A Fight Between You and the Gimmick

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Gimmicks aren’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to video games. In fact gimmicks are often integral and can provide a very much needed change of pace for the player by providing a much different and interesting approach to things that normally come out of the game. Simply enough gimmicks have to be chosen wisely and implemented even more skillfully, otherwise they can break the pace of a game or at worse be an agitating annoyance for players.

Most cases gimmicks are roundabout ways that break away from the status quo the game establishes. For example the Yhorm The Giant boss fight in Dark Souls is a gimmick fight. While ordinarily, Dark Souls requires the player to carefully choose when to strike darting in and out of combat, perfectly timing switching from offense to defense. The Yhorm boss fight is an entirely different approach which casts aside pretty much all the difficulty of combat away. After the player successfully realizes that standard weapons have little to no effect on the boss, and they figure out that a conveniently placed weapon at the back of the room is the only real way to deal damage, the fight becomes trivial, so much so that its quite easy to beat the boss without taking damage, or even letting him getting an attack in at all.

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This behavior isn’t just limited to bosses, but can be found in several games where entire levels are dedicated to a gimmick. These are quite finicky as most platformers often employ gimmick levels that are a fun and engaging change of pace. Alternatively one can be stuck with a gimmick level which is amusing at first, but quickly takes a turn for the tedious. For example Dragon Age: Origins has a section in the middle of escalating a mage tower, where the player and his party is transported to a dream world known as the Fade. The Fade section of Dragon Age: Origins has gained a reputation among its fanbase as being an extremely tedious and annoying level, so annoying, that a user created a mod for the game which allowed players to skip the section entirely.

The section is entirely based around solving puzzles and navigating combat by using different unique forms for different situations. Its interesting and fun for the first few minutes, but as the exploration continues and combat continues, the player just wishes they could go back to normal gameplay and be rid of the shapeshifting gimmick.

While gimmicks can often be used for fun, they are just as commonly overused and just not put into effect in a fun and enjoyable way for the user. More often than not gimmicks are tedious and a headache for the player that breaks the flow of a game, where a break is not even necessary.

-Michael

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