Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Is Linearity so bad?

Lately I've heard a number of games having one of their cons listed as "linear". When did linearity in games become a scoring point considering its just another way of saying "Story Driven". Throwing in linearity into the same pile as bad camera controls while the former is by design while the latter is just bad design is not fair. The games I've enjoyed the most in the last 3-4 years (God of War series, Uncharted Series, Resident Evil 5, Limbo, The First Assassins Creed) have been largely linear. It has gotten to a point where the developers have to defend the linearity by padding the word with another fancy word, but I say it needs no defence. Perhaps what we need a new genre of games aptly named Linear so that its clear from the get-go.

I love a game with a good story and where the path is set out for me so I can get into what really matters, the gameplay-mechanics. I don't want to worry about how if I do "a" what will be outcome of "b", I already have enough of that in real life. I want it properly spelled out for me so the question is not "if I do" and becomes "how I do" it, I just need the mechanics to be challenging and enjoyable. I don't need a vast limitless world that will keep me playing for months, I want to get to the next instalment of the story OR another game.

One problem I have with uncharted 3 though is the game telling me when I should counter an attack, at times I can clearly see an opponent throwing a punch but no prompt, so regardless of how hard/fast I press the triangle, I still get my ass kicked, that's not linear, just bad mechanics.

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