Unloved features explores features that have either fallen out of favor or aren’t being utilized to their full potential in modern gaming.
Leave my fucking guns alone
Game Balance. Oh lord, what a fucking joke. What’s fair about real life? what tech tree do terrorists have to balance out their vulnerability to drone strikes? If you answered “nothing” then you may claim a prize. Power has time and again been watered down in games for the sake of “game balance”. Sniper rifles that don’t kill people unless its a head shot, rocket launchers that fire slow motion projectiles, machine guns that fire paint-balls. These are a few of my least favourite things. What happened to the good old days when I could use a mini-gun to cut people in half?
In the beginning there was Unreal Tournament, and unto its disciples it delivered piety, grace and above all; redemption.
Behold, the Redeemer, the purifier of all of our sins, the answer to every question.
The Redeemer was a portable a nuclear missile launcher, a weapon every bit as deadly and outrageous as that sounds, friends, foes, it did not discriminate; who or what it did incinerate.
This weapon was outrageously “unbalanced” it didn’t require skill or the use of shrewd tactics to use effectively, it just obliterated everything in its path, including the user. Above all though the weapon was brilliant, great fun to use, even if you fucked up and fried yourself, the sheer overpowered nature of the weapon made it a joy to behold.
In Baldur’s Gate 2 there was a plethora of high level spells that one could only deem overpowered, chief among them was imprisonment. Imprisonment, as the name suggests was a spell that imprisoned your enemies for a certain period of time at a location of your choosing. Sounds pretty weak so far? Well the time period was all eternity and the location was in a tiny sphere in the centre of earth. There was no save against imprisonment, that is to say, if it was cast on you, there was nothing you could do about it, the only way to escape imprisonment was with someone else casting Freedom on you, but if you got imprisoned, it was game over and if you cast it on your enemies they were gone, trapped forever until someone freed them.
Similarly you had the lower level spell; “Feeblemind” whereby the subject of the spell would basically become a vegetable, unable to move or care for themselves in any way, the effects of this spell were again permanent unless removed by magic.
Playing as the necromancers in Heroes of Might and Magic III: After every battle won fighting the living, a certain number of their fallen would be reanimated as skeletons to join your ranks. The skeleton was a weak unit but in the later stages of the game you would have over a thousand of them if not more; making them extremely potent. It truly captured the feeling of building a never ending army of the undead, you would actually feel like an unstoppable tyrant.
The point is, sometimes you just want the opportunity to bathe in your own total power, to really fuck your enemies up; turn a motherfucker to stone and leave him there; flamethrower bunkered soldiers into a squad of melted candles or open up on an elevator full of guards with a spas12. These opportunities in games are the payoff, the fucking money shot and it absolutely sucks when game balance dictates that a weapon or ability is too strong so it gets nerfed to an unrealistic or unsatisfying level. Games need things to be out of kilter, unbalanced, it makes things interesting, it adds flavour, there should absolutely not be a counter ability to every single ability, the best example of game balance is when you don’t even realize its there, so you don’t even think about it.