Do you think pausing in souls games or nioh without having access to items makes the games easier or removes the “tension”. I mean you can’t pause in souls because they were designed around online and not because it was a design decision I assume.
I think that being able to pause in any capacity does give you a release valve for certain situations. I’ve certainly felt a desire to pause to cool off during certain boss battles in Souls and Nioh. Not having the ability to take a breather or reduce the tension of the situation can be a mental factor. It’s not a strong one admittedly, and this is a huge hit in user experience that I can’t deny
Having a pause function that does not allow for any menu manipulation, like changing equipment or healing probably would not harm these games significantly, however I am a stubborn hardass and particularly enjoy these moments of tension where I have no way out except victory or defeat. So I’m gonna say leave them in. It’s not good policy, it’s not good game design necessarily, but fuck it, it’s cool. It’s not something I’d say is the right way to design a game that every game should do, I wouldn’t recommend games do this by default. We invented the pause button for a reason and it’s a damn good reason, however I’m still gonna defend Souls and Nioh not having pause because they’re good games otherwise and the psychological tension of not being able to pause is cool. Maybe I’m being a little snobby here, resistant to “dumbing down the experience”, but whatever.
On a smaller level, there’s a technique called Pause Buffering, which allows you to augment your timing and reaction skills beyond normal human limits. By rapidly mashing pause, you can effectively slow down the game’s speed in real time, allowing you to identify in-game situations and perform reactions to them more accurately. Removing the ability to pause completely prevents this tactic. Having pause require you to hold down a button skullgirls style would also prevent this tactic. Realistically though only speedrunners actually do this, it’s too inconvenient for most people and most people probably don’t see the point in avoiding being challenged the way the game intends you to be challenged. Pause buffering does allow for some sick tas-only strats in Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask though.