Addressing Some of GZ's Fundamental Issues


#1

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that this is hands down one of my favorite games of all time, the oppressively dreary and militaristic setting that Avalanche creates is absolutely bone chilling, but it still manages to draw me further in every single time. The design of the enemies is simply amazing, and startlingly realistic, and it seems that with each update the developers only manage to make the backdrop of the epic battle between man and machine that much more incredible.

That being said, this game has it’s fair share of problems; a LOT of problems actually.

Balancing

GZ is too easy to make easy, if that makes any sense. Regardless of what difficulty you play on, you still receive the same quantity and quality of loot from fallen enemies, the only thing you obtain from running around on anything higher than adventure is bragging rights, especially considering that the machine’s AI changes very little. I’d like to say that the game’s balancing was broken when they introduced the difficulty settings themselves, but it really started back in the rivals update.

The railgun is literally the best weapon in the game, once you’ve found one you’re not going to find anything else that’s more effective for dealing with anything larger than a runner. And it’s not exactly difficult to find either, there’s only like 6 possible experimentals you can pull off rivals, and you can just keep jumping servers and farming other people’s until you get it.

The combat AI is far too stagnant, even the machines that seemingly are built with mobility in mind completely stop in their tracks before attempting to shoot at you; it’s not like it matters though, your character is fast enough to avoid bullets just by sprinting apparently. All the higher difficulties do is multiply how much damage you take in the event of getting shot, which feels like a cheap way to make the game harder imo. Nothing about that incentivizes me to try and employ different strategies in fights, because running and gunning works just fine.

Difficulty should scale off of the player’s level, which would assumedly translate to their experience with the game; as the player progresses through the game, the machines would start to adapt new tactics to combat them. Always targeting the components on tanks? Maybe they’ll start to purposefully block their weak points with those giant armored legs of theirs. Relying on your speed to stay out of runner’s effective range? They might start chasing after you with shotguns and firing on the move. Taking more stealthy approaches to combat? Hunters love to sneak up on unsuspecting players, and they don’t obnoxiously announce their presence until they’re right on top of you. Alongside these evolutions in the enemies strategy would be the increasingly frequent appearance of more advanced machine types with stronger weaponry.

Content

I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it, GZ’s story is not engaging to me in the slightest; I have like 150 hours logged in the game and I don’t think I’ve ever spent any of that time trying to actively complete one of the quests. It doesn’t really seem to matter though, I’ve actually played through the majority of the game’s missions without even being aware of it due to how they’re literally unrecognizable from the base gameplay. The primary quest line is a literal paper trail that leads the character from one exposition dump to another, culminating in a ‘ending’ that’s recognizable as the luke-warm climax because it has the game’s only cutscene to date.

I understand what they were going for with the whole ‘piecing together what happened’ thing, but that sort of plotline doesn’t really work in a survival-horror-action game; it’s pretty evident that the robots either killed everyone on the island or caused them to evacuate, the only question is why, and the game doesn’t even answer that in more detail than ‘idk, but they belong to our military.’

The DLC’s are decent, I’m not sure why one of Alpine Unrest’s big selling points was supposed to be that it had human NPC’s, your only interactions with them will be listening to their orders over a radio, or walking up to their perpetually stationary bodies and asking them what part of the island they want you to go and kill more robots in. The only reason I even bought that damn expansion was so I could have a slightly better chance of encountering the new ‘apocalypse’ variant machines and getting the new LMGs.

FNIX Rising seems to have more to offer, it brings a lot of new additions to the map like little outposts and shit for the machines, but considering that I found the DLC’s entire item pool in 20 minutes by exploiting a HUGE loophole in the game’s looting mechanic that I legit stumbled upon entirely by accident, I didn’t really have any motivation to even play the game after that.

I think that the developers need to either try and backpedal to pre-existing content and rework it, or focus on implementing features that actually change up the gameplay, not just slap in another tank variant with more health and stronger weapons.

Skill System

Since I ended the previous segment with a reference towards mechanic changing features, let’s talk about what is in my opinion, a really poor implementation of that; the skill tree itself is little more than changes to values in the game’s code or gameplay features that really should just be accessible by everyone. I don’t think I would have such a big issue with the system if there wasn’t a level cap, but considering how 75% of the actual skills are just stat buffs in one way or another, I understand why it’s there; difficulty would fall right through the ground because player’s would become literal demi-gods.

There’s not enough skills that provide players with new strategies to employ in combat beyond encouraging them to hoard more grenades or become tick pod junkies. I’m actually convinced that the tech tree was designed by Swedish satan himself as a sick practical joke to bait players into wasting their points; imagine my disappointment when I finally got the hacker spec on my first character and found out that if I wanted to take over anything larger than a toaster that there was a 70% chance that it would just alert it to my presence instead. Speaking of wastes of points, there’s multiple skills that literally just increase the amount of experience points you get for doing various things, so you can hit the level cap with even more momentum.

I think the perfect fix to this would be to remove the level cap, but place a cap on how many skills player’s can have active at one time; that way they can’t just devour every stat boost in the combat tree and then still have room for support and survival. Maybe there could even be skills that allow players to use two specs instead of one? With the recent expansion of the crafting system, I think there’s a lot of potential for it to tie into the skill tree.


#2

A lot of good points here. I agree with a good few of them. However I have one issue. You talk about how the story never tells you you why the machines did the things they did. But I am pretty sure it does. Not explicitly of course. To get to exactly why. You have to piece together al of of the audio logs, and documents you find in the game. Which of course takes some work, and time. But it is doable. I am not gonna explain the why, of the machine’s actions here. As that would take some time, and it would be a huge spoiler for anybody that has not come to their own conclusion yet. The story is more than, “idk, but they belong to our military”.

Edit: To anyone who wants an in depth look into the story, check out Pufty on Youtube. He does vids on the lore, and story of GZ.


#3

really good , well written, good read. i want to do the same too in some time .


#4

From my experience this is not true. I play usually on Guerilla but I started a second save file on Adventure to see the differences. Of course the enemies are way weaker on Adventure (hunters pose almost no thread at all) but the loot you find all around is way higher. You get more, find more boxes to search through and after leaving the Archipelage region I only needed the Kvms and the Pansarvärnsgevär. I collected everything I could and filled the Plundra before leaving the Archipelago. I didn’t even came close with Guerilla on weapons and loot. Without scientific proof I assume the ratio of loot between Adventure and Guerilla is 2:1.

True. Especially with the newly added ammo crafting it’s getting even more prevalent.

This topic appears quite often in the forum. I’d say everything below hunters is fine but hunters and especially tanks have ludicrous tactical abilities. Tanks wander off when you fiddle in the inventory too long. Hunters are only dangerous if the carry the gas launcher or you’re close to a building wall (friggin wall hackers).

All in all I wouldn’t call GZ “fundamentally broken”. It is way more playable and stable then it ever was. Of course there are things that need rework (the Plundra functionality is only a half-step, machine AI) but the most things work well.

It might not be compelling to me but I wouldn’t list this under “GZ’s problems”. How the player/reader/watcher reacts to a story is always very subjective. While I’m not compelled some other person might have strong feelings about it.

The thing about the Reaper is this was discussed by the community quite heavily. The developers saw the opportunity to bring something a part of the community was longing for: something harder.
But there was more: remember the ammo crafting?

The November update was a huge step especially for the console community and that means all platforms are now on the same level. This brings the possibility to finally develop GZ further on all platforms ans bring more content, updates and adjustments. GZ is and probably will always be a work in progress.


#5

I’m not quite sure I agree with the title of this topic; it’s a bit harsh.

But the feedback itself is well-written and brings up some interesting points.

Edit: New title is much better :slight_smile:


#6

I don´t agree with the title.
Generation Zero is a game that is NOT broken at all, the A.I is dumb, but enemies react much more faster in Skirmish and Guerrilla and the game works fine Now.
You can find more ammo and items on Adventure mode than on other difficulties.
I do agree that The AI needs improvement and that machines reacting faster and having the double or triple health is not enough to just make it “hard”.
Higher difficulties should have more enemies, smarter enemies and machines with more than the simple “standard” weapons, carrying different loadouts to be less linear and more challenging for the players.
A similar system to Metal gear solid 5 dynamic enemy response could indeed be used, as @G-Man said.

Content
Well the story is not the best thing about the game, but not much to criticize about it.
I do think the game needs some kind of “barrier” impeding players to complete missions just by destroying some machines or visiting some places.
I tried my best to not complete any mission after the archipelago main missions, while exploring the rest of the "world, looking through online guides, I wanted to complete the game after i explored everything
In spite of that I managed to complete some side missions without even knowing it.

Skill System
I agree with Gman, the game could have some improvements, allowing to change the skills we choose, lifting the skills cap but at the same time not allowing a player to have all skills activated at the same time.

The game is not broken, but needs some rebalancing and some extra improvements.
Just a last note, the Adventure mode should remain mostly as it is, that way there will be almost no people asking for “please make the game easier”, some things need fixing, others are good as they are, don´t fix something that is not broken.