Now you got me to register, gratulations.
I *really* want my opinion to be heard by ...er people who are talked to by people who make games. Or something. You cath my drift:
You might care more for it than my cat.
Iīm somewhere between skilled and heroic. But the fact is I am uppity about it. If I care about a game, think itīs good, then I want BOTH the challenge and the story. That means I crank the difficulty up to the very limit and then try and try again till I beat it.
Latest game of that was CoD4, I beat every level first on veteran no outside help,
except for that epilogue.
Took me eternally and there is really no trick you can abuse or something likely. Itīs just skill. After I mastered it, I could beat it anytime I wanted to, just to see if I still was that good.
I read on the CoD Site, that by available statistics only 2% of players have beat the epilogue on veteran. Knowing that is a fantastic feeling.
On another more controversial topic, I find myself betrayed quite often in this my way by RPGs and random encounters(letīs call them REs from now).
Given a game I play at the moment I am not disappointed by the pacing or story or the average difficulty, but by the very problem which are random encounters:
When you explore [location], REs happen inevitable. Then you have 3 choices:
1. You beat them, get exp, get stronger.
2. You flee, you get no exp, you feel bad for skipping the battles.
3. You donīt go explore and follow only the tracks.
This is my dilemma: You CANNOT explore the elaborate dungeon without getting stronger and thereby screwing your beloved difficulty by getting (probably) too strong and destroying later challenges,
OR you have to run away. A lot. So much it feels bad. Like trying to not play the game while playing it.....
I know of a solution though: Final Fantasy 8 and 10 give you a "no encounter" ability.
Another way would be to be able to not get exp unless you want to. FF 8 allows that too(kinda) but then imposes you with forced random encounter where this is not possible.
I really wish more games would allow you not to get stronger unless you want to.
Itīs all about the point of making the mainplot challenging enough for me. You can always level up by REs if need be. But you canīt stop it nor skip it. I actually felt happy for being killed by a story boss, because it meant I was actually making something not good enough.
I have gone through that ordeal because I know there is no (optional) mighty boss anywhere in that game.
Also I really hate bosses which donīt live long enough to try every sensible spell against them at least once(every element, every malstatus etc.).
It just sucks if you search for a weak spot, and the characters with less options(hit with sword/use item) killed the boss 1 attack per round before you tried all other options.....
Well, long post. It all really bothers me, though.
I'm definitely skilled over heroic. If a games narrative draws me in, then I might start feeling at least a little heroic, so I don't want flow breaking difficulty. But that's only when a game is done so well, beating the game becomes secondary to seeing my character advance, or seeing how everything will happen. Doesn't happen often. This did happen on Assassins Creed, which is why ending it on such a huge cliffhanger was such a cock-slap. :P
I realize I'm very late to this article (guess who just found the archives)...It depends on the game as to what category I fall into. Something RPG like I'm on the heroic side...FPS I'm more on the skilled side. The thing I hate the most about boss fights is when they introduce something completely different for the final boss fight (think Prototype[suddenly half your abilities become useless and a time limit that has never been a problem in the game before]) as opposed to how portal does it were you use all the skills you've learnt through the game to do something quickly (yes I realize there is a time limit but its a VERY generous time limit).
I am a mix, so impossible to please.
I love the story, but if the final boss is a pushover, it detracts from the power of the story, as my antagonist was a wuss...then I'm not that heroic, am I?
Incidentally, using Episode 1 in your article as a 'what to do right in a story' was a Bad Example.