I have been playing the game Jedi: Survivor, which coincidentally was made by another team at the same studio I currently work at. The game is great and I want to point out a few small design decisions that help it be great.
First, is that in this sequel, they didn’t make the character start from scratch again. Many games and their sequels find a way to knock the character back down again in the second game. This might happen because the character was really powerful or skilled at the end of the first game and the designers just don’t want them to be that high level for the sequel. Thus, you need to build your character back up again from almost the beginning.
Jedi: Survivor doesn’t do that. For the most part, all the skills and equipment you accumulated in the first game carry over and are available to you right at the start of the second game.
One piece of equipment that you have right away is the Jedi rebreather, which is the Star Wars universe version of scuba equipment. First seen in use by Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, it’s just a small piece of equipment that goes into the mouth that allows your character to breathe indefinitely underwater.
I also want to talk about the tired game design trope of underwater exploration for a bit. So many games have this mechanic where your character can swim underwater but as soon as you do, there’s an oxygen meter that appears and starts to go down. If you start to run out of air, you start to take damage and if you don’t surface, your character dies. This design trope has been around for decades. At this point, I find it so tiresome. Designers usually put the chest you need to get to or the next underwater cavern at a point where your air is almost exhausted, it’s so predictable. Also, since your exploration of the underwater space is limited by this mechanic, it’s a chore to try to scour every inch of the water. You go down, look for treasure, then have to come back up for air, and then repeat ad nauseum until you’ve looked everywhere. It’s such a chore.
In this game, the rebreather allows you to explore underwater at your leisure, without the need to surface for air. I don’t think the game suffers because of that. I’m not constantly thinking, oh man, it’d be so much more fun if I had to surface for air.
Anyways, it’s a great game, for lots of reasons.