In a lot of games, the game is designed to be played in a certain way. Certain areas of the game require stealth as they are basically impossible to do any other way. In other areas, being stealthy is impossible. With this approach though, the designer can do a very good job at producing the exact type of "fun"/feel that they want, making it a very polished experience. The designer can also choose to make the game in a way such that a player could choose to approach a given situation in a number of different ways, which is great for players who don't always want to have to walk down a specific path or be stealthy in a particular part, but often the experience ends up being half-baked for all the ways that you play it and just doesn't feel as "focused" or polished. Do you prefer more choice with a less polished experience or fewer choices with a very "focused" experience? Do you think that it is reasonably possible to give the player lots of choices while still providing a "focused" experience without basically remaking the game over for each different playstyle?
Below I provide an example of player choice in games.. vision modes:
While night vision, etc. in games like Splinter Cell are cool and all, does anyone else find it annoying that in some games the use of a vision mode, like detective vision in Batman for example, is almost required to play the game effectively? For example, in the Batman games, yes you *can* choose to not use the detective mode, but then you make certain areas artificially difficult. For some people this isn't an issue.. if they don't want to use a vision mode they just don't use it and see the increased difficulty as just another challenge.
However, for me, I am bothered that although I have the option to not use <insert vision mode>, in many games the artificial difficulty that comes from choosing *not* to use <insert vision mode here> is not enjoyable. [Most] developers design games so that the game plays a specific way, and that way is tweaked and tailored to be enjoyable. However, if you are playing something like Splinter Cell for example and don't want to have to view the entire game through a washed out green filter, you are pretty much just going to be walking around in the dark bumping into people or walking down the length of the hallway feeling around for a keypad. Do you have that choice? Does it provide a new level of difficulty? Sure, but not in a way that is enjoyable. A better way would be to design the gameplay such that the game provided a different, but *still enjoyable* experience if a player decides he or she doesn't want to play through the whole game in green or blue screen mode. For example, in Splinter Cell, you could choose not to use the night vision goggles in certain parts, but the level/area would be designed in a way that you could still play a part stealthily, albeit in a different but not necessarily difficult way.
I am aware that a lot of games are much better at this these days, but it is still an issue. I haven't played it yet, but from what I understand Splinter Cell: Blacklist actually did a very good job making sure that you can both a) play the game in multiple different ways and b) that the game still provides a similar experience/similar amount of entertainment regardless of the play style you choose (as opposed to trying to do a stealth only run on Splinter Cell Conviction, which I'm pretty sure is impossible).