Should Games Have More Irreversible Consequences?

Half Life 2

I am a notorious reset-er when it comes to facing the repercussions of my actions in games. This is most prevalent in sports titles, where I reload a save if I think I’m going to lose an important game in my season. This trait of mine also rears its nasty head in RPGs that require big, game-altering choices. While I don’t always reset the game, I’m prone to create several save files, all of which happen at big points in the story, so I can revisit them if I don’t like the outcome. I think I reloaded the Landsmeet in Dragon Age 3 or 4 times, just to choose the one I liked best.

One game where I tried to avoid this sickly habit was Heavy Rain. As the story featured several main characters, you could actually die right in the middle of the game and have the narrative continue, just from someone else’s eyes. Knowing that you could lose somebody you cared about at any moment made some of the mind-bending quick time events that much more intense. As a result, the experience of Heavy Rain was a long-lasting and fondly remembered one for me.

A recent article over at PopMatters about Irreversible Consequences in gaming really got me wondering if this is something that developers should try to achieve more often. In it, writer Kris Ligman discusses this idea, along with a Flash game that people have been chatting about lately called One Chance. What makes One Chance so unique is that it’s an adventure game about saving the world – and you only get one shot to do it. If you fail, that’s it, and the browser won’t allow you to replay it.

Obviously, there are ways around this, but the idea is a fascinating one. I can’t tell you how much energy gets sucked out of choices that I know I can change later. And the biggest choices in games like Mass Effect or KOTOR were the ones that altered the landscape of the game for the rest of the time I played it.

Right now, I’m playing through the Nintendo DS game 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, and I’m already blown away by it just an hour or so in. The game features many branching paths, multiple endings, and the possibility for characters to die from the result of choices you make all throughout the game. Since I know the game requires at least 2-3 playthroughs to get the full story and ending, I’m trying to keep the experience pure, without these resets.

So what do you guys think of the idea of irreversible consequences in gaming? Do you think more games need huge decisions like that which forever change how you will play the game? Or are you a reload and replay guy, much like myself? Also, you should check out One Chance or 999 if you haven’t. They’re a bit incredible.

Source – PopMatters

Written by

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!

3 thoughts on “Should Games Have More Irreversible Consequences?”

  1. I recently played Heavy Rain for the first time and I loved the “no take-backs” nature of it, it really added to the game. Like early on when you play as Jayden, and you have the option to shoot the guy who has a gun on Blake, I was able to talk him down, but when he reached for something while Blake was about to cuff him, I blew him away. When I realized that something was just a cross I felt terrible, but I knew that I couldn’t revert to last save and that I had to live with that choice. I definitely think more games should do that.

  2. @ SK beans, i did the same thing with him. What I loved about that was how Jayden felt really bad about it too (I was dumbstruck when Blake said it was just a cross).
    In other words, choices should not be altered. But give me save points so I can get all endings in the game (like in Origins lol).

  3. I posted something about this on another thread just a couple days ago. I am such a reloader and savegame whore, I’m really trying to break the habbit. I’m really interested in this 999 you’ve been talking about Eddy, I think I’m going to grab it when I get back home. Loving me some casual / “while watching tv” gaming lately.

    Usually big game-altering decisions in games makes the game buggy, but when it works, it really can be satisfying.

Comments are closed.