on Jun 23, 2013
Wherein Atlas continues to guide us through the zany madcap world of “BoyoShock”.
I think it’s really interesting how Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite both have the same trouble with the hint system, which is that you’ll be 80% of the way through the game and you’re stilling getting messages explaining how to switch weapons or reload. Sometimes the game would even explain how to do something just after you finished doing it.
On one hand, I’m in favor of games that are accessible. It’s bad when games assume that you’re a master of all mechanics once you leave the tutorial area. It’s also bad when games simply take concepts for granted. For game designers, its important to remember that for some small percentage of players out there your AAA shooter will be their first AAA shooter. Crouching, jumping, and using cover are obvious to most players but can be completely mysterious to a newbie. If game designers take too much for granted then they run the risk of making their games too insular. Even if the player knows about all of the mechanics, they might forget which buttons do which things if they step away from the game for a while.
On the other hand, randomly throwing up tutorial messages at all players at random intervals and telling players how to do things they’ve long mastered is an ugly, brute-force solution to the problem. It breaks immersion, clutters the screen, and distracts the player.
It’s really strange that this design decision persisted throughout the entire Bioshock series. (I’m assuming it was in Bioshock 2 as well.)