I’m someone that plays a lot of video games. It is my personal favorite pastime now that I’m out of college and no longer have school and sports, but now work. I play quite a few genres, such as: action-adventure / RPG / sports / simulation / story focused / more. With that said, I tend to gravitate towards story-driven, open world action-adventure games. Games like Assassins Creed, Uncharted, Last of Us, Ghost of Tsushima, Batman Arkham, God of War, Spider-Man, Horizon ZD, Zelda, and others that fall in that category.
Now that you know about the games I play, I want to share the gaming mechanic that I absolute hate because it has everything to do with level design and may/may not annoy most people like it does me, but I would love to see it go away since only one game I’ve played has managed to do it well imo. The gaming mechanic I want to highlight are the design of incredibly obvious climbing elements in games. I really dislike when I stare up at a cliff and there is a singular definite path to climb up the face of the cliff, with obvious discolored rocks sticking out that the player holds onto to climb up.
I’ve hated this for as long as I could remember, and as I’m playing through Ghost of Tsushima (still an amazing game so far), I notice this mechanic everywhere I go. I can stare up a mountain and see a straight path up with jagged rocks scattered every 5 feet along the face of the mountain. To me it just seems to be lazy game design, and I hope it bothers a lot of other gamers too and not just me.
When it comes to more cinematic experiences, I can cut a little slack. Uncharted having specific things you hold on to as you try to cross a broken bridge is different than what I’m suggesting, as the assets you hold onto are relatively unique and fit the objective.
One game that I think does climbing extremely well is Legend of Zelda: BOTW, because you can climb literally any surface, but whether you make it to the top depends on your stamina, your gear, and the weather. Not having proper gear or rainy weather makes it to where you cannot climb up surfaces, which is pretty realistic. It also provides a level of intrigue when exploring, making the player wonder if they can climb to the top to see if something is there. Every other game I have played has not adopted that type of system, and remains on the climb obvious discolored rock A, then jump to obvious discolored rock B until that path takes you to your destination.
I may be very nit picky about this topic, but I see it time and time again and it annoys me for whatever reason. It never really takes anything away from the overall experience of the game, but I do notice it nonetheless. If this doesn’t annoy you, then let me know of the elements and mechanics that you wish were either refined or made obsolete.
TL:DR – stupidly obvious climbing paths in action-adventure games are annoying and should be made better or taken out of games entirely. (Ex: Ghost of Tsushima, AC, Horizon ZD, Tomb Raider)
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