Nitpick: How Cheap is Death?
As I seek to make my way out of the building infested with zombies, I realize that the outside is no different than the inside. Raging fires to the left and right of me with a hoard of zombies roaming everywhere. Suddenly, I hear a loud scream crying out for help. I turn my character left and right trying to find out where it came from. Seeing a crowd of people fighting off zombies that are close to surrounding them, I make my way as fast as I can to aid them with Helena quickly following behind me.
Clearing out as many zombies as I can in front of me with my trust pistol, I finally made my way to the group. There was no way the group could make it out alive with the amount of zombies that were swarming towards us, in addition to the stronger mutated zombies. As I hopelessly fend off the unending zerg rush, I hear a loud honking. The next second I am lying on the ground and a text pops up: “You are Dead.”
I was pretty shocked as my jaws dropped, wondering exactly how my character died. I clicked continue to resume my session in Resident Evil 6 hoping that to figure out if I was supposed to do a button prompt or something special. Surprisingly, I died again attempting to save the group and fight off against the zombie hoard. I was absolutely baffled as to how I died twice in a row. I don’t consider myself a bad gamer by any means. In fact, I pride myself as a great gamer usually never dying in games and when I do, I can finish the task at hand in usually three tries or less.
So what exactly happened? Well, apparently, there’s a truck that barges into the area and if you’re not in a certain section of the map, you’ll die instantly. Of course, the game doesn’t really let you know that there’s a car coming. This becomes even more frustrating as you realize that you have to kill zombies or be killed by them so this kind of preoccupies you from doing anything else. I would describe the predicament I was in as the following: a cheap death.
The reason I call it a cheap death is because rather than relying on making the game difficult so you die, the game opts to create scenarios where you don’t die from a challenge but something situational and out of nowhere. These deaths almost feel like they exist just for the sake of providing artificial difficulty. It’s almost as if the designers sat down in a table and had the following discussion.
“Listen, we can’t have the game being too easy. Players have to die from time to time, you know?”
“Yeah! I totally get you! How do we do that though? Hm....”
“I know, we can put a car that’ll run over the player and it’s impossible to know that it’s coming if you’re playing for the first time! Brilliant idea, right?”