To Quick-Save Or Not To Quick-Save?

Everyone loves a good quick-save. You know, a one-button press that lets you save your progress mid-level in case you screw up. So fast, so easy, so reassuring! You've frozen a moment in time, and with the touch of a button, you can return to that moment whenever you'd like.

In a lot of games, the quick-save changes everything: You're about to try a daring move, so you hit F5 in case you botch it and need to try again. But is the quick-save a help or a hinderance? Do we blithely quick-save without thinking, robbing our games of a lot of their fun? I'm of two minds about it.

In games like XCOM, which I've been playing recently, constantly saving throughout a mission greatly diminishes the sense of risk. It's one reason I'm looking forward to trying that game's "Ironman" mode, which constantly saves and makes it impossible to undo mistakes. With the stakes so much higher, everything will feel more exciting and risky.

When I initially played Far Cry 2, I played it on Xbox 360, which only allows you to save at safe houses. As a result, the missions felt fraught and dangerous, and I was forced to improvise when things went pear-shaped (as they so often do in that game). In the PC version of Far Cry 2, I have a quick-save option. Suddenly I can save the game, try something daring, and if it doesn't work out, simply reload. It's surprising how much less tense it makes things.

Of course, quick-saving is always optional; if I don't want to quick-save, I can just not use the function! I rarely quick-save in Far Cry 2, even though I have the option. Games with limited saves, like the Hitman games, seem to hit a good balance -- you can only save four or five times in a level, so you have to choose your saves wisely. The higher the difficulty, the fewer saves you have.

So, on the one hand, quick-saving encourages experimentation, lets you perfect your play-style and saves you time. On the other, it significantly reduces tension and changes the flow of the game.

I'm still of two minds on it, so I thought I'd see what y'all thought. Do you quick-save? Are there games where you avoid it? Do you ever enact your own self-imposed "ironman mode" to see if you can survive while never saving? Let me know what you think.


Comments

    Baldur's Gate, I would quick save before each and every battle round and building, before every pickpocket and lockpick, any time an npc breathed near me... It was so easy to mess up with one bad conversation choice or misplaced spell that doing it again became an exercise in strategy.

    I would have loved to be able to quick save in GTA SA, the amount of times something awesome would be happening but I was too scared of loosing all my weapons to participate is annoyingly high.

    For some games that penalise you too severely time wise (eg: stealth games), I'm going to use the quicksave. I don't have the time or patience to replay large chunks of games and don't care much for the 'skill' involved to play perfectly.

    The thing that stopped me from completing Deus Ex: Human Revolution was the long loading times - I wanted to have a stealthy game but kept getting too harshly punished when I screwed up.

    Uh... Prepare to Die

    I use, and quite like quick-save, but it really depends on what you want from a game.
    I'm in it to be told a story, while a mild challenge is fine along the way, the idea of having to redo large sections because I screwed up repetitively will cause me to abandon the game. Saving being a long tedious process may have the same affect.

    Also, just for mild letting off steam the quick save feature lets me drop out of story for a moment, slaughter some important npc who's ticking me off, and then reload and continue where I left off as though nothing happened.

    If I don't use quick-save then taking a chance becomes too risky and my playstyle becomes too safe, too stale.
    Certain games work for this type of playstyle I suppose, Military Shooters where the more realism the better but If I'm playing as some kind of superhuman I want my playstyle to reflect that character

    I do like quick save, but I have to try hard to limit its use. I've been playing the original Fallout games recently, and it's hard not to just save, attempt a steal, re-load if the random roll doesn't go your way and try again until it does.

    Some kind of cooldown or limit would make my choices seem more meaningful, but I'm not convinced games necessarily need to go out of their way to stop me ruining my own fun. It's like people complaining about Arkham Asylum's detective mode. If you think it's making your gameplay experience worse, stop using it all the freaking time.

    My problem was never with quick save but rather that quick load was right next to it. Worst situation ever is to rely completely on the quick save and never do a normal save then go for that quick load button when you die...... and save instead. After a few times of having to restart massive sections of games (or even the whole thing from scratch) I just don't use it any more. To dangerous for me when in a gaming frenzy!!!

    I am a quick save whore. As mentioned above, who wants to run through a long section that you have already completed. I think developers need to place save points strategically to minimize painful experiences (such as having to watch a cut scene you have seen before and can't skip!). There is a difference between Hardcore and Bigbore. The lock picking reload voids the need for a million lock picks- I just can't resist. They need an anti save zone around them. The quick save prior to going postal on NPCs is always fun.

    If I have the option to quick-save then I do so quite often, the way I stop myself from doing it is by clearing the quick-save key in the controls menu and only manually saving which I do far less regularly.

    In an RPG I can understand why quick-save is important but for FPS games I prefer checkpoints with no quick-save option it adds to the challenge. That being said playing an old game like Project IGI that was exceedingly difficult and had no quick-save or checkpoints was as frustrating as it was fun

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