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Saving your game progress might at first seem to have little to do with the overall playing experience. But, if you examine your saving habits closely, you can notice how your playing style is affected. Here is a quick glance at how different save features can have an impact on the way you play.
Often synonymous with the term “save anywhere,” quicksaves allow the player to save at (mostly) any point in a game. Given the opportunity to save anywhere, players might be willing to take more risks, seeing that they could always revert back to their previous position, with little to no consequences. Used too many health packs on that battle? Load your previous save, which was only a minute ago. Said the wrong thing in Mass Effect? Luckily you quicksaved it before you talked to that character. Load and try again.
Caution: Quicksaving may result in a serious condition known as “Obsessive Saving Syndrome.” Symptoms include, but are not limited to: Saving every five steps, the inability to play games without a quicksave feature, and other similar behavioral patterns.
Checkpoints appear at designated spots throughout a game. If you die, you will have to return to the last checkpoint, which can often have undesirable consequences, such as putting you in a position that you were at ten minutes ago. This results in a “just a few more steps” mentality for the player. You have fought a tough battle, and are barely hanging on, but that elusive “Checkpoint reached” signal has yet to appear.
The checkpoint system tends to make the player more self-conscious of their actions. Are you sure that this is the right way to approach this section? If you made a mistake, you had better revert back to the previous checkpoint. You never know when that new checkpoint will appear, and save your mistake forever.
The few. The proud. The Save Points. Most common in RPGs, such as the Final Fantasy series, save points are perhaps the most welcomed sight in these games. Save points often come with perks, such as restoring your party members’ health, serving as a reward for your success in finding them. Sometimes they are excruciatingly few and far between, therefore a similar mentality as the checkpoint system arises in the player.
The location of save points can mean frustration for the player. Example: In Final Fantasy X, one certain save point is located right before a boss fight, yet before you can fight this boss, you are subjected to viewing an approximately five-minute cutscene. To make matters worse, this boss battle is extremely difficult, meaning every time you die, you will have to view the cutscene over and over.
There are many variations of save features, but the three I listed above are some of the most common types. How do you adjust your playing style according to these different save features?