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Good progression is an important aspect in choosing whether or not one should play a given game. Nobody wants their experience marred by overly complicated leveling requirements, exorbitant difficulty levels, or puzzles that would confound the NASA scientists.
Check out our list of the best games that will keep you glued to the screen for hours thanks to their gameplay flow, and that’s not because you can’t defeat the level 1 boss.
At first glance, the vast open world of Red Dead Redemption 2 might seem intimidating. The developers put a lot of effort into creating a truly living virtual world, full of ambiance and unexpected events. The game is so big and full of content that the players can experience the same moments in a completely different way.
Despite all that, RDR 2 offers a fairly streamlined experience regarding the story and character progression. Arthur Morgan improves his skills naturally, without much effort from the player. Various items become available at certain points of the game, but they aren’t locked behind some unimaginably difficult challenges. Red Dead Redemption 2 emphasizes experience above all else, allowing the player to take on the game at their own pace.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Assassin’s Creed Odyssey takes the player to the times of the Peloponnesian Wars, where the mighty powers of Greek city-states clashed across the Aegean Sea. As a misthios, a warrior for hire, the player can explore that vast world, taking part in large scale battles or following the threads of behind-the-scenes plots.
The main appeal of Odyssey is that every activity yields some reward, usually in the form of experience. Entering a new town, finding an abandoned temple, taking down a bandit camp – all of this pushes the character further and further on the progression path, unlocking new skills and gear. Sometimes, the game can throw a curveball – for example, encountering a high-level mercenary too early in the game. But the other charm of Odyssey lies in how it allows the player to learn from their mistakes. Returning to meet the aforementioned mercenary and reduce them to ashes with ease is a very satisfying experience.
Assassin's Creed Odyssey
Devil May Cry 5 is one of those games that are the epitome of “style over substance”. Full of flashy moves and acrobatics, the newest installment of Dante’s crusade against demonkind gives the player a chance to feel like a real badass without pushing them through hell for it.
The progression system of DMC 5 relies on the simplest upgrading mechanic – buying new moves for red orbs acquired throughout the gameplay. The orbs can be found everywhere – they lie scattered around the map, fall out of the defeated enemies, and so on. Certain orbs – such as blue ones, which extend the character’s health bar – may take some time to find, but thanks to mostly linear level design, it shouldn’t take too long for the player to collect them.
Devil May Cry 5
No Man’s Sky’s launch was not ideal, but after years of updates, no one can deny the game’s charm and impressive scope. In the simplest terms, the game allows the player to explore an entire universe full of procedurally-generated worlds. Other aspects of gameplay include survival and combat mechanics, but the gist of it is an unobstructed exploration of the universe in order to reach its center.
Obviously, reaching the center of the universe won’t be easy, but the only thing preventing the player from getting there is the time they are willing to spend on upgrading their spacecraft to withstand such a trip. The game doesn’t have any steep learning curves or puzzles that require two doctorates in astrophysics to solve. Crafting materials can be gathered on various worlds the player will visit or traded for in hubs. With a bit of patience, the player will be ready to explore the farthest reaches of the No Man’s sky’s universe.
No Man's Sky
Cory Barlog did an interesting thing with the 2018’s God of War. He relegated all the difficult encounters and rip-hair-out-of-your-head challenges to the side while focusing on the story progression. The story of Kratos and Atreus is a beautiful tale of the bond between father and son, and we’re inclined to believe that some of it would be lost if the player was hit with a sudden boss battle that would stall them for hours.
As far as character progression goes, the main game can be beaten with whatever gear the player stumbles upon along the way. Finding perfect loot takes time, which the player might invest in if they want to take on the Valkyries or other challenges, but it won’t be necessary to move forward in the main story.
God of War
Some say that video games nowadays are too easy, and the real fun of playing comes from constant challenges. Others say that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a simple walk-through-a-park gameplay experience. The games on our list are by no means easy, and there are times when they can prove to be downright challenging.
But good progression flow is not about whether the game is too easy or too difficult. It’s the feeling of satisfaction that comes from playing and completing it. If the only feeling you have after finishing a game is “thank God it’s over,” then it is possible that the progression flow was imbalanced, With the games from our list, you will never feel that way.