Games that incorporate sequence breaking in their design

  • When I first played Super Metroid, I thought it was solid but unremarkable. A few years later, I gave it another shot and managed to finally learn how to properly wall jump. All of a sudden, the game went from good to revelatory. The designers were thinking 10 steps ahead of me and they designed the areas to reward wall jumping and allowing the players find their own path. Since then, only Mario World's Star World and Dark Souls' mystery keys have allowed me this degree of control of a game's pace. Are there any other similar games that you can think of and recommend?

  • Technically, Mario 64 could allow you to go really fast through the game, but that was utilizing glitches, so I doubt it counts.

    This isn't quite breaking the sequence, but when you get the special boots in Castlevania SotN, you can go to tons of places you can't previously because it gives the potential for endless flight (alla the bomb trick in metroid games). Not to mention, in that game, you can do all of the spells in the game as long as you know the button presses. You don't technically have to buy them from the librarian.

  • @ThyBlight Yeah preferably I'd like to ignore glitches.

  • Hmm, I don't usually look for sequence breaking in games since I prefer to stick to the path laid out by the devs, but there are some times when I've wanted to go off the beaten path and a game had let me do so.

    The most recent example I can think of is A Hat In Time. There are a few levels where you need a specific ability to complete them but for the most part the only thing limiting you from doing whatever you want in whatever order you want is your platforming ability and creativity. One of the game's worlds is straight up just an open world area that tells you to go in whatever direction you want. But, the best instances of this I can think of are in the ways you unlock worlds and in how you complete levels. I actually played World 3 before I played World 2 because I unlocked them both by the time I had my fill with the first world, and this was semi-purposeful because what is world 3 in the final game (Subcon Forest) was actually world 2 from prototype to beta and that's how I had played it before the final release.It just felt right to do things in the order I had known them in from the prototype. The other instance of sequence breaking is through platforming. You get a lot of platforming abilities from the get go but they aren't all explained to the player initially so it's possible to skip sequences just through the use of advanced techniques. You can also get new abilities and powerups through badges and hats, some of which can basically break the game on earlier levels and are completely optional.

    Older examples of sequence breaking that come to mind are from the Mother series, Persona series, and Super Paper Mario.
    In the original Mother it's possible to completely skip 2 party members. In Earthbound it's possible to skip a few shrines. In Mother 3 it's possible to at certain points avoid rejoining certain party members and to do certain story beats out of order or skip some, I can't go in to specifics without spoiling anything. In the original Persona a good number of party members are optional. In Persona 2: Innocent Sin the major plot important dungeons can be done in any order. As for Super Paper Mario some Pixls that are considered story essential are actually skippable in addition to the Pixls that are designed to be optional.

    I know these are are all pretty inconsequential examples but most of my sequence breaking knowledge revolves around glitches.

  • I know this is the example everyone probably is sick of hearing, but I have to second that Dark Souls is awesome for sequence breaking, even without the master key. You can do a huge portion of the game without fighting the Bell Gargoyles, which are pretty clearly intended to be your first major boss. Take Undead Burg to the Parish, go past Andre into Darkroot Garden and down into Darkroot Basin, then take the elevator past the bonfire behind the black knight to Valley of Drakes and into Blighttown's back entrance. You can also do New Londo and the catacombs from the start as's really amazing how many options you have from the start, especially if you're already skilled at the game.

  • In Breath of the Wild's tutorial section, the Old Man recommends doing some hunting to collect meat, then cooking it into a recipe for him to get the Warm Doublet so you can get to the top of the snowy mountain without freezing. I'm into animal rights, so I never do hunting in open world games. I managed to find enough Spicy Peppers to get to the top of the mountain without the Doublet. The Old Man met me there, congratulated me for making it without proper clothing, and rewarded me with the Doublet. ^_^

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    My recent example would be Titanfall 2. It took me sooo long time to start wall running and really understand the use of it. Once I had a understanding of the mechanic though its almost like I miss it in other shooters now. Even though the wallrunning in CoD are just dreadful. Playing Destiny 2 I find myself now and then trying to run on walls and just end up looking like a fool.

  • Unlike the sequence breaking in Super Metroid which doesn't seem to be intended, Metroid Zero Mission had a fully planned and optional sequence-break where you can skip past Kraid and kill Ridley first which I really liked.

  • @luckywallace As a Zero Mission speed runner, I liked that sequence break, but was always confused by the inclusion of an arbitrary blocked path if you tried to go to Norfair without the power grip.