Sometimes video games do things that draw us right out of the experience, that immersion lost. Others we have gotten used to or just live with, either because fixing them would be too much hassle for the gains, or the other options might ultimately make a game less fun. Here are a few things we have come to live with, that don’t really make any sense once you sit and think about them.
*Puts on old man outfit* “Back in my day you needed to watch your health and carry med packs. Kids these days.” We have had regenerating health in games for so long now, especially some FPS franchises, that going back to health packs and stims feels refreshing and new. At least in Uncharted, we now know that it wasn’t a health bar, but Nate running out of luck until he took a shotgun blast to the chest. Actually, healing in games, in general, is just weird. Without magic, how does a first aid kit let you go from a broken leg to running and jumping around like a parkour master? It doesn’t make any sense.
Guards forgetting who they were chasing
You burst into a room, killing your target. There is a flash of steel and blood spurts everywhere. You make no effort to hide your appearance, your outfit striking and wildly different from what everyone else around you wears. You wait on a rooftop for a while, or in a bush, or with a nice crowd of chatty people until the guards give up the chase. While they head back to their posts, you walk down the street with them. “I’ve got my eye on you,” one of them barks. While it would make a lot of sense that guards remembered what you were wearing and spotted you easily the next time you were in the neighbourhood, it would make the game a whole lot tougher too.
Never sheathing gear / or sheathed items disappearing
Many games suffer when it comes to putting away gear. In many RPGs when a weapon is sheathed, it is invisible, until the next time it is required. That massive sword you use? Gone when not in use. Oh, that person you were talking to who is now angry and wants to fight? Good thing he has no weap~ damn, look at the size of that axe he just pulled out of thin air. Or in other games, items just magically go back to their sheath or place on your character when no longer in use, from grappling hooks to climbing axes to big spears it seems that out of sight, out of mind is the maxim.
Some games really make inventory management a part of the experience, sometimes for better or worse. From having a grid and putting items into slots, to managing weight and having a flower put you over the edge so that you can no longer jog or fast travel, we generally make peace with the idea and move on. Sometimes though it is difficult to not stop and say “Really?” Far Cry 3’s wallets come to mind. Here you are, stranded on an island and in desperate need of cash and you will leave money around because it doesn’t fit into your wallet, so you craft a bigger wallet. Not another wallet, you upgrade the last one with… more pouches I guess? The money could have gone anywhere, like in a pocket, in your shoes or just loose in the bag. Maybe hold it for a while, or something? Wow, my game character is so dumb.
Questionable barriers blocking the path
This one deserves two images because well, come on games. You see a door, a rather flimsy looking door, but it is locked. Your character refuses to kick it down, shoot it or even climb in through the top, which is completely broken open. The door pictured above has become a meme as you find several like it in the Fallout series. Another prime example would be the gates that bar Death’s progress in Darksiders II. Just look at the gap between the bars, can’t he just turn sideways and walk through? Apparently not. In Divinity: Original Sin, the narrator mocks the players when they see a chest out on a pier, with a rope cordoning the area off. As there is no way to attack or detach the rope, the only way to reach the chest is with special abilities that allow movement, like a teleport spell. Talk about rubbing it in our faces.