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Action in adventure

posted by Heatherlee Telltale Alumni on - last edited - Viewed by 2.2K users
Interestingly, when I asked about favorite recent adventure games, some action/adventures started coming up.

I had been under the impresion that adventure game "purists" didn't like to mix their action and adventure. Am I mistaken?
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  • I probably could have done without the ones in full throttle. It was interesting but I'd rather do without them.
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    I used to go purely for adventure games until recently, since sadly there aren't many good adventure games left. Many of Adventure Company's games are just far too bland and any unique adventure games are few and far between. I'm tending more towards RPGs right now, it is a good balance of action and adventure usually. Unless of course you're the type who likes to level up insanely for long periods of time. ;)

    It would be interesting though if there were games that were genreless, that sort of encompassed all genres somehow. Maybe slightly like the Sims only you only control one person's life from birth to death and you can do *anything* that's possible in the real world. Now *that* would kick butt. ;)
  • I think fable was going to do something like that but a lot didn't make it into the game. Gta comes to mind as there is so much to do in that game
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    Gta certainly has a lot but it isn't completely realistic. ;) I mean being able to live a life, literally, baby onwards. And schools and everything. You can control whether you become an evil dictator, an average Joe, or the next pope. XD
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    Heatherlee Telltale Alumni
    I believe I've heard of this game...I think you are playing it right now. Look in the mirror and you'll see your avatar. ;)

    So back to the discussion at hand, what constitutes a "good" action sequence in an adventure game vs. a "bad" one?

    Does it have to do with difficulty level? Whether or not it breaks the flow of the story?
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    I dislike action in adventure games if it's there for no reason. If you finish solving a puzzle and that locks all the doors in the room and triggers like 5 bad guys that you have to fight to be able to leave the room again... that sort of thing is super weak. Especially if it happens repeatedly.

    I love that the actioney bits in Full Throttle aren't really all out action gameplay as much as they're just realtime puzzles. Yes you have to beat up a bunch of guys on bikes, but the different items you collect have to be used on the different guys, and you have to pick up the fertilizer somewhere else to use as a weapon against the girl with the chainsaw... or how in the destruction derby you can bash all the other cars but you've really got to figure out how to make one of them stall and then push it up a ramp to really complete the sequence. The execution of the actioney bits in Full Throttle wasn't the best, but the idea of these sort of realtime "in the moment" puzzles as the game's action sequences is really cool. The action in Full Throttle is also unique from instance to instance - isn't like Prince of Persia or something where every half hour there's another "action" part which consists of the same rapid button techniques you've been working at for the rest of the game - each "action" piece has its own set of rules.

    I guess adventure games are like that in most aspects in general though - within a game a puzzle is generally never repeated, unless its some sort of thematic thing or a "new take on an old gag" (like how you have to assemble two different voodoo dolls over the course of Monkey Island 2). It's nice that in FT they took that approach to the realtime/action bits as well.
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    I'm overly lenient with this sort of stuff though I suspect (well, maybe I'm not, but there are plenty of people in certain dark corners of the Internet who will complain if an AG character is capable of holding a knife or running quickly, or if there is an explosion in the game somewhere outside of a cutscene)... For me if the action is fun instead of being crap and grating and repetitive, and if it's really relevent to the events of the story instead of included under the misguided idea that including some other type of gameplay will by definition "mix it up" or "make the game appeal to those drooling idiot kids of today I keep hearing about" or "add another bulletpoint to the box" I usually like it. I don't mind if it's hard, as long as it's realistically hard. I don't think "require the player to test out how to beat the action part by dying in every possible way until they find out how to do it" levels of difficulty (EG scrolling arcade space shooter or Metal Slug type difficulty) are all that enticing in an AG, for instance.

    If you're using your game to tell a real story - if storytelling is paramount to your game design - it seems you would have to do a lot of rationalizing as a game designer to justify the fact that your character gets in 30 identical fights with minions, or swings from 200 ropes across 50 gaping chasms. That's the sort of action I don't particularly like in an AG.

    Sorry for repeating myself... it's hard to go back and clarify what I mean in a post when I can't find the "edit post" button :).

    (Crap. I just found the edit post button. Ok then.)
  • So long as the game still passes the 'sandwich test' (ie. you can play the game using one hand on the mouse while the other is involved soley in holding food / drink, then I have no problem with action elements - especially when it makes the game more immersive.

    Oh, and following the LucasArts philosophy, you shouldn't ever die in an action segment, just be returned to the start of the sequence at worst if you fail at it.
    This is the answer to Heather's question. I completely agree with this statement.
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    I do not think that action should be used to "mix things up". Stick to the game you are making and if it has action then okay, but don't throw in a random action sequence in the middle of the game. Don't change the gameplay half way through the game; if you are going to have action in your adventure game then make it part of the game not just a side game. Stick to your core gameplay mechanics defined from the get go and I think we'll have a good relationship.
  • I mean being able to live a life, literally, baby onwards. And schools and everything.
    I just have to stray one last time. There is such a game, I had it when I was young on my c64, but lost the disk, and have looked for it ever since. Found it some years ago, it's called "Alter Ego".
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