Diablo 3 was released recently to much fanfare in the gaming community. The much anticipated game doesn’t stray too far from its roots; the gameplay is pretty true to the click-and-kill formula popularized by the legendary Diablo 2. Not to say that nothing has changed of course – one massive new feature is the addition of the auction house where gamers can buy and sell in-game items for in-game currency or real money.
The auction house, while not the first of its kind, makes a huge difference in how players attack the game. With the popularity of Diablo 3, it’s also got a huge variety of items that have been randomly generated from around the world. The items don’t ever get destroyed, so unlike with real world auctions, there’s no reason the total number of items is ever going to decrease. That means there needs to be an efficient way to search through all these items. Unfortunately, that way doesn’t exist yet, because right now the auction house is…you could say…”hell” to use.
As previouslymentioned, NHL 12 has some usability issues. For a game of its scope, maybe that’s not unexpected. There are a lot of menus to sift through for sim-heavy parts of the game like the Be a GM mode. But being able to change what players are on what line shouldn’t be that hard. It’s been in every hockey game since the beginning of time (probably). Unfortunately, NHL 12 manages to be terrible in a lot of ways on this one screen. Continue reading →
Gamers might not like to admit it, but everybody needs a little help the first time firing up a new game. Experienced gamers can probably guess at what the controls are for common genres – how long has it been since the Madden series has made any kind of meaningful change in controls? For games that are a little more unique though, gamers need help in figuring out not only what buttons to push, but also on a deeper level gamers need to get familiar with what the game is all about. Since we all know that users/gamers/humans don’t read, the usual answer is some kind of in-game tutorial.
Then what happens when you throw a unique game type onto a mobile platform where there are no buttons? Where every game has totally different controls? Well, you might get something like Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, originally a Nintendo DS game ported to iOS that (in a nutshell) features a dead protagonist going around possessing inanimate objects. Ghost Trick features an introductory tutorial level that takes the gamer around 25 minutes to complete! Tutorials for mobile games need to have more action sooner to grab and keep the interest of their probably distracted and already busy audience.
In a recent blog post, I talked about how MLB 2K12 takes way too long due to some very realistic ballpark animations. The best way to shorten your game is to turn on “hurry up mode” – basically, it’s like the game is constantly pressing the A button for you to skip the animations (think of the wear and tear on your controller!)
I could think of less awkward ways for the game to speed things along, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, the menu option where you pick hurry up mode acts really strangely if you aren’t paying close attention to what’s going on. It’s not ever a good idea to break the laws of physics, and I’d say that’s especially true in a game’s menu system.