The problem with PC games is that you can save at ANY time, thus making it easy to just save your way through it every 5 seconds, and although i understand that the size of the game dictates the need for these saves, it makes the game far less of a challenge than any C64 or Amiga game ive played in the past. This dellusion though that constant saving is absolutely necessary in "all" games has been proven to be false in games like Hitman on the PC which i thought was a brilliant game and was a TRUE challenge!!.
Deus-Ex is the kind of game that required saving due to its non linear nature and depth of play, so there are exceptions to the rule ( damn GREAT game too, loved it to bits ), but generally speaking, games have no real challenge now.
( BTW - you may say that if you do not want to save then just dont!. But we are all creatures of habit and we are going to use it, but i would rather be forced not too. )
Yes, this saving "every other second" is the apex of absurdity, I agree. It results in sooo many challengeless games...
There are tactical turnbased games out there where you might have, say, two opportunities to fire during your combat turn, and you can actually save after each and every shot! It's basically lock-n-load, approach enemies, _save_. Now fire and review damage dealt (formula + percentage chance-based). If damage high, _save again_, then take second shot. If damage low, reload save and retake first shot. Rinse/repeat as necessary. This exploit exists even in great games... I mean, reaaallly... this stuff's game-breaking _if_ you abuse it..
In modern realtime games, one seems to grind the trigger button with the one hand, and the save button with the other. You cannot lose, and there is no adrenaline rush.. play Raiden or R-type with one credit, where one hit = death.. that was adrenaline rush. Sure there were some "gifts" to help you get back on your feet, the capital "P" in Raiden, but it was still _damned hard.._ you might never regain supremacy in that playthrough.. many Amiga games were merciless like this..
And yes, Deus Ex is pretty open-ended/non-linear, so saving frequently is forgiveable: walk into some joint with your gun unholstered and the plot-hook changes.. (always played on Realistic or higher, which was pretty damned difficult.) Same with other hardboiled games, where even a dialogue choice could screw you. Played a game once where you had four dialogue choices, yet only one "correct" choice.. Correct meaning, "you select it, your power increases by an order of magnitude"..(no logical reason to select it, it's just chance, lol) ... hence, save before non-combat engagements as well..
I thought Diablo 2 handled saving really well. There was no real point, since a reload would put you back to basecamp, meaning you had to grind through the legionhordes again to get back to the depths of the dungeon. Also in this game dieing is like the worst thing, as it should be. Not only are you whisked back to basecamp, you lose a _cartload_ of gold, and you have to loot your own corpse just to get your items back. That meant grinding through the legionhordes without your "vorpal blade/M1 Abrams armour"... not really a game for the fainthearted... Btw, in the expansion set, they made this game much easier for the newbs.. (e.g., personal chest is bigger so as to hold "backup items"..) hehe....