I’ve played a lot of games over the years, and, obviously, not every game is the same. That being said, I have come up with a small list of features that each and every game should incorporate, no matter the genre. When a developer leaves these elements out, the player cannot understand why when it seems so obvious that they should be included. We won’t focus on big things or complicated things; more the little, “extra mile” features that really would have made the game infinitely better.
5. No HUD Option
More and more games are trying to melt away that heads-up display to give the gamer a more immersive experience. Some games, like Dead Space, have completely removed it, while others, like Tomb Raider, have the HUD fade away for a majority of the game, only to have it appear when needed (while using weapons to keep ammo count). I don’t expect every game to remove the HUD or find a better way to incorporate the data the HUD displays; however, I wish there was still an option to get all those distractions off the screen. Assassin’s Creed III allowed you to completely customize your HUD with what you wanted on it and what you didn’t care about gone. The less on the screen the better in my opinion, but I’m aware that isn’t for everyone, so all I ask for is the option to remove it if so desired. Is that too much to ask for?
4. Skippable Cutscenes
Everyone has their own play-style, and I’ve come to accept that. I’ve watched my brother play a plethora of games throughout my life, and never have I seen him pay attention to any cut-scene. He will always skip them to jump right into the gameplay because he doesn’t care about the story. I personally think that’s crazy, but to each his own, I suppose. For people like that, I can imagine how agonizing not being able to skip a cut-scene is. However, I still find them annoying when I am playing through a game a second or third time. I don’t want to watch the really long cut-scene where two people are just talking and nothing really happens for a third time. That was the problem in Remember Me: you couldn’t skip a single cut-scene, and I started another playthrough for the gameplay, not the story. That being said, I can stand it. What I can’t stand is when a checkpoint is right before a cut-scene that you can’t skip (which shows poor decision making on the developer’s part anyways). It is torture watching the cut-scene over and over when you keep dying. This was the case in Army of Two: 40th Day, and it really ruined the game. It’s not hard to incorporate this into a game; just have the option so people aren’t so annoyed.
3. Extra Hard Mode
This goes for every game: there should always be some crazy hard mode you unlock. Most games have a hard mode, but a lot of the time, they aren’t nearly challenging enough. BioShock Infinite has the 1999 mode, the Uncharted series has crushing mode, The Last of Us has survival mode. Some of you may think they aren’t hard at all, but others may find them pretty challenging. I think every game should have a really tough mode that will take true skill to master. It should be harder than what people already think is really hard. There are some games out there that do this, like Dead Space 2, which has hardcore mode. In this mode, the checkpoints are disabled and you can only save three times throughout the entire game. That’s tough and will undoubtedly challenge even the best players. This doesn’t force anyone to play it unless they really want to, but it would give true gamers a real challenge.
This should also be included in every game, and even though it is usually known for RPGs, it can work for other games as well. Any game that has you unlock items or progress a character can have this. A new game+ mode almost guarantees a second playthrough of the game, mainly because everyone enjoys feeling overpowered in gaming, and this allows it. I like it because it allows me to enjoy a story again without worrying about bosses or grinding. Final Fantasy almost never does this, and I still cannot figure out why. I was seriously let down when Ni No Kuni didn’t have one either. Normally, when a game has new game+, I start the second playthrough immediately after I finish the first one. It isn’t hard for the developers to include this and it really allows the gamer to experience the game in another way.
1. Split-screen co-op / online.
Games are fun, and friends are fun, so games with friends are twice the amount of fun. Every game should have some local playing ability for people to play together—offline and online. I know the argument is that you play online with your friend, but that’s a little too idealistic. I also hate when people say they don’t like a split in the screen, because it makes everything too small. I remember being young playing Mario Kart, splitting a tiny screen into four sections. It worked then, and it still works (besides screen looking). Also, not everyone has a system. I have brothers; are they both supposed to buy their own system as well? There are also different systems out there for people to own. Then, both people need the same game, and it is never as fun playing with someone online compared to when they are sitting right next to you. I love that Call of Duty has started including this in every game they make now, because it simply makes sense! Why not have this? Why not have a couple co-op missions to do as well for even more fun? Now, I know many of you are thinking, “Sure, that works for some games, but not RPGs.” That isn’t quite true; the Tales series like Tales of Graces f allow multiple people to take part in the combat. It may be slightly impractical to have all JRPGs have some kind of multiplayer, but there is definitely a way if developers really wanted to. All I’m saying is I own a lot of games and only a small fraction of them allow for two people to play on the same system, and I hate that. Every game would be a lot more fun if it had local ability, because, let’s face it, games are meant to be played with other people.
And there’s my list. Think I should have something else on it? Let me know below.