Games That Falter On Subsequent Playthroughs?
Moonface Offline
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I was talking with @ShiraNoMai last night about how almost all of Naughty Dog's games since Uncharted 1 have the same issue of the first few chapters being good on the first playthrough, but being a real slog when I replay any of those games because they're designed to ease the player in, set up the story/world/characters, and tend to be built around walking and talking with minimal interesting stuff to do if you go through those sections already knowing all the setup. To give examples for those who haven't played any of these games or did but don't remember:
  • Uncharted 1 - Doesn't pick up consistently until the second half of Chapter 3. Everything before that is walking, talking, platforming, and waiting for NPC dialogue/actions in order to progress except for Chapter 1 which lasts less than 10 minutes.
  • Uncharted 2 - After the set piece opening, sticks you into a 15-20+ minute stealth level filled with constant interruptions of in-game cutscenes and NPC dialogue/actions you have to wait on.
  • Uncharted 3 - Opening chapter is fine, but it takes until Chapter 5 to get into the consistent cycle of action-packed moments and downtime moments.
  • The Last of Us - If you've picked up on a consistent theme here, you're correct. This game too opens up with a fine opening chapter, but then instantly goes to two and a half chapters of just walking and talking with slow puzzle solving before it starts to deliver consistent action gameplay mixed with downtime to balance things out through the rest of the game.
  • The Last of Us 2 - Very slow opening with a lot of walking and talking. Combat and action come in about 2/3 of the way into the acts that make up Chapter 1, but then Chapter 2 opens with a lot of walking, talking, and combat in a big open area which has two sections that are required and the rest are optional, and the first time it's interesting to check out everything but the second time I get bored having to traverse this big open area of nothing to reach each section in it that has something to do. Imagine a small open world game that has nothing to do in the world and instead just has little mission areas dotted in it and you're just going to each one in an area that's nice the first time because it's new and you have no idea what you'll find, but the second time you know there's nothing going on outside of the little areas that connect to this larger hub.

Demon's Souls on PS5 is another game that really faltered for me on my second playthrough to the point I actually dropped it for now. Knowing that I could just go straight to the end boss if I saw fit made it hard to be incentivized to do all the other bosses beforehand, especially when most of the content I missed the first time is because I needed Pure White World Tendency which is limited in what can be done to achieve it in a single playthrough, and I knew some of the areas were impossible to get to that tendency in my second run which meant I knew I would have to hope I could get it in my third, and it just felt bleh knowing that a lot of unseen things were going to still be locked to me and so a lot of the second playthrough was just going to be doing the same shit as the first time and not being able to look forward to anything new to discover, unlike something like Bloodborne where things I missed the first time were because I simply missed them, and not because I was necessarily locked out from something that requires multiple playthroughs done in a particular way to meet an unlock requirement.

On the other hand, to give something to praise for how to deal with its opening, I appreciate that Horizon Zero Dawn skips the prologue tutorial section on NG+ and puts you straight into the present-day story. It was a breath of fresh air to find a story based game that knew its prologue wasn't really necessary or interesting to go through on NG+ and so just skips it. The only other game I can think of that lets you choose to skip an opening segment that's designed to ease the player into the mechanics is Silent Bomber, where the tutorial chapter can be skipped so you can just go right into the main game.

What about you folks? What games have you played that falter somewhere in subsequent playthroughs for any particular reason, or games that manage to avoid falling into that trap like HZD does?
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Moonface Offline
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I was talking with @ShiraNoMai last night about how almost all of Naughty Dog's games since Uncharted 1 have the same issue of the first few chapters being good on the first playthrough, but being a real slog when I replay any of those games because they're designed to ease the player in, set up the story/world/characters, and tend to be built around walking and talking with minimal interesting stuff to do if you go through those sections already knowing all the setup. To give examples for those who haven't played any of these games or did but don't remember:
  • Uncharted 1 - Doesn't pick up consistently until the second half of Chapter 3. Everything before that is walking, talking, platforming, and waiting for NPC dialogue/actions in order to progress except for Chapter 1 which lasts less than 10 minutes.
  • Uncharted 2 - After the set piece opening, sticks you into a 15-20+ minute stealth level filled with constant interruptions of in-game cutscenes and NPC dialogue/actions you have to wait on.
  • Uncharted 3 - Opening chapter is fine, but it takes until Chapter 5 to get into the consistent cycle of action-packed moments and downtime moments.
  • The Last of Us - If you've picked up on a consistent theme here, you're correct. This game too opens up with a fine opening chapter, but then instantly goes to two and a half chapters of just walking and talking with slow puzzle solving before it starts to deliver consistent action gameplay mixed with downtime to balance things out through the rest of the game.
  • The Last of Us 2 - Very slow opening with a lot of walking and talking. Combat and action come in about 2/3 of the way into the acts that make up Chapter 1, but then Chapter 2 opens with a lot of walking, talking, and combat in a big open area which has two sections that are required and the rest are optional, and the first time it's interesting to check out everything but the second time I get bored having to traverse this big open area of nothing to reach each section in it that has something to do. Imagine a small open world game that has nothing to do in the world and instead just has little mission areas dotted in it and you're just going to each one in an area that's nice the first time because it's new and you have no idea what you'll find, but the second time you know there's nothing going on outside of the little areas that connect to this larger hub.

Demon's Souls on PS5 is another game that really faltered for me on my second playthrough to the point I actually dropped it for now. Knowing that I could just go straight to the end boss if I saw fit made it hard to be incentivized to do all the other bosses beforehand, especially when most of the content I missed the first time is because I needed Pure White World Tendency which is limited in what can be done to achieve it in a single playthrough, and I knew some of the areas were impossible to get to that tendency in my second run which meant I knew I would have to hope I could get it in my third, and it just felt bleh knowing that a lot of unseen things were going to still be locked to me and so a lot of the second playthrough was just going to be doing the same shit as the first time and not being able to look forward to anything new to discover, unlike something like Bloodborne where things I missed the first time were because I simply missed them, and not because I was necessarily locked out from something that requires multiple playthroughs done in a particular way to meet an unlock requirement.

On the other hand, to give something to praise for how to deal with its opening, I appreciate that Horizon Zero Dawn skips the prologue tutorial section on NG+ and puts you straight into the present-day story. It was a breath of fresh air to find a story based game that knew its prologue wasn't really necessary or interesting to go through on NG+ and so just skips it. The only other game I can think of that lets you choose to skip an opening segment that's designed to ease the player into the mechanics is Silent Bomber, where the tutorial chapter can be skipped so you can just go right into the main game.

What about you folks? What games have you played that falter somewhere in subsequent playthroughs for any particular reason, or games that manage to avoid falling into that trap like HZD does?
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Karo Offline
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I feel like there are a lot of games that falter to me on subsequent playthroughs but that more because I have trouble getting invested in the story if I already went through it once or it been a long time, but I feel like anything with a long intro would be a very hard game to do a subsequent playtrhoguh like skyrim or fallout or maybe some Uncharted games like you mentioned.
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I feel like there are a lot of games that falter to me on subsequent playthroughs but that more because I have trouble getting invested in the story if I already went through it once or it been a long time, but I feel like anything with a long intro would be a very hard game to do a subsequent playtrhoguh like skyrim or fallout or maybe some Uncharted games like you mentioned.
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Moonface Offline
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(Aug 17th, 2022, 11:09 PM)Karo Wrote:
I feel like anything with a long intro would be a very hard game to do a subsequent playtrhoguh like skyrim or fallout or maybe some Uncharted games like you mentioned.
I can't comment on Skyrim, but with Fallout I know that 4 is at least not too bad starting from scratch again because the opening before the nukes isn't too long, and once that finishes you get straight into the core gameplay anyway. I don't mind playing through story stuff I know already, so long as the game isn't being restrictive about it like what happens in Naughty Dog games.

Thinking on it, I can't think of many games that falter on a second playthrough due to something other than a slow starting story. Horror games are the only other I can think of right now that slightly falter because they rely on the unknown for a lot of the tension, so once you know all the tricks it needs to have fun mechanics to hold it up, such as Dead Space. After my first times with those games I wasn't bothered much by the horror element because I knew where enemies spawned and when, but the gameplay is still so much fun that although it no longer holds up as strongly in the horror aspect, the game isn't worse to play I find. Then there may be players who just don't get scared by any of the horror elements of a game to begin with, so such a game is only really ever going to falter because it isn't fun to play in the first place no matter how good the horror is or isn't. That's why I find Amnesia: The Dark Descent to be a rather dull game, because the horror side fell off for me before I was even halfway through and the core gameplay is just walking around avoiding enemies which isn't even difficult to do even when spotted. Eh
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(Aug 17th, 2022, 11:09 PM)Karo Wrote:
I feel like anything with a long intro would be a very hard game to do a subsequent playtrhoguh like skyrim or fallout or maybe some Uncharted games like you mentioned.
I can't comment on Skyrim, but with Fallout I know that 4 is at least not too bad starting from scratch again because the opening before the nukes isn't too long, and once that finishes you get straight into the core gameplay anyway. I don't mind playing through story stuff I know already, so long as the game isn't being restrictive about it like what happens in Naughty Dog games.

Thinking on it, I can't think of many games that falter on a second playthrough due to something other than a slow starting story. Horror games are the only other I can think of right now that slightly falter because they rely on the unknown for a lot of the tension, so once you know all the tricks it needs to have fun mechanics to hold it up, such as Dead Space. After my first times with those games I wasn't bothered much by the horror element because I knew where enemies spawned and when, but the gameplay is still so much fun that although it no longer holds up as strongly in the horror aspect, the game isn't worse to play I find. Then there may be players who just don't get scared by any of the horror elements of a game to begin with, so such a game is only really ever going to falter because it isn't fun to play in the first place no matter how good the horror is or isn't. That's why I find Amnesia: The Dark Descent to be a rather dull game, because the horror side fell off for me before I was even halfway through and the core gameplay is just walking around avoiding enemies which isn't even difficult to do even when spotted. Eh
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This is something I think Nier: Automata does well at. It does the thing that I hope most games would do on subsequent playthroughs, which is to make you be able to see with dramatic irony how the story and characters perform, and looking for signs of foreshadow you hadn't noticed on your initial playthrough. Games that fail to include this kind of play tend to make that second playthrough all the more uninteresting.
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This is something I think Nier: Automata does well at. It does the thing that I hope most games would do on subsequent playthroughs, which is to make you be able to see with dramatic irony how the story and characters perform, and looking for signs of foreshadow you hadn't noticed on your initial playthrough. Games that fail to include this kind of play tend to make that second playthrough all the more uninteresting.
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(Aug 20th, 2022, 04:18 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
This is something I think Nier: Automata does well at. It does the thing that I hope most games would do on subsequent playthroughs, which is to make you be able to see with dramatic irony how the story and characters perform, and looking for signs of foreshadow you hadn't noticed on your initial playthrough. Games that fail to include this kind of play tend to make that second playthrough all the more uninteresting.
This is something TLOU2 does once you get past the prologue that's really good. Especially since you hear NPC's discussing things you wouldn't understand the first time through so you actually care to pay attention to dialogue on a second playthrough when most games make in-game dialogue become rather pointless to pay attention to again.
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(Aug 20th, 2022, 04:18 AM)ShiraNoMai Wrote:
This is something I think Nier: Automata does well at. It does the thing that I hope most games would do on subsequent playthroughs, which is to make you be able to see with dramatic irony how the story and characters perform, and looking for signs of foreshadow you hadn't noticed on your initial playthrough. Games that fail to include this kind of play tend to make that second playthrough all the more uninteresting.
This is something TLOU2 does once you get past the prologue that's really good. Especially since you hear NPC's discussing things you wouldn't understand the first time through so you actually care to pay attention to dialogue on a second playthrough when most games make in-game dialogue become rather pointless to pay attention to again.
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Came here curious if I'd mentioned Demon's Souls already or not (I have) but thinking on games that falter hard from NG+ rather than just from playing the game again in any form, The Evil Within 2 is really bad if you play it again using NG+. Having every weapon and upgrade available right away ruins the game because its encounters are built around the initial limits of your arsenal; there are a lot of instances in the early game where you do not want to pick a don't fight and be wise about how to tackle things, but when you have every weapon it makes those parts trivial and the game is a boring slog until you get far enough where the game is designed around the player having acquired a decent arsenal.

Dead Space on the other hand never had this problem because nothing is designed around the number or type of weapons you have. That's not to say it doesn't feel easier at the start because it does but because that game requires the player to aim carefully you can't just go spamming rounds into things expecting a result.


Also another game that can falter on a second playthrough depending on how you approach it is Spyro 2. If you unlock and obtain the permanent super flame power up, you can bring that with you into a new game. I hate it because while I know Spyro is not a game you play for combat, it just isn't fun getting to one shot enemies from any distance. I'm actually glad this bonus didn't become a thing in Spyro 3 nor get pushed across the whole trilogy when it got remade.
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Came here curious if I'd mentioned Demon's Souls already or not (I have) but thinking on games that falter hard from NG+ rather than just from playing the game again in any form, The Evil Within 2 is really bad if you play it again using NG+. Having every weapon and upgrade available right away ruins the game because its encounters are built around the initial limits of your arsenal; there are a lot of instances in the early game where you do not want to pick a don't fight and be wise about how to tackle things, but when you have every weapon it makes those parts trivial and the game is a boring slog until you get far enough where the game is designed around the player having acquired a decent arsenal.

Dead Space on the other hand never had this problem because nothing is designed around the number or type of weapons you have. That's not to say it doesn't feel easier at the start because it does but because that game requires the player to aim carefully you can't just go spamming rounds into things expecting a result.


Also another game that can falter on a second playthrough depending on how you approach it is Spyro 2. If you unlock and obtain the permanent super flame power up, you can bring that with you into a new game. I hate it because while I know Spyro is not a game you play for combat, it just isn't fun getting to one shot enemies from any distance. I'm actually glad this bonus didn't become a thing in Spyro 3 nor get pushed across the whole trilogy when it got remade.
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