Ten games every designer should play
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Posted 17 May 2011 - 05:44 PM
Tribes 2 - Well beyond it's time and it still has servers up (google Tribes Next). The concepts it features are far ranging in terms of revolutionary data map linking, community and features, inventory management and equipment, a multi-level approach to combat including air and ground vehicles in addition to being on foot, one of the first games to feature VoiP support, ridiculously modable, and had quite active developer interaction before the team was fired.
Empires - A free mod for Half-Life 2 that is bent on combining RTS and FPS perspectives into a interactive game. Games like this have not been done well in the past and they are doing a pretty good job at combining the two. It does represent a very unique take on the perspective and hurdles that FPS's with RTS elements in them need to overcome.
Raven Shield and/or Ghost Recon Advanced Warrior - Very tacitcal shooters before they became more consolized. It represents another take on the FPS genre when pulled away from more casual interactions between players such as Call of Duty, UT, Q3, and CS:S
Call of Duty 4 - I don't say this lightly, but the first in the series of Modern Warfare games was done quite well. Many points can be taken from this as to what most casual players like in a game. The game is far more forgiving in terms of gameplay then other games in the FPS genre as well as throwing in a hefty dose of 'carrot-on-a-stick' for players who are after that sort of gameplay.
Serious Sam - Gameplay in this game is mind numbingly addictive and offers quite a different take on what should be considered fun in games. It's not quite a survival game like the latest iterations of XYZ Zombie Shooter, but throws as many mobs at a player as it can muster. Really it's one of those games that's loads of fun to play with friends at a lan party till your eyes bleed.
Dawn of War - W40k Dawn of War, not the second one (it isn't like the first one) or Soulstorm (made by a different developer), is a revolutionary RTS in my opinion. It differs quite a bit from most other RTS as the game centers heavily around fighting and not only is it done well, but it's extremely well balanced. The animations, voice overs, equipment load outs, interface ease of use, unique races, and the overall quality of the game makes for some remarkable gameplay. The races aren't mirror balanced either, each and every race is quite a bit different from one another. They play nothing alike and are suited for many different play styles.
Rise of Legends / Rise of Nations - Both of these games are quite a bit different from the typical cookie cutter RTS's such as Warcraft 3 and Command and Conquer. Rise of Legends in particular is a more polished example of the concepts in Rise of Nations. Units are seen more as a commodity then something you need to strive for and the gameplay is extremely rewarding. All three races present in the game are not mirror balanced and their economies function differently, but still are easy to grasp. The most notable quality in these games is the attrition system which adds a more 'territorial' feel to the game. I have presently not encountered another game with such a system.
Sins of a Solar Empire (4x)- Another largely different take on space combat. It seems very close to Homeworld, but is definitely a lot more polished and each expansion pack has seemingly added more unique content to the game. There are many different ways to play the game and exploit your enemies, not centering combat solely around one specific strategy or micromanagement (like Blizzard games). Combat also takes quite a long time, but it fits the breadth of the game considering what they are trying to represent. It's really one of those games you have to play.
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Posted 17 May 2011 - 07:02 PM
Demon's Souls - For long-term teaching mechanisms. When you begin playing Demon's Souls, you are confident and cocky. You've played action/adventure games before, right? How hard can it be? You run into a room and try to play God Of War, killing anything that moves. The game kills you mercilessly for it, and after your death it gets even harder. It gives you half health, but makes it so that your attacks hit harder. Why? Because that means the only way to live is to play it correctly. To move slowly, avoid getting hit, and plan your attacks. Every time you don't do this, it kills you again. But once the player stops playing it like God of War and starts playing it like Demon's Souls, the balance of power shifts. The player has the reins. Demon's Souls is like a zen master, slowly teaching you through repeated failure. But the reward to the player isn't just XP and loot, the reward is much greater: self-discipline, confidence, and empowerment. A brilliant game.
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - For unbreakable RPG leveling. Most games that claim "RPG elements" let the player pretty much break the game by just grinding a bunch of time away on low-level enemies. The XP system in this game is excellent (100XP = Level Up, always. The amount of XP per enemy changes logically as you go past their level, until it's 0). And for players who want that extra "edge", the badge system is equally well-designed (do you want to use a bunch of cheap badges or a few really potent ones?)
Half Life - For linear level design. Half Life (particularly the original) does an amazing job of making you think you are exploring a detailed world and finding secret passages, when actually the game is 100% linear and the "secrets" are part of the main path.
Deus Ex - For non-linear level design. Every player can play every level differently, the game crafting itself to their unique play style.
999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors - For experimental storytelling. The game (and story) have their faults, but I've never experienced anything else like it. Six endings, designed so players replay until they reach the "Perfect End", with unique content and puzzles in each playthrough. By the time you've seen the third or fourth ending, you start to realize that the rabbit hole goes much deeper than you could ever expect. By ending #5, the game is playing you. When you reach the Perfect End, you realize that the game has been playing you since the very start and the revelation changes the way you interpret everything you've seen up until then and thus you are encouraged to replay all six again to see what was really going on. Amazing.
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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:21 PM
A Bridge Too Far (2) and Battle of the Bulge (4) were my favorites. By far the best company/platoon level wargame I've seen. Some might say that Company of Heroes covers the same ground, but Close Combat really gets away from the whole resource collection and unit building grind that characterize so many RTS's. In Close Combat, you placed your men at the start of the battle, and knew that those were all the guys you were going to get, and you had to preserve, not only them, but their ammo, if you wanted to win. Highly realistic, but still fun.
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Posted 30 August 2011 - 05:33 PM
RTS: Sins of a solar empire, for it's
-low advantages with high apm
-scalable to huge amounts of units
- AI. Does some cool stuff, like attacking one planet, and a little later another of your planets (far away) with a much larger force.
FPS: Crysis for its,
- Open enviroments
- How they implemented AI in such an enviroment (very easy to see how npc's reacts, because of minimap and open enviroments)
- Physics (it does add to gameplay)
- customizable weapons
Edited by ImmoralAtheist, 30 August 2011 - 05:52 PM.
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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:35 AM
Mega Man 2 - Arguably the most perfect action side-scrolling game design of all time:
* Level designs
* Boss/weapon designs
* How vastly it improved on the success of the original
* Variety of pace
* Range of Challenge (not found in any other Mega Man game to date)
* Speedrun-friendly (my personal record is 43min and 11sec hihi)