In screenwriting there is an axiom that every scene needs conflict. In other words, the writer should never make things easy for the protagonist. Steven Spielberg was the master of this. Jurassic Park, the Back to the Future trilogy and the Indiana Jones movies keep viewers on the edge of their seats by ratcheting up the tension: Right when you think the heroes are going to get away with their latest adventure, another obstacle gets thrown in their way. It can get ridiculous, but it makes for one hell of an entertaining thrill ride.
These movies also dispensed with elaborate backstories, which are more appropriate in books than on-screen. Think about the opening text crawls of the Star Wars movies: Everything you need to know is in there, and no time gets wasted getting to the action in medias res.
These same general rules can go for any type of fiction, including computer games. And it sure seems like Christy Marx and her colleagues know what they’re doing. Not only does Conquests of the Longbow drop the player into the thick of things sans overlong flashbacks, something I praised in my first gameplay post. Robin’s missions follow suit: He wakes up, and right away there’s a conflict. And solving it is anything but a cakewalk.