On second look, games produce epic moments

Published 11:01 am Thursday, March 21, 2013

I never realized how much I missed the old-school feel of a game until I picked up “Dragon’s Dogma” once again this past weekend.

Released in January 2012, it was hailed as a quirky open-world action RPG with giant boss battles and epic scenery. I remember the game feeling grand in scope, but minor details got in the way of good gameplay.

In retrospect, I clearly didn’t play enough. The game sets up incredible quests and epic moments, the type you hear about when talking tabletop gaming like Dungeons & Dragons. You must fight off ogres, chimeras, griffins and other vicious, fantastic beasts.

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What further surprised me was how easily I managed to forgive the controls the second time around. You can jump, run and do all sorts of action-enable combat moves, but at the price of your stamina, which runs out faster or slower depending on how much weight you’re carrying.

And the weight! If ever there was an old-school mechanic, it’s a weight penalty on your inventory. In so many action games and RPGs, you carry an infinite number of items. There’s games like “Resident Evil” or “Yakuza” that restrict your inventory based on space, and even “Skyrim” restricts your inventory based on weight, but “Dragon’s Dogma” has a punishing weight penalty which markedly slows your character down once you carry more than 60, 80 and 90 percent of your maximum weight.

All this means sometimes it’s better to back to the simple things in gaming, whatever that may mean for you. Some gamers still break out older games like Mario platformers or Tecmo Super Bowl. There’s plenty of room for innovation, but some of the most successful titles and series largely follow a tried-and-true formula, and it’s a comfort to experience those memories in a new setting, a new world.

The upcoming break from video game releases will offer you time to replay some of your favorite titles, or go through your back catalog to experience something new. Be sure to try out an older title, or a title that feels like it’s a “traditional” game, and odds are you’ll miss that old-school game feeling too.