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A lot of my posts are prompted by the game I'm currently playing, so looking through my blog history can sometimes give you a great idea of my gaming path.
Today's blog is sparked by Arkham City, and it's related to my extreme loathing for the boss battle.
One of the things I hate most about boss battles is trying to figure out how to actually beat the b*stard. In some of the older games, it wasn't exactly obvious what you needed to do. More recent games often make it more obvious (like the glowing red things on the boss battles in Shadows of the Damned, which sparked my previous rant). But it still sometimes wasn't obvious the best way to beat them.
This all brings me to Arkham City. There are lots of things to love in this game, but one of my favourites is that the boss battles aren't cheap, and they're not excessively hard. They are difficult, but not tediously so.
(Thanks to PC Mag)
But more importantly, the game tells you what you need to do. Don't get me wrong. Actually pulling off what you need to do often feels like an accomplishment, because it's not easy. Mr. Freeze, you have to get him with four different attacks, without actually fighting him face to face. It can be difficult. in fact, I died many times in these battles. That certainly didn't change from most games.
But what makes boss battles interesting is being able to do what's necessary to defeat the bad guy. It's *not* interesting to have to try and figure out what you have to do, and *then* pulling it off.
The other part of me, however, wonders whether this may put some gamers off. In my post about boss battles, a lot of the commenters mentioned actually liking boss battles (they sadly didn't share my antipathy towards them, and made the cardinal mistake of actually *gasp* disagreeing with me).
For me, though, this was pure heaven. I was able to enjoy the story, go through the fights, know that every stage of the story would have some kind of boss, but also know that I wouldn't get overly frustrated by them when they did pop up. While I wouldn't call Arkham City game of the year (For example, I'm finding all of the extra collectible stuff much more tedious than I did in Arkham Asylum for some reason), I think it had the best story/gameplay element combination of any game this year bar Uncharted 3 and Portal 2. I think a game is great and near the top of my list when the gameplay doesn't get in the way of my enjoyment.
Too often, boss battles do that for me. Give me something like Uncharted 3, where there really isn't a boss battle, but instead another kind of intense ending that, while difficult, doesn't consist of you running around in circles trying to find the guy's weak point.
Or if you're going to do something similar to that, at least tell me the trick so I can concentrate on executing the trick rather than figuring out what the trick is.
So what do you think of all this? Those of you who have played Arkham City, were you annoyed that it laid it all out for you? Or did you enjoy it like I did? Should this post spark another "Games are getting too easy and mollycoddling gamers nowadays, and by the way, get off my property, you damned smoochers!" post?*
I say to game companies, "give me more of this! This is what I like in games."
Or maybe I just suck. There is that possibility.
*Extra points to anybody who can tell me which MST3K movie that line is from