Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Do We Need Annoying Small Enemies?

Continuing on that podcast, they mention this:

"Games should never include small scuttling enemies that walk across the floor or hover above your head and are really hard to hit and are annoying."

First, I have no problem with small enemies. Enemy variation is good, but I believe there is a wrong way to design small enemies. The podcast notes an enemy in Singularity with an enemy that can kill you with one hit. I"m afraid I haven't played that game.

But I do believe enemy attacks should always have a tell-tale sign. The more grievous the attack, the more evident the hint should be. This is regardless with the size issue, because enemy size is not the issue here.

About attacks that kill you in one hit, as long as the player can anticipate it and have a chance to prevent it, then I think its fine. Dark Souls have some characters that can kill you in one hit, but such attacks are slow in charging up.

In contrast, one mission in Valkyria Chronicles end up with a regular enemy anti-tank unit killing my full-health tank hero unit in one hit. No matter how I looked at it, I think that was really pointless.

So I believe there is a right way, and there is a wrong way of doing one-hit kills.

Each enemy has its own "gimmick", a behavior that circumvents the player's usual method of attack, forcing him to rethink his strategies. They really would have an easy but unusual way to kill them, and the failure is the game not hinting or encouraging the player how to find that out.

So I do hope Singularity's small enemy was designed that it has a weakness.

Hints should be implicit and part of the story. For example, the minotaur boss in God of War starts with a short cutscene of soldiers trying to fight the minotaur and failing horribly. That is enough hint for the player to get that this guy is not to be messed around with.

The podcast mentions the small parasitic enemies in Dead Space. I really had no problem with those enemies because I discovered early on that the assault rifle is an effective weapon to dispatch them. The assault rifle shoots low damaging bullets, but the magazine size is high. One shot is enough to kill one parasite (or more if they are clumped together).

So the game becomes a matter of having "the right tool for the right job". It was odd though, that his experience with this enemy was vastly different from mine. Perhaps he never bothered using the assault rifle.

The podcast then mentions about the big fat necromorph that spawns the little enemies, in that it was unfair, doesn't add any value to the game, and that there was no tactic to fighting them.

I would say instead the surprise there is it punishes greedy players who keep on getting loot. And really, once you've found out about the nasty trick, you would obviously make it a point to avoid falling for it again. You need to make sure to shoot its stocky limbs and not its belly. And do not stomp on its corpse.

Again, this is the idea of each enemy having its own variation.

Did they perhaps feel cheated that they found a type of enemy that they couldn't get loot from?

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Made me post. 0/10.