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Did innovations in combat mechanics (both melee and ranged) enhance your survival horror experience?
Yes. 34%  34%  [ 14 ]
No. 54%  54%  [ 22 ]
Unsure. 12%  12%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 41
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Rosewater Park Attendant
 Post subject: Re: Did innovations in combat mechanics enhance your experie
     
         
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Augophthalmoses wrote:
Homecoming's fighting mechanics weren't anything the least bit complicated. Like melee in the previous games they just required you to watch your opponents and learn to time your attacks and dodges.


It's not that complicated, but I think a dodge button and combo strings are entirely unnecessary. They make combat faster paced, but don't really make combat more fun or interesting. Also, the timing for dodges is way too strict, yet they made monsters way too aggressive virtually requiring that you use it. All the weapons are pretty much worthless except for the dagger because it's the only weapon you can use to cheese most of the enemies, but anyone who doesn't realize that and tries to fight with the pipe/fireaxe will find combat to be a frustrating mess.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
But keeping the combat stagnant runs a risk of making things repetitive


It's okay to change combat, just keep it simple. In the old Silent Hills the challenge was mainly about timing your weapon swings and positioning yourself. That worked great. In Homecoming you still have to worry about those things, but now you also have to worry about pressing the dodge button at the correct time and punching in combo strings. That is not an improvement. Combat basically revolves around the dodge button now, and about pressing a button at a specific time, which is not really any different from old Silent Hills except it feels more force-fed and less organic.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
Homecoming for the most part did a good job of making the fighting challenging but not too difficult.


It did a terrible job. You'll constantly feel like you are pressing the dodge button at the right time and get hit anyway. The best strategy is to cheese the monsters that you can with the dagger, and run away from anything else. Needlers are the worst because it seems almost impossible to dodge their attacks, and you can't hit them with guns... there's a specific dagger combo you can use to cheese them, so I just use it over and over. But Silent Hill shouldn't be about figuring out nonsense like that.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
But the answer does not lie in dumbing down combat. You can have fear and ease of exploration with ugpraded fighting mechanics. It just requires creative thinking.


We've yet to see any true creative thinking. Throwing in combos and a dodge button is not creative thinking... that's copying some basic mechanics from fighting games. And they are poorly implemented to boot.

Why you call the idea of keeping combat simple "dumbing it down"? Combat isn't allowed to be simple? Is more complex automatically better to you?

Augophthalmoses wrote:
The melee fighting in the previous games, while serviceable, just feels too clunky in comparison.


What does that mean, "feels clunky?" Does that mean it's not fast paced enough for you? Not complicated enough? Do all games need to have combos and a dodge button in order to "feel less clunky"?

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My Bestsellers Clerk
 Post subject: Re: Did innovations in combat mechanics enhance your experie
     
         
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It's not that complicated, but I think a dodge button and combo strings are entirely unnecessary. They make combat faster paced, but don't really make combat more fun or interesting.
Not every weapon would have to play out the same way. Bigger weapons can do more damage but take longer to swing to counteract being too fast paced and so on. I don't see how that would make combat uninteresting. Stripping it down to bare basics, if anything, would make it less interesting because you'd have less abilities to work with.

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Also, the timing for dodges is way too strict, yet they made monsters way too aggressive virtually requiring that you use it. All the weapons are pretty much worthless except for the dagger because it's the only weapon you can use to cheese most of the enemies, but anyone who doesn't realize that and tries to fight with the pipe/fireaxe will find combat to be a frustrating mess.
This is completely false. I've played through the game I don't how many times never even using the knife once I found better weapons like the crowbar or axe. I prefer the latter two weapons because they're more entertaining and damaging than the knife. The rest of the weapons in Homecoming are just as capable of taking down monsters as the knife. The only thing is the knife is the fastest weapon in the game. So obviously you can't fight using an axe or crowbar the same way you do with a knife. You have to adjust your strategy according to the weapon you choose. If you really can't play through Homecoming without spamming the knife, the that tells me you're not very good at the game. Not to sound like a jerk, but I've from my share of SH fans who have no problems with the fighting mechanics. In your case, it sounds more like an issue of skill rather than the weapons or fighting themselves.

Take the Schism for instance. All you have to do is wait for it to do this particular lunge attack where it lurches forward flailing its arms at you. You run up, whack it a few times, back off, repeat the process. The enemies aren't hard to deal with once you pay attention to their attack patterns. Now I know this pisses off some of the more story driven fans who play the games more for atmosphere and story than actual gameplay, but it really lends itself well to the game. Fighting with melee in older games wasn't too much different. You had to time your attacks and know when to fight and when to back off a bit. Same concept really. Homecoming just gives the player more options to work with. It's only more apparent in Homecoming because ammunition is more restricted along with health. They really should have included more of both on the easier difficulty levels for more the casual players so that's a fault right there. The fighting mechanics themselves aren't the problem for the most part save for some hiccups like the finisher glitching.

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It's okay to change combat, just keep it simple. In the old Silent Hills the challenge was mainly about timing your weapon swings and positioning yourself. That worked great. In Homecoming you still have to worry about those things, but now you also have to worry about pressing the dodge button at the correct time and punching in combo strings.
Doing combos is easy as hell. You're not exactly playing Virtua Fighter here. There aren't any complicated button inputs to deal with here. The combos they give are very basic. You have your strong and weak attacks and you combine both. Dodging isn't hard to pull off either once you realize you can't just mash on the button every time you get attacked and you have to mash the dodge button along with a direction on the analog stick for it to work. You have to time your dodges correctly and so many people don't even realize this. But it's why they should have included a guard ability for those who just can't excel at that kind of stuff. The dodging made evading attacks easier and more fluid to pull off. But since you couldn't just mash on the button every single time you get hit it avoided making the dodge ability to overpowered.

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That is not an improvement. Combat basically revolves around the dodge button now, and about pressing a button at a specific time, which is not really any different from old Silent Hills except it feels more force-fed and less organic.
How is that idea not like the old Silent Hills? You basically had to rely on timing in the old games any time you chose to fought melee which I've done lord knows how many times in each of the games. You had to time your guards in SH3 because as soon as you try to guard Heather will go back to her original stance after she's executed the ability. Melee fighting revolved around timing just as much as Homecoming. It just felt more clunky and restricted due to tank controls or in the case of SH4 and Origins no evasive movements like guarding or strafing. Going back to barebones basics is just an artificial way to produce scares and atmosphere rather than putting forth any solid effort into fighting mechanics, monster designs/attacks, AI, difficulty settings, etc. Taking the easy way out isn't a commendable way of doing things. I suppose the main reason it feels "forced" is because Homecoming focuses less on street roaming and more time indoors dealing with more restrictive corridors. But with the way Downpour has a more open design, I feel that can benefit the combat more by spending less time in buildings. Multiple difficulty settings and bullet adjust options can help as well since it lets the player make the game as hard or as easy as they want. Those are good suggestions right there.

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We've yet to see any true creative thinking. Throwing in combos and a dodge button is not creative thinking... that's copying some basic mechanics from fighting games. And they are poorly implemented to boot. Why you call the idea of keeping combat simple "dumbing it down"? Combat isn't allowed to be simple? Is more complex automatically better to you?
Stripping down combat isn't creative thinking either. It's being lazy and taking the easy way out. Yes, being a bit more complex is better because it brings variety and strategy to the gameplay. But the fighting in Homecoming wasn't too complex that it was completely unplayable. The thing is combat has been simple in Silent Hill for the longest time now. It's been in dire need of an upgrade. Hell, the series could use plenty of ideas in overall that aren't just limited to combat. Besides, it can help bring about new experiences in the series much like how SH4 did with its room concept.

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What does that mean, "feels clunky?" Does that mean it's not fast paced enough for you? Not complicated enough? Do all games need to have combos and a dodge button in order to "feel less clunky"?
Basically, they're less refined. Far from unplayable, but after playing Homecoming they feel more basic in comparison. Not sure why you're antsy about melee combos consider they were in Silent Hill from the beginning (albeit very basic combos). Harry also had his backstep move in SH1 even though it was slow moving. If you're going to have fighting mechanics in the game you may as well update them like everything else. Not to mention if people really don't like the idea of upgraded fighting mechanics then they can simply just choose to run away. I just don't understand why some SH fans have this bizarre phobia of upgraded combat as if it's just going to ruin everything. I like bathing in the atmosphere and engaging in the storylines much like any other fan. However, I don't play the games JUST for those elements alone. I like all the other factors that were present in the old games. Fighting, town exploring, item collecting, memo reading, blah blah blah. I see no need to keep combat to its bare basics just because people are afraid of change.


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Rosewater Park Attendant
 Post subject: Re: Did innovations in combat mechanics enhance your experie
     
         
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Augophthalmoses wrote:
If you really can't play through Homecoming without spamming the knife, the that tells me you're not very good at the game.


You're right... but I don't want to be "good" at a game if I find the combat system to be a chore. Homecoming is not Bayonetta; it's not a game where the ultimate goal is to look flashy. So I have no desire to practice getting the timing on dodges exactly right.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
Now I know this pisses off some of the more story driven fans who play the games more for atmosphere and story than actual gameplay, but it really lends itself well to the game.


I do appreciate gameplay as much as story. I just think that the gameplay in Homecoming is subpar comapred to earlier games. Trying to use the dodge button is too frustrating because the timing is too strict, trying to melee without the dodge button is frustrating because enemies are too fast and aggressive. There are tricks you can use by taking advantage of the enemy's AI at certain ranges, and using certain combos, but figuring these out is not intuitive or fun. Overall I think the combat is as sloppily designed as every other aspect of Homecoming obviously is.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
Doing combos is easy as hell.


Not the point. They add nothing to the game and have no reason to be there. Earlier Silent Hill games had very basic kinds of combos, and that's as far as it should ever go. I feel that "combos" detract from the atmosphere of the game, and afterall they serve no practical purpose except to make action games look more flashy.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
The dodging made evading attacks easier and more fluid to pull off.


First I disagree that it's easier, the timing is not easy at all considering the speed of the attacks. Second, why does Silent Hill need a "fluid" combat system? It's not supposed to be an action game. "Fluid" does not automatically equal better. I want the combat system in a Silent Hill game to feel real and visceral, but not fast paced or "fluid." Going for fluidity is going in the wrong direction, IMO.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
Melee fighting revolved around timing just as much as Homecoming. It just felt more clunky and restricted due to tank controls or in the case of SH4 and Origins no evasive movements like guarding or strafing.


Sure, combat has always had an element of timing... that's only natural. But in the earlier games it was more organic and intuitive. You simply dodge by moving. In Homecoming, you have to rely more on the dodge button, which needs to be pressed at very specific times while holding a specific direction. It's still accomplishing the same basic thing, dodging, but now it feels less like a natural part of gameplay and more like a scripted video game event. Which would be fine if Silent Hill were trying to be a flashy action game, but it's not. And I don't feel that it should.

Also, the monsters are way more aggressive, so you actually have less options when you fight them. In previous Silent Hills, combat was generally about timing your attacks so that you'd hit them before they hit you. In Homecoming, they are aggressive and can't easily be stunned, so you are forced to get into a pattern of waiting for the monster to attack, countering, and then repeating this cycle. They also tend to have more life, so combat is often about repeating a pattern over and over, especially on hard mode (although you should just be running away on hard mode so as not to deal with the atrocious combat.) So I'd say there's less flexibility and less options in Homecoming's style. I'd say it feels less natural, and more like a video game. And it's certainly not fun, at least not for me. It's a chore.

I agree with you that strafing is a good addition, though. I like tank controls and I feel like they need to be in future games. They take getting used to, but they are also a natural control scheme for when you have cinematic camera angles, which Homecoming also didn't try to do. That's another thing I hated about Homecoming, having the camera always planted firmly behind your head is boring. Cinematic camera angles really add a lot to atmosphere, and tank controls are a natural compliment to them. They can be awkward at times, so I think the ideal control system for future games is a hybrid system where the d-pad is tank controls and the analog stick is analog movement. Fatal Frame sort of toyed with this idea by giving you analog movement and a button that made you run straight forward, and I think it was on the right track.

Augophthalmoses wrote:
Stripping down combat isn't creative thinking either. It's being lazy and taking the easy way out.


Well, I never said it should be stripped down. I just said it should be kept simple. You keep using that word "evolve," which I guess is supposed to mean "improve," but keep this in mind... just thoughtlessly adding more mechanics is not necessarily an improvement. Sometimes you can improve things by simplifying, or just refining what is already there. If you really want to improve Silent Hill's melee combat, I think you should start by making weapons behave more realistically. Rather than trying to make combat flashy and fluid, make it feel more visceral and real. Rather than having combos, have meaty hits that do realistic damage with realistic consequences. Now THAT would be true evolution.

Although, personally I feel that horror games should encourage people to stick to ranged combat more, and add more mechanics for running away and stealth. Melee combat ought to be considered a last resort. Though that doesn't have anything to do with why I hate Homecoming, that's just my personal feeling about how Silent Hill and horror games in general should evolve.

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My Bestsellers Clerk
 Post subject: Re: Did innovations in combat mechanics enhance your experie
     
         
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You're right... but I don't want to be "good" at a game if I find the combat system to be a chore. Homecoming is not Bayonetta; it's not a game where the ultimate goal is to look flashy. So I have no desire to practice getting the timing on dodges exactly right.
*sigh* This line of thinking again? Nobody is advocating turning it into an action game or Bayonetta. You can have upgraded combat with exploration, freedom to run, and all that crap. Why do certain fans always have to think of combat enhancement as this "extreme" point of view as if it suddenly thrusts Silent Hill into action territory and have miniature panic attacks just thinking of it? Don't get how people keep thinking like this yet never complain about the first several games littering the levels with ammo and health so you could practically mow down most of the enemies that got in your way. Yes, some tweaks to the fighting are going to absolutely destroy the atmosphere, make it "flashy", and an action game. Let's save the melodrama.

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I do appreciate gameplay as much as story. I just think that the gameplay in Homecoming is subpar comapred to earlier games. Trying to use the dodge button is too frustrating because the timing is too strict, trying to melee without the dodge button is frustrating because enemies are too fast and aggressive. There are tricks you can use by taking advantage of the enemy's AI at certain ranges, and using certain combos, but figuring these out is not intuitive or fun. Overall I think the combat is as sloppily designed as every other aspect of Homecoming obviously is.
The timing is not strict at all. You simply have to pay attention to what the monster is doing just like what you would do in the earlier games when attempting to melee fight them. Trying to melee without the dodge ability is stupid and of course you're going to have frustration because you're not playing the game properly. These are not difficult gameplay mechanics to get a grasp on. But unfortunately not everybody is going to be skilled enough to want to deal with them despite the fact that dispatching monsters in Homecoming doesn't take much skill to begin with. It just requires you to be patient and pay attention. You should at the very least not have any big problems playing through Normal because that one is rather easy. But apparently Homecoming could have used more action difficulty levels than just two in order to cover more bases.

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Not the point. They add nothing to the game and have no reason to be there. Earlier Silent Hill games had very basic kinds of combos, and that's as far as it should ever go. I feel that "combos" detract from the atmosphere of the game, and afterall they serve no practical purpose except to make action games look more flashy.
This again? Flashy? They give the player more abilities to work with. If you're dealing with a slower enemy you can take your time using heavy attacks that deal more damage. If you're dealing with a more agile monster, then you switch to fast attacks. They have their uses. It's kind of odd you'd say they serve no purpose when you admitted that you felt the need to spam the knife and we all know why a lot of people use the knife. So to say the combos in Homecoming serve no purpose makes no sense.

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First I disagree that it's easier, the timing is not easy at all considering the speed of the attacks. Second, why does Silent Hill need a "fluid" combat system? It's not supposed to be an action game. "Fluid" does not automatically equal better. I want the combat system in a Silent Hill game to feel real and visceral, but not fast paced or "fluid." Going for fluidity is going in the wrong direction, IMO.
First off, the timing is not hard at all. The fact that you said you needed to use the knife on the majority of enemies tells me the problem is that you're simply, for whatever reason, not good at the game. Secondly, can outgrow this outdated little mindset that a survival horror game need to have slow paced combat? Fluidity in fighting does make Silent Hill an action game. It's not suggesting throwing wave after wave of monsters like us. Just brush the combat up. You can still have your freedom to run like in Downpour. Why do SH fans have to consistently overreact like this? Homecoming is no more action oriented than SH3.

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Sure, combat has always had an element of timing... that's only natural. But in the earlier games it was more organic and intuitive. You simply dodge by moving. In Homecoming, you have to rely more on the dodge button, which needs to be pressed at very specific times while holding a specific direction. It's still accomplishing the same basic thing, dodging, but now it feels less like a natural part of gameplay and more like a scripted video game event. Which would be fine if Silent Hill were trying to be a flashy action game, but it's not. And I don't feel that it should.
How was it more organic? Just because it was slower and more basic? That's hardly a good reason for it being "organic". Aside from combos, weak and strong attacks, and dodging what else is different about Homecoming's combat compared to the earlier entries? Not much of anything except ammo is scarcer to counteract the new aiming system. Sounds more like you're just overblowing the combat just because you didn't like it and couldn't get a grasp on for heaven knows what reason not because it actually took away from something.

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Also, the monsters are way more aggressive, so you actually have less options when you fight them. In previous Silent Hills, combat was generally about timing your attacks so that you'd hit them before they hit you.
As far as fighting mechanics go, that's false. You have more options in dealing with them than in past games. While there are more scripted monsters you have to kill, you can still outrun the majority of them.

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In Homecoming, they are aggressive and can't easily be stunned, so you are forced to get into a pattern of waiting for the monster to attack, countering, and then repeating this cycle.
Personally, I find it hard to take you seriously when you can't even play the game without spamming the knife which is the first sign that you're doing something wrong if you find you CANNOT kill enemies with any other weapon which you absolutely can. They can be easily stunned. But obviously the stronger weapons are going to stun them more.

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They also tend to have more life, so combat is often about repeating a pattern over and over, especially on hard mode (although you should just be running away on hard mode so as not to deal with the atrocious combat.) So I'd say there's less flexibility and less options in Homecoming's style. I'd say it feels less natural, and more like a video game. And it's certainly not fun, at least not for me. It's a chore.
I'm still aware I'm playing a video game when I play any of them. You just come across as unnecessarily nitpicky about atmosphere. Like you need to have this, this, this, this, and that in order to immerse yourself into the game. While I can understand in some respects, Homecoming's combat just isn't one of them. I agree the game suffers from a lack of atmosphere. However, it's more due to uninspired monster designs and environments along with lack of scares and disturbing imagery.

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I agree with you that strafing is a good addition, though. I like tank controls and I feel like they need to be in future games. They take getting used to, but they are also a natural control scheme for when you have cinematic camera angles, which Homecoming also didn't try to do.
How are tank controls more "natural"? It seems more like another case of nostalgia and fear of change than it being a legitimate case of something being "natural". Fatal Frame already proved you could have rich atmosphere and fear without tank controls. I can adapt to tank controls myself, but there's no reason to bring them back. They only make the game clumsier and SH doesn't need to consistently cookie cut its gameplay to be feel scary, "natural", or immersive. It's flawed thinking and the type that needs to stay out of the series because it holds the games back. We can't keep recycling the same gameplay concepts over and over. That's why I found SH4 intriguing because it opted to do something different even if it didn't exactly fulfill its premise.

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That's another thing I hated about Homecoming, having the camera always planted firmly behind your head is boring. Cinematic camera angles really add a lot to atmosphere, and tank controls are a natural compliment to them.
Downpour solved this problem by having cinmatic camera angles on occasion and without dumbing itself back down to unnecessary tank controls. Homecoming's default behind Alex's back perspective isn't all that different from Harry's perspective in SH1. The only different being the lack of tank controls and being able to control the camera.

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They can be awkward at times, so I think the ideal control system for future games is a hybrid system where the d-pad is tank controls and the analog stick is analog movement. Fatal Frame sort of toyed with this idea by giving you analog movement and a button that made you run straight forward, and I think it was on the right track.
This is actually a bad idea. Using the dpad for tank controls just takes away more buttons that could be used for other things such as quick healing, flashlight, or whatever else the developer can use them for.

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Well, I never said it should be stripped down. I just said it should be kept simple. You keep using that word "evolve," which I guess is supposed to mean "improve," but keep this in mind... just thoughtlessly adding more mechanics is not necessarily an improvement. Sometimes you can improve things by simplifying, or just refining what is already there. If you really want to improve Silent Hill's melee combat, I think you should start by making weapons behave more realistically.

Homecoming already made the weapons realistic. Knife slashes very fast and the heavier weapons take more time to swing and deal more damage. You can combat this being too overpowering by borrowing Downpour's "one melee weapon at a time" and "breakable weapons" concept. It's the most logical approach with falling back on the cliche idea of overly simplifying combat and crippling controls.

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Rather than trying to make combat flashy and fluid, make it feel more visceral and real. Rather than having combos, have meaty hits that do realistic damage with realistic consequences. Now THAT would be true evolution.
You mean stuff like the character limping upon being attacked too much or something? You have to be more clear. If so, SM had a somewhat similar idea with Harry limping and running slower upon being attacked too much. I wouldn't have a problem with that idea. But it's not exactly a mind blowing idea either. You complain about how combos aren't original, but bodily damage isn't either. It's not always about originality. You also have to take into account functionality as well. Even if there are ideas used by other games, if they can really lend themselves well to the series then why not implement them? Give the player more things to do.


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Friendly reminder to both you as it's gotten out of control elsewhere, go easy on the quoting.


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Rosewater Park Attendant
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What's the purpose of combos if not flash? To add "skill?" But you've admitted that the combos are very simple, certainly it doesn't take any skill to execute them. So then, what is their purpose?

Generally I prefer slower paced, more methodical combat for horror games. I feel it's better for building tension. That's not to say that all monsters necessarily have to be slow, there should be some variety there... but I believe that a horror game feels better if you're more focused on the experience than it's mechanics. Homecoming's combat really forces you to be aware of it's mechanics, and actively think about them while you fight. That seems counter-productive to what the game's trying to do: scare the player.

Tank controls work better for a game with cinematic camera angles because the controls stay consistent. Up is always forward, left / right always turns. With analog controls, every time the camera angle changes you need to re-orient which way you should be pressing the stick. This is not a problem in Homecoming because the camera is always behind your head, but I find that boring and I prefer the atmosphere that comes with cinematic camera angles. That's why it makes sense to keep tank controls around... or better yet a hybrid control system like Fatal Frame.

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"It is possible to play a SH game while being scared and having fun."

The fun of SH games should come from level exploration, looking for keys, and solving puzzles. Combat should be an obstacle inbetween the fun parts. It doesn't need to be particularly hard, complex, and it being fun isn't a good idea because this reduces tension. I like the first two games best, the ones with the easiest and simplest combat. It's just not where the foucs of SH games outta be. I should never put in a SH game because I feel like fighting things. That's for Final Fantasy Tactics and Resident Evil 4.

"Homecoming's fighting mechanics weren't anything the least bit complicated. Like meele in the previous games they just required you to watch your opponents and learn to time your attacks and dodges."

I have never heard a better definition for complex combat than that right there. And that doesn't sound like anything from the first couple games, espcially since you could mostly shoot your way through those.

Meele fighting in the first couple games being clunky isn't a bad thing because it punishes you for running out of ammo.

Also, there's no reason to make the d-pad buttons for quick healing and flashlight and stuff because entering menus to use items and stuff in the first three games didn't make them less scary and made them more playable. Besides, you could press circle to use the flashlight, and in the second and third games, R3 to use a healing item.

"I just don't understand why Silent Hill fans have this bizarre phobia of upgraded combat."

As the combat in the series as been upgraded, the series has gotten worse. Maybe a coincidence, but it is concerning. Also, I don't play Silent Hill for combat. As I've said, it's not the parts of the gameplay I like focusing on in SH games. When I first played the first SH, the things I thought were cool were seeing all the notes Harry made on the map as I went along, or trying to figure out how to solve enviromental puzzles. Not shooting monsters. That's just there so there can be monsters that scare you, and monsters that attack you instead of just sitting there doing nothing. It doesn't need to be fun.

I'll admit that fighting schisms in Homecoming was fun. But it added nothing to it as a survival horror game, and I didn't buy it to play an action game. I could've bought a God of War game instead and gotten better action and an honestly not much worse story. (Not a compliment to God of War stories.) There are three reasons to buy SH imo. Old school survival horror gameplay, a good story, and scares. Homecoming didn't make it in any of those catagories for me, and so in my opinion, despite being a game with kinda fun combat, it was a failure as a Silent Hill game.

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I agree with the Doctor that fun isn't really the goal... but even if it were, I think Homecoming still fails. Augophthalmoses keeps saying that dodging is easy, and I don't get that... maybe you're just an expert at the game and your perspective is skewed. But for me, a player who is good at action games like Bayonetta (which has a fantastic dodging mechanic!), I honestly tried to dodge correctly and could not consistently get it to work. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it felt like I had the correct timing and yet I got hit. It just seemed arbitrary and glitchy to me.

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One of the main things I disliked about watching Jon play Homecoming was the combat. It looked too complex for my liking and I was pretty sure I would suck at it, so I chose not to play it for a long time. Once I finally gave it a chance, I realized that the combos were totally simple (we're talking two buttons; rocket science it ain't), and dodging (though still kind of difficult for me) wasn't so frustrating as to take away from the enjoyment of the game. I failed at the dodging quite a bit, but if dodging had been much more forgiving, I might feel the game was too easy. I had to go on the offensive whenever practical, or conserve ammo for the monsters that I simply had terrible luck dodging.

Ultimately, I liked the updated combat. I'm not saying I want every future Silent Hill game to use those controls, but it was something different that worked well for me. I actually rather enjoyed wading into flooded basements with my knife at the ready, keeping a wary eye out for Lurkers and muttering "bitch just show your ugly vag-face; I'll fuckin' shank you."


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My Bestsellers Clerk
 Post subject: Re: Did innovations in combat mechanics enhance your experie
     
         
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You don't need to be an expert with fighting or action games to dodge effectively. I've talked to a share of fans who had problems with the fighting. SH fans will just have to accept the fact that not everybody finds the game as outrageously difficult as people overblow it to be.

And basically it seems like people think that just because Silent Hill isn't a survival horror game that's it's either not supposed to be fun or the fun is only supposed to come from exploration which is some really embarrassing thinking. Who the hell says I can't have fun killing monsters while still being intimidated by them? Does me liking fighting monsters and have fun doing it just make this oh so unsophisticated person who "doesn't get" the series or some frat gamer? No. It's simply one of several things I like about the game. What if I'm backed up against the wall, low on health and ammo? Or I kill one, enter a room, and step back out to find out it's respawned? What about disturbing monster designs? And progressively introducing a new monster or two as you travel from location to location in order to keep throwing the player a curveball? You can still have your fear and tension elements fighting monsters. Then you have jump scares,"WTF?" moments like the mirror room in SH3 or locker room in SH1, unnerving sound effects and music. There are plenty of elements to induce atmosphere and fear. Improving fighting mechanics will not single handedly destroy all of that. If you really think crap like "it's making it an action game" "oh, we don't need elements from fighting games", "you should just play RE4", or whatever else over the idea of brushing up combat and providing the player more abilities, then you're just scaremongering plain and simple.

I'm simply saying upgrade the combat. Not take away every single thing else that makes it a Silent Hill game and I've already provided examples that could counteract fans' overblown fears of it being too "overpowering" (never mind the fact earlier games provided you enough ammo to mow down many of the monsters that got in your way). It's not suggesting turning it into an action game either.

As for the reason why the series got "worse", well, it has nothing to do with combat. It has to do with all the other elements. The games lacking in scares and disturbing imagery for one. The games all using the same guilt and/or mental blockage tropes in their storylines progressively making the games more and more cliche. Certain games having predictable plot twists. And of course technical problems like glitching. Upgrading combat isn't one of the reasons they've gotten worse.

As long as the games are designed to balance being able to run away and explore along with fighting and challenge why should it matter to you if combat is upgraded if you can just run away? If you rely on the same fighting mechanics from game to game too much it's only going to further decrease the tension factor because you'll know exactly what to do. Some of the best parts of Silent Hill are exploring new ideas like some people thought with SM or SH4.

It's just seems SH fans are too far gone with being stuck in the past and too knee jerk reactionary about any kind of change to the formula. This has long since been one of the bigger problems with Silent Hill. It cannot upgrade itself or do much of anything without whiny fans throwing a five alarm temper tantrum about it just because they have this misguided idea that making things overly simplified makes things scary or just because it's Silent Hill it's not supposed to be fun. Combat has been kept simple for the longest time until Homecoming and Downpour came along. We need to outgrow this outdated idea we need to keep dumbing it down to feel immersive or scary.


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"Upgrading combat is not one of the reasons they've gotten worse."
Focusing more on combat is one of the reasons they've gotten worse, and why would they upgrade it if they weren't going to focus on it more?

I wouldn't be upset about the changes to the series if I had actually liked any of those changes or if the newer games weren't closer to the enjoyment levels of the earlier games. I can probably count the number of changes I've liked in the series post-SH2 on one hand, and most of those changes are little things: Extreme modes in SH3, OPTIONAL health bar in SH3, Mirror Mechanic in SHO. The combat in Homecoming was kinda fun sometimes, but in general I didn't enjoy playing it near as much as the first two.

I just feel like 4 and Homecoming focusing more on combat and adding in things like charge attacks and dodging really didn't help those games at all. They're the ones that have focused the most on combat and they're the ones I've least liked. If the develolpers had foucused less on upgrading combat and more on story and horror, I bet I would've liked the games better. It also just bugs me that whenever developers talk about the gameplay of an upcoming Silent Hill game, they focus on making the combat more enjoyable, missing the point entirely.

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My Bestsellers Clerk
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So basically you're one of those fans who plays the games specifically for the story and atmosphere and not the gameplay. Nothing wrong with liking those elements, but that's where the problem begins. I don't understand people who play games like Silent Hill that have combat since the very first game just for those elements and think the rest of gameplay should be toned down to suit their needs. They take those two aspects of the series so seriously that they feel they should be given more priority of the gameplay itself which is a hairbrained mindset that needs to stay away from Silent Hill. You can have a good balance of all the things that make up Silent Hill. It just takes some effort and some thought put into it. I find it mindboggling that so many SH fans act as if competent fighting mechanics, atmosphere, and horror are just unable to coexist.

If I wanted to experience just those two elements by themselves I'd read a novel or watch a movie. When I play a VIDEO GAME I don't see why it's unreasonable that I ask for gameplay for to be polished to the best of its ability and I want the story and presentation to be interactive. While I'm sure most everybody agrees gameplay in SH needs new ideas, making it barebone basic is not a good one. I like a good story just as much as anybody else, but I don't take them that seriously that I shut myself off to everything else that makes up a survival horror video game.

In some cases gameplay can actually enhance the horror experience. This is what SH4 attempted to do with its room concept and it could have been so damn intriguing and awesome, but it was limited in scope due to hardware and not enough creative thinking. Those are the kinds of things I want to see. Fighting is just one of many side abilities I like in the games along with item hunting and puzzle solving.

Another I don't quite get is the idea that improved fighting mechanics "remind me that I'm playing a game". Why not everything else? Running around and collecting health drinks and ammo is a very "gamey" thing that's prevalent throughout almost all SH games (save SM). Item collecting is also one of the oldest gameplay concepts in the industry. It's been for ages. Yet you never hear of any fans complaining of that taking them out of their immersion just because it reminds them that they're playing a video game. Same goes for puzzle solving, boss fights, save points, health measurement systems, and maintaining inventory.

Just seems like people take the games too seriously and becomes so hooked to the core elements of Silent Hill to the point where they forget that they're still playing a game to begin with. Which in some respects can be a "good" thing in that it helps them get the most of the series, but also bad in that it causes illogical thinking at times.

It basically boils down to two different views on immersion: passive and interactive. Some fans think having more things to do helps immersion. Others think having less to do helps immersion. That's one of the reasons why Silent Hill will continue to be the way it is.

Hell, it probably would have been better to have made SM an entirely separate horror series just to satisfy the passive fans to carry forward the core elements of that game, and keep Silent Hill as the more interactive franchise.


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Rosewater Park Attendant
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I've said this before, but I play Silent Hill for story, atmosphere, AND gameplay. It's just that I apparently want something different out of gameplay than you do. I feel it's unfair for you to characterize the type of gameplay that I want as "dumbed down," and the type of gameplay that you want as an "evolution," when really it's just different.

You never did answer my question about what you believe combos actually add to the game, if not flash. If you simply get enjoyment out of doing combos, that's a legitimate answer. But then I'd hope you could understand why some people react differently.

I think that you're right that my argument about the dodge button making you feel like your playing a video game is a bad one. I don't think I communicated what I wanted to say very well there... I'm not overly concerned about immersion and I think developers tend to focus on that too much, sometimes at the detriment of the game. I think what I should have said was that it feels gimmicky.

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^ Yo Tillerman, that first paragraph, THANK YOU.

"So you're basically one of those fans who plays the game's specifically for the story and atmosphere and not the gameplay."

No I'm not. I just think that the best gameplay elements in survival horror involve level exploration and puzzles, not combat. Combat has certainly felt intense for me, but it has never felt the kind of scary that the first three games induced. Until I see fun combat exist in a survival horror game without ruining or taking away from the elements that make it a survival horror game, I'm not going to like the idea of it being implemented. I don't care about fighting things in Silent Hill games.

Collecting items doesn't take me out of the experience and remind me that I'm playing a game quite as much as combat. When it does remind me that I'm playing a game, it's a game that seems much more my style than combat focused games are. Sometimes I wonder if newer Silent Hill fans even LIKE survival horror. I used to think it was a requirement.

I'll admit that I am one of those people for whom having less to do adds immersion.

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Doctor Eggnog wrote:
I don't care about fighting things in Silent Hill games.

Collecting items doesn't take me out of the experience and remind me that I'm playing a game quite as much as combat.

I feel the exact opposite way, unless the combat controls are so terrible as to be distracting. During a fast-paced fight for my character's life, all my focus is on keeping him alive. The feeling of dread that accompanies exploration wouldn't be there if I wasn't concerned about how I was going to get past whatever monsters might be nearby. Because of this, combat is important even during the 70% of the game in which there are no enemies around.

Quote:
I'll admit that I am one of those people for whom having less to do adds immersion.

This I can understand, but for me, the new features of Homecoming's combat system were simple and intuitive enough to become automatic with just a little practice. When it comes to combat, I've always been a button masher, even in actual fighting games. I hit the "kill it!" button when I played SH1, and I hit the "kill it!" buttons in SH5. It's all bashy-bashy and slicey-slicey to me.


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If I were in charge of Silent Hill's combat, I think I'd stay away from block or dodge buttons. I like the idea of making combat feel as realistic as possible, and normal people aren't able to do quick dodges like a prize fighter, nor can they expertly block attacks. I think melee combat generally should be an exercise of simply timing your attack to hit them before they hit you. It's simple, intuitive, and can still be very challenging depending on how you design monster, especially if they have a variety of attacks and approached.

There's a TON of room for improvement in enemy design. Just look at a game like Dark Souls, the combat is relatively simple yet there's a ton of depth to it, mainly because of all the different ways enemies can attack you. And it feels very realistic and gritty. I would love to see Silent Hill take a few cues from Dark Souls... actually, borrowing the idea of a stamina bar might be a really nice addition to combat. It would add more risk to combat, because each of your weapon swings would subtract stamina, so if you choose to fight then it's going to be harder to run away. In fact, if you had a stamina bar, then I wouldn't mind having blocks and dodges because the stamina loss from executing those things would help to keep combat from revolving around them.

But besides improving combat, if you really want to improve the gameplay of Silent Hill, why not add more stealth elements? You can fight or run, why not be able to sneak? The more options for dealing with monsters, the better, and it's a great mechanic for producing tension.

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^ Silent Hill 3 has a hidden stamina bar that's exactly like that, you can even see it if you beat hard mode. As I've said elsewhere in a thread that's becoming eerily like this one, stealth would be cool.

"The feeling of dread that accompanies exploration wouldn't be there if I wasn't concerned about how I was going to get past whatever monsters might be nearby."

Yep, I've felt that dread too. Know where I felt it the most? In SH2, the one with the easiest combat, the one where I'm pretty sure I've never ever died from a regular enemy. For me, that dread (of the monsters) is caused by the enviroments and sound, not the combat itself. During a fast paced fight for my character's life, I'm not sure I've ever not felt like I was playing an action game. Still, that's a good argument for why monsters and combat in SH games are a good thing and I agree, but it doesn't give Homecoming any points in my mind.

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My Bestsellers Clerk
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Tillerman wrote:
You never did answer my question about what you believe combos actually add to the game, if not flash. If you simply get enjoyment out of doing combos, that's a legitimate answer. But then I'd hope you could understand why some people react differently.
I could have sworn this was already answered somewhere in my earlier posts, but I'll reiterate. It adds more to the combat by giving you more moves to work with. You can use quick strikes if you're in a hurry or don't want the enemy to get a hit in. Or if it's one of those slow moving enemies in which you have plenty of room to get hits in (like nurses and schisms), you can use the heavy attacks. Adds more strategy to the gameplay than just having two or three basic hits like prior games.

Tillerman wrote:
I think that you're right that my argument about the dodge button making you feel like your playing a video game is a bad one. I don't think I communicated what I wanted to say very well there... I'm not overly concerned about immersion and I think developers tend to focus on that too much, sometimes at the detriment of the game. I think what I should have said was that it feels gimmicky.
I don't really see how. Seems like the logical thing to do after SH3 & 4. SH4 introduced the idea of being able to charge attacks and it proved itself immensely useful as did the enhanced combos.Because SH4's charge attacks often ended up being more useful than the regular attacks in that it took less time to charge up an attack then to sit there hitting them with regular attacks until the monsters fell down.

Doctor Eggnog wrote:
I'll admit that I am one of those people for whom having less to do adds immersion.
That's dangerous thinking in the realm of video games. I can sort of see how having less things to do or less buttons to push "helps immersion" but it really screws with the idea of giving more for the player to do which in turn harms the gameplay. SH's gameplay has already been basic for long enough. It's time it got an upgrade of sorts in several categories. Although, I'm not supportive of some of those ideas such as making QTEs or background puzzle solving more dominant than regular boss fights. That's kind of why Downpour's final boss fight was disappointing in that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
You never actually got to challenge the monster and instead were just moving stuff in the background. I have no problem with that. But SH4's boss fight added the idea of doing small little puzzles in the final boss fight while still letting you duke it out with the boss in question.


Anyway, having more stuff for the player to do does have the possibility of greatly helping the experience. Multiple endings and sidequests for example.


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Subway Guard
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I didn't like the charge attacks in SH4. Felt too arcadey, it was actually a little laugh inducing. I did enjoy the final boss fight though.

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Rosewater Park Attendant
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I'm gonna have to disagree with your reasoning on combos. I think there's very few situations in the game where you shouldn't be using them. If you can hit with a quick attack, you never have any reason not to follow up with a combo. The only other useful move is a charged heavy attack. So actually, they do not provide any additional options at all. I think they accomplish nothing except to make the game feel more repetitive by encouraging the player to constantly repeat the same key combinations.

I don't mind charge attacks, though.

Game design seems to fall into 1 of 2 camps: you can either focus on the mechanics of a game, or you can focus on the overall experience. For example, if you look at action games, Bayonetta is has a ton of depth from a mechanics standpoint, so it has very compelling and fun gameplay. God of War has very simplistic mechanics, but people like it because it does a good job of crafting an experience for the player to go through. I've read an interview with the designer that this was a purposeful choice, to focus more on the overall experience than gameplay.

When it comes to horror games, I believe they are more about crafting an experience than compelling gameplay. Afterall, they are called "horror" games... by definition they are about evoking a certain feeling. That's not to say that gameplay is unimportant in horror games... just that the overall purpose of gameplay is not to be compelling on it's own merits, but rather to serve the type of experience that players expect to get from a horror game.

That's why I believe that gameplay in a horror game should strive to be simple and intuitive. If the player is frustrated by combat, and forced to dwell on the intricacies of the combat system, I think that's counter productive to the game's goal. That's why I feel that Homecoming's combat system is the worst in the series.

Doctor Eggnog wrote:
^ Silent Hill 3 has a hidden stamina bar that's exactly like that, you can even see it if you beat hard mode.


That's true. But I believe you only lose stamina for running, right? It would be interesting if you lost stamina for any attacks or blocks, cause if you commit to fighting a monster you'll have a harder time running away. It's both interesting from a tactical standpoint, and realistic as well, which I like. I've said this before but I do think that SH3 has the best combat system in the series.

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