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Published on November 7th, 2014 | by Westin

Why I Love Streamlined Games

Choices.

Having choices is generally seen as a good aspect of gaming and while it works particularly well in terms of making story-based decisions (i.e. Mass Effect series, Knights of the Old Republic series, etc), being given too many choices for, abilities and items, can be bad.

“What’s wrong with having more choices?  Wouldn’t that be a good thing?”

Honestly, I think it depends on what kind of gamer you are.  If you have a fair amount of free time then perhaps putting in that extra effort into customizing/choosing may be preferable to you.

However, as an adult who will soon be working full-time, getting married, and eventually have kids, I find myself wanting to get the “best of” or a “highlight reel” experience from gaming.  So rather than sorting through a massive inventory or having to choose 1 of 200 different abilities to level up for a single character, I’d rather have a more simplistic system or in other words, less options.

To me, less options means more time enjoying the core gameplay, storyline and the experience.

This line of thought first began back when the first Mass Effect was released.  I remember thinking how the inventory felt unnecessarily inundated.  Jumping forward a few years later, Mass Effect 3 helped to streamline the inventory by making the type of ammo (like incendiary and cryo) switchable instead of what it used to be – a whole bunch of individual inventory items to equip, unequip, and sort through.

ME 1 and 3

The reason why this idea is particularly relevant to me now is that I’m currently finishing Dragon Age Origins (better late than never right?) and with the release of Dragon Age Inquisition coming later this month, I’ve been watching gameplay and have been looking for ways that they’ll be streamlining it.

Luckily for me, it looks like they are!

For instance, the inventory system for Inquisition will be listing your armor from best to worst rather than alphabetical, which is more efficient for quickly getting out of the inventory screen.  Also the health potions (known as health poultices) that you can carry are limited.  Meaning, you’ll no longer be holding onto 50 variants of health recovery items.  Yay!

Inquisition will also be streamlining – to an extent – the abilities tree to be more focused  in that you have multiple main trees that only possess a couple different specialized leveling paths each.  With Origin, you would be presented with a main ability section with around four different specializations.

DA Origin vs InquisitionWhile some hardcore gamers see the streamlining process as a dumbing down of sorts, I see streamlining as a way to as I stated earlier, to get “more time enjoying the core gameplay, storyline, and the experience.”

There is beauty in simplicity and the way I see it is by giving me a more limited yet highly focused set of options, I can quickly optimize my play style and characters without getting bogged down in technicalities.

Less time sorting, more time thwarting (evil)!

But what do you guys think about streamlining?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author

Westin Westin ran a gaming based YouTube channel for a year, graduated with a B.A. in Radio/Television/Film, and will be getting married in Fall 2015. When he’s not doing production stuff or wedding planning, he’s working on his unplayed game list on Steam (or playing Guild Wars 2 with his fiancé).



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