What do you despise in a game?

Diretooth

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We all have that thing in a game that we despise with all of out hearts, whether it's a scrappy mechanic, something that just doesn't seem to belong, or even something relatively minor.

For instance, I absolutely despise when every single town has a default theme, no matter if it's extremely beautiful or if it's downright horrible to listen to. This is why I like to have as many themes for cities and towns as possible, unless the amount is so great it's impractical. (I do, however, tolerate a limited amount spaced out so that you're not hearing the same thing from town to down.)
 

Milennin

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I come across these things way too often in the  RPGs I test:

-Oversized interiors. I hate this, especially when there's no auto-dash. It's ugly and a waste of time to walk through.

-Boring combat. You'd think it'd be more common for people to try to make the combat fun and interesting, but no. Things like starting off with no skills or at all, or only using the boring RTP default skills. No health/mana management outside of potions. Enemies that do nothing but auto-attack. Or enemies that inflict status that you can't deal with except by walking back to the nearest heal point.

-Main characters that show little to no personality in a game without using a silent protagonist.

-No save anywhere. Not quite as common, but very annoying. Only justifiable if you have frequent save points in the right spots.

There's way more, but these are the most common ones in my experience. What's worst is that my very first game fell prey to the first three points, lol. That's so embarrassing.
 
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Aurorain

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While not something I outright despise, a pet peeve of mine is when developers use a water tile meant for an underwater wall as the entire surface of water. Like in this picture, the underwater walls are only there as walls, not everywhere where there's supposed to be water, ya know?

 
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whitesphere

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I think the biggest thing I despise is when combat isn't well balanced.  I've read reviews even of commercial RPGs where the developers didn't bother to make sure combat increased in difficulty in line with the party's abilities.   So you either had a cakewalk (I've been guilty of this one) or insta-death after a reasonable area --- so difficulty did not scale.

Also, I really hate escort missions.  These are the "Make sure this weak, frail NPC makes it through a really nasty area/survives the next round of the assault without dying,"

FFIV had a very challenging game mechanic which I didn't despise ---- the Dark Elf's dungeon which, due to the Dark Elf's magic, means the party cannot use ANY metal equipment.  This made the party, in effect, MUCH weaker and combat much more tense, but it's well played. 
 

Diretooth

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I despise escort missions, there are rarely any fun ones. But the ones that are fun, or at least tolerable, I enjoy those. Bioshock Infinite is basically one giant escort mission, but it's so well done I had no qualms with it. FF6, with Banon, it was tolerable to fun because he had a free healing ability and had a fairly memorable boss fight. The Darkwood Traders in Fable 1 is also tolerable because it's not too difficult and you don't fail if one of them dies. (It also helps that you can sacrifice the infected one and get Skorm's Bow fairly early. :p )

Another mechanic that I dislike are the mechanics that are added, but don't really serve any purpose other than for you to waste time. I'm not talking about mini games, those can be fun time wasters. A good example is farming in Nier. Not only is it required for a specific subquest, but you must spend time and money for it, time which can be spent killing sheep and shades, or progressing the story. It's also a bit of a Guide Dang It because you have to breed certain flowers that don't even exist at the moment. Luckily, this peeve is few and far between for me.
 

Galenmereth

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Bad camera angles and FOV. Super Mario 3D Land is probably the worst offender in recent memory of this. It drives me absolutely up the wall and across the ceiling.
 

HumanNinjaToo

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I'd have to say that I really dislike starting a game with no skills. This really goes along with RM games I've played. Most it seems give you zero skills until you've gained a level or two. Along with that, I dislike starting a game at level 1 in some cases. It seems to me like if you start a game a character who's already a fighter or soldier or whatever would start higher than level 1 and have a skill or two at their disposal.
 

Alexander Amnell

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Having a standard free attack and guard command. I'm sorry but in almost no situation will sacrificing your turn to take half damage for only that turn be a sound strategy. You wanna tweak the guard a bit, it could work, but who the heck ever uses the freakish default? The free 'normal attack. Is even worse. Most of the time it's used as a cost less skill for taking out weak enemies, and at it's worst it can even turn into your main attack due to bs stat scaling (think ff7 or ff8 near endgame.) if there are sections of your game where fighting requires no more strategy than mashing a single action over and over again then you are doing something seriously wrong, the whole skill concept is a crutch for horrible balencing, and should be burned and thrown out the window.
 

Sailerius

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There are two mechanics that will make me put down almost any game without a second thought:

-Random encounters. It's not 1990 anymore.

-Save points. It's not 1990 anymore.

Other terrible mechanics:

-Timing elements added to otherwise completely turn-based games. This usually takes the form of quick-time events for super attacks or "timed hits" crap like from Super Mario RPG. If a game is turn-based, it should be 100% turn-based. Don't deceive the player about what kind of gameplay your game has.

-Escape chances. If you're going to make escape an option, it should just work. Chrono Cross is the game to emulate here. If you don't want the player to escape, then don't give them the option at all.

-Status effects which make you unable to control your own characters. This includes sleep, paralysis, confusion, charm, etc. Taking control away from the player in the midst of gameplay is never fun. It turns the game into a movie.

-Instant death. Go die in a fire.

-Forced "filler" quests. Sidequests which boil down to collecting 20 stamps or killing 15 bears are shallow and uninteresting enough as they are but at least I can avoid them. Never, ever force the player to do something like that because it's boring and monotonous.

-Fishing minigames.

-Items having a rare drop chance. This is doubly inexcusable if there's a quest that requires you to get one of these items. This is quadruply inexcusable if the main plot requires you to do this!

-Grinding. If I ever die against a boss and am unable to beat it after multiple tries, then when I look for help beating it I'm informed that I'm too low a level, I'm pretty much just done with your game. If your combat is so badly-designed that you need to rely on forcing the player to go out of their way to waste their time fighting meaningless encounters over and over in order to inject challenge into it, then your gameplay is fundamentally broken. Level should never be a deciding factor for whether or not you can overcome a challenge. And if you feel the need to respond to this with "that would make the game too easy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" then you are part of the problem and should seriously rethink how you create interesting challenges in a game.
 
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bgillisp

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Excessive grinding. Too many games these days force  you to stop and grind, grind, grind to advance the plot (Tales of Xilla 2 was an offender of that...constantly stopping to grind another 100000 G to advance the story).

Another one? Slow battles due to too many animations. FF7 and FF8 are guilty of this. Cast the summon...see the long animation over and over and over and...you get the idea. This is actually the reason I don't use visual battlers in my game I'm making, I find having to watch the attack animation/spell animation + character moving + enemy moving slows down the fights quite a bit.

One more...finite resources. Games without random fights tend to be guilty of this one as if you don't put in enemies that respawn anywhere, then the player can only get x level by a fixed point in the game, and no higher, as all the enemies are dead. If that ends up being not enough to win the boss fight, then you are stuck. Too many games that move away from random fights have been guilty of this recently (Might and Magic X did this, and so did Might and Magic 4 and 5 back in the 90's).
 

Alexander Amnell

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@bigilips: how can you both hate grinding and finite resources? They are opposing problems. If you can grind then resources are unlimited, if you cannot grind then they become finite as a side effect. If you can grind but it is unnecessary to do so then the game can't decide what it wants to be and I hate that, games that try to please everyone at once with way to many systems. It just makes the game tedious.
 

bgillisp

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I said excessive grinding, not grinding. Yes, they are opposite problems, but the *option* to grind should be there, in case you don't agree with the finite resources you have at hand. That is what I'm saying. Some games handle this by putting in an area where fights respawn. Might and Magic 6 - 8 handled this by having the area respawn all fights after x time passed. There are ways to handle this and still not become an excessive grind.
 
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Diretooth

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There are two mechanics that will make me put down almost any game without a second thought:

-Random encounters. It's not 1990 anymore.

-Save points. It's not 1990 anymore.

Other terrible mechanics:

-Timing elements added to otherwise completely turn-based games. This usually takes the form of quick-time events for super attacks or "timed hits" crap like from Super Mario RPG. If a game is turn-based, it should be 100% turn-based. Don't deceive the player about what kind of gameplay your game has.

-Escape chances. If you're going to make escape an option, it should just work. Chrono Cross is the game to emulate here. If you don't want the player to escape, then don't give them the option at all.

-Status effects which make you unable to control your own characters. This includes sleep, paralysis, confusion, charm, etc. Taking control away from the player in the midst of gameplay is never fun. It turns the game into a movie.

-Instant death. Go die in a fire.

-Forced "filler" quests. Sidequests which boil down to collecting 20 stamps or killing 15 bears are shallow and uninteresting enough as they are but at least I can avoid them. Never, ever force the player to do something like that because it's boring and monotonous.

-Fishing minigames.

-Items having a rare drop chance. This is doubly inexcusable if there's a quest that requires you to get one of these items. This is quadruply inexcusable if the main plot requires you to do this!

-Grinding. If I ever die against a boss and am unable to beat it after multiple tries, then when I look for help beating it I'm informed that I'm too low a level, I'm pretty much just done with your game. If your combat is so badly-designed that you need to rely on forcing the player to go out of their way to waste their time fighting meaningless encounters over and over in order to inject challenge into it, then your gameplay is fundamentally broken. Level should never be a deciding factor for whether or not you can overcome a challenge. And if you feel the need to respond to this with "that would make the game too easy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" then you are part of the problem and should seriously rethink how you create interesting challenges in a game.
Implemented badly, those things can be horrible. Random Encounters and save points are a design choice that can add or detract from a game based on the preferences of a player.

Status effects that remove player control and instant death can add challenge to the game, if implemented properly as well. For instance, if I have either or both, I give the player a certain amount of resistance to them, and the ability to resist further, or completely nullify it.

Filler quests can be enjoyable if done properly. When I do filler quests, I make them give more backstory and more life to the game. (A decent romance subplot, even if it's between two NPCs, can be good.)

I agree with fishing. It gets boring fast.

Rare drops are a bit iffy for me, I only have them if it's a powerful item.

As for grinding, I agree. You shouldn't have to grind to proceed. FF13 is guilty of this, in my eyes, though the battle system makes it a bit less tedious for myself.

The ideal is, if you can go through the main game normally, while fighting every monster you come across based on going from point A to point B, and the bosses still being challenging, but fun, then you've done it perfectly. Grinding should only ever be a personal choice.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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I like grinding, I really do. Though IMHO, if I'm playing a game in normal or easy mode, I would expect that I could still finish it without grinding. Unless it's a hack and slash RPG/dungeon crawler with fast-paced actions.


As for timing mechanisms in turn-based games, I do like a little bit of creativity. I find things like ATB fun, as long as there isn't an enemy that is super fast that you cannot get a turn anymore (Ex. Shiva in FFX-2, if you don't have enough agility, you'd probably never get a chance to attack at all)


One thing I hate though would be the way items work in Ys Origin. Things like the dragon scale which allows you to breathe underwater was an "item" so when I use things like the crystal (to teleport) or the potion that increaes maximum HP while I'm using the dragon scale, I would need to use the scale again for it to work. They should have made it a perma effect or an equip instead.
 
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Sparta

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The one thing I cannot stand in a game? Well, this is a bit of a two-fer....but....

bad dialogue. As in, something you would never hear come out of a character's mouth. I can understand a character talking differently than most people, but when they lack a consistency it drives me up the wall.

There is a second part to this though. Which is bad voice acting. One part dialogue, and one part delivery. When I can hear them breathe or spit into the microphone, and it makes it into the final cut of the game, it makes my toes cringe...
 

SergeX

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Overall Balance. I dont like when the final stages of a game get too easy. See Altima on FFTatics. See SMT IV: at advanced points you can almost insta-kill even bosses. Its like the devs didn't predicted that player would make wise use of the mechanics (like skill heritance to fuse OP demons). The result? Final battles were a pushover, which ruins for me the sense of danger and challenge -  always necessary in any battle. I remember even today my battle with Ultimecia in FFVIII because was engaging. When final battles are easy, the game for me ends partially on a bland note. And it seems more and more usual nowadays, with some exceptions  - Nyx Avatar (P3), Izanami (P4),Caius and Bhunivelze (FFXIII) . Also, not interested on need-to-grind impossible battles. Its a lot different from challeging battles.

Bland soundtrack. Or worse: devs, trying to impress and please everybody, so they pick up the most generic song choices or trend "genres". See:

FFXIII-2: OST without coesion at all. Although Caius Theme is one of the most memorable FF songs in a long time since the departure of Nobuo, it falls off place when next we're hearing electronic woob-woob and then scream with guitars (which I hate more than anything). If theres a dev choice to put lots of genres  in game, it has to be really well executed and meditated to work, or else will seem like is trying too much to appeal everybody.

The new DMC: the worst soundtrack I ever heard. Ininteligible noise and "dubstep", cuz it was trend. Is not a song choice made because it makes a union with the game thematics; its to please players and demands of market. Most of time songs didn't fit the circunstances. Maybe the problem is not even dubstep, but just the that songs were plain bad. But why to put such a genre? Of course, because was trend, but not executed on a good way. Its never good put something just cuz is what everybody is talking about if what you'll deliver is a generic version of that thing.

Oh yeah. What I despise the most are things in a game made just to please the market. Rarely something good will come to light. Most of times, generic stuff. See FFXIII trying to make a "ocidental RPG". Of course, they cannot totally ignore the needs of public, because we're talking about industry, but.... Thats why I love RPGMaker, we have a lot of freedom (not restrained by deadlines, more freedom to explore themes forgotten by industry in general, etc etc). And under this topic: way females are represented. Intending to appeal the male players (unfortunately the major public), we see absurd armor design just to show unreal big tits and etc. Or Damsel in distress: women can never do things on their own; their role is either dying, sacrificing themselves so male hero can proceed, secondary bland roles, being rescued etc - which is the major flaw of FFTatics: more of 50% time the plot device is rescue-that-girl. I'll not even enter on LGBT matter, like: you HAVE to date a girl when I wanna date that cool bearded warrior, er....... ;~~ 

Devs trying to add to the story things that obsviously weren't there to release more content to milk money or appeal the public. P4G and all after-P4-related games, I'm looking at you. Don't force a formula to work twice just to appeal your public. Its ruins the original game. Just move to another project, unless the idea for a sequence is REALLY good. And really good sequence, wise like the first game are rare, because or they depart to absurd new things or get stuck in the mechanism of the first game. Very hard to balance this.

Generic plots, unbelievable characters. You may say that FE: Awakening is a GREAT game. I don't agree, its a good game. Er... Ok, gameplay is cool. But the story is just... generic, predictable and silly. I mean, Chrom and the Exalt are SOOOOOO good persons, its like they're saints, always willing to sacrifice themselves for people, what is very boring and hard to believe. Believable worlds and characters: please. I couldn't proceed to keep playing Asuras Wrath cuz everything is so predictable... From the moment we see the wife of the protagonist we know what will happen (again, generic females portrait). 
 
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Warpmind

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Inconsistent or merely sloppy grammar and spelling.
I've endured such phrases as "Experienced Points", "Strenght", and so on, with the occasional correct spelling mixed in in the same bleedin' game.
One of the most impressive such blunders, of course, is the substitution of two words which are a letter apart, but whose meanings differ vastly, and they're not even homophones - as a specific example, I've encountered "sceptic" in the place of "septic", in reference to a sewer... :p

Proofreading, proofreading, proofreading, people. :p
 

Kes

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@warpmind

My pet hate in that sort of thing is "I could care less" which has the exact opposite meaning to what is clearly intended, which is "I couldn't care less".

Renaming everything for no particular reason, so magic becomes Oompahpah power (or whatever)

An unavoidable mini-game needed to progress the story which needs lightning fast reflexes to beat.
 
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Spelling and grammar are the issues that if I see enough of I will stop playing the game.  In a game that's in beta, it's excusable, that's what you're having people test it for.   However, there is absolutely no excuse for a final game to have spelling or grammatical issues, that's poor editing.   I hold books to that standard as well as games.  Those sorts of issues break my immersion because I'll notice the error and it will annoy me, and instead of thinking about the story I'll be focused on that error a few screens back.

As for the ones that will really turn me off though, the first is as ksjp317 said, "could care less".   Really, you could?  Then you care, -obviously- you mean that you could not care less.  The ones that really get me though are wierd and theif, even just writing them that way myself makes me twitch.   Yes, weird is one of the few words in the English language that does not follow the i after e except for after c rule, but there are only a few of them so it is not difficult to remember.   There's no excuse for the error in thief though, none whatsoever.    If I see the word "irregardless" in a game, it's being turned off right then and there no matter how absolutely amazing it had been up to that point.

Another issue that really bothers me is random battles, though it is not the random battles themselves that bother me, it's the poor balance of them.   No one really seems to be able to agree on what the proper amount of steps should be between battles, either that or they use an absolutely horrible random number generation to determine it which can literally lead to taking one step and being in battle again.   There are some games where I do not mind random battles, because they are well-balanced and there are items in the game I can use the decrease the frequency of random battles or turn them off altogether.

The last issue that grates on me are the games where they do not have random battles, but have enemies you can see on screen and are absolutely 100% unavoidable.   If every enemy you run into and see is going to be unavoidable, why make them visible in the first place?   Sure it gives you the "slight" advantage of being able to prepare for the incoming battle, but beyond that there's absolutely no difference between it and random battles.
 

Sailerius

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Implemented badly, those things can be horrible. Random Encounters and save points are a design choice that can add or detract from a game based on the preferences of a player.

Status effects that remove player control and instant death can add challenge to the game, if implemented properly as well. For instance, if I have either or both, I give the player a certain amount of resistance to them, and the ability to resist further, or completely nullify it.

Filler quests can be enjoyable if done properly. When I do filler quests, I make them give more backstory and more life to the game. (A decent romance subplot, even if it's between two NPCs, can be good.)

I agree with fishing. It gets boring fast.

Rare drops are a bit iffy for me, I only have them if it's a powerful item.

As for grinding, I agree. You shouldn't have to grind to proceed. FF13 is guilty of this, in my eyes, though the battle system makes it a bit less tedious for myself.

The ideal is, if you can go through the main game normally, while fighting every monster you come across based on going from point A to point B, and the bosses still being challenging, but fun, then you've done it perfectly. Grinding should only ever be a personal choice.
I have never encountered a single example of any of those things not implemented horribly. Even if a mechanic can theoretically be implemented in a way that's not annoying, if no one can figure out how to do it, then there's really no point arguing about it. I have never played a single game where random encounters or save points did not actively detract from the game's enjoyability.

That said, this topic is "what do you despise in a game?" and I have listed my preferences. Those mechanics are so annoying to me that I will pretty much give up playing any game that I find to use them.

I'm not sure why you're pointing to FF13 as an example of my point since it's one of few games I can name that actually avoids the problem. FF13's gameplay is particularly well-designed such that grinding does not compensate for not knowing how to play the game. I never once had to grind in it, and this is spoken by someone who runs away from almost every battle I can.
 

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