Well if there's reviews/etc to back it up then fine....as for the balanced start aspect: Imo not all levels are geared towards it....especially the ones filled with multiple mini-bosses in Doom2 and/or playing on the highest difficulties in general.
Nightmare difficulty aside (which was never balanced in any meaningful way) they're all balanced for it, and designed that way; the level editor they used simply works by launching the game and placing the player on the level that's being edited with the normal starting equipment. That's how Romero designed all his level, and I'm pretty sure the others did too. In fact it would be very difficult not to balance the levels like this, because you have no way knowing how the player comes equipped from the previous level (unless you always end the level with a bunch of pickups and fix the order of levels early on). They might've wasted all their ammo and health, or they're good and they come packed full of health & armor & ammo. Yes, some of the levels are difficult (by design). And as you've evidently discovered, they're massively easier if you don't play them the way they were designed.
To me, most games are about telling a story for the most part. The mechanics simply serve to allow one to experience/be involved with said story in many cases.
I wish I could say that, but the stories I've seen in games rarely hold a candle to Hollywood garbage (which I generally don't watch coz it's so bad). Admittedly many games appear to be confused about what they're trying to be; that ends up being frustrating for me because I'm stuck between poorly told garbage story and poorly thought out game mechanics.
So I've largely given up looking for stories in games, what I want instead is good gameplay (and I can't imagine what gameplay could be if it doesn't challenge me in some way; making choices in a choose-your-adventure or VN doesn't count) first and foremost, then if possible, an experience, an atmosphere, something like that. Encounter design (and resultant difficulty, strategic considerations, etc.) play a big role in defining gameplay. I'm not after clicking a button and watching virtual blood fly, I could click icons on my desktop if I were hungry to click things (not that I have a desktop). Unfortunately a good number of games fail to deliver on this front too and in that case I don't care much whether it's checkpoints or quicksaves, I probably won't enjoy the game anyway.
But if they have had competent designers and they've gone out of the way to properly design & balance levels and create interesting encounters, then I'm in for a treat (that would be ruined by savescumming).
As I said before it's ok if they place them well, but sometimes they don't & I dislike not having an alternative save/etc system for such poor placement in some games.
Oh I agree that any game should allow you to cheat when the designers haven't done a good job and you get frustrated with it.
Also, the dev can choose how they want you to play but ultimately it's up to the player I would think....and if one has fun then that's all that/most of what should matter right?
Sure. By all means, devs should include casualmode/cheats/custom difficulties/what have you so people can play it just for the story or try and enjoy it while suffering a disability that makes the normal level of difficulty too much.
Just because a fear is seen as irrational by some, that doesn't make it any less "real" to those who have such.
Also, I have played games with poor checkpoints(Like Headhunter 2's end stages which are hard as hell and the checkpoints are very far apart) and found it less making me afraid/tense and more frustrated/wanting to shut the game off and never finish it.
Games should sometimes take one out of their comfort zone, but not to the point of making the game's only methods of completion to be too frustrating to those who play.
I agree! The point of checkpoints & limited saves is not to make it hard as hell. Balancing a game and working out difficulty levels is an art in its own right, and so many games end with some frustrating difficulty spikes as well as laughably easy sections (regardless of what kind of save system they went for). But if there's no system in place to pace the saves, it easily swings too far in the other direction where it's laughably easy and loses most sense of tension. And that's why I'd rather err on the side of difficult and let the player get aid (e.g. drop difficulty or cheat) when it's too much.
Limited manual saves(through pickup tokens/etc or a set number at level start) seems fair as well, if done right. Res Evil 1/2/3/etc did this right, imo.
Never played, I wish they'd release on GOG.
I'm on the "other" side. I love to consume as much as possible(WITHIN REASON) if the stuff has good gameplay/plot/characters/etc. Challenge to me can be fun, but it is not always why I play....and often if a game section is too difficult i'll either drop a game entirely or(more often) put it aside till later.
Then it sounds like you need custom or easy difficulties and/or cheats that let you waltz thru the encounters that are designed to challenge.
But what do you mean by good gameplay? In my view challenge is the very thing that motivates gameplay; there is no gameplay without challenge, at most there's a sandbox. That makes for a simulation, not so much a game.
Some games don't allow cheats/have cheat modes(or easy modes) and sometimes one doesn't like the standard method of cheating for various reasons, yet they want to play some titles anyways.
Yeah, it sucks, but then instead of arguing against checkpoints, shouldn't one be arguing for having easy modes or whatever?
FWIW, there are ways of designing games for any time you like saves and for checkpoint saves that work well. The problem tends to be that devs are too lazy to do it in many cases and really people are going to manage their saves how they like.
Save scumming is far less of an issue if you've got limited health, limited healing and/or limited breaks in the action. If you're saving too often and you're health keeps decreasing, you can hit a point where it just gets worse than if you're more evenly spacing your saves.
Which game does this well?
Oh hey, speaking of Evil Genius.. I guess strategy games are a little different in this regard. In part because your actions have such far reaching consequences, and the early game can matter as much as the late game & everything in between. I guess I'm approaching this discussion more from FPS & action (and similar) perspective.
I agree re. dev laziness. It's easier to let the player figure it out than to design, test, balance, test... properly.
Doom has limited healing but scumming your game still makes it massively easier.