Tuesday, July 03, 2012

An alsmot aswesome moment of game design from Dragon Age II

After many attempts my party finally overcame a tough tough boss in Dragon Age II (the Ancient Rock Wraith). Before I could take a breather and save the game however I was plunged straight into a cut scene. A demon stranding in front of the dead Boss's treasure hoard spoke to me and presented the choice of running away or fighting him for the treasure.

Now lets us be clear here. One of the golden rules of game design is that there must always always be a save point immediately after every boss fight. Having to redo a tricky boss fight because you got killed by a trash mob on the way out of the lair is the suckiest piece of game design ever and any designer who does that should be fired on the spot. However this choice was cleverer than that and made for a tantalising dilemma.  Slink away safely and save my progress or risk being killed and having to replay the boss in the hope of getting the treasure. After some thought I decided to risk it and happily survived the ensuing fight to get the treasure and finally a priceless save opportunity. 

It wasn't an entirely pleasant situation to be put in but I was impressed that the game designers had found a way to make me really care about the impact of a decision. Then I read a wiki about it and realised that the Demon would probably have attacked me anyway. So much for my decision having an impact.

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