I really like the game, the atmosphere and the intensity - the mix of FPS and RPG-ish elements is great - but the respawning is not for me.
It doesn't add any tension, I can dispatch the spawns easily enough, rather it comes off like grinding to me. A timesink. Not the least since I know the game well, I know where the respawn points are (more or less) so it doesn't even add a *boo* moment. Just annoying grind.
"Oh Lord, I'm going back to engineering, great... aaand here's one (bash) aaand here's another (bam!) etc.
Respawning is beneath a game of this quality, it retains all its atmosphere, mystery and challenge without it. At least for me.
Nicely quoted, I was close to formulate it but not yet when I read your post.
I'd complete it with some points:
This bad mechanism can reward bad playing. I saw two video of very bad players, I mean very bad RPG players. Just watch 1st level:
- First video was from a kickass action game god, he just rushed through the level, skipped half of it and get NO RESPAWN, NO TIME PRESSURE.
- Second video was a true let's play, the guy got many troubles (quite like I did) get lost multiple time (like I did) but wasn't reading anything or almost, and wasn't searching anything. So he wins a lot of time and get NO RESPAWN and NO TIME PRESSURE.
It's a deep error to think the respawn is an independent design element, I quoted all that defend it do the error:
- It's linked to the cheap resurrect which itself lead to many bad design decisons.
- It pushes the game design into close combat focus which is a weak element of the game.
- It destroys the health management.
- It destroys most of the ammo management.
- It makes the game barely compatible with players without a very good understanding of English because time lost to read and re read isn't managed by the game.
Moreover and I don't think it's only because the game became outdated, the horror mood is a total failure if not ridiculous, at least in first level. No way the respawn helps reinforce it.
The respawn is just too basic and naive and like Atlantico quoted it nicely, it degenerate into stupid boring grinding.
The time pressure is just a wrong design approach for RPG design which involves a slower pace to be able to read stuff, search stuff, get lost few time, get time to think about character design, and more.
I think players for which it works either plays fast enough to skip almost entirely this point, either like grinding, either succeed auto hypnotize themselves because "it's a great classic so any design element are great".
BUT THAT POST IS JUST FROM PLAYING THE FIRST LEVEL, not the entire game.