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What's better: Mimics, or tactically sealing doors?

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A mimic reveals its horrible presence in a Baldur's Gate 3 screenshot.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Larian Studios

Last time, you decided that Dark Souls bonewheels are better than in-game memorials to players. Reader dear, I now know how you wish to be remembered. I'm going to ask the lads in corporate if we can launch an official RPS funeral plan whereby you can pre-pay to have your skeleton lashed to a wheel and turned loose round the foot of the RPS treehouse. "It's what she always wanted," your assembled family will say, dabbing at a tear gathered in the creases of a bittersweet smile. This week, I ask you to choose between deadly openings and safe closings. What's better: mimics, or tactically sealing doors?


The mimic as an RPG monster is ultimately a joke: you're so motivated by greed that you pick every lock, you loot every corpse, you open every chest, you empty every desk, you would empty a kingdom if you could, so here's that greed come to bite you in the face. Literally. You go to open the chest and surprise! it's an actually a monster waiting to feast on adventurers.

Look, I don't mean to bring up Dark Souls so often, but we must all concede that its lanky mimics with their lollygagging tongues and whirling ballet violence are perfect beautiful horrors.

Lately, many of you will likely have been gnawed on by a bitey box in Baldur's Gate 3. You know, when you walked into the room, saw a curious pop-up warning of a perception check, and then... great times. Not nearly as pretty a mimic as Dark Soulses's, mind.

The mimic is a joke which only works once per chest, unless randomised. They can offer you the little satisfaction of learning how to spot future mimics, though the joke can wear extremely thin if overused. It is a joke which can be wildly frustrating even once, if it hits you in the wrong mood. But if it hits you right? Oh video game, you scamp! An absurdly unlikely fantasy beast to punish me for the greed you encourage? Oh, you rotter!

Mimics came from Dungeons & Dragons, so of course they're in Baldur's Gate 3Watch on YouTube

Tactically sealing doors

Considering that the movie Aliens is the primary inspiration for 37% of video games (an overly conservative figure, many data scientists contend, resulting from flawed methodology), it's a shame that so few replicate one of its coolest part: our heroes welding doors shut to keep out the (spoiler alert!) aliens. Not only is sealing quite rare in games, lots of what we do get is cinematic. You must seal this door to progress in this scripted plot. A shame, because it's such a joy as a dynamic element.

I most think of the Killing Floor series of wave survival shooters, where it's vital to seal doors to funnel the flow of murderous mutants, keeping your back safe and pushing them into your killzones. They'll batter at sealed doors, so you get the bonus chore of reinforcing welds, plus the bonus terror of only realising you forgot to reinforce one when suddenly spidermen are leaping at your face. And I do like the methodical process of closing doors behind me in an obvious Aliens 'em up FPS, Space Beast Terror Fright.

Cop games often like a seal. The SWAT games have offered door wedges that can stop suspects fleeing or from jumping you. Rainbow Six Siege has gone absolutely wild with deployable barricades, a huge part of the game. And if you want, I'll also let you argue for immersive sim shenanigans like blocking a doorway with stacked crates.

Sealing doors offers opportunities to reshape an environment to our benefit in a way that is so natural and obvious and real. Hell, most of us do this every time we walk through our front door. And if welders are involved, it looks very cool (please do not weld your front door shut every night). It's a nice little tactical gamble too. It might keep the enemy exactly where you want them. But if your plan fails, and they break containment, and you've got carried away sealing every door, including potential exit doors, what will you do now? How fast can you unjam that door? And who will watch your back?

Give me more opportunities to soar high with masterful plans and crash hard with hubris.

But which is better?

The mimic is funny (and often a cutie) but you know what's also funny? Luring your raging brother into the bathroom then locking the door. Sealing for me! But I'm not in charge here; which do you think is best?

Pick your winner, vote in the poll below, and make your case in the comments to convince others. We'll reconvene next week to see which thing stands triumphant—and continue the great contest.

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