I’ve noticed that quite often, irrespective of the overall qualities and innovations of a game, developers appear to have a subconscious desire to balance out the attractiveness of the gameplay by introducing game-breaking blunders. What’s even worse is that these mistakes are stereotypical and repeated over and over again, since the dawn of time.
Regardless of how many complaints they receive from the gaming community, the developers show no actual intention to stop introducing frustrating elements anytime soon. But let’s elaborate a bit on the aspects that gamers find extremely tedious and aggravating, particularly because they cannot be avoided if you really want to finish the content.
1. The cutscenes that cannot be skipped and/or paused
The role of the cutscene is to immerse you further in the story and help you understand the events that take place in the game’s universe. However, assuming that the cutscene needs to be replayed at the start of a quest/mission that you end up failing for whatever reason, you will have to re-watch it several times over if the developers decide not to include a skip button. And, in order to make the absence of the feature even more bothersome, the length of the cutscene is usually directly proportional to the difficulty of the mission. At the same time, the inability to pause it doesn’t permit you to take a much needed bathroom break or attend to a spontaneous crisis event without missing a vital piece of the story.
2. The incompatibility between the game and a certain operating system or piece of hardware
One of the latest examples for this issue is the highly anticipated RPG game, Diablo 3. Leaving aside the overall disappointment that the game presented for the diehard fans of the series – Blizzard seems keen on killing its customer base – Diablo 3 has a wide array of incompatibilities with video cards that, based on their benchmarks and technical specifications, should be fully able to support the game. However, if you look on the forums, you will notice a plethora of complaints regarding hardware compatibility issues. Sadly, this is only one example of games with average level graphics that require a monstrous amount of resources or that have not been adapted to function on all platforms.
3. Collectibles with no actual applicability
Batman and L.A. Noire are two highly acclaimed games that include hidden collectibles and respectively clues that serve no purpose. If there is no motivation for the player to actually discover the secret areas aside from level statistics, why would he even bother? And, if he did, he would probably utilize a guide rather than spend hours searching for them.
4. The repetitive nature of the gameplay
Go from point A to point B and deliver this package to NPC X. Kill 10 NPCs and bring me their furs. Shoot 20 enemy soldiers and destroy the doomsday device. Build 10 farms and 2 barracks to spawn 30 foot soldiers. This summarizes the “originality” of the content – which on a side note is getting shorter and shorter – included in the modern games. The gameplay has been recycled so many times that it seems unreasonable to buy yet another war shooter/RPG/strategy game, because they seem to look like variants with different skins.
5. The fact that you need DLC content
I personally find this issue the most aggravating. Instead of getting a full game for my purchase, I find that I have acquired something a bit more than a demo version. Therefore, in order to actually gain access to the content that should have been there in the first place, you need to spend more money on the content that is gradually being released. However beneficial this strategy might be for the developers from the short-term financial point of view, it is slowly killing their clientele.
6. The terrible or unusable loot that you gain from extremely difficult boss encounters
While nobody expects legendary loot dropping from low level mobs – that would probably break the gameplay –, we do however like to be rewarded for completing a challenging encounter. When after several failed attempts you finally manage to down a difficult boss and the loot is similar to what you already have in your inventory, that’s pretty disappointing.
7. The fact that predefined auto-save locations have completely replace the manual saving system
Not denying the fact that the auto-save points are great, particularly when you forget to save your game for a couple of hours, there is absolutely no justification for eliminating the manual saving system. Well, aside from keeping the gamer hooked on the computer for a longer time, because quitting the game before the save point would force you to go through the same area once more.
8. The unbelievably stupid AI of the NPCs
There are modern games – think Skyrim for example – in which the artificial intelligence (A.I.) of the NPCs is lower than the antique, fan-made bots for Quake 1. True, maxing skills like Sneak or Pickpocket has to have an influence on your stealth actions, but it does not constitute grounds for being able to steal a NPCs sword from his hand and clothes off his back without him noticing. Furthermore, in games like Borderlands 2 you will also notice NPCs blocking each other’s path, getting stuck in a narrow doorway or completely forgetting about you and resuming their normal actions when you get out of range, in spite of the fact that you just shot them in the head.
9. The tedious mini-games or the quick react feature imbedded in cutscenes
Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games of all times and this is exactly why players fail to understand why the developers felt the need to introduce the tedious planet scan “mini-game”. Not to mention the fact that it’s vital for the game, because planet scanning is the only way to acquire special resources necessary in the development of your arsenal and improving the ship. At the same time, an aspect that the Mass Effect series and Dead Space 2 have in common is the quick react, which enables you to change the course of a cutscene providing you are fast enough. Most of the time, the player is busy listening/looking at the short film that he just doesn’t see the quick react button. So why introduce it in the first place?
10. The terrible voice acting and even worse scripts
The voice acting is the best way to immerse the gamer into the story if implemented correctly and with the support of professional actors. However, a poor voice acting in combination with a simplistic/stereotypical script that is a surefire method to destroy the game’s experience. When an open world game with thousands of characters have the same basic line of speech and they’re voiced by the same 4-5 actors, you are immediately reminded that you’re in fact playing a game and the whole immersion in the universe is lost.