Boss Fights

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I read this with Wii pajamas and a Wii sleep shirt, so when I got to that last paragraph... yeah.

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

Why as there need to be a reason for boss fights. I think they are much more fun then fighting 25 normal enemies.

Galaxy613:

Andronicus:
Awww, no Fun Space Game update? Too bad.

I don't know why people actually expected anything from it. Yahtzee has made some 2D games sure, but 3D is a completely different ball game. I highly doubt Yahtzee has the time and the motivation to ACTUALLY go anywhere with FSG. But then again I don't blame him, but if you have any hopes of ever seeing it completed get rid of them now.

I am keeping a torch lit for more from FSG:TG.

I like HL2's approach to boss fights. It doesn't conclude sections with "ok here's a boss", it sneaks one in. They might not even be at the end of a particular section, and whether they're a boss might be debatable, but you can still be sure that it's more challenging and testing what you've learnt so far.

Regular bosses are good for arcade'y games like Mario Galaxy but for more serious games i wish they'd be more discreet about it.

Ymbirtt:
I'm wondering whether or not Yahtzee has played Geneforge at any point (yay fanboy post). I never played the full versions of any of those games for various reasons, but they make a point of letting the player invest in whatever skills they like.

For example in Geneforge 2, there's a section whereby you've got to go into a some infested mines and rescue a bunch of Serviles (depressed slave things); you can choose to charge in there, sword drawn, and slaughter everything that comes at you; you can create a bunch of monsters that'll fight your battles for you; you can bully the "overmind" or whatever it was called into turning the mine's automated defences back on; you can use your skills in mechanics to turn the automated defences back on yourself, and this all just from one section. These sorts of scenarios exist in most every part of the game I had access to.

Even once you'd found the Serviles, you could either take them out and tell their owner that they're an idiot for not looking after them, you could take them out and tell the owner that their Serviles are idiots and should be punished, or you could just kill the lot of them and blame it on the monsters.

Yeah, so that's what I thought after reading the first few paragraphs about why Alpha Protocol was lame; try Geneforge instead

i read your post in my mind with a simpsons esq nerd voice and it was so funny,GENEFORGE F*** YEAH!!

ewhac:

SHHHH!!! Don't spoil it! I'm still playing it!

Oops. Sorry.

Arisato-kun:

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

I'm even fine with saying there are some fights you simply cannot win. It'd take a massively more complicated game, but there are simply some battles you cannot be victorious in with your given set of skills. From my own life, I've spent more time learning the study of law than karate, so I lose to anyone who has trained for a solid decade. If I'm forced to fight someone like that, I'll lose plain and simple.

Same thing with any kind of complex computer repair. It wouldn't just be difficult, it'd be damned near impossible, and I might fail. I think failure should be possible in games which purport to be RPGs, both in the sense of failure which changes the game, and failure in the sense of "you screwed up, you can't win, you have to start over".

A really good RPG would be one in which I can do anything, but in which the consequences can fuck me over royal. If I'm a douche to my companions, and they leave, I'm now stuck unable to finish the game. If I put all my points into stealth and it turns out that there's a pitched gun-battle, I get hosed. That's how life works. I think we've been coddled too long, and so we mistake "choice" for "realism", and "just do whatever" for "roleplaying"

Arisato-kun:

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

But would it be fun?

So Yahtzee, how's the bar doing?

I really enjoy all these references to Deus Ex, but I have to say that it didn't always give you multiple options. For example, on the return trip to New York, after talking to that Illuminati guy in the burned out Osgood & Sons, you get ambushed by MJ12 troops. In most situations you could either incapacitate them, lethally or nonlethally, or you could sneak past them. Unfortunately, the game is programmed so that these guys in particular always know where you are, even if you turn invisible, jump into a sewer, and emerge on the opposite side of the district. So if you were playing a stealth-based character who hadn't chosen the speed aug, the ballistic protection aug, or the armor (which sounds like a lot of options, but if you were a pure stealth player you would need none of these things), you were completely fucked.

However, I wholeheartedly agree that more games should be like Deus Ex.

I think that Halo managed this issue perfectly on the 1st and 3rd installment, the boss fight with the big bad monkey on halo 2 was just annoying.

caselj01:
Jokes on you, Im not even wearing a shirt. So there.

Replace your skin then :P

I am reminded of one of the oddestly set final boss battles I've ever experienced while gaming, and it was in The Matrix: Path of Neo. Once I got to the end and fought my ass off, I figured that hmmm that was a disappointing ending with just a mass battle. Then the cinematic came up featuring digital versions of the Wachowski brothers arguing about how to end the game before pitting you against a giant scrap-metal version of Agent Smith. The battle itself was a little ridiculous since you spent all of it just throwing his poop back at him like some sort of giant monkey fight, but it was led in by an interesting introspective of the creative process about how to best end a game like this.
As much as I've wanted to at least try Alpha Protocol, my local Blockbuster seems very reluctant to get this game in stock at all, and after being there today to check to see if perhaps they finally got it in, I found that they severely restricted their stock of any video games. The Xbox 360 section used to run about six shelves, and they have brought it down in half... even a couple of games that they just got in last week and now missing from those three shelves, so short of investing in buying Alpha Protocol, I'm screwed from seeing how either good or bad that game is. Damn GameFly anyway!

Souplex:
Half Life 2 isn't exactly a good example for game designers to follow.

Okay Souplex we get it: you don't like Half Life. That's fine but your word is not law. I didn't think much of HL2 when I first started playing it mmyself but as I continued playing it I realised what all the hype was about. Some parts of it may have benn generic but overall I found the story very interesting and the different ways of dealing with enemies a lot of fun and at the end of the day that's what playing games is all about: having fun. You may think HL2 is terrible, I think it's great. Neither of us is right because at the end of the day it's our opinion which apparently you have trouble grasping. At the end of the day you just THINK that HL2 is not a good example for developers to follow and I just THINK that it's a much better example than Halo or Call of Duty.

thepj:

Arisato-kun:

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

But would it be fun?

Wait, wait, I know this one!

"No."

Seriously, if you want realism, DON'T PLAY A GOD-DAMNED FANTASY OR SCI-FI GAME. RPGs like Alpha Protocol posit themselves as "choose-your-own-ability" titles, when they're actually "choose-these-specific-abilities-or-we're-going-to-punish-you" titles. This would be perfectly acceptable if they made it clear that they expected you to, say, shoot everyone in the face. That, however, is not the case.

The game was advertised as providing the player with a number of options, all of which were equivalent methods by which you could finish the game. Instead, we have a game where direct, violent confrontation is the most effective course of action, while all other methods require that you make specific decisions demanded by the developers.

*edit*

Oh, and the problem with a line of thought that demands all builds be unequal is that it ignores the single longest-lasting bastion of modern gaming: (A)D&D. The DMG makes it clear that the DM should have a way for every single character class in the campaign to contribute to an event or encounter, and that's one of the primary *reasons* the system has passed through decades of competing rule systems nearly unscathed.

I like this shirt... it was $5.

Anyway, I like a big boss fight as much as the next guy but you are right in where they seem to be there just for the sake of being there and not much else.

I think bosses are boring and predictable, even with a backstory, I mean eventually you will beat them and if you lose it will have no effect on the narrative on the story

FUCK YOU MY CLOTHES ARE NIC- I probably got ninja'd 20,000 times before this post didn't I, oh well. I understand what he's saying and while games don't always need final bosses, I just like it when they do.

thepj:

Arisato-kun:

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

But would it be fun?

Depends upon your own definitions. I find conquering the soul crushing difficulties of Mass Effect 2, Demon's Souls and Persona on Hard to be quite enjoyable. Sure I die a lot but the feeling of conquering these near impossible challenges far outweighs any sense of anger or frustration I had before. Gamers are getting complacent with easier games and I find that kind of sad. There are few that would even attempt to conquer games as difficult as Super Ghouls and Ghosts in this day and age. I think developers should go in the direction of From Software. make difficulty a draw like they did with Demon's Souls. Victory is always sweeter when it's harder to achieve.

MMOs contain the absolute worst boss encounters. They'll always contain mechanics that if you don't follow, you wipe. Plain and simple. Then there will be different phases with other mechanics that you need to follow... or you wipe. Worst part is not having any sort of idea what you'll need to watch out for unless you check up strategies online. It's just horrible game design. I don't understand why the encounters have to be so all or nothing.

RvLeshrac:

thepj:

Arisato-kun:

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

But would it be fun?

Wait, wait, I know this one!

"No."

Seriously, if you want realism, DON'T PLAY A GOD-DAMNED FANTASY OR SCI-FI GAME. RPGs like Alpha Protocol posit themselves as "choose-your-own-ability" titles, when they're actually "choose-these-specific-abilities-or-we're-going-to-punish-you" titles. This would be perfectly acceptable if they made it clear that they expected you to, say, shoot everyone in the face. That, however, is not the case.

The game was advertised as providing the player with a number of options, all of which were equivalent methods by which you could finish the game. Instead, we have a game where direct, violent confrontation is the most effective course of action, while all other methods require that you make specific decisions demanded by the developers.

*edit*

Oh, and the problem with a line of thought that demands all builds be unequal is that it ignores the single longest-lasting bastion of modern gaming: (A)D&D. The DMG makes it clear that the DM should have a way for every single character class in the campaign to contribute to an event or encounter, and that's one of the primary *reasons* the system has passed through decades of competing rule systems nearly unscathed.

But what's choice without consequence? I'm not for complete realism in games but if I can make a choice I'd like it to really mean something. I'm not saying make it so it's impossible to finish the game but at least make it so our encounters are different because of it. If I was able to kill a dragon easily with ice magic on my first playthrough of a game it should be far more difficult to take down next time if I opted for a melee class. perhaps instead of nuking it with magic I need to fire balistas like in Dragon Age.

It's not that we want every boss to punish the player for their specific choices but some bosses should be easier and some should be more difficult based on choices as well.

Sure like you said, DnD has it so all classes can contribute but isn't one class going to contribute more to a given situation than others? That should translate to video games as well.

boss battles are fine but they don't seem to be as challenging as they used to be

I wasn't wearing a shirt when I was reading this =P

I generally don't play rpgs where you'd expect to level up only stealth or something and be good. Even though thats my class in Oblivion, it still makes sure to give you Marksman to fight with, and I believe it mentions that you should keep a melee weapon handy. If the point of the game is to defeat the bad guys, I'm not expecting to do it solely with Alchemy or something.

Seldon2639:

Arisato-kun:

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

I'm even fine with saying there are some fights you simply cannot win. It'd take a massively more complicated game, but there are simply some battles you cannot be victorious in with your given set of skills. From my own life, I've spent more time learning the study of law than karate, so I lose to anyone who has trained for a solid decade. If I'm forced to fight someone like that, I'll lose plain and simple.

Same thing with any kind of complex computer repair. It wouldn't just be difficult, it'd be damned near impossible, and I might fail. I think failure should be possible in games which purport to be RPGs, both in the sense of failure which changes the game, and failure in the sense of "you screwed up, you can't win, you have to start over".

A really good RPG would be one in which I can do anything, but in which the consequences can fuck me over royal. If I'm a douche to my companions, and they leave, I'm now stuck unable to finish the game. If I put all my points into stealth and it turns out that there's a pitched gun-battle, I get hosed. That's how life works. I think we've been coddled too long, and so we mistake "choice" for "realism", and "just do whatever" for "roleplaying"

I wouldn't say unable to finish as a result but I see your point. Perhaps our failure opens up a different path to the story or requires another party member to take charge and win for us.

Sure it can be fun being the hero and killing everything yourself but I'd like to see a little more application of your party members and your own inherent character's build in boss fights in RPGs.

I don't read any of your work with cloths on.

I finished System Shock 2 without cheating!!!! It was easy once you figured out how to kill everyone with melee.
Some other games that use what Yahtzee said are Planescape Torment and the first two Fallout games. That further proves my point that the game industry has been getting worse and worse while under some stupid illusion that games are getting better. I mean, how retarded must you be to think that today's games are getting better?

Hmmm.. Funny, I'm wearing and escapist shirt right now...

Anyways, I don't mind boss fights, unless they're excruciatingly difficult, but i agree with Yahtzee, boss fights in a spy game is just not right. And forced combat should never be employed as a game mechanic.

Shiro No Uma:
I don't read any of your work with cloths on.

This is, hands down, the best reference to the shirt comment in the article. +1 Would read again.

I was disappointed with the bosses in AP for the most part, because I'd initially expected something like a rooftop chase, a boxing match or a sniper fight (all depending on what skills you'd specialized in of course). The fight with Brayko was awesome though. It's ridiculous, but the whole game is ridiculous so it fits. I couldn't stop smiling, even though I died several times to him before I figured out a good strategy.

As for the end of HL2... I didn't need a final battle, but if they were going to have one anyway, why not make it a bit challenging and dynamic? It was a boss fight, and it was a bad boss fight. That's what bothers me.

Since nobody has mentioned this so far - the boss fights in Dawn of War 2 were long, tedious, and boring.
Whoever thought that was a good idea is probably the kind of person who finds rearranging rocks for an hour a delightful way to spend time.

DeathByTheSword:
I finished System Shock 2 without cheating!!!! It was easy once you figured out how to kill everyone with melee.
Some other games that use what Yahtzee said are Planescape Torment and the first two Fallout games. That further proves my point that the game industry has been getting worse and worse while under some stupid illusion that games are getting better. I mean, how retarded must you be to think that today's games are getting better?

In Fallout 2 I think you had to fight the last boss, even though it could be easier with more party memmbrs and with using the turrets. In Planescape: Torment there are a few mandatory boss fights as well such as

. The only RPGs without mandatory boss fights I think are Fallout 1 and maybe Arcanum.

Funnily enough also, some of the same people worked on Fallout 2 and Planescape: Torment as Alpha Protocol.

Some bosses make sense--the all powerful creature of the moment, where you'll have to really use your skills learned (a la Zelda, Metroid, Infamous, Darksiders). Others are just obnoxious nuisances, like Prototype and Bayonetta. Others are creative, and what the game uses as most of it's selling point,in the God of War/Shadow of the Colossus way. So, if we avoid the pointless wastes of time, and focus on the other two, or where a boss is actually a decent story element, then, KAZAA! *blows a party streamer* We've figured out what to do. If not...a big resounding "meh" for how uselessly tedious it is.

Arisato-kun:

RvLeshrac:

thepj:

Arisato-kun:

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I've got to completely agree with this. There are some skills that are going to be useless in any given situation. I think it's be more immersion breaking to be prepared for every single boss than if you had some that you had to defeat with different tactics than you're used to.

Let me use Demon's Souls as a prime example. Sure you can build your character any way you want but all those points you put into melee that took out the Phalanx boss aren't going to work on the physically resistant Flamelurker boss 3 stages from now.

A truly immersive game and a series of immersive boss fights will mirror life IMO. Some challenges are easier to tackle with your unique set of skills than others. I think gamers should just accept that these kinds of fights will happen and try to find a way to deal with them instead of just bitching about a short spike in difficulty.

But would it be fun?

Wait, wait, I know this one!

"No."

Seriously, if you want realism, DON'T PLAY A GOD-DAMNED FANTASY OR SCI-FI GAME. RPGs like Alpha Protocol posit themselves as "choose-your-own-ability" titles, when they're actually "choose-these-specific-abilities-or-we're-going-to-punish-you" titles. This would be perfectly acceptable if they made it clear that they expected you to, say, shoot everyone in the face. That, however, is not the case.

The game was advertised as providing the player with a number of options, all of which were equivalent methods by which you could finish the game. Instead, we have a game where direct, violent confrontation is the most effective course of action, while all other methods require that you make specific decisions demanded by the developers.

*edit*

Oh, and the problem with a line of thought that demands all builds be unequal is that it ignores the single longest-lasting bastion of modern gaming: (A)D&D. The DMG makes it clear that the DM should have a way for every single character class in the campaign to contribute to an event or encounter, and that's one of the primary *reasons* the system has passed through decades of competing rule systems nearly unscathed.

But what's choice without consequence? I'm not for complete realism in games but if I can make a choice I'd like it to really mean something. I'm not saying make it so it's impossible to finish the game but at least make it so our encounters are different because of it. If I was able to kill a dragon easily with ice magic on my first playthrough of a game it should be far more difficult to take down next time if I opted for a melee class. perhaps instead of nuking it with magic I need to fire balistas like in Dragon Age.

It's not that we want every boss to punish the player for their specific choices but some bosses should be easier and some should be more difficult based on choices as well.

Sure like you said, DnD has it so all classes can contribute but isn't one class going to contribute more to a given situation than others? That should translate to video games as well.

One class may contribute more, but one class making things slightly easier doesn't mean that the encounter should otherwise be punishing. The encounter is simply different.

If a character can be taken down with a rocket to the face, you should also be able to talk them out of it. Sure, the "talk them out of it" option might require more thinking, but it requires a *different* set of skills, not necessarily more difficult ones.

The problem specific to the Alpha Protocol school of design is that the dialogue choices don't correspond particularly well to the events in-game. Most of the time, the actions you need to take in the game don't even correspond particularly well to more than one path. If the designers want you to blow a door down, then you'll damn well blow it down and like it, since they won't have given you any other options.

Anyone who wants to see an effective use of character-skill-based gameplay should look at the QFG/Hero's Quest series. Every puzzle had a solution which used each class's skills, and each solution was equally challenging, designed for the people more likely to pick a particular class.

Mass Effect and ME2, while not being nearly as deep, also embrace this: Every class has skills which are useful in a fight against any enemy. While ME2 places a clear emphasis on combat (the gameplay direction they decided to move in), each player can advance the story in a way that is meaningful to them.

The point is that in a game, YOU are the (anti-?)Hero. The game world is supposed to bend and shape in a way that ensures that the Hero can overcome all obstacles, no matter what type of Hero you decide to play. Yes, some challenges are more difficult than others. That doesn't mean that a challenge should be nearly insurmountable for one type of Hero; instead, EVERY challenge should be as close in difficulty as possible across all types of Hero.

Back to the basic RPG example: while a strong Hero might fell a tree to cross a chasm, an intelligent Hero might build a rope bridge. The intelligent Hero might have difficulty felling a tree and tossing it across the gap, but building the bridge should, in a gameplay sense, be no more taxing. Each requires a raw material (tree, rope), a skill (strength, intelligence), and some luck (skill checks).

When it comes to a fight, of course, each Hero will need to take a different tactical approach, but it should be just as challenging for an intelligent Hero to win a fight at a distance as it is for a strong Hero to win a brawl.

Seldon2639:
Boy, he's gonna keep beating the "RPGs should be about universal choice for the player, about giving him unlimited options and letting him affect the world however he like" drum until people start marching, won't he?

In this case, though, it's bullshit.

Some skills are legitimately less useful than others. Some fights are unavoidable, and sometimes you have to use gunplay rather than stealth skills. If part of the "awesome-life simulation" aspect of an RPG is that you can make your character however you like, there's some realism in that if you chose to devote your energy to learning useless skills, you get bum-raped.

That's what I'm gonna call realism. If I decide to spend my time learning to be an expert in WoW playing, rather than an expert in Shotokan, those times when the latter would be useful, I'm getting my ass kicked. The irony of the Yahtzee-style RPG player (who wants to be able to do whatever he wants, and let his inner id run wild) is that they don't want any responsibility for what happens. Sure, they want the "this is so badassed" responsibility, but not the real "I pissed off all of my allies, and now I'm fucked" responsibility, or the "I faffed around for too long, and now the evil empire has won" responsibility, or even the "I decided to specialize in stealth, so I can't fight encounters where I have to fight straight-up". If RPGs are meant to be anything other than a simple succession of times when the player gets to feel awesome beating a boss only slightly more wimpy than he is, that's fine. But if RPGs are meant to actually be about role-playing, then there are going to be times when the suave, effete, faceman isn't going to be able to win in a shootout.

It's like how in most games the big bruiser with the massive guns, and even bigger firearms, isn't going to be able to pull off good social interaction.

Would it be nice if there were similar social "bosses" in such games, where you have to really work ten-times as hard at winning if you put your skills exclusively into gunplay? Absolutely, but no game should exist wherein you can "win" using any given "build", because that's not how life (even awesome, sci-fi, life) works.

I think this is a very strange attitude to take. If a skill has no legitimate use in a game, or if only certain skills allow you to succeed, then it should not be an option for you to take the useless skills or avoid having the indispensable skills. It just clutters the game and makes it frustrating, and frustrating is not the kind of realism that people seek in games, unless they are gluttons for punishment or very, very stupid. I think we all experience enough frustration and setbacks in real life--is it too much to expect games to provide an escape from that?

If you think of a game as its own little world, then there would have to be a reason for the possible skills to exist in that world, otherwise nobody would have invented them. It would have to be possible for people to succeed with those skills, or they wouldn't exist. If there was a world where your survival depended solely on your ability to swing a sword, then everybody would spend all their time learning to swing a sword. The skill 'Left-Handed Doily Making' would not exist. But if it were possible in this world to become a master Doily Maker, earn money by doing so, and hire security guards to do your swordfighting for you, then Doily Making might be a skill that would exist.

The problem we face these days is that games always attempt to fool the player into thinking the world is bigger and more detailed than it really is. Despite all the fancy graphics and massive hardware requirements, it is pretty rare to find a game where you can even break windows or open certain doors to get to areas of the map that you can see but that don't really exist. Just because there's something that looks like a sky above you doesn't mean you can go into space--it's just an illusion. In reality, that is a sky-textured ceiling set just high enough so that you shouldn't be able to bump into it (though there are plenty of games where you can actually "bump into the sky" if you manage to get somewhere the designers didn't think of). The real world doesn't have these kind of limitations. It is true that, in the real world, there are situations where certain skills aren't helpful, but in the real world you also have the freedom to try approaches that may take you through certain doors or windows, or up into the sky. If you lose total freedom to wander the world, it is only fair to make the skills you can choose relevant to the areas you can go to. And yes, I know that life isn't always fair. But as I said earlier, games are supposed to be a fun and interesting departure from our normal lives.

And as far as consequences go, it is strange to hear someone say that people who want to pursue non-violent alternatives need to understand consequences! Violence is generally not a good option to take in the real world because there are lots of consequences for it--getting arrested, getting killed by the relatives of whoever you beat up or kill, not having any friends because you're a jerk, etc. But in most video games, the usual consequences for violence are removed--rarely is there any real reason why you can't just kill your way through the world. Most games are in fact little more than that. If there's no reason not to kill somebody, and you can quickly become better than anyone else at killing, then violence and combat become the best way to get through life. No matter what other skill options are available, violence is always a legitimate way to get through an entire game. Isn't that weird? Isn't it weird to respond to a complaint that there are forced violent episodes in a game that supposedly advertises free choice with the statement that someone trying to get through it non-violently doesn't understand consequences? I just think it would be interesting to have a game where violence actually carries meaningful negative consequences in a game, rather than saying that the other skills need to have negative consequences.

Like the real world, there are many more possibilities to explore once we agree that violence is not the ultimate power.

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