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What's The Most Overused Gameplay Mechanic In Existence?

When a new gameplay system or mechanic really takes off, developers like to use it. A lot.

Sometimes, though, it reaches a point where the once-attractive feature has waned, and everyone is tired of it.

Which is it for you? Is there one particular mechanic developers continue to use that either A. Feels tired and overused, B. Just drives you nuts, or C. Both...?

For me, I think it has to be the QTE (Quick Time Event). When we first started seeing it in great games like Resident Evil 4 and God of War, it was an incredible new form of interactive action that seemed to simultaneously simplify and engage. It didn't require that you pull off some sort of amazing button combination, but at the same time, it didn't remove you entirely from a series of splendidly choreographed events (ala the old-fashioned cut-scene). Some designers implemented this system better than others but for the most part, I liked it.

Now, I'm just getting tired of it. Maybe it was Beyond: Two Souls that pushed me over the edge, or maybe it's simply because I've grown bored. I understand the concept and of course, it can still work very well. However, I think it has overstayed its welcome and it's time for developers to come up with something new. Even an interesting variation on the tried-and-true QTE formula would be refreshing.

How's about you?

Tags: video games, game systems, game mechanics, game development

1/27/2014 10:30:29 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (28 posts)

Feryx
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:46:15 PM
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The slow motion "bullet time" events are a little old as well.

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PC_Max
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:50:08 PM
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I know I will be told I am wrong, but all game mechanics in general are... old and nothing new or special. That is why for me, its the story and character development that keep it interesting.

QTE, they have been around since the old arcades. Cues to move the game forward or last gen in GoW and even in Assassins Creed 3 to kill something in a special way.

Even from what I have seen of Second, some of the mechanics look like adaptions of GoW. Does it matter? Not really. Its a part of a bigger game with I hope an excellent storyline.

Heavnely Sword was criticized for having similar or copied mechanics like GoW. But for me didn't care. Loved the game, the art style, the story and characters.

Keep playing what you enjoy! Does not matter if others disagree!

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firesoul453
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:12:18 PM

But without game mechanics it isn't a game. It would be a movie or a book or something.

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Kryten1029a
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 10:50:39 PM
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The QTE. It's an easy way to give the illusion of interactivity in what amounts to a cutscene and an easy crutch for dev teams.

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Jalex
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:27:19 PM
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Quick-Time Events really only bother me when they're overly long and must be completed in the exact pattern the game gives you in order to progress. Which is, I suppose, why Quantic's last two efforts really didn't bother me when using this mechanic.
But in linear games, I think short and profound button demands can be very effective. 'Snake Eater' still has that effect for me, because I really didn't want to push the button.

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Underdog15
Monday, January 27, 2014 @ 11:54:41 PM
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Ever since Knight's Contract, I haven't been able to enjoy a QTE. It wasn't done poorly really in FFXIII-2, but I still hated it with a burning passion.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 12:11:55 AM

Well, Knight's Contract was just bad the whole way 'round. LOL

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 10:48:44 AM

I think my problem was the amount of time I'd invested. It's no high end production, but I still enjoyed it. A guilty pleasure, if you will. (World might like it aside from the QTE's)

When I played on hard mode, the QTE's were impossible to accomplish as the game couldn't get the image up in time (was inconsistent, and it had this stupid special effect that would kinda of flower up the button to press, but you had to wait for the animation to end before you could see the button. And by then, it was too late). And on the final boss, if you miss one, it's game over.

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Killa Tequilla
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 12:55:19 AM
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The biggest overused mechanic in any game is the limited amount of gameplay mechanics you have. There are games with impressive detailed worlds and anything you can imagine, yet what you can actually do is very limited. Take GTA V for example, no one can deny that the game is impressive, however, the small amount of actiona you can do with your character feel like once you've played 10 minutes of the game, you've done every action possible with your character and as a result, I end up getting bored faster with the game. For example in BioShock Infinite, you have "vigors" right? I'm not sure yet how many there are but these "vigors" allow for many different actions your character can do and keeps the game fresh throughout the campaign. More options to tackle your challenges. Skyrim gives you many actions you can do as well, you can use swords, fists, magic, bow and arrows, etc.

You guys get me?

How much can your character do in GTA V? Shoot, jump, and steal cars... Give me more options man.

It's not really a new gameplay mechanic... But it sorta fits what you're asking for. It's more of a design.

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Spore_777
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 1:38:55 AM
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Honestly cannot think of anything other QTEs. I've reached a point where I feel I should the damage in a boss fight in a non-predetermined manner. RE4's QTEs remain a personal favourite though.

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Ather
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 2:10:43 AM
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What always got em was Nintendo 64's gather a certain number of items to progress. Mario needs Stars. Banjo & Kazooie needs feathers. A lot of their games required a certain number, and if you're down by one it gets frustrating trying to find that elusive item. I skipped several games because I had no patience for item collecting like that. Some were so well hidden it's like, Why would anybody ever think to even do that?

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Ather
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 2:11:54 AM
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Too long intro. I want to actually play the game thank you very much. Not watch a movie as I wait for the game's plot to be set up.

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Underdog15
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 11:09:08 AM

FFVII was a great example of a huge story starting off the right way. Right into the action!

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Lawless SXE
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 3:06:44 AM
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The first person perspective. Not in all games, mind you. It worked phenomenally well in Gone Home by making it feel as though *you* were intruding on the lives of Katie's family, but in most games of that ilk I've played (BF:BC, CoD, KZ, Dishonored, F.E.A.R.) it just bugs me for some reason.

'Moral choices'. Again, not always, but absolutely in those games where your choice:
A) doesn't really have any impact on the direction of the game.
B) is so cleanly cut that it feels cheap.
Oddly enough, though, I despised the morality system in Fallout 3.

Unlike most people, I don't generally mind QTEs unless they just feel tacked on, as they were in Puppeteer. In most other games I've been fine with them.

Really interesting question/topic, Ben. I like it. :)

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Remo Williams
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 3:18:00 AM
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I think the climbing mechanic used in games like Assassin's Creed and Uncharted could use an overhaul. It's nice traversing vertical environments and it adds another element of exploration, but there's rarely any skill involved.

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mk ultra
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 3:41:03 AM

I second that. I would really like there to be at least some challenge to the platforming in games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider. Not Mirrors Edge challenge, but somewhere inbetween. Maybe more vertical combat, but I really want the climbing itself to feel more challenging, like rock climbing. Not just effortlessly jumping around like a spider monkey.

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mk ultra
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 3:33:53 AM
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I just want something new. It feels like there hasn't been a major breakthrough since the QTE. I'd say the mechanic in skate was the most refreshing last gen, and i'm hoping someone surprises me this gen.

I am really tired of red exploding barrels though. It's amazing how many games still utilize them. And yellow or white is the universal cue for climb here. Why can't games be unique with their color cues? It seems like everyone just follows suit cause that's what everyone expects.

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Gordo
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 4:11:12 AM
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Collecting health kits and supplies.
For example, I love The Last of Us but there was a point where I realised that it was 1. Fight some baddies, 2. Then go raking through their houses for supplies. I'm sure I missed half the story and atmosphere because I was off rooting through the rubbish looking for health kits.

Maybe ok in a RPG like Fallout but I think in an action game there should be an option to tone down the supply collecting bit. I know why the feature is there but it detracts in my opinion for some type of games.

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___________
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 4:23:16 AM
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gotta be regenerative health, bring back those good old health packs!
it made combat and resource management so much more interesting.
allowed you to go balls to the walls too if you wanted to and had the resources to do so.
you could go out and gun everyone down, than when your almost dead quick health pack and continue your slaughter.
now you have to run away to mummy and wait for her magical pixie fairies to heal your wounds.

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Kiryu
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 4:24:02 AM
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Gun Shooting

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Beamboom
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 6:49:05 AM
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Oh man that's so easy: QTEs.
God damn how I hate those things. They make me miss what often is an awesome scene just cause I have to focus on what button to press next. What a meaningless, counter-productive pile of sh*t QTEs are.

They completely ruined my Heavenly Sword experience, they made me turn from mildly amused to pure annoyed in Heavy Rain, and I've sworn to never ever buy a game with QTEs in them ever again. Ever. No exception.

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JackC8
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 8:22:03 AM
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Pan the camera around, put the crosshairs on the guy, push the button. Repeat 5,000 times. I'm so damned bored with that mechanic I can't even make it past the halfway point of a shooter any more before I abandon it in complete and utter apathy.

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Masszt3r
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 8:28:01 AM
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Automatic health regeneration. Back in the day, games battle events required you to actually be careful with how many times you got hit. This is especially true for shooters, a genre which by the way I am not very fond of, such as Red Faction, Half-Life, early MoH and COD entries, etc.

I understand that not having this mechanic would impact the flow in MP, but it just makes it so easy. I can also understand its use in certain RPGs, such as TES series and Mass Effect, so I guess my main complaint is with shooters.

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xenris
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 10:11:46 AM
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Automatic health regeneration I really hate. Nothing more ridiculous about getting someone down to 1 hp in CoD and have them run away get full health and kill some of your team mates and possibly yourself. Regenerating health ruins the strategy and management of shooters and games in general.

This isn't a gameplay mechanic but I hate how every shooter now in multiplayer shows you when you have hit another player. It just really irks me. That little cross that appears as you gun someone down, is just so lame. It opens up a window for exploitation, like if the game has bullet penetration you can shoot through a wall and look for those marks. Its just lame, takes the skill ceiling and lowers it.

I like QTEs if they are done very sparingly and only for say finishing off a boss. I loved the QTEs in Shenmue, which I think was the pioneer of them. They were used so well in that game. But if the game asks you to do a QTE every time you finish off an enemy and there are like hundreds of them, or in general makes you do a lot of them often. Well thats just bad game design in my opinion. Unless its Heavy Rain.

Oh yeah the other gameplay mechanic I hate, mashing a button, or wiggling the analogue stick to break free of a stun or some other sort of crowd control. Its not very fun.

Slow motion or bullet time is in a lot of games now, even if it doesn't make sense.

Last but not least, predator vision. Most TPS games have some sort of wall hack, infrared mode thing built into them. Most stealth games have it too.

Now I know why they put these in the game, but I don't like pushing a button and seeing exactly all the items of interest, where the enemies are etc. I like having to be smart about it, and put myself in danger to find out this stuff.

Which is why thief is exciting me, you can turn all that fluff off :)



Last edited by xenris on 1/28/2014 10:13:23 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 7:37:07 AM

"I don't like pushing a button and seeing exactly all the items of interest, where the enemies are etc. I like having to be smart about it, and put myself in danger to find out this stuff."

Oh man that is just SO true. Totally agree, that is an annoying thing.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:14:45 PM

Looking at your comment, I can understand your points, but these features have pushed gaming further and we would be much worse off without them.

Auto health regeneration was a good thing, I mean, how lame is it to run around trying to find a health pack?

BF has the BEST implementation of health in any multiplayer game I have seen. You have 100 health as per normal, and when you get hit it DOES regenerate over time, BUT it regenerates rather slowly, and you have a specific medic class which can deploy health packs to radically increase your health regen. It is the best of both worlds basically.

Hit detection reticle. Well if I was shooting at someone who was 100 meters away, and not have a clue if I was hitting him or not, to just sit there and constantly firing with little or no affect at all would be a VERY frustrating experience, and would make me get over it very quickly. With game maps becoming larger and more open, we needed a way to know.

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Beamboom
Saturday, February 01, 2014 @ 7:56:21 AM

Very good arguments there, Akuma.

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Akuma07
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:09:31 PM
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I hate QTE's that require constant tapping of the same button. Simple one press QTE's are okay, but not the "Pound X" kind of QTE's.

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