In today's design-minded edition of Speak Up on Kotaku, commenter DrZaius looks at design elements of ten gaming classics (well, nine and Madworld) that could help spice up some of today's titles.
This has been boiling up inside of me for some time. This is the top 10 list of game designs I'd like to see in future games. The list is in order of age, from newest to oldest (more or less). If you've noticed a game that has adopted elements from the games listed below, please post them. If there's anything like the games on this list that came out after their time, I'd like to check them out.
10. Madworld's design. This game made quick time events more like FUN time events. Why? Because of the MOTION CONTROLS. This game did right with the motion controls. The battle system in general could've used some work, but the quick time events with the motion controls were PERFECT. God of War could actually learn from this.
9. Skies of Arcadia's design. What makes this game stand out like no other are a couple things... the beautiful environments and overworld map and the ship battles. What I enjoyed most about this game was the environments. From Ixa'Taka to that freaky moon. Flying around on the map, looking for treasures, was also superb.
8. WWF No Mercy's design. Yeah, there's Def Jam Vendetta, but that game was missing a create-a-wrestler mode and a branching story mode. Getting 100% for each belt in No Mercy was one of the most satisfying elements of the game. I hear there's a WWE Wrestlefest coming out, a remake of an older WWF game. I wouldn't mind playing WWE No Mercy. For the gameplay alone, if not for the updated yet mediocre roster. Sorry, but I'd rather have Ken Shamrock over John Cena.
7. Final Fantasy IX's design. It's a traditional, turn-based RPG with 4 characters and spells/special attacks unique to those characters. Plus, the cities are all prerendered and field icons show up on screen whenever there's a sign or chest nearby. Can't forget the Active Time Events that provide additional, optional story sequences.
6. Cruis'n World's design. I bought Cruis'n for the Wii expecting more Cruis'n fun. What I got was half a game. Seriously, even the manual was incomplete. I just want a silly racing game with various vehicles, solid controls, and (most importantly) a school bus. Cruis'n for Wii did not deliver. Cruis'n World, on the other hand, got it right. Exotica was okay but I thought too much was cut out of that game. World had MUCH more variety.
5. Final Fight 3's design. Final Fight 3 had elements in a beat 'em up that I guess came out too late for the series. There were branching paths and super moves. I'd love to see another beat 'em up (set in a 2D plane) with such features. It'd also help if it was lengthier since FF3 felt kinda short...
4. Super Mario RPG's design. Sure, Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi have come close but they have not quite matched the charm of the original Mario RPG. Super Mario RPG just had that Final Fantasy touch to it. You didn't need to use unique abilities to get through areas. You didn't have to solve big ol' puzzles in every dungeon. All you usually had to do was prepare and stock up on healing items to get from the beginning of a dungeon to the end of the dungeon. I always thought the best course of action would be for Square Enix to work on a Geno game with the same basic gameplay.
3. SNES Shadowrun's design. This could easily work. I don't know why no one has worked on this. It'd be perfect for computers though I'd like a Wii version. People underestimate what the Wiimote can do for ported PC games. Anyway, I just want a game with the tone and setting of the SNES Shadowrun. The cool shootouts, ability to hire other Shadowrunners, and keyword system similar to FFII's make the gameplay in Shadowrun special.
2. Soul Blazer's design. Find new villages. Destroy monster nests. Unlock new areas in village. All set to a funky soundtrack. The sequels just never did this game justice.
1. Actraiser's design. I think a developer with enough guts could create a game that's part God of War-knockoff, part God game. The God of War part would have to be simplified, being able to kill off enemies with just a few attacks, instead of having to pull off the same combos over and over until you get the option to perform a fatality. Forget that. Just slash them a few times and make them disappear.