In the past I’ve spoken of Annoying Game Mechanics, of those that we find in games and after so many uneven implementations we instinctively groan when we see them again. But not all game mechanics are annoying, not all have good and bad moments. Some mechanics are just freaking AWESOME!
These Awesome Game Mechanics don’t need further tweaking. They’re the pinnacle of innovation and refining. Sure, you can build on them and add new features, but there is nothing left to fix about them. They are nearly if not completely perfect.
The first one of these I’ll talk about is Free-flow Combat:
Best Examples: Shadow of Mordor, Batman Arkham Series.
What is the free flow combat system? In simple terms it means that fights flow naturally and dynamically. You can go from one enemy to another while dodging a third enemy’s attacks and countering a fourth’s. Locking-on an enemy is unnecessary as there is no need to focus on just one combatant.
Combos aren’t a combination of moves as they are in Devil May Cry or God of War games, where timely presses make the characters perform pre-set attacks. Instead you create a combo by consecutively striking your enemies and countering their blows. While in other games a combo is pressing X, X and then Square (or A,A, B or Click, Click, Space), in Free Flow Combat games you’re only using your regular attack button, just directing it at another enemy and fluidly working your special items and abilities into each strike. From a Batarang to a spectral arrow, you can add your own spin to your combat flow, thus making your fighting style unique. Each player will fight differently in free flow.
Is it realistic? Oh Hell no, not even close, but it is great fun. Fights aren’t grueling encounters but fast and fun ones. Even the difficult ones where one hit will end you are extremely fun. In fact, the faster they are and the more enemies around you, the greater the fun to be had with Free Flow Combat. Shadow of Mordor and Arkham have made that point clear when they send hordes of enemies after you. In any other game, such a number of enemies might make you run, but in Free Flow Combat games, you just grin and say, “bring it on!”
I leave you with this amazing video by DarkhorseAgentGamer!