Blog | Let's Play?
If you're reading this on the day it was published, I hope you've enjoyed your weekend so far and hope you have a good day tomorrow before the start of a new week. If you're reading this well after it was published, then I hope you've had a good [insert period of time here] too.
Today, I want talk about a few bugbears I have noticed while watching some Let's Play videos on YouTube over the last couple of weeks - mainly games I've beaten so I can see how others did. And it's not a case of feeling superior, or thinking 'get good' about those playing the games.
Rather, it's wondering about how literal-minded and narrow-focussed some of them are, and how they often expect the game to just tell them how to do everything. A regular example is needing to search an area to progress, which is a pretty commonplace situation in which to find yourself.
However, I've noticed that there are a lot of YouTubers who will be so focussed on the direction they want to go in, that they literally won't turn the camera/character around to look behind them until they've expected every last pixel in a 180-degree arc in front of them in the most minute detail.
Either that or they actually do look around, but only on a two-dimensional plane and won't ever look up or down. It's especially odd because being inquisitive about your surroundings is pretty common human behaviour, especially somewhere you haven't been before, so I can't explain why they expect the answer to be right next to the puzzle.
Another issue is what I can only describe as 'selective cognition'. I don't know if there is a correct term for it, but a large number of games feature quick-time events (QTEs) or just button prompts to continue a cut scene or perform a simple action.
I've genuinely seen YouTubers move closer to the screen and look at their display from all angles, wondering how to continue past a certain point, while there is a button prompt placed right in the middle of the screen.
And these QTEs can be very different, with some being animated, others flashing, or simply using a drastically-different colour scheme to stand out from the action. Why it takes some of them so long to see these prompts is beyond me, especially as the game is their sole focus and they're looking for some kind of prompt in the first place.
Similarly, most games these days usually show/tell you on-screen which buttons do what the first time you need to perform a particular action in a game. Some games will even completely pause the action, requiring you to confirm you've seen this display, or even provide voice-over to make sure.
Yet I still see some people get a fair way into a game and certainly well past when a particular gameplay mechanic was introduced, only to get stuck because they've reached a part that requires a certain action to proceed.
It's actually funny (for once) to read the comments on YouTube videos when this happens, because it'll usually be filled with people explaining exactly what incredibly simple thing needs to be done, while pointing out that it was explained right at the start of the game.
I will concede that some gameplay mechanics can be ignored if the game has been designed well enough that the player has other ways to deal with problems. For example, I never bothered learning how to knife dodge in the Batman: Arkham games.
Why? Well, you can either learn a three-part dodge sequence to deal with it or: 1) flip away from/over the attacker; 2) knock them down with a Batarang; 3) cape stun them; 4) rip the weapon out of their hands with the batclaw; 5) run away; 6) or, if you've built up your combo enough, take them down with a special counter.
Games that give you that many options? It's fine to ignore a couple of things here or there. But when a game is telling you something incredibly basic about how to interact with the setting and will actually halt your progress if you weren't paying attention? That's on you, and why are you missing it anyway when the game tells you exactly how to do it?
There are a lot of little things like that which just prove irritating because of how often they pop up. The YouTuber is almost always perfectly fine at playing the game otherwise, so it's not skill-related, it's just the really bizarre selective nature of how they take in what the game tells them that is weird to me.
I do intend to start doing game play-throughs at some point in the future and, while I can't claim that I'll be good at every game, at least I'll pay attention to what each game tells me.
Euro Truck Simulator 2 - the perfect game to play when listening to podcasts, just cruising around mainland Europe and not having to worry about constant fast reactions.
God of War (2018) - grinding away in Niflheim for gear. Not thrilling, or something that inspires me to come back to the game with any great relish, but at least allows for play in short chunks. Will hopefully finish with the game in the next fortnight.
Star Wars: The Old Republic - my fantastic Sith Warrior is now up to level thirty and still kicking all kinds of backside. I do like that BioWare have tuned the XP gain perfectly so that you only have to do the class and planet story quests to level at the correct rate.
World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth (Beta) - I've played through the opening scenario with a Blood Elf Rogue and, while as buggy as you'd expect a beta to be, it's enjoyable enough. Not enough for me to re-subscribe though - WoW is old enough now that it all feels a little 'been there, seen it, done it'.
Marvel Platinum Definitive Thor Redux - I finished off the story I was in the middle of, but not gone further yet. Considering that this title was released to coincide with Thor: Ragnarok and centres on Thor dealing with Hela, Loki and the Hulk, I might have to watch the film again to get me back in the mood to continue.
Agent Carter Season 1 - another TV show with another female lead and yet another good time. I have seen this season before, but not for a while, so it's nice to refresh my memory before I review it - look for that to be published on 1st August.