Spacing Out: Another Brick in the Difficulty Wall…

You may also like...

20 Responses

  1. DanieruX says:

    Here here!

  2. carllundstedt says:

    It’s been a long time since I tried I-war2 and I recall not getting past the very first encounter. IIRC there’s a ship that attacks you and you have to survive/blow them up? Multiple tries later and I was done. These walls usually make me drop a game. Compare this to Dark Souls, one of my favorite games and I can’t tell you why one worked and the other didn’t.

    (BTW, 4th sentence in “Gimme Options” paragraph s/know/knock.)

  3. Istvan says:

    Brian, being a programmer or not has NOTHING to do with it. The suite of issues you are talking about fall squarely in the realm of Design. And if the design of any game mission elicits the emotional and intellectual response (frustration, to use one polite word for it) you describe, as a game designer (and programmer) I assert the designer of that mission has Failed.

  4. Wavinator says:

    I had the same initial experience with I-War 2, getting killed a bunch of times until I went online and found that you were supposed to sideslip in order to avoid the first pirate attack. It was a really badly designed mission because it had a trick solution. Better mission design would be more like a sandbox, where you get to experiment and grow competent by learning from little mistakes.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Did you get past that hurdle/wall and keep playing?

      • Wavinator says:

        That one yes, but I got frustrated enough in mission 9 of act 1 (Construction Yard) where you have to stealth through that I quit playing entirely because the game felt too punitive and arbitrary. The mission prior, where you have to paint the governor’s ship to embarrass him, had been the tipping point and although I passed it (after half a dozen tries) it just wasn’t fun.

        Funny enough I should have seen it coming. I never even got past the the timed “accelerate the crates through the hoops using Newtonian motion” training tutorial in I-War 1. Guess I was hoping the sequel was going to be more forgiving.

        • Brian Rubin says:

          Heh, yeah, the second game seems even less forgiving than the first, and the first wasn’t even that forgiving. At all.

  5. Stormwaltz says:

    I am terrible at missions that involve intercepting missiles. In Wing Commander III, I was never able to save anything from Skipper Missiles. In the original FreeSpace, I was stonewalled by the “Clash of the Titans” mission for months. I tried it dozens of times, racking up failure after failure.

    I finally gave up, extracted the final mission using a third-party tool, and beat it on the first try in the simulator. ¬_¬

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Oh god, NO ONE likes missile/torpedo interception missions, yet they KEEP INCLUDING THEM! Stop it people.

      • Gorkomatic says:

        Yeah. It’s like mission designers have the most unhealthy obsession with missile interception AND escort missions (both equally hated by basically anyone).

        SOL Exodus went even farther, gifting us with an idea of Escort Campaign…

  6. spazticus says:

    To be fair, Quintet has both a torpedo interception scenario and a transport escort scenario, and both are rather fun – they’re also short, so that may be a factor. I’d say both strike a good balance between hectic chaos and a reasonable level of difficulty. The former gets much easier if other players are involved. However, the latter only gets more difficult when more player ships are involved.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Short is okay if they’re balanced well enough, and if they make sense from a challenge perspective.

  7. Zeraan says:

    Oh, yes, those escort missions, arg! Poorly designed levels and/or gameplay mechanisms frustrate me to no end. Games with specific missions that requires a specific playthrough that isn’t obvious are frustrating. Example, Sanctum 2, the last level. There’s only a few possible defense layouts that actually works (had to look them up online).

    I love it when a game presents a challenge, but don’t restrict you to a specific method of beating it. That’s why I hate levels in RTS that don’t start you off with a base, but with only a few units that you can’t replace. (Starcraft, KKnD, C&C are all guilty of this). As well as FPS games that have levels that instead of playing it normally, it changes the rules completely (Red Faction 1, the stealth mission, arg!)

    I can go on, but yeah, a game that limits you and you can feel the limits are very irritating…

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Totally man. I mean, if there are limits, make ’em realistic. If I hit a wall that’s there just for the sake of artificially inflating the game’s challenge, I can tell.

  8. S.Katze says:

    Well, regarding I-War, I’m a very long-time fan. I finished I-War 1 once, tried Defiance (and failed half-way) and am now an my first play-through of I-War 2. I must say that while the game is really polished in some aspects, it’s a downright failure in others. It is beautiful, even with today’s standards. The Newtonian physics are awesome, and the mission objectives are really interesting.

    But I-War 2 has so many flaws that I can understand that a less determined person can be annoyed enough to put the game away for good. Yes, there is the lack of proper guidance in the game, although I personally haven’t found that too disturbing. Also, I seem to have less issues with script breaking, which is a very common source of annoyance for many I-War 2 players. (Although this is now nearly as bad as with I-War 1, which had severe scripting issues even when it came out, not to mention now with modern machines and OS’s).

    Finally, it is just not possible to play the game without certain mods installed, like the Location Finder mod or the Manual Countermeasures mod. The game should not have shipped without proper focus group testing. The price for not doing so was extremely bad sales, with around 50k copies sold.

    And still, the games just click with me. I dunno why, but I spent hundreds of hours in I-War 1 and dozens of hours in I-War 2. And although I have had my fair share of rage-quits over time, I don’t regret a single hour of playing those games.

    That’s my two cents.

    • Brian Rubin says:

      Hey, how do you even USE that manual countermeasures mod? I can’t figure the dang thing out.

      • S.Katze says:

        To be honest, I don’t remember. I haven’t played I-War 2 for a few weeks, and my memory is getting a little foggy in that respect. As soon as I get to play it again, I will get back to you. Default is Page Down, but I honestly don’t remember if I managed to switch it to a different button.

Chime In!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.