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Realism vs. Fun

Two hour boss battles make James cry.

By James Stevenson     December 03, 2004

© Konami

I recently was playing METAL GEAR SOLID 3: SNAKE EATER for a review and came across a sniper v. sniper boss battle that literally took me around two hours to complete. For an RPG, this is normal, but in an action game? I was pretty shocked by the length of it, and considering my overall time in the game, this fight made up about a sixth of my playtime that's pretty impressive.

It seems in games these days we just can't help ourselves from trying to get bigger and better. Something has always has to outdo something else. You see this in the FINAL FANTASY games where the number of hit points has had a nice inflation to it. Hitting someone for 4 hit points in your first battle just doesn't compare to taking 115 hit points, or when you're powered up and seeing the 9,999 on an enemy.

But do we really need two hour boss battles (in fairness, it took me a while to figure it out, the actual killing only took me about 20-30 minutes once I realized what was going on)? I say yes and no. Part of me thinks the fact that games are becoming more realistic and cinematic is good, to a point.

The problem was that after an hour or so of crawling around on my belly, I wasn't really having fun anymore and that's one of the main reasons to play a game: having fun (dropping artistic and story reasons for the moment). A two-hour boss battle may be intense, but it isn't really fun after a while as I just wanted to move forward and advance the story.

You see a lot of short and cool fun games on the handhelds. A game like WARIOWARE showed us that a game doesn't even really need a gameplay backbone to be one of the most entertaining and fun games I've played in quite some time.



guess the point to this quick edition of Gamers' Thumb is that sometimes long realistic gameplay isn't better. There is still that fun factor: look at a game like GRAN TURISMO 4 where the realism helps add to the fun by making it seem like you're actually driving a car.


Bungie has updated the HALO 2 matchmaking service... Nintendo DS has sold out across most of the country, more units are expected this weekend and into next week... BATEN KAITOS and XENOSAGA are coming to the Nintendo DS... Nintendo is opening a movie studio to produce animated films.


On Shelves


Screenshot from GRAN TURISMO 4.

main pick for next week goes to KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II: THE SITH LORDS. This Xbox RPG should be the perfect game to play over the Christmas holiday. Another great title coming out is THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH, a real-time strategy game based on the COMMAND AND CONQUER style of gameplay. DS fans will dig on RIDGE RACER DS as well as MR. DRILLER. MEGA MAN X8 will satisfy 2d gamers and MARIO PARTY 6 will give the GameCube fans something to play with. Finally, KINGDOM HEARTS: CHAIN OF MEMORIES is the Game Boy set-up game for the sequel to KINGDOM HEARTS.

Gamers' Thumb is our weekly Video Game column.

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