If I could enact a second game-related law, it would be this:
Every PC game must allow quicksaving.
I got Velvet Assassin awhile ago because I was craving stealth gameplay, and despite it having a lot of flaws, I thought it was a pretty fun game. I stopped playing after the first few missions though, because of the simple fact that it doesn’t allow you to quicksave.
If you die, you have to go back to the last checkpoint, and sometimes those checkpoints are sparse. I’d have to go through several rooms, evading the guards, slowly crouch-walking through and assassinating each one in the same way over and over again, because I couldn’t get past one room that was right before the next checkpoint.
Maybe I’m just not as patient as some of you über-gamers, but I think it’s fair for me to be frustrated by that.
I thought of this today as I was playing Half-Life. This game autosaves at preset checkpoints, but it also lets you quicksave. This is incredibly helpful, because like in Velvet Assassin, it’s very easy to die. I’ve been having a ton of fun with Half-Life, but if it didn’t have a quicksave feature, I probably would have stopped playing it awhile ago. I would never have gotten to experience the entirety of this awesome game.
I’m pretty sure most PC games that don’t have quicksaving lack it because the developers just forgot to include it when they ported it from the consoles, but I have a feeling that some games don’t let you quicksave because they’re afraid we’ll take too much advantage of it. I know this to be the case with Alpha Protocol, because it does let you save at any point, but its save feature only lets you “save the last checkpoint,” implying that they purposely stopped us from saving at the specific point we’re at in the game.
I can see why they wouldn’t want us to be able to quicksave during combat, because we could just keep hitting the quicksave button whenever we land a successful hit and win each battle without utilizing any actual skill. If that’s the case though, how about you only let us quicksave when we’re out of combat? That wouldn’t be hard to do, would it? And I see no reason why we should be forced to repeat the same five combat sequences over and over because we can’t win the sixth.
The bottom line is this: The reasons to include quicksaving far outweigh the reasons not to include it. It’s like including difficulty levels. Everybody should be able to complete the game, not just the obsessive freaks. And if the obsessive freaks want the challenge, then they can just choose not to quicksave.