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Swimming In Games... Why does it pretty much always suck? [roundtable]
 
I just finished level 5-4 in the Juicy Jungle of Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze and it was infuriating. Water levels in this game just aren't that fun. I hate the restriction it places with goofy swimming mechanics. Yes Diddy or Dixie help make swimming a little more tolerable but all in all, when you've lost them at a checkpoint and you have to continue on without, it's just shitty.

Unless you're using the Frog Suit in Super Mario Bros. 3, I can't think of another example of swimming where it didn't suck. Banjo-Kazooie was tolerable like Super Mario 64 but still those games are just passable.

Why is it that this is the case? I understand water is naturally restricting and has inherent properties that gaming tries to reflect... but there's gotta be a better way. Is this just a case of frustration getting the best of me? Am I crazy? Can anyone show me more examples of swimming and underwater-travel done right?


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Posted: 04/20/14, 02:04:13
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Looks like Mario Golf World Tour will do water right.
Posted: 04/20/14, 19:15:38
I think Mario 64 actually handled swimming pretty well. In those 3D games, I think a lot of it boils down to camera. It's hard to swim when you have no idea what your relationship to the world is.

Who knows what they were thinking in Sunshine.

Metroid Prime handles it well, though it's not exactly swimming. I think you basically do one section of REALLY slow moving platforming, until you can finally make your way around easily.

I'd probably have to agree with whoever mentioned Guild Wars 2 and Majora's Mask.

DKCTF has good swimming levels but I don't know if I'm a fan of the actual controls.
Posted: 04/20/14, 19:20:16
TheBigG753 said:
I think in 3D, it can be a problem (I remember really not liking the swimming in Mario 64 and Sunshine). Devil May Cry and God of War had some swimming parts that were designed really poorly.
Yeah, the big problem with swimming parts in 3D action games is that suddenly enemies can come at you from above and below when all your attacks are designed to hit enemies on the same level as you, i.e. the ground. Fighting in the water means height and depth are suddenly a factor when on land you only have to watch where enemies are on the ground. And if you get slower in the water, that just makes things worse.

I don't mind water levels all that much in a lot of games. They're a nice change of pace in Mega Man. I thought they were pretty well done in the New Super Mario games as well. Rayman Origins was still quite good in the water. Hell, even in Sonic games I really don't mind the water at all; it gives me a chance to play with the fun physics in slow motion.

That said, they're always a downgrade from the standard gameplay style, so the best you can hope for is that it's "not bad" in comparison.
Posted: 04/20/14, 22:38:55  - Edited by 
 on: 04/20/14, 22:39:51
nate38 said:
Yeah, the big problem with swimming parts in 3D action games is that suddenly enemies can come at you from above and below when all your attacks are designed to hit enemies on the same level as you, i.e. the ground. Fighting in the water means height and depth are suddenly a factor when on land you only have to watch where enemies are on the ground. And if you get slower in the water, that just makes things worse.

Exactly why I named Guild Wars 2. You get a bunch of Z-axis moves and move more quickly.

Posted: 04/20/14, 23:24:28
@Xbob42
Swimming in Guild Wars 2 is fantastic. I always loved going underwater and the environments weren't bland either.
Posted: 04/21/14, 05:27:39
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