Is A Good Lock-On Target System In Video Games Really That Hard To Accomplish?

Think about it. Think of all the games that use a lock on mechanic. Starting from like Ocarina of Time to pretty much every action game since. The worst part is…Ocarina of Time is probably one of the better systems out there.

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Seriously. How many games have you played where the lock-on system is more a frustration than anything. If you have multiple enemies in view or in the room, you will most likely lock on to the one you want to target the least, probably some enemy barely on screen and so far away that none of your attacks have the slightest chance to hit him. You can try to change the target, say, to the enemy standing right next to you or in front of you, and you will painfully lock onto anything but that one you desperately want to kill as it’s wailing on you, steadily taking down your life.

There are dozens of games that have this problem, but I can’t think of many off the top of my head. But if I went through my games, rest assured I could pick out quite a few.

The first one I can think of is Kingdom Hearts. The lock on system suffers from the problems I just described. It’s so bad that the only time I use it is on a boss or highly mobile enemy when all the others are dead. This way the camera will follow your target.

Thankfully this is remedied sort of by the fact that you don’t need to lock onto enemies, because when you attack, the character will automatically attack something you are facing instead of just swinging the keyblade pointlessly. This is especially helpful in the later games, when something is far away, you will do a crazy jumping attack to reach them.

But two of the worst games I can think of that I have played recently are Hyrule Warriors and Megaman Legends 2.

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Hyrule Warriors, you try to lock onto something nearby, and you will end up targeting something halfway across the battlefield, you press the button to switch targets, and it will bounce around to the four least desired enemies you want to target, constantly going back to the initial first target you didn’t want to begin with. Sometimes you have to scroll through these enemies four times before it finally locks onto the enemy right in front of you. I believe there are other frustrations out of this, but I haven’t played it in like a year, but I know I was always cursing at the abysmal system.

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Megaman Legends 2, I have to say, has the absolute worst lock-on system I have ever seen. This is not a hard game, honestly, almost every time I died in the game was because of the lock on system.

The game claims it will lock onto the closest enemy. This is simply not true. You lock onto anything it feels like. To switch targets, you have to release the lock-on button and press it again until you get the target you are searching for.

This effect also happens every time you get hit. When you take damage, you stop targeting for a moment, despite still holding the button. When you recover, he locks onto a new target as if you intended to switch targets. You will even target things in different rooms or through walls. Many times in the cheap annoying game, you will be surrounded by enemies out of nowhere, or get attacked immediately by a swarm of them the moment you walk into a room. You try to fight, but you are constantly getting hit, switching targets rapidly so that your view is spinning all over, all the while being bounced around, unable to move, and before you know it you are dead.

And if enemies have a projectile that you can lock onto, like a missile, then you better pray you don’t get hit. There are some enemies that you fight that constantly shoot missiles that fly all around. All you want to do is shoot the missile spewing guys, but can’t because there are tons of little guys jumping into you and then your targeting bounces around to all the missiles, not the little guys hitting you or the missile launching a-hole standing directly in front of you. After a vomit inducing camera ride, you are dead.

Yes, Legends 2 absolutely takes the cake when it comes to bad targeting systems. If that is the reason you are getting killed in a game, then you know it is a complete failure.