Up For Debate - What Are Some of Your Favourite Tutorials in Games?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sat, May 13, 2017 5:00 PM
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Teaching players how to play is a tricky process these days. Teaching a dedicated gamer the fundamental mechanics of a game is a tricky enough, while newbies are probably left bewildered by the array of controls and options found in the typical game these days. While a lot of us taking certain game design tropes for granted, others don’t, meaning tutorials are a necessity in just about every game these days. What form they take is where things interesting, however, and there’s a real art in creating a tutorial that’s both great at teaching new players the fundamentals, while also keeping experienced gamers engrossed for the duration.

The vast majority of games sadly don’t quite this right. Just about every RTS is a bewildering array of text pop-ups that expect you to instantly memorise a stream of data. They do next to nothing at teaching you high-level tactics and often fail at even allowing the player to learn the finer points of the interface. It usually boils down to ‘click here’, ‘place building here’, ‘move the unit from here to here and right click to attack’. It’s painting by numbers, which is about as useful for learning to paint as playing Guitar Hero is for learning guitar, let alone be a military general.

One of my particular favourite tutorials to hate on was the original Driver. This forced the player to perform a complex series of driving manoeuvres, against the clock, in a multi-storey car park. It’s the sort of hair-tugging challenge reserved for post-game tests, but you need to be able to perform ridiculous hand brake turns, parallel parking and reverse cornering before you can even begin the story. Poor little 10-year-old me never even got past the tutorial. Sad but true.

How games look to get around the process is where things get interesting. Some prefer to segregate a tutorial off into its own separate menu icon, others integrate them into the campaign. Some back up the tutorial with story elements, while others just list out a series of gameplay mechanics to be completed. Some are skippable for returning players, some are essential playing for narrative reasons. Heck, some tutorials last five minutes, while others can go on for more than 20 hours - I’m looking at you, Dragon Quest. The end result being that no one can settle on what makes the perfect tutorial.

For me personally, the stand-out examples in recent times are The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Prey. The latter has disappointed me with the walls of text it jarringly pops up sometimes, but aside from this, the opening 20-30 minutes are a fantastic example of integrating story with gameplay fundamentals. It’s a strong way to familiarise the player with the basics of Prey. As for Zelda, its intro is practically peerless. It’s the sort of game that only gets worse the longer you play, however, those opening moments are sublime. Within about 30 seconds you’re let loose into a microcosm of the actual open-world, free to do what you what and just generally mess around. It’s a fantastic taste of what the actual game has in store, and it’s refreshingly light of intrusion. Learn by doing rather than being told.

So what do you think are some of the better examples? What are the greatest gaming tutorials you think of? Are they something to be savoured, or do you just skip past them as quickly as possible? Let us know!

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17:35 May-14-2017

Gran Turismo licences (if you would even called them tutorials but they do teach you how to approach turns and whatnot)


Gran Turismo licences were always cool IMO, and it did help a bunch after getting all gold in gran turismo 2 with my driving, althought getting gold medals were tough.

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13:51 May-14-2017

Titanfall 2 has a great tutorial. Especially because in the end you can decide to spend so much time in it beating your best time.

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12:13 May-14-2017

I liked the "tutorials" of outlast (1) and Hitman 2016, all introducing different things you can do and environment items you can utilise as you go through the gameplay step-by-step. I also enjoyed the sniper ghost warrior tutorial.

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11:50 May-14-2017

Tutorial island on Runescape. The memories

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10:50 May-14-2017

Dark Souls games. Everything in those games is perfect.

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07:41 May-14-2017

307 hours in FF 14 and I STILL have a "noob" icon next to my name in game lol

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09:00 May-15-2017

Hey there, you have to complete ARR main story and have 168hrs playtime to get the new player status disappear. If you want to, you can also permanently turn it off by typing "/nastatus off" in the chat box. :)

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09:40 May-15-2017

Thanks for the info, I've beaten Ultimate Weapon and now I'm doing the next selection of of Quests so it shouldn't to too long now (I have a tendency to LVL up other classes for the fun of it) :)

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12:23 May-15-2017

You're welcome :) I too enjoy lvling on that game. Cannot wait for next expansion launching next month, because Heavensward was a blast ;)

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07:10 May-14-2017

Tales of Berseria: tutorials till the final boss fight...

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05:26 May-14-2017

Metal Gear Solid VR Training.

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05:18 May-14-2017

Most people find boot camps boring but i miss them. Maybe it is nostalgia. Look right, look left, jump, run, shoot, you are ready to fight. This type of tutorial can be found in old COD and MOH games and in Half Life. Titanfall 2's tutorial can be given as a modern example to this.

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02:54 May-14-2017

Hitman blood money !
I was fascinated by the first tutorial mission

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11:04 May-14-2017

Hell yeah!

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02:50 May-14-2017

Demon Souls, it took me a week to finally passed it

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02:23 May-14-2017

Far Cry Blood Dragon
youtube.com/watch?v=pItOJfE_GYg

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08:25 May-14-2017

"basic tutorial batch 101 from military navigation for idiot" haha. fckin spider. hahaha

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11:05 May-14-2017

Loved that one! The whole game is essentially a poke of fun at all the stupid modern stuff AND the old action stuff :D

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00:50 May-14-2017

Destroy All Humans

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23:51 May-13-2017

I really liked Prey's tutorial since it was very basic. It was nice since most games hold your hands too much these days.

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22:31 May-13-2017

Dark Souls/Bloodborne of course

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21:00 May-13-2017

Project Zomboid's is good. You can't beat the tutorial, which fits in with the game as you can't beat the game. You eventually die.
They tell you to press "Q" which is the shout button... Then the horde comes.


Recently, it's been Prey's tutorial though, or lack thereof. It made me realize how hand-holding games are. I lacked so much common sense because I was expecting the game to give me things as I progressed.

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20:18 May-13-2017

Titanfall 2's tutorial, near the end, with its leaderboard-style time trial, is a pretty good way of testing the player's use of everything they've learned about combat, freerunning, and all the other pilot mechanics (minus piloting a Titan). I tried that part of the tutorial over and over for close to two hours, and I still couldn't get to even the middle of the leaderboard. It was really trying my patience, but I realize that it's very useful for learning to use those mechanics, especially in multiplayer. Oh and I know the story about the player who

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20:19 May-13-2017

who got the best time, and apparently still holds the record, and Respawn added in his name to the top of the board in the tutorial :D So that's cool.

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20:10 May-13-2017

Valve are great with tutorials.Rather than words, they use examples to explain things.


They introduced new enemies by having them attack NPC's see them lurking in the background.
They introduced new mechanics by giving you random exercises to do involving said object. If it was deadly, they'd let you know.

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19:53 May-13-2017

Assassin's creed 2's tutorial was the hardest one I've ever played.

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19:52 May-13-2017

Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. White Orchard was a great way to get a small sample of what to expect and how to properly handle it all.

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