Critical Hit – Boss Fights

As I continue with my Critical Hit series I decided to take a look at an issue that appeared very recently in a game I was playing, boss battles. If you’ve seen my last few articles and comments you’ve probably come to the conclusion that I’m pretty passionate about the recently released Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate. Despite the fact the game is riddled with novice mistakes and issues, it’s still amazing fun but there’s one problem that really got up my nose. Please note: There are some spoilers below.

A problem that I discovered right at the end of the game, and an issue I’ve seen appear in many other titles; both offline and online. Boss battles. Some games, like God of War and Shadow of the Colossus  focus their entire game on extensive battles against larger-than-life foes; and for all intents and purposes it works great.

However, when other games and genres try to implement this age-old feature, they can totally get it wrong. I’m speaking in particular about gimmick boss battles that do away with mechanics from the rest of the game, instead prompting players to follow a strict script in order to complete it.

I mentioned Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate because it was the most recent example I could conjure. The game hypes up the end boss battle throughout the entire story; which is something we’ve come to expect. However, instead of offering players a more intense challenge with a more varied opponent, it throws in a bunch of gimmicks.

You have to swim to a Ballista and fire a few rounds, swim to another and repeat before luring the dragon to a small area before releasing a spike trap. A game filled with epic battles and a massive variety of in-depth opponents culminates in a fight that features mechanics suitable to that of an end-game boss fight in a fighting game, such as Tekken.

They’re a whole other ball game. Let’s forget skill, tactics and combination attacks and just place players against ridiculous opponents that rinse and repeat unblockable abilities. Shao Khan anyone?

What do you think? Have developers lost the imagination to create a decent boss fight?

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