I'm tired of useless 'features'

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Certain things are becoming standard in all sorts of games, whether you want them or not. Just about every action/adventure/RPG has some form of crafting, and it is worming its way into other genres as well. That’s fine, I don’t particularly mind, but other ‘features’ are starting to grate on my nerves.

My biggest gripes at the moment are with season and day/night cycles. Sure, in some games they make sense – certain creatures only spawn at night/winter, or you need it to be light to see something. I get it. But lately, it seems that every game gets these elements, whether it adds to the experience or not. For example, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has a day/night cycle. Now, maybe I didn’t play the game long enough to see why it was relevant – when the beta reopens I will definitely keep exploring and discovering. However, so far, it appears that the only purpose of night is to make it dark and irritating. Shops are still open, NPCs still wander around, and nothing changes except the fact that I couldn’t see the road and kept getting disoriented.

Dota 2 also has a day/night cycle. Now, I know that at ‘night’ the fog of war is apparently more dense, making is prime ganking time. However, other than that, it doesn’t really add to the experience of the game. Plus, most players will gank at any time of the day or night. Why add in the day/night cycle when most people still just run around killing each other?

Or what about every game letting you fully customize your character? Sure, it’s nice to make my little elf have purple hair and green eyes, or build my tank to look like a morbidly obese George Clooney, but I’m not convinced that so many games need it. Plus, by letting you name and shape your own character, it generally leads to poor voice acting opportunities and some confusing character interactions. There is nothing wrong with giving a player some set options, or even no options. Just give us a fantastic game and no one will notice that their character has a larger nose and smaller bust than they would have built for themselves.

Finally, there is the random inclusion of vehicles. Sure, driving around makes sense in some games, but I HATED it in some of them. Here’s looking at you LA Noire. Let me be clear, I’m a good driver in real life, but in games… I bash into everything. No really, I suck at driving in games, which is why you won’t be seeing me play Forza or Gran Tourismo. So why put it into games that really didn’t need it? As soon as I could, I let my partner drive me to all the crime scenes. However, you need to “free drive” in order to stop random street crimes and to unlock hidden vehicles. I’m not really sure why a game where you play as a cop needed hidden vehicles, though. It felt like an add-on purely “because videogame” and was a bit of a distraction.

Do you think I’m completely wrong? Do you love stumbling around at night with your fully customized character while driving down back alleys?

Last Updated: August 12, 2013

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.