Why "Detective Mode" Is Bad For Players

It's called "focus" in the new Thief, "detective mode" in the Batman: Arkham games and "dark vision" in Dishonored. Whatever it's called, though, it's bad for games and players, Stephen Beirne argues at Paste Magazine.

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thereapersson1520d ago

Always considered stuff like this "Cheating", but it seems to proliferate across multiple games as time goes on so I figured it'd be the way gaming will progress. I have to admit though, using it in The Witcher 2 was quite engaging.

ravinash1520d ago

It's fine if it's part of the game dynamic and is required for the game play to work like in the batman games.
Like everything. it depends on how it is incorporated into the game.

GarrusVakarian1520d ago (Edited 1520d ago )

Im not a fan of all these detective visions in games....but thankfully they are optional. I turned it off in the options menu when i went through The Last Of us and very rarely use it in other games that have it.

I can kinda understand it with certain games though, like the Arkham series for example. But yeah, if you don't like it....turn it off or just don't use it. Simple.

Volkama1520d ago (Edited 1520d ago )

It is too often used as a crutch to help a player when the game isn't as intuitive as it should be. When the objective or path is not clear. Alternatives are objective markers on the interface, or other delayed tips (written or spoken).

There is merit to each approach. 'Detective modes' are not obtrusive, but they do feel like a cheap cheat. Interface markers are intrusive

I favour delayed tips, ideally via NPC chatter or something fitting for the game world.

I can understand the need to help players keep progressing as there is nothing worse than getting stuck on something that isn't even supposed to present a challenge just because it isn't clear what you are supposed to do. What method to use depends entirely on what suits the game..

thereapersson1520d ago

Remember tough games like Tenchu? Not only did you have to deal with stealth-killing all your enemies (NINJA!!!), you had to deal with horrible draw distance. Modern games just can't compete...

Agent_hitman1520d ago

In my opinion it's not cheating, the detective mode or instinct (Hitman) could help to track your enemies, especially if there's too many of them. It's would be hard to finish the game....

ufo8mycat1520d ago

I REALLY recommend people to turn OFF Focus and use Custom Difficulty

Turning Focus off improves the gameplay tremendously, especially since this is a stealth game.

starchild1520d ago

Absolutely. It's really nice how many options Eidos Montreal put in this game. Lots of ways to customize it to your tastes.

It's the most pure stealth game that I have played in a long time and that's awesome.

MightyNoX1520d ago

Haha, I was just thinking this the other day. Batman calls himself the worlds greatest detective = turning on X-Ray vision to highlight clues.

Good article. We need more of these that call out to the dumbing down of gameplay.

CorndogBurglar1520d ago

Batman doesn't call himself the World's Greatest Detective. Its a nickname that was given to him. Likely by people that didn't know he has a win button installed in his helmet.

MightyNoX1520d ago

I know that. Way to miss the point entirely. It's about his reputation not semantics. The devs still saw fit to give us a one-stop crime solving tool.

CorndogBurglar1519d ago


I was clearly being sarcastic. Way to miss the point entirely.

LightofDarkness1520d ago

The problem is that in these games you're not actually "there", i.e. you don't have full sensory awareness of your situation. For instance, you can't smell the game, you can't hear with perfect positional audio (especially without a full 7.1 surround system and a game that supports it) and you can't "feel" your surroundings (temperatures etc.). All you have is your basic visual sense and a very basic audio sense. You need a little help.

FuzzyPixels1520d ago

I disagree to a certain extent. We never needed it before. It wasn't always this way. You learned the behaviour of the AI, you watched and waited and observed and then took your chances.

However, higher budgets, higher risks mean trying to attract a wider audience. That's not a bad thing in and of itself, but the key is balancing. Thief works better without these systems, but they're in there and switched on by default for those who do need some help. That's fine. What isn't fine is when the game's use these overlays as cop-outs.

Shadonic1519d ago

exactly what happened to SC and other games like Halo. I mean whose too say we cant do a sort of batman/ LA.Noire style investigation.

GarrusVakarian1520d ago

I would agree with you, but FuzzyPixels said it perfectly...." We never needed it before".

Turn it off and i guarantee you will be more alert, more immersed and will have a more enjoyable time playing it due to there being nothing to aid you or hold your hand.

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