PlayStation games all have the exact same problem right now
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Featured Image Credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Nothing breaks the sense of immersion like a character that won’t stop talking. Since the old days of Navi boring us to death in Ocarina of Time, there’s a tendency for developers to show a disturbing lack of faith in the cognitive ability of their players. This issue is perhaps most prevalent in PlayStation’s two big hitters of 2022: God of War Ragnarök and Horizon Forbidden West.
Look, I like both of these games. Visually they’re both stunning, especially Forbidden West, and there are some excellent stories within each title. Add to that some great exploration and fun combat, and there’s really very little to quarrel with. That is until Aloy or Atreus open their damn mouths during the gameplay.
Speaking of God of War Ragnarök, here’s the first boss fight against Thor
It seems that no puzzle can be left to my own brain to solve in either of the PlayStation titles I’ve mentioned above. In Ragnarök, I scarcely arrive at a problem to solve before Atreus or Mimir see fit to blurt out the solution. “Have you tried it from above?”, Mimir condescendingly asks while I’m literally climbing to gain a higher vantage point. Maybe Kratos should’ve left the smartest head in Niflheim at home.
But that’s nothing compared to Horizon Forbidden West. Aloy never - and I mean never - shuts up while playing this game. I’m barely through the threshold of a doorway and the Nora Seeker is already dictating the play. She not only tells me what to do before I can see the puzzle in question, but seemingly states every other thought in her head. Honestly Aloy sharing isn’t always caring, you can keep your inner monologue to yourself sometimes. And please stop telling me how to use crates. I know we can climb them, we do it every five minutes!
I’m not saying it’s always unappreciated. It can be handy when Atreus states we’ve probably seen everything in an area, a gentle prompt that we’re free to mosey on. Same when Aloy drops a little reminder about what we need to do while I’m traversing the open world, because that stops me from wandering too far away from a mission I’m keen to complete.
The thing is, these moments are few and far between compared to the spoilers we’re being peppered with in these titles. It’s at a point where I’m very aware I’m playing a video game, and a good single-player RPG should never have that effect unless it stands to gain from it. I’m not asking for Elden Ring levels of obtuseness here, just a little bit of trust in my own comprehensive skills is all.
I’m obviously not going to stop playing God of War Ragnarök or Horizon Forbidden West over this, but I have to admit I’m less excited to load either game up because of this smudge on two otherwise very good titles. It’s a little thing but it grates on me, and it’s such a shame that developers keep making this mistake.