So I’ve been playing the Wonderful 101 Remaster, and as much as I adore the game for its creativity and how beautifully it handles resource management, one thing about it still bothers me: how it handles blocking. There are a lot of attacks in the game that can’t be blocked, which is understandable, but the problem I have with it is how these attacks are conveyed to the player.
I haven’t played the game in a while, so I don’t remember all enemy attacks or behaviors, and when I go to block some attacks I just eat damage, and it seems hard to tell what is blockable and what isn’t. There seems to be a general rule that any kind of blunt attack can be blocked, but even that is inconsistent. The tank enemy exposes a circular cannon and fires a ball that can be blocked, but the big enemies open a circular cannon that shoots out a fire, which can’t be blocked. Some attacks that enemies slam on top of you can be blocked, others can’t, etc.
In something like classic GoW, typically enemies of a certain size were just unblockable(cyclops)with the occasional regular enemy having a heavily telegraphed unblockable(Minotaur), which to me always made sense. The dodge didn’t take any kind of resource but gave you great distance, which pairs nicely with the block.
And obviously you have something like DMC3, where every attack is nicely telegraphed and is fair game to blocks and dodges. I like to see a bit of variance with enemy immunities/weaknesses, but I think DMC3-5 have a very clear, logical system in place.
MGR simply color coded attacks into what can be parried and what can’t, which seems cheap, but it goes a long way in ensuring you always have an understanding of what’s going on and can always be on the offensive.
On the other end, we have something like God Hand, which lacks a block function entirely, but there’s separate dodges and, in my opinion, enemy attacks and animations blend with your dodges incredibly well, and the dodging feels very intuitive. In this instance I think it was a fantastic idea to omit blocking in order to put all of the effort into making every enemy attack have dodging in mind completely.
I think anyone on here who knows me by now knows that in terms of action games I tend to lean more into shooters(RE4/Evil Within/Vanquish/ZoE2 if you want to call it a shooter), and I think part of it is because this guesswork is almost entirely gone. In RE4, you can simply walk backwards to avoid grabs, this isn’t something that works sometimes, this is the way the game was built. If you see an enemy projectile coming your way, you know it can be shot, etc. In something like Vanquish, you have regenerating health to lean into if you make a mistake, and the boost/slomo are workarounds to hitscan weapons. Like God Hand, I feel this just comes naturally, and is intuitive.
But I think the biggest thing here is with ZoE2, since it does have unblockable attacks, but these tend to have a certain visual style to them(usually yellow/orange) and have a slow travel time, while all projectiles that can be blocked are a bit faster. Enemy melee attacks also always come out in the order of blockable->unblockable, so you always have a fair shot when you’re cornered. The dodge maybe isn’t as good as some other titles, but the block was handled in a way that it doesn’t need to be any better imo.
Sorry for the weird ramble, what do you all think? Do I just suck more at melee-based action games than everyone else here? Any games that you think handle this really well?