The handholding in modern Sony games is insanely over the top, and approaching Wii-era Nintendo levels

So I’m playing God of War Ragnarok. Loving it too, it’s a very good game that’s a significant step up over how middling I found the 2018 game, and addresses a lot of my complaints about it. Even in isolation, this is a really well designed game, truly a great work of game construction.

But holy fucking shit it has zero faith in its player to actually be able to pick up on any of that brilliance. It feels the need to constantly spell out everything. To an insane degree. Entire puzzles and areas are outright fully spoiled by companion characters – sometimes within a few seconds! If you don’t right away get to actually solving the exact puzzle the game wants you to solve in the exact way it wants you to solve it, it assumes you’re a fucking idiot and flat out and explicitly tells you what to do and how to do it. Those amazing areas it creates for you to explore? Nah, fuck that exploration, if you so much as look the wrong way, Mimir or Atreus will tell you why you are wrong and how not to be wrong.

This is not exaggeration. I just finished a dungeon. Amazingly well designed dungeon, with some great encounters, and some strong story and writing moments as well. This should have been the best part of the game so far. Instead, within this dungeon, every single puzzle was spoiled within seconds (one was spoiled BEFORE the animation that played as I entered the room was even completed). Every single one without fail. I was no longer playing the game, I was just trying to keep up with a very impatient backseat player who was literally spelling every single thing out for me.

But that’s not good enough for the game. I love the looping design of this dungeon. It’s got a classic Zelda dungeon style layout. It’s the kind of thing that I as the player love putting together as I get a sense of the space and understand how different areas relate to one another. So. Rather than letting me piece it together and gain the appreciation of an explored space for myself? Every single time we open a shortcut or complete a loop mimir or Atreus make sure to call attention to it. Every. Single. Time. And at that point, you have ruined all the satisfaction and appreciation I would have had had I been allowed to piece this shit together and figure it out for myself by spelling all this shit out for me. What should have been my favorite part of the game just elicits an “it’s cool” from me and then makes me mad that the game went out of its way to crap over any potential for enjoyment I could have derived from it instead.

The worst part is, this isn’t limited to just God of War Ragnarok. If you remember, Horizon Forbidden West got mauled by players and critics for this exact thing earlier this year (at the time I truly thought it would be impossible to get worse, but holy shit Ragnarok manages it. And it’s even worse because unlike Horizon, Ragnarok is an actual good game that I am enjoying, so having shit spoiled for me this way only pisses me off more). It’s just been a trend across Sony’s whole portfolio in the last few years. The original Horizon had this issue. Spider-Man 2018 had this issue. Days Gone had this issue. Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart had this issue.

I’ve always hated it when games do this. This ind of intrusive handholding ruined Zelda for me once upon a time. It ruined Pokemon for me once upon a time. I hate Horizon because of this. I couldn’t stand Red Dead Redemption 2 because of this. Metroid Fusion is my least favorite 2D Metroid because of this. Universally, for me, this is the worst thing you can do, which is, not letting your player play your fucking game.

The really bizarre part is, this is a solved problem. Like, believe me, I truly understand the need and necessity to ensure players can actually get through the game. I get it, I welcome these kinds of things as accessibility initiatives, I think all games should include them as possible. I even think they should be the default. But let me fucking turn it off, or at least, turn it down. I have zero problems with this option existing for players who need it, but for someone like me who doesn’t, who just wants to be allowed to enjoy the game at his own pace, this is bordering on game ruining. And what’s annoying is that Sony’s premier studio solved this problem years ago. Naughty Dog games also include hints from companion characters, but they are always mapped to a button prompt. If you’ve spent too long on any puzzle or area, a prompt shows up next to your companion character (or on the player character if you’re by yourself then) that if you press it, tells you what to do. If you don’t, the game lets you figure it out yourself. It’s perfect! You get the help you want, when you want it, if you want it, and otherwise the game leaves you alone. If you don’t want to program a toggle for this sort of assistance (because I do understand it might be difficult to do so) then at the very least do this.

Right now, what I am reminded of is Wii era Nintendo. When they suddenly had an all new audience of less engaged players, and they were so terrified that they would get lost or overwhelmed and drop the game, and so they included all these obnoxious aids and assists that were unavoidable that would outright spoil shit for you (this hit a nadir with Fi in Skyward Sword). That’s the level we are at (it’s actually a bit worse because since unlike in those old Nintendo games, the aids and assists here are all voice acted, so you can’t avoid it unless you’ve literally muted the game and turned subtitles off). I hated this shit then. I hate it now. It’s terrible because Ragnarok is legitimately a great game – but it has no faith in its player to appreciate that, and so it makes sure to baby and handhold you, to the point that any engagement or satisfaction from its brilliance you may have derived is undermined.


Definitely should be something that can be disabled. It has improved things for me, but they should not force that on anyone.


Iv watched a few clips and it’s horrendously bad, even if a game was a 10/10 for me, that alone would knock it down multiple points for me, it’s that bad

Tbh, I feel not just the handholding but many other similar issues are plaguing Sony first party games these days, the endless forced “walk and talk” sections, squeezing through tight crevices and all the other pointless bloat, they’ve been sniffing their own farts too much and forgot how to make this stuff fun and are suffering from MCU style fatigue where I’m tired of the same shit in a different setting

I feel like these devs have taken the Kojima “movie” formula but took the worst parts like the pacing and made them even worse and lack the innovation and uniqueness he consistently brought in the gameplay and design

It’s completely killed my interest in Playstation since last gen and it doesn’t look like that’s changing anytime soon


This sounds pretty damn bad. I knew about arrows pointing you to areas where you can climb but what you wrote sounds even worse, wtf man.

With this stuff in mind i just can’t wrap my head around several outlets scoring this a 10, I just can’t. These really should be options you can disable.

Of the stuff I hope XGS does more of from Sony games, this is NOT one of those things. :nauseated_face:

I can see Hellblade 2 getting a lot of comparisons to GoW when it releases but I really hope it’s basically nothing like it


It fits the average cultists abilities I guess?


Why even put a puzzle in a game if you’re just going to give the answer away in a few seconds?


They found a formula and have stuck to it for years. People are only just noticing now?. Ragnarok is great but it just highlights Sonys way of doing things.


i guess… congrats for the artist for proving OP’s point?. treating players of all ages being equally stupid enough to solve puzzle themselves.

Sonys first party games play themselves at this point. I saw a youtube short of Ragnorok titled “This was EPIC!!!” and its Kratos and Atreus fighting two valkyrie, they double team Kratos and beat him up, they fly him into the air, they smash him on the ground, Atreus morphs into a bear and turns the tide and they both end up winning and posing in an Epic back to back shot.

The players total input in this whole scene is “Press Right Thumbstick”.



I don’t understand the confusion. It’s just a comic strip making the same critique as OP. Thought it was appropriate for the thread. :man_shrugging:


I don’t mind it because I am usually slow in solving puzzles, so rather get hints than to look it up. If I had it my way there would be no puzzles in games, ha

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Skyward Sword’s worst sin isn’t Fi, though it’s close. It’s that every time you started the game, it decided to describe every item you pick up even if you already had it. Nothing breaks flow like being in a pitched battle and having the game pause itself so it can tell you what a blue rupee is even though you’ve picked up tons in the past. Made me actively avoid picking shit up eventually.

Breath of the Wild was such an incredible course correction.

Anyway that sounds super annoying, OP. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to put in options for this type of thing.

I took it this way too.

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Twice? Only for super advanced Cultists then.


I believe it was on “Give me God of War” mode. Not for the faint of heart!



Only read the first two paragraphs and I agree. Like Aloy in HFW, Mimir or Atreus always spoil the puzzles before you can even look them over. It’s fucking ridiculous. It’s like, why give me puzzles if you don’t want me to solve them??? SMH.


My hot take of the day: Sony first party narrative third person games are grossly overrated and I am starting to realize I don’t really like them (maybe “don’t like” isnt accurate, completely burnt out on is probably more apt)

I finished God of War last night and I can certainly say the production value and story telling are top notch and everything is incredibly polished, but the game itself, and most of their games really, are boring and repetitive to play.

It is a slog of watching cutscenes, then walking for in a straight line for 5 minutes so the characters can squeeze in their dialog, then a large circular combat room where you fight the same handful of enemy types over and over, followed by another five minutes of walking to squeeze in dialog, finding chests that seems like no effort was put into their placement, followed by the same three types of gate “puzzles” over and over. Which as the OP was spot on about are ruined almost immediately after walking into the room “TRY TO USE MY MAGIC ARROWS ON THOSE THINGS, RIGHT THERE, BEHIND THAT OTHER THING”

My honest opinion is that it is an 8/10 game carried mostly by how polished it is and the engaging story, but I am actually happy that Microsoft hasn’t followed them down the path of focusing so heavily on one type of game.

I haven’t played Ragnarok or Pentiment but I’d much rather have the latter than the former. That’s the beauty of MS making Game Pass one of the keys to its success in gaming: their first-party studios have reason to create a variety of different games.

I am sorry that you were disappointed by Ragnarok, do you think you can get your money back?