Game analysis: Dynasty Warrior 8

1. lens used: Fun

The very essence of the game involves hack and slashing hundreds of enemies at once, making it juicy and fun to play for those who like hack and slash game. At times it might be monotonous as you just need to slash those hordes of enemies again and again, but the improvement of the story telling and graphic element compared to the previous installment add variation and fuel my curiosity to keep me wanting to play it more and more.

Secondly, the number of playable characters are enormous, featuring more than 70 different characters to play, each with different specialised weapons, abilities and attack patterns. It takes time to master all those characters with their ability. This results in the huge – but not too long – amount of time spend on the game to fully utilise its features, which to me, adds the fun elements. It’s a long game with vast amount of abilities to master, each with fresh different characters, coupled with good story and juicy hack and slash element, blend together to make this a thrilling and fun experience.

2. lens used: Surprise

What i think that this game will be very similar to the previous installment series of dynasty warrior has been proven wrong. From the absence of minor things such as unintentional “bug”, whereby things like the enemy can be attacked behind a gate and the item from the enemy dropped in an unreachable place, which present in previous series, to big features such as being able to ride tiger and elephant, immediately surprised me. There are other things that i do not expect to present in such a “simple” hack and slash game, like the presence of weapon affinity whereby if used against enemy with different affinity who are weak to you, you will be able to launch a furious attack and vice versa, thus adding more strategy element to the game. From all these features and improvement, i can say, at least in my opinion, that they put in a lot of effort to improve the gameplay experience, something that i must show respect to.

3. lens used: Challenge

In terms of the game difficulty, the game adapts quite well at the beginning. There are 5 difficulty level making the game suitable for those who are new and also for those who are already experienced and enjoy challenge. The later stage is tougher than the beginning of the stage, even though it is on the same difficulty, as the player is expected to gain some skills and experience with the game, making the adaptive difficulty a good element in the game.

At later stage, or high end game, however, when the players have access to all the weapon upgrades and element enhancements and skills, the game might be too easy for those who seek challenges, even on the highest difficulty, although in my opinion it would feel just right for those “casual” players. In my opinion i feel that pushing the limit or boundary a little bit more for those who like challenges would be a good addition to the game.

4. lens used: Story

The game itself tells the story of the very famous historical event Romance of the Three Kingdom in chinese history. While i think most of the players that like this series more likely to put emphasis on the gameplay rather than the story, the story itself is presented in a way that undeniably adds interesting element and a good plot to the game. How the story is foretold in the game also affects the different gameplay mechanics such as the strategies and plans that are to be used in the certain battle, with the key figures, such as zhuge liang or cao cao, devising them.

The story inarguably affects the gameplay, as the game itself would cripple in the absence of the story, simply degrading them to a complete mindless hack and slash game. With the story, careful strategy and planning elements are added to game, which makes the game less monotonous and mindless. Some balancing of the game needs to be done though, with respect to the story. For example, one scenario requires the player to lure the enemies to the ambush point to be defeated, however, it is completely possible for the players to just go, create havoc, and kill all of the enemies by themselves without the need to lure them. A more realistic situation would be a welcome improvement in this area.

Also, the storyline is not so linear and straightforward. Those who are already very familiar with the story and chinese history can still immerse themselves in the world of curiosity with the addition of hypothetical history route. The players own choices and decisions could very well affect the course of the history itself, which in my opinion is a really nice elements to be added in the game.

5. lens used: Freedom

Last, but not least, what always excites and amuse me in the world of game is the freedom that the game offers to the players, and dynasty warrior 8 in my opinion has done a decent job to provide this element to the players. While there exists some restriction within the game, those restrictions are good-to-have restrictions that control the balance of the game and there are always some degree of freedom within that restriction. For instance, while some of the area in a battle cannot be explored before some plans is executed, the players can explore and move freely to other accessible area. The players can even choose to abandon the plans that are already devised, although it will result in a more difficult battle. Another example would be the elements that can be added to the weapon. they are limited to 6 elements, but the players are free to choose any combination of elements to customise their weapon according to their preference. I sometimes feel restricted in the past series of the game when the only thing that the players can do in the game is to choose a battle to play and play it, but this game delivers an improvement in that area, whereby the players can build their own city, upgrading the buildings to give enhancement, such as stronger weapons, mounts, and experience to level up.

All these elements combined together, i could say that dynasty warrior 8 is a pretty decent game to play for those who like hack and slash game and i totally respect the effort they put in producing this game despite some of its minor flaws.

Analysis of Demon’s Souls Through Lenses

Demon’s Souls is a third-person action role-playing game developed by From Software, a Japanese video game developer most famous for the Armored Core and Tenchu series. The player controls a customizable hero and has to explore and make his way through stages set in five major locations. The game has garnered accolades for its brutal difficulty as well as its deliberately-paced and challenging combat system.

Official website (USA):
Gameplay video:

Despite Demon’s Souls breaking almost every game design “rule” in modern big-budget games with its relentless combat and labyrinthine level design, it succeeded beyond the wildest expectations of the original Japanese publisher Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, which admitted it had made a mistake[1] not publishing the game in the North American market. I will examine the game through a consolidated set of 4 related lenses: Judgment (20), Skill (27), Challenge (31), and Punishment (41) and a fifth unrelated lens of Infinite Inspiration (11) and point out what Demon’s Souls did that accounted for its success.

Looking at how there are situations where the player can go from full health to zero while being unable to do anything, anyone who has read the hundreds of articles and books on game design would cry out at this blatantly terrible decision to make the game inaccessible and the difficulty curve a difficulty cliff. Yet Demon’s Souls is unforgiving too in its judgment of the player. The game assumes the player does not need mollycoddling and every mistake is penalized. The game judges that the player’s pride would not let him give up at being instantly killed by a swarm of weak skeletons and insert another game into the console, because he knows he made a mistake. The game judges that the player understands that accomplishments require struggle and effort. And most importantly, the game judges that the player can figure out where he went wrong, by heavily emphasizing deliberate action and punishing button-mashing and rash decisions.

Fairness in the game’s judgment comes from highly telegraphed actions from the game’s wide variety of monsters, fixed level design and monster placement, consistency in its feedback to player actions, and freedom in allowing the player to customize his equipment to suit each stage and playing style right from the beginning of the game. As an example of Demon’s Souls consistency and deliberate pace, most weapons have a relatively long “swing time” where the attacker is unable to take any action. So, if a player were to rapidly press the Attack button, he would be left vulnerable if his attack missed. However, the same applies for all enemies – they do not have the ability to interrupt their attacks in mid-swing too, allowing players to safely attack during those considerably long attack animations. So, punishments are applied fairly to everything.

This is one of the skills that Demon’s Souls cultivates in the player as he makes his way through the game. The game tests the player’s observation skills and positioning skills: each enemy has a massive ‘tell’ before each attack that the player can take advantage of to avoid damage, and the many environmental traps like long falls or even a stray pillar can cause your death if you roll carelessly – or the enemy’s if you manage to lure him off or get him stuck in a pillar. Knowledge is another aspect of Demon’s Souls that a player will learn is necessary for survival in the bleak world, be it knowledge of enemy placements and level layouts, weaknesses and attack patterns of monsters, or even the most effective weapons to forge and craft. The most important skill tested is probably patience in many various ways: trial-and-error is the main form of progress, taking on enemies requires you to wait for the right gap in timing or chink in armor, and careless repeated deaths can take away an entire day of progress. While in-game progress can be lost, the player’s knowledge of the game can only increase as he plays, and the game’s mechanical depth work such that the more knowledge a player has, the better he will do. The avatar’s skills just give the player more leeway in making mistakes – it is always the player’s skill that allows him to win, and this is one aspect Demon’s Souls executed perfectly.

It can be argued that Demon’s Souls’ challenge does not cater to a wide variety of skill levels, although certainly there is a wide variety of challenges themselves ranging from those in the game (environment, monsters, bosses, level design, inventory management, player invasions etc.) to outside the game (the player’s own fear or nervousness as he enters an unknown area leading to poor decision making…) But that does not matter, because Demon’s Souls was never a mass-market game by virtue of its brutal nature that expects a lot of investment from the player’s side, and thus never needed to cater to different skill levels. For the player who is willing to learn about Demon’s Souls, the payoff is huge as every challenge overcome provides an overwhelming sense of satisfaction many games do not provide in the interests of “creating flow” or “not breaking immersion”. In exchange, Demon’s Souls sets a baseline of skill and does only a few things to mitigate that.

One such thing is drawn from the lens of infinite inspiration. One much-lauded feature is the ability to leave messages on the ground for other players to read. These include warnings like “Be wary of a fall ahead” and hints like “Use spells on the next enemy”, which provide all the help the game is willing to explicitly provide. In an interview with Eurogamer[2], director Hidetaka Miyazaki says the inspiration for that feature was his car being stuck on a snowy hillside. The cars behind him slowly pushed him safely over the hill, but he could not stop the car to express his gratitude to the people behind. The essence of simply helping out other people through mutual adversity is relayed in this unique message feature. You do not know who wrote these messages, and if you wrote one you know you will not receive any gratitude (although in the game you can “recommend” a message and if a recommendation comes while you are playing you get your health fully restored), but you simply do it anyway because every little thing counts in Demon’s Souls and you want to help (or harm) your fellow players. I think this is a perfect example of capturing the essence of an experience and putting it in a game.

Command and conquer: Tiberium Alliances

Option 1:

(note: There may be more than 2 pages because I have included the lenses’ description. Without the pictures and my own text, the description of the lenses already filled up 2 pages)

An analysis of Command and Conquer: Tiberium Alliances

Game website:

Gameplay video:



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1.)Lens #18: The lens of flow

1.1) Does my game have clear goals? If not, how can I fix that?

The goal of the game is to move you base towards the center of the world map and hold down the position. While not particularly mind-blowingly exciting, the circular shape of the world map meant that as a player gets closer to the center, they are bound to encounter competing players and engage in player versus player battle. This is the main focus of the game.

1.2) Are the goals of the player the same goals I intended?

Gaining levels and building the strongest base and army are natural goals of the players. Since players require increasingly larger resource income to maintain the pace of progress, they will seek out areas can keep up with their consumption demands. The re-spawning artificial intelligence (AI) enemies become progressively stronger towards the center of the map and this attracts the players. This falls in line with the developers’ goals.

1.3) Are there parts of the game that distract players to the point they forget their goal? If so, can these distractions be reduced, or tied into the game goal?

The goals are very natural and clear to the players. There are no distractions from this goal.

1.4) Does my game provide a steady steam of not-too-easy, not-too-hard challenges, taking into account the fact that players’ skills may be gradually improving?

Yes. As players progress towards the center of the map, they will encounter stronger AI enemies as well as other players who are capable of defeating the AI enemies in the region.

1.5) Are the players’ skills improving at the rate I had hoped? If not, how can I change that?

Unfortunately during the earlier servers, the players were progressing far too quickly than the developers had hoped. As a result, the game has seen patches that consistently slow down players’ ability to progress.


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2.) Lens #32: The lens of meaningful choices

2.1) What choices am I asking the player to make?

Players have to plan the use of their resources, the armies that each of their bases contain, the position of their different bases and their armies’ formation of attack and defence.

2.2) Are they meaningful? How?

Each player generates a particular resource required to attack other bases. Since there is no way to increase this income(not even through the in-game real-money purchases), players have to plan their course of action in order to maximize their efficiency. Additionally, players have to commit a set of military equipment and personnel to each base as the cost of reassignment is prohibitively high. Thus, players have to observe enemies in his or her region and move their set of bases to best defend their positions.

2.3) Am I giving the player the right number of choices? Would more make them feel more powerful? Would less make the game clearer?

The number of choices feels comfortable. Suitable for fans of strategy games.

2.4)Are there any dominant strategies in my game?

Unfortunately there are several dominant strategies that discourage alternative playstyles.


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3.) Lens #37: The lens of cooperation

3.1) Cooperation requires communication. Do my players have enough opportunity

to communicate? How could communication be enhanced?

The game places heavy focus on team work. There is an “alliance” feature where players can come together as a group and share their territories or work together to attack and defend against other players. There is an in-game forum as well as each “alliance” granted their own forums.

3.2) Are my players friends already, or are they strangers? If they are strangers,

can I help them break the ice?

Unfortunately little is done to help break the ice. Players have to depend on themselves to make friends. However, the nature of the game results in many “alliances” seeking to recruit players, which helps a little in breaking the ice.

3.3) Is there synergy () or antergy () when the players work

together? Why?

Yes. This is because as players work together, they share their territories and allow other friendly players to move across the region much quicker and easier. Furthermore, friendly bases that are near a player’s base will automatically help defend the player if his or her base comes under attack.

3.4) Do all the players have the same role, or do they have special jobs?

The roles are entirely defined by the “alliance” they belong to. Typically some players will be assigned to push towards the center, some will be “spies” to infiltrate enemy alliances and some will travel across the map to capture bonuses for the entire alliance.

3.5) Cooperation is greatly enhanced when there is no way an individual can do

a task alone. Does my game have tasks like that?

Yes. Through cooperation, players will be able to manoeuvre easier, gain larger bonuses that apply across the “alliance”, protection from attacks and teamwork to defeat much more powerful enemies.

3.6) Tasks that force communication inspire cooperation. Do any of my tasks

force communication?

While certain situations due to player behaviour (of the player and others on the server) may encourage player communication, there are no situations whereby communication is forced.


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4.) Lens #82: The Lens of Inner Contradiction

4.1) What is the purpose of my game?

The purpose is to let players engage in player versus player combat.

4.2) What are the purposes of each subsystem in my game?

The attack and defence subsystems provide strategic gameplay.

4.3) Is there anything at all in my game that contradicts these purposes?

The game is very straight-forward and does not have any elements that contradict the purpose of the game.

4.4) If so, how can I change that?



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5.) Lens #87: The Lens of Griefing

5.1) What systems in my game are easy to grief?

Since the majority of resources is awarded when a base is destroyed, it is possible for players to wait until another player weakens a high-resource base before jumping in to do the last attack and get the reward.

5.2) How can I make my game boring to grief?

The developers have implemented a feature that locks down a base when attacked. This lock-down prevents other players that are not the original attacker from attacking the base.

5.3) Am I ignoring any loopholes?

The developers have acted to close certain loopholes while some are ignored.



Triple Town vs. Zupo! Match Up Puzzle

Triple Town is an addictive puzzle game with millions of downloads having an average rating of four and a half stars on both the Android Play Store and iTunes store. The key word is triple, aligning three objects combines to form something bigger. The objective is to build up your town as much as possible before you run out of space due to either poor planning or the obstacles, namely those cute bears and stones.

Triple Town

Triple Town

Triple Town has been hit by clones even when it had just started out as Facebook game moving to the mobile platforms, in the form of Yeti Town by the company they granted IP access to for the mobile game development. However, due to the game being virtually similar with the exception of the characters, I will not be comparing the two. Instead, I shall review a newer game which bears some similarity with Triple Town, “Zupo! MatchUp Puzzle”, and focus on the main gameplay modes.

Triple Town vs Yeti Town

Triple Town vs Yeti Town

Triple Town and Yeti Town Comparison

First off, I love Triple Town for its simple yet challenging gameplay which it does through its “triple” mechanism. To start off, the player is made to place a randomly generated object on the map.

As you can see, placing three patches of grass combines to a bush and three of those bushes combine to a tree and so on until you get the floating castle, the pinnacle of Triple Town architecture. To make it more challenging, you are forced to place bears or stones. The cute bears move about on their own, disrupting your great architectural plans for your town. So, you can ‘kill’ the bears off by trapping them, which converts them to a gravestone. And of course, the ‘triple’ mechanism applies here as well. Three gravestones lead to a cathedral, and three of those lead to a larger one until it becomes a treasure chest which gives you coins which allows you to buy any piece from the store, like the crystal which allows you to combine any two pieces or a remover piece to delete any piece from the map.

Zupo! MatchUp Puzzle, the other game similar to Triple Town, sadly does not have much to offer over the successful Triple Town aside from minor gameplay changes and graphics.

Lens #6: The Lens of Problem Solving


Triple Town Zupo! Match Up Puzzle
  • Triple has more pieces, like the ninja bear, which generates permutations to the problem. This makes it increasing fun for the player.



  • This game only has the basic elements, ‘fire’ which corresponds to Triple Town’s bear, the Zupo to Triple Towns buiildings and holes for obstacles instead of rocks.
  • Triple Town’s store allows you to purchase limited essential items with coins you have accumulated to complete the ‘triple’ building and remove obstacles. Learning how to utilize the store effectively to get the highest points adds another dimension to the gameplay.
  • Zupo! Matchup Puzzle gives you a chance to clear obstacles after placing a set number of pieces. Simply put, it is a dumbed down version of Triple Town’s store.

Lens #39: The Lens of Time


Triple Town Zupo! Match Up Puzzle
  • Turn based with 150 turns with a new turn generated per set time (free version). Surprisingly, the limited turns concept makes the game fun since the moves becomes a scarce resource. Players are made to think before placing a piece. Later in the game, the number of turns become of less importance since placement decisions make a great impact.
  • Turn based without limit.
    Unlimited turns leaves the game pace to the player and somehow leaves out a sense of importance in placement decisions (although it is a simpler version of the game)
  • There is no time limit and the player loses when the board is full and no moves left to play. The open ended gameplay goes hand in hand with the ‘build your town’ theme which challenges the user to build the best he or she can. The well placed floating castles gives the user a sense of accomplishment.
  • Same as Triple Town however breeding large Zupos just do not seem as appealing as creating your own town and killing off those cute yet irritating bears.


The reason why Triple Town is such a success can be seen just from its basic game mechanism. It reaches the sweet point of being simple (easy to pick up on a train ride or boring lecture) yet complex enough to be addictive (multitasking during lectures). I attest to that having personally racked up points at the millions range during a certain semester.

A few years later and a disappointingly stripped-down version of a similar genre fail to compare to even the original free version of Triple Town.

Links to games:

Triple Town

Zupo! Match Up Puzzle


Hay Day

Hay Day is a time-based, social mobile game which provides players with the experience of farming. By growing crops and rearing animals, players can trade these products for money and experience which is then used to level up and unlock more items.

Lens #1:  46 The Lens of Economy

In Hay Day, gold is the universal currency for buying and selling items. Players can either purchase gold using real world money or trade items for it. Hay Day provides two main channels for acquiring gold in the game. The first is through NPCs, the other is by trading with other players through the Roadside Shop.

The constant demand of goods from the NPCs ensures that all players have a minimum amount of coins which will still allow them to purchase machinery to further their progress in the game, albeit at a slower rate. The Roadside Shop gives the players some freedom to sell their items at their desired price (though the price range is still capped). Through the Roadside Shop, players can earn coins at a much faster rate as well as get missing items to fulfil their NPC orders, thus enabling them to level up faster.

I think the existence of both two channels is a good idea. Players do not get left behind if they choose not to participate in the Roadside Shop. If they do however, they get the thrill of trading items with other players which adds another level of fun to the game.

Lens #2: 75 The Lens of the Avatar

Hay Day does not provide an avatar. The only personalization available is the farm name. In many cases however, the farm name is used for advertising instead of bringing out the player’s identity.

Although having an avatar is a nice touch to bring players closer to the game, I do not think that an avatar is absolutely necessary in Hay Day. The view focus of the game is almost always on the farm itself, and the avatar will hardly be seen. Thus it is better not to spend resources on designing a redundant avatar.

Lens #3: 53 The Lens of Control

Hay Day’s controls are intuitive. For example, the zooming in and out of the screen follows the conventional pinch-to-zoom. The other controls are swiping and tapping. These controls are familiar to the players which enable them to pick it up fast. Even if they are not, there is a tutorial at the start of the game to familiarise them with the controls. Simple controls allow players to focus more on playing the game than mastering the controls which is essential for a better gaming experience.

Lens #4: 84 The Lens of Friendship

Friends in Hay Day help players progress in the game by reviving crops or completing deliveries. These friends usually come from the player’s social network like Facebook or Google+. Players can ask for help by announcing it which appears as a post in Facebook or Google+.

I would say there is not much interaction between players since there are no chat rooms and the only form of interaction is by helping each other or trading with each other. However, I think there is no need for chat rooms since players do not need to advertise their goods through word of mouth. Their Roadside Shop does that for them. That being said, Hay Day maintains these interactions by ensuring that it is a win-win situation for both parties, for example, the helper receives game experience and the player being helped gets to complete deliveries.

Lens #5: 66 The Lens of Obstacle

The obstacles in Hay Day are the deliveries requirements. As their level increases, the deliveries get more and more difficult to complete. Thus players often have to depend on their friends for help. It could be a problem if none of their friends are able to help. Another method is to purchase diamonds using real life money to complete delivery orders. However, this is a turn off from the game if players are not willing to buy diamonds yet are unable to progress in the game. Since the deliveries are the only obstacle, it gets boring after a while. Hay Day could introduce other challenges to keep players entertained.

CS3247 Assignment 1

Game Name:


The Elder Scroll V: Skyrim




This is an RPG game. The background is built upon a virtual Middle Ages world,

of which lives different races of human, orcs, elves, etc.

The Elder Scroll has several series.

In this one, Skyrim, it tells the story of the returning of an evil dragon,

and the player’s character’s main quest is to slay this dragon and keep the world safe.


Related Lens:


Lens #32: The lens of meaningful choices

A player have many choices during main/side quests, some may totally affect the

character’s future, some may affect the final reward or story progress direction.


  1. To join Rebellion or Imperial Legion?
  2. To help an NPC with his problem or just kill him for his equipment?
  3. To complete a mission in a brutal force or clever way?


Lens #49: The lens of visible progress

Many things that a player does, will reward player experience/ item/ reputation/ etc.

After the character progressed, he can learn new skills, find new quests,

get better looks or simply become stronger.


1.Use one kind of weapon/skill frequently => gain proficiency as well as experience =>

more available ability of this kind of weapon/skill unlocked

2.Level up => more spark points => add spark points to unlocked abilities to

make them enabled.

3.Complete quests => better relationship with some NPC, get reward, etc.


Lens #63: The lens of beauty
The game have excellent background music, graphical effect and modelings.

The sky, rivers, animals, trees, wooden houses…

Everything details of the game, will seduce players and make them

feeling immersed into the fantastic beauty of this world.

Besides, it even allows players to import MODs to enhance those effects.


Lens #71: The lens of freedom

There is no need to complete any quests. Hunting, pharmacy, black smithing, marriage,

thief, business man…

Whatever a player does, is always decided by player himself.

If he want, he can even just ride on his horse, enjoying the beautiful view sight

from sunrise towards sunset.


Lens #74: The lens of the world

There are many races living in a same world: Human, elf, orc, etc.

There are many interesting non-important details which make Skyrim’s world closer to reality, such as kids playing around,

chicken and vegetable in yard, cups on tables, sunset before night, funny conversations

between NPCs, etc.

You may find vampires in caves, wolf-rean in woods, fish-monster in rivers, and dragons flying over your head. They are not real, but simply create

a new world that one expect to be part of.


Game Link: