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Re(2):Kirby and difficulty levels: A discussi
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[QUOTE] How is Kirby's Yarn any different from XYZ shooter, where you can recover your life by hiding for a few seconds, and even if you die, you just respawn where you were maybe 10 to 30 seconds ago? (I'm looking at you Call of Duty: Modern Warfare) [/QUOTE] Separating the respawn thing from the regenerating life thing is important, because they really are two importantly different things. In older FPS games which were full of health pickups and the like, there was this idea of surviving through the level. Health was limited, you were bound to get hurt, and you had to be careful of limiting the damage you took and you might even start to become mindful of not picking up health pickups (because they might heal like 25 health while you've only taken 10 damage, so wait until you've taken at least 25 damage to pick them up!). With regenerating health, the emphasis is taken from surviving the level to surviving the moment/encounter. Think about what the difference is in Resident Evils: in RE2, the zombies will be back every time you re-enter the scene, it doesn't pay to shoot or fight every zombie you meet. The game isn't so generous with ammo/health drops that you can afford to do so. In RE4 and beyond, monsters that reset with each re-entry of the zone are rare. Whenever you enter a place with enemies to fight, your first option is to kill everything. Sure ammo drops and the like are also much more common which helps reinforce this, but there's a conscious shift towards surviving this zone rather than surviving this game. That's not to say that I didn't hoard ammo and items like a pack rat in RE4 and 5, but I felt much more comfortable with using my toys than I ever did in any previous RE. Regenerating health helps deal with stalemate zones where nobody wants to cross for fear of taking damage. It's particularly relevant to cover based games because you can hop from one zone of safety to the next and know that as long as you can hold each zone of safety, you can steadily progress towards the enemy. You don't have to deal with being lame ducked of not having enough health in total to cross X different open areas. That it enables and encourages different approaches to fights I think makes it ok. It makes damage situations differentiated between instances that you can shrug off and ones which are genuinely life-threatening (as weird and as punny as that sounds). I really dislike the first Gears of War for a variety of reasons, but Horde mode in Gears 2 manages to take so many things I loathe about Gears and makes it an intense and enjoyable experience. If your team fails, the entire level is restarted. All of what the game aims to achieve in its combat and feel happens in Horde mode. I normally hate how even basic grunts take a ton of bullets to kill in Gears 1, but in Horde mode they take even more to kill... but it's fine! The dynamics of positional fortification and control, cover hopping, the scramble of dealing with enemies that have broken through... all of it comes together in that mode, and without regenerating health, I think it would be a much more stunted and frustrating experience. ------ Another way to look at it is PC games have had quicksave/anywhere save/load for the longest time, and yet FPS games still managed to be interesting experiences. We could abuse the system as much as we wanted to, and I'd often save a helluva lot, but anybody that has ever been really sucked into a single player experience on one of those games will attest to how long they went without saving, and how infuriated they were when they died and realized how far back ago they had saved. Being able to save anywhere has the disadvantage of giving the players a powerful security blanket, but that also frees players to experiment. I really enjoyed being able to try a dozen or more different ways around a given situation in Thief or in Far Cry, and without the ability to save anywhere, I'd approach things in a more conservative and cookie-cutter way. It's nice that you don't always succeed, because that encourages you to try to do things differently. At the same time, you are nigh-infinitely empowered to try again and again from nearly any point you wish. ------ Let's go to something else entirely: Romancing SaGa. There is no concept of "MP" in the game. "HP" is rather more like shields or armor than in other games. There are the more persistent stats of LP, weapon durability, and in Minstrel Song, field skills. But in a given monster encounter, if you are going to win it without too much trouble, you just roll right along: HP is always refilled to full after a fight, and your action points always start at whatever set value they start at. You can also quicksave anywhere in Minstrel Song. ----- Checkpointing plays into the question of what it is that the player is supposed to be trying to survive, and how they should be trying to survive it. If you had a game where in a given level health never gets restored and death means a trip back to the start, then the game is testing a different kind of mastery and set of tactics from having regenerating health coupled with checkpoints before the start of every fight. This is getting really long, so I think I'll stop here. Actually, I'll leave one other thought: Defense of the Ancients doesn't have an HP/LP system, (it just uses HP), but how healing is handled in the game is very important and very interesting. The significance of having even a constant 2HP/s regeneration (even when characters start with a max HP in the hundreds!) is of tremendous tactical importance! Maybe somebody else who plays who cares to would elaborate more on this.
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