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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 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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    Heatherlee Telltale Alumni
    How ironic. I know exactly where you can find a web-version of alter ego.
  • lol anyone remember the adventure game called. "A week in the life of" I guess you can call it adventure.... there was some action too there was a game in the arcade where you could catch falling rabbits.
  • How ironic. I know exactly where you can find a web-version of alter ego.
    Don't take this the wrong way, but i think i love you.
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    How ironic. I know exactly where you can find a web-version of alter ego.
    Cool! :D

    *plays it*
  • I don't mind Action in games as long as it doesn't mean some terrible fighting sequences or something where you get stuck for 2 hours or so and end up crying on the floor before picking it up for one last time and doing it easily. I actually quite like it if it's optional as well because i can take a break every now and then (Highway surfing for instance) or when it can actually be completely avoided (Like how it's possible to talk your way out of situations in Indiana). I also think it's okay if it can be scaled so you can easily get it out of the way if it's boring or if you actually find it a lot of fun you can make it harder and keep on trying and playing again.
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