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Originals

Originals

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Other than Skyrim, Fable II is another example of long loading sequences that are acceptable. The world is fairly huge and while it does take a long while to load, it’s understandable. A good minute load time may seem much but when you can easily spend more than thirty minutes in a given area, it almost seems negligible. Resident Evil 6 is another game that has a loading length acceptable to that of a given amount of play time. One chapter may have multiple loading spots but they easily last under fifteen seconds. You won’t encounter another loading sequence for a good fifteen to twenty minutes. Sounds perfectly fine to me. 

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the other hand has ridiculous loading times. Sometimes exceeding two minutes on the PlayStation 3 version, the loading sequences almost feel like they ridicule the player. It’s hard to take the game seriously when it’s not taking the player seriously. While the amount of playtime you have in between loading sequences is fairly long, the teasing the game does is distasteful. 

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Lastly, how one covers up the loading sequences. Over the years, developers have found clever ways to distract players or keep them occupied while the game is loading. Sometimes, they found a way to completely mask it so you don’t even realize it; an art every developer should master. Games such as Fable and Deus Ex offer little infoblurbs about the game while loading. It can give hints about how to approach certain enemies or give information about the game’s world. The reading material keeps the player occupied and not just waiting. Sadly, there’s only so much information one can create for loading screens and after a certain point, it just becomes repetitive. 

Mass Effect entertains the player by having characters converse with each other in elevators which makes for an interesting change of pace. You get to hear the voices of the characters and they are further developed in the loading sequences. It’s sad that not many games have opted to use this to keep players entertained while loading. 

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I consider Metroid Prime to be the king of hiding loading sequences. The game is made of a series of rooms connected to make one large world. To go from one room to the next, you have to open a door by shooting your beam rifle. It takes mere seconds for the door to open and while the animation for the door unlocking may seem like a cool way to progress forward, in actuality it’s a clever loading disguise. The door serves as a physical roadblock while the game loads and will open once it has done so. The loading is extremely quick and it’s so well hidden that most people don’t even recognize it.

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I do not like loading one bit. It’s sad that loading in games will always exist as discs are always used in console gaming. A developer should take the time to carefully design their loading sequences so they don’t waste the player’s time. If you have a gamer that’s frustrated with the loading then you can bet that their patience for aspects of the game that annoy them won’t be very high. Just like how a piece of writing should always cater to the audience and never insult them, so should video games in respect to loading. Now, I’m off to play this game since it’s finally done loading. 

Tags: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Lionhead Studios, Microsoft, PC, Deus Ex, Mass Effect, Skyrim, Fable, Bioware, Eidos, Bethesda, Metroid Prime, Retro Studios

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