Holler if you’ve heard this one before. You’re a noble protagonist taking on immeasurable evil. You’ve faced death a million times and prevailed. You’re about to achieve your goal but then, you’re suddenly grabbed by the jewels and forced to babysit a bunch of brainless people. They won’t listen to you, get stuck against walls, run into the enemy’s line of fire and generally make life a living hell. And here you thought you were being noble.

Over the past decade, I have literally lost count of the times this has happened to me. In virtually every first or third person action game, babysitting or escort missions have become the norm. Things go from bad to totally disastrous when the AI you’re supposed to be escorting end up being super dumb. In both Dead Rising 1 and 2, I was literally yelling at the screen, tearing my hair out in frustration as the people I was to escort kept running into the undead instead of away from them. They want to eat your brains people. How tough is that to understand?

And who can forget the painful times when you have to babysit the very squad that was sent in to back you up. Not only do you have to take care of these so called badasses but if they get downed in battle, you have to drop what you’re doing and revive their dumb asses. You’ll probably die in the process but then you’re probably thinking that at least they’ll return the favour right? Wrong. They’ll just stand there above your dying corpse, laughing at your stupidity. Like WTF mate. It’s not enough that I have to save the planet, humanity and a billion people but now I have to keep an eye on you as well. Insensitive much?

Here, let me save you for the 100,000,000000th time

Besides games, this trend is also apparent in most disaster movies where kids/old people/annoying people who later turn super humble are introduced so someone can die saving them. That’s real touching right? NO! It’s annoying. If I want to get touched by a movie (yeah that sounded all right in my head), I’ll watch Stepmom. But at least in movies you’re just a spectator to stupidity. In games however, you are an active participant who in all probability is forced to deal with this sort of human baggage.

Remember Fallout? What, you don’t remember the fact that your escort would get stuck against even the tiniest rock so if you lost them you’d have to make sure you kept up with them at all times. How about GTA IV? Or Red Faction Guerilla? Or Army of Two, a game that so ironically made your second half an utter liability in battle. Here we had EA going on about how this game would revolutionize the way friendly AI works and in reality, it was just horrifying. My partner rarely listened to commands, kept dying like an idiot for most of the game and when it was his turn to revive me, he actually dragged me out of cover into enemy fire.

I have no idea why it’s not sunk into developers’ heads that people DO NOT enjoy such missions. So please, for the love of God, stop forcing this annoying mechanic on us. Why bog down someone who’s saving the world with such issues. Doesn’t he have enough on his plate already?

Publish date: March 24, 2011 10:07 am| Modified date: December 18, 2013 7:29 pm