Up For Debate - What Are Your Make or Break Game Mechanics?

Written by Jon Sutton on Sun, Sep 3, 2017 3:00 PM

Beneath any innovative game usually lurks an exceptional game mechanic. Without changing something fundamental, a sequel, or any game for that matter, is just retreading old ground.

These innovative mechanics don’t work for everyone though, and the unique spins introduce to a game have been derided as often as they've been loved. Getting that reaction is exactly the sort of thing we want from games though, trying out fresh ideas and hoping some stick.

I’ll kick things off with one make and one break mechanic of my own.

The one that made a game for me was Her Story’s investigative mechanic. If you’re not familiar, Her Story is a simple mystery that unfolds on a single old-school CRT monitor tucked away in a police station. You can click around it to discover extensive interview tapes with a suspect in a murder investigation. The hook is that you can type in any words into the search bar and it trawls the tapes for any matching dialogue. It makes Her Story a wholly unique experience as you’re uncovering the story your own way, flitting around the timeline and attempting to piece it together. It’s simple, it’s intuitive, and it makes you feel smart.

And the one that broke a game for me was Shadow of Mordor’s Nemesis System. For me this was one of the shallowest mechanics papered over a game that was otherwise indistinguishable from Assassin’s Creed. It didn’t take me long to see through it, essentially boiling down to a name, weakness and strength generator. The moment I had a mission to kill four lieutenants was a real low point. I’d already popped a few off, so in order for more lieutenants to roam the battlefield, I had to purposefully kill myself so others got promoted. It felt fundamentally broken and didn’t create the personal tales I felt Monolith claimed it would.

Those are my two, but what are your ultimate make or break game mechanics? Is there a certain mechanic which can instantly turn you off a game? Let us know below!

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11:50 Sep-10-2017

Make : LORE (dragon age, elders scrolls, fallout), i spent the same amount of time in/off-game watching lore videos, reading books/pages about the lore than playing the games itself.


Brake : Timers on main story, example : fallout 1 (first time i played i rushed the game, i was scared to fail the mission), with no timer, i could have explored the game with no pressure.

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08:55 Sep-11-2017

About the first fallout. If I remember correctly once you fix the water pump (or something else regarding the water, not 100% sure) in the vault, the timer stops and you can explore the game as much as you want.

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14:56 Sep-04-2017

Make: Extensive and indepth character creation, good story writing and pacing. Interesting characters.


Break: Added on Multiplayer to otherwise single player games, Micro Transactions and 'Hip' dialogue.

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10:28 Sep-04-2017

Escort missions, I hate those.

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11:19 Sep-05-2017

uh, I totally forgot about them, they are the most annoying ever.

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21:47 Sep-05-2017

Agreed.
Just had a funny thought, how about for a change that the NPC-s protect the player for a change. XD

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08:36 Sep-04-2017

Clunky controls and movement.


And for any part of a game, a company doing shady practices can break it.

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03:12 Sep-04-2017

Make: Extensive weapon/armor customization. I'll spend hours tinkering with my gear if the game allows it.


Break: Excessive time limits of any kind. I like to take my time and explore, and i hate feeling like I'm being penalized for wanting to see more of the game.

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00:47 Sep-04-2017

The mods wont respond, how do I delete my game-debate account and have all my personal information removed?

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22:34 Sep-03-2017

Make - A well told narrative with an attachment to the protagonist.


Break - MICRO TRANSACTIONS!!!

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17:46 Sep-03-2017

  1. Too much timed quest /mission.

  2. Perma death


I'm not sure if those falls into the "game mechanic" category, though

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17:36 Sep-03-2017

annoying mechanics? in shooters being hit slows you or stops you cough Counter Strike cough
wooden mechanics, that are clunky and awful, but visually look good... they don't trick me, sorry devs cough PUBG cough
in racers I dislike poor camera placement and dumb cinematic camera angles when doing a stunt, plus poorly implemented drifting. cough newer NFS titles cough


mechanics that require you to grind like hell to use them, just so that you buy micro-transactions in the game...(way too many for a single example)


in general many, but shallow and super basic mechanics, and just basic and boring mechanics in general cough GTA cough


poor freerun/parkour mechanics, where you can do parkour/freerun only in scripted/pre-determined places.(way too many for an example)

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17:38 Sep-03-2017

Another one in shooters is when the bullets go all over the place and the animation of the weapon and in general the logic for them to land there considering where you are aiming is none cough Counter Strike and various other(again) cough

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11:32 Sep-04-2017

If you keep coughing you shouldbgo see a doctor ;P

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13:08 Sep-04-2017

I know

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21:57 Sep-03-2017

So if you think being shot in a game to make you move slow is a dumb mechanic lets see what happens if someone would shoot you in real life and see if you start to move faster then because the point of being shot at is not to make you run faster cause really that isn't an annoying mechanic it is a realistic mechanic.

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08:02 Sep-04-2017

no my problem is that you are being slowed down to snail speed only when you are hit and then you run as if nothing happened and in real life if have shot down animals, shooting them does NOT slow them, unless you land a killing blow.

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22:35 Sep-04-2017

There is a think in our bodies as well which is called adrenaline which makes us keep on moving even when being shot at.

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11:20 Sep-05-2017

see, or being hit by the body of a granade before exploding, again stops you completely in CS:GO and it does NOT damage you either...
And yes you just confirmed that we continue to move after being shot.

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01:28 Sep-07-2017

I have played all versions of counter strike and in non of them do you go through a complete stop unless you are shot by an AWP which renders you dead and yes you are stopped.

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17:32 Sep-03-2017

Quicktime events. 'Nuff said.

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11:45 Sep-05-2017

I personally find well made quick-time events really nice and they do add up to make finishing kills cinematic, I mean after you have killed be boss, why NOT add some more gameplay that looks awesome, but still requires some execution?

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17:09 Sep-03-2017

The way Enderal takes away player control without making it feel like a cutscene is stunning. As for a game breaker, name any "feature" in a fifa game.

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16:46 Sep-03-2017

this is always outrageous for me:
1) when certain actions share same hotkey (such as grab+loot+use for ex. on E key)
2) when camera suddenly swings the way I totally don't need (assassin's creed and other parkour-paced games, drifting camera in games like NFS Carbon..)
3) when I cannot jump up or down off a platform, or need to climb only at specific point only (farcry, mad max, tomb raider and plenty other games)

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17:10 Sep-03-2017

camera control is always an issue on 3rd person games, it's more surprising to me when it works well than when it doesn't

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09:27 Sep-04-2017

3) you havent played sherlock holmes the devils daughter,you basically wasted an hour minimum cause your buddy sherlock doesnt wanna act like a normal person would and jump from here to there.

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15:18 Sep-03-2017

When the assassins creed games became to easy to finish.

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15:32 Sep-03-2017

That's not really a mechanic though... Why did they become too easy?

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17:01 Sep-03-2017

because he got better at the games and the assassins creed mechanisms

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17:08 Sep-03-2017

Nah, the combat became too simple in the later games.

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17:44 Sep-03-2017

LOL try saying tht same thing for Unity.

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08:38 Sep-04-2017

Combat became more complicated as the AC series progressed, and the games were never hard.

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17:47 Sep-03-2017

assassin's creed games are noob friendly

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21:27 Sep-03-2017

Yup. I started playing the series mainly for the sorry, but after they finished with Ezio, the game kinda lost it's soul.

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08:39 Sep-04-2017

No it didn't it had other great stories and AC was never meant to be hard to begin with...

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21:50 Sep-05-2017

I agree that there were other great stories, but for me it never felt the same (and that's ok, but I guess I get to attached ;).
Desmon had a great impact on the series for me personally.

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09:28 Sep-04-2017

the game that had real good combat was revelations,as combat was much more complicated than,say black flag,where certain enemies need certain ways to be killed,and its not hard you can always run away if your a noob.

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21:52 Sep-05-2017

I actually had more of an issue with the older games, because my laptop wasn't strong enough. I would get like 15, 16 fps and had to anticipate the enemy action before they attacked. XD

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21:53 Sep-05-2017

Sorry (wanted to say the newer games, not older), my bad.

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15:22 Sep-06-2017

i fell ya, i played skyrim on lowest possible resolution,and when i put it to 720p on my laptop,I felt glorified xD

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17:12 Sep-06-2017

I've been there.
Hell I'm still there. XD

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17:12 Sep-06-2017

With some games at least.

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