Up For Debate - The Best Game Mechanics

Written by Neil Soutter on Sat, Jul 25, 2015 4:00 PM
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Behind every game we play is a set of mechanics. Rules and systems which govern how we interact with it, which together comprise how a game feels. Think of Mario’s jump from the original Super Mario Bros, and you see a basic concept executed practically perfectly. As the player you know almost instantaneously his capabilities, how high and how far you can go.

Each and every game features mechanics, usually an amalgamation of gaming past. Every so often though, something comes along and tries and something new. Something which raises the bar and begins cropping up in nearly every game after it. Think Batman: Arkham Asylum’s combat, or Assassin’s Creed’s free-climbing abilities, or Max Payne’s slow-motion Bullet Time.

Arguably these game mechanics begin life as gimmicks, but over the years the best of the best become almost predictably commonplace. Often you find yourself wondering why it hadn't been thought of before, particularly in regards to things as obvious as reloading. It’s bizarre to think, but aside from light-gun games at arcades, System Shock and GoldenEye were the first FPS games to introduce reloading.

Anyway, I opened up this discussion so we can chat about our favourite game mechanics. Anything’s permissible from any genre here, so it’s really open-ended, but it’s basically your favourite gameplay hooks.

I’ll kick things off with Alien: Isolation. This one’s probably become a bit cliché already in the 10 months or so since its release, but I believe Alien: Isolation’s save system was the thing that made it a success above all else. Yep, the areas seen in the movies were recreated with stunning detail, the alien was a systemic, self-learning terror, and it had some excellent stealth, but the resolutely old-school save points made the whole experience as nerve-shreddingly tense as it is.

In an age of checkpoints and quick-saves ensuring you never lose progress, the save machines in Alien: Isolation were a stroke of genius. While they were spaced quite close to one another, the alien’s intense speed and lethality meant your movement was often slowed to an inching crawl from safety to safety, ensuring even getting in sight of these points was a relief. Getting to the save point was one thing, but the 1,2,3 bleep of the save machine would have you impatiently banging the controls, listening out for the dreaded sound of impending doom. A few seconds was often all that stood between save safety or headlining a Xenomorph buffet.

Over to you then, what are some of your favourite gaming mechanics from gaming past and present?

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07:08 Jul-27-2015

Well playing Starcraft 2, I can say that, unlike other RTS games, it has this micro mechanics that is different from any other RTS, even WC3, as Blizzard game.

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06:34 Jul-27-2015

Swordplay in Kingdoms Rise

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04:22 Jul-27-2015

FarCry 3's Combat mechanic is one of the best for FPS, it's kinda mix shooting mechanic from 3rd Person shooter to First person perspective. Especially the cover mechanic which is fluid and really has protection value in it because your whole body covered in desired cover.

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00:29 Jul-27-2015

I know I'll probably be downvoted for this, but I really enjoyed Blade Mode in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It actually made you feel like you were wielding a razor sharp sword rather than a blunt instrument.

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20:37 Jul-26-2015

Half-Life 2 physics allows you to grab and build anything, it's the best ever. So many source mods out there. (Garry's mode !!!)

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12:16 Jul-26-2015

yu gi oh power of chaos and all the mods...absolutely awesome mechanics , love those games

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11:40 Jul-26-2015

I love Skyrim for possibility to literally put anything into each hand, with dual spellcasting possible too;
Dishonored has pretty interesting powers too, overall game mechanics being interesting (sadly not AI),
Company of Heroes, DoW:Warhammer 40K have great strategy units control in groups, so gameplay feels smoother than for ex. Age of Empires,
NFS: Underground 2 has arcade driving model which is really pleasure to play

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09:44 Jul-26-2015

I would say Borderlands series...Never played FPS RPG before.

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07:43 Jul-26-2015

Bethesda's mountain climbing mechanics are pretty good.

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07:54 Jul-26-2015

well played sir

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08:43 Jul-26-2015

"Physics ? Bitch, I'm a horse ! " :))))))

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07:29 Jul-26-2015

Yeah, I'm gonna say it. I LOVE the way Battlefield 3 runs. Feels like it had more character than 4.

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06:24 Jul-26-2015

Warcraft 3's RPG system,Dawn of war's RPG system,Timeshift's Rewind.and everything in GUN

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12:15 Jul-26-2015

Oh yes warcraft 3 and frozen throne, ingenious work...

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06:16 Jul-26-2015

Minecraft's Destruction.


Just Kidding.


On topic. Bad Company 2's destruction was fun to mess around with.

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06:03 Jul-26-2015

Prolly got to be the enviromental attacks and combat on sleeping dogs

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05:53 Jul-26-2015

Singularity's slowmosniper bullet and time manipulation

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05:44 Jul-26-2015

Sniper Elite Series' thing which shows anatomy as the bullet enters the body

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07:05 Jul-27-2015

I think best thing about Sniper Elite series is physics. Even at first SE, that was released at 2005, movements of a character that you're controlling were astonishing! And also bullet travelling while wind affects it! Reason why Sniper Elite is one of my favorite games! :)

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02:19 Jul-26-2015

Titanfall introduced parkour into mainstream competitive first person shooters. It's a great combo. It's like shinobi with guns.

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03:19 Jul-26-2015

To be fair, Brink did it first, the game just sucked

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06:02 Jul-26-2015

and though it's a third person game.... it's always been a huge part of Warframes gameplay..... and Warframe doesn't suck.

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15:06 Jul-26-2015

I like Warframe. It provided great eighth-gen visuals at a reasonable amount of hardware intensity. Most AAA games' visual are bloated. The only things that bothered me was the large deadzone and the lack of customization unless you spent money.

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01:02 Jul-26-2015

Mirrors edge parcour. Just insane

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01:02 Jul-26-2015

I wholeheartedly agree with you. The save system and the way the Alien gets smarter as the game goes on were both the selling points for me.

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23:39 Jul-25-2015

Bulletstorm kickass to all of this,remember sniper bullet navigation then foot kicking ....

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22:40 Jul-25-2015

I just finished Transistor. Its combat is quite unique i think.

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06:26 Jul-26-2015

yep,it's an amazing game.

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