I finished God of War on Saturday and have come to the conclusion that the concept of “save points” in games is crap.
See, I’m not a very good gamer and I don’t have a lot of time. I’m sure there are folks out there who had no problem getting through the ridiculous set of jumping puzzles in hell, which just goes to prove I’m not the greatest gamer. What happened on Saturday, though… grrrrr….
The last battle of the game is with Ares, the God of War. Big surprise from the title of the game, right? Anyway, you fight him and it’s pretty difficult but it’s not impossible. I lost the battle twice while I figured out how he moved and such, then killed him the third time. For a boss battle, that’s pretty good. If I fail about five times on a boss battle, that’s okay. Much more than that and I start thinking that maybe it’s a little too hard. I mean, I like a good challenge, but I don’t want to sit there fighting the same guy all day. I digress.
So I fought Ares and kicked his ass, only to be put into a second “boss battle” where you have to fight a seemingly infinite set of clones of yourself. I think I lost that battle probably 20 or 30 times in a row. Seriously. Fighting Ares before this was a cake walk. But I beat this clone battle, too, and thought, “Yes! I’m done!”
Fighting Ares the first time took about five minutes each battle on average. Losing twice means that battle ran me 15 minutes. 15 minutes after I’ve already played a bunch, so I’m pretty much done by the time I beat him. But there’s no save point, so I can’t quit the game after that because then I’d just have to fight him all over.
Fighting the clone battle ran between one and 10 minutes each time. Say that averages out to four minutes each, that means I spent roughly another hour and a half on the second battle. Like I said, not the best gamer, but I am persistent and I do want to win. Plus, I like to play on the “normal” difficulty because “easy” is generally not challenging enough to make me feel accomplished, but “hard” is, well, too hard. So I was playing on “normal” mode.
By the time that clone battle was over, I was frustrated and tired. It was late in the evening, and I just wanted to quit. Where’s the save point?
There isn’t one.
And you have to fight Ares again, but this time without your weapons.
Now I’m just pissed. After spending another 10 minutes fighting Ares, getting tantalizingly close to winning and then getting the shit kicked out of me, when the game asked me for the umpteenth time whether I wanted to switch to easy mode, I said yes. Then I killed Ares in about two swings of the sword, which was far less than gratifying after all the work I put in, but that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was done playing and couldn’t just save my progress and stop.
Of course, after the last battle there’s a save point, right before you run up some stairs and end the game without fighting anyone. Brilliance, guys.
The point is that I value my time and, while I like gaming, I shouldn’t have to be at the mercy of the game developer as to how long I should allocate my time to their game. I can’t count how many times I wanted to stop playing but couldn’t because I’d just lose my progress. Does that sort of mean the game developer beat me? Sure it does. On the other hand, I’m going to shy away from any game that either employs save points or has levels that take longer than, say, 10 minutes to play. I need to control how my time is allocated and save points don’t allow me to do that. It turns the game from being fun into being a chore, and that’s not why I play.
Game companies: It’s really not that hard. Lose the save points and let me save wherever I want. I promise I’ll be more willing to buy your games if you do.