I’m here to talk to you today about the TRUE plight of fantasy gamers everywhere. Inventory management.
Fuck inventory management.
Seriously, in every fantasy game i’ve ever played, you always end up having to play inventory tetris at some point or another. “Do I keep this, or do I just toss it and sob quietly to myself at a later time?” Some games are worse than others. In Mass Effect 1, for example, I can make it solidly through about 1/3 of the game before I start getting that “Your inventory is full” notice, and then I go sell off a bunch of shit that I wasn’t using anyway (or convert it into medigel), and then I go another 5-10 hours of playtime before it comes up again. Dragon Age: Origins isn’t quite as generous with your inventory, but you can buy a few backpacks through the game to expand your inventory to almost double it’s original capacity. The problem THERE lies in the fact that this game will seriously just throw all kinds of shit at you, and their upgrading system is… interesting. It’s not always clear cut if something is an upgrade over what you’ve got or not. And don’t forget about the people back at camp! You might bring out Oghren at some point after all, and you want to make sure he’s got gear so he isn’t completely useless. Skyrim goes another direction that’s far more realistic, but also far more annoying for it. Everything in Skyrim is based on weight in a (semi) realistic way. A sword will weigh more than a dagger, and a battleaxe will weigh more than a sword, but less than a warhammer, and so on and so forth. In and of itself, it’s not the worst system, but the problem is that the weight you’re given tends to not even last a full dungeon crawl. Especially later on in the game, some of the longer dungeons you get through, you’ll start making a LOT of “Take it or leave it” decisions. And god help you if you go through any Dwemer ruins. Those are just… They’re just bad, okay?
Now, i’m not saying that I want all these games to have unlimited inventory, because it wouldn’t make any sense, and honestly would probably break immersion for a lot of people. But I know that when you’re in the middle of a 30 minute dungeon crawl or space mission or WHATEVER, one of the most frustrating things that can happen is getting that stupid “Inventory is full” notice (or in Elder Scrolls games, you become “Overburdened” and suddenly can’t move at full speed anymore). To me, that breaks immersion far more than having a much bigger carry space, because then you have to sift through your bagspace for 20 minutes making tough decisions on what you want/need to keep and what can be dropped on the corpse of that poor person you just set on fire.
The problem here is that I don’t really have a solution to this issue. Unlimited inventory, like I said earlier, just wouldn’t make any sense for most of these games. There are some mods that can help alleviate this in a game-friendly way (one mod I use in Skyrim has backpacks that just add an extra 50 lbs to your carry weight), and this is one of my favorite answers. At the same time, a lot of people don’t want to turn to 3rd party programs, or simply can’t access them (because they’re on consoles or whatever). And so, we trudge onward, stopping every hour or two staring at our bags, wondering what we can just toss on the ground in a pile, and sigh.