Player movement and verticality

Lowlife

Ripe
Mallius Odium
Immemorial
Ageless
Mar 27, 2019
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Something I would personally love to see is distinct class based vertical locomotion. For example the vampire being able to jump great heights/scaling walls with unparalleled finess and whatnot. The option to stalk and attack from roof tops and the sort would seem amazingly fitting for an apex predator of the likes and has been represented in many forms of media for countless years. While that would make sense for a vampire, personally I wouldn't think it would be fitting for a class like the revenant. If anything maybe jumping to great heights or very clumsily digging their finger tips into the side of a building to travel up the side. How you guys feel about such a thing, and what other types of vertical movement would you like to see other classes perform?
 
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derula

Herr Pfannkuchen
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Grim Scribe
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I never got into the gameplay of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, but I was very surprised by the verticality in its gameplay. Especially since it's one of the earliest 3D games. Sometimes it could be very annoying (high-flying bats you can't lock onto), but at other times it showed very clever puzzle design that required you to tile the camera up.

Now obviously we have some newer games with a vertical component - such as climbing buildings in Assassin's Creed - but I feel like even in these examples you're rarely required to account for that third dimension. That is, usually your camera can remain facing straight, and you only occasionally need to tilt it up or down slightly.

Many aspects of OoT were picked up by later games, but this one, it seems to me, not as much. It's possible that it just doesn't translate well to some genres, or that there are general problems with it that I'm missing. However, in OoT, setting aside the unfortunate camera, it mostly felt very rewarding to me to figure out such vertical puzzles. (I should add I was playing the 3DS remake, so improved graphical hints and stereoscopic 3D may have helped me there.)

So I wouldn't mind seeing another game take a shot at something like that.
 
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Elveone

Decayed
Herald of the Dead
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Ageless
Mar 28, 2019
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I like the idea of different traversal styles on paper but I think there's a severe problem with actually implementing that style of movement.

The latest Avengers game serves as a great demonstration of these problems. In Avengers there are basically 4 different traversal methods besides simply jumping - flying, grappling hooks, double-jump and wall running, and last - hanging on to walls.

Flying is just that - flying. And it renders any platforming challenge absolutely obsolete.

The grappling hook feels probably the best in this case - you still have to plan your travel path well in order to fully utilize it and it is a fun mechanic.

Wall-running and double jump is okayish and would be perfectly comfortable if the previous two traversal methods were not in the game. The way it is now it feels unnecessarily hard if not impossible to get to some places and it is just frustrating especially in a group.

The same goes for the last method - hanging on to walls - but it is mostly the implementation. That method is actually better at times for getting to high places but for some reason the game does not allow you to hang to every wall and there is no indication where you can hang and where you cannot so you have guess. Moreover you can only jump off the wall and not move on it while hanging and those jumps are helluva imprecise. Overall it feels very clunky as a style of movement.

The problem is that those methods are not equal. I think flying outright shouldn't be in any action-adventure game. Floating and gliding with optional air upstreams to gain altitude - sure, but straight-up flying - no. It trivializes platforming circumvents any traversal-based puzzles but outright ignoring them. For similar reasons I don't like the different characters to have different abilities when it comes to traversal - you have to design the level in order to let the most mobility-challenged character through and that often trivializes the traversal for any other characters that have higher versatility when it comes to mobility. Of course you can design pathways for multiple character types but that actually splits the party for an obstacle and then they meet back together and that feels cheap. You can have areas with secrets or rare items that can be reached only by a particular character but when you find such a secret area with a character of inappropriate type it just feels punishing for no reason and I don't think that is a good design as well.

When it comes to traversal abilities though I would welcome as many as can be made available with some caveats.

I like the double jumps and grappling hook as traversal mechanics as long as the grappling hook's range is not infinite. Wall-running is okay and I think it can be pretty fun when done right. All of these present a more action-y and less cerebral approach to traversal but overall but they are a good skill-check and result in very fun gameplay.

I severely dislike wall-climbing on any surface because it tends to have the same problem as flying - it makes platforming far too easy. It is the reason Assassin's Creed has always been a disappointing action-adventure for me despite the great visuals it has always had. I dislike the system even when there is a stamina bar attached to it like the way it is done in Breath of the Wild although it is a lot better. Wall climbing on particular surfaces is welcome as it can result in some great traversal puzzles.

On the more cerebral side of things I would like to mention things like conditional teleportation between two set points, turning into mist to go through grates, having the ability to switch to an alternative dimension of the world with altered geography, having a very long-distance grappling hook that only attaches to particular surfaces, floating/gliding with air movements playing a crucial role in ascending and potentially descending, moving parts of the environment. The combination of those elements usually result in a very pleasant variety of puzzles and are basically the basis of a lot of action-adventure games.

Of course all of the above is written from a perspective of an action-adventure fan who likes puzzles in his games. If the game is to be purely focused on action then the traversal abilities serve as only as combat tools and atmospheric differences between different characters and not as puzzle elements and those can be balanced a lot more easily.
 
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Lowlife

Ripe
Mallius Odium
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Mar 27, 2019
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I hadn't thought about that. Some of the locomotion could break puzzles and whatnot. Teleportation for the liche sounds awesome though!
 

Livin

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Mar 20, 2019
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Liche- Teleportation to areas within their field of view, all the way up to the horizon if unobstructed

Vampire- Projects themselves in the form of mist or a colony of bats, like the Reaver's shadow step ability from Nosgoth or Kain bat form from Blood Omen

Revenant- Channel the fires of their rage to propel their bodies like a rocket, with advancement it could lead to something on the level of Ironman

Ghoul- Forcefully climb any structure and leap great distances through brute strength

Banshee- Levitating from one from spot to the next, with advancement able to hover indefinitely

Wraith- Hooked chains erupting from their body to quickly grapple from place to place

Wight (don't know enough yet to say)

Edit
Perhaps the wights could endue and manipulate their environment with their energy, causing it to shift temporarily into something that they can traverse (like the shifting in Soul Reaver but without the dimensional shifting).
 
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