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How much does the intelligence or believability of enemy AI impact how you feel about a game’s combat?

Content of the article: "How much does the intelligence or believability of enemy AI impact how you feel about a game’s combat?"

I recently played the Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity demo, and while I enjoyed it overall, I found one element to be borderline immersion-breaking: the barely engaged AI enemies. 85% of the baddies on screen just kind of stand there, shifting weight from right to left, barely moving, just waiting for you to massacre them. You can play the demo yourself, stop attacking, and see what I mean.

I get it. This is a musou game. These aren't supposed to be Souls-style enemies or a field full of Sekiro bosses. But still, the Hyrule Warriors games ostensibly want you to feel like a badass. Is it really that satisfying to smash through hordes of bad guys if they're dutifully lining up to be toppled, like bowling pins?

I took stock of a few other games I've played recently, to see if I just have a personal hang up with this sort of thing. Take Hades. Clearly, most of the enemies in Hades aren't especially brilliant. They have a limited set of moves and attack patterns, and you can pretty quickly out-maneuver most of them after a few runs. But honestly? That's fine with me. The enemies in Hades have just enough initiative—and pose just enough of a threat—that I'm not outright distracted by their "low-IQ" style or decision making.

So I think for me, it comes down to whether the enemies at the very least complicate the gameplay in an interesting way. Force me to make choices or react to threats, even if they are simple or easily conquered. Just don't stand in a line and assume I'll feel like a badass.

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Do you feel similarly? I see lots of people who say they really do feel like a badass playing musou games like Age of Calamity. I don't judge you at all. In fact, I'm jealous! I wish I felt the same way. But the potato AI is just too distracting to me.

On the flip side are a few friends of mine who are so used to online competitive games, they are bored with AI of pretty much any stripe. They love the unpredictability of human opponents, but even a Souls boss is too simple, too easily reduced to a series of obvious patterns.

Curious to hear from others, whether on Hyrule Warriors specifically, or enemy AI generally. What does it take for you to be satisfied (or at least not distracted) by a game's AI?


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