Puzzles in RPGs
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July 21st, 2010, 16:58
I'm pretty anti-puzzle. The good ones are cliche, the rest are pointless or occasionally horribly frustrating. The DA:O bridge puzzle wasn't logical at all, it was trial and error, boring and frustrating. Any complicated pressure plate system is bad, the logical ones are just time consuming and the bad ones are just trial and error and that stops the game and isn't fun. A simple pressure plate system ( drop some armor so the door opens elsewhere ) for an optional piece of loot is ok if used sparingly.
I do like your original example though as long as it was only to make a fight easier and not impossible otherwise. Or the ability to enhance the a playstyle like your example of traps. Puzzles should be optional and/or allow the good old brute force method of getting around them. I'd be ok with a puzzle to disarm the trap as long as I can just storm through it and take the hit.
Slight rant warning: It's the same thing with locked doors, in a fantasy setting where I can shoot lightning from my eyes and carry a 40lb two handed axe, picklocks or not, I'm going through that wooden door. Bashing should always be an option, ideally with a non-permanent penalty, altered/extra guards is a nice realistic consequence.
BaK's riddle chests were great, 90% of the time they were pretty easy, and were very rarely required. The ones that were required the answer was usually tied into the story somehow, which was a nice touch.
I enjoy the occasional adventure game but only the whimsical ones because I guess I'm just not that clever. That's why I like ones that give you hints after you don't accomplish something after a certain length of time. I picked up the Tales of Monkey Islands series and that's my kind of puzzles, nothing completely illogical and the designers remembered you're there to play a game and be entertained, not frustrated and resorting to trial and error or internet solutions.
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