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GamblerZ

On Broken Age Difficulty (and why it matters)

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Yes, I am one of the people who thought that Act I is way too easy. I want to elaborate on what that means, though, because it can be interpreted in a dozen different ways.

I don't yearn for "you-should-have-guessed" solutions of Gabriel Knight, I'm not a fan of tying rubber inflatable ducks to a pair of pliers, and I loathe "logic puzzles". What I really want is something that would slow players down, force us to think about the inner logic of the environment, and encourage us to interact and experiment with items in various locations. And yes, I want the environment to support that kind of gameplay.

Broken Age moves past us like a scenery seen from a window of a train. There is never a reason to stop, observe and analyze. Consequently, we rarely stay in a single location for very long.

Among other things, this means game's art assets are really, really underutilized. For example, after opening the full soundtrack on BandCamp I realized that I barely heard half of certain songs. They switch between different screens* and we move between those screens far too often. (Also, the game doesn't seem to memorize the point where you left and just plays the from the beginning.)

---

* - Speaking of which, what's the point of switching soundtracks between different adjacent rooms of the same structure? I think it detracts both from the moodiness of the location and makes enjoying the (excellent) music more difficult.

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yeah absolutely. its kind of hard to say how underutilized backgrounds are until we see part 2 but...yeah there must be some of that issue. especially as tim wanted more stuff that got cut its a little strange that each screen doesnt have more of their adventure juice squeezed out of them...

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I agree about the environments, most of them only have two or three points of interest, taking out the pleasure of exploring. Getting stuck sometimes is a good thing and I just didn't get stuck in Broken Age. Breezing through the second time, I really only got enjoyment from few of the interactions, Harm'ny Lightbeard was one and the hipster lumberjack was the other, but they only had one use each. It would have been nice to have to see them on multiple occasions with newer speech branches.

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...I'm not a fan of tying rubber inflatable ducks to a pair of pliers...

Haha, it wasn't called The LONGEST Journey for nothing :D

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I agree that harder puzzles in the second act would go a way to helping pace out the adventure, but I don't think I agree with it to the extent you're saying; that is to say I fundamentally don't agree with the following:

"Broken Age moves past us like a scenery seen from a window of a train. There is never a reason to stop, observe and analyze. Consequently, we rarely stay in a single location for very long."

Adventure games have always been a genre that rewarded more than puzzle solving. That's why I can happily go back and play any one of my favourite LucasArts classics. It's why every few years I play a Monkey Island game or DOTT or Full Throttle or The Dig or Grim Fandango despite knowing the puzzles for most of those games like the back of my hand.

Puzzles help to pace out the game the first time you play it, for sure, because they create a sort of natural gate to you progressing through the story and that encourages more exploration. But every time after that, the puzzles are less effective unless you leave enough time to forget them all, and so the player has to find other reasons to exist in the world. Generally I realise there are lots of dialogue options I never properly explored, for example, or stuff I never thought to look at and try.

When I replayed Act 1 of Broken Age if I'd just been going through the motions of the puzzles it probably would have taken me an hour or two, rather than the 4 that it took me the first time through. But I found myself enjoying checking out more of the environment, appreciating it for what it is, noticing more of the animation and art work, some details in the dialogue that had passed me by, and also getting a lot of fun from using inventory items on stuff to see what the responses would be. There were definitely reasons to stop and observe, despite knowing every one of the puzzles.

And this has always been the real enduring joy of adventures for me. When I was 10 and more easily amused I could play through the Woodtick section of Monkey Island 2 over and over, long after I knew what to do. I used to just 'play' The Secret of Monkey Island like I'd play, I dunno, Mario or something. It was just a world I wanted to exist in for a while. Puzzles are an important tool in pacing, but their pleasure is comparatively fleeting.

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The fact that there are not near as many hotspots or interactions in BA as other games means that you can't stay in a room for nearly as long as you could in those other games unless you just stand there and take in the (admittedly gorgeous) artwork. But adventure games are more than good artwork. I'm afraid BA's environments aren't nearly as rich in content as you paint them to be. (several puns intended)

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The fact that there are not near as many hotspots or interactions in BA as other games means that you can't stay in a room for nearly as long as you could in those other games unless you just stand there and take in the (admittedly gorgeous) artwork. But adventure games are more than good artwork. I'm afraid BA's environments aren't nearly as rich in content as you paint them to be. (several puns intended)

That fails to explain why I've been able to do just that. As I said, even just the act of using various objects around the environment and people has produced a number of surprising responses that has kept me going back. I do agree with the criticism that a look button would help, but without going into detail, I've been given good reason to be hopeful that they're considering some approaches to address this, too, to a certain extent.

But it's not just hotspots and interactions, anyway. I mean, for goodness sake you make the process of playing through an adventure game sound like a mathematical exercise rather than something that can just be enjoyed for its own sake. It just sounds so utterly joyless, to me. I mean, we all used to enjoy that when we just used to play games instead of scrutinise them endlessly, right? I certainly remember the pleasure of just wandering around a game with no particular aim in mind. I STILL occasionally boot up one of the Monkey Islands with no particular aim except to muck around a bit.

Point being, I agree with some of the criticisms (and again, I do have specific reason to believe they're being seriously thought about), but I get frustrated when I see people being so utterly reductive about it.

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That fails to explain why I've been able to do just that.

I never said you couldn't.

But it's not just hotspots and interactions, anyway. I mean, for goodness sake you make the process of playing through an adventure game sound like a mathematical exercise rather than something that can just be enjoyed for its own sake. It just sounds so utterly joyless, to me. I mean, we all used to enjoy that when we just used to play games instead of scrutinise them endlessly, right? I certainly remember the pleasure of just wandering around a game with no particular aim in mind. I STILL occasionally boot up one of the Monkey Islands with no particular aim except to muck around a bit.

Heh, funny. That's exactly how I see people who hate puzzles think of those of us that love them. I don't look at my play style as that at all. I'm not saying the game is devoid of character or things to do, but there simply would be at LEAST twice as much to do with more things to interact with and more ways to interact with them. And also with more/harder puzzles, obviously. With a game like Monkey Island there is just more to do and more to see, so you would be able to spend more time with it. I'm not saying you can't do that with BA but it certainly is to a lesser extent. Hence "not as rich".

Point being, I agree with some of the criticisms (and again, I do have specific reason to believe they're being seriously thought about), but I get frustrated when I see people being so utterly reductive about it.

It's equally as frustrating seeing you consistently take my words out of context every time I post something remotely different from your opinion.

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That fails to explain why I've been able to do just that.

I never said you couldn't.

But it's not just hotspots and interactions, anyway. I mean, for goodness sake you make the process of playing through an adventure game sound like a mathematical exercise rather than something that can just be enjoyed for its own sake. It just sounds so utterly joyless, to me. I mean, we all used to enjoy that when we just used to play games instead of scrutinise them endlessly, right? I certainly remember the pleasure of just wandering around a game with no particular aim in mind. I STILL occasionally boot up one of the Monkey Islands with no particular aim except to muck around a bit.

Heh, funny. That's exactly how I see people who hate puzzles think of those of us that love them. I don't look at my play style as that at all. I'm not saying the game is devoid of character or things to do, but there simply would be at LEAST twice as much to do with more things to interact with and more ways to interact with them. And also with more/harder puzzles, obviously. With a game like Monkey Island there is just more to do and more to see, so you would be able to spend more time with it. I'm not saying you can't do that with BA but it certainly is to a lesser extent. Hence "not as rich".

Point being, I agree with some of the criticisms (and again, I do have specific reason to believe they're being seriously thought about), but I get frustrated when I see people being so utterly reductive about it.

It's equally as frustrating seeing you consistently take my words out of context every time I post something remotely different from your opinion.

But it's not love/hate puzzles, anyway, is it? I mean, I'm actually struggling to think of any examples of anyone on this forum saying they hate puzzles. I certainly don't. If someone does, they're hardly representative of a large percentage of the forum. The world isn't divided into people who think difficult puzzles are super-important and people who hate puzzles, so it's a bit of a false dichotomy.

But anyway, I think you slightly missed the point of what I was trying to say. I'm not saying that you actually experience adventure games in the sort of joyless, mathematical way that I described. I don't really think that anyone does. I think that pretty much everyone who ever loved those old games and still likes to play games probably has at least an occasional desire to revisit them. In fact, that's precisely my point - you've said that puzzles are THE most important factor to you, but I don't think that really bears out in how we claim to remember and celebrate those old games. That fondness for the games, and the desire to revisit the worlds over and over again long outlives any value that the puzzles bring, which is fleeting.*

While it's the most immediate pleasure, and it's certainly of value - I'd never argue that, it's also the first to wither while the other pleasures of the game endure. And that's why I tend to criticize statements such as that in the original post that imply that without trickier puzzles, there's no reason to linger around in the world.

*aside from the difficult-to-pin down pleasure that carrying out certain puzzle solutions provides e.g. I always find the grog-jailbreak puzzle fun to carry out in MI1 even though I know exactly what to do, and similarly I get a pleasure out of the physical activity of doing the headshrink-puzzle in Broken Age even though I got the solution quickly.

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I think the point of the OP was in sticking around to experience each section as you're playing it for the first time. Of course you can create artificial reasons for yourself to stick around in any game if you want to. It's just a lot nicer the first time if you don't have to force it. I'm predicting that you're going to argue my use of the word 'force' here, so I'll explain. I only mean to specify between you staying because you want to and staying because the game means for you to, not that the game is necessarily making you do something tou don't want to do. One can argue that's good or bad, personally I think it's good.

And there are people who hate difficult puzzles who have admitted exactly to that in these threads.

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I think the point of the OP was in sticking around to experience each section as you're playing it for the first time. Of course you can create artificial reasons for yourself to stick around in any game if you want to. It's just a lot nicer the first time if you don't have to force it. I'm predicting that you're going to argue my use of the word 'force' here, so I'll explain. I only mean to specify between you staying because you want to and staying because the game means for you to, not that the game is necessarily making you do something tou don't want to do. One can argue that's good or bad, personally I think it's good.

The thing is, I don't think we're as different here as you think, or 'predict'. The difference is really in degree.

I don't disagree, for example, that having those trickier puzzles is great for pacing the first time through an adventure game, and the kind of puzzles you have does just inform the pacing in general (is this part of the game a locked room puzzle or is it more like a 3 trials structure, etc).

However, I do rather get the image of someone racing through the game because the puzzles are pretty easy as the guy who scoffs a box of chocolates all at once and then complains about a stomach ache. Not a perfect analogy, I know, but you see my point - I think someone who is a fan of adventure games should be able to find more reasons to stick around an area than 'there are puzzles here', without ever feeling like they're just trying to make up excuses to stay.

And I agree that there is great pleasure and satisfaction to be derived from solving a tricky but well-designed puzzle. Some of my favourite game experiences of all time have been crafted around that (although, honestly, when I think of the most satisfying puzzles I find adventure game puzzles in the minority - even my favourite adventures contain a high amount of what I'd call puzzle-filler)

I just also feel like it's the tip of the iceberg. It's cool and all, sometimes very cool, but it's not why I'm going to play again in a year. And again in a year. Then again a couple of years after that. And so on. And I don't think I'm unusual in that.

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And there are people who hate difficult puzzles who have admitted exactly to that in these threads.
I've seen one or two threads about it, max. I'm not seeing some big debate going on between those who love and those who hate difficult puzzles.

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I never said there was.

Of course puzzles aren't the only appeal to replayability, that's what makes them better than minesweeper and solitaire. I agree. First time around, though, puzzles play a large part. The biggest part for me. Big enough that it taints my first impression of the game, and subsequently its potential replayability, if they're lackluster. When I think of going back to an adventure game I'm thinking of all the cool things I got to do, not how pretty it was. I'm not going back to solve puzzles again necessarily, at least not as much, but my enjoyment of doing all those activities and seeing all those interactions gives me more incentive to go back and check everything I'd missed because it actually feels like there's a lot more to the game. Without it it's more like "Meh. Been there, done that." With Broken Age I felt like I'd done it all. Nothing more to it. And I didn't just rush through the game, I stopped to smell all the roses, what few bushes there were.

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Okay, I think we're getting hung up on what's a really small point here. It doesn't actually matter, I only mentioned it in the first place because I was unclear what it had to do with anything.

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I never said there was.

Of course puzzles aren't the only appeal to replayability, that's what makes them better than minesweeper and solitaire. I agree. First time around, though, puzzles play a large part. The biggest part for me. Big enough that it taints my first impression of the game, and subsequently its potential replayability, if they're lackluster. When I think of going back to an adventure game I'm thinking of all the cool things I got to do, not how pretty it was. I'm not going back to solve puzzles again necessarily, at least not as much, but my enjoyment of doing all those activities and seeing all those interactions gives me more incentive to go back and check everything I'd missed because it actually feels like there's a lot more to the game. Without it it's more like "Meh. Been there, done that." With Broken Age I felt like I'd done it all. Nothing more to it. And I didn't just rush through the game, I stopped to smell all the roses, what few bushes there were.

And I think that's an okay perspective. I don't agree with it, because my sensibilities are elsewhere, despite enjoying puzzles. And I think there's more to the environments of Broken Age than it's given credit for. But coming from the perspective of someone who really puts an emphasis on puzzles, I can at least respect that perspective.

But If I may offer a mild criticism... I guess that's why I find it confusing when you align yourself with positions that, to me, appear far less balanced. That's what I don't get about you, and why sometimes I don't seem to ... grasp where you're at, I guess, or seem to jump on a few things you say.

So, for example just the other day you +1'd a post which said stuff like:

"a deliberate decision which went in direct opposition to what the initial backers were promised" - in other posts you've shown that you understand well the problems with this kind of statement.

"and the old adventure fans might be left by the wayside once more." - I've spoken to you before about why I find this idea problematic, of describing people who like hard puzzles as 'the old adventure game fans' in a way that seems to dismiss the opinion of plenty of old adventure game fans who feel anything but left by the wayside.

I find a few more statements in his post problematic, but you see what I mean, these are things that we've spoken about before and I know that you get it, but this post got a "+1", no further comment.

This is just my opinion, but I think your position would be strengthened if you were a little more critical of those who were on your side. At least I know whenever I see you say you agree with a post where I KNOW in the past you've expressed a more nuanced view, I do a little double take. You don't need 'extremists' to make your case for you.

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I +1'd his post because I know exactly where he is coming from and agree with it. I don't think he is an extremist. I don't really agree that we were lied to, but I do feel misled at the same time. And I do feel like adventure lovers of my persuasion ARE left by the wayside. He calls them "old adventure fans" because that's what we all thought old adventure fans were like. I, for one, before the internet never dreamed that there would be a group of people who liked everything about adventures except for the puzzles. Less so that Tim Schafer of all people would design his next adventure game to cater to THAT crowd after running a Kickstarter evidently catering to my crowd.

I've come to terms with it, but it still sucks. Even he says he's not upset at Double Fine, and neither am I. But I am just as disappointed as he is. So I agree with him. He put his feelings, which I share, into words that I didn't have. Like anything, someone's exact opinion isn't going to be exactly the same as mine or anyone else's, but his words resonated largely with how I felt. For what it is, Broken Age is an ok game, it's just too bad it wasn't that puzzle-oriented adventure game of olde I was looking for. And I have my doubts that Act II will be difficult enough for people like me given Tim's apparent design philosophy nowadays. I'm hopeful, but cautious.

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I +1'd his post because I know exactly where he is coming from and agree with it. I don't think he is an extremist. I don't really agree that we were lied to, but I do feel misled at the same time. And I do feel like adventure lovers of my persuasion ARE left by the wayside. He calls them "old adventure fans" because that's what we all thought old adventure fans were like. I, for one, before the internet never dreamed that there would be a group of people who liked everything about adventures except for the puzzles. Less so that Tim Schafer of all people would design his next adventure game to cater to THAT crowd after running a Kickstarter evidently catering to my crowd.

I've come to terms with it, but it still sucks. Even he says he's not upset at Double Fine, and neither am I. But I am just as disappointed as he is. So I agree with him. He put his feelings, which I share, into words that I didn't have. Like anything, someone's exact opinion isn't going to be exactly the same as mine or anyone else's, but his words resonated largely with how I felt. For what it is, Broken Age is an ok game, it's just too bad it wasn't that puzzle-oriented adventure game of olde I was looking for. And I have my doubts that Act II will be difficult enough for people like me given Tim's apparent design philosophy nowadays. I'm hopeful, but cautious.

Well if those are your feelings then I feel I must take it back. You are being unreasonable and the proof is in the way that your statements still show a binary understanding of the situation. Namely the section above where once again you talk about people we JUST agreed aren't relevant to our discussion, that is people who don't like puzzles. As I and others have said many, many, MANY times now, I like puzzles. I love a tricky puzzle. The only difference is that it doesn't spoil an adventure game for me if the puzzles are on the easy side. The idea that Tim made the game for people who "don't like puzzles" is palpable nonsense, utter wrongheadedness of the highest degree and I won't just sit here saying nothing while you keep asserting it.

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Before we continue further, I just want to point out that you're the one provoking this debate again. I say this because I don't want to keep getting pinned as the guy who keeps bringing this up in every thread. Clearly my position is still not being understood, so again I will attempt to make it clearer.

Well if those are your feelings then I feel I must take it back. You are being unreasonable and the proof is in the way that your statements still show a binary understanding of the situation. Namely the section above where once again you talk about people we JUST agreed aren't relevant to our discussion, that is people who don't like puzzles.

That discussion was over the moment you brought up that other member's quote. So this has everything to do with it as I was talking about what he said and why I agreed with it not what we'd been talking about before that point.

As I and others have said many, many, MANY times now, I like puzzles. I love a tricky puzzle. The only difference is that it doesn't spoil an adventure game for me if the puzzles are on the easy side. The idea that Tim made the game for people who "don't like puzzles" is palpable nonsense, utter wrongheadedness of the highest degree and I won't just sit here saying nothing while you keep asserting it.

I KNOW. I'm not saying, and have never said, that there aren't more than two viewpoints on puzzles. I'm not saying that you don't like puzzles. What I AM saying is that Broken Age was not catered to people like ME. YOU are not like me so your claim that I'm somehow including you in that group of people is baseless. It is absolutely true that Tim didn't make this game for people like me who love, appreciate, and prioritize difficult puzzles and there's no way around it. He's stated his philosophy on puzzle design, likening my tastes to finding pleasure in torture and punishment (which I vehemently disagree with). Nothing ridiculous about it. I don't know where you keep getting this notion that I'm excluding people like you who both like puzzles and are satisfied with Broken Age. I'm not being binary about it at all.

By the way, Broken Age wasn't spoiled for me either because of its lack of puzzles. I still enjoyed it, but not in the way I would have wanted to. Being extremely disappointed is not the same thing.

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The thing is, what you just said is different. This is how I feel: you get so close to making a point that, if I don't agree with, I at least feel like I can respect and engage with, and then you say things like this, let me quote directly:

"I, for one, before the internet never dreamed that there would be a group of people who liked everything about adventures except for the puzzles. Less so that Tim Schafer of all people would design his next adventure game to cater to THAT crowd after running a Kickstarter evidently catering to my crowd."

How am I supposed to interpret that except for seeing it as you veering massively off the point again? You can keep saying that you understand that you're not presenting this binary viewpoint, but when you say things like the above then that's the sort of stuff that makes me want to throw my hands up in the air in frustration as we go back to the drawing board of me trying to patiently explain there's a difference between not liking puzzles and someone not prioritising them in terms of importance. You say you understand this, and I kind of believe you, but it makes it all the more baffling that you keep going back to statements like the above.

If you phrased it badly or imprecisely, fine, say what you actually meant and we can move on, but don't blame me for interpreting the above in the way I did. THAT sort of thing is where I keep getting this notion from. You keep on saying stuff like that and agreeing with people who are saying the same thing, but elsewhere I've seen evidence that your view IS more nuanced.

Finally, I don't care who 'provokes' this debate. I'm happy to be the one doing it if you like, because I'm happy to bring it up as long as I think people are leaving out vital nuance from the discussion.

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I'll be direct and clear.

After two years we've ended up with a 2-4 hours lasting unfinished story driven for the mass market streamlined dumbed down something instead of an interesting LucasArts inspired classical point & click adventure. Neither the story is convincing (whilst Shay's part is okayish, Vella's part is a boring mess) nor are there any mind bending creative puzzles in there (again Shay's part offers at least a few (some way) too easy puzzles whilst Vella part, apart from getting the knife in the beginning, generally shows a shocking lack of creativity). The story isn't entertaining or cool until the cliffhanger, most of the characters are boring and/or lack some depth, Vella's world feels like a randomly put together unpleasant place and other more enjoyable scenes you just rush through because there is nothing you can do.

Without the massive feedback the still not good enough thought through interface would even utalise drag & drop. There is a serious lack of exploration due to the simplified undifferentiated interface and the lack of content and depth in the scenes. This game lacks ingredients a good adventure otherwise offers.

If the goal was to keep DF running and building a ground for the future then i guess the goal was achieved. If the goal also was to make a great adventure then the money wasn't spent this wisely. The budget gave birth to a new engine and production values but not to a convincing adventure. The release is messed up, splitting the game hurt the experience, privacy issues, no DRM free version, a lack of communication, ...

When you're solely looking at the game, then the result/current state clearly is disappointing.

Even if the second part will be great, without fixing act 1, it most likely won't turn into a truly great game. This isn't what i was hoping for the game. I was looking forward to a wild strange intensive cool Schafer LucasArts adventure, not some well behaving more boring children stuff. Dunno, if you want to read between the lines on this level then i suggest reading Saint-Exupéry.

And i also didn't want to play the game until it was finished because i knew about the annoying experience episodic releases include from TTG already but then everyone i talked into funding and played the game already somehow wasn't happy with the result, so that i needed to spoil the game for me, bummer.

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However, I do rather get the image of someone racing through the game because the puzzles are pretty easy as the guy who scoffs a box of chocolates all at once and then complains about a stomach ache. Not a perfect analogy, I know, but you see my point - I think someone who is a fan of adventure games should be able to find more reasons to stick around an area than 'there are puzzles here', without ever feeling like they're just trying to make up excuses to stay.

Games aren't chocolate. They are an interactive medium. Among other things, this means we (as players) have the freedom not to click on some objects and not to choose some dialog options. That's part of the experience. An essential part, I must add. Not dealing with it well enough is a design flaw.

(Besides, you're implying that we played the game "incorrectly", while you did it in some superior way. I assure you, I played many adventure games in a similar manner with excellent results.)

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Anyone who blames the player for an adventure game underutilizing its 6-million-dollar art and sound assets gets a special star in my book. Are we supposed to stop and stare at the screen for a while even if we know what to do, just so we can listen to all that expensive music? -- so we can watch all those expensive hand-animated background objects?

Other games have and do use their damn-expensive art to its full potential. Broken Age spent hundreds of thousands of dollars per scene, even though you're only on each scene for a few seconds at a time -- maybe a few minutes total of the whole game. Double Fine needs a good manager bad, and Tim needs to become a "creative director" and watch over people's shoulders.

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Oh come now, you're really stretching to turn what I said into a "you're playing it wrong" type argument? It won't work. For a start I've repeatedly said here and elsewhere that I think the puzzles do present a slight pacing problem for the game. What I am talking about is the notion that there's no reason to stick around these scenes because the puzzles are easy. The point made in the very first post. That idea is massive hyperbole, you all know it is and statements like it make people trying to make good points about puzzle difficulty seem foolish.

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What else is there to do? Click the one generic Interact button on all four hotspots?

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What else is there to do? Click the one generic Interact button on all four hotspots?
Predictably dull-witted response. Yawn.

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I agree that harder puzzles in the second act would go a way to helping pace out the adventure, but I don't think I agree with it to the extent you're saying; that is to say I fundamentally don't agree with the following:

[...]

Adventure games have always been a genre that rewarded more than puzzle solving. That's why I can happily go back and play any one of my favourite LucasArts classics. It's why every few years I play a Monkey Island game or DOTT or Full Throttle or The Dig or Grim Fandango despite knowing the puzzles for most of those games like the back of my hand.

I agree with the replay value of the old classic: It's like watching a great movie you've watched a hundred times and now every syllable, every pause and every camera angle and you still LOVE watching the movie and the warm fuzzy felling you have while doing so. Yup, I really love replaying some of the good old ones.

That being said: For a game (or movie or book) to have a lasting affect on me it needs to be really good on the first experience. Broken Age wasn't. And that is why I do not have the feeling that I will be going back to it too often. I will replay Act I before the release of Act II, but that's probably it.

The way you describe your gameplay expeirence sounds to me like your trying really hard to squeeze some more fun out of the experience which wasn't present the first time around. Kind of squeezing a rock in hope of getting water.

I think it's fair to demand that a game with such talented people behind it and a such huge amount of financial backing (at least for adventure games) should be enjoyable right out of the box. And given that it's an adventure game which whole essence is a great story that winds around solving clever puzzles BA doesn't do a very well job here.

I am also pretty sure that Double Fine knows this pretty well. A lot of puzzles seem to me like heavily cut down versions of what they were orginially intended to be. Or do you want to pretend that...

...Harm'ny just dropping the egg and it lands directly "on your feet" to pick it up without ANY effort

...NPCs just giving you the stuff you ask them for (in a good game you would have to trick the NPC or trade for the item you want)

...Puzzle chains with a tiny amount of steps (in a good game you would have try to hold your thoughts together and figure out in which order you CAN solve the puzzle because there are so many dependencies and strings attached)

...Practically all items could just be taken (in a good game a lot of time you would be told off by an NPC)

...was Tim's great vision for this the "revival" of the genre? That can't be the case. Or he has become really, really lazy.

I do blame it on their financial situation and how they coped with it. It was discussed often enough to be a relevant factor here. My guess is they under-estimated how much the highly polished, hand-crafted animation and VFX had an impact on how much content and puzzles they could implement. After all: If every give/take/use animation is hand-designed, if every sentence has voice-over every puzzle get's a lot more expensive. If they would have cut back the animation and used more default-animations like "take from top", "take from bottom", etc. and would have had a more simple art style (hand-drawn instead of hand-painted => less time to clean up the messy art assets) there would have been a lot more resources for story and puzzles.

Comig to think of it: If you add up all pieces of "I designed too much content", "We have to cut this", "We have to cut that" there is simply no other way. What p*sses me of is that they try to justify it by saying that this is how all productions go down. Even if in every game production there is some degree of cutting back, it is normally not done soley to the main feature (the story & puzzles). I am disappointed that there was no honest answer like "Yeah, we focused to much on animation/art/whatever and realized that we couldn't implement the game they way it should have been with the resources we have. But it was too late to revert back to a simpler concept. Sorry, we screwed up there a little bit". Instead everything was hell-bent to form this inspiring success-story of the indie-underdog. Makes a better story for a documentary, doens't it?

Anyway: I think the trade-off they went with (more polish, animation, art instead of more content) made BA a shadow of what it coud have been.

If you are happy with it than be happy with it.

I am not and I will not replay this game half a dozen times to grind some more joy out of it.

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What else is there to do? Click the one generic Interact button on all four hotspots?

Have you tried doing that thirty times in a row? Perhaps something special will happen then... you'lll never know! Could be fun!

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