No hand holding: good or bad?

General and high profile video game topics.
User avatar
Posts: 951
Joined: April 9th, 2015, 1:41 pm

No hand holding: good or bad?

Postby DaHeckIzDat » August 10th, 2018, 5:01 pm

I've been playing Uncharted: Drake's Fortune for the first time, and more than once I've found myself running back and forth across rooms wondering what I'm supposed to do. The answer is almost always "climb something" but since the climbable objects don't look any different than the rest of the scenery, that can make finding them hard. At first I wished they had done the Horizon Zero Dawn thing where climbable stuff is a certain color so that it stands out more, but then I stopped and wondered: would that be hand holding? By making you, the player, figure out what you can and can't climb, it almost turns each room into a puzzle. So does that make it better? Or is the fact that you have to run around for several minutes to figure out something so simple a sign of bad game design?

Posts: 743
Joined: December 30th, 2015, 9:04 am

Re: No hand holding: good or bad?

Postby pacman000 » August 11th, 2018, 10:41 am

For it to be a puzzle there'd have to be some sort of clue; something you'd need to use your brain to figure out.

From the description it sounds like poor design.

User avatar
Posts: 831
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 8:39 pm

Re: No hand holding: good or bad?

Postby ptdebate » August 13th, 2018, 12:10 pm

I think what you're noticing in the first Uncharted are the remnants of PS2-era level navigation design, the extent of which is basically dropping a player in an open space with minimal clues as to which direction to take or how to interact with the surroundings. It can be very irritating when a game is unclear about what the player's role is in within a 3D space. I personally feel that in most cases, being lost in a videogame is not a good feeling. It feels like the game is wasting your time.

That being said, sometimes the point is to get "lost" and make your own way (as with The Elder Scrolls, GTA, or Fallout). Some games give you so many possibilities that no direction is a wrong direction. I personally prefer games that give you a focused set of objectives and measure your level of skill in achieving them. The "hand holding" doesn't necessarily entail a low-difficulty or shallow experience. Take a series like Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta - very techy, very deep action games that railroad the player straight from one combat encounter to the next.

Return to “Video Games General”