As a preface, I’d like to say there are some game genres where certain ones of these just don’t make sense – and of course thus they would be exceptions to this. But any game where the following would make any sense in should have them – there’s really no reason not to.
1) An option to create a manual save:
Checkpoints and autosaves are great. They do a fantastic job of making games feel less punishing. However, they often happen at the most inconvenient time – especially if you’re a completionist. Adding an option to make manual saves – even when all they do is create a permanent save at a certain checkpoint – is such a small thing that makes no sense to me for developers to leave out. I’ve had so many cases where I’ve been at a crossroads debating which way I want to go, just knowing that one path holds a collectible, challenge, secret, or treasure and the other is the right way and I pick the wrong path, a door slams shut behind me, and the checkpoint autosaves. I either have to restart the game or just forget about ever knowing what was down there. Alice: Madness Returns was actually guilty of this quite often.
Not only that, but games without a manual save always leave you wondering if it’s safe to quit. You never can really be sure until you try it and go back to play and see how much time you lost.
2) A ‘Gallery’ where you can view cutscenes/cinematics:
This is such a simple thing to add, but it adds such huge value to it. I can think of one example where this wasn’t included that really pissed me off: Final Fantasy 13. I would absolutely LOVE to be able to go and watch the cinematic when they re-enter Coccoon. Games that add this often include unlockable concept art or in some cases even listen to songs from the soundtrack – and that’s phenominal. These sorts of rewards make the games feel a lot more rewarding and make me more likely to keep the game rather than just trading it in.
3) Some aspect of the game taking advantage of the Internet:
I’m not saying every game supports hefty multiplayer. Of course not, but there are so many things the internet can be used for, and it could be things as simple as Catherine’s tracking of peoples’ answers to the incredibly innovative systems Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls use. It is such a wasted opportunity to not take advantage of the incredible power and innovation that the internet allows – the possibilities are nearly endless, and even better it helps to build a community. And nothing keeps a game going like building a community for it.
4) Some form of fun single player or solo gameplay:
Everyone, no matter how much of a social butterfly a person may be, has times where they just need to be alone. Whether this is a fully fledged single player campaign, a single-player arena or arcade mode, or even just a part of a multiplayer game that is capable of being soloed while you ignore everyone else and leave every chat channel – it is absolutely fundamental to a game’s longevity that players be able to have fun on their own, no matter the genre.
Written by: Sean