View Full Version : Combat system improvements [IMPORTANT]

13th Aug 2002, 21:30
Ok... While I liked the Blood Omen combat system a lot, I felt the fights did tend to get repetitive after a while. So, being that kind of person, I've started a thread for people to post ideas for improvements and adjustments to the combat system for Blood Omen 3. (Assuming there is going to be one, of course...)

Firstly, lunge attacks and heavy attacks, like in Soul Reaver 2, would be very nice. They'd add a bit more variation to the combat. Not sure about the low kicks, though...

The behaviours of the enemies were very well done in Blood Omen 2, but again suffered from a slight flaw. At no point in the game, unless you went out of your way to gather up a big herd of opponents, would you be attacked by more than three enemies at a time. And although they surrounded Kain to make it difficult for him to maneuver, they didn't gang up on him very effectively. Only one of them could attack him at a time. I'm pretty certain this was well thought out, as having four or more opponents all beating the hell out of you at once would get frustration very quickly.

I think the combat would work best if enemies did not all attack at once, but would instead behave tactically as a team. (In real life, all attacking at once doesn't work. They get in each other's way.) For example, one of them could keep Kain busy while another would maneuver behind him and backstab him. Or, one of them could knock him over with a powerful attack, and the others could hit him while he's down.

Since this would make the combat more difficult, it would be nice if Kain had some special attacks to compensate. For example, pressing the key to move back and the attack key at the same time could cause Kain to spin round and deliver a powerful hit to the opponent behind him :D

Grabbing an enemy by the throat was wonderful, but was somewhat unrealistic in that enemies couldn't attack you when you had one of their allies by the throat. I'd like to see them do this. Maybe while Kain is holding someone by the throat, he could use the captive as a literal human shield. For example, two Sarafan guards are attacking you. One is behind you, trying to backstab you, the other is in front of you, blocking your way. You grab the guy in front by the throat, hold him up, and smack him in the face with the pommel of your sword. The second guy raises his axe to decapitate you, you spin round, and he buries the axe in the spine of the Sarafan guard you're holding by the neck :D (please, please, please, I would love to see this.)

The Combat Dark Gifts: I loved them. Really impressive, and added tremendously to the combat. The only flaw with them was having to select them from a menu, which broke up the action slightly. (Don't think I'm complaining about this. The Dark Gift menu was perfect for the Blood Omen 2 game scenario). I just think in Blood Omen 3 it might be nice to activate the combat Dark Gifts by a certain combination of keypresses or attacks. None of that 20-button-presses-in-an-eighth-of-a-second nonsense from some fighting games, of course. Fairly simple combinations, even as simple as pressing Forward, Light attack and Heavy attack together for a Fury attack.

Perhaps some modification to the power of the Dark Gifts may be needed to ensure Kain doesn't kill the early-game opponents too easily. The Fury attack, for example, could do little damage, but make up for it by having a lot of knockback (sufficient to knock opponents off nearby cliff edges. Heh, heh, heh), and the Immolate attack could leave Kain defenceless while he casts it, allowing other enemies to strike him.

Of course, the Rage bar should work exactly as it did before, as that aspect was, IMHO, flawless. It might be nice to be able to find artifacts that instantly fill Kain's rage bar to the top, as a kind of additional powerup. Maybe increase the size of the rage bar throughout the game, too...

Oh, yes. One last thing. Vampire opponents, not just bosses, might be nice. Especially as Kain would have to use killing moves, or the use of environmental hazards to overcome these enemies.

Please post your own ideas here, as well as constructive criticism of mine.

13th Aug 2002, 22:46
The problem of multiple enemies not attacking was one I noticed in SR2, as well... in particular, the fact that, not only would a herd of 4 or 5 Sarafan wait patiently for me to beat the hell out of their hapless comrade, they also waited for me to eat his soul and refresh myself... I said in the other forum that if I'd wanted an after-dinner cup of coffee or something, they'd probably have waited for that, too. BO2 I did occasionally get hit from behind, though. If two were fighting me, one would circle behind, and have at me from there...

One thing that got me was that Kain never hit someone while they were down. (and likewise for the enemies, like you said.) To be able to do so would be a nice improvement, especially as it got tiresome waiting for them to get up. But so that neither Kain nor the enemy would be completely defenseless when down, perhaps when down Kain could be able to at least roll out of the way until he could get up. Sort of like in Soul Caliber, wherein you can smash your enemy when he's down, but he can also roll away and get back up. That would be a kick...

I really love that human shield idea... :D that would be something to see!

14th Aug 2002, 12:00
I think the only reason why someone could attack you from behind is that the game only fought you one guy at a time.. so if someone wasn't attacking you or you weren't attacking the other guy.. such as when an enemy stops slashing after a combo attack then the guy from behind can now attack because.. to the game.. no one is attacking you.. also I was able to kick people or stab them when they were down.

What I want to see more of is the special moves.. like when you snuck up behind someone or grabbed them, depending on the weapon or what direction you pushed you could select a different type of death. I think that made the game play somewhat more interesting, but only for each new weapon and move you tried out.. then it started to get old. I think a larger amount of moves and creativity such as using a guy as a human shield would be great, because it makes the fighting more interesting and not so linear. Having different types of special attacks using the dark gifts instead of the automated attack would be ultra spiffy.

I still think that the close up maneuvering while fighting in SR1 & 2 was too hard to control and was mainly just hack and slash without much thought to it. While BO2 was better for the fighting i'd still like to see a large improvement in this area. What would be great is to be able to get the feel of other games such as counterstrike or some quake engine game where you can fight for hours without getting bored, because you have to think tactically and you can approach the fighting from many different angles and the "bad guys" work together or do more than walk directly towards you to fight.

Things like being able to dodge, duck, roll, sneak, jump, having things to hide behind, having the AI more intelligent that would use these different types of fighting methods as well, making the maps nonlinear.. having areas you can be in and things that exist in an area that have no purpose but would make sense to be there.. so that it gives you more of an area and things to work with to move to or from or hide behind and so on.

For example... the guys with the guns in SR2 could have been more of a challenge, yet they just basically stood there out in the open.. you could basically just jump to them and hack.. and they were dead.. they could have been put in more of a tactical position where it would make sense to have a gunner. In an area that wasn't so easy to get to them or where they had the ability to maneuver to different spots. It just didn't make much sense. In BO2 this was done in like on place. Where there's the bridge you have to cross and the two chicks throwing their knifes at you... or having different types of guys set up so that the gunners are positioned far away while the guys who attack with swords are right in your face and the girls with the knifes are slightly farther away so that you can't just walk straight in and attack one at a time without much thought to it.. you have maneuver yourself around and use different types of attacks and move to positions where you can hide from some while getting at others and so on. Just putting a bunch of enemies in one area all placed at random doesn't make it harder... or just having each "type" or character with basically one set way of attacking... which once you figure out how to defeat... it becomes repetitious to fight them and makes it boring... since the game revolves around puzzles and twisted plots I think it would make sense to have the fighting require more thought and give the game more replay value.

18th Aug 2002, 23:44
One of the coolest aspects of the original Blood Omen is that you had to continually change armor, weapons, spells, and dark gifts in order to combat different enemies. If you didn't think about what you were doing, you would quickly find yourself killed by an enemy who was immune to your current combat configuration.

Because this is a game series that involves a lot of thinking and puzzle-solving, the fighting strategies of SR1, SR2, and BO2 would have made a lot more sense if their strategy was closer to the original BO1 strategy.

Strategy-wise, BO1 is the best. However, when it comes to the combat system used, BO2 is the best made so far. All future LOK games need to incorporate combat systems like BO2, they just need to add more of the strategy concepts from BO1.

I also was able to attack enemies on the ground. I could kick them when bare-handed, and also stab them in the back if carrying a sword. But I usually preferred to pick them up by the throat and behead them.

20th Aug 2002, 02:51
Once again, I really think this is important. I don't know if anyone is listening, but I've seen a number of people comment on this as I already have. I'd just like to throw down a few ideas.

I don't know if they've even started on SR3 or BO3, but anyhow.. I figure that improving the combat system as well as the game play in general; they're going to be working with the same gaming engine. It's a great engine and obviously they've done a lot of things no one else has ever thought of or thought possible, such as the morphing from the spectral world to the physical. Now that they have the base down and a more powerful system to work with and a chance to work with on it with SR2, I'm assuming they're going to add more to it to take it one step further than they did before. Given that, here's some things I'd like to see that goes beyond the game play and combat system in the previous games.

So you have Raziel, who is obviously not going to have different forms of armor or inventory, because of his nature that pretty much leaves that out of the question. Perhaps for BO3, but that's another story. Also considering its morphed more into an action adventure game and become less of an RPG, the game play should be quick and not as complicated. Which seems to be the theme for the SR series. While I don't think that it should just turn into another 3-d shoot em up, the combat shouldn't factor to the lowest common denominator.

While Raziel isn't as ruthless as Kain I'd assume that having overly obnoxious death kills is not really in his line of work, not that it wouldn't be interesting, but I'm just thinking of the theme.

So with all that said...

The most important factor, I believe, is the environment. The linear nature of the maps decreases the combat as well as the feeling of exploration. By linear, I mean that when you're playing any of the previous games all you feel you need to do is move forward. While this may not always be the case, the overall games themselves say, if you move forward you're going in the right direction. It decreases the combat value, because everything is right in front of you. Not to the side or behind or coming from the top or the bottom or who knows where the next thing might jump out at you. Given the nature of the game, suspense could play a great factor. Creating an atmosphere where you don't know what's going to happen next. Making you paranoid. Such as setting up creatures to appear from out of the ground, or jump from another level down to him, or putting Raziel in a closed in area where it's dark and then the creature just jumps right out at you. It is a 3-d environment and 3-d games should take advantage of that. Another factor that leads to the linear feeling is that there's not many obstacles or many things in an area to work with. Such as different configurations of rocks, ruins, just big open spaces, or whatever else would fit inside of the LOK world that could be placed around the areas to create a sense of maneuverability. Things to jump on, hide behind, or move to. While the soul reaver is for the most part a straightforward attack weapon besides the blasts, this might not be appropriate. However, the blasts do work as well as the ability to pick up other's weapons, if they could be used far away, or just the ability to sneak up on opponents. Also using the environment to attack Raziel. Sharp blades, blow darts from walls, abyss type material, big seeing eyes that disintegrate you ;) , or more creative and appropriate things. The environment could also be more complex in the things it allows you to do and the way the environment is configured. Such as narrow walkways, ledges, small areas that can only be explored through crouching or areas that are only accessible by jump crouch or series of jumping and pushing objects or levers and objects to be moved in a complex manner. Or perhaps using things in the environment to kill enemies. While there are puzzles that do these types of things, it could be part of the game itself instead of at one area where you know it's a puzzle. Although some of those puzzles were insane such as the fire forge, if these were more balanced throughout the game instead of in just selected areas it would make it more interesting and create a much more complex overall environment. The environment could also be configured to increase the tactical positioning of the enemies as stated before. Giving the appropriate enemies advantages over Raziel by how they're positioned.

Next, the enemies and the AI. Of all the thought that’s obviously went into these games. Considering how well the entire game is thought out and written and so on and so forth, the AI for the creatures seems to be the one thing that was given the least amount of attention. When I play a game I expect the enemies to be semi smart. To be able to work together is always impressive and is something that increases the game play immensely. However, what I always expect is the enemies to smart enough to change its method of attack depending on the situation. Depending on the characters movements and decisions. If the character moves behind a rock, depending on the obvious level of intelligence of the creature, it should either come directly at me or find another method to sneak up behind or position itself behind something to attack without being directly out in the open and so on and so forth. Or if there's more than one creature it should work together and move behind the character or move around or attack from a distance while another one attacks close up or one from one side and another from the other side. The enemies should be positioned in such a manner to be able to do things like this. The enemy should also have different ways of attacking or defending itself. Depending on the type of enemy, some should be capable of having the same level of attacks, defends, dodges, jumps, etc as the character. And enemies... at least some, should have the ability to jump to some extent like Raziel does. If Raziel jumps on a block or something higher or across something, the human (to the human's ability) or vampire and perhaps some smarter demons should have the ability to jump as well. Also having the enemies in places they obviously couldn't have gotten to without skills like this or just poor map layout, such as a billion places in SR2 where there was no way all those humans could have gotten down in some caverns without the ability to climb walls, which they couldn't. And all of the enemies being completely out in the open. Take the humans for example, their job was to hunt down vampires, they should be smart enough and organized enough to know how to position themselves for an attack at any point in time. They are, after all, an organized army of vampire assassins. They should have some sort of military background and have basic tactical knowledge depending on their "level". On a side note, I think that the spectral world was vastly under used. There was an entire other world and all that existed there was those two lil spectral creatures which were more annoying than difficult. The demons being able to exist in the spectral world as well as the physical was a nice play and something to that effect, but used more consistently throughout the game would add another level of danger. I personally don't want to feel too invincible when I'm playing a game.

And as far as Raziel goes. He needs more methods of attacking and defending. While there were two methods of using a weapon, it was basically slash, impale, and dodge to the side. I'd like to see different types of attacks. High, low, and mid attacks would be nice. Side attacks... downward attacks.. upward attacks.. strife.. .. duck.. dodge.. rolling side, front and back.. jumping attacks.. the ability to sneak.. a muffling sneak attack would be nice.. and the obvious blocks.. Perhaps it's overkill, but it'd make the fighting more interesting.

Anyways.. here's some of my suggestions and things I'd like to see, some of them i've mentioned before and some are already in the game. Of course, I'm not a game designer or programmer or any of that, but that's part of my two cents.