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Do you sometimes find a game too tense to have a long session on? (save anxiety?)


CurryKitten
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The games I've tended to settle on and enjoy the most are single player experiences - generally the mix of combat and story of things like The Horizon Hidden Dawn/Forbidden West, Last of Us(s), Resident Evils etc etc

 

However, I've become acutely away that while I enjoy these games, I seem to go through a certain amount of stress/anxiety about making it through to the next part without dying.  It ends up getting to the point where I can play a particularly tense feeling game for an hour at most and then I hit a save point and I have to stop until the next day.

 

I've no real idea why this is - in the olden days it was the pure dread of losing your progress because save points were few and far between.  I've been able to handle the remakes of RE2/3 reasonable easily but the days of typewritter ribbons needed to save used to mess with my head.  At the moment I'm playing Metroid Dread, which I think is an awesome game, but bugger me - the stress of just about every single boss battle so far (and it's gone very much the same pattern of die 20-30 times until I workout any sort of strategy and then refine strategy for another 20 minutes until I beat them) has made me get to the next save point and stop there for the night.

 

Clearly - this is a me problem, and my brain - despite the endless practice I throw at it - just hasn't warmed up to the idea.... and at the age of 51 it's probably stuck that way.  Just wanted to check though - is this just me, does anyone else go through this?

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Same re stealth. If a game gives me a bit of slack and allows the tension to drop a bit by letting me hide or having guards forget me after a short while that's fine. Fun tension turns to frustration pretty sharpish if a game just insta-fails you when a guard spots you from the other side of the map. Clearly there's a balance there, I've not found a game that has it although I did give up on anything stealth-related ages ago. 

 

Tried playing The Evil Within recently and that is one of those games where you breathe a massive sigh of relief when you save your game. Doing the same bit 20 times because you get spotted or despite your best efforts to do it differently you just keep failing really turns a nervous thrill into controller-smashing frustration. 

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FromSoft games.

 

Maybe it's just me, but whenever I get to a bonfire, lantern or grace there's this brief moment of mental conflict - keep going to see what kind of things are in store for you, or consider it a job well done and save/quit. If I keep going I might end up finding some cool stuff, but I might run into another nightmare encounter, and then I'll have to switch off and spend the rest of the night and most of the next day thinking about the encounter.

 

Also Persona 5 has a slightly more chill variation with its safe rooms. You can get out of a palace pretty easily if you have the right skills or items, but if you decide to press on... well, you don't know how much palace is going to be between you and the next safe room. And because the game is an exercise in mapping, you often have to spend time scraping the edges and making sure you've uncovered everything - just in case a safe room is hidden away - so that's more time potentially spent running into enemies and using up more of your resources.

 

(Slightly related but not: sometimes a long session on something can completely break my brain if I'm getting tired and not paying attention, and I'll need to step away so that I can attempt it later with a clear head. Again, Persona 5 - I got impatient mapping out one area because I was going in circles and couldn't find a particular trigger in the palace... but I came back to it the next day and worked it out within moments.)

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There is nothing quite like the save anxiety in Elden ring caused by having 80000 runes , miles away from a site of grace and you know you just need another 12000 to level up, but you are down to 3 flasks, and if you go back to the nearest site and rest,  you’ll have to start again and go through that bit you barely scrapped through …

 

Im Level 115 , built  like a tank and can smite ogres with a single blow . But I know round each corner is a seemingly innocuous threat that can take me out in seconds. 
 

i think though the game where I literally struggled to play more than a couple of hours at a time was tlou and tlou2 . Just because it was tense all the time. Best games ever . 

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1 hour ago, Vimster said:

Clearly there's a balance there, I've not found a game that has it although I did give up on anything stealth-related ages ago. 

Metal Gear Solid 5 is arguably the best. Also, The Last of Us Part II has some excellent stealth elements in certain parts of the game.

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The early days of Elden Ring, yes - now instead of just switching off I go and do co-op sessions in areas I already know well. This is what’s taken me to 350 hours (so far) on the first play.

 

Far worse than that though, was playing ranked matches on VF5 Ultimate Showdown. This is counter-intuitive as it always took me a few matches to warm up, but by the time I’d done a few matches my nerves were so shaken I would have to call it a day. I loved the game but the stat tracking made everything into a life or death unbearable situation for me. I wish there was a (working) no stress mode you could just play for fun. Room matches were supposed to be like that but after a while there was no life in that side of the game.

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I really enjoyed the two Injustice games and also Mortal Kombat X. I found them too exciting though. I could handle two or three matches and then I'd turn them off because the adrenaline was pumping and I felt like I was going to have a heart attack.
I don't even like fighting games normally but those ones just clicked with me.

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I don’t find them anxiety-driven or exhausting, but often I’ll not boot up a game because I simply can’t be arsed with it, because it seems like far too much effort. This is especially true if I don’t know how long I’ve got to play but know I’d have to put a lot of time in to whatever it is. 

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19 hours ago, Qazimod said:

(Persona 5 stuff)

 

I'm not sure if Persona 5 really counts, at least in my opinion - unlike P4, all the dungeon spawns are static.

 

I remember losing a 'shitload' of progress on the Casino dungeon, I think it was the encounters just after the lights go out in a couple of rooms.

 

Thing was, after the game over, I got back to that point within about ten minutes after spending half an hour on it before. As you knew the weaknesses, you just did one turn sweeps on every encounter up to the last encounter (and including it, if you've figured out the weakness already)

 

Shin Megami Tensei IV was more vicious - most spawns were a random chance of a specific set of area monsters, and they pretty much every encounter had a good chance of wiping your party due to the Smirk system. Thankfully, you could also instantly resurrect for Play Coins (aka. walking with the 3DS) or Macca, so if you got caught out after a particularly long session you can just bring yourself back and save your game.

 

I'd imagine Nocturne trumps all the Atlus games in terms of bullshit, mind. I've seen Mot and Thor in that game to figure that out.

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RE’s typewriter ribbons didn’t stress me out as much as the knowledge that each time I used one I was reducing my overall rating on finishing the game. I felt an obligation to play as far as possible without saving - otherwise I wasn’t playing it properly. Still, I ended up getting the lowest possible rating I think. I was always rubbish at RE.

 

The other thing that stresses me out are games that don’t let you know when you’re passing a boundary of no return. I always have to reload an earlier save so that I can check what was down that other route earlier in the level.

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I absolutely hate when games make it impossible to save whenever you need. 

 

I want all the challenge of the game to be in the gameplay, and not based around how long I can play in one single session for.

 

By all means put some limiter on. I get that some pc games with quick save and quick reload keys basically meant you could cheese anything. Or get into a bad habit of only accepting perfect play.

 

But I think being unable to suspend a game within reasonable limits is just design arrogance. It's a pastime not an actual job, and I have a life outside of it. Maybe it's dinner time or whatever, a game shouldn't be stressful because you're being rude to other real human beings by telling them you can't stop playing. 

 

It's not a deal breaker but, for example in something like yakuza like a dragon in the dungeons. Why not allow save? If you can achieve the same effect by hitting pause and leaving the game running for a week that's no different to allowing save points. It feels like old fashioned game design, you can throw back to old school rpgs without that part. 

 

Anyway. Xbox quick resume did fix this thankfully so this weird artificial difficulty gets overridden by the console itself. 

 

Back to the op I do feel like I can't play anything for too long at a time. But I often want to play a different kind of game to have a break rather than stop 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Siri said:

I'm not sure if Persona 5 really counts, at least in my opinion - unlike P4, all the dungeon spawns are static.

 

I remember losing a 'shitload' of progress on the Casino dungeon, I think it was the encounters just after the lights go out in a couple of rooms.

 

Thing was, after the game over, I got back to that point within about ten minutes after spending half an hour on it before. As you knew the weaknesses, you just did one turn sweeps on every encounter up to the last encounter (and including it, if you've figured out the weakness already)

 

The encounters/spawns were fine, and there wasn't necessarily a fear of losing progress too much. However, I think that the more elaborate bespoke dungeons - compounded with the safe room system - made time management / lost progress that much more of an issue for me. As in: it's gone midnight and I'm still doing this airlock sequence in the spaceport but I'm too far in to turn it off now but I don't know how long it's going to be or when the next safe room will come GODDAMN YOU OKUMURA. :D 

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28 minutes ago, cowfields said:

I absolutely hate when games make it impossible to save whenever you need. 

 

This is a bugbear of mine, because my life and responsibilities are not what they were twenty years ago. If I can only grab thirty minutes to play, I want to save as and when I need.

 

Quick Resume is one way of achieving that, though I'd say for games on any platform, even if the design calls for specific save points like in Alien Isolation, the ability to save progress and have it deleted on a reload achieves the same thing.

 

I also feel sports games are often poor offenders - why can't I just save this game of FIFA when the ball goes out of play, and pick it up later? Tennis Elbow 4 recently was a bit of a revelation in this respect, as it auto-saves after every single point. You can play a full five-set game in bite-size chunks.

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1 hour ago, Qazimod said:

 

The encounters/spawns were fine, and there wasn't necessarily a fear of losing progress too much. However, I think that the more elaborate bespoke dungeons - compounded with the safe room system - made time management / lost progress that much more of an issue for me. As in: it's gone midnight and I'm still doing this airlock sequence in the spaceport but I'm too far in to turn it off now but I don't know how long it's going to be or when the next safe room will come GODDAMN YOU OKAMURA. :D 

 

Alright, I'll give you the spaceport, that dungeon just fucking sucked in general. 

 

Same with the ship, actually. Although that's compounded by a certain area involving a status effect, to save spoiler territory.

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