Emerald Hawk wrote:Regenerating health can be a valid design decision. It eliminates the problem of having saved at low health and thus having to tediously retry a section over and over. On the other hand it dilutes the satisfaction of completing a section while taking little to no damage, since you can just heal up after every fight. Personally I like the hybrid approach used by games like Metroid Other M where you can regenerate some small portion of your health bar.
I prefer games that make a new autosave at the beginning of each map. If you chew through all your medkits and end up in a situation you can't win... well, too bad junior, fire up that autosave and suck less this time. Maybe allow them to change the difficulty on the fly in case they were playing on Normal and they need to kick it down to Easy to get past a section.
Regenerating health is just a dumb concept overall. Gimme medkits and shieldpacks, please.
A limit of two weapons only I'm much less fond of. Often the "best" strategy in such games is also the most boring: use the one weapon you find tons of ammo for to kill all the mooks, while saving the really good (but limited ammo) weapon for a possible "boss" fight which may or may not be coming up soon. Thus ignoring all the really cool but highly situational weapons. This can leads to lame, repetetive gameplay and removes the strategy of picking the best weapon for the job. I also find the time spent looking through the pile of weapons after a fight and picking the best two to be a tedious exercise in inventory management, something I can tolerate in an RPG but that really breaks the flow in an action FPS. In a game series known for pioneering the use of the shrink ray and frost gun in an FPS, this makes me a bit sad that Duke would go this route.
It cuts both ways. With the whole "you can only carry two weapons" thing, it forces you to make the best with what's available. Problem is, this means most developers get lazy (and/or are terrified of making it too hard for the people that can do little more than mash buttons) and just throw weapons all over the place, usually with sniper rifles immediately before sniping sections and rocket launchers immediately before set-piece vehicle battles. The demo does EXACTLY this.
With the "carry a small armory with you" concept, you're free to design areas around someone having access to every weapon in the game, and you're again making it important for the player to understand ammo rationing and using the right weapon for the job - again, not something the average CoD/Halo-playing frat boy is likely to understand or even care about, which is why it's rare these days. You do end up with the typical BFG never being used except in boss fights, but I don't really see that as a major problem. An even better part of this design is that if the player runs out of a particular ammo type, as long as they aren't REQUIRED to have that weapon to get through the next area (in which case you really should have some ammo pickups for that type in the area), they can probably use a different gun and get through based on ingenuity and/or balls of steel (fuck you, I will kill that Cyberdemon with my pistol because my balls are just that huge.)
As far as the DNF demo went, it's essentially Halo running a Duke Nukem mod. It's not Duke... at least, not the Duke we all knew and loved from 15 years ago.
The game engine itself is pretty lousy, too, honestly. It doesn't look all amazing - I'd say Source with all settings maxed out looks better and also performs better.