Today I was playing Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin. I was fighting a boss that needed an absurd amount of time sitting still to cast a spell to defeat, and I kept constantly getting reamed by several attacks that in 2 hits would kill my character… Now that part is neither here nor there. The very fact that this part of the game exists is obnoxious, and pretty poorly thought out, but not as shoddily realized as the way Game Over screens are handled in this game and many others.
Upon dying, which is generally frustrating in games as is, I see a Game Over screen that plays a little tune in the background. I hit start…… and I’m ported to the “Konami” company logo screen that requires another start button press to skip and get to the main menu and that requires several more button presses just to get into my save file again so that I might relive the same ire building death several more times.
Now this doesn’t have to be this way. Tonight I also booted up Red Dead Redemption and proceeded to carelessly die in combat. Within a second after RDR’s “Game Over” screen hit, I hit the A button and BAM! my save loaded and I was back in the game. Albeit I was a little far from my original destination, but that was my fault for not saving close enough, something that I made sure to do in Castlevania. But in this situation my mind was not swelling with rage like it was in Portrait of Ruin.
One of the most intrinsic things wrong with the Game Over screen these days with saved games is that well…. it isn’t really game over. It’s been that way for a long time, and it’s a bit perplexing as to why game developers would cling to such an antiquated design when not using it properly. I prefer the Castlevania of old, you know the one with finite lives, pits and all manners of instant death but since Metroidvania is all we seem to get these days, the least they could do is ditch the Game Over screen transition to the company logo mechanic and just give me the damn option to load from the death screen.