Games Where Your Opinion Changed Radically Over Time

I’m talking about games where you originally loved the hell out of them initially but then later, with more context informing your experience. Or the opposite.

Initially, I didn’t want to touch Crackdown because it just seemed like “the game that was so bad they had to bundle Halo 3’s beta with it to sell it”. Until I found a love for sandbox games after playing Saints Row 2 and discovered all the many games in the genre (and seeing Crackdown as one of them). I fell in love with it. It also came at a time in my life when a member of my family was getting into shady shit and we were falling out and I was a stubborn edgy teenage boy that only thought in black and white so playing a game that allowed me to engage in excessive violence against criminals as a kind of catharsis for my personal experience.

Then, even later, I became more aware of the injustices that police across the world commit against citizens (especially in the United States) with all the killings of unarmed (usually black) men, women, and children and it became hard for me to come back to it. I know that the game actually has a twist that subverts the glorification of the dehumanization and violence committed against those we deem as “criminals”, but unless you actually reach the very end? I would say it’d be hard for most people to see that the game is actually a condemnation of police brutality by showing how ridiculous it would be for cops to have that much power. The satire is kind of lost in the fun, like Far Cry 3.

Sorry, I don’t really have an opposite example on hand, but I’m always open to a game changing my mind. EDIT: I guess assassin’s creed origins. I had no faith in it making such a radical change to the gameplay formula (plus, I didn’t think my PC could run it), but hot damn it WORKED. The combat was a little annoying and repetitive and the stealth felt worse, but the side quests felt compelling, I LOVED Bayek and Aya and the trajectory of their relationship (which felt bittersweet, but overall positive). Stories I heard about it also painted it in a VERY positive light.

What games have been ruined/made good for you over time?

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Final Fantasy 10.

When I first played it, I loved every single minute of it up until the very end scene. It was literally a complete turn of “What the hell was that?” I can’t really remember specifically why it felt so bad too me, but I hated the last 5 seconds so much I basically swore off FF games for about 4 years.

Eventually I softened and picked up FFX-2 and fucking loved its tone and absurdity.

FF13 was kinda the opposite, but that game just has a really terrible opening.

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GTA V is the most I have ever gone from “this game rules” to “this game is a fucking trashfire”.

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My go-to will always be Dragon Age: Inquisition. Didn’t love it on release but playing it again, knowing what to pursue and what to ignore, with the great DLC content turned me around on that game.

The Witcher 3 was a game that I just couldn’t stand on release due to the input delay. I came back to it months later and put the time in to complete the main game plus the DLC and had a fantastic time. Three years though and I’ve come to realise that the things people say are good about that game aren’t actually good in the way they think. It has a lot of decent writing and bespoke content in it. This is the only differentiating factor other than its’ looks, yet I’ve spent 3 years seeing a new article every few months about this extremely content-rich Dark Shrek has yet to be matched by any game ever.

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I came to Resident Evil 4 late. At that point Gears of War had been released and RE4’s stilted controls and plant-to-aim felt unbearable on the original Gamecube release. Fast forward a couple of years I find RE4 Wii Edition on super discount, so I picked it up on a lark. I’m glad I did, because the addition of motion controls completely turned my opinion of that game right around.

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I mean, I HATED Resident Evil 4 (found it boring and nigh unplayable by modern standards on xbox 360), but I’m glad you enjoyed it.

The Witcher 3 is a game I turned on so much while playing it. Started off loving it and was excitedly anticipating things like the Bloody Baron questline (which I thought was like… fine?) but after about 60 hours I realized I wasnt having any fun and began to feel like I was wasting my time.

On the other hand, when Skyrim came out I hated it. I appreciate specificity and really disliked that you didnt create a named class upfront. Im not someone who likes to break games, so I was never going to be the person who figured out how to exploit the crafting system. The UI was bad. It was really difficult for me to find a place in that world that felt like I was actually inhabiting it.

Came back to it after the DLC came out, modded the UI, and ended up having a fun enough time with it when I realized that the class system still exists they just changed it slightly and made it feel more open. I was able to finally find an indentity for my Dragonborn and I felt much more comfortable exploring the world.

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Senior-in-high-school me thought that Bioshock Infinite was the coolest/most profound AAA thing ever

Now, well
Lol

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When the demo for Burnout Paradise came out a lot of people I knew seemed very hype about it. They were fans of the previous ones though and were worried about it’s drastic changes. I hadn’t liked the 15 minutes I had played of previous ones so I gave the demo a shot and hated that too.

The game stayed in the news for a solid six months though, as they were announcing plans for free updates like the motorcycles, day/night cycle and so on, then eventually paid add-ons. Sony announced it was bringing back the Greatest Hits discount brand from the PS1 and PS2 days, and Burnout Paradise was one of the first titles in the PS3 collection. I found $50 on the sidewalk later that day and figured I might as well get it. It’s a great game but I still have things about that I hate, and understand why the reduced map size and starting car from the demo would leave a bad impression.

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I played the PS1 version of RE1 for the first time in 2012. Knowing it was a product of it’s time I was able to enjoy it, then moving on to RE4 the following year it seemed like an improvement control wise. It’s designed to be that way and it gets the job done so it’s not broken. The part of RE4 that I didn’t like was the layout of the area. That castle is like 8 miles long, while the mansion is a regular sized mansion; it broke my suspension of disbelief.

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inb4persona4

That might be the single most despised game people used to love ever. Well, after Catherine. P4 is a particularly strange case because it became actively worse and even more openly queerphobic and sexist with every new game and remake or adaptation Atlus put out or commissioned. Golden was easily one of the worst updates to a game ever made, and do not even get me started on Arena 2. HOLY SHIT.

The original doesn’t really work for me anymore due to a mixture of my own growth and becoming aware of my own sexuality, and because I can just look at literally every single thing Persona Team did after this game and start seeing their more open ugliness everywhere in what was arguably their most beloved game.

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So I loved Persona 5. It has some bad homophobic jokes and anime tropes, but they seemed like such a small part of the 100 hour game that I could ignore them. When I finished P5 I picked up Wolfenstein 2 and was not having any fun. I wanted more Persona, good JRPG combat, and hanging out with my sim friends!

I bought a Vita off of someone from Facebook and ordered P4G. At first it filled the hole that P5 had left in my heart… and then it started to get bad. Instead of a homophobic joke, there was an entire homophobic plotline that never seemed to end. Instead of exploring ideas about gender, Naoto was just a boy and that was that! It was so anti-queer that I stopped playing. Not to mention that the combat pales in comparison to Persona 5, and the dungeons are an absolute slog. I put it down at around 45 hours

I thought Heavy Rain, and Indigo Prophecy before it, were revolutions in video game storytelling and I ate them up when they came out. I tried playing Heavy Rain when the remaster came out and, even setting aside all the stuff around David Cage, that game is just a heap of unplayable, pretentious garbage.

I think going the other way is harder, because if I don’t like a game, I’m probably not going to stick with it long enough to come around on it. But there are definitely times where it’ll take two or three times before it clicks. The last good example I can come up with off the top of my head is Far Cry Primal. I couldn’t get past the language and the pace of combat the first couple times I picked it up, but once it clicked it became my favorite entry in the series.

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Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel.

The first Trails game I played was Trails in the Sky. I loathed it. I hated all the characters, the story was incredibly stupid, it was full of garbage tropes that I lumped all together into the “anime nonsense” category. It was just terrible.

So along comes Trails of Cold Steel and I immediately write it off since it’s just another entry on that series. Then I hear that people actually like it a lot, and in response to my raised concerns re: anime nonsense they say it’s not that bad really.

So I get the game.

And in the starting dungeon, within the first 25 minutes, the protagonist falls down a pit and one of his female classmates lands on top of him with her boobs pressed onto his face. Then she gets mad at him and hits him as he tries to apologize and runs off, rebuffing his every attempt to apologize whenever they run into each other throughout the rest of the dungeon.

I stopped playing. No anime nonsense, my ass.

I raised this specific example as a complaint to those who had recommended it, and they said I should keep playing. I resisted for a while but then figured why not. While the situation continued within the game for several more scenes, it wasn’t too long before something magical happened. The two characters went and talked to one another, explaining their positions and how embarrassment had exacerbated things, then forgave each other for a thing that wasn’t either of their faults. Almost like human beings might act.

This turned the corner for me, and Trails of Cold Steel is now one of my favorite jrpgs of all time. I’ve replayed it three times through NG+s, I actually care about all the characters and am interested in where their stories go, and the worldbuilding is so good that when big events happen I know what they mean and what the impact will be on the characters i’ve grown to appreciate. That it’s a game where the start to Fantasy WWI begins and my first thought is the effect it will have on this group of teenagers in a military academy.

And I almost missed it because of a stupid gag about accidental boobs.

Can’t wait for 3 to come out.

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This might be a common one, but it’s far and away the most significant change to my tastes in the last five or six years.

Dark Souls. I picked it up on PC on sale a long time ago (probably a year or two after it came out). I knew it was hard, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I did. It didn’t work for me. My favorite games at the time were things like PS2-era action platformers and RPGS, and it didn’t fit at all. So I just kinda ignored it and moved on.

Then came the 2015 Extra Credits youtube series in which the Dan (voice of Extra Credits) played Dark Souls as a newbie with James (writer of Extra Credits) commentating about game design, giving advice, and generally gushing about the game. Hardcore Souls fans take issue with the inaccuracies of James’ commentary, but as a newcomer it was really fascinating. I watched the whole playthrough, enjoyed Dan’s good-natured attitude, and became interested in the sheer level of detail in its design. I was intrigued enough to jump back in…

Having just seen all of Dark Souls, I picked up Dark Souls 2 for a fresh experience. At this point, Scholar of the First Sin was out and some of the kinks had been worked out. I devoured this game. I was all the way in. I finished it, beat all the DLC, and beat all but one stray boss (one of the DLC bosses was a huge pain to even get to).

Fast forward to today, and I’ve played through Bloodborne + DLC, Dark Souls 3 + (most of the) DLC, and Dark Souls: Remastered. I seek out games that invoke the Souls label. While I didn’t particularly like Salt and Sanctuary, I found last year’s Death’s Gambit surprisingly compelling, albeit rough around the edges. I’m playing through Ashen with a friend right now and really enjoying it. I’m excited for Sekiro in March.

After playing DS2, I not only like Souls games, I like hard games. I got way into Hollow Knight, a game I still can’t stop praising. I played through Celeste, getting as far as halfway through the C-sides. I’ve had a good time so far with Dead Cells, too. I might not have sought out any of these.

Dark Souls taught me that I could be a person who likes hard games. I know it won’t work out this way for everyone, and I might have been at just the right skill/patience/determination level to make this leap, but turning around on Dark Souls was actually a significant change to my outlook on games as a whole.

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Dead Cells

It just looked hard. Like, god-damn, why should a game that looks so cool also be so difficult? Then I watch Patrick’s stream, saw that it was really, really cool, and playable to boot. Now I love it!

Going from not liking it to absolutely loving it was Dishonored. I don’t like first person melee combat. It just doesn’t seem right. But after trying it a few years later, I got past disliking the combat. I still don’t really like it, but I am very into moving around in that world. Blinking behind a guy to choke him out is so satisfying.

As for a game I loved becoming a game I dislike, my entire life during the PlayStation 1 and 2 was wrestling games. I played them obsessively. I unlocked probably every character in SmackDown vs. Raw up until maybe the lay one by THQ. Even when the challenge was Kelly Kelly vs. The Great Khali was no problem at all. Those games are all about reversals. At some point, I fell out of love with wrestling. I don’t really know why. And so my interest in those games waned.

*girl. Golden just made Naoto a girl and that was that. They were cowards for not going the other direction.

The original PS2 version was very vague with how it portrayed Kanji and Naoto, generally letting the audience decide their gender or sexuality, which is cowardly but still enough for most queer audiences. Hell, Kanji’s storyline played a huge part in me figuring out I was bisexual.

Golden added a bunch of stuff that was pointless fluff at best, and actively damaging to the original game at worst, the epilogue being the worst imaginable addition, and a fantastic example of why Team Persona is a garbage studio run by garbage people. Keep in mind this particular criticism extends to P5 too, because it is the most blatantly awful about ALL of this.

They write stories trying to tell the youth they need to think for themselves and ignore what adults or society say to truly understand themselves…and then chicken out by making the goal of these games to return everything to normal and have the characters become “normal” parts of society. Understanding this makes all their work COMPLETELY fall apart.

It’s a bizarre situation where I respect the first three persona games more now, because none of them actually do stuff like that. 1 was about saving one person, 2 was a dark mystery story focused on the need for trust and hope in others, and 3 was an angst filled coming of age story about being your best self. When 4 entered the picture, anti-authority themes were introduced, and from there on forever, all their work undercut those ideas at every turn.

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I used to hate Crash Bandicoot on the grounds that he was just another dumb, ugly Sonic clone. When I got my PS1 for Christmas in 1997, it came with a copy of Crash Bandicoot, and I tried really hard to hide my look of disdain (pretty easy, given I also got Final Fantasy VII and Parappa the Rapper with it).

I poked at the game every now and then but always bounced off a little after (or maybe even a little before) leaving the game’s first island. It just wasn’t clicking with me, perhaps because I didn’t want it to click.

Five or six years later, I was pulling an all-nighter thanks to a particularly nasty sleep schedule. All my friends were asleep, nothing interesting was on TV at 3am, Youtube hadn’t been invented yet, there was basically nothing to do…

So I popped in Crash Bandicoot and forced myself to keep playing the game. I’d had the game all these years, I loved platformers, and yet I’d never seen roughly 2/3rds of this game. I knew I wasn’t being fair, especially given how beloved those original PS1 games continued to be. I wanted to at least try to give the game a fair shake.

It also helped that, earlier that month, maybe even that same week, I was faced with a similar dilemma and ended up playing through all four episodes of Quake 1 in a single night. I didn’t find that particularly enjoyable, partially because I wasn’t a huge fan of Quake 1, and partially because I got frustrated early on and turned on God Mode. But at least I could say I finished the game.

So, even if I didn’t like Crash Bandicoot, at least I’d be able to say I finished the game.

I think it was approaching noon by the time I set the controller down. And when I did, my whole view of those Crash Bandicoot games had flipped 180, because I ended up having a blast. Ever since then, I’ve gone to bat for those original PS1 Crash games, especially when I see people who were like me and write them off as part of the “mascots with attitude” fad of the 90’s.

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And then you get chased by the little dude piloting the giant statue of himself and his bug bro is hanging out in the shoulder I think and they you obviously mash the pad to run away from it as it charges at you. I feel Resident Evil IV is perfect up until you start getting into the castle. The rural Spanish town feels remote and isolated, the angry mobs are scary and different to what has been in Resi games before. It all gets weirder and scarier at night.

Then you hit the castle and it just goes for the camp hammer esque horror, your fighting evil monks, and the enemy type just become formulaic and derivative. These guys have shields! These have head armour! Each room just becomes another encounter full of minions and it all feels more like a video game, where you’re managing your enemies as they shamble towards you. Then you move into the endgame and the attack helicopter comes in, I think by that stage I started to see how the series would pan out. Again, I think Resi 5 starts off strong in the shanty towns but it all just gets progressively worse the minute you lose that setting as they change the setting.

There is a lot of game in Resident Evil IV and there are loads of great moments, I remember specificially being terrified of the boss fight in the basement with one of the bug bros. Encountering the regenerator dudes was also scary and quite late on in the game. But yeah, outside of the village and castle, there was the archeological bit with mine cart racing, there was the whole plot involving that Krauser guy. So. Much. Game.

And yet still not as much as Resident Evil 6.

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