The On-rails Action Setpiece
This past generation was the first time video games were able to do graphics and effects that looked almost on par with Hollywood movies, so naturally developers wanted to fill their games with big blockbuster action setpieces. This gave rise to these sequences where all you do as a player is run forward and perhaps hit the occasional flashing button prompt while things explode, collapse and fly at you from every direction!
Games had never done anything like this before! The first Call of Duty or Uncharted you played blew your socks off! Eventually though most of us have come to realize that these setpieces, while stimulating on a base, lizard brain level, aren’t actually that fun to play. Particularly when you miss yet another quicktime event or stray from the predetermined path and have to play this explosive action sequence over for the 20th time. These setpieces are supposed to be the big payoff the gamer waits for, but all too often they’ve become the stumbling blocks you dread.
If you can’t make an action sequence work using the game’s base mechanics, don’t put it in the game or, worst-case scenario, just make it a quick cutscene.
Yeah, you knew this one was coming, didn’t you?
Unlike many cranky gamers I don’t hate motion controls, but they’re a dead end. Sure, you can try to make motion controls increasingly accurate, but most gamers can’t jump like Mario. Most people aren’t coordinated enough to dance or fight well.
The dream that motion controls will someday be so accurate you’ll be able to interact with game worlds like they’re the real world is false one, because most of us would trip over a rock and fall down the first pit we come to. The lowest level enemies would slaughter us. The Wii’s simple gesture controls are as fun as motion controls will ever be (there’s a reason Nintendo never bothered investing in a more advanced Kinect-like set-up). Simple motion controls can continue to be a basic, mostly forgotten feature (like rumble) but chasing better, more accurate motion controls with stuff like the Kinect 2.0 is a losing game.
So, those are my picks. Any gaming trends that popped up this past generation that you’d like to see go away?