Hacked Off: Why Are Loading Screens in Games Still Annoying?

Well after a week break, we’re back and angry as ever and loading screens are in the hot seat. I know I’m not alone with my feelings of disdain for loading screens. No matter how often or what type of video game people play, most will get annoyed at having to twiddle their thumbs until the game is ready. I understand we need loading screens, as when else will there be time to quickly make a tea. It’s just when games have several loading screens after one another or ones that seem to take an hour they really take the biscuit.

The game that inspired this week’s rant, I mean feature, was Mirror’s Edge Catalyst. Now this is in no way suggesting this game is bad, as it isn’t. In fact it’s wonderful and you should defiantly play it or at least read Alec’s review. Okay so I digress from the point. The part gets to me after a while, is the loading screens. They are not long, with it only being around five – ten seconds. It’s just in a game about speed and finding out the best routes after trial and error, it is off putting having to sit there waiting every time you want to do it again. After a while it puts you off wanting to try it again and settling with what you’ve got.

If you’re just having difficulty with certain jumps or doing it quick enough then it really gets annoying. I know it has to load a whole open map but maybe it shouldn’t. Instead load into a race which doesn’t contain parts you’re not even going near. I would be a lot happier to retry a race if it restarted quicker. Instead I’m there getting angry because I can’t make this one jump perfect and so I have to watch loading screens longer than actually playing. It also means I get worried trying alternative routes as if it is slower I have to load again. Even if you’re not trying to get the best time on a race and you’re playing a mission. If you fail, it removes the fluid nature of the game. It takes away the fast paced action you had, which makes the game jar when it shouldn’t.

Another game that helped cement loading as this week’s topic was, Xbox Live Gold’s free game this month, The Crew. Now I haven’t played much of this game yet so I don’t know if this speaks for the whole game or just for the start, but it annoyed me nonetheless. It has these pointless missions, if you can call them that, where you just drive a few feet. These missions are completely redundant and useless, but I’m fine with that, it’s the fact it gives another loading screen. So now I’ve played for less than a minute between loads. Just why? Is that the exact amount of entertainment I can handle at one time? Do I need to be gently eased into the amount of fun I’m going to have in this game, so short bursts at the start allow me to adapt my enjoyment threshold?

There are many games that seem to have loading screens after the smallest section of playing. Why not just load the whole thing. It’s not like people are going to turn off the game if the loading takes an extra couple of seconds. There are warnings against that, and if there is one thing gamers are, it’s a stickler for the rules.

If you have read any number of the previous Hacked Off articles you’ll see I bring up Destiny quite often, and this week is no different. Regardless matter how much I like that game it finds multiple ways to get under my skin. The game is awful for loading screens, to the point where it loads a loading screen. Whenever you launch a mission it loads, then when that is done it takes you to another loading screen but with some talking to make it a bit fancier. When you start the game up it takes ages to load anyway, to the point I consider going to do the weekly shopping while it loads up. Okay maybe I’ve exaggerated the time it takes a bit, but not by much.

The loading screens in video games that just confuse me are the ones that take ages. Ones that have you waiting for a good two or three minutes. Does the game forget what it’s meant to be doing? Now I’m sure it has its reasons but it gets boring. If anything I spend that time contemplating if I should do something else instead. Maybe seeing this outdoors everyone’s talking about these days, or trying out one of those books I’ve heard about in games.

I know it’s not their fault and it’s unavoidable, it’s just it still gets to me. They need to take some more time to look at when loading has to appear or if there is a fancy way to hide it. As developers are now able to have mini-games in loading screens when they wish, surely more games will have enjoyable loading. But then, that doesn’t work for games that have short but regular loading. It doesn’t even cater to the fact that the mini-games will still get dull.

 

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