24

Take A Hint

November 16, 2022 by Tim

I am loving God of War: Ragnarok. It’s incredible, GOTY contender, all that good stuff.

But… they need to do something about these hints. The banter between the characters as you’re traveling is one of my favorite things about these past two God of War games, but in this one it seems like the characters cannot wait to tell you how to do the puzzles.

I have walked into a new area, and within literally seconds Atreus is telling me “hey, try lifting that platform right there” or “Hey, I think there’s a lever hidden behind this bush.” Goddamn, can I get a moment to look around, please? Before you’re solving these puzzles for me?

On some level, I can appreciate it as part of the banter; it makes these traveling companions more real, in that they are also noticing things and making suggestions. But ultimately, why did you design a puzzle for me if you’re just going to have the AI blurt out unsolicited hints right away?

Despite all of the wonderful sliders to tweak the game experience, I cannot find one to shut up the hints (it doesn’t seem to change with the difficulty, I’m playing on Give Me No Mercy). And its not like other games haven’t solved this issue; a simple button prompt to have a companion put voice to a hint still gives you that banter, but keeps agency in the hands of the player.

They’re often not hard puzzles, but some of them are pretty clever this-then-that sequence-of-event type things that are fun to work out. Or would be, if the AI weren’t backseat gaming. And of course, on the few that really stumped me for a few minutes? Oh, THEN Atreus has nothing to offer.

Hopefully we’ll get a patch/setting to reduce their willingness to chime in with hints.


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Rake
Rake
14 days ago

If I’m not mistaken, you can deactivate hints in the accessibility settings.

Aichon
Aichon
14 days ago
Reply to  Tim

You can’t disable it entirely, but it’s worth a mention that you can slow them down so they’re not so eager via the Puzzle Timing menu option. Setting it to Extended+ will buy you some time.

Aichon
Aichon
14 days ago
Reply to  Tim

I had seen that same article, but I initially read it to mean that you can’t disable the banter entirely, but you could delay it. On a reread though, I think you’re right. Thanks for the correction.

Stef
Stef
14 days ago

yeah, that’s modern games all right.

Not all of them ofcourse, but it’s become the standard

Soag
Soag
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef

Appealing to a wider audience which resuts in dumbing down said audience… I loved old games for how unforgiving they could be at times. Those were the moments you remembered for years. Race in Mafia 1, RC helicopter in old Vice City, some puzzles in old Tomb Raider games (especially with their graphics), the wonky dream section in Max Payne not to mention the old point and click games which had some OVERCOMPLICATED puzzles and you really had to put those grey cells to work. You knew they can be hard, you knew they can be unforgiving but you also… Read more »

Dehnus
Dehnus
14 days ago
Reply to  Soag

As “HEY LISTEN! HEY LISTEN! HEY LISTEN!” wasn’t a meme far before that. jeez. What a long way say that games should only cater to “MEEeeeeeeee!”

Soag
Soag
14 days ago
Reply to  Dehnus

You a troll or something?

Alex
Alex
14 days ago
Reply to  Soag

Kinda funny that of the three specific things you mentioned, every one of them is remembered as being poorly-designed, not fun to play, and probably the worst parts of their respective games that were otherwise very highly-regarded (maybe an asterisk for Max Payne because that part is at least narratively really cool, if very tedious to actually play). I mean agree that a lot of the modern hand-holdiness is obnoxious, but “back in my day, games were better because they had shitty unfun parts” is kind of a weird point to make.

Ashe Frost
Ashe Frost
14 days ago
Reply to  Soag

in this point, my moment is the step from morrowwinds ” year a cave by the tree thats only have leave to the south near the town of mglhflitz” to oh look a arrow pointing in this direction in oblivion

Last edited 14 days ago by Ashe Frost
chargersfan
chargersfan
14 days ago
Reply to  Soag

Going to date myself here, but for me, the games that had parts that were impossible to get past were the Battletoads/Double Dragon game where you have to take those jet skis through the sewers, and the original text-based Hitchhiker’s Guide, where looking up the solution as an adult, I never would have figured that out as a kid. I’d get as far as the Heart of Gold before being completely lost. Of course, familiarity with the source material might have been of some use.

Robert
Robert
14 days ago
Reply to  chargersfan

It was. I loved the books, and the game was pretty much just a run through for me. The one I remember was Return To Zork. There was a part where you had to put a bra in a furnace to get a wire that would let you then pick a lock. Poor young me never got that one, having no clue that (some) bras had wires in them.

Kelibath
Kelibath
9 days ago
Reply to  Robert

I’m an adult with a pretty sizeable bosom and I’d still never get that puzzle solution. Why? Because I’d *never* imagine you might need a furnace to tease out an underwire. Twenty seconds of robust stretching’ll do it.

Swiftbow
Swiftbow
12 days ago
Reply to  chargersfan

I hit that wall in King’s Quest V, where young me did not realize that the only way to figure out the desert was to die ON PURPOSE over and over so you could map the entire thing. I got frustrated and quit well before that happened.

Casper
Casper
13 days ago
Reply to  Soag

It’s really not as simple as “dumbing down”. Modern titles are international and expect to sell well around the world. A lot of puzzles can be (obviously, or not so obviously) based on cultural assumptions. This means that providing robust hints are essential for a lot of customers who are not “dumb”. It’s still an issue how fast they provide them though…

Bakhtosh
Bakhtosh
12 days ago
Reply to  Casper

Seems like an easy fix. NPC says, “hey, I found something.” You can choose to look around or go talk to them and get the hint.

LaggyKar
LaggyKar
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef

Yeah, I had the same issue with Horizon Forbidden West. And Ratchet & Clank on PS4 was really bad about this (notably telling you in a voice-over that you can’t breathe underwater, every single time you swim).

leduk
leduk
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef

nothing to do with “modern”, it’s not really new, and absolutely not all of recent games are like that.

Logan
Logan
14 days ago
Reply to  Stef

The new Star Ocean is like this.. And I *get* it. Not everyone can commit to hours of play at a time, more and more lately. But do we *really* need to make the entire party seem just… dumb, or always amnesiac?! We JUST came from town B! Why are you reminding me how to get back there, 10 minutes later!? Lol (pretty much every time you enter a zone. “We need to go *this* way” Yeah, thanks.. the way point on the map was already enough.)

Almost 20 hours in, and its still a fun game over all though.

Last edited 14 days ago by Logan
Acher4
Acher4
14 days ago

Unironically, I didn’t know of the “Left” thing (not an english speaker).
That’s funny interesting.

JKneedsalongeralias
JKneedsalongeralias
14 days ago
Reply to  Acher4

Same here, had a good laugh..

Paul
Paul
14 days ago
Reply to  Acher4

(Also not a native English speaker)

I memorized which direction is left and which is right because of the SNES controller

Swiftbow
Swiftbow
12 days ago
Reply to  Acher4

This is actually the first I’ve ever heard of it. I don’t think this is a ubiquitous thing, even in English.

Daniel Sørensen
Daniel Sørensen
14 days ago

This! For now, this is my only real gripe. I’m still getting through the story (having a baby makes that process slow), but fucking hell do I want a change to look at stuff. Also, my brain is geared to go the opposite way of the “correct” one, to explore and find secrets/loot. And sure, they do add some great dialog for this in one section of the game, but otherwise, Atreus is like: Dad, that is the wrong way. Try this lever to move forward. Hey dad, have you noticed this lever, that is not located down the optional… Read more »

MasterofBalance
MasterofBalance
14 days ago

I feel this. The hand-holding was just as bad in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

TimeViewer
TimeViewer
14 days ago

This, unfortunately, is in a lot of games. The “treat the player like they’re an idiot mechanic”. I play an online game that, not long ago, added companions. My character is over level 2100 yet the companions feel the need to advise me as if I’d never played a game in my life. I kinda wanna smack em…

no thanks nintendo
no thanks nintendo
14 days ago

Sounds like God of War went full Skyward Sword. Never go full Skyward Sword.

Grim
Grim
14 days ago

Art imitating life – Atreus acting like a typical, know-it-all teenager.

Kaogen
Kaogen
14 days ago

I haven’t played it myself, but remember seeing a clip where someone got like three hints in under a minute for what to do.
I feel like these sort of hints should be only enabled by default for the easier difficulties (for if you’re just there for the story and don’t care about puzzles or combat) with the option to turn the on for normal+

Kaitensatsuma
Kaitensatsuma
14 days ago

Let’s be honest: It sounds like they could have made Atreus more snarky as time goes and use it as a low-key story beat of him becoming more like

Spoiler
Loki

Last edited 14 days ago by Kaitensatsuma
FITSniper
FITSniper
14 days ago

Hopefully by the time I get to the game, they’ll have fixed this.

Brown
Brown
14 days ago

I’m putting the blame squarely on Darksydephil (not making this a direct attack, just stating some kinda funny things that did happen). The devs did a showcase for this game and hilariously used a few clips of his playthrough of the previous God of War, where he was playing the game poorly (as he tends to do with every game). The devs proceeded to point out various things he struggled with and how they’re improving these things… Things that no average player would struggle with at all. But they seemed pretty hellbent on making certain they would ‘Idiot-proof’ Ragnarok. Which… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Brown
leduk
leduk
14 days ago

there isnt a mod or something?

Ziveron
Ziveron
14 days ago

The new Tomb Raider games also had this problem (They’re still some of my favorite games). Hot damn, Lara, could you give me a minute to examine my surroundings before you solve this puzzle for me? An option to turn it off or turn down the frequency or especially give it a healthy delay would be great. Manual prompts could be great. A button that you press while looking at an interactable piece of the puzzle tells you about that piece. If you’re not looking at an interactable, it points you at one you haven’t looked at yet. Once you’ve… Read more »

GeorgeV
GeorgeV
13 days ago
Reply to  Ziveron

For me the Tomb Raider hints also get bonus nuisance points for often striking the perfect balance between being both unsolicited and useless. Lara will usually tell you the obvious fact that there is a puzzle (element) you can easily find on your own , but rarely give you anything that’d actually help figuring out how to solve said puzzle. So even if you do get stuck on (for example) some kind of obvious mirror puzzle and could actually use a hint figuring out what exactly you need to do with them (or how to do it), Lara’s sage advice… Read more »

deep
deep
14 days ago

Can you turn off your sound and captioning? LOL

Tony
Tony
14 days ago

I’m so glad that you call this out, Tim. I have noticed it pretty straight on as well, especially just coming off a Last of Us Part 1 & 2 playthrough. It’s even more present because in those games you could push “R3” when you needed a hint. I even went so far as to disable it chiming in with the “R3” prompt for hints. Give me time, I’ll figure it out. Horizon unfortunately has this same problem but not as bad as Ragnarok. Kratos is an older man, but he’s not senile. Could this be a point of realism… Read more »

Ciary
Ciary
14 days ago

oh no they unleashed fi-treus

foducool
foducool
14 days ago

are they really babying us that much? lol

CTOWNS
CTOWNS
14 days ago

Would be an interesting mechanic for certain games for a NPC’s intelligence stat or w/e to determine how fast they are at dropping hints. Dumb companion? You might wait several minutes or never get certain hints at all. Genius companion might be figuring things out right away and blabbing about it.

Frizbee
Frizbee
14 days ago

Tim, If you go to your computer, you’ll find a tool to draw more comics.

You can tell which way is towards your computer from the pleasant heat it gives off.

I notice you haven’t started drawing yet. You draw by moving your hand in different patterns to create shapes, that imitate things like heads.

Do you need to go over which way is towards your computer again?

😛

Karrde
Karrde
14 days ago

Personally, I was rather disappointed with the Ragnorok Story.They kinda phoned it in toward the end.

Dorander
Dorander
13 days ago

I kinda get the notion that some players need more help than others, or just don’t want to bother, and then giving hints through in-game interaction is a great feature. We’ve all had situations in games in the past where something was so obscure, or it just didn’t click, or we just had a long day, where we really could’ve used a hint. What I don’t get is why you take that decision out of a player’s hands. Ever. It is SUCH a simple solution to make players press a button, or have the character move somewhere and press a… Read more »

Casper
Casper
13 days ago
Reply to  Dorander

The problem with “click a button” is that it takes you – the player – out of the immersion of the game. No – it really does. Providing hints in-game is infinitely better. But it does make it hard to hit the right speed since we are all different and as you say depending on our day different from our need for hints at another time.

Dorander
Dorander
13 days ago
Reply to  Casper

Really? Does it really?

Sure there are more immersive ways to consider than an outright hint-button, which wasn’t what I had in mind, but rather doing something within the gaming world that offers a hint. Walk up to something and “consider the object”. Approach an NPC and “ask their opinion”.

I just wonder, how do you manage your immersion with all the other button-pressing you’re doing? Can you qualify the difference between that and this?

Crestlinger
Crestlinger
13 days ago

Clippy’s revenge!

KBABZ
KBABZ
13 days ago

I’ll send this feedback to my stash.

Casper
Casper
13 days ago

This is also a problem in Horizon: Forbidden West (and a lot of other games). It’s a very fine line for developers to walk, because giving hints too fast destroys a lot of the fun, but not giving them in a timely manner can cause frustration when a puzzle occasionally fails to land (cultural differences for an international title can really be a problem for puzzles). Honestly, I don’t envy them trying to hit that balance, but I do feel a lot of new games have erred a bit too far to the side of “hints fast”. I’d like to… Read more »

Lazlowi
Lazlowi
13 days ago

I had the same issue with Aloy in Forbidden West – her talking to herself, suggesting stuff to herself was ridiculous to begin with, but how fast she spoiled everything, it was outright annoying. Still an amazing game though, but it certainly needs a slider for handholding. I hope it’s less annoying in Ragnarok, I’m still replaying 2018 GOW

Ryan
Ryan
13 days ago

Hey, Listen!

Meatballs_21
Meatballs_21
13 days ago

So it’s gone from games of old, where random townsfolk would say incongruous shit like “I heard if you push down and B, you do a sliding jump, but I just can’t do it, can you?” to beautifully rendered and voiced characters burbling it out.

Illaria
Illaria
13 days ago

To be fair to them – they’ve done a lot for accessibility stuff on this game – they might have overstepped it a bit here, but they have tried to make their ‘Single Player Game’ available to play for everyone – and I don’t see that as a bad thing (not even touching on that it is a good business move).

They’ll hear the feedback and no doubt allow it to be a slider/on or off.

I look forward to playing it when I get a chance 🙂

GurrenLagann
GurrenLagann
13 days ago

Previous 2 GOW games? The previous game before 2018 was Ascension, there was banter on that game? (Didn’t play ascension)