I really hate when a game suddenly departs from it's standard gameplay for no good reason.
I've been playing MechWarrior 4 for the last few days. I'm having a great time with it. The graphics are a little dated, but the gameplay is still terrific. And the new mechs are a lot of fun.
I'm allied with Steiner this time around... Last time I played I wound up working for Davion. So I've had a few new missions that I've never played through before.
Now, for the most part, MechWarrior's gameplay consists of driving around in a giant stompy robot and blowing stuff up.
You normally want to pack as much firepower as possible into the constraints of the mission. Maybe there's no limits, and you bring two full lances of assault mechs. Maybe you need to be able to keep up with a convoy, so you grab the biggest things you've got that can still move fast enough. Maybe you're in the light division of the arenas, so you're squeezing as many weapons into a 25 ton frame as you can.
But normally you want as much firepower as possible. And normally you're blowing things up.
And that's really what the gameplay mechanics are built to support. There aren't really any buttons for picking stuff up or anything like that. Basically the only way you can interact with the world is to shoot at things. You can't haul cargo or anything. There's no diplomacy. You don't even get to pick your dialogue.
So, last night, I'm given a stealth mission.
I need to grab the smallest, quickest mech I can find, turn off my radar, and creep around like some kind of spy.
Just how stealthy is a 50 foot tall robot going to be, anyway?
It isn't like there's stealth armor that I can buy... Or a crouch key...
Yeah, I grabbed ECM and an IFF jammer, but I don't know that they actually do much for stealth. They're more to make it harder for people to shoot you.
So, I'm running around in the dark. Can't run up onto hills because I get seen. Can't get too close to other mechs or I'll get seen. And I have to scout around this Davion bases. There isn't even a progress bar when I'm scanning something... I just have to wait.
And there's no clear indicator of what's "too close" or "not stealthy"... You just kind of do the best you can, and then run like hell if a box pops up that says you're about to be spotted.
It isn't impossible. It isn't even really that hard. It just takes a few tries to figure out exactly what is expected.
And it isn't like I have a problem with stealthy gameplay in general. If a game legitimately supports stealthy gameplay, that's great. If you've got skills that you can pick and choose to develop... Or open levels that can be navigated in multiple ways...
I played thief/assassin type characters in both Oblivion and Morrowind. I played through Deus Ex in a stealthy manner. I've thoroughly enjoyed rogue-ish characters in NeverWinter Nights and Dragon Age.
Stealth can be a lot of fun.
But that's not what I'm complaining about.
I'm complaining about this sudden departure from the normal style of gameplay, into a type of gameplay that the game mechanics doni't really support.
It's kind of like that motorcycle race mini-game they threw into Final Fantasy VII for no good reason.
If I wanted to play a stealth game, I wouldn't have picked up a game where I run around in a giant stompy robot and blow things up.
And if I want to run around in a giant stompy robot and blow things up, and grab a game that advertises that kind of gameplay, I don't really want to be asked to go sneaking around like some kind of thief.
Simulation/Giant Robot Simulation