characters.

I dunno, these kinds of posts always feel weird because there isn't a lot to really make the argument have any basis.

CritialGaming:

Johnny Novgorod:

CritialGaming:
I really don't think games have been dumbed down at all. How complex was Super Mario Bros, versus Mario Odyssey?

I don't think that's a good comparison, that's two very different games altogether. Mario Bros. is "about" getting all the way to the right of the screen. Mario Odyssey is about a thousand different things. A better comparison would be Super Metroid vs. whichever was the last one. If you ignore the shitty blitzball spin-off, Metroid has always been about finding your way through a maze, with complexity being added to the same basic premise over and over.

By that logic you (or anyone) can't say that Fallout 3 is a dumbing down from Fallout 2. Because they are very different games right?

No, they're both first person shooters where you run around, point your gun and you shoot enemies. I wouldn't call them "very different", even if you can do more shit in 3.

I mean technically every game is a different thing, despite being a sequel they usually have their own identities. Mass Effect 1,2, and 3 might be the same series, but each one is their own game with their own progressions, mechanics, and stories. The only factor that links them is story and characters.

Every Mass Effect has the same core gameplay loop: you walk around talking to characters via dialogue tree and you go on TPS missions with them. Yes, every game has more shit, but the essence of every game is the same.

Not to harp on the one example you provided but Super Mario Bros is, again, about going right amd jumping on or over things. That's true to Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World. Beginning with 64 there's an extra dimension and thousands of different directions and it's not necessarily about reaching a physical goal or even jumping on things. Yeah, you're still rescuing Peach from Bowser, but the gameplay loop isn't the same and in fact often varies from one level to the next. A better comparison would be 64 vs. Odyssey.

altnameJag:
Are we talking "complexity" like going from a game about dread and unknowable horror to team-based shoot-the-mans or are we talking about "complexity" like going from having to memorize 40 slightly different fighting game combos per character to having a half dozen moves with per character that mostly share input commands?

Whether or not it's "good" is based entirely subjectively.

The issue with moves sharing inputs is that the input of a move is a balancing feature. For example, moves with the up input in the middle can't be done on the ground by themselves because you'll jump before the move comes out, that means you have to buffer them off of other moves or do them while landing from a jump so that the up input comes out while you're still airborne. Similarly, moves with a forward in their input are less safe than with a back, so balancing moves you'd do on the defense by forcing you to stop blocking for a little bit as you buffer them works as a risk-reward element, since it's risky to let go of block in a defensive situation. When you just make all moves share a few standard inputs, you throw the balance out of whack. For example, a way of dealing with some moves is by jumping over your foe and making the input become different but if you just have a one-button-dp like in some games, then that just makes that option too dominant. It makes the game dumbed down in that it becomes only about a handful of options as opposed to having a larger variety of valid approaches.

As for the combos, you hardly need to memorize all 40 of them, but memorizing roughly 6 or so and having the option for the rest of them in situational events is what makes a game fun to play and gives the player the freedom for self-expression through the way in which they go about their combos that makes fighters fun. But yeah, the main combos you need in even the more complex fighter all boil down to midscreen knockdown, midscreen max damage, corner knockdown, corner max damage, counterhit/punish specific route and throw-specific route. If you can hitconfirm into all of those you can do well and then you can proceed to add more combos and situational things like resets or character-specific routes in your repertoire. More complex games have standing-specific and crouching-specific ones too, this is because crouched-state causes hits to do more hitstun to a character, enabling unique combos, but some moves which only hit standing chars don't work, so if you try to always do the same thing irrespective of your foe's state you'll be killing yourself half the time or at the very least throwing away damage. This is crucial because it teaches the player to stop autopiloting and actually pay attention at how they land their hits. It teaches you how to think right and you want to learn that if you wanna get good at a game. When you remove that from a game you're not hurting the experienced players either, we know how to hitconfirm. No, you're hurting the people trying to learn in an environment that doesn't punish sloppiness.

Some games are dumbed down, others are streamlined. I'd say most games just have bad mechanics vs being dumbed down.

Shooters have been dumbed down quite a bit. There's no leaning in them anymore (for the most part); you can't do something as simple as throw a grenade underhand to throw it right over a wall in front of you; grenade buttons and melee buttons totally change how you play and remove all semblance of premeditation to either of those acts. Many series go backwards like how Ghost Recon Future Soldier had the most amazing cover system (allowing for offensive plays instead of only for defense) and these last 2 Ghost Recons control like shit.

Whereas RPGs are usually streamlined as most RPG mechanics (like loot systems) don't actually add anything and only waste player time like a lot of other RPG mechanics. Anything that keeps you out of the inventory in RPGs is only a good thing. It speaks volumes how much more "housekeeping" you have in video game RPGs compared to PnP RPGs, that's not fun nor is it the core of what makes an RPG an RPG.

Wings012:
Deus Ex Human Revolution and Mankind Divided have been simplified from the original Deus Ex, but to me it is a good thing. It is overall more elegant. There aren't stupid skills that nobody ever sinks points into like goddamn Swimming or Environmental Training.

The original Deus Ex isn't fresh in my mind and I'm sure it has flaws but it did many things so much better than Human Revolution. The fact that you had to pick and choose your augments missing out on the ones you didn't choose meant you actually made a unique character vs in Human Revolution where everyone ended up as the same character (build-wise) and the order you unlocked stuff was the only difference. Also, the energy system in Human Revolution was stupid, your 1st "battery" (or whatever it was) recharged automatically so it made no sense to ever have more energy than just the one unless you were actually going to use something that required more than one.

Wings012:
I didn't mind the changes from Mass Effect 1 to 2. Honestly, all the skill points and stat allocation didn't really make the game better. It was just more fiddliness and busywork. The gunplay in ME1 was utter butts. Having more obfuscating stats, equipment and percentages doesn't make a game more deep or better. Oh hey look I leveled up and got skill points, which I can now use to increase some parameters by a few percent. I'm fine without any of that nonsense, I rather get something more tangible per level up.

Try playing Mass Effect 1 but only levelling up the abilities to the necessary level to unlock the next, putting one point in that. Then try doing the same in Mass Effect 2.

I've done that and in the first game it is a ball ache as enemies quickly begin to overpower you, with your abilities becoming ineffective. In Mass Effect 2 however I can't tell the difference. I once played an ME2 level with just everything unlocked at the basic level and then with everything maxed out (thanks to the Gibbed save editor) and it played out the same way, powers appeared to be as effective at level one as they were fully maxed out. Closing the shutters in the Garrus recruitment mission if you were wondering about the section.

Wings012:
Classes were overall improved in ME2, each with their own unique skills and traits. ME1 classes was quite literally just various proficiencies chopped up and the pool of existing skills just mixed and matched among them. There really wasn't much point to not playing the Soldier in ME1 since you could just hotkey all your companion skills if you wanted access to tech/biotics. Might as well do that and have the plus of being able to use all gun types. ME2 onwards had really fun class specific skills like the Vanguard's Biotic charge so there was kinda a point to playing them.

The thing is in Mass Effect 1 there was a point to bringing certain people with you, as you needed their abilities to support your Shepard's class. In ME23 it didn't matter who you brought with you as Shepard could do everything.

That's what I liked about ME1, you had to make the choice between being effective as possible or bringing your favourite characters with you. ME2 just let that go.

Wings012:
I honestly did not miss the Mako segments. Those were just lazy. Planets were just awful to navigate and ultimately all you get to do is bump your stupid Mako all over the place until you find some generic room of enemies and loot. Repeated a billion times. I'm not quite ready to say that planet surveying is a better alternative, but the Mako planet exploration wasn't great either.

Well we agree on something, at least a little. I enjoyed the Mako segments as they leant a feeling of size to the universe, however as time and replays went on I just found myself taking the most efficient route on the map instead of exploring.

Planet scanning was dull though and sadly kind of necessary if you wanted to level up your equipment, unlike the Mako where you could ignore most stuff and still level up pretty efficiently. Though at least it had a point in ME2, unlike ME3 where it was rendered pointless.

Wings012:
ME2/3 were hella more fun to actively play. Having more superficial stat points, gear and nonsense underneath doesn't improve gameplay. Instead of farting more skill points down a length bar, each level up had more of an effect. Instead of juggling nonsense guns that were all functionally the same besides stats, each gun has its own unique performance and behavior. An action RPG embracing more solid action gameplay is not a bad thing. The roleplaying elements in terms of exploring, talking to people, choices are all still present.

It depends on what you want from the games though. I felt genuine progression in ME1, not in ME2. You could play ME2 with just unlocking every power and not levelling it up and have the same experience. You couldn't do that in ME1.

Quite frankly ME2 is the perfect example of dumbing a game down instead of improving things.

Wings012:
Once you have real time action gameplay, I think it is necessary to cull certain RPG mechanics. Having all sorts of percentages and stats makes sense in turn based/semi-real time type games where you have to simulate what is going on. Lining up my crosshair and having my shot go completely wide because my gun skill is low just feels like garbage. I think there can be a degree of balance, like make crosshair focusing slower, have guns recoil more, scope sway, slower reloads etc - inconvenient shit but circumventable with player action and still believable with regards to a character having low proficiency with a particular weapon. But having shit miss even though it looks like it hits, or in ME1's case - just having derp amounts of spread isn't very nice.

There is a difference though. In ME1 the enemies were tied to the same mechanics as the player. In ME2 however they all had, with the exception of heavy weapons, pinpoint accuracy.

That is perhaps the biggest issue I have with the changes between ME1 and ME2.

Wings012:
DA2 wasn't really that different under the hood from DA1. Combat didn't really become button mashing, at least not on the PC. You could still just set it to auto attack and leave it be. Camera was slightly butts but you could effectively just zoom out and play it like you would DA1. Level design was complete and utter butts though with the worst degree of copy-pasted dungeons and silly amounts of enemy spawns. I honestly don't remember DA1 having large and branching dialogue trees, so I'm not sure what you are getting at here. I enjoyed DA2's "take the piss" dialogue option. DA3 is where it completely shat the bed IMO with its bizarre MMO-esque gameplay. Skills were largely dumbed down and the camera became even worse.

On this we can completely agree. Origins is a great example of a game becoming more accessible, from the Baldur's Gate games, but still keeping enough complexity to keep fans of those games happy.

I first played Dragon Age II on PC so didn't understand the comments about how much better the combat was. It was the same combat system with really quite minor tweaks, such as not being able to guzzle potions at will.

Elfgore:
The better word to use is streamlining. Since sometimes, it vastly improves the game. Like in the case of Mass Effect, streamlining is an improvement. One of the most criticized aspects of Mass Effect 1 was how horrendous the inventory system was. There was just way to many skills that could have easily been merged. Do I think the all or nothing approach was needed? No, but it was an improvement in my eyes when they streamlined it. I actually dislike Andromeda since they brought way too much of that stuff back.

What makes you think any of the unreleased games are going to be making a comeback to the "good 'ole days"? They look no different than what we have now.

Thank you for bringing that up. Every time I play ME1, I'm reminded how the Inventory system is a giant PITA and how much I appreciated ME2 changing it out for something better.

Also, speaking of complexity, anyone ever played a game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura"? Because I've tried several times and the sheer complexity of the stat and character screen, coupled with the difficulty of the starter area if you didn't allocate your stats correctly, has lead to me restarting again and again trying to build a decent, viable character. It's a game I'd love to play, but the interface and character skill upgrades are FAR too complex for their own good. It's no wonder the game ended up fading into obscurity.

Dalisclock:

Thank you for bringing that up. Every time I play ME1, I'm reminded how the Inventory system is a giant PITA and how much I appreciated ME2 changing it out for something better.

I mean mechanically speaking, ME1 was a bit of a hot mess. The planets were barren, the combat was slow, clunky and poorly balanced, the abilities were boring, the inventory system was famously painful, and the stat system was kinda half-baked in all honesty. You played Mass Effect for the narrative promise and worldbuilding, not the gameplay.

Phoenixmgs:

Shooters have been dumbed down quite a bit. There's no leaning in them anymore (for the most part); you can't do something as simple as throw a grenade underhand to throw it right over a wall in front of you; grenade buttons and melee buttons totally change how you play and remove all semblance of premeditation to either of those acts. Many series go backwards like how Ghost Recon Future Soldier had the most amazing cover system (allowing for offensive plays instead of only for defense) and these last 2 Ghost Recons control like shit.

I do miss leaning. While some shooters with cover systems essentially have a sort of 'substitute' for leaning, I much prefer just manually walking up to, crouching and leaning around whatever in game geometry there is than deal with cover mechanics. Now I'm remember just how god awful the contextual sticky cover in ME1 is.

I bloody love grenade/melee buttons though. In older FPSes, I'd just be walking and shooting for most part and rarely using grenades. Older FPS melee weapons weren't a real component of your arsenal even since they were piss weak(maybe with a few exceptions like the UT impact hammer) and really just existed as something to use when you ran out of ammo. In something like Halo and FEAR, I'd be mixing in melee and grenades in my entire repertoire of play.

Phoenixmgs:

The original Deus Ex isn't fresh in my mind and I'm sure it has flaws but it did many things so much better than Human Revolution. The fact that you had to pick and choose your augments missing out on the ones you didn't choose meant you actually made a unique character vs in Human Revolution where everyone ended up as the same character (build-wise) and the order you unlocked stuff was the only difference. Also, the energy system in Human Revolution was stupid, your 1st "battery" (or whatever it was) recharged automatically so it made no sense to ever have more energy than just the one unless you were actually going to use something that required more than one.

I don't see this of much of a big deal. Is your character really that unique? And are some of the aug choices even real choices? There's literally no reason to use Energy Shield over Regeneration.

I'm actually not fussed about games allowing me to gain every ability in a single playthrough. Maybe it bothers those who really want to roleplay what to perceive to be their own character. But I honestly rather be able to play as I wish as I go rather than be locked into a certain play style because of my build.

If there's any choices or roleplaying to be made within a game, I rather it be more about dialogue choices and plot/scenario paths rather than what I see as essentially missing out on a chunk of gameplay options.

Kingdoms of Amalur was great with its free character respecs. I got bored of playing a rogue, and was able to just respec as a chakram slinging wizard. And while I enjoyed the game, it's not a game that I really want to play multiple times just to re-experience the entire thing with different builds.

I'm not big on replaying a game with different character builds either. As I age, I find I don't have the time and energy for that and would rather be playing a new game.

votemarvel:
sense of progression stuff

If you buy into the illusion, more power to you. But I never really saw it as much of a plus in a lot of RPGs. Enemies gain more health and do more damage as the game progresses, so you increase your own stats to balance it back out. It's kinda pissing back and forth a bit isn't it? Sure you can find more potent gear as opposed to ME2's static equipment, but functionally the game still plays the same. Fighting numbers with numbers. For ME2 getting a new gun something may not have increased or progressed your power or abilities, but it was a clear cut new option which offered something distinctly different from your previous guns beyond numbers.

Some games do it right but I don't count ME1 as one of them. The gameplay was rather horrible throughout and I didn't really feel a sense of progression. Numbers were just going up across the board. The skill design really wasn't nuanced enough that I felt more powerful or felt like I had more options as I went along. Maybe ME2 doesn't have that feeling either but it was still a lot more fun to play, even if I was just Vanguard charging everything for 40 odd hours.

I think something like Deus Ex or Dishonored handles it somewhat better since the additional skills/abilities/augs are opening up new options of play and higher power spikes without the whole fiddling around with numbers.

Dalisclock:

Also, speaking of complexity, anyone ever played a game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura"? Because I've tried several times and the sheer complexity of the stat and character screen, coupled with the difficulty of the starter area if you didn't allocate your stats correctly, has lead to me restarting again and again trying to build a decent, viable character. It's a game I'd love to play, but the interface and character skill upgrades are FAR too complex for their own good. It's no wonder the game ended up fading into obscurity.

I tried to. I finally got through character creation, overall not knowing what the hell was going on. Watched my character auto attack and miss 90% of his attacks on some random wolf in the starting map and I didn't feel like playing any more of it. I was hankering for a Fallout 2-esque Black Isle experience and thought that maybe this was it... nope. Makes me appreciate SPECIAL. It's far more elegant and easy to understand than most stuff.

Complexity =/ depth.

I haven't seen a single thing to suggest it has passed. If anything I think it has only just hit its stride, and it's going to get a lot worse before it starts getting any better.

No, it will not even begin to pass until Games-As-A-Live-Service is dead and buried.

I dont know, The Elder Scrolls 6 isnt out yet. Will decide then, maybe.

Samtemdo8:
Because to me this was a talking point issue back in the Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii days of gaming.

Where long time game franchises had their a lot of their legacy features and challenges removed and nerfed to become easier and accessible so that new players can get into it thus increasing possible sales.

There were a lot of examples of this but I think the most notable was Bioware games at the time.

Specifically the jump from Mass Effect 1 to 2 and Dragon Age Origins to 2.

Mass Effect 2 removed a lot of things from 1 that made it feel like it was "dumb down" they nerfed the amount of skills you can have, they removed the planet exploration on the MAKO vehicle and replaced it with Planet Scanning. And became even more like a FPS.

Dragon Age 2 was even worse in that regard. No making your own character, combat became a button masher, no large and braching dialoge trees, now we have the Mass Effect wheel which is actually limiting, everything felt smaller, etc, etc.

But back on topic, this was a trend that we gamers hated back then, but I feel that now that trend is now passed us. Like I feel new games now both AAA and Indie have offered experiences that don't feel like they are dumb and easy so that everyone can play them. Like Doom Eternal for one was bringing back the old school gaming challenge. The upcoming RPGs like Cyberpunk, Vampire Bloodlines 2, and System Shock 3 seems to bring back the depth that RPGs are sorely lacking.

At least during the 1st half gen 7 I preferred this over the "liivvvvvve services" a majority of the Western AAA is spitting shit these days. The overuse of micro transactions should be your bigger concern. There will always be idiots saying how they "dumb downed", "casualized", or streamlined this. Streamlining is not a bad thing as even back then you could see this in the days of the 16-bit era if you look hard enough. The only time I felt a game truly dumb downed was the DmC reboot. We already know how that went. Luckily for me, and many others (if only some of them bothered to actually look), there are many games I can play that don't involve the unholy trinity.

Wings012:
I do miss leaning. While some shooters with cover systems essentially have a sort of 'substitute' for leaning, I much prefer just manually walking up to, crouching and leaning around whatever in game geometry there is than deal with cover mechanics. Now I'm remember just how god awful the contextual sticky cover in ME1 is.

I bloody love grenade/melee buttons though. In older FPSes, I'd just be walking and shooting for most part and rarely using grenades. Older FPS melee weapons weren't a real component of your arsenal even since they were piss weak(maybe with a few exceptions like the UT impact hammer) and really just existed as something to use when you ran out of ammo. In something like Halo and FEAR, I'd be mixing in melee and grenades in my entire repertoire of play.

Leaning is actually more useful in the open, it allows you to stay "mobile" while shooting without movement penalties. Also, leaning is a great way to quickly correct your aim without risk of overcompensating (mainly with a controller). Contextual anything is pretty much garbage; when a game tries to predict what you want to do, it's going to fail XX% of the time like the asinine same button for cover and rolling in Uncharted. The game (MGS4) that allowed for underhanding grenades (and leaning) had zero contextual controls and allowed several more player inputs. Good control schemes can be attained if the devs care enough.

The thing with grenade and melee buttons in a PvP environment totally ruins a good chunk of decision making. Any shooter with medium to high health allows someone losing a gunfight to chuck a grenade at the last second to kill the person they just lost a gunfight to. Then close encounters in PvP result in both players mashing the melee button as they circle around. Having to switch from your gun to a grenade or melee forces you to think a step ahead.

I don't see this of much of a big deal. Is your character really that unique? And are some of the aug choices even real choices? There's literally no reason to use Energy Shield over Regeneration.

I'm actually not fussed about games allowing me to gain every ability in a single playthrough. Maybe it bothers those who really want to roleplay what to perceive to be their own character. But I honestly rather be able to play as I wish as I go rather than be locked into a certain play style because of my build.

If there's any choices or roleplaying to be made within a game, I rather it be more about dialogue choices and plot/scenario paths rather than what I see as essentially missing out on a chunk of gameplay options.

Kingdoms of Amalur was great with its free character respecs. I got bored of playing a rogue, and was able to just respec as a chakram slinging wizard. And while I enjoyed the game, it's not a game that I really want to play multiple times just to re-experience the entire thing with different builds.

I'm not big on replaying a game with different character builds either. As I age, I find I don't have the time and energy for that and would rather be playing a new game.

You shouldn't be able to get everything in an RPG. It's what makes anything from say Boarderlands to Monster Hunter great to think of builds and how skills/powers/abilities/etc all interplay with each other. And, yeah, you should totally be able to Respec in any game so you can try out different stuff, but having all the stuff isn't good.

I totally agree that dialogue and story choices are far far better to making an RPG great. You don't even need character builds in an RPG, why can't I just role-play as a master ninja? Progression is one of the mechanics that became essential to RPGs that really isn't. There's no reason you have to always start at some level 1 nobody. Also, combat is not nearly that important (or needed) in RPGs either, there's TONS more characters that aren't combat oriented that I guess aren't worthy of role-playing. Video game RPGs stick to combat because it's just far far easier than creating worlds and stories that react to your decisions.

Absofuckenlootly not have we not passed the trend of dumbing down games. Back in the day you had to worry about a game being bugged and unwinnable, or you doing something that would put you in a lose state that you wouldn't realize for another 3 hours, or some labyrinthian control scheme because devs hadn't figured out what works or action games that were unfair since they were designed around either taking as long as possible to win so you couldn't beat them in a rental or eating as many quarters as possible. Thats how games used to be, none of this wasd press space to jump bullshit. Back in the day if you lost the manual you were fucked, good luck figuring out how any of the game systems worked and you know what, we only put up with it since there was nothing else to do.

Phoenixmgs:

The thing with grenade and melee buttons in a PvP environment totally ruins a good chunk of decision making. Any shooter with medium to high health allows someone losing a gunfight to chuck a grenade at the last second to kill the person they just lost a gunfight to. Then close encounters in PvP result in both players mashing the melee button as they circle around. Having to switch from your gun to a grenade or melee forces you to think a step ahead.

I see this as a matter of preference and also different styles of shooters. Some people prefer a more methodical thoughtful experience, others prefer a more frantic reflex based experience. I personally would play FEAR Combat over CS any day.

I think melee/grenade buttons can be balanced in such a way that it doesn't always turn into a spammy shitshow. Make it slower to get the grenade out. Have grenade priming be a thing, so that a last minute grenade thrown isn't even going to explode anywhere near in time to matter. Have melee recovery be long enough so that you will absolutely get punished if you miss it.

And in a way, having grenades and melee available so quickly changes where the thinking happens. Knowing that someone could easily knife you or drop a grenade at your feet, you're going to have to think about how to decisively take someone down in an ambush rather than just being the first to open fire.

I also think having more options available to you at any one time can make for more complex interactions.

I don't see having these additional buttons as a particular dumbing down of mechanics. They can be used in such a way, but are not inherently so. It's a convenience I have gotten used to and would rather see stay.

Phoenixmgs:

You shouldn't be able to get everything in an RPG. It's what makes anything from say Boarderlands to Monster Hunter great to think of builds and how skills/powers/abilities/etc all interplay with each other. And, yeah, you should totally be able to Respec in any game so you can try out different stuff, but having all the stuff isn't good.

I agree only to a limited extent whether RPGs should allow the player to unlock everything. If it's to prevent the player from being a stupidly overpowered force of nature, yeah sure. In something like Deus Ex HR/MD, it's not too bad since you can't feasibly use all your augs at once anyway. They are mostly all just more options for you to solve problems with. Augs are kinda self regulating because of power requirements. Certain games are designed to accommodate the idea of builds, and others not so much.

Being able to respec is going to be the most elegant solution IMO. Monster Hunter actually fits my idea of having everything available to a player. Since your build is completely tied to equipment, which can be accumulated and swapped at will.

Dreiko:
*snippitysnap*This is crucial because it teaches the player to stop autopiloting and actually pay attention at how they land their hits. It teaches you how to think right and you want to learn that if you wanna get good at a game. When you remove that from a game you're not hurting the experienced players either, we know how to hitconfirm. No, you're hurting the people trying to learn in an environment that doesn't punish sloppiness.

...yeah, like I said, that's subjective. Adding a homework barrier doesn't inherently make actual play any better, "balancing" issues or no. (Though I don't see how making things more complex makes it easier to balance)

Dive kick has two buttons.

altnameJag:

Dreiko:
*snippitysnap*This is crucial because it teaches the player to stop autopiloting and actually pay attention at how they land their hits. It teaches you how to think right and you want to learn that if you wanna get good at a game. When you remove that from a game you're not hurting the experienced players either, we know how to hitconfirm. No, you're hurting the people trying to learn in an environment that doesn't punish sloppiness.

...yeah, like I said, that's subjective. Adding a homework barrier doesn't inherently make actual play any better, "balancing" issues or no. (Though I don't see how making things more complex makes it easier to balance)

Dive kick has two buttons.

Any competitive game has that, the only difference is whether your homework is fun to do or not because if it is that's gonna motivate you to keep going and improve.

Divekick is a literal meme game with fgc jokes. It's not really something anyone is interested in seriously. Even when it had just come out people mainly either ignored it completely or messed around in it for like a month while focusing on their main games. (back then I was on BBCP and accent core +R I believe)

Yes, because we've now reached the trend of 'programming base-game tedium and enforced grind so it can be solved by the miracle of micro-transaction game boosts and enhancers'.

Yes and No. On the one hand, someone, somewhere, always thinks they've built a better mousetrap; and sometimes they're right. Elegance without loosing too much versatility just happens to be one type of betterment.

But one form of dumbing down that does seem to be on the way out is publisher interference. Gone are the days when a publisher would say 'we love your new space game, but trim down the dynamic economy and shield/weapon types' (I'm looking at you, Freelancer). Unfortunately, the way most publishers did that was to simply stop publishing niche titles.

Johnny Novgorod:

CritialGaming:

Johnny Novgorod:

I don't think that's a good comparison, that's two very different games altogether. Mario Bros. is "about" getting all the way to the right of the screen. Mario Odyssey is about a thousand different things. A better comparison would be Super Metroid vs. whichever was the last one. If you ignore the shitty blitzball spin-off, Metroid has always been about finding your way through a maze, with complexity being added to the same basic premise over and over.

By that logic you (or anyone) can't say that Fallout 3 is a dumbing down from Fallout 2. Because they are very different games right?

No, they're both first person shooters where you run around, point your gun and you shoot enemies. I wouldn't call them "very different", even if you can do more shit in 3.

Fallout 2 had an isometric viewpoint like the first one. Anyways, I remember reading dozens of Steam reviews of all these games back when I was mildly interested, and apparently the first two are the only "challenging" or "hardcore" games in the series. The turn-based combat was a big part of that along with just "figuring things out", and after a few hours with the original game I realized it required more patience from the player than the joy that it would give back in return.

hanselthecaretaker:

Johnny Novgorod:

CritialGaming:

By that logic you (or anyone) can't say that Fallout 3 is a dumbing down from Fallout 2. Because they are very different games right?

No, they're both first person shooters where you run around, point your gun and you shoot enemies. I wouldn't call them "very different", even if you can do more shit in 3.

Fallout 2 had an isometric viewpoint like the first one. Anyways, I remember reading dozens of Steam reviews of all these games back when I was mildly interested, and apparently the first two are the only ?challenging? or ?hardcore? games in the series. The turn-based combat was a big part of that along with just ?figuring things out?, and after a few hours with the original game I realized it required more patience from the player than the joy that it would give back in return.

Whoops, sorry - I don't know why I read that as Far Cry 2 and Far Cry 3.

I thought the MAKO sections in ME1 were pretty universally unpopular? The planet-scanning in ME2, though a bit rudimentary, was still better than the awful MAKO driving. In fact, ME2 was generally the better game, and I don't think that's a controversial opinion.

Wings012:
I see this as a matter of preference and also different styles of shooters. Some people prefer a more methodical thoughtful experience, others prefer a more frantic reflex based experience. I personally would play FEAR Combat over CS any day.

I think melee/grenade buttons can be balanced in such a way that it doesn't always turn into a spammy shitshow. Make it slower to get the grenade out. Have grenade priming be a thing, so that a last minute grenade thrown isn't even going to explode anywhere near in time to matter. Have melee recovery be long enough so that you will absolutely get punished if you miss it.

And in a way, having grenades and melee available so quickly changes where the thinking happens. Knowing that someone could easily knife you or drop a grenade at your feet, you're going to have to think about how to decisively take someone down in an ambush rather than just being the first to open fire.

I also think having more options available to you at any one time can make for more complex interactions.

I don't see having these additional buttons as a particular dumbing down of mechanics. They can be used in such a way, but are not inherently so. It's a convenience I have gotten used to and would rather see stay.

You can have gameplay as really fast-paced without the said buttons. MGS4's online component is probably as fast-paced a shooter you'll see on consoles without melee or grenade buttons; it had small maps and gave each player 3 grenades. Outside of the initial fight for territory on the start of rounds, grenades weren't spammy because you had to decide if you were gunfighting or grenading, you couldn't do both at the same time. Whereas the 3x frags in COD4 is infamous.

I do agree you can make grenades not spammy with longer animations. MOH Warfighter (really fantastic MP actually) had noobtubes take a couple of seconds to "ready" via an animation, which stops players from noobtubing on a whim and what makes them so annoying in most games. The problem with fixing it with animations is that grenades and melees are using up precious buttons on a controller leading to the dreaded contextual actions. Weapon switching saves buttons that can be used for other actions like aforementioned leaning or some other mechanic to make your game unique instead of just playing exactly like every other shooter because the control scheme is identical.

I feel you still have to plan for the same number of variables as weapon switching came be instantaneous like MGS4 so the other player can melee you at pretty much any point but it takes that extra analysis of is it worth it to give up my main offense weapon for even just a second and/or have to utilize the environment / overall positioning to get a "worthy" window for a melee attack vs just pressing a single button and see what happens. At the heart of every competitive shooter is positioning as you want to put yourself in a better position than your opponent when you engage in combat regardless if that is simply shooting someone in the back or positioning on the much much more micro-level like leaning in the open during a gunfight to tip those odds of in your favor. To me, a depth of a shooter is how much there is to that micro-level positioning that you can do to tip those initial 50/50 odds in your favor to win that fight. That's why my favorite PvP shooters are rather unpopular games like MGS4's online, MOH Warfighter (leaning and sliding), Ghost Recon Future Soldier's cover system is a dream of positioning opportunities.

Silvanus:
I thought the MAKO sections in ME1 were pretty universally unpopular? The planet-scanning in ME2, though a bit rudimentary, was still better than the awful MAKO driving. In fact, ME2 was generally the better game, and I don't think that's a controversial opinion.

I heard several people say that they missed them in ME2 (or more specifically, they missed being able to explore planets in a freely manner)

Dalisclock:
Also, speaking of complexity, anyone ever played a game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura"? Because I've tried several times and the sheer complexity of the stat and character screen, coupled with the difficulty of the starter area if you didn't allocate your stats correctly, has lead to me restarting again and again trying to build a decent, viable character. It's a game I'd love to play, but the interface and character skill upgrades are FAR too complex for their own good. It's no wonder the game ended up fading into obscurity.

Yes, played it through, still had the feeling of having probably missed the whole game. But considering it is about exploration, didn't waht to try with a guide or walkthrough.

I liked the complexity of the charater building but felt it did not do a god job at explaing the consequences of your choices for such important desicions in the beginning. And even later. It was always difficult to jusge what all the crafting would get you, how the results would compare to loot and wheather you would even find the materials to craft the stuff you just unlocked with your scarce build points.

But i never felt that the game was particularly hard.

CaitSeith:

Silvanus:
I thought the MAKO sections in ME1 were pretty universally unpopular? The planet-scanning in ME2, though a bit rudimentary, was still better than the awful MAKO driving. In fact, ME2 was generally the better game, and I don't think that's a controversial opinion.

I heard several people say that they missed them in ME2 (or more specifically, they missed being able to explore planets in a freely manner)

And I am sure we were all expecting an improvement of the Planet Exploration/MAKO Driving. Make the planets less barren and actually have some life to it.

But no, we get Planet Scanning from the safety of the ship that feels even more tedious.

I don't know how Andromeda handled it though and that game is universaly panned.

CaitSeith:

Silvanus:
I thought the MAKO sections in ME1 were pretty universally unpopular? The planet-scanning in ME2, though a bit rudimentary, was still better than the awful MAKO driving. In fact, ME2 was generally the better game, and I don't think that's a controversial opinion.

I heard several people say that they missed them in ME2 (or more specifically, they missed being able to explore planets in a freely manner)

I missed the MAKO like I miss getting punched in the balls. It handled like shit, its was balanced from a gameplay perspective like crap and its missions were guilty of the same copy-pasted cave bullshit that people like to lynch DragonAge II for.

Sometimes, as much as there might be a niche of player that enjoyed it, there are features that aren't worth preserving from installment to installment. Mind, the Firewalker in ME2 was worse so from that I personally perceive the lesson to be 'vehicle combat in Mass Effect is a waste of fucking time'.

Satinavian:

Dalisclock:
Also, speaking of complexity, anyone ever played a game called "Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura"? Because I've tried several times and the sheer complexity of the stat and character screen, coupled with the difficulty of the starter area if you didn't allocate your stats correctly, has lead to me restarting again and again trying to build a decent, viable character. It's a game I'd love to play, but the interface and character skill upgrades are FAR too complex for their own good. It's no wonder the game ended up fading into obscurity.

Yes, played it through, still had the feeling of having probably missed the whole game. But considering it is about exploration, didn't waht to try with a guide or walkthrough.

I liked the complexity of the charater building but felt it did not do a god job at explaing the consequences of your choices for such important desicions in the beginning. And even later. It was always difficult to jusge what all the crafting would get you, how the results would compare to loot and wheather you would even find the materials to craft the stuff you just unlocked with your scarce build points.

But i never felt that the game was particularly hard.

I'm sure it isn't hard once you get a good character roll going and get in the grove of things. I just never managed to get that far. I was still stuck in the "My combat skills are shit, I can't talk my way past the things I really need to to compensate and I can't get enough EXP/leveling to make up the difference either way" early game hell stage.

Kinda like Fallout 2 had but far more obnoxious. Fallout 2 penalized you if you weren't a melee unarmed fighter for the first couple hours due the lack of guns worth a damn(Fallout 1 allowed you to get some decent ranged weapons pretty quickly) but beyond that had a pretty good difficulty curve.

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