Since I just played the ever-popular Dishonored, I just want to talk about quicksaves here. These make games very quickly broken for me. Of course, it's cool to have to deal with consequences less, since you can press F9 at any time and everything you just screwed up is instantly cured. But unfortunately something like that just totally ruins the immersion for me, because then I play each scene at least 10-20 times. So long, until it is just perfect. And this is Murx. Especially if it affects the game how many people you kill in the course.
And because all this makes me so crazy, I thought about what storage systems are available and what a reasonable storage system might look like:
Don't save at all (permadeath) The easiest system is probably not to have one at all. If you die, you start all over again. Hardly exists today in pure form as a standard, but in games like Diablo still very popular as 'hardcore' and since a few years also with the genre Roguelike again strongly coming up. Examples: FTL, Don't Starve Pro: The game remains very exciting, because every decision is important and mistakes can have fatal consequences. Works especially well with survival games.
Contra: Since each step can be the last, it sometimes becomes very frustrating, especially when you have to rely on chance and thus just have bad luck. Very well known especially from platformers. Quasi permadeath on a level basis. If you die in a level, you have to start it over again. Once all attempts have been used up, the game has to be started all over again. Often there are possibilities to increase the number of attempts or the number of hits (aka HP) by items. Another possibility are Continues, which sponsor a new set of attempts.
Examples: Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog
Pro: Mistakes are not always fatal, good play at the beginning pays off later on. Can provide for tension, Endbosse with a single remaining attempt to face is already not quite without. Contra: Difficult levels or bosses quickly consume many attempts, deaths at the beginning of the game gladly tempt to restart.
Checkpoints If you have killed a big enemy or made (important) progress, the game saves in the background and is loaded at this point, should the player die. Examples: Portal 2, Telltale's The Walking Dead Per no need to save manually, which enhances immersion as the game flow is not interrupted. Contra As a player you don't have the possibility to undo decisions that might influence the gameplay.
Memory points Saving is possible, but only at certain locations in the game. This system is especially popular in JRPGs. Brings tension with it, since in dungeons it is usually not possible to save, but only where one can also spend the night. Makes sense somehow. Examples: Final Fantasy, Secret of Mana, Terranigma Per More exciting dungeons and boss fights, since you can't just save in front of them and then keep trying until you get it right. Contra You are practically forced to do dungeons in one piece and have to plan the time, because saving in between is not possible.
Free saving You can save practically anytime and anywhere. Many openworld and strategy games build on this system and encourage you to try new things without consequences. Examples Dishonored, Grand Theft Auto, Warcraft 3 Per No consequences when testing new strategies and playstyles Contra: Game intensity is flattened, because thanks to quicksave you usually have to replay 1-2 minutes max and can always reload. You quickly tend to try a lot to want to play perfectly afterwards, which can take a lot of time.
Hybrid Most games today use a combination of the above systems. The subdivision into individual levels, for example, is in a way comparable to checkpoints. A healthy mixture of different systems can also work well, because so one can evtl. Using the advantages of the checkpoint system to mitigate the disadvantages of the limited attempts until it fits the level you have just built.
Since there is of course no such thing as a best, ultimate save system and I actually just wanted to rail against quicksave save spam, here are a few titles where I really liked the save mechanics:
The Legend of Zelda: Basically you can save here always and everywhere, which I find sweeping first rather goes so well. But I really like the variant that you always have to go to the entrance of the respective dungeon when loading. The game is placed in the same area and does not reload every 2 minutes because you shot one more arrow than you wanted to. Often there is only one save& for saving too Quit which is only reasonable because you have almost no disadvantages when you die in a Legend of Zelda and therefore rarely have to load up. If you wanted to save often and had to restart the game every time, then good night. I also find the temporary save from Majora's Mask very interesting, here you can save in addition to the save& Quit (which also resets the three-day rhythm of the game) also "normally" save, for example because it's already 3 o'clock in the morning and you have to work tomorrow. This temporary savegame is deleted immediately after loading and cannot be reloaded for any experiments over and over again.
– At my alltime favorite Xenoblade Chronicles it is a bit different. Here you can save and load everywhere, but when loading all enemies of the area are also respawned. Of course you can position yourself strategically clever so that you do not pull aggro directly when loading, but basically the possibility of quickload spam is also well circumvented here. If you die unexpectedly, you will be spawned at one of the discoverable checkpoints on the map, which also serve as destination points for Quicktravel. A very nice solution I find.
– I also find it very praiseworthy that you can play Final Fantasy X you get full mana and full HP directly when you save your game at a save point. Since I always heal myself out of habit before saving anyway I find this automatism very appropriate at this point.
– Last but not least I want to Super Meat Boy mention. Untypical for the platformer genre, you don't have a limited number of attempts (which would be pretty stupid at this difficulty level), but an infinite number of attempts to complete a level. If one dies, it goes immediately(!) again from the start and one has so quasi no time at all to annoy itself. Contrary to expectations, the game is nevertheless very varied, as the levels can all be completed in less than a minute once you have mastered them.
Yes, so much. It has become a bit longer than I thought. In the end I decided to save only after long passages in Dishonored to avoid having to play them again if I messed up. And simply not to reload every time, when I once could not bring an opponent silently around the corner and afterwards had to stick my knife into the throats of 5 others, because I did not deactivate the alarm. Then that's just the way it is, oops. After all, this way I saved myself hours of(!!!) I was spared quickload passages that would have frustrated me in the end.
By the way, apart from the broken save system, I liked Dishonored quite a lot. The steampunk setting was well implemented in my opinion, and the possibility to be so aggressive or. To play pacifist as you like, I also find very cool. Only if already in the loading screen as a tip is written that one should save often, then this is somehow in view of the many possible story twists…