Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Requiem For a Boss Fight

I'm going to break my rule about ignoring everything IGN says this one time and talk about their article dismissing boss fights in video games as outdated. I mean, really? There is so much valid criticism to be heaped on games today and this is the best you can come up with?

They take time to single out Arkham Asylum and Uncharted 2 as cases against having bosses in video games. Yeah, those were indeed great games that had shitty boss fights. But it's not an issue with the concept, it's an issue with the execution. The boss fights in Batman were fucking stupid, boring and repetitive. But that game gets tons of praise based on all the things it did right. Maybe people should take a moment to call them out on what they did wrong, instead of just painting all games with the same brush.

The reason boss fights exist is because they are a climax. An exclamation point at the end of a level. Like in an action movie when the Terminator fights T-1000 or Rambo blows up a russian guy. Everything you've been fighting for has been a build up to this final moment. The article also points out Heavy Rain as a game that doesn't need boss fights. Really? Because I remember a lengthy quicktime segment where you duke it out with the origami killer. If you replace "Stale boss fight mechanics" with "Stale quick-time mechanics" then I guess they have a point.

Which brings me to another thing I can't stand. Most modern FPS games (Like Call of Duty) have all but replaced boss fights with lame, completely scripted quick-time events. I understand you can't have a 30 foot tall robot chasing players around the room, but they've gotten so fucking lazy that it's just sad. Sometimes if you're lucky a helicopter or something will show up at the end. Oh wow, this boss is a helicopter! How climactic! But then the game holds your hand so damn much that it takes away any challenge their might have been. "THERE'S A MISSILE LAUNCHER OVER THERE! BETTER SHOOT DOWN THE CHOPPER WITH IT! DID YOU GET THE LAUNCHER YET? YOU BETTER GRAB IT AND SHOOT IT AT THE HELICOPTER! PRESS A BUTTON TO GRAB THE LAUNCHER YOU TARD!"

I can agree that there have been too many games with lazy, frustrating or just plain shitty bosses. But you know what? There have been a lot of lazy, frustrating or shitty games in general. Maybe it would be better to say "If you're going to do a terrible job of something, don't bother doing it at all." I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet though.

1 comment:

  1. Ilike your site bro. Nice article btw. I been gaming for over 25 years and boss fights are all about execution. Some games i honestly believe are great without them Uncharted 2 from your article springs to mind. Oh and ign is just a huge site so who knows what they really are trying to say. I'm following you. The names Jason. Keep up the good work on this site i likey!!