GamerSushi Asks: Skill Progressions and Ability Unlocks?

Castlevania: Lords of Shadow

Through a bit of a fortuitous circumstance, I found myself playing the first few hours of Castlevania: Lords of Shadow tonight. If you’re unaware, the newest entry into the classic series is styled a bit like God of War or Wolverine, with skill progressions and ability unlocks as you move along, collecting experience for each enemy you slash, decapitate or otherwise maim.

You see, I tend to treat action/beat-em-up games and RPGs with these kind of systems in almost exactly the same way: I horde. Perhaps this is because I’m a bit of a loot whore, I’m not sure, but I find myself desiring most of all the big abilities that you otherwise wouldn’t get until later portions of the game. I figure if I can make due with just the basic attacks, I’ll find myself with some useful combos or upgrades earlier than if I just bought every smaller thing as it became available. I do this with RPG skill points as well, or tend to max up one particular spell/ability rather than spreading it around.

My question to you is this: does this make me a crazy person? How do you handle skill progressions and the like? Do you horde what you’ve got for the big guns, or spend it as it comes in to get upgraded more regularly? Go!

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

5 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Skill Progressions and Ability Unlocks?”

  1. I tend to save up, unless the lesser unlocks are prerequisite I am more then likely gonna try to get by in the early levels and have whatever big ability for the rest of the game. In RPGs I always stick to the same talent tree, once I start spreading the points I get nervous I wont be able to get the final skills before I beat the game.

    Fallout 3 I deviate a little from my plan, I make sure all my base skills are a certain number before I can add to the ones I really want. Spread the points but by the end of the game the skills I actually use are well above the others.

  2. I usually don’t start thinking about it until I’m about half way through the game, at which point I say, “Damn, I wish I hadn’t wasted my points on that crappy ability that was useless after the third hour of the game.”

    In some games, though, I plan ahead. Amazingly, I never had to restart on Fallout 3 in order to re-spec my character based on what I learned during play. I learned my lesson from Morrowind, which I had to restart completely about four or five times before I figured out how to set myself up for later in the game.

    I think a lot of it comes down to game design. God of War was great because the abilities you purchased early in the game were still very effective by the end. That’s important because in a lot of games, you’re asked to spend points on abilities so early that you can’t realistically know how useful they will be in practice. Bioshock, for example, was a little guilty of this because there were so many options presented to you before you really had a sense of what you would need later on.

  3. I blow all my points on Stealth/Lockpicking/hacking abilities and silent weapons. I like sneaking around and stealing stuff to get by. I’m never a big strong tank or wizard dude.

  4. Well, for Fallout 3, I always max out Lockpick, Speech, and Small Guns since those, for me, are the most important skills. I don’t play many hack-n-slash RPG’s, but if I did, I’d focus on the skills that support a single playstyle, probably a melee playstyle. You see, I’m a simpleton. I like to have good health and balance out power with healing abilities. I like to go in and smack some fools and then heal myself. For most of the MMO’s and RPG’s I’ve played, that’s how my abilities turn out. For Fallout 3, I just like to be able to shoot anyone I want with whatever small arm I find and then also be able to loot any box or smooth-talk any intelligent (and unintelligent!) creature I happen to encounter, mainly because I value the ability to explore over maxing out a combat strategy or something.

  5. In Baldur’s Gate 2 I put as many points as I could into stealth/pickpocketing. I was so overpowered that I could steal any item I wanted from any npc(except a few that you cannot steal from no matter what). So I would steal all I could carry then sell it and donate all the proceeds to the church to earn fame. I even stole a quest item from the guy I had just turned it in to. So yeah I like to upgrade ether one category at a time or wait until I have accumulated a lot of skill points

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