Game Design

The Pitfall of Brute-Froce Skills In Game Design

Brute-force skills are a pitfall in game design that appear to be an easy means to extreme competitive depth, but aren't satisfying to play because they misunderstand the point of depth.

Depth in game design

If your combat system consists of "react fast enough to avoid damage and counterattack; tougher enemies just require faster reactions and have higher health/damage", then your game won't be able to get very hard because reaction speed is somewhat of a brute-force skill. Players can't become reaction gods just by practicing.

To make depth, you have to offer meaningful decisions, not just demand superhuman reactions. Another skill like this is button mashing speed: screw games that make you tap a button six times a second to escape a grab or something. That's not skill; you can either do it or you can't and it's mostly a physical limitation.

That exact one is actually why I was forced to abandon my hardest-difficulty playthrough of The Force Unleashed 2. On the final mission, I needed to rapid-tap a button to force open a door and because the designers are morons the required frequency scales with the combat difficulty (which, also because the designers are morons, is unadjustable inside of a playthrough). I just couldn't tap it fast enough.

Difficulty settings

Jedi: Fallen Order is a game that's quite deep but not hard to understand.

Jedi: Fallen Order


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