Hacked Off: Games Where Decisions Don’t Affect the Games as Much as They Seem

With the sudden increase of decisions in games affecting the story, I have to say I’m really happy with them, and I have played a fair few of them. It seems counter intuitive seeing my headline; but I really do like the idea of having an impact on the game through my choices. Maybe it’s because I lack skills to make decisions in the real world. Though there are very few games that are considerably impacted from what you do, and that’s what annoys me.

The main offenders this week are the decision adventure games. The reason they are the bad guys for the week is because decisions are their main selling point. Not many people are there for the gameplay. There are often some fun parts, but it’s hardly ground breaking. Don’t get me wrong, they do have choices that have huge consequences, and the stories are normally brilliant. If you’ve read previous Hacked Offs, you’d know that I’m a huge fan of Life Is Strange, as it was a beautiful adventure. Though they all have several decisions which have little to no impact on the stories.

There are countless times in these games where an icon appears informing you this action will have a consequence. This makes you think that telling someone they’re a bit of an idiot might actually bring about a rampage which ends the world. It seems ridiculous, but anything is possible. In actual fact all it would mean is that later on they’ll say something mean to you or make a passing remark to it. Of course, this is a made up example, but it is not far from the types of choices that appear to have consequences. Most of these games do make clear which situations will have bigger effects on the story, but some of them still don’t seem to create earthquakes.

I understand there is only so much they can do. The game still needs to go to the same place, so regardless of your choice you still need to get from A to B. Games are already quite big and take a long time to make, imagine if they had to make a game that really did change course completely. They would have to make stories for each potential choice you make. It’s like the ‘choose your own adventure’ books in the eighties. There are only a certain number of pages and, therefore, only a certain amount you can do. As technology develops no doubt we’ll have games that have a whole range of potential stories. But until then you’ll have to get used to only really affecting dialogue and a few story changes.

Then there’s also the idea that it resonates with real life. Not all the choices we make on a day to day basis have that much effect on our lives. There are only a few that can change our lives. But then again I’m playing a game, and while the realism is nice, I wouldn’t mind losing some realism for more impact on the world. Maybe I want a revolution that aims to arrest anyone who neglects nature if I forget to water my plant. Maybe it’s my fault for asking for the moon from the developers.

Then there are some games like Mass Effect that have choices as an integral aspect of the game. When I was told to play the series, it was one of their main reasons to play it. It’s the same story. While some actions have a huge impact, many aren’t that big of a deal. I personally wouldn’t use it as a main reason to play the trilogy. The story is great and is the main reason, regardless of what choices you make. I could have lived with the game only having the big choices. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the whole ordeal and discussing with friends what I did and why. But it was the fact some things I did actually had no real effect. I could have chosen either option.

There is nothing wrong with choices in games, as I love them. But I would just like to feel like what I have done has a chance to be as disastrous as I think it will be. I may be wrong, everyone else might be happy with the way it is. But I’m not everyone.

You now have the chance to make a decision which could impact your life: Read another article or leave never knowing what wonders could have befallen you.

Why not see Emiliano’s handy guide to games coming out in October by clicking here?

Or see what changes NBA 2K17 made to last year’s installment by clicking here.


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