I was interested to see that a lot of the SB love for Breath of the Wild references the fact that you can climb pretty much anything outside of a dungeon. Personally, that’s the number one thing I wanna do in any open world game with mountains and such, but I didn’t realize that was A Thing.
It got me ta’thinkin’: I have a bunch of other gameplay fetishes. I wonder how many of those are shared by other SBers? I wonder what you other weirdos are obsessed with? So this is that.
My Initial List:
Climbing All Over The Damn Place: exploration is a big thing for me in games in general, but to me “exploration” in games can be done both geographically and in terms of ruleset. The first thing I would do in any RPG as a kid was to try to sequence break or to beat unbeatable bosses or whatever. Sometimes, the exploration of virtual geographies and ruleset breaking go hand in hand. Case in point: my trying to climb mountains in Shadow of the Collossus and losing my shit when I realized that you actually can grab and “ride” a hawk in that game (via YouTube). I don’t just want an open world, I want exploratory actions to engage it with. Climbing is one of them.
Jumping Real High Like Fwoosh: in a more urban environment jumping is even cooler than climbing (though they go well together). Crackdown is my ultimate for this. I want to be able to create my own risk/reward scenarios by taking crazy improvised shortcuts. I want the a phenomenological simulation of crazy leaping. I dream about jumping over buildings sometimes. Jumping Flash has this too, but it’s really lacking without a climbing ability to engage with the vertical faces of buildings, thus creating the tension and elation of a hazardous climb.
Hackable Systems/Economies: I love a good deal, and there’s nothing I love more than finding loopholes in systems that create more than you put in. Odin Sphere is the ultimate of this. It has three or four interlocking economies that allow you to come up with tons of weird combinations. Pokemon is also good for this: give Snorlax a move that multiplies it’s attack by 6x but cuts its HP in half. Then give it a berry that heals half it’s HP when it’s down to 1/3 HP, but also giving it an ability that makes it eat the berry when it’s at 1/2 HP. Now give it a move that brings the berry back whenever it wants. I live for this shit.
Scavenging: I’ve only really liked this in Odin Sphere, but it paired so beautifully with the other economies that I think when done well it’s fantastic. Basically: a limited inventory, but the ability to craft things from resources around you. It ends up engaging loot as constituent resources, which is a cooler implementation of loot feels. I kind of wanted to try that Conan MMO, because it seemed to be all about this.
Recruiting Sweet Peeps: Suikoden, but even moreso Tactics Ogre: Knights of Lodis. The risk/reward of recruiting an enemy mid battle is so cool, and it turns every battle into a shopping spree. Like, “oooooh, that’s a cool hawkman Archer. I want that.”. Like loot, but it’s people.