View Full Version : Games With Well Implemented Perma-death or "No Save" Modes

Juan Carlo
09-02-2012, 06:32 AM
So I've been playing Alien Vs Predator 3, and while the game has some problems, one thing I like about it is its "nightmare" mode which disables checkpoints during missions (I think AvP2 might have had this as well, but I can't recall). If you die you have to restart at the beginning. This could be awful, obviously, but at least in AvP the levels are just the right length and difficulty to make it a challenge without being too frustrating. Plus, especially with a game like AvP which thrives on atmosphere/surprise, I think it adds a level of suspense to the proceedings which makes what is otherwise a run of the mill FPS a bit more exciting.

Obviously, if done poorly it can be a recipe for frustration, but if done right I think perma-death and/or no save modes can make a game way more fun. And looking back at some of my favorite games I've played from the past year, many have featured perma-death or disallowed saving in some form: Binding of Isaac, Terraria, Dungeons of Dredmor, Mount and Blade: Warband....to name a few that immediately come to mind.

So I was wondering what other games have similar difficulty levels that actually punish you for your mistakes and force you to think ahead? Sure all the roguelikes come to mind as the most obvious examples, but I'm most curious about other genres or hybrid genres that use such features.

09-02-2012, 07:05 AM
I Wanna Be the Guy, really. Try playing it on Impossible mode. Usually, it has checkpoints in the form of save points but on Impossible, it doesn't have one. At all.

09-02-2012, 04:20 PM
Wizardry is an obvious one.

09-02-2012, 08:02 PM
A Valley Without Wind, although it's as much a side scrolling roguelike as it is anything else. When you lose a character they stay dead. You can of course pick another character to continue on with if you have any left (in fact this is the only way to use characters from other time periods than the one you start in) but they're going to be somewhat different to the one you were using. Oh, not to mention that returning to the site of their death has a good chance of having them come after you as a vengeful ghost (and if you lose five characters in the same place, they'll form an army and come howling for your blood).

09-02-2012, 11:04 PM
Mount & Blade: Warband. You can tick a box when you start out a new character that always saves the game when you exit. If I recall correctly, you can exploit the system by a) force-quiting, b) disabling autosave and c) making multiple manual saves and hop-skipping between them at leisure. But I think it still counts. Barring intentional exploitation, the system prevents you from artificially ignoring serious tactical or judgment errors.

09-02-2012, 11:18 PM
ADOM, Dwarf Fortress.

09-02-2012, 11:52 PM
Yeah loved the M&B implementation, since death is impossible. Want a really wacky one? X3. The masochism.

09-02-2012, 11:54 PM
TOME is the roguelike of the moment.

10-02-2012, 02:08 AM
Torchlight and Diablo II​ both have hardcore modes with permadeath.

10-02-2012, 04:32 AM
I liked the way the old Rainbow Six games handled perma-death.

You had to pass each mission, but you could choose to replay it if you so chose. The emphasis was placed on you properly planning the mission alongside being able to adapt quickly, so allowing a made some sense.

However, once you accepted the outcome, it was locked in for the rest of the campaign. If someone was shot, there was a chance they'd survive and recover, be crippled/incapacitated, or just killed, and you wouldn't know until after you chose to accept the outcome (you'd only see "downed", at least in Raven Shield). If you took too many losses in the campaign, you'd end up running missions with guys that weren't the best and the brightest, as a neat way of punishing the player.

10-02-2012, 11:06 AM
Lets not forget X3:Terran Conflict and its standalone as well. Once you die in game that's it, it's permanent.

10-02-2012, 11:25 AM
Does Witcher 2 have it? I still not played the game.

Casimir Effect
10-02-2012, 02:11 PM
There was an achievement in VVVVVV linked to beating the game without dying once.

Not really the same thing but the game Nier did a really interesting thing with it's saved games. I think it was in the final ending (4th or 5th) after beating the game on NewGame+ when the story ends in such a way that one of the main companions is dying. You, Nier, are given the power to save them but doing so means Nier would be erased from existance, ie. no one in-game would remember or ever have known who he was. The flipside is that the game would erase all your save data to make this more apparent. 50 hours or so of (often frustratingly grindy) gaming would be gone forever. On top of that, you would never be able to start a game with the main character being called Nier again - no one ever actually calls your character this in the game so it still works.
It's a gimmick, but a neat one. Especially if you're the kind of person who takes pride in having saved games at the end of games or when they're 100%'d.

10-02-2012, 02:18 PM
Lets not forget X3:Terran Conflict and its standalone as well. Once you die in game that's it, it's permanent.

X3. The masochism.
:P 10char..