Game Design Talk: The Racing Game Wall
For a few days, I was on a roll with Split/Second. I was really enjoying the progression through the career mode and I thought this wouldn’t end like my experiences with Burnout Paradise or Blur, where I hit a figurative brick wall. In both games, I hit a point where I needed “x” amount of points to move onto the next set of challenges, yet I couldn’t muster up the skills to make the necessary progress. At first, I was finishing second or third in my Split/Second races, which was enough to get me to the next episode. However, my lack of perfection eventually caught up.
By the 7th episode (over half way through the game), I once again, hit the wall. It didn’t matter that I could go back to any race in the game to try and better my previous score. It didn’t matter that I had a number of new cars to choose from. At this point, the game needed me to accumulate a certain number of points, and I couldn’t do it. I tried playing the current set repeatedly to get anything decent, but I couldn’t make the grade. I tried going back to previous races, and I couldn’t score any better than what I had previously set. Basically, I was screwed.
All three games have tried to make the experience more non-linear and give players more opportunities to progress, because they didn’t want gamers to get stuck on one particular level and give up. However, all three games eventually need you to have a certain amount of points before you can proceed. In all three cases, I have failed to meet those requirements, regardless of how many chances the game gives me to improve.
I know I’m not the greatest at driving games. However, I feel like there could be a better way to handle progression through a racing game. I don’t know what that is, but I don’t like the idea of how I failed to complete three straight racing games for the exact same reason. Is there a better way? Does Forza’s rewind feature solve this conundrum? Or should I just try to suck less at driving games?
As far as a review for Split/Second goes, it wouldn’t be fair of me to write one. I didn’t make it far enough to pass final judgment. However, I’ll definitely post my impressions in the near future.