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When Clunky Controls Are Better

Content of the article: "When Clunky Controls Are Better"

I've been having a lot of fun with Fall Guys lately. The way your character moves is frequently unpredictable, you spend as much time running as you do stumbling into other people and hitting the ground face first. But it got me thinking: this game wouldn't be nearly as good as it is if the controls were better.

Trying to keep your balance among the complete chaos is what makes the gameplay engaging and, surprisingly, more accessible, because no matter if you're experienced or if you never touched a videogame in your life, everyone will equally have trouble controlling themselves. I'd argue the game wouldn't have such a wide appeal if the controls weren't like this.

Normally, i prefer snappy and ultra-responsive games. Stuff ranging from the Megaman games to Hollow Knight to spectacle fighters like Bayonetta. But i can think of examples where the clunky movement ended up making the game more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

Think about the recent Tomb Raider games. The platforming is pratically automatic, Lara will grab to ledges and jump huge gaps with barely any momentum. Now compare it to the very first game in the series, back on the PS1. Lara felt heavy and slow, and for every jump you would have to line yourself up very well and make sure you caught some speed to clear the gap. You were basically fighting against the controls, but that made the moment to moment gameplay so much more engaging.

Another example would be the PS1 Resident Evil trilogy. Due to the tank controls, every time you found yourself face to face with a monster, you would have to slowly turn around to run. It gave more tension to those moments because you'd never be sure if you had the time to make the turn and escape danger.

Read:  Games with a really good story or characters.

I highly doubt those last two i mentioned were made by design. They were most likely a product of the time and tecnology. But it's still amusing that "worse" controls can add another layer to gameplay, and i wouldn't mind seeing recent games play around with this more.


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