Picking up hearts you say? You know like Zelda? Also, rather good comical spoofs involving actual hearts.
[Edited by fault2k, 8/7/2011 3:24:59 PM]
The basic gist of the games is that you are an explorer, a "Robinson" as in "Robinson Crusoe" but intentionally so. You're send to this alien planet to explore it.
The main point of the game is not the story at all, but the health system.
You manage every aspect of your body. You can get sick, you can get injured. And you have a medical kit and you have to perform surgery. AND YOU BETTER FREAKING KNOW YOUR IN-REAL-LIFE ANATOMY.
Want to be healed? Well, you might need to dose yourself with anti-biotics and amputate your own leg. Don't pinch off the artery in time? Oops, you're dead. Don't prevent shock? Oops, you're dead. Don't give yourself enough plasma? Oops, you're dead.
And the game doesn't tell you what's wrong, only what part of your body is affected.
The end result is that if you're injuryed in any way or get sick, chances are you're going to die.
Stuffing your face with dangerous doses of painkillers that you find just in miscellaneous medicine cabinets is relatively gritty and tough but, it always made me question if what was happening was actually happening. Perhaps Max was just running around, frothing at the mouth and shooting innocent bystanders while hallucinating from the massive overdose of paracetamol. In fact, maybe all games.
Perhaps Master Chief is actually a slightly overweight man lying on his kitchen floor, tripping out after consuming too much cough medicine. Probably, that's probably right. At least Max Payne had the decency to let me know what the deal is.
It's the same with the newer games, at least up to Sonic Unleashed. I'm not sure after that but I think it's safe to say it hasn't changed.
I don't really have a game with a 'best' way of regaining health. I did like Sonic, because, of course, as long as you have at least one ring, you're pretty much invincible.
And in Left4Dead, I liked using pills to temporarily boost my health. The health packs were neat, because I'm 99% sure that they're using sticky tape, and I think that's neat, because in a zombie apocalypse, you'll have to be resourceful anyway, especially since most medical supplies have probably been looted anyway.