Mine are just the usual really…Unskippable/Unpausable cut scenes, bad voice acting, bad camera controls, nonsensical plot, unnecessary grind, random loot with very, very, very low drop rates, poor placement of save points if on the fly saving is not possible and escort quests (Archimedes I hate you and your stupid quest). Also difficulty scaling needs to be done properly too…I’d actually read that more people would have enjoyed Sekiro if there’d been an option to modify difficulty, which isn’t the point I’m making but indicative that difficulty curves matter).
Well this is going to be a long post.
I have personally never subscribed to this idea that darksouls is “always fair” and everything can be skillfully handled if you just paid enough attention. No, darksouls is a harsh, dangerous and unforgiving world and the occasional stab in the back helps reinforce that. Ambushes are by no means fair, but they help keep the players mindset in a state of anxiety. I don’t think you’re meant to ever feel safe and in control and that’s why the game throws these sort of cheap shots at you now and then. I don’t think there’s any ambushes that would one shot you in DS3 however, as opposed to the dragon bridge in the first one.
There are for sure attacks that you shouldn’t even be trying to block, to some extent I found that was something that always made sense. If a creature 3 times your size hits you with a piece of metal as wide as you are it seems unlikely you’ll safely deflect the blow with your shield arm. These are attacks you have to avoid. I played through my first time with sword and shield, but when I entered a boss fight I almost always stashed the shield away and 2h the sword because blocking was for the most part unwise.
While I agree with you in general, not every game needs RPG mechanics and they’re often shoehorned into games just to fill tick boxes from corporate, the RPG mechanics in dark souls matters a great deal. You can create so many different types of characters and play the game in so many different ways thanks to the choices you have in stat allocation. Making it a fixed stat progression with a designed intended character build would make the game a lot less than it is.
Well here we see one of your basic misunderstandings come to light, darksouls isn’t an action game.
It is also a game about resource management and careful consideration of your actions. It’s not an action game, it’s a strategic combat game. It’s not meant to be a run and gun platformer. The stamina bar is there to make you have to to think about your actions. I can’t go in depth enough to try to explain this to you but it just seems to me that you really don’t get the point of games like dark souls.
Honestly I do not know the exact particulars about how hyper armour and stun locking works to describe it. But it’s definitely not random, it’s a designed system that works as intended for a reason. You can’t interrupt your attacks to dodge, this is part of the “strategic combat” thing I talked about earlier, this is what people mean about being committed to your actions, this isn’t Bayonetta. When you’re talking about your combo however what you’re running into is command queuing, the game will take your inputs and perform them in the order they were made. If you don’t spam your attacks you don’t have a full command queue to execute before dodging or blocking.
Well it certainly is, because you do, many times and not by accident. It’s definitely a lot harder to fight multiple enemies for all the reasons you’ve listed though. You have to alter your approach to those fights.
Abyss watcher spoilers
Abyss watchers keeps spawning new fighters on a timer, not based on health. But they will also fight each other. They will fight you 1:1 and 2:1 but once a 3rd one spawns two of them will start fighting each other and you get back to a 1:1 fight. This makes the fight have a very interesting back and forth rhythm to it where you have to switch between aggression and defense based on the number of watchers you’re fighting. It makes the fight very dynamic and part of why it ranks among my favourite bosses.
There is ONE bonfire I can think of that this applies to on the high wall of Lothric, on the tower behind the one occupied by the dragon. After fighting the first knight of the game you can either go to an outside staircase heading up to a bonfire or the internal staircase going down. I missed this bonfire for the longest time and had a real hard time for a while there. But I also feel like this is the only bonfire that isn’t right on the critical path, at least I can’t think of any other.
Edit: No I suppose one could argue that the bonfire ahead of the area around the cathedral of the deep counts. I don’t recall if you have to open the door to the chapel to see it or not, but it isn’t right on the path.
I’m similar, except I don’t mind, and even enjoy, hard mode affecting attack strength (but not HP and defense). Not being able to tank hits makes me play more carefully/evasively (or, in RPGs, rely more on buffs and debuffs), and I’m all for that. HP/def increases are just a tedious waste of time.
I like changes to AI and new attacks, but only in limited amounts. I don’t want to feel like I’m playing a different game, I want my skills from easier difficulties to carry over.
My own deal-breaker is action and platforming challenges that require timing and memorization at the same time, e.g. navigating a series of disappearing/reappearing platforms without safe spots between them. I uninstalled Fez because a tiny platforming section with disappearing platforms was basically a brick wall to me. Leave some indication of where the platforms were/will be so I can just focus on the timing, and make sure the timing is fast enough to feel like a rhythm, i.e. under 2 seconds between “beats”. Long periods between platforms changing might feel like generosity, but they really just mess with one’s ability to “feel” the cycle.
This is a more minor one simply because it’s easy to see in screenshots so I just don’t buy these games: pixel art games with mixed scales, whether that be sprites, rotations, or lighting. Render your game at 1x scale with the art and then scale it up when it’s done, problem solved (bonus: it’s easier on the GPU!). To a lesser degree, smooth gradients or other non-pixel art effects mixed with pixel art. I don’t hate these as much, but I do tend to avoid games with them.
Another minor one, this is something I look for in reviews before I buy a game: “Wiki” games, i.e. games that practically require you to look things up in a wiki if you don’t want to miss important content, avoid repeating bad interactions, or have to grind for extra items. I’m not even averse to looking things up, just let me do it in-game (if the game limits the player to just things they’ve already discovered, then the game can still encourage experimentation, win-win)!
A great example of a game that could have this issue but doesn’t is Slay the Spire, it provides full descriptions of every relic and active effect, and even displays durations and use counts for things, and the random events you encounter almost always have a clear indication of what will happen if you choose any option. Compare this to e.g. Binding of Isaac, where fans have had to create item cheat sheets because it’s hard to remember what each item does, but remembering them and optimizing interactions is important to late-game success.
I bet you absolutely hate Heat man’s stage from mega man 2. Great music but those disappearing platforms are such a damn hassle I always went to get the Rush jet from Air man’s stage first. That didn’t get my by the first Wily castle boss though, which has you fighting on similar platforms the entire time.
I can see what you mean (though I should clarify that I meant stats for both enemies and the player, up and down). Then again, depending on the way the game is designed, lowering the number of hits the player can take before death still wouldn’t make much difference…
That one’s worse since the timing of the blocks is based on when they appear onscreen, not on the appearance/disappearance of each other (or the “beat” as @eishiya put it). It wouldn’t be so bad if it were easier to jump on a block directly over you after it spawns. I didn’t even think the stage music was that great; it repeats the same bar like 7 or 8 times (a bar where the second half is just a small variation of the first half), then has a single measure for what should be the start of a more expansive melody (which it plays twice), but instead it loops back to that repetitive bar.
Those blocks don’t disappear, though; they’re just your ordinary single-tile-wide platforms.
Oh here’s another I’ve thought of: remakes and remasters.
On the one hand, since it has been used near interchangeably, they’re bound to have many who are confused with each term. On the other, it’s annoying when someone refers something made from the ground up with the game as a reference as a remaster and vice versa. Like, a remaster is to redo the original master to alter them, usually to improve it like with Darksiders Warmastered and God of War 3 Remastered, while a remake is to use a previous game as a source, but otherwise build it from the ground up to get it more suitable for modern audiences like Spyro Reignited Trilogy and Resident Evil 2 (2019).
Ohh! Pet peeves!
This applies to bad movies too but I get annoyed when my game protagonist meets a random NPC and they are SUCH best friends. They knew each other for so long! How do I know that? Because they told me of course!
A 5 minute introduction into how close they are and an embarrassing memory or two. Then what do you think happens next? This best NPC friend gets killed off. So emotional for the protagonist! But not me.
I don’t know why writers think it’s still a good idea to introduce characters just to kill them. I can understand they can’t kill their main cast of characters but whenever these forgettable NPCs are introduced like this, I’m more surprised that they survive the story line.