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.