Nitpick: No saving grace
[Continued] Page 2
Sadly, this isn’t my only gripe with save systems in video games. It is my belief, as you already know, that save systems act like pauses rather than checkpoints. It’s unfortunate because many developers believe that save points act more like checkpoints rather than pause points. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to play Unchained Blades, a game that has too many problems already, which had one critical major flaw in my opinion - one that actually caused me to nitpick about. I have died many, many times in the game which often forced me to do the one thing I hate in video games, reload my previous save. See, I wouldn’t have a problem with this if there was an autosave feature implemented in the game. There is none though. The game requires you to manually save and if you happen to die, there is no checkpoint or anything of the sort. You have to start where you previously saved.
Now, during my playthrough of the game, I’ve had instances where I lost hours of gameplay, and I kid you not it wasn’t simply two or three hours. Can you imagine how angry I was when I realized that I died due to a certain mishap in the game and I had to restart from my save points hours ago. It made me realize that, not only did I waste my time trying to do all that I accomplished, but I will have to do it again, essentially doubling my playtime. It’s a horrendous and frightening thought. When it actually happens to you, it’s a nightmare come reality.
I understand that it was my own irresponsibility that caused such a mess in the first place. Obviously, I should’ve been saving more often and perhaps I’ve grown too accustomed with other games autosaving for me. And I also get into the habit of not saving because I’m just not thinking about it because I’m more concerned about playing. Regardless, it still makes me angry when a developer makes something so unfriendly for its players. Not only this but it’s a system that’s absolutely essential. It’s not just Unchained Blades sadly. Games like Persona 3 Portable, Tales of Vesperia, and other RPGs tend to do this as well. While most developers are getting away from this archaic design, there are still some that do it.
My last example of save systems comes from the recent Japanese entry of the Tales franchise. Tales of Xillia has two types of way to save. The first is a quick save that allows you to save anywhere at anytime. It’s quite nice and while it’s not an autosave, it means that you have the convenience to start and stop whenever you please. Oddly enough, this isn’t the primary saving method. The game still utilizes the traditional method of saving: finding a save point on a map and then saving. Weird, isn’t it? You can only have one quick save at a time and not only that but once you load your quick save file, it’s gone. Why did Namco-Bandai opt to have these two weird methods of saving instead of just having one where you can save anywhere? Why?! It just doesn’t make sense!
Developers who implement save systems like the ones I described, and nitpicked about at length, seem to have no idea what save systems truly are or why they make them so unfriendly in the first place. They completely reverse playtimes by forcing players to redo things that they already did if they didn’t save. The horrible save systems force players to speed run through certain areas rather than taking their time and appreciate the game. Save systems matter a great deal, whether gamers realize it or not. It’s truly saddening because it’s even more apparent as games that implement horrible ways to save and punish the players come to light in comparison to those that adopt newer ways to save. So... the takeaway from this? Sometimes a save is not really your saving grace.