Great videogame concepts with bad executions

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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Amuscaria » Thu May 17, 2018 5:18 pm

Hexen series for me.

Love the idea of having an fantasy FPS with distinct classes (the first that I know of), with beautiful sprite-work to boot. Too bad the 4-weapons per class is lack luster, with the first weapon being pretty lame. Classes were not well balanced. And the damn switch-hunting levels system kind of killed the game for me.

Hexen 2 was even worse. Couldn't even stay interested enough to play thru the first chapter. Few enemies in sight, and all of them being bullet-sponges. Weapons and classes were lame. Map design is non-existent. Boring boss battles.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby leileilol » Thu May 17, 2018 5:47 pm

oh yes how could I forget Hexen II? I had a big list of why Hexen II sucked while planning with my data project once so I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes, but alas i'm not really a mapper (Trenchbroom hadn't existed then) and the Blender MDL exporter at the time forced a Quake palette and didn't make it easy to support Hexen II at all, and the only decent source port on earth strictly requires checksummed hexen 2 paks...

There's also the huge multiplayer imbalance too. Paladin is OP, him and his virtual on bomb. Sometimes I can imagine hearing Mike Gummelt commentary when playing through for the exciting gameplay feature he excitingly added (prior to playing Hexen II, I used to follow/play Ultimate Quake until he joined Raven, so)
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby JadedLexi » Thu May 17, 2018 7:49 pm

Hexen itself, while I like it, has a lot of its own issues as well. Bad map layouts and "puzzles" that simply do not work. Enemy variety is almost nonexistent and weapons as well.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Chris » Thu May 17, 2018 9:40 pm

I like Hexen. It's far from perfect, but I'm not sure I'd call it bad.

Though if we're going for personal disappointments, I'd probably say Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. The premise is good, and the beginning of the game isn't all that bad either. But then you run into the difficulty spikes, which are near impossible even on easy settings, and find that it's not hard to screw up your build for the endgame if you aren't finding secrets, putting points into certain abilities, and/or making correct choices. The boss encounters are unnecessarily long health grinds, and it's easy to fall into unwinnable situations. It completely kills the game for me and I can't play more than a couple levels at a time.

A more general example, I'd probably toss in DragonLore. An early 90s FMV point-and-click adventure game with combat mechanics, in which puzzles and encounters can be solved in a few different ways to influence the ending. You come of age and inherit your murdered father's lands, and are tasked with becoming a Dragon Knight (in which you need to gain the votes of other Dragon Knights you meet as you explore and solve puzzles). Along the way, you make choices to act benevolently or aggressively, with some NPCs preferring you act benevolently, some preferring aggressive, some preferring you be somewhere in the middle, and some preferring you take either side and not be in the middle.

Unfortunately the game itself is horrid. Terrible CGI/animations, terrible voice acting and dialog, clunky mechanics... just about everything that could've been done poorly, was. But I'd be interested in seeing someone take that core concept and make something good out of it. The idea of a fantasy-based point-and-click adventure/puzzle game, with combat mechanics and choices that influence characters in the world, has appeal (and you meet dragons too, so..).
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Reactor » Thu May 17, 2018 10:32 pm

Hexen was fine IMHO. I don't say "ZOMG itz so fukken awsum, best game of muh life", but it's well above the average, and has everything a good game needs. It's a matter of taste whether or not FPS fans turned their heads to a "magical" approach of the first person shooter-genre, and there is no point in comparing it to Doom. It's not that type of game where you just blast everything in sight with a chaingun, but it offers a nice variety of special inventory items, which are great - the Chaos Device for instance. Also, Hexen has something which I missed from Doom - the taunts! No evil mastermind is complete without his iconic one-liners! :D

"Greetings, mortal. Are you ready to DIE!?"
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Chris » Thu May 17, 2018 10:58 pm

Reactor wrote:It's a matter of taste whether or not FPS fans turned their heads to a "magical" approach of the first person shooter-genre

I think it's more the heavier emphasis on puzzle solving over fast-action combat that turns people off, along with the slower progression. Heretic had the same magic and fantasy look that Hexen does, but was much closer to the original Doom's gameplay, and people seem to show more favor for Heretic than Hexen because of it.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby JadedLexi » Thu May 17, 2018 11:18 pm

It's not that it's the puzzles that turn people off, it's that the puzzles are bad. It would be an alright game if it had puzzles that made sense.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Chris » Fri May 18, 2018 12:22 am

JadedLexi wrote:It's not that it's the puzzles that turn people off, it's that the puzzles are bad.

I'm not sure how they were bad. Items were found in logical locations (flame mask found in the fire level), and used in logical locations (used in the ice level to melt some ice and get a key for elsewhere). Much better than a typical puzzle game which has random items in random locations used in a nonsensical manner. Sound cues also helped let you know that you did something (such as metal grinding when a switched moved a metal door). The level layout did a decent job of getting you to where you needed to go and more connections between levels opened up as you explored. I also liked how you had to search around multiple levels to open up each hub's secret level.

As I said, it wasn't perfect. There certainly are other games with better puzzles and the like. But it's far from a bad attempt.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Amuscaria » Fri May 18, 2018 2:15 am

Chris wrote:As I said, it wasn't perfect. There certainly are other games with better puzzles and the like. But it's far from a bad attempt.


I liked Hexen's first chapter, up to the hub after 7 Portals. I loved the weapons, even though there weren't many. They were certainly a step up on Doom's, in terms of cool behaviors. Same with the enemies. I just hated the later maps and the "X/5 of the Puzzle has been solved" message, but I have no idea why I'm solving the puzzles. It's like a gimmick they made to pad out the length of the maps. It had a lot of the right ideas, and I'm sure it could be made much better with exhisting ZDoom ports.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Reactor » Fri May 18, 2018 8:57 am

Ye, I also think the puzzles were acceptable. Some were harder than usual, but they're far from impossible. None of them suffers from the "Meson Battery problem" we were discussing in-depth earlier, which is fair enough :) Compared to many Sierra games with unimaginibly cryptic nonsensical puzzles, Hexen was a breeze :)
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby JadedLexi » Fri May 18, 2018 9:18 am

Amuscaria wrote:I just hated the later maps and the "X/5 of the Puzzle has been solved" message, but I have no idea why I'm solving the puzzles. It's like a gimmick they made to pad out the length of the maps. It had a lot of the right ideas, and I'm sure it could be made much better with exhisting ZDoom ports.

This is what I was trying to put into words before and failed to. It definitely feels padded out and they are very obscure. It sends you looking around the entire map just to see what changed.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Princess Viscra Maelstrom » Fri May 18, 2018 3:47 pm

Hexen 1 is aight with me. it took me several playthroughs and a few mods to make me appreciate the game, but i've come to terms with it, and i think it's good enough. it has a nice style, and the music helps sets the tone, which, i think it's a full OST with only one or two repeats, which is commendable.

Hexen 2 though, that one's rather flawed. the soundtrack is about half the size of Hexen's, and while it has more visual variety than the first game, the encounters are pretty meh, with lots of palette swapped variants of baddies that just deals more damage, and some of them being obnoxious to take down due to hard to dodge attacks, high health, or just flat-out invulnerability frames (ok, the Centaurs from the first game had this too, but imagine Centaurs with a highly accurate life drain and flawed hit detection that wastes ammo).

the puzzles are better, like in Thysis... but also simultaneously worse, with stuff like the zodiac sign where you got cryptic hints to what you had to set the thing to... in two different periods of time. and there's also the flat-out broken tile puzzle.

and you get all the weapons by the second hub or so, leaving little sense of progression as the game just hands everything to you, including the final weapon, which felt noticably less beefy than the ones from the first game, probably because of how early they're given out to you. you also "level up" from killing enough things, which seems to just... increase your hitpoints a bit? i didn't really see the effects of whatever abilities i got.

and to top it off, the game ends on a cliffhanger, which is never going to see a resolution.

i didn't hate the game or anything, it just felt... kind of there. in a sea of much more interesting 3D shooters, like Quake, Unreal, Dark Forces 2 and Half Life, Hexen 2 kind of fails to stand out. Hexen 1 at least brought some things to the table that left an impact in the community, i felt, but Hexen 2 is rather unremarkable.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby NeuralStunner » Fri May 18, 2018 4:15 pm

Hexen 2's biggest flaw is in its attempt to be "more RPG". Your statistics are randomized when you start a game and (based on which class you picked) actually affect how much damage your weapons do. Enemies really aren't any more damage spongy than in the first game, it's just that you might randomly start with a huge handicap.

This is why I cringe every time someone launches a "Hexen RPG" project. :P

Chris wrote:Heretic had the same magic and fantasy look that Hexen does, but was much closer to the original Doom's gameplay, and people seem to show more favor for Heretic than Hexen because of it.
Looking at the amount of good quality mods between the two, I'm seeing too little appreciation for Heretic. Unless I should be inferring that it's already perfect and needs no mods, which is quite far from the truth. :P

Chris wrote:Though if we're going for personal disappointments, I'd probably say Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. The premise is good, and the beginning of the game isn't all that bad either. But then you run into the difficulty spikes, which are near impossible even on easy settings, and find that it's not hard to screw up your build for the endgame if you aren't finding secrets, putting points into certain abilities, and/or making correct choices. The boss encounters are unnecessarily long health grinds, and it's easy to fall into unwinnable situations. It completely kills the game for me and I can't play more than a couple levels at a time.
I'm guessing by "difficulty spikes" you mean "those goddamn ghouls". I've played through this game several times (even in hardmode where you die in two hits, and I normally HATE that), and not had nearly that many problems. Sure, there are times I practically mashed the quickload key (those goddamn ghouls), but practically every fight is hilariously cheesable. As far as I can tell, the only way to get a completely unusable build is to ignore sense altogether. (By which I mean never use your skill points at all.) If I had to pick a letdown, it'd be the ending cinematics (and the special fight they dummied out to replace with more friggin' spiders). Otherwise, I believe Arkane did a fantastic job.
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby Princess Viscra Maelstrom » Fri May 18, 2018 4:44 pm

i didn't know stats were randomized to the effect that it affects your damage output. that seems... counterproductive. not that i really had much trouble killing things, because the levels are littered with mana to deal with them, and i really saw little need to use most of the other weapons other than the Paladin's ultimate to get rid of them, because it was the safest way to do it and mana was everywhere. and also i did it because melee combat in Hexen 2 is not as satisfying OR reliable. :P
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Re: Great videogame concepts with bad executions

Postby kodi » Sat May 19, 2018 5:39 pm

Agreed with leileilol on Kingpin. Could have been really great if they aimed lower or had a bigger budget for the thing they actually planned.
I think Serious Sam: TSE was really great though. I don't give a shit about how old school or not it isn't, I liked the imagination of the level and encounter design and the weapon/monster balance.

Red Faction is a game with some great ideas and that really isn't that enjoyable to play past the first couple of levels.
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