Games that punish you for doing well

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Wuvlycuddles:

samgdawg:
As has been stated above Oblivion, and Skyrim every once in a while, is evil for this. Ground your weapon skills to a decent level so you can do decent damage resulting in a few level ups? Enemies are scaled to negate your efforts. Trained your diplomacy related skills because you like to try being nice? Enemies are scaled to rape you because you had the gall to think you could talk to people. Skyrim is a lot better, but if you grind little more than your speech and barter skills for a long time you end up facing Draugr Omega Deathlords or whatever their called.

I don't think that really counts as punishing you for doing well, I've found that simply prioritizing combat perks keeps me in good shape to fight enemies even if I have only been leveling off a non combat skill. So put perks into say Two Handed first, if there are no more (useful) perks to take then go for your armor perks and if there are no (useful) armor perks to take THEN get a non combat perk. Works wonders.

Anyhoo, Mario Kart...... I hate you.

Now you have a very good point. And in addition, I have never met anyone who actually thought they could get through the game with little more than speech related skills. My point was really more for the off chance that someone does try to play an Elder Scrolls game with little to zero prioritization or development of any combat skills. And honestly I wouldn't have said anything without seeing a comic poking fun at the whole thing. Right here on the Escapists own Critical Miss.

Mario Kart is, by far, the worst offender here. Fuck lightning bolts and blue shells in particular.

Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3 gives you ?? seconds of "fuck you and all your friends"-mode on your last character. It's fun to watch, but it's seriously dumb if you're playing against it yourself.
Some people have mentioned Street Fighter 4 to be in the same lane, and, yeah, in some way I agree, but it's nowhere near UMvC3. Ultra combos usually either require some setup or a blind guess; the setups can be avoided and blind guesses are usually not in favor of the one who makes them.

Other things? Well, RNG in Company of Heroes, XCOM or Fire Emblem, kind of. There's nothing worse in these kinds of games, where unit preservation is alpha omega, to do something that's completely safe on paper and have it blow up in your face because the dice don't like you at this particular moment.

Dark Souls. If you do well, you die less, fight less enemies, and accumulate less souls. Therbey costing you upgrades and making the game radically harder. (Since most people generally get their souls back when they die anyways)

Well, in some games like Shogun it makes a degree of sense, conceptually everyone wants to be the one ruling Japan and when you get to a certain point pretty much everyone else realizes that they have a common threat to their ambition: you, and figure they can remove you and then continue bickering about who is going to be in charge. I sort of "get" the idea and understand it, it also increases the strategic nature of the game as opposed to keeping it almost entirely tactical.

That said, I do tend to agree that punishing players for getting too far ahead is BS, and not something that we should see going on with game design. Ditto for ways that a losing player can instantly "catch up" it's that kind of attitude that has been driving a wedge between real gamers and casuals. Generally speaking you should not need to play a game made out of high octane masochism like "Dark Souls" to not be coddled, or be made to work at things before you can progress, or have a game where victory is not guaranteed. Rather that should be the general state of gaming in general, being able to fail or not progress should not be something reserved only for games setting out to be insanely difficult.

That said it's interesting to note that "Kart Racing" games became incredibly popular, in part because of the mechancis which people here are complaining about. Namely because they appeal to casuals, which outnumber serious gamers.

i think godhand
the game made itself harder everytime you killed someone (i think it was kill not sure) without being hit, when you get hit, it gets easier

Seth Carter:
Dark Souls. If you do well, you die less, fight less enemies, and accumulate less souls. Therbey costing you upgrades and making the game radically harder. (Since most people generally get their souls back when they die anyways)

well not really, if enemies don't give you enough souls to level up, that's not a punishment, that's the game saying: "dude, you're overleveled, get out of here

> Dark Souls
Dark Souls is fine. Want to grind without dying? Just clear out an area and rest at a bonfire, all the enemies will come back. It's a very well designed game

> Recent Mario Karts
**** casuals is all I have to say. Don't give me that family game BS, I had the original super mario kart and my brother and I at a young age played the hell out of it. There was no Blue Shell. There were no certificates for participation and celebrations for being terrible at something. Ooooh musnt let you win, it will hurt their feeeeeelings.

> Shogun 2 Realm Divide
Ruined the game for me. Was having a great time till then. Horrible design choice. Rome's difficulty wasn't nearly that spikey. It was a great game with a terrible mid-game mechanic.

> Oblivion
Horrible autolevelling for enemies. What's the point of you levelling up at all?

> Skyrim
Better

Most games do this. It's called a negative feedback loop, and it helps make a game more casual, more unpredictable, often longer, and frequently puts the focus on the endgame. It can also balance design, or minimize positive feedback loops, which can be just as good or bad. Mario kart is probably the most obvious example.

I'll answer every control point based shooter ever. As you take control points, you must defend more points and the enemy must defend less.

Seriously, while the Realm Divide is a bit poor in practice the way it locks you out of diplomacy, I still see it as making sense.

Those enemies are actually taking action to fight back? How DARE they!

Super Smash Brothers Brawl

If you take the lead, the game's environment and item spawns will conspire to try to eliminate you.
I have tested this, it works without fail. If an environmental hazard normally has a random outcome, it will weight its final choice heavily on whoever is in the lead.

(you can bypass this by eliminating item spawns and playing on maps without hazards)

UrinalDook:

Honestly, the hilarity of Mario Kart's unfairness is actually what makes it work. The game is far more fun when everyone's grouped together, and you have plenty of opportunity to torpedo them with red shells, run over them, boost past them or simply time a drift to perfection. Being out in first for a whole race is boring.

True, but at the same time this also defeats the purpose of a race.
Of course, they might as well make it a brawl on wheels, because Mario Kart stopped being fun the moment it became about snaking.

Any RPG that has enemy level scaling, Bethesda in particular.

I think Godhand deserves the medal here though. Kick ass and then get your ass kicked so you can go back to kicking ass in a vicious cycle of ass kickery.

Xanadu84:
Most games do this. It's called a negative feedback loop, and it helps make a game more casual, more unpredictable, often longer, and frequently puts the focus on the endgame. It can also balance design, or minimize positive feedback loops, which can be just as good or bad. Mario kart is probably the most obvious example.

I'll answer every control point based shooter ever. As you take control points, you must defend more points and the enemy must defend less.

Not really a true example, since you aren't being punished, its just harder to finish for both parties than it is to get the first point. After all, the enemy will have exactly the same problem you do. It just makes the game longer, is all.

Autofire2:

Xanadu84:
Most games do this. It's called a negative feedback loop, and it helps make a game more casual, more unpredictable, often longer, and frequently puts the focus on the endgame. It can also balance design, or minimize positive feedback loops, which can be just as good or bad. Mario kart is probably the most obvious example.

I'll answer every control point based shooter ever. As you take control points, you must defend more points and the enemy must defend less.

Not really a true example, since you aren't being punished, its just harder to finish for both parties than it is to get the first point. After all, the enemy will have exactly the same problem you do. It just makes the game longer, is all.

It still punishes the person who is doing well. In Mario Kart, if you fall behind, you get the exact same bonus. And if a series of leaders keep getting blue shelled, that just makes the race last longer. It's the same sort of mechanic, MK just does it to an extreme, and the shooter has the rubber banding arise naturally from the existing rule set.

The reason I don't think its the same is because you don't go from winning to losing in the Control Point scenario, you are STILL winning. It'll just take a little longer. And you know for sure (unlike with the blue shell thing) that if they somehow claw their way back you will 100% of the time have the same buffer.

FFP2:

thesilentman:

Actually.. the Four Kings fight is this for me. Every time I go slow and try to learn their tells, I seem to forget that it's a DPS race and they murder me brutally. So yes, the game is punishing me by attacking my method to beat the game.

(I hated that dragon too.)

So much for "You can play it any way you want!" mantra that the fanboys love to scream to people that don't like it.

I've done that fight without a problem on various builds and playstyles, you must be doing something wrong.

OT: The newer games in the Tekken series have seemed to do this to me. It seems like the AI learns how to adapt to your playstyle, and the game becomes frustratingly difficult. Psychic AI fighters, no thank you.

Ftaghn To You Too:

FFP2:

Real talk, it's probably Katawa Shoujo of all things. Wanna be a good guy a help a shy girl get over her insecurities? Keep doing it and you get the mother of all outbursts that makes you feel like shit from the quietest charcter in the game.

Lilly explicitly tells you, to paraphrase slightly "If you keep doing this you're gonna get stabbed when you Startle the Witch. Back off a bit." You only get that Bad End by trusting the judgement of a visual novel protagonist. You NEVER trust visual novel protagonists.

Yeah... at best their a touch naive, at the worst their complete reprehensible w***ers... (I know a lot of fans consider the 'bad end' where the protagonist is murdered is the true good ending)

God hand is pretty guilty of this. I remember getting frustrated at the first level because I would be doing so well, and then one of the enemies would turn into one of those demon things and completely destroy me.

And oblivion, as mentioned before.

Oddly enough, these are both games that I haven't beaten simply because of this fact. Go figure.

I must express my disappoint, to see only a handful here have played godhand.

So, everyone is bashing on the whole "enemy level scaling" in RPGs, but only titles I read about are Oblivion and Skyrim.

Final Fantasy VIII, anyone?

I doubt it was mechanically intended but I was playing an old RPG/strategy game called Lords of Magic back in the day (It's similar to the Heroes of Might and Magic or Age of Wonders series - you have a hero, you conquer cities, train units, build armies and then fight in turnbased tactics style battles)

Anyway, I was playing Lords of Magic, and how that game works is, the Death faction is ridiculously overpowered (as long as you're not playing it - at least until after you beat the game), and the game is designed for it to come down to a climactic battle against the death faction for the win.

Each faction has a nearby structure that they can capture to create super powerful units, and if you further upgrade that structure, you can create a unique super unit that's only useable by your faction (Opposing factions can't capture the upgrade and build the unique unit, even if they CAN capture the initial structure and build the super powerful unit).

I was playing Order (basically arthurian legends human, with wizards and knights and squires and all that jazz), and my unique unit was a hero named Lancelot (their name.) I was doing pretty well, building up a good supply of units, and slowly everyone died off or joined my army (Mongolian Style Baby!) and it came down to my climactic fight against the death faction.

An enemy army appeared on the horizon, and I move in to attack it, and in the battle setup screen, I see that the death army consists of 50 Lancelots (Note that for me, it was a hero unit, meaning I could only potentially have 3 in a squad - but I couldn't, because it was a unique unit - I could only make one of them, and I was the only one that was supposed to be able to make them).

At that point, I shut the game off, and even went so far as to destroy my disc. and never looked back.

I still have the book though. PC gaming books were awesome back in the day.

It's not really punishing you for doing well exactly but a lot of games having heavily scripted boss fight scenarios like Ace Combat Assault Horizon. Given the amount of times I've shot/damaged the boss, I should've killed him 10 minutes ago, but instead I have to follow along with the game's sequence of events until the very end.

this was a one time occurrence when i played, but The Witcher 2 has a single mission (Little Sisters) that punishes you for being investigative and trying to be sure of everything before you make a decision.

without getting spoilery, the mission is given to you by one character, only for you to find out later on that they might have been lying to you the whole time. when you confront them about it (just to see if they were telling the truth or not) it is an automatic failure.

i accidentally screwed myself over because it didnt seem like i did anything wrong, so i saved the game afterwards. that turned out to be the worst thing i could do, because the mission was impossible to complete after that point.

really just a glaring mistake in an otherwise excellent game.

so, for those of you who are going to play the game, ill just warn you now. again, the side mission is titled "Little Sisters". if the mission-giver storms away angrily after a certain dialogue option, you have ruined the mission. load a save and dont choose that dialogue option again.

Empire: Total War had the Territorial Expansion negative modifier to diplomatic relations. This makes sense when said territory affects them in some way (either it's in their sphere of influence or if it used to actually be there territory). For example if you play as Britain and you take all the French territory in the Caribbean, it makes sense that Spain and the United Provinces might be feeling a bit nervous, but why this should affect Russia, the Ottoman Empire or the Maratha opinion of you I have no idea. It all just adds up to make middle & late diplomacy completely impossible and pretty much puts you at a war footing with everyone.

Also in only partially related topic; does anyone else get pissed off by the fact that the Maratha's almost always unite India early in game and essentially become a super power in that game. I've seen them reach the Mediterranean and even launch expeditions 2 Canada before. India should be a big mess of a sub-continent for the Western European powers to fight over, instead is one of the most powerful factions in the game and it just shouldn't be.

Civilization Revolution is one that comes to mind that I don't think has been mentioned yet. My earliest memories from that game are when I am about to win a scientific victory, as soon as the Space Shuttle construction begins, EVERYBODY declares war on me, despite the fact that I have no military tech and have been playing a peaceful nation. Long story short due to delays caused by need to defend myself I had nearly won a military victory by the time the Scientific criteria was met.

Xan Krieger:
Another example of this BS is World of Tanks where the higher tier tanks make less credits than lower tier vehicles. I heard the excuse that this is so the lower tiers are always full of players which is BS because the lower tiers are more fun and thus will always have players. Almost every single time I run my tier 9 german heavy I lose money. It's a bad system meant to discourage players from advancing to the higher tiers.

No, it's a system meant to entice you to pay for a premium account. It has nothing to do with skill (and, on that topic, getting to tier 9 has nothing to do with skill - even bad players can grind out high tiers via lots of shit matches). The lower tier players are more likely newer, and less likely to feel like shelling out $15 for 30 days of prem time - the grind up lower tiers is also less horrendous, and players can get up to tier 5 or 6 without really killing themselves with the grind.

But the company figures that, if you've stuck with it until tier 7 or 8, you're likely to dish out cash for premium. And +50% credits and exp per fight means you pretty much never lose money unless you're really, really bad at a tank.

The other option is buying a premium tank like Lowe or Type 59 and credit grind on those, since in theory those give an unlimited amount of easy credits with a one-time purchase, but I quickly get tired of playing the same tank over and over, even if it's amazing. So I opt to pay for the premium account. I make money on pretty much every match, with the exception of tier 10 matches, where even with premium you rarely make 40k creds to offset repair fee. But tier 9's are easy to make money with. Just stop getting arty'd.

Arqus_Zed:
So, everyone is bashing on the whole "enemy level scaling" in RPGs, but only titles I read about are Oblivion and Skyrim.

Final Fantasy VIII, anyone?

Oh god, don't remind me, that reason alone is why I dislike the game.

The_Merchant:
I must express my disappoint, to see only a handful here have played godhand.

I also played, and loved the ever-living hell, out of Godhand, the difficulty change wasn't rediculous though, which I liked.

Battletoads.
Got through the first level? Cool! The next level is going to be harder, so good luck!
Got through the second level? Very nice. Next one is a little worse, but you're getting the hang of it, right? Hey, have fun with those hover-bike things.

*&^%ing bike things.

Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
There were a few bonus missions that could only be reached if you had 15 or fewer characters. This required intentionally getting most everyone killed.

FFP2:

thesilentman:

Actually.. the Four Kings fight is this for me. Every time I go slow and try to learn their tells, I seem to forget that it's a DPS race and they murder me brutally. So yes, the game is punishing me by attacking my method to beat the game.

(I hated that dragon too.)

So much for "You can play it any way you want!" mantra that the fanboys love to scream to people that don't like it.

To be fair that statement stands true for pretty much the rest of the game and so long as you're not trying to become a Darkwraith you have basically the rest of the entire game to up your damage output for that one fight.
/darksoulsfanboyreportingin

OT: Well there's the obvious stuff like God Hand and Mario Kart. There's a few online shooters that have a "Nemesis" mechanic so when you kill someone too many times they get a tracker on you. Kinda sucks.

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