If there's one thing videogames have become exceedingly good at, it's forcing tedious, mind-numbing busywork upon unsuspecting gamers. Repetitive and tawdry tasks, or uninspired, frustrating, cut-and-paste missions infest an inexcusable number of games, and it's getting pretty dire.
I'm sick of games making me do the same old shit, and it's about time somebody did something. Nothing solves the world's problems quicker than a sarcastic list column, so join me as I stomp my feet over the miserable chores that videogames keep imposing upon me.
Role-playing games are all about immersion, about sinking one's self into an experience and enjoying the flow of a game's world. Nothing breaks that flow quicker than having to stop every five minutes to watch a poorly rendered image of a bit of wire going into a lock.
Picking locks appears to be a firm favorite of Western RPGs, appearing most recently in Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Alpha Protocol. It seems that whenever a game feels like being able to open a door is just too easy, they'll throw some awful, frustrating, poorly explained little lock picking sub-game into the mix.
Lock picking is boring, irritating and contains less gameplay than the first 30 minutes of a Metal Gear Solid game. Stop it!
You can't have lock picking without hacking, right? A huge amount of games these days love to stuff their environments with computer terminals and electronic locks that are just begging to be hacked.
Usually taking the form of a minigame that wouldn't even be considered kosher on the latest Carnival Games knock-off, these insipid little tasks serve no real purpose, are usually completely arbitrary and take you out of the experience in the exact same way as picking locks. When I'm in the middle of a hard-hitting first-person-shooter or sci-fi RPG, the last thing I want to do is stop for five minutes to move little squares around or play "spot the password" like an idiot.
Sneaking around in a non-stealth game
Stealth games are called stealth games because they're all about being stealthy. Action games, role-playing games and shooters are not called stealth games because THEY'RE NOT ABOUT BEING STEALTHY! Try telling that to the dozens of games that shoehorn in some dreary stealth section in order to create an artificial sense of gameplay variety.
Games both good and bad have tried to randomly inset stealth into their decidedly non-stealthy games - Beyond Good & Evil, Wind Waker, Uncharted... you could compile an entire list column out of games with pointless stealth. The worst part is many of the games' engines aren't designed for stealth, because that's not what they're intended for. Having AI, controls and environments geared towards heavy action aren't going to work out so well for stealth. You know why? BECAUSE IT'S NOT A STEALTH GAME!
When I want to be stealthy, I'll play Metal Gear or Splinter Cell. You know, a STEALTH game!
What is it with all the climbing, lately? Uncharted, Assassin's Creed, inFAMOUS, it seems that so many games want to follow the Prince of Persia path, although they tend to do climbing with half the finesse and elegance that Ubisoft once did. The climbing in Prince of Persia had a great flow to it, while this generation's slew of climbing games feel ponderous and slow most of the time.
I'm bored of hammering "A" to wearily clamber up a building, or methodically trying to find the one beautifully rendered ledge that I can grab among an army of beautifully rendered ledges that I can't. I wouldn't mind the climbing so much if they weren't in so many games this generation, but they are, and they're really quite dull now.
This is why I actually liked Prototype (screw the haters). Being able to just run up the side of a skycraper is infinitely preferable to something like Crackdown, where you have to just spam the action button and pray that you don't randomly fall off.