Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Escort Missions

So, I take gaming pretty seriously, and as such, I don't mind when games take me seriously. That is to say, I don't mind when games are insanely difficult. I take it as a challenge. I take it as the developers saying, "here, we have faith in you, try your hand at this!" The harder the game, the greater the sense of accomplishment. I go to advanced difficulty settings whenever I start a game. All in all, I dig the tough levels and modes.

However, games can cheat.

The cheapest, easiest way for a game to add a challenge is by throwing in an escort mission, where you need to guard some AI, or ally, or whatever. This is cheating. It's cheating because they don't give you control of whatever it is you need to guard - the game controls it. Let's think about that a second: the game is saying 'to pass this level, you must ensure no harm comes to this ally. Also, I control the ally." The game then goes on to make your character act like a complete and utter idiot, chasing after hostile bullets and explosions like some cracked-out danger junkie. Then, the game blames you for the consequences.

Case in point?

Here we have Natalya, from Goldeneye 64. There were several missions where you had to escort her through the crossfire of raging battlegrounds, while she literally runs around and remarks "Aren't these flowers pretty???"

Sorry, games, but this kind of challenge is not satisfying or interesting. Holding the gamer responsible for inconceivably bad AI is just dirty pool. I'm playing, here, let me control things on my end. Don't shackle me to a ridiculous liability whose behaviour I can't affect.

Now, you might just say that the concept is sound, it's the AI that's bad. And for Goldeneye 64, that may be true. But I was just playing the post-apocalyptic Advance Wars on my DS, and they give me an escort mission. And it goes a little something like this:


  1. Always take gaming seriously! lol.

  2. I take games so seriously that you should see my serious face!

  3. Oh god yes. I have always hated escort missions. The only one that handled it well (and even when you do that it's still tedious and annoying as hell), was Resident Evil 4. EVERY OTHER TIME it sucks balls. Developers need to cut that crap right now.

  4. I have to 100% agree with you, those missions are a waste of time!!!

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  5. Escort missions have always been a pain. Some more so than others... I'm looking at you Natalya.

  6. So true, especially when the escortees are dumb as shit.