Deus Ex Human Revolution EP3:
Hyber Sacking Lockpick

By Shamus
on Jan 13, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

240 comments


Link (YouTube)

I’m not sure why I dislike hacking minigames so much. On paper, they seem like a great idea. The one in Human Revolution seems to have all the right ingredients: It’s a brief shift in focus. It’s optional. There’s a bit of strategy involved. It offers an alternative to “shoot guy” as a means of problem-solving.

I think the part that frustrated me was when I discovered that you get XP for hacking. Then it no longer felt optional. I felt obligated to hack every keypad, because otherwise I’d be short-changing myself in the long run. On the other hand, if the game didn’t reward you with XP then the game would feel like a needless, unrewarding hassle and playing it would be a punishment.

I’m not sure what the solution is here. Often hacking seemed to break the flow of the game. On the other hand, removing hacking would have made the game more shallow.

Why does the lockpicking in Skyrim and Fallout 3 work so well, and the hacking in Human Revolution and BioShock doesn’t? I’m genuinely curious what people have to say about this, because I can’t put my finger on it.

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Footnotes:


A Hundred!A Hundred!2020240 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. Ben says:

    Well, what did you think of Fallout 3’s hacking game? Is it the less-than-five-seconds and verisimilitude of the lockpicking game that you like? Do you think you’d like these hacking games more if you didn’t have a coding background?

    • Eric says:

      Hacking minigames are generally just dumb when put into games primarily governed by explicit character skill rather than direct player skill. Moreover, in Fallout 3, hacking is lengthy, tedious, and in New Vegas, trying to guess at random results in tons of wasted time as they added a delay on repeat attempts (that persists between load screens). People don’t dislike it because it doesn’t match their vision of real hacking, they dislike it because it’s time-consuming and not at all fun.

      A simple skill check would have been quick and painless, and the game would have probably been more enjoyable in the long run for it. But then, it’s Bethesda, and we all know how much they love stupid gimmicks with no actual gameplay value (a lot).

      • TraderRager says:

        Am I the only one who ENJOYS the Fallout hacking minigame?

        It scales to your level, works well, doesn’t take you out of the experience,(I’m looking at YOU, Pipe Dream.) and doesn’t take NEARLY as long as most people make it out to.
        I’ll usually get a V/easy one in 15 seconds, a normal in 30, and maybe up to two minutes for a hard or very hard.

        • paercebal says:

          The only thing I liked about Fallout’s hacking minigame was writing an HTML/JS app that helped me choose the best names to reach the solution.

          So it was reduced into the tedious task of feeding the app the 12 or 20 names, and let it do its magic.

          I’m proud of it, so the minigame never really bored me, but having to hack the thing without my app is just not imaginable anymore.

          • Eric says:

            There’s a mod for the PC version that removes all answers but the correct one. It’s still an extra, unnecessary click, but it’s a big improvement.

            • LadyTL says:

              By that logic everything in Fallout should have been nothing but one click to do anything since everything involved more than one click. Lockpicking, talking to someone, combat, using the menu all used more than one click. Why is hacking a special case? (Also I’m not trying to snark I really do want to know what the difference is)

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Because its annoying.Its novel when you first try it out,but afterwards,it becomes a chore.And really,it doesnt take much skill,mostly luck.

                • Klay F. says:

                  The problem is that hacking will never EVER make a good minigame. For anyone who knows anything about actually trying to hack something its incredibly stupid and nonsensical, for everyone else its a timesink. The absolute best case scenario is to adopt the system from the original Deus Ex. Watching a progress bar fill up is exactly as involved as any retarded minigame you can name, and has the added bonus of not being annoying.

        • Lisa says:

          Depending on my mood, I enjoyed the hacking game. When I was in the mood for that kind of puzzle, it was great fun. When I wasn’t, I just loaded up a bit of perl to help me work it out.

          But if I’m just answering your question, then you’re not the only one!

        • Whither Arcadia says:

          I enjoy it too, and it seems we’re in the minority. Once I found out that you could select brackets to remove duds and replenish your allowance, it just made it better. Of course, I’m already partial to word puzzles like this.

  2. ps238principal says:

    I can’t speak to Deus Ex, but I didn’t like hacking in Bioshock because it didn’t feel like I was actually hacking something. The hacking mechanic in Mass Effect worked better, but then again, it was on a computer and wasn’t an attempt to mesh a modern day concept with pre-microprocessor technology.

    And you do get XP in Fallout for hacking and lockpicking. Again, in those games I think the act either involves some level of skill (the computer terminals in Fallout are an expanded version of the old tabletop game, “Mastermind,” in essence) or they gave one the feel of doing what you were trying to accomplish (pick a lock).

    I think the problem lies in execution rather than whether or not XP is put before you as a reward. It could also help if the XP reward wasn’t huge. In Fallout, I think the highest XP bonus you got was 55 for picking a lock, and then it had to be of a high difficulty.

    Edit: Also, it made it more worthwhile in games like Fallout (I haven’t gotten far enough into Skyrim to remember if this is the case there, too) where there was also a skill threshold keeping you from picking locks above your skill level. That way the game itself didn’t get more annoying by upping the difficulty to the point that it was a game-breaker, but it did offer an incentive to boost your skill as you leveled up.

    • Vegedus says:

      I think the most significant difference is that XP is limited in Deus Ex. In Fallout 3, you’re not really passing up anything by passing up an insignificant lock. You can always go kill some more raiders. In Deus Ex, there is simply a finite amount of XP points. Passing by an opportunity to hack a terminal means you’ve essentially lost a bit XP for good, that you can’t regain in any way. To me, this makes a huge psychologically difference, even if the xp is actually plentiful or the the amount gained minimal. Even if the minigame took 10 minutes, and you got 1 xp for it, I’d still grind terminals like crazy, just because it’s something I don’t get a second chance at.

      • Shamus says:

        Yes. This is it. This is what has been bugging me.

        • ps238principal says:

          Would it be fair to say that this game treats XP almost like achievements?

          I never thought of an “XP cap” for an RPG before.

        • Raygereio says:

          In that case:
          How do you feel about the large disparity in XP reward between non-lethal tackdowns and shooting people in the head with a revolver?

          • Adeon says:

            Speaking for myself the XP disparity between kills and take downs really bugged me, especially when combined with the XP bonus for not getting spotted. My preferred play style involves sneaking around and picking of guards one by one with a silenced pistol but I felt like I was getting penalized for doing so since in addition to the XP loss from shooting versus takedowns I was losing XP due to being spotted occasionally. Consequently I was “forced” to play the game in a manner that I don’t find as enjoyable.

            I was one of the (probably few) people who actually enjoyed the boss fights. Not because they were particularly great but because I could play the way I wanted to (hiding in cover and popping out to take a few shots with my pistol) without being penalized.

          • Eric says:

            It wouldn’t have been as big a problem if they had included big XP bonuses for killstreaks as well, i.e. if you kill everyone in a level, you get +2000 similar to how you get +2000 by ghosting. The developers claim they felt stealth was a harder way to play the game, and so felt that rewarding it more than straight-up shooting was a good idea, especially as stealth is more dependent on augmentations while lethal play-throughs are more dependent on weapons and upgrades.

            In the end I didn’t have a huge issue with the disparity from a player’s perspective, but from a design perspective it’s a big issue that really should have been anticipated and avoided. XP doesn’t really suit Deus Ex in my mind and their inclusion of it felt a little forced to me. I would have much preferred getting an upgrade choice every few story missions, and maybe making Praxis Kits responsible for upgrades rather than unlocking new augs, in order to more effectively define your character. Human Revolution’s “role-playing” is really more fantasy than reality, as play-style is something that isn’t enforced at all by the character system (less so than the first Deus Ex).

        • Kdansky says:

          I used the hacking minigame as therapy against “must collect every shred of XP” OCD. Leave a few terminals deliberately unhacked. After doing that a few times, it becomes so much easier. Try it, huge improvement.

      • Gamer says:

        There’s actually an exploit that allows you to gain infinite XP from hacking. You could theoretically use it to have all the augments just after the first “real” mission.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          I actually did something like that once.Not all the augments,but all the ones that enabled me to gain max xp(hacking level 5 and double takedown).Its also extremely funny that you are doing it by hacking your computer.

      • Arctem says:

        On top of that, in Skyrim lockpicking experience only makes you better at picking locks, not at doing other things like it does in Human Revolution. This means that the only penalty for not picking locks is that you aren’t able to pick locks, which isn’t a problem since you weren’t going to pick them in the first place.

        • Eruanno says:

          Exactly. In Skyrim or Fallout, I won’t lose any killing power by not opening a few extra locks, but in Deus Ex, hacking is a part of the path to getting more armor, improved takedowns, lifting objects, etc.

          If I pass up a lock in Skyrim or Fallout = I might have a harder time opening certain doors or chests.
          If I pass up a hacking terminal in Deus Ex = I might end up with too little armor in a boss fight, making it MUCH more difficult to proceed the entire game itself.

        • Count_Zero says:

          Also – in Skyrim (and, for that matter, Oblivion) any benefit you’re gaining to your security skill by picking that lock occurs entirely in the background. There is no message that pops up saying “You’ve gained (x) skill points in Security for successfully picking that lock!”

      • Even says:

        I think I should point out that it’s not experience you really need unless you’re a completionist. You might handicap yourself out of a handful of praxis points, but it’s not like you’re going to lose the game if you don’t get all the potential experience. I can understand and relate to the gamer logic of losing something important, but in retrospect I just don’t see the “potential exp” holding that much value in the bigger scheme of things. It can be hard to resist regardless though, I admit. Especially when you can just savescum if you fail.

    • Zehavn says:

      I recall scoring upwards of 250 xp for a hard (lvl 5) terminal. The more of those bonus nodes you go after, the more xp you rack up.
      Some terminals were downright impossible to hack everything in before being booted by the system (I’m thinking of the Hanger 18 terminal…)

      Z

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I hated those arbitrary limits in new vegas.Skyrim is much better where you dont need to boost lockpick,but you certainly will break a bunch of lockpicks on tougher locks.

      • Tizzy says:

        I also really like the fact that you can break a bunch of lockpicks if you’re being too lazy or careless. This makes picking harder locks an interesting decision. Not only: Do I have time to spare? but also: Do I have the patience or concentration, or would I rather move on and bash some skulls in instead?

        • Eric says:

          Too bad loot in Skyrim (and for the most part in Fallout 3) is completely generic, level-scaled, and almost entirely useless compared to everything you can create, buy, or earn from quests. It’s not even worth carrying because merchants can’t afford to buy most of it, and money is useless save for sinking it into the also completely useless houses.

          Once I hit about level 30 I just straight-up stopped looting entirely, save for quest items, which I think is a pretty damn huge mark against Bethesda in an action-RPG so heavily focused on combat and looting (and no, hiking does not make the game less of a hack and slash.

    • Nyctef says:

      Time taken to hack is a big factor for me, which is why I like Mass Effect 1 frogger / Skyrim lockpicking the best. ME2/New Vegas hacking takes just long enough to break the flow and be really annoying sometimes.

      Edit: Being able to spend something to bypass the hacking also helps, like omnigel. I’m really glad I got some of the pre-order lock-breakers for Deus Ex, because there are some absolute PITA plot-critical hacks lying around.

      Also, Rutskarn is wrong, Splinter Cell had a similar lock-picking minigame (but with pin and tumbler locks) that worked well.

      • Eric says:

        I liked the one in Thief: Deadly Shadows as well. Mashing the arrow keys to lift the pins. Took about five seconds per lock, got the point across and wasn’t a dumb sink for XP or skill points.

  3. KremlinLaptop says:

    Oh hey. Completely out context question but I just saw one of your tweets in the sidebar and thought THAT I MUST ASK THIS QUESTION. Or the universe might implode.

    So to stop implosions: what word processor have you been using to write your novel? I remember you asking about word processors, but I was wondering which one you ended up using? Genuinely curious since I do a lot (A LOT) of writing for work these days along with roleplays and the like.

    Oh look, it’s spoiler warning. I’ll watch that since I’m already here.

    • Shamus says:

      I’m using MS Office 2007. I could say many bad things about it, but I have to concede it’s the least-worst so far.

      I LOVE the idea behind Lyx. The idea of just typing plain text and worrying about formatting later is perfect. Unfortunately, I can’t friggin’ STAND the syntax:

      I really italics{love} the idea behind Lyx.

      That is ugly and a pain in the ass to type. I would much prefer:

      I really /love/ the idea behind Lyx.

      Now, I could make my own markup language, and then translate it into Lyx, but Lyx is already a bit of a Rube Goldberg contraption that sometimes requires multiple steps to get from plaintext to document.

      Also, I tried LaTeX, thinking it would obscure some of the hassle of Lyx for me. But the work environment was horrible. It crams paragraphs together and intents them, which just doesn’t work for me. I get lost in the wall of text, and the ragged left margin makes it hard to see what I’m doing with regard to para breaks. Also, the writing background was YELLOW. Wha?!?

      Now, maybe I was using some off-the-wall version of LaTeX. These programs are like Linux with their wildly divergent lineages. I kind of felt like I was in over my head and not getting a good return on my time, so I abandoned the idea and went back to Office 2007.

      • Drew says:

        Have you looked at novel writing applications like Scrivener or yWriter?

      • Drexer says:

        LaTeX is a language Shamus, the problems we had seem to me like they were more related to the IDE. Although I must admit I know not what the choices of IDE are like for Windows, it could very well be used in Notepad++ although that would hardly help your writing procedure.

        • Shamus says:

          Hm. I had it in my head that Lyx was the language, and LaTeX was the IDE for it. If I’ve completely screwed that up, I attribute it to my bad memory, as well as my bad memory.

          • Nyctef says:

            You got them the wrong way round, that’s all. You might have liked Markdown (basically a standard for wiki-style syntax), and a quick google seems to indicate that there are tools for converting it to LaTeX. I really like LaTeX, but mainly for academic papers or mathematical equations, which is what it was really designed for.

          • Drexer says:

            Lyx seems to take some elements from LaTex but I doubt it’s exactly the same from the example you posted above, LaTeX is after all primarily made for scientists and engineers and as such brevity and laziness is the key in that. So it would be in the example above:

            I really \emph{love} the idea beyond LaTeX.

            Still not ideal for what you need probably, but it’s usually the middle point between brevity and keeping all the text features available for a paper that needs a lot more of variation.

      • RN3AOH says:

        You could use plain text files, Markdown syntax for the markup, a simple text editor (Under Windows, Notepad++ comes to mind) and Pandoc to convert Markdown syntax to LaTeX (XeLaTeX to be specific, as that subtype of LaTeX can use TTF fonts as is) so that it renders into lovely looking PDF. I’ve been writing all kinds of large texts in this manner, and this approach has the advantage of being completely platform-agnostic — there’s a straight text editor for absolutely any platform that has a keyboard, and for many that don’t, so I’ve been able to work on my texts on my Linux netbook, on my main Windows machine, on my Android phone, and never worry about format incompatibilities.

      • Someone says:

        Seriously, text on yellow? What were they thinking.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Your description of markup reminds me a lot of Setext. Which is something worth investigating because there are Setext2LaTeX parsers out there.

    • Kdansky says:

      Anything LaTeX. You’ll be intimidated, curse, and then later thank me for it. It’s so easy to do even the most complex layout. And if you don’t need that, Scrivener or similar minimalistic applications will do you better than Office-OMYGODITBITOFFMYEAR.

  4. Alex says:

    The trick would be for it to offer a big enough XP reward to act as incentive, but small enough that you could pass it if you want without regretting it hours later. Of course, that amount would probably be different for everybody…

    I dunno, hacking and lockpicking stuff in games is never a chore for me. Maybe I’m OCD like that. The hacking in DE did make me feel really tense though, just because it looked so complicated at first.

    • Soylent Dave says:

      I think the trick should be to get an XP reward for opening the door.

      Especially in a game like Deus Ex where there are multiple ways to get a door open, it doesn’t make sense if only one of them grants you XP – if I want to blow the door open with a rocket launcher, or get the key off the henchman in the next room, I should still get my XP.

      As soon as you tie XP into a certain task, then you’re telling gamers that one way is the optimal way of playing the game – that doesn’t mesh very well with ‘open-ended’ gameplay.

      (you can apply the same thing to information you might get from hacking a computer terminal versus getting that information from interrogating someone; it’s learning the information that should grant you the XP, not HOW you get it – similarly if I learn the same information or solve the same problem two different ways, I shouldn’t really get two XP rewards)

      • Cookie Of Nine says:

        I would too like too in some respects if experience was given out in a more “intelligent” manor. On the other side, however, it does make a bit of sense that you get experience for picking the lock (instead of just getting in) since if you got in by killing someone for the code, you would be receiving experience for two things kill + entry, while you would potentially get less for simply getting in, which seems to be the wrong way to reward players.

        It does lead to some interesting behaviour on my part as a player:
        1. Crawl into a vent (exploration XP)
        2. Sneek into room (stuff to loot)
        3. Hack computers in locked room (hacking XP)
        4. Leave room through vent, not door, since it is unlocked from inside
        5. Hack door from outside (hacking XP)
        6. Go takedown janitor for key (combat XP, more for stealth + non-lethal)

        Playing like this does have the habit of driving an observer nuts. Also picking up guns one at a time and rushing them to the vendor to sell them, then coming back to get another.

        I like how in Skyrim you can drop keys, to prevent accidentally opening locks without picking them.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          But if you remove xp from combat,you get a nice balance.So whether you kill someone to get the code,steal the code from them,or just hack the computer,youd still get the same amount of xp.

      • Eric says:

        Completely agree with this. The most absurd thing is that you can break most doors down by shooting them 20 times with the Pistol (possibly the Stun Gun, though I’m not certain), and yet despite that being by far the most expensive, dangerous and time-consuming option, you get absolutely nothing out of it compared to hacking. Getting rid of XP entirely would have worked fine, as well, though it lacks the same “I’m making progress because numbers are going up!” quality that gamers like.

  5. Eärlindor says:

    I too felt the need to hack every keypad for the XP (which is a little annoying, yes), but I actually enjoyed DX:HR’s hacking mini-game.

    I also loved Fallout 3/NV’s lockpicking game, but I’m not a fan of it in Skyrim. :/

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      But its the exact same minigame.The only difference is that you can attempt to pick any lock in skyrim regardless(or should I say irregardless*wink*)of your skill.

      • Entropy says:

        I feel like the lockpicks break way more easily in skyrim. I feel as if I had the knack of it in the Fallouts, then when I try it in Skyrim, bam, lockpick bits all over the place

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Maybe because you can pick all the locks right from the start,and easiest ones arent the most common.I didnt notice the difference,and Ive played the two games only a few weeks apart.I did notice a huge difference between,for example,apprentice and adept locks.

        • Gamer says:

          But at the same time, lockpicks are cheap and easy to come across. I almost always had several hundred at any given time. Bobby pins are a little harder to find (imo) in Fallout 3/NV.

        • Eärlindor says:

          I feel like the lockpicks break way more easily in skyrim. I feel as if I had the knack of it in the Fallouts, then when I try it in Skyrim, bam, lockpick bits all over the place

          Yes, this. Though you can attempt to crack any difficulty lock, it’s super easy to break lockpicks. It drives me crazy.

          • Gale says:

            To be fair, sweet spot size and lockpick fragility are basically the only two factors available in terms of making locks in Skyrim difficult to pick. The Lockpicking skill tree might just be the most universally low-priority set of perks in the game as it is; if lockpicks didn’t break really easily in high-level locks, that whole tree would pretty much be completely worthless.

            • Eärlindor says:

              Yeah, I suppose… but it doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Whereas I loved picking locks in Fallout, I don’t enjoy it in Skyrim. At all.

            • Dys says:

              I suspect that’s an argument for radically altering the lockpicking perks, rather than anything else. Personally I do prefer Skyrim in as much as I dislike being required to have a certain level of skill to attempt lockpicking, but I suppose in Fallout skill points are distributed by the player, which makes the difference.

            • TSED says:

              Nah, it’s definitely worthless in its entirety. After a little bit of practice (ie from the beginning), I can routinely pick master locks with very low skill levels and only use a dozen or so picks; once the skill starts to get middling I can take out the high end locks without breaking a single pick. Not reliably, understand – finding that little sweetspot occasionally is a frustrating endeavour – but just tapping the D key instead of holding it down can let you know you need to reposition without breaking the pick.

  6. Jokerman says:

    I enjoyed the hacking in Deus Ex and Alpha Protocol because you would normally find something interesting/funny/useful when you did it the hacking its self is not that exciting (although i think Deus Ex comes the closest to that) Hacking in games like Fallout 3, Mass effect and Bioshock offer really boring things or some useless crap you dont need.

    I think Alpha Protocol (on 360) does it best – about 3-5 seconds to hack something while still offering some risk, normally giving you something you want for the trouble.

    • GiantRaven says:

      I think this is the first time I’ve ever seen someone praise Alpha Protocol’s hacking minigame. Most people just lament how much it destroys their eyes. A valid complaint bt I still found it a lot of fun to do once I got used to it.

      • anaphysik says:

        Like Jokerman, I found the little tidbits (not to mention occasional sweet, sweet dossier fragments) to be a wonderful reward for doing the hacking minigame – not that that excuses the likely permanent ocular damage of course….

        (Also, aligning the segments could be a real pain on the PC; the mouse-controlled segment seemed particularly touchy/jumpy, and I took several timer hits off of it.)

      • Jokerman says:

        At first it does look like a mess true, My brain adjusted to it and i can pick out right parts pretty fast.

      • JPH says:

        Funnily enough, I can’t even remember Alpha Protocol’s hacking minigame. not even slightly. I remember the lockpicking, but not the hacking. I don’t know if that’s a point in its favor or not.

      • Eric says:

        The hacking in concept is totally fine. It’s the keyboard and mouse controls that are broken. Playing with a gamepad is extremely quick and easy, and actually rather tense later in the game when the hacking challenges get tougher.

        The lockpicking in Alpha Protocol is also great, and probably better than Fallout 3’s in my opinion, though that might be simply because you have to do it far less often. Never understood the hate for it.

    • Darkness says:

      Fallout 3 Victory Rifle behind a very hard lock gun cabinet. Not junk. The best sniper rifle in the game.

  7. Ravens Cry says:

    How did the hacking in System Shock 2 feel to you?
    At least it wasn’t Pipedream: The Minigame, a game I never liked, but, to my inexperienced hands, it felt a little random.
    Actually very random, I didn’t really understand what was going on, beyond “click the one beside the bright blue one. Will it be another bright blue? Who knows?”
    As for Fallout 3 and Skyrims lockpicking, I never played it, but I also, from watching others play, never got an idea of what was going on. If someone handed me the controller I would be completely in the dark.

    • Shamus says:

      It’s pretty hard to see that one without nostalgia glasses. It was mostly a game of chance, with a mild dash of stat-building thrown in.

      It was good for its time, although I doubt it would hold up today.

      • JPH says:

        I played it last year. It doesn’t. It’s basically “roll the dice ten times, see if you win three times in a row.” And the fact that you have to pay nanowhatevers for every attempt makes it all the more frustrating.

        • Eric says:

          Part of it is just presentation. If it had been a nanite cost plus a random chance based on skill level, I would have been totally fine with it. The clicking on boxes makes you think something more complex is going on (and I guess it is, technically, due to the way certain skills influence your chances), but the reality is more or less identical to a die roll. Through that lens I don’t really have a problem with it, though it does admittedly take more time.

          • decius says:

            It’s a poker hand, with a chance for failure, a chance for critical failure, and a cost to get a new hand. Your skills separately changed the chance for failure, the chance for critical failure, the cost to restart, and the highest level you could attempt.

  8. rrgg says:

    Did you just answer your own question there? Lockpicking like in Skyrim gives lockpicking experience that is completely unneeded for combat.

    Edit: Alternative reason, lockpicking in skyrim isn’t timed, it was quick and easy yet rewarded patience and thinking. There isn’t any need to speedclick and rush through like pipedream.

  9. GiantRaven says:

    The biggest problem with HR’s hacking is that your victory isn’t dependant on your skills or how quickly you can hack. It’s dependant on how early you trip the countdown and whether or not you possibly have enoughtime to finish hacking all the nodes you need before you’re kicked out.

    I utterly despise that mechanic.

    • JPH says:

      Yes, this. I generally liked DX3’s hacking minigame, but I’m put off whenever a game deliberately introduces luck as a game mechanic. It’s irritating when you lose because of something that was completely out of your control.

      • Ragnar says:

        Luck as a game mechanic is okay if there is so much of it that it mostly (but not always and not completely) averages out.

        • JPH says:

          Not for me it isn’t. Any time anything goes wrong because of the random number generator, the game loses a point in my book.

          Me: I shoot the bear.

          Game: No you don’t. You drop your gun and leave yourself open to attack.

          Me: Well, fuck you too.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            There is a difference between degrees of luck as well.For example,one of the few great things about disciples 3 was the fact that,depending on difference between your attack and enemies defense,you could either get a chance to miss(if your attack was lower),or a chance for a critical hit(if your attack was higher).If the results dont vary wildly,some degree of randomness can be good.Shooting the bear and having both the chance to completely miss him and lose your weapon and to one hit kill him is bad.But shooting the bear and having the chance to either cripple his arm or foot is good.

          • Ragnar says:

            First person shooting is a bit different since you have so direct visual feedback as to what you are doing. Having no visual cues for an FPS and then add random misses is bad, I agree. One solution to that is doing (perhaps a bit more sophisticated) what DX1 did and have the cross-hair move around.

            Randomness is good because without it, there usually becomes a really hard line between “always fail” and “always hit”.

    • Gamer says:

      I agree. It would have been better if there was a “Stealth” point score that decreased with each node until it reached 0.

      The stealth augment could both increase this number and decrease how much each node lowered the number by.

      • Thomas says:

        I agree with all of this. It was annoying that no matter how good you are, you could just accidentally set it off too early, and there was a temptation to save scum everything, because every now and then you’d get half way through before setting stuff off.

        Plus I found the controls horrible on a console. Lots of times I new what I wanted to do, but couldn’t get to the right node fast enough

  10. SKD says:

    In FO3 and Skyrim, the lockpicking seems more realistic, what you are doing on the screen actually has connection to what you are trying to accomplish. In DXHR and Bioshock, the hacking minigames don’t seem to have any connection to what you are actually “doing”. In DXHR you click the nodes and hope you skill is high enough for you to complete all the necessary nodes before you get caught. If it had been elevated to script kiddying the system by having to select which attack programs to use on which nodes it would have been more interesting.

  11. anaphysik says:

    Uhh… actually I kind of liked Bioshock’s “hacking.” (Excepting the occasions where you’d end up getting tossed down a dead end after ~the first two blocks. Grah!)
    I dunno, maybe it was just the goofy aesthetic of glowing fluids and pipes?

    On lockpicking, I really liked Alpha Protocol’s little game. Fast, easy, and understandable. Though it’s not much of a challenge if you truly care about that.
    I also thought AP’s circuit minigame was neat (follow the thread, essentially); not it’s computer hacking one though (AH, MY EYES!!!).

    Of course, Exploit will likely always be my favourite hacking-themed game.

  12. X2Eliah says:

    Hm. I liked the hacking in this game, it was far more involved and enticing than, say, connecting plumbing pipes or doing Fallout3-style computer hack… And it wasn’t really all that out of the game-flow, unless your game flow consisted of shootkilshootkillshootkill… The pace of hacking seemed to fit right in with sneaking in vents, disabling laser guidances, and picking people off one by one.

  13. kikito says:

    One big bucket vs a lot of small buckets, and more options.

    In Deus Ex you get points for neutralizing people (more when done silently/non lethally), for hacking, an for completing missions. I think that’s it.

    In Skyrim you get xp for anything!

    Every time you use your blade you get one-hand points. You don’t even need to kill the guy! Swing it at him, and you are already a bit better.

    You get hit in your elven boots, you get light armor points.
    You block, you get blocking points. Buy stuff, get speak points.

    The list goes on an on: making potions, crafting stuff, using any kind of magic, shooting arrows, enchanting. And don’t get me started on how easy it is to get sneak points.

    Completing missions doesn’t give you points, it gets you money. But with money you can train, which basically gives you points.

    I’m not surprised that they didn’t include “athletic” and “acrobatic” points, as they did in morrowind. With the new system, one would be able to gain levels just running around and jumping.

    Then there is the thing on how xp is “split”. In deus ex is just a number. In Skyrim there are lots of numbers – a lot of small buckets. You don’t like lockpicking? Well, that’s only one bucket you are not filling in. You can get the ones you want to their maximum. In Deus Ex there is one big bucket that “opens” options. Every little bit that you don’t get feels like a loss.

    I realize that the tone of this post might not reflect my position in all this. I actually *like* the skyrim xp system. I just have to shut down my disbelief sense a bit to enjoy it ^^.

    I would have liked to have more problems with the items, though. My character can do everything very nicely – magic, hand-to-hand combat, sneaking, etc. Heavy armor and encumbrance should have more negative effects on sneaking and magic IMHO.

    • Zehavn says:

      While the new leveling system is pretty good for Skyrim, it’s got a couple flaws; you can be a sweet-talking, potion brewing master, but your first Draugr Deathlord will frustrate you endlessly. Which leads me to your ‘gain levels by running and jumping’ comment;
      These skills were the perfect way to make a meaty punching back out of your character. A couple of my early characters in Morrowind didn’t do so well because some of the default class options used Endurance and Acrobatics as primary skills.

      I’m a little surprised they left in the Potions of Instant Death, too. Also known as Fortify Health, this drink is likely responsible for more post-combat deaths in Tamriel than most poisons…

      Z

      • Destrustor says:

        My brother once lost a morrowind savefile because of the ingredients:
        He had alchemy-loop-enhanced intelligence and ate vampire dust or something by accident, which boosted his health by about 65000.
        He didn’t realise it was a bad thing and went ahead fighting and looting as usual, and saved that game too. We hadn’t yet learned to keep several saves for every character, so when he loaded his game, there was nothing he could do to survive the end of the effect.

      • decius says:

        How to tell if you are an NPC in Morrowind:
        A strange person walks up to you, admires you a thousand times, does a thousand jumping jacks, then sleeps in your bed for an hour. Ten times.

        Best hyper boosted potion: Fortify fatigue and restore fatigue and restore health. You’ll need another restore fatigue when the fortify wears off, which should be sometime next month. Next best is one of feather; you literally cannot have too many potions of feather.

    • GiantRaven says:

      You can also get a lot of XP in Deus Ex for finding hidden locations and alternate paths with the ‘Traveller’ bonus. If you don’t do much hacking then you’re likely to be finding the alternate routes more often and getting that extra XP.

    • Krieghan Riley says:

      “I’m not surprised that they didn’t include “athletic” and “acrobatic” points, as they did in morrowind. With the new system, one would be able to gain levels just running around and jumping.”

      You’re not the first one to make that kind of claim. But the “new system” doesn’t really introduce that possibility. In both Morrowind and Oblivion, you could gain levels by doing just that, and it didn’t really take anything away from the gameplay.

  14. noahpocalypse says:

    I can’t watch the video right now, so I’ll speculate: What if you could find a key and get XP for using it (only keys that you actually find, not plot-given keys)? That would reward people who don’t want to do the game or are bad at it. I suppose it could be like Morrowind, where it’s an arbitrary decision based on your skill and the difficulty of the lock, but you don’t have a chance of getting it if you have a low skill level, which sucks. And that leads to lockpick-spamming: just sit there for five minutes twisting away. I didn’t enjoy Fallout’s method, but Skyrim worked really well.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Yes,using a code or a key shouldve given you all the bonuses you would receive via hacking.That would be so much better.

      • Thomas says:

        Definitely should get you experience. Maybe not programs, since you wouldn’t need those, but it was annoying that even if you managed to find the code, with skill and ingenuity, you were just cheating yourself out of XP.

        But then XP wasn’t very fundamental to HR if you think about it. If you’re going for a no hacking meatbag, you don’t need XP, because you only need to get a few armour and aim upgrades and you’re done. Likewise if you’re a hacker you don’t need the points for exploring, and if you’re exploring and hacking you don’t need the points from fighting. I tranqued a handful of people in the entire game and was still filling out on the upgrades I didn’t need by the end

  15. Gamer says:

    You killed the terrorist the first time! I always speech him. I always saved the hostage that way too.

    I also question the decision to not completely recharge the batteries over time. I almost never used energy restoration items and hoarded them. It probably wouldn’t be as bad if the melee system didn’t rely on it.

    I really liked the hacking mini-game in Human Revolution. It was the certainly the best hacking game I’ve ever played. Perhaps you don’t like it because it doesn’t really look like what real hacking would look like (which would be hard to capture in a video game without removing the fun).

    One thing I like that not a lot of games do is that guards react to door opening in front of them. Most games don’t do that.

  16. arron says:

    I thought that the hacking was pitched about right – not as much as a pain in the rear as Bioshock (that got annoying after a while) and you do get a reward in various goodies if you plan your compromise to take in data nodes along the way. It’s true that there’s a finite XP budget in DE:HR, but it’s not really a sandbox game like Skyrim/Fallout or even System Shock where you can come back if you miss it first time around.

    I think that DE:HR also did a good job as each hack is different. Bioshock had a pool of about eight tile setups so once you knew which one you started with, then it pretty much solved itself. Fallout/Skyrim is hit/miss depending on your lockpick skill to hitting the sweet spot on the lock without running out of picks. Even the Thief games lockpicking was surprisingly lacking in imagination for a key game mechanic. It never felt much like a challenge.

    I think the best lockpick mechanic was in the original System Shock. You had a variety of simple puzzles that needed some inspection and thought, but were fun to play. At least until the booby-trapped door at the antenna where you needed to hack a almost impossible panel in seconds before you were blown to bits by your own explosive..

    • Amazon_warrior says:

      “Even the Thief games lockpicking was surprisingly lacking in imagination for a key game mechanic. It never felt much like a challenge.”

      I’m not sure it was meant to be, at least, not in the way you seem to be implying. The Thief games aren’t RPGs. Garrett is *already* a master thief, a fact that he likes to remind us of on a pretty regular basis. He’s as good at lockpicking as he’s ever going to be, and given sufficient time there are very few locks (excluding plot-specific unpickable locks) that pose a significant challenge to him. But that’s the key point: “Given sufficient time”.

      Garrett: “Ohai, a locked door. I shall pick it and steal whatever lies beyond!” –scritch, scritch, scritch–
      Guard: –strolls into view, grumbling about his feet and diet of potatoes–
      Garrett: “Oshit!” —scritchscritchscritch!

      The tension isn’t “Can I pick this lock or not?”, it’s “Can I pick this lock before someone comes along and spots me going about my nefarious business?”

  17. Infinitron says:

    To answer your question: Zeke and his minions were looking for evidence that Sarif Industries was involved in Evil Things.

    The real question is what the augmented hacker, Yune, was doing there for the Illuminati. After all, they’d already kidnapped the scientists and they had everything they needed. Most people think it was just a little extra mission to steal the Typhoon for Zhao – compensation for her cooperation in the biochip plot.

    • That makes a lot of sense given I first noticed typhoon ammo in Zhao’s labs, so I had assumed corporate espionage and been impressed at the use of ammo pickups to imply a story.

      I probably just missed some earlier, but I like my version better.

  18. AbruptDemise says:

    Oh, thank god I wasn’t the only one who didn’t know where the hostages were. I would’ve been so embarrassed!

    To be fair, I did screw around a lot at Sarif Industries, but I never even knew about those vent passages, which were my sole method of travel through the building.

  19. Neil D says:

    I just started playing through HR last week, and like you, once I realized that hacking gave XP and entering passwords didn’t, I just started hacking everything in sight. I find the hacking minigame kind of interesting and enjoyable, but there are times when it really interrupts the flow of the game, particularly in cube-farm rooms where there are 10-12 computer terminals.

    I also feel like it diminishes my accomplishments in digging up the passwords and codes. “Hey, good for you… you found the password! Here’s your reward: fewer XP than the guy that didn’t.” If they gave equal XP for entering the password, then it wouldn’t even be an issue. Well, except for the occasional XP bonuses you can get from datastore nodes, but that would just be more incentive to take the augment that lets you see what’s in the datastores. Then you could make an informed decision about whether to hack a device for the datastore rewards, or just enter the password/code.

    • Neil D says:

      Oh yeah, and I also got irritated when I realized that I wasn’t going to get any XP for sneaking by everybody in the place, and had to work my way back to the beginning of the level doing stealth takedowns.

      • PAK says:

        The “Ghost” experience bonus awards 500 XP for finishing an area undetected. I haven’t run the numbers to see if it evens out with takedowns (and it well may not) but it’s certainly not nothing.

      • Thomas says:

        Ghost and smooth operator bonuses?

        • Neil D says:

          Unrelated. Those are bonuses for not raising guard alert level above “alarmed” and not setting off alarms, both of which are achievable regardless of whether you take down the guards. But if you leave the guards untouched, you get no XP for them.

          • Gamer says:

            This is one thing I liked about Alpha Protocol. You earned XP for both avoiding guards and killing them.

            • Thomas says:

              I guess then, like I said somewhere above, it just comes down to the fact that XP isn’t very important in HR. It’s hard to get out of RPG habits but I feel the game would be easily completeable without ever upgrading anything and if you’re doing nothing more than getting sidequests, exploration and ghost bonuses you’re going to have nothing left you want to upgrade by the end still

              • Neil D says:

                And that would be a great point if there was some way to know that on your first play through. It’s hard to resist the urge to collect all the XP when you have no idea how screwed you’re going to be if you don’t. And I’d seen enough comments from people who slammed head-first into the boss battles to be particularly wary.

  20. RTBones says:

    Josh has highlighted (very early in this season, I might add) one of my biggest frustrations in the game: the ‘one guy goes down, and the entire world goes hostile and knows where you are’ effect.

    I like to try and get by obstacles in the game without making anyone hostile (for the Ghost experience points). Can’t begin to tell you the number of times I grunted in frustration because I sniped a guy (or tried to) with the tranq rifle, and everyone turned hostile. I’m not a special from K-Mart with a blue light on my head. Yes, turn guys alarmed when they realize one of their own is down, but unless I’ve been an idiot – don’t immediately give them my location to call a global Retributive Strike on!

    As to the hacking mini-game, it only bothered me in the beginning – because I didn’t realize (like Ruts points out) that you could attack more than one ‘entity’ within the mini-game at a time. I did wish that I could go back to some terminals I skipped at points – but that’s a difference in game styles (mostly open like Fallout 3) versus a more linear storyline like DX:HR. If I had my way – more games would establish hacking like Fallout 3/NV did. It just ‘felt’ like hacking. I wasn’t bothered to hack every door/console because I knew there were other ways to reach my objectives.

    • Infinitron says:

      It’s not the guy going down that alerts everybody. It’s that he sees you and shouts out to them.

      • RTBones says:

        I’m sure that is the case in some points, however – I’ve shot the tranq gun at guys backs with no other bad guy in sight, ducked back around the corner to wait for him to fall, and the world goes hostile because I missed. It seemed to happen an awful lot more than it should.

        Also, even if he shouts, it shouldn’t give mooks the proverbial half a level away my EXACT location. Nor should it turn them hostile until they actually SEE me.

        • Infinitron says:

          He hears your missed shot, concludes it was fired by a hostile, shouts out, alerts everybody.

          Yes, the effect is a bit exaggerated sometimes.

          • RTBones says:

            Granted.

            My point, though – alerting everyone is one thing (making them ‘alarmed’ in game terms), but turning them hostile and having them converge on my precise location is silly.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Not to mention that in cases like in the video,the guy didnt even shout,he just saw you and everyone became alerted.

              Stealth mechanics still require loads of work.

              • Infinitron says:

                Yeah, I didn’t mean an actual audible shout. The AI “shouts” at the other AIs when it sees the player, regardless of whether it had time to actually play the ‘oh my god there’s somebody here!’ animation and sound effect.

                It’s not ideal, but I think most games with stealth work that way (correct me if I’m wrong).

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Thief doesnt(If I remember correctly).

                  • Rosseloh says:

                    I think in most Thief games (been a while since I played any of them) the only guards that are alerted when they see you, are the ones who saw you, as well as those in the same room (conversation distance, basically). Other guards in the level will continue on with their rounds unless alerted by the ones you startled.

                • McNutcase says:

                  Well, THAT should be fixable. Set the shout to go out partway through said animation; earlier if the game is on a harder difficulty and if you’ve already provoked the AIs, later if it’s on easy and/or they haven’t twigged you’re there yet.

              • RTBones says:

                Exactly. The biggest issue with most AI systems is that ALL alerted AI elements use truth data for the player’s location, as opposed to some form of filtered data. In some cases (like when your character is directly observed), truth data is relevant. In others (the AI entity halfway across the map that gets alerted but doesn’t directly ‘see’ you), filtered data – or even truth data with graduated noise added – is more appropriate.

                Looking for a graduate thesis in AI development? Apply a little Perceptual Control Theory to how your AI entities act.

                • Thomas says:

                  The AI doesn’t seem to be very perceptive to where you are to me, I didn’t do much fighting, but certainly as Josh showed in the video, if you take someone out or fire a shot and miss with something silenced, they don’t have a clue where you are. It would make sense to converge on your general location because they’re coming to the guy who shouted. I think if they’d just stuck in a delay so that the shouting actually had to happen for it to work, it have been okay

    • tengokujin says:

      Considering that each node hacking has a chance of detection, hacking *less* nodes is safer and faster. Only hack enough nodes to get to data stores and the end nodes (access/security) for maximal efficiency.

  21. Exetera says:

    Hey, speaking of causing mayhem at UNATCO, in older editions of the game it’s possible to get the entire UNATCO staff to attack an invincible vacuum cleaner. More fun than Walton Simons, right? They patched it out in the most recent version of the game, though, by making it impossible to aggro invincible vacuum cleaners (like the one at UNATCO) but this can be fixed with clever console hackery. (The traditional follow-up to this is to lock various UNATCO officials in closets.)

    The way you win at hacking is just to hack the antivirus control computer (if possible). Then you just automatically sweep the level.

    Perhaps the security lockdown closed off the most efficient way to get into the main office? And, besides which, you went in through a vent over top of shipping and receiving rather than the front door.

    • Thomas says:

      Yeah this, because at the end of the level, you walk out a door into the open. I assume you were going the long way because terrorists don’t normally stake out your place of work :D

    • Jock says:

      You do actually see a bunch of desks and such piled up against the doors. Apparently the terrorists didn’t want to make things easy for the inevitable SWAT assault.

  22. Tobias says:

    I was just thinking, that one of the password protection modes for my smartphone might make a good hacking minigame for game.
    You have to draw a figure on the screen to unlock it. It is restricted by using only 9 points and having to have one nonoverlaping path.
    If you had some hacking skill which gives you sidechannel information,(chance to mark on input step as wrong or right) this would not take to long.

  23. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Hacking is good in this game,but it has its problems.First being that xp is limited,so if you want it all,you must hack.This is compounded by the fact that using the code doesnt give you the reward,which is stupid.Second problem is that you have an arbitrary timer that is triggered randomly.If it was always on,or triggered by specific bottlenecks,it wouldve been much better.

    However,one hacking minigame that was best imo,and that no one seems to remember,was from batman.Its simple,quick,and not timed.Too bad that its used rarely.

    As for batteries,your last battery will always refill,even if you spend it completely.It still is stupid that other batteries dont refill.

    3:31 The guy actually saw you,because the shot alerted him.Its still quite stupid that even without him crying out,everyone else got hostile as well.

    19:00 I was thinking throughout almost the whole episode “Josh,why arent you using e?”,and then you found out about it,and then I laughed out loud.

    As for the navigation,there is the central elevator,but you cannot use it because the front entrance was apparently blocked by the terrorist,as you can see through that glass floor when the police storm in.

    Also,did anyone else get a peta vibe out of these purity first nuts?

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Im sorry,I know this isnt the place,but I must advertise a game here:
    To the moon is an indie game with quite a compelling story,is relatively cheap,AND half of its proceedings go to charity.At least try the 1-hour free trial of it,if nothing else.But if you put stories above everything else in a game,you should definitely buy it.

  25. psivamp says:

    I liked hacking in DXHR once I managed to get my frame rate up to about 15-20 fps consistently. The biggest problem for me was that it was timed and I was playing on system that couldn’t really run the game, so my input would get dropped…

    I’ve dumped almost 200 hours into Skyrim and countless hours into the recent Fallout games and I despise the lock-picking system. I hate it with a burning passion — mostly because I have a cheap third-party 360 controller that has calibration issues with the thumbsticks, but also because of inherent problems with the input for the lock-picking. The lock pick swings at variable speed basically increasing the further you get from the starting position, so tapping the thumbstick just for a moment into the periphery of it’s detectable range will swing the pick 30 or 40 degrees when you only want to nudge it a few pixels.

    Suffice to say, my current characters will not be returning Nocturnal’s stupid Skeleton Key of fixing this mechanic.

    • psivamp says:

      Here’s something I just realized — which means I’m pretty brain-dead: HOW DID THEY NOT KNOW THIS GUY WAS AN AUG? His head is shaved and he has a cranial aug with a visible hatch. If he hadn’t shaved his head and had that hatch covered up like Data, then there wouldn’t be a problem.

  26. Spooky says:

    The thing, at least for me, that made Fallout’s lock-picking work was the fact that the mini-game actually resembles the real art of picking a lock; where most hacking mini games feel like some arbitrary representation of the activity chosen by some random person. It may seem like a small thing but that’s what gets me every time.

    Discarding the arguments already made both on the post and comments (which also annoyed me), I quite liked DX:HR’s hacking. It felt like an over simplified version of Uplink (and that game has, AFAIK, nailed hacking mechanics).

  27. CTrees says:

    “Thor, god of thunder, is in our ventillation shafts!”

    You guys said that was an in-joke, but (in a ridiculous coincidence) last night I watched the Mythbusters episode where they dealt with movie heist myths, including climbing up the ventilation shafts. Jamie’s ridiculously loud magnets triggered exactly that comment.

    Which made it funnier for me, obviously.

  28. Velkrin says:

    Ah yes, the hostage situation.

    First playthrough I talked him down.

    Second playthrough (pacifist) I accidently tranqued the hostage in the head instead of Zeke. He bugged out and stared at me like I was crazy; so I tranqued him in the head.

    Third playthrough (Omnicide) I saved the hostages by shooting the bomb (hint: shoot the canisters), then shot the hostages. I shot Zeke, then the cops, then the hostage. Suffice to say I had trouble with ammo on my third playthrough.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “Suffice to say I had trouble with ammo on my third playthrough.”

      You should always look for more interesting ways to kill people.For example,walking through the door,then going out and watching the hostages suffocate(maniacal laughter optional).

      • Velkrin says:

        Yeah, I learned fairly quickly that fire extinguishers counted as deadly weapons. The problem wasn’t the civilians as much as it was the cops (with armor) and the fact I didn’t like waiting around for my battery to recharge so I could do a take down on the civilians.

        Your XP tends to be somewhat limited when you’re making it a point to kill everyone, rather than sneak and use non-lethal methods.

  29. Someone says:

    “I’m *note* sure…”.

    Also, are you guys gonna do the DLC?

    • Eric says:

      I hope so. The Missing Link has far better level design than the original game and some fairly interesting characters and plot developments (or hints, anyway). It felt far, far more like the original Deus Ex to me, with more open levels with objectives that could be completed out of order, which in Human Revolution we only really got in one or two places (except for the hubs). Also, the philosophical discussion and hints at conspiracy stuff at the end was a huge improvement over the almost blind focus on augmentations (and the strawman “good or evil?” debate), which I got tired of about halfway through Human Revolution.

      • Thomas says:

        Strawman?! Dude, by the end of the game I was equally convinced all sides were right, if those were just strawman arguments my head would have exploded with the conflict of real arguments

        • Eric says:

          Problem is that the game doesn’t really go beyond the most basic of issues. It doesn’t talk about the problem of augmentation philosophically at all, and the two sides can be very easily summarized as: “augmentation is bad because it makes you less human” aka appeal to nature, and “augmentation is good because it makes lives better.” They’re strawmen in the sense that the issues are rarely discussed in interesting ways, only stated and then left unexplored.

          I also have a big problem with how the anti-augmentation side is shown, if only because it’s mostly reduced to a sort of Christian fundamentalist stand-in that says “it’s wrong because it’s wrong.” By the end of the game they really do not have anything substantial against augmentations – it takes Cute Japanese Schoolgirls(TM) being tortured by a big computer, and a zombie outbreak, to show the “dark side” of augs. Frankly, it came across as extremely heavy-handed to me, really shallow emotional appeals.

          The one interesting issue the game did present was the control of Neuropozyne by the pharmaceutical companies, and how its denial to ordinary citizens who depended on augmentations meant they would die in pain, turn to crime to pay for the drugs, etc. I think that is a real-world sort of situation that could happen, it’s got elements of conspiracy to it, and it’s an interesting moral dilemma – do corporations have the right to deny life-saving medicine because it’s not good for their bottom line, or because it helps create extra demand? It’s reprehensible, but the kind of reprehensible you can see a lot of people justifying.

          Unfortunately, this entire plot thread is dropped. It comes up in a side-quest once early on in the game and is never mentioned again. I was almost positive it would become the crux of the entire plot much like Ambrosia in the first Deus Ex. Predictable, yes, but it would lay the groundwork for interesting discussion that characters could get passionate and intelligent about. Instead, we got a big computer powered by human souls and an insane man with a fake British accent who’s jealous of everyone else.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Like Ive said,they are strawmen because they are presented by people promoting its side,and not by scholars studying the phenomena.If you were to discuss,say global warming,with a bunch of spokesmen,and not involve a single scientist,youd get basically the same arguments.Thats why I liked this issue in the game,ince you had to be the one to dig around and decide for yourself,and not listen to the guys trying to sell you their view.

  30. Isy says:

    I have to say I’m really enjoying this “season” where the entire show isn’t drowning in bile. Let’s hope it holds up (boss fights and ending excluded, of course).

  31. Drexer says:

    Ok Rutskarn I have to ask, why are you commentating from the bathroom? That echo is a bit annoying from time to time.

    Ah yes. The eternal quest for the perfect minigame system. I still remember how in ME2 the game which barely ran on my laptop had a particular lag in the minigames which made the race against the clock particularly difficult.

    It seems like it’s pretty much an impossible prerequisite to satisfy. Some people prefer it to be a quick-puzzle which you have to beat against the clock. Other prefer a game which lets you think more calmly. I have yet to see one that satisfies both people who want to do it very quickly if they have the brain capability and people who do not want to be too much punished if their reflexes are not as quick.

    • Ragnar says:

      The eternal quest for the perfect minigame system was solved a long time ago: No minigames at all.

    • Rutskarn says:

      The bathroom would have been preferable. Due to various circumstances it was impossible to record in the room, so I carried my laptop down three flights of stairs and set up in a study room. Next to a goddamned party, as it turned out.

      • Drexer says:

        Ah ok, that explains it. I started to go a little crazy wondering if there was something with my headphones that your voice harmonics interfered it. Also, [insert joke about tie on the doorknob here].

  32. Lungman says:

    something i discovered while trying to kill the hostages in the factory, if you shoot one or both of the tanks holding the coloured explosive, it disarms the bomb. i was expecting it to explode and look cool, but it dissapointingly saved the lives of everyone.

    • Eärlindor says:

      Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa??? 0.o

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        If you think about it for a bit,it does make sense.There are plenty of things that have one effect while separated,but completely different one when mixed together.So there are poisons that require the components to mix in order to become lethal,but separately are harmless.Therefore,if you shoot one of the tanks,it would quickly evaporate,and when the second part is released,nothing bad would happen.

        Though,of course,shooting both tanks in quick succession should mix them and make the gas lethal,but for a video game,some distance from reality is allowed.

    • Rosseloh says:

      And here, the first time I saved the hostages (in my short-lived second playthrough) I raced against the clock to hack the thing. Disarmed it with like .13 seconds left. Heart was racing like crazy.

      In my most recent (third playthrough), also saving the hostages, I found that one of the guys in the lab downstairs has the code in his pants.

      And now you tell me I could have just shot the thing.

  33. Ragnar says:

    I dislike the way XP is done in DX:HR. Exploring and completing missions, yes, combat and hacking: no. The combat and hacking XP just has an indirect prod to how you should play the game. Why do I get more experience for doing non-lethal take-downs than lethal takedowns? And why is both more than completely avoiding the enemy altogether? Why is it worth more XP to hack a keypad to get through a gate than to find a way above through apartments to come out on the other side of the gate?

    It is the accomplishment that should be rewarded, not the method.

    • Raygereio says:

      This so much.
      The XP awards should have been balanced out so that any playing style got roughly equal ammounts of XP at the end of each mission. As it is now, you’re pretty much screwed in terms of XP if you do anything anything but do double-non-lethal-takedowns for the whole game. Don’t get me wrong; the game it still playable with less XP. But it is a rather rude kick in the “any playstyle is valid”-approach-sack.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The only in-universe justifiable thing is non-lethal vs lethal.Jensen isnt a bloodthirsty hound.He isnt a blank character,despite you being able to influence his actions,and his history paints him as someone who values life.

    • SougoXIII says:

      You know how imbalance the XP distribution is in HR? I’m currently replaying it again with a stealth/non-lethal play through and I managed to complete max out all the augmentations that I’ll ever needs for a stealth build while only being halfway through the game. It’s freaking ridiculous!

      This is the major reason why I haven’t even attempt a gun/lethal approach.

  34. Mailbox says:

    I liked the hacking in this game. I always wondered how more difficult it was on a console since you can’t move your cursor to multiple nodes as quickly. I never felt obligated to hack for XP, I just really wanted to see what was on the computer or disable security. Really if you only hack the terminals you need to hack to progress, the difference in XP that you don’t obtain is not that much. It’s all in your head. That complusory feeling that you might be missing out on something. OCD.

  35. Gilmoriël says:

    Fun fact, you can actually remain undetected by that turret, all you have to do is go through the vent and position some boxes in front of it whilst staying behind its line of vision. Of course boxes are overpowered in this game and break the stealth anyway. I managed to take out every single police officer in the police station without causing any of them to be alarmed by carefully building walls of boxes to break line of sight.

  36. The Hokey Pokey says:

    A correction about the battery thing: even if you completely deplete the last battery, you will always recharge until you have one full battery. Candy bars are only necessary for having more than one battery available at a time. Since my first play through was non-lethal and I am a major resource hoarder, I had so much candy in the last mission I was able to sprint to the end as the invisible man.

  37. Eruanno says:

    Every time Josh steps up right behind an enemy and uses a weapon instead of a takedown, I cringe a little.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      And why has he killed just one guy so far?What did you guys do to Josh?!

      • Tzeneth says:

        He’s been using the pistol and ranged weapons. I’m curious why he hasn’t been using melee takedowns *shrugs

        • Josh says:

          In my original playthrough, I built Jensen as a cloak abuser, so I always felt the need to conserve energy for long stretches of being invisible. Plus, melee takedowns taking significant chunks out of your (not fully automatically regenerating) energy bar is just stupid and I refuse to partake in the idiocy of that system.

          Also lololololol tranq rifle.

  38. guy says:

    Minor note: the gas bomb is actually a binary toxin and you can deactivate it by shooting the glass cylinders.

    My first playthrough, when I found the bomb room I eventually decided to ignore it and kill everyone who could possibly detonate it before EOD arrived and cleaned up. I didn’t realize there was a timer on the bomb itself, given how that would be incredibly nonsensical for a hostage situation

    The pistol is incredibly broken in this game too. Its unique upgrade is the ability to quantum tunnel through armor. Instant death headshots through plexiglass helmets.

  39. Zagzag says:

    Like Rutskarn I also managed to end disarm the bomb with exactly 0.1 seconds to go. Maybe it’s programmed to do that every now and then, or maybe it stops for a lightly longer amount of time at that exact point or something, or maybe it is actually just a coincidence.

    It annoyed me that the characters were so stupid about not understanding the “suicide hacker” didn’t kill himself, but was being controlled. It was completely obvious to me, but apparently not to the characters who are actually familiar with this kind of technology.

    • Destrustor says:

      I actually don’t think anyone knew it was possible to remote-control someone through augs. Most people in the game world seem to see augs as “metal bodypart” rather than “robots attached to my spine”, which is a thing I could understand. It’s probably an instinctive method of coping with the weirdness. It may be strong enough to cloud you to the possibilities you’d rather not think about.
      Either they didn’t know it was possible, or they really didn’t want to think about it.

      • Klay F. says:

        I’d wager they didn’t want to think about it. Later in the game, there is an e-book where you can read a transcript of a speech that Hugh Darrow had given. He details how its possible for someone to remotely access someone else’s artificial heart and cause it to stop working in some manner, during which he is nearly booed offstage.

  40. Eric says:

    Hacking minigames are weird. I prefer to avoid minigames altogether in RPGs because I think the abstraction of performing an action should be handled by the interplay between statistics and not my ability (just as I shouldn’t have to manually aim my gun to fire at someone). They also tend to grow repetitive and frustrating; Human Revolution’s is better than most, but still gets boring after a few hours.

    At the same time, I think that minigames can be appropriate to action RPGs and hybrids like Deus Ex. Just as combat in those types of games revolves more around player skill, I think doing the same for non-combat skills can add a similar level of interactivity to a game experience. The difference, I think, is that most minigames are just that – minigames – and as such are nowhere near as fleshed out as other game systems like combat. You need to have enough depth to sustain a mode of gameplay, and if you don’t have it then it will suck, regardless of what it is.

    You also have to take overall balance of gameplay elements into account. A huge issue with Human Revolution is that hacking provides way too much XP, as well as additional benefits that make the game much easier and richer, like more story information, codes for doors and computers, and the ability to eliminate threats entirely by hacking security systems. Moreover, while the lockpicking and multitool division in the original Deus Ex, coupled with the value of melee and explosives as breaking and entering tools, ensured overall balance between a wide number of skills.

    Now, hacking is your catch-all skill and you’re a fool to avoid maxing it out as early as possible. It’s useful for every character and for almost every situation, it has no downsides or sacrifices (especially as you don’t need to touch combat abilities to be effective in a fight; weapon mods handle that), and the rewards that come with it vastly outpace the investment of both it and any other skills in the game. The minigame stands out not because it’s badly done (it’s one of the best around), but because there is so much incentive to use it as much as possible to the exclusion of everything else.

    They could have solved this in a few ways. One, get rid of XP. I’ve written before that the “tyranny of XP” in Human Revolution is to the game’s detriment, and that upgrade canisters or other methods would have been far more balanced, would have encouraged good play and exploration just as well or better, and would have felt like tangible rewards.

    Two, introduce standard locks to the equation, as it would at the very least help reduce the emphasis on hacking and would cleanly separate the advantages of each (hacking being more for breaking security and gaining information, and lockpicking being useful for getting to new locations and finding more loot).

    Three, re-introduce melee weapons. Melee weapons were extremely functional in the original game and had incredible utility value, as you could combine them with augmentations both in combat and non-combat roles. Being able to knock down doors or walls without spending valuable explosives or ammo (provided the player invested the right skill points) would have taken a lot of the focus away from hacking.

    Hopefully Eidos Montreal will take a look at how they can build on the game for the inevitable follow-up. I loved Human Revolution, but the poor balance in character skills, the underdeveloped nature of many locations and gameplay elements, and the lack of real choices in character development (by endgame, every Jenson is a superman, rather than a specialist) keep it from being an instant classic for me. In some respects I think even Invisible War was a much better game.

  41. Wow…really Josh? I mean…REALLY?!

    I thought at first you were grabbing individually just to kinda do a lil side spiel along the lines of, “Okay the game actually allows you to either pick individual items from a corpse, but you can also just grab ALL the items.” But no, you just kept picking one by one and I was like, “…what is he doing?”

    But then you express surprise here. Are you freaking KIDDING me?! There is a button on the screen that shows up EVERY TIME to let you know you can take EVERYTHING! HOW DID YOU MISS THAT?!

    THE ENTIRE GAME! IT’S…IT’S NOT POSSIBLE! IT’S NOT…NO…I CANnnnaot…lnot..ssa….ababas…bb…error…error…

  42. TheMerricat says:

    If I had to guess, and I do to a certain extent, it sounds as if the mini-games you dislike and the mini-games you like highlight one common denominator that stands out.

    You don’t like being rushed.

    Both Bioshock and Deus Ex are timed mini-games where once you start you can’t stop to look at what’s going on or pause, meaning that it’s more about how you handle under ‘pressure’ than about how good you are at the game. The lock picking games all allow you to take your time and in fact could easily be seen as penalizing someone who moves too quickly.

    • Eric says:

      It’s actually more that there’s a big time investment. Spending five seconds picking a lock per attempt is a lot better than spending a minute per attempt, or getting locked out of a computer forever because of a misclick.

    • Josh says:

      I have no problem with against-the-clock minigames. In fact, I thought Pipe Dream was at its best in Bioshock when I barely had enough time to complete the hack. Kept me from focusing on how tedious it is that I’m playing Pipe Dream again.

      It is, as Eric said, more about the time sink involved. Especially in the Bethesda-era Fallout games. I really like the aesthetic of the hacking minigame in 3 and New Vegas, but I hate how long it takes to figure out the right answer and how easy it is to screw up. Vegas made it even worse when they added the 30 second timer if you close the terminal before finishing the hack, as a sort of “fuck you” to the people who said “screw this” and just closed and opened it again until one of the first three options was the right one because goddamnit I’m not spending ten minutes figuring out this word puzzle arrrrghdfheryhertw346tbw346tawet

  43. Guvnorium says:

    Josh is the Box Ghost! Beeewaaarre…

  44. So, I’m guessing in the Drinking Game for this season, every time Shamus mentions Deus Ex 1 is a drink?

  45. Jensen’s cutscene incompetance in this game really bugs me – Any half decent player should’ve been able to shoot the pistol out of the guy’s hand, or at least made a move with the armblades. You could save him and knock him unconscious pretty easily.

    The best part is, the same quest outcome should’ve occurred with him simply being killed by Manderley’s thugs and they said he committed suicide. The quest would be the same but it’d hint at the conspiriacy more.

    Still, Jensen’s worse when it comes to the bosses, and Zhao.

  46. Zerotime says:

    Was I the only one wishing for cannibalism when Josh picked up the praxis kit?

  47. Marlowe says:

    Remember, hacking is more than just a crime. It’s a survival trait.

  48. swenson says:

    OK, so I’ve decided I’m only going to watch this season of Spoiler Warning up until the big twists start coming out. Would someone mind telling me how much farther I have to go before I will completely ruin the game for myself by watching these?

    • guy says:

      Hard to say. Probably the really big twists don’t start until the ending segment of the second hub, but entire game is twists.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Hmmm….That depends on what you consider being a twist.One twist,that isnt really much of a spoiler,is that if you dick around the office too much before going on this mission,sarif tells you to hurry up,since hostages lives are at stake.But if you dont listen,unlike in other games,hostages really do die.

      If you are worried only about twists that arent gameplay related….Id say you can watch before they leave for china safely.

    • Thomas says:

      It’s not really a twist story, there is one big thing which is a surprise and that happens when they go to China the second time. Everything else you get clues about all the way through the game and unless you’re not paying attention, should work out before it actually happens.

      The other twist isn’t so fundamental to the story, but happens immediately after china before they go to Montreal. It’s probably a good bit of the story to have stopped by because there are some nice bits of atmosphere after

  49. GiantRaven says:

    Heh, at the point where Josh runs through the metal detector; every time I’ve gone past I jumped over the gap to the left in case I set the alarm off and attracted a bunch of guards. In all my playthroughs (at least 4 by now) I had no idea that the bloody thing didn’t even work.

    *facepalm*

    • Rosseloh says:

      Same here. Though to be honest, I’m surprised at myself that I haven’t ever tried to set it off.

    • Same here. In hindsight it doesn’t make sense it’d even be there so it was probably disabled regardless – so many of their employees have robot limbs it’d be impractical. Still though, I always feel let down when metal detectors don’t go off in video games because I expect it now.

      There’s several in Serious Sam 3 in the museum you go to and they don’t go off either even though you’d think a Serious Sam game would take any opportunity to mob you with enemies.

  50. Zaxares says:

    Deus Ex 1: I never knew you could do that, Rutskarn! You’re making me want to reinstall the original Deus Ex and give that a try. XD

    Empty Lockers: There’s only about 20 or so Sarif Industries employees working at the factory (although granted, that’s just the people with e-mail accounts. There could be more people working in manufacturing that don’t have computers/e-mail addresses assigned to them, but that seems weird in today’s modern society), but there’s WAY more lockers than that in the locker room. It therefore stands to reason that not all of the lockers are in use. But yeah, it’s REALLY bizarre how random office workers will have guns and ammunition and weapon mods in their lockers.

    Hacking Minigame: I have to say that DX:HR actually has one of the best, most interesting hacking minigames I’ve ever encountered. It actually FEELS like hacking, where you have to make decisions about the best way through security blocks and the option of using specialised tools (Slow/Stop Worms) to assist you if necessary. I do agree that it was odd how it awarded you XP for hacking though; I would have preferred a system similar to the original Deus Ex, where augments were obtained through special upgrade items, and skills that improved based on how often and how successfully you used them.

    3:40: When you alerted the guy in the room, he shouted and drew the attention of his buddies outside. Realistic, but my gripe is that these guys can shout surprisingly loud, sometimes loud enough to sound the alarm through multiple closed doors. (And it’s not like these guys have walkie talkies or helmet radios either, unlike some Spec Ops enemies later in the game!)

    5:58: Have you actually tried crawling through vents before? Or heard something scurrying through vents? It actually DOES make a surprising amount of noise. And because these vents are usually connected throughout multiple rooms, something moving inside a vent can usually be heard in multiple rooms. Far from what games teach us, vents are NOT a good option for trying to sneak around inside a building. :P (Not to mention that air vents are designed to carry just that; AIR. They will usually break and collapse under the weight of a full-grown adult, let alone one weighed down by several dozen kilograms of guns and explosives.)

    The Bomb: Funny story! The first time I played DX:HR, I had NO idea there was a bomb in the room. (I thought that device on the table was some sort of coffee dispenser!) So there were all these hostages screaming at me to hurry up and disarm the bomb while I leisurely walked around trying to talk to them and wondering what the hell they were all talking about. Finally, I turned around, saw the hacking pad and went “Ohhhhhhhh!” Luckily for me, I’d entered the room via the vent so the timer hadn’t been triggered anyway. XD

    Energy Usage: I totally agree that the energy usage in this game is badly designed, on two fronts. First, having unlimited energy would be totally broken, because if you watch playthroughs on Youtube of people dispatching groups of 10 or more enemies using nothing but melee takedowns, you’ll realise that takedowns would be totally overpowered without some kind of limitation. However, the fact that you can carry around lots of energy bars and just chow them all down like potions and carry out these feats anyway is pretty darn silly.

    My method for energy usage in this game would be thus: Energy automatically regenerates itself up to the maximum your bar allows, but it’s slow. (This can be alleviated by investing points in the Energy Regen augments.) Furthermore, regenerating your energy also means you lose health, because the augment is consuming your body’s reserves of nutrients to convert into energy. Thus, it can be dangerous to use too many energy-consuming augs and takedowns at once, because you could literally kill yourself by doing so.

    Eating food/alcohol no longer restores your energy; it restores health instead. (You no longer regenerate health automatically; you regain health by eating or drinking, which triggers an augment in your body that kicks your metabolism and body’s natural healing into overdrive to make use of the extra calories you’ve just taken in.)

    Ghost award: Yeah, to get the Ghost award, you must reach your objective without any enemy going Hostile or being spotted by cameras. (You can get the cameras Suspicious by quickly darting across their field of vision, but as long as the cameras don’t go Alarmed, you’re safe.)

    Pistols: Most “experts” in DX:HR actually recommend that you go with a fully upgraded Pistol with the Armor-Piercing mod as your weapon of choice. It’s incredibly lethal when paired with head shots. That said, I usually still forego it and carry a fully upgraded Combat Rifle, fully upgraded Revolver, and a fully upgraded Sniper Rifle anyway. (I like the Plasma Rifle too, but you get it far too late in the game to really have fun with it.)

    Hacking Revisited: Don’t get too comfortable, Josh. ;) All the hacking terminals in this first mission are extremely dumbed down to give the new player an advantage. From here on out, unless you have upgrades to your Hacking augments, it’s EXTREMELY difficult to hack anything.

    Carrying Turrets: It’s even funnier if you hack the turrets so they become friendly, then you carry them around and use it like a portable minigun. XD Turrets are also surprisingly tough; I’ve seen a single turret take down over 12 foes all by itself and still not be destroyed!

    Zeke and the Hacker: It’s explained a little later in the game, but basically the hacker, Yuun, is actually a deep-cover agent who’s working for the same guys that attacked Sarif Industries 6 months ago. He gave Zeke, who’s an anti-augmentation terrorist, false information claiming that there was evidence of Sarif Industries breaking laws in their factory. This led to Zeke and his followers storming the factory to obtain the evidence. However, it was just a cover for Yuun, who wanted the opportunity to hack into Sarif Industries’ systems and steal the design plans for the Typhoon augmentation being developed there. Yuun didn’t have the technical expertise to hack the security himself, so he was allowing himself to be used as a proxy via his neural augmentations to allow a more advanced hacker to perform the job. When Jensen caught him in the act, the long-distance hacker then forced Yuun to kill himself to avoid getting captured.

    18:00: I’m pretty certain that there’s another door to the Admin building from the street, but it’s currently being blockaded. The Admin building is connected to the factoring labs by underground tunnels and elevators, but that’s not the usual route of entrance to the place.

  51. Venalitor says:

    whatever happened to Shogun 2? it disappeared, came back, and disappeared again. Not only was it funny and humourous, but it didn’t have the parts where you’re all talking over eachother and someone has their mike set ever so high. This is not to say that that isn’t expected at this point or that human restitution isn’t awesome, but… grand strategy, big battles, many armies and agents all duking it out at once, Shogun 2.

    • Josh says:

      It’s not gone for good. I’ve just been really busy for the past month. I wanted to get a post out on it last Monday but I was working on Spoiler Warning. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some work on it done tonight or towmorrow though and have a regular post on Monday again.

  52. Rosseloh says:

    My only problem with hacking in this game: way, waaaaay too much of it. I like the minigame — it’s more skill-based than, say, Mass Effect had, and it’s also reduced in difficulty if you invest points into it. But in a room full of computers (like the office in this level), due to the XP gain and item rewards, I’m practically forced to hack every single one. It’s like a 5-10 minute break in the flow. Yes, I know it’s more likely due to my minor OCD than anything, but still!

    Fortunately, I was “smart” on my most recent playthrough and got all the hacking augs first, with the exception of fortify. So, I can basically hack anything, and fast too, and I’m just getting to Hengsha.

  53. Nikos Saripoulos says:

    I didn’t have any problem with DE:HR hacking… it was interesting it wasn’t repetitive and it was challenging… what annoyed me was that you get xp from hacking but if you’ve found the password beforehand then no xp… so even if you had the password you would choose to hack just to get the xp

    I like the original fallout concept (drink) that the game rewards you with xp for searching the game… discovering trivia… examining dialog options… i remember in FO2 the game would reward you with 300xp (about a third of an early level) just for listening the girl’s story about her car (remember? or am i the only one)… or by finding info on a far away terminal… this info was just for you, not for a quest… the game was like “good boy you found it”… this was incentive, for me, to search more!

    Opening the door by lockpicking or by finding/stealing the key was rewarded either way… with different xp according to the difficulty of the task… i like the concept of if you take on a quest the game will reward you whichever way you go… again in FO2 (drink) where there are two Bars in “the Den” and you can choose to favor/sabotage one against the other… but there’s always the difficult task of the middle ground that’s harder to do and offers a lot more xp… read more about Sabotaging Becky’s still

    Again.. the game rewards you for searching your options… and i think this is what missing… not the hacking game… but what you get for playing the hacking game

    in Bioshock you had to do the same trivial thing again and again just to go forward to the game… Hack a turret/vending machine etc… it was the box that contains the cake… only that in order to open the box you had to play the minigame… it was annoying and it was in your way

    In FO3/FONV/ME2 you had an XP reward just for playing… but in Skyrim and Oblivion it raised your lockpicking skill

    But what disappoints me in games… is that other than hacking a high level computer / opening a lock… is the cake… you do it to find something useful… opening an “enormous chest” with a high skill lock… just to find 3 gold and some lint… is disappointing and i feel like the game tricked me (even though the game gives me reward for lockpicking)… likewise… hacking a terminal just to find the same documents in every computer (yes i’m talking about you DEHR)… is not fun at all… it’s like i’m skilled in opening cardboard boxes without the cake inside… FUN! (captain sarcasm to the rescue)

    To sum up… the cake is a lie

  54. shlominus says:

    one solution might be players who don’t consider themselves short-changed if they don’t grab every xp out there. ;)

  55. Jason says:

    Huhm..

    I actually was surprised, and greatly enjoyed the hacking minigame in DE:HR

    The simple availability of virii (viruses) was handy on the hard ones.
    I actually enjoyed the few moments of of, change of pace.

    And it was always fun trying to hack one before the guard returned.

    I haven’t played Skyrim or Fallout 3 – is it anything like Oblivion’s lockpicking? or is it more like Mass Effect’s lock picking? ME’s lockpicking was fun, too.

  56. tengokujin says:

    I believe this meme might be relevant:
    http://memegenerator.net/instance/9565785

  57. RCN says:

    Technically, the right way to play the hacking mini game is to first try and capture the most easy nodes possible before the system is alerted, then just go for everything at once.

    I for one liked the hacking mini game in both Deus Ex and Fallout 3. At the very least they’re the best hacking mini games I’ve ever participated in in games, much better than the hacking mini games that actually look and behave like actual hacking because actual hacking is a freaking pain.

    But can they be done better? I believe they can, yes. But I’d rather the game break its flow but with something different and optional than just shoot bad guys all the time.

    And really, you can’t fault the game for having the hacking give you XP. Just because you (and I) have OCD towards XP hoarding, it is not the game’s fault. The hacking is as optional as everything else that’s not the main quest in Skyrim or other RPGs. We’ll still do everything, even the most dreadful and boring parts for that small parcel of extra XP.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      The problem is not that you get xp from hacking,its that xp is limited.You have just a certain number of xp that you can get in each level,and no more.

      As for hacking,did you play batman games?Way better than new vegas/human revolution.

  58. Noble Bear says:

    I don’t like hacking minigames.

    I think because for me, I don’t feel any sort of accomplishment; every time I have to hack something it feels like a stupid barrier, a large and unnecessary speed-bump, to me getting to whack or shoot more things. Even hacking for a discount feels both necessary and tedious to me.

    ::shrug:: Maybe if the whole game were about infiltration or I was playing a character that was a hacker then I guess it would be ok.

    I’d like it better if hacking were a “loading” bar that gets shorter/faster as you improve or if you just use a widget to instahack it rather than, say, only a few darts.

  59. decius says:

    What do you think about Uplink, and how it handled the hacking game? It broke a little bit in that you can brute-force bank admin’s passwords in seconds, and apparently proxy servers and firewalls prevent someone from using my login name and password to make bank transfers, but can be bypassed in an undetectable manner if you have expensive (unpiratable?!) software…

  60. Destrustor says:

    My favorite hacking/lockpicking minigames: Morrowind’s lockpicking and Kotor’s hacking/lockpicking.
    Morrowind:
    1 Take out lockpick
    2 Use lockpick on chest (skill check vs lock level)
    3 hold down the button to try continuously
    4 If opening it thus is possible keep trying until it works, if not the game flat-out tells you so. Keep working on that skill and come back later.
    Takes about 5-10 seconds on most chests.
    For kotor it is basically the same, but without steps 1 and 3.
    Both are quick, easy, simple and almost fun in a “will I win the lottery today” way.
    My absolute worst is oblivion’s complicated, fickle, random and frankly ugly mess where as soon as I got to level ten I’d go get the skeleton key, just to be able to skip it all by spamming auto-attempts.

  61. Kuma says:

    Going back to the original question, it might be a good idea or solution to put different XP points for different areas. Hacking = computerXP, shooting = weaponsXP and fighting = combatXP. This way you might be able to solve the issue of missing something (even if XP is limited) and focus on what you want to develop… also it could be made as complex as the designer wants it to be: dividing fighting into lethal and not lethal, weapons into firearms and non-firearms, etc.

  62. Sumanai says:

    Gah. I tried to contain myself, but this has been bugging me for too long.

    In my eyes there are three common problems with in-game minigames.

    Problem 1: The minigames give something that can only be gained in limited amounts. This means that it may feel like something you have to do, instead of what you want to do. Even if the amount is so small that it’s meaningless you might be crippled by your fear of crippling yourself.

    Solution 1: Only give things that the player can grind for endlessly in other ways.
    Solution 2: Make it so you can gain it some other way, but the gains are exclusive. You can get the cash by hacking, or you could get the cash by going through everyone’s pockets (living, dead or unconscious).

    Problem 2: A bigger problem in my eyes is that the related skills that the player character has are treated in a strange way. You can’t try a lock that is “too hard” but you can attempt to solve things with violence whenever the option exists. Imagine if you went to Caesar, pulled out a gun and tried to open fire only for the game to tell you that “your Combat is too low to attempt this fight” forcing you to start a dialogue.

    And I can’t grasp how the logic goes. In old games it was obviously your character’s skill that was being used when picking a lock. That’s why the player doesn’t have any direct part. In a game with a minigame, but no related attributes, it’s obviously the player’s skill that is being tested. What’s going on here? It’s not “both”. If it were, then putting more points into Hacking should make it easier.

    Solution: Remove the minimum skill requirements and change it so that putting more points makes the minigame easier. For example in Fallout 3 the allowed deviation from the correct angle could be
    BaseTolerance + PlayerSkillInLockpicking – LockDifficulty
    (With a minimum tolerance of 1 degree, no matter what.)

    Problem 3: Using time limit to artificially and cheaply create a sense of challenge. The biggest problem with this is that it often emphasizes the effects of luck. The other is that it’s unreliable. Some think under pressure faster than others, so the difficulty of the minigame varies wildly between different types of players.

    If you’re having trouble with combat because it’s too hectic you can usually try different approaches, put more points into combat skills (especially health), spam potions or just something. If nothing else, lowering the difficulty level should make it easier, since that’s what it’s for. Actually, that brings in mind a fourth complaint, but first solutions.

    Solution: Don’t use it and come up with something more sensible. For example in Mass Effect 1: PC Edition the Frogger would be better with a limited live system. You could combine it with number 2 above and make it so you get more lives the higher your hacking skill goes. You’ll still play it quickly, since you didn’t start ME1 in order to play the Frogger: The Ring so you’ll want to get back into action as soon as possible. And if you did start ME1 just for the Frogger, then you’d want to spend as much time with it as you want.

    The Whining 4 – Resurgence: I really want a separate and on-the-fly adjustable difficulty levels for minigames. Not necessarily separate levels for Hacking, Electronics, Moose Handling etc. But separate from the main (usually combat) difficulty level.

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