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Immersion Break: Deus Ex
Jakkar
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August 16, 2011 - 10:36 pm
Member Since: February 11, 2011
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Deus Ex: Human Revolution's bizarre solution to difficulty and incentivisation of stealth...

Am I the only one who dreads this, a bit? I find my sense of connection with a gameworld fragile, at best, and heavily reliant upon my imagination to continually suspend disbelief in the face of a multitude of 'silly' things that remind me I'm playing with a repetitive toy rather than actually experiencing something special.

I now fear I may have to wait for mods, or attempt my own, to correct this issue. That may seem overreactive but this one is special to me.

I don't know about you, but I personally consider myself quite capable of carrying four spare magazines for a rifle without needing to draw smily faces or crude penis shapes on the walls in bullet decals. To be well-equipped is the natural state of an agent within enemy territory who has taken down several foes and looted their barracks, camp or main office.

Having ammunition doesn't mean you need it; i.e. a single headshot should be the optimum method of firearms takedown. Not having ammunition doesn't encourage me to 'scrounge' excessively, or as the case may more likely be; to obsessively loot the level. It merely encourages me to stop using guns at all and focus solely on stealth and melee because it's the efficient option - as it often is in Deus Ex 1 due to the heavily armoured nature of your enemies. The assault rifle and shotguns for example are virtually useless in Realistic difficulty.

... Whereas an excess of ammunition allows for other aspects of combative technique, such as surpressive fire, distraction fire and in extreme circumstances holding down the trigger until the barrel ignites when something horrible that won't die runs straight for you. Never having enough ammunition to use these techniques doesn't strike me as a wise design choice, but more as a lazy quick-fix as the end of the response suggests.

I recall that Deus Ex 1 had a similar attitude, although it only manifested as finding 'boxed' ammo, without any ability to harvest rounds from the dead unless they were assigned an ammo box as a form of loot. It worked but as a method of player-control remains frustrating and spoils a sense of immersion.

I wish they'd made this an advanced difficulty/realism based toggle rather than an absolute... I'll be exploring the world of Human Revolution in depth because I want to, because I like to explore my tactical options before I commit to a plan of attack, and because I like to find out the secrets behind the mission, the reasons and motivations for the violence I inflict in the name of a cause. Not because I have to loot every single individual bullet they've concealed.

For comparison to a game in which this technique was acceptable because it made sense; Metro 2033, anyone?

 

/frustrated rambling shutdown

 

 - Jackrage Sleepless

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Ernest
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August 21, 2011 - 8:27 pm
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As I've mentioned elsewhere, I really like Metro 2033, even though its stealth was broken (grr).

I don't like devs who think there's only one way to play a game, even if by doing so they're trying to encourage players to try other methods.  They just should make ammo amounts an option.  Don't think it'd be that hard to do that.

But J the gaming world's filled with devs who don't "get" it--that we want to play our way.  Like the dev in that article said, he wants us to "get" DE, notwithstanding that if we hadn't "gotten" it already they wouldn't be up to a third game.

Jakkar
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August 22, 2011 - 5:03 pm
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I adored Metro. And aye, the stealth – utterly broken. The one -big- flaw of the game as far as I played was the level crossing the communist/nazi battle line by stealth. Insufferably frustrating. I think I quickloaded at least 20-30 times to get past that.

Ultimately I quit the game when I discovered they had just released the Ranger Mode difficulty patch, something I wish had come out just a week earlier for me to start with. Poor timing, me. It coincided by meeting a particularly mean kind of creature up on the surface, and seemed a good time to quit.

An amusing update

… to my sense of humour. The Rock Paper Shotgun not-a-review ('Wot I Think') of Human Revolution was just posted today, and revealed that the writer completed the game without firing a single bullet or killing anyone he wasn't forced to by a cutscene. With a huge melee-emphasis and an apparently excellent implementation of non-lethal combat, would it have hurt so much to include enough ammunition to actually use the firearms in the first place?

Other than my pedantic frustrations, that is pretty impressive, though. Just a pity about the boss battles they apparently shoehorned into the game. Or from the sound of it, crowbarred violently.

...

So, in light of the update, Ernest, they evidently share your (our!) love of freedom-of-technique. I guess they're simply terrified that the xbox-gaming-public will miss out on the game's subtleties if they're -allowed- to shoot their way through it with a realistic amount of ammunition available?

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Steerpike
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August 22, 2011 - 7:36 pm
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Armand just forced me to buy Human Revolution, so I'll share my thoughts on the morrow!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

Jakkar
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August 24, 2011 - 1:56 am
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Looking forward to them - spoiler free, I'm sure.

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geggis
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August 24, 2011 - 11:56 am
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Steerpike said:

Armand just forced me to buy Human Revolution, so I'll share my thoughts on the morrow!

There goes those words again: 'Armand', 'forced' and 'buy'.

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Steerpike
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August 24, 2011 - 2:02 pm
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I suppose, strictly speaking, he did not force the purchase. If you want to get all nitpicky. But it was strongly implied!

Life is the misery we endure between disappointments.

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xtal
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August 25, 2011 - 10:35 am
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Armand's been different ever since that meeting with Bill Nye. [Image Can Not Be Found]

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

Jakkar
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September 14, 2011 - 11:21 pm
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I've been playing regularly at a friend's house, sharing the game with her - I'm happy to say this silly feature does little to spoil the game. But it would be a lot better without this silliness.

I prefer games that leave me alone to enjoy myself instead of trying to protect me from the childish impulse to exploit ease of use. I -hate- forced difficulty with a passion, Oblivion and Dead Island standing as good bad examples of it in the form of Level Scaling.

Playing on 'Give me Deus Ex' difficulty, all the ammunition in the world wouldn't prevent a single headshot from killing me, but it was very frustrating trying to assemble a single Combat Rifle magazine 3 bullets at a time from a long sequence of corpses. And just you try beating the game's first real boss when you don't have any bloody ammunition, on 'give me deus ex'. I died around fifteen times before I learned to simply COVER HIM IN LAND MINES AND RUN AWAY >.<

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