05 March 2008

Checkpoint Features


Rant time! I got Lost Odyssey on Monday and I'm still at the very early stages. Anyway I encountered the second boss fight (if you count the big, weird looking flame thrower, masher tank thing as the first). This boss is some big bird creature (not actually Big Bird from Sesame Street; though that would be interesting). You get to it by going up a mountain side finally hitting the top and cresting the hill into a long cutscene. The cutscene throws you straight into a boss fight.

The boss fight, for me, pretty much went you've got to be kidding me while it proceeded to rip my characters into tiny little bits. I had previously seen a save point before the boss which you can't reach due to triggering a cutscene before you get to it. I wondered, with baited breath, if it would make me do the whole mountain again. Thankfully the game designers had thought of this and put an respawn point just before the boss; yeay! sensible game designers. I tried a few more times; each time the bird showing me that immortal is really a relative thing and that my character, who apparently has lived 10,000 years up until now, is as fragile as the next guy. So I thought Why not go back down the hill and do some level grinding rather than hit the cutscene? So I did; after many pointless battles making my way down the hill I went and healed up in some conveniently placed empty cabin before saving and making the trek back up the hill again.

Once again my characters stood on top of a hill. Thankfully I discovered a way to skip the cutscene so I skipped past that to fight the BoD. I got further but it still kicked my not-so-immortal immortal ass. The Game Over words hauntingly appeared before the dialogue for Retry/I Can't Be Bothered Any more came up. I hit Retry and… was put back to my little cabin. Maybe the playtesters were just better than me but surely someone went the same direction as me back down the hill and many fights later? Maybe I wouldn't be so annoyed with the checkpoint logic not being set up to allow for it being invoked again if it wasn't for the fact that I can see a save point when I go into the cutscene. I got annoyed with the prospect of climbing the hill again (after doing some more of the grind) so I gave up for now.

I wonder if this has a place in Ernest Adams No Twinkie Database?

The thing is, some games, like Call of Duty 4 do such a good job of checkpoints that you don't even pay attention to things like saving. Unfortunately for these games the designers getting it right means that no one really even notices what a great job they do. It's only the games that frustrate you that you notice how bad it can be.

No comments: