We mostly play games for fun, right? To attain a certain level of satisfaction. Whether that’s achieving something (solving a puzzle, getting that last shot in to take someone down with you, seeing the conclusion of a story you’ve clung to from day one etc).
Beyond these almost “expected” satisfactions, though, are arguably the deeper, more satisfying moments. Where the core gameplay has an element that, no matter how often you see it or hear it, it’s just bloody cool.
Perhaps physics of a game, or say the way in which a character reacts to certain things. Games are made up of so many little touches and details, we sometimes lose sight of some really cool stuff, even thought we’re being delivered satisfaction almost constantly in some cases.
Talking about a few games as of late, I’ve found that I’m longing to go back to them for some oddly specific reasons.
I think these are my top 5 most satisfying gameplay elements. Let’s be fair, this list could change next time you ask me…….
Titanfall/Titanfall 2 – Dropping a titan
Holy cow, this is up there as one of the best, most satisfying things in modern gaming. Especially in mutiplayer.
You’ve done enough to earn that “Get Ready For Titanfall”, and it delivers every single time.
The weight of your titan, the sounds of it dropping down. The anticipation of getting to it while the shield is still up, or deciding try and drop it on an enemy.
There’s not a single part of dropping a titan-in, that isn’t satisfying. It’s repeatedly satisfying, too. A potential change to the flow of your game, the weight and anticipation of how it’s going to make a difference is something that is rarely matched.
One of the best first person shooters in recent memory and one that just oozes with satisfaction. Everything is refined to a level of perfection, it’s fast, the controls are tight, having a friendly robot pal guard a spot with you…..everything.
Damn. I need to go an play Titanfall 2 again for a bit now!
God of War – Kratos’ axe
Pretty basic and straightforward here. You throw your axe at an enemy, cool, eh?
Sure. Get some damage done from a distance, but then you need to get it back!
Have no fear, you just stick your hand out (a la Thor) and it flies back to you and straight into your grip. No matter distance or obstacles (physics be damned!), that little beauty returns to you upon your command.
It lands in Kratos’ hand with such weight, and the subtlety of the animation showing that “thunk”, it’s completely joyous and happens so frequently that you’re always getting that nugget of satisfaction.
Halo series – Sticky grenade
A combination of physics and sound that has never not been a satisfying of taking down a foe.
Seeing a grunt run into a crowd and then seeing them go flying i the distance is a joy.
Making that last second hail-mary throw when you’re about to be mowed down in multiplayer, seeing that flashing blue orb attach itself to your enemy and hearing that “plasma grenade” sound as it explodes.
Damn, if this isn’t one of the most satisfying parts of my gaming history, I don’t know what is. It’s so consistent and so beautiful. The will it/won’t it element of trying to get that stick, the timing between the throw and the stick. The whole process is a joy.
That little blue orb as provided more in-game satisfaction than some whole games have been able to deliver at all.
Fifa – Scoring against a sibling or friend
I’ll be honest, this is most satisfying when it’s one of my brothers. The poor buggers have never beaten me in a Fifa game.
Regardless of win streaks, though. Every single time you get a goal against someone, it delivers pretty much the same level of satisfaction. Whether it’s a scrappy last minute shot when surrounded by defenders, or it’s a well performed run down the left wing, with a perfect cross to one of your forwards. This game is all about satisfaction.
I’d suggest that scoring in those last few minutes of injury time has seen me up and out of my seat more than anything else over the years. Possibly the single most satisfying element of any game I’ve ever played? Mostly it’s only when it matters, though (giving them another trouncing as they beg for hints and tips).
I don’t keep up with the series like my brothers, and the incremental changes over the years don’t bother me too much. Fact is, as long as getting a goal is as satisfying in Fifa 19 as it was in Fifa 98 Road to World Cup, I’m in.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner – PUBG
Yes, yes, Battle Royale isn’t flavour of the week so much these days. Sure PUBG isn’t perfect, and yep, I’m sure Fortnite is just as satisfying to some.
Truth be told, my only chicken dinners have come from squad matches. But that hasn’t ever removed the salivation for that solo dinner.
I was going to just make it about the whole atmosphere that comes with dropping into a battle royale game. Or the pleasure of coming out on top of a shootout as the game progresses. But lets be fair, none of that is as tense as getting that final kill and getting that chicken dinner.
Granted, this is a little different to the other items on this list. This isn’t a constant or regular thing that delivers a drip of dopamine without you even realising. This is the end-goal, this is the whole point of the game. I don’t care though, it’s one of the most rewarding and satisfying elements of games released in recent years.
I’m still working on that solo dinner!
This list is of course personal, and by no means definitive. In fact, there are loads of things that could go up here.
Very briefly, here are some others that are worth your time and enjoyment:
- Shadow of the colossus – Working out and killing a colossus
- Just Cause 3 – Wing suit
- Overwatch – Pulling off the perfect ultimate and turning the tide
- Destiny/Destiny 2 – Dropping an Exotic engram
- Warframe – Sliding, bullet jumping and traversing across a map
- Uncharted (series) – finding those treasures!
- Perfect Dark – Controlling the remote control rockets with such mastery that you can fly them between your legs
- Metal Gear Solid V – Fulton extraction
- Arkham series – Perfect combat against large amounts of enemies
- Rocket League – Actually scoring on purpose
- Dishonored/Dishonored 2 – Blink
There are literally hundreds of these tiny yet significant moments. I’ve not touched upon just the audio cues from the Zelda series, or getting an new GF/Summon in Final Fantasy.
If we’re playing to be entertained, and furthermore, to be satisfied, I think we’re pretty spoilt for choice!