Friday, 22 July 2011

What do you mean I can't load my game?

Apologies for the slight lack of blog posts lately, but real life has been selfishly trying to wrestle my time away from video games to deal with allegedly more important things. Having said that, I have managed to come across something that I believe is whinge-worthy enough to deserve its own post.

I know I’ve moaned a fair bit in the past about stupid games that decide to buck the trend and not include an auto-save function, forcing you to make the effort to record your progress manually. That’s frustrating, yes, but it’s not really game breaking. It just makes you feel stupid if you have a momentary brain fart and forget to press a button. My latest issue is far more severe.

On my travels through Europe in turn-based strategy title STORM: Frontline Nation, I’ve found that it is a good idea to save every turn or two because most countries seem to declare war on you randomly, like they have some kind of anti-diplomacy Tourette’s. Whilst still getting to grips with the game I started to poke the cluster of enemies on my boarder just to see the scale of attack to expect. Needless to say, every soldier I sent to investigate was unnecessarily sent to his death.

Armed with the knowledge of hindsight, I attempt to resurrect my forces by reloading the game. Here’s the really stupid thing; the pause menu has no “Load Game” option or equivalent. I had to quit to the main menu to load the game again, enduring the long load times that I assume wouldn’t be necessary if I was just rewinding a move or two on the game’s map. This seems like too much of a glaringly obvious mistake to be a simple oversight.

If its absence is to stop people like me cheating death, then why is there a save system at all? What’s the point in saving a game if I need to quit it to get back to the position I want? It makes experimentation with the game mechanics very frustrating and long winded, not the kind of thing I want to encounter while trying to learn.

Another game I reviewed earlier in the year also had the same problem. Zombie RTS Trapped Dead had a checkpoint save system, but again, no way to access it from the game’s pause menu. I can’t think of a reasonable explanation as to why there isn’t the option there. It’s bloody maddening to say the least.

Anyway, rant over. Please look forward to some proper content coming soon.

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