Jan. 3rd, 2017

rynling: (Teh Bowz)
I'm still struggling with The Last Guardian. This game is hard in the way that NES games were hard. It teaches the player a set of rules and then refuses to play by them. Basically, the controls don't work properly.

To give an example of what I mean, there is a point in the game when the following sequence must be undertaken:

(1) The boy climbs onto a pile of rubble.
(2) The boy jumps from the rubble to a free-standing bell tower.
(3) Trico will jump on top of the tower's cupola.
(4) The boy jumps and grabs Trico's hanging tail.
(5) The boy climbs up Trico's tail onto the creature's head.
(6) Trico will look toward a ledge.
(7) The boy jumps from Trico's head onto the ledge.
(8) The boy runs along the ledge to a broken bridge over a pit.
(9) The player jumps over the small gap in the bridge to the other side.

This seems like fairly run-of-the mill video game spatial navigation, except for two things.

First, Trico does what it wants. There are no special trigger points on the map or actions that the boy can take that will ensure Trico positions itself appropriately, so the player frequently has to wait. If Trico doesn't jump onto the bell tower when the boy calls to it, the player has no way of knowing that the game expects the boy to use Trico to get to the higher vantage point. Once the boy is on top of Trico's head, there's no way of knowing that the boy can jump to one specific ledge while Trico is looking in that specific direction. I suppose some gamers are born with an instinct for these things, but I have to rely heavily on a walkthrough.

Second, even if the player knows exactly what the game requires, the boy can't run or jump with any degree of accuracy. The joystick will move the boy, but the shifting camera and its uncomfortable angles mean that it's difficult to translate the directional commands of the joystick into the desired direction of movement onscreen. Moreover, the boy runs when he wants and walks when he wants, and the player can't control his speed. The triangle button will make the boy jump; but, because the player can't control his direction or momentum, there's a lot of trial and error involved – every leap is a leap of faith. This renders the game's platforming maneuvers extremely difficult to pull off. Even something as seemingly simple as hopping over a small gap in a straight bridge will frequently result in multiple time-consuming failures.

I think my problem may simply be that I'm so used to playing Zelda games, which are the absolute pinnacle of 3D adventure exploration. I'm not accustomed to having the mechanics of a game actively work against me, and there's not really a learning curve for mastering controls that aren't consistent.

The worst thing is that The Last Guardian contains a number of dramatic set pieces in which the camera and controls work perfectly, which leads me to believe the developers could have actually made a good game if they had more... resources? staff? time? From what I understand, they had all of these things in spades, but I will admit that I'm not really sure how big budget game development works.

Profile

rynling: (Default)
Rynling R&D

September 2017

S M T W T F S
     1 2
3 4 5 6 789
10 111213 1415 16
17 181920212223
24252627282930

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 22nd, 2017 02:34 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios