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How well do you think save systems are implemented in modern games? [roundtable]
Many moons ago we had no save systems in games, as you are all aware we simply played a game to completion in one sitting, paused a game until we got back or used cheat codes to get us near enough to the area we were at previously . Then came the save system and all was well, usually you completed a level and the game saved no harm done but today due to a games complex nature things aren't so simple.

Today we have all sorts of save systems from the usual end of a level/milestone savepoint, autosaving, pull up a menu and choose save, reach a specific safehouse and save progress, the list goes on. Is this all really necessary or should we have a one size fits all saving system? Does this even exist? Do we require a save system depending on the genre and then do we need multiple types within that genre? Does accessing a menu stop us from maintaining a truly immersive experience?

Another trend that seems to be becoming more popular on the DS is the inclusion of only one save slot per cartridge, examples of this would be Ghost Trick and Dragon Quest IX. Is this a ploy to sell more copies of a game and limit cartidge sharing. I for one hope that this doesn't become the standard. Do you think this is fair or should all games come with multiple save slots?

Feel free to answer any of the above questions and ask a few of your own

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Posted: 02/25/11, 03:16:31  - Edited by 
 on: 02/25/11, 04:20:43
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Simbabbad said:

I played the first Half-Life with auto-save exactly like you do, with the same consequences. One of the elements which made me quit PC gaming.

Quick saving made you quit PC gaming?


Nobody is forcing you to use it. I for one love it in games like Dragon Age where one wrong pull and you can easily wipe. I save after each mob I defeat so I don't have to do it again. No pacing is destroyed, I tap F5 and move on.

And regarding pacing, how exactly does quick saving destroy pacing? You hit one button and move on. The only way it could possibly "destroy pacing" is if you are pulling a menu up every five seconds to do it, in which case you are most certainly doing it wrong... on more than one level. Find out what the hotkey is and use that. If anything it promotes pacing because you aren't doing the same fucking thing over and over and over again.

Regardless I don't really see it as a detriment. Use it if you want, don't use it if you don't want to.
Posted: 02/26/11, 20:04:08

I haven't played Half Life in forever. I did beat HL2 and all the Episodes a couple years back and I guess I just didn't notice it like you guys do.

Honestly hitting one button after clearing a room and moving on doesn't destroy anything for me.
Posted: 02/26/11, 20:14:59

Ok. Fair enough. I honestly don't remember having any problems getting through any of the aspects of HL2. I'd go as far as to say EP2 is the best shooter I've ever played. I don't remember doing anything "a bazillion times" which is imo why it's such a great game. It's constantly changing it up on you and does an excellent job of keeping the player off balance and entertained.
Posted: 02/26/11, 20:27:14
@Simbabbad When you mention Bionic Commando, do you mean the patch in rearmed that made the game easier?

I loved that game, but kinda got distracted when I got to the end, which even for me was pretty brutally hard, and I put it down. I revisited it months later and downloaded the update (didn't even realize what the update did), and found the end much easier. I don't know how it affected the rest of the game, but I do have to admit, I thought the end of the game was way too hard in its current state. Maybe my memory is just foggy on it, but I don't think the move was that bad.

Then again, like I said, maybe it did negatively affect the rest of the game, which I didn't have a problem with. I just remember that last level being such a pain in the ass, and was glad I could beat it, even if it was altered from the original version.
Posted: 03/04/11, 06:53:08
I have a crazy, busy life. I don't have time to sit down and play for extended periods of time like I did when I was a kid. If a game forces long periods of play in between save points, it simply isn't a viable game for me anymore.

Valkyria Chronicles is one of my favourite games of this generation, but I wouldn't have been able to play it if not for the save system. I simply didn't have the time to get through a whole battle in one sitting. Some people will abuse the ability to save any time, any place in order to get a perfect run, saving before every move and reloading if they miss or whatever. So what? If they get more enjoyment out of playing that way, then let them. Doesn't affect my enjoyment of the game when I don't play like that. We're both enjoying our experience, so what's the problem?

Some games like Fable III annoy me in their save design. They deliberately make it so that you can only have one save file and there is no way to undo a decision. The theory here is that your choices have no consequences if you can undo them. Well that's all fine and dandy until someone comes across a game-ending bug or a corrupt save file and there's no way to revert to a previous save. Don't let me backup my save to prevent catastrophe? F*** you, developer.
Posted: 03/04/11, 23:18:41

To reiterate the point being made about being able to save and load anywhere: the games get designed around it, pretty much forcing you to save and load all the time.The "lett people abuse saves, why should you care?" argument just doesn't work in this case.
Posted: 03/05/11, 06:57:50
Pandareus said:

To reiterate the point being made about being able to save and load anywhere: the games get designed around it, pretty much forcing you to save and load all the time.The "lett people abuse saves, why should you care?" argument just doesn't work in this case.

I get your guys point however I just don't think it's nearly the problem you guys are making it out to be. HL2 may have a few sections that promote that however honestly I played it and both Episodes back to back and I was never spamming the quick save hotkey. I'm guessing I maybe saved a tad more than a game with a built in checkpoint system.

To insinuate that the game is impossible to play without hammering F5 every 3 seconds is just silly. It's an incredibly well designed and well paced game. Rarely if ever does it blindside you with something.
Posted: 03/05/11, 07:04:09  - Edited by 
 on: 03/05/11, 07:04:32
I get that, but I just don't see it being true in practice with the games I've played. These days I only play games that allow me to save frequently and I have never felt like I was abusing that functionality nor have I felt like the game required that behaviour of me. Could I abuse the system? Yes. Do I need to? No.

The only time I've ever abused the system like that is getting the trophies for Sonic the Hedgehog on PSN. There are trophies for fast-play and for completing the game without dying. I'll save the game before each level starts and reload if I die or take too long, but that is me abusing the system in order to get credit for a perfect run, not that regular play and/or enjoyment of the game requires me to play like this.

Maybe there are games that go the route of requiring and expecting you to save every couple of minutes, but I can't think of any that I've played.

Personally, I think the best save systems are the ones that will make automatic checkpoint saves in addition to the ability to make manual saves when quitting the game. Upon loading the game up the next time you can go with the autosave or the manual save. It allows me to turn the game off on a moment's notice and it provides me with security in case the game crashes and I haven't manually saved in a long time.

Games should be made to accomodate me and my lifestyle. It's not a job - it's there for my enjoyment. Respect my time and fit in to my life or you won't get a purchase from me.
Posted: 03/08/11, 00:37:56  - Edited by 
 on: 03/08/11, 00:38:15
Yesterday I was playing Nier for the 360, and I was trying to get to a save point because I had been playing for an hour and had to leave to go to rehearsal, and I just finally found a place to save like, one minute before I had to leave. D: I'm not sure how to feel about that.
Posted: 03/08/11, 02:32:38
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