In trying to get through my catalogue of unplayed/unfinished games this summer I’ve found a bunch of games I’ve dedicated time to because on paper they’re everything I find compelling/fun/cool/etc, but that I’ve just completely bounced off of or in some cases totally hated.
Like, I’ve restarted Dear Esther maybe five times and never finished it. I think it’s a pretty game, I deeply enjoy walking simulators, I know it’s not even a serious time commitment but I can’t do it! I don’t know why!
The other side of this is games that do really cool things that I’m interested in experiencing, but that I just HATE playing. Hey Dark Souls. What’s up. I know the whole point is that death has meaning and consequence and I need to learn from my mistakes, but also: I hate playing you more than anything else because I have poor timing and reflexes and I hate playing for an hour and a half and making no progress. Which is too bad because Dark Souls’ lore? Is so good???
Do you have any games you want to like but just don’t? Do you force yourself to play them or do you just let it go? Why can’t you make yourself enjoy them?
I’ve consistently bounced off Harvest Moon. (I don’t remember specific titles, sorry).
It feels like it should be exactly my taste, I love Animal Crossing and stuff like that, you know? But something just doesn’t click. I don’t know. It’s tedious and weird.
(I worry that if/when I finally play Stardew Valley I’ll similarly hate it and be incredibly disappointed.)
System Shock 2. It’s supposed to be one of the best classics of the whole “immersive sim” genre but I just found the experience of playing it limiting and unenjoyable. Sure, it had atmosphere, but certain encounters and moments felt forced in a way that I think games from Deus Ex on haven’t truly had (well, except for those mandatory boss fights in HR).
Certain systems felt arbitrary and led to frustration, like having to find stations to upgrade your stats meaning that you either have to backtrack to level up an ability that will make progressing easier or just keep pushing on and on in the hope that there is one just around the corner.
That’s definitely a similar topic! Though what I was trying to get at was less hating The Game Itself and more disliking playing it while enjoying its ideas, or finding yourself unmoved by something you were pretty sure you’d have fun with.
I’ll jump on the “don’t get Dark Souls” bandwagon. Sure, I get what people are saying about how the difficulty serves the underlying narrative themes, but I’ve got limited time to game. If a game cruelly wipes out an hour or more of progress because I wasn’t “good enough”, then I’ll just go back to my hand-holdy modern games meant for babies.
No shame in not liking them. I’m honestly surprised how well the game did in public opinion because they are games that play to a very particular kind of player. The story is cryptic, combat is methodical and punishing, and it’s also just not the most well-made game technically.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong about not enjoying them. It’s such a specific kind of game that I wouldn’t expect everyone to love it.
I’m curious if I’m alone in this; I really, really wanted to like Mirror’s Edge, but just couldn’t stand it. Everything about it aesthetically, to gameplay philosophy, to music, to even having a cool lady protag, everything about that game seemed to be perfect for me.
Except I just couldn’t stand it. I played the entire game and pretty much hated it. The running just didn’t feel fun, and the forced combat encounters sucked. There’s a part of me that wanted to play Catalyst even, with just how much it appealed to me.
I feel this way about Proteus. I loved exploring Knytt and listening to its ambient sounds, so I figured I would also like Proteus. But playing Proteus it felt like I was seeing the same things over and over. Also the procedural generation of Proteus meant there weren’t so many tiny details that really make an environment feel special.
All I heard was endless talk about how the Disney mash-up stuff was more than just fluff, and about how it was this beautifully deep game. It sounded awesome. I loved the artwork and I loved the Japan-meets-America collision. Then I played most of the way through the first Kingdom Hearts in 2007 or 2008.
I did not enjoy it whatsoever.
Gameplay is clumsy and scattershot, I found the difficulty way too easy, and so much of the Disney stuff is just “hey did you watch the movie? because so did we, and here’s a weaker version of the movie condensed in to about four or five cutscenes.” When it wasn’t doing that, it was jumping up its own ass with anime navel gazing philosophy that didn’t really seem like it was servicing any kind of narrative goal.
I have tried so hard since then to like Kingdom Hearts, and every time I do, I get repelled because it seems to be a game series that is either pure fanservice or sniffing its own farts (and eventually, fanservice by way of sniffing its own farts).
In saying all of this, I should also point out that I haven’t played Kingdom Hearts 2 yet, but at this point I’m afraid to, given everything else I’ve found out about the franchise in the interim.
I’ll preface this by saying I understand the struggle of limited gaming time right now as I have a newborn, but I feel like “hours of progress” getting wiped out in a single death is really a rare experience in Dark Souls. You might lose a stack of souls and miss a level up, but rarely would that single stat point be the difference in you making more progress. Knowing the layout of the level and what to do is way more valuable than souls. Once you acquire that information, even if you die further on, you can run past the enemies to reach the same spot in a much shorter amount of time. Not saying you have to like Dark Souls, but I’ve never had a single death costs me hours of time.
I want so badly to like KoTOR but I got about a third of the way through it and dropped my controller before I broke it in half.*
Actually, that’s kind of true for most Bioware games. I finished about 70% of Mass Effect and a little more than that for DA:O but was never able to finish them. I stopped playing them because I just didn’t really care enough to finish.
*This is not the thread topic but I feel compelled to say I think that KoTOR is the most overrated game, full stop.
Monster Hunter and all of its clones. I don’t like hacking away at a monster for a half hour and not feeling like I see any progress, and I’ve tried REALLY hard to get into these games. I put like 30 hours into MH4U on 3DS, and it just hasn’t clicked with me. I also don’t have friends who are into it either, so I understand that’s a big part of it too. I love Dark Souls because it feels like every hit has impact; MH feels like the opposite to me.
I hated Mirror’s Edge for my entire first play through as well. Then I started in on the time trials. It suddenly clicked. I got way better at the controls. I got way better at picking out what I could traverse and what I couldn’t. It went from a frustrating exercise to a graceful and exhilarating roller coaster ride. When my PS3 broke and I got a replacement I ran through the game in under 2 hours just to replace my lost save.
I wish I liked Nier: Automata a lot more than I do, as the story is good and the setpieces are crazy. I just can’t seem to keep momentum with it. There’s way too much uneventful downtime and filler that I find myself constantly wanting to stop. I’ll probably complete it nonetheless so I CAN FINALLY KNOW WHAT THE FINAL ENDING IS!
I always heard stuff of the stories in that game. The open world and all the systems seemed interesting. I was really excited to get into it.
I gave it a fair shake. I got past the Bloody Baron quest, the quest that everyone said was very and extremely well written, and I just sort of eye rolled through a lot of it. It definitely felt written like “Very Important Mature Dialogue,” but I sort of hate that style of writing. I kept hearing how he seemed so multi-layered and there was no blaming him for whatever or whatever, but just every excuse kept feeling like “Yeah, this guy is just bad.”
I hesitate to use the word edgy, but man, the fetus section? I wasn’t disgusted or offended, it just felt like “Yeah, of course you’re going to go there.” Of course you’re literally going to make him carry that burden.
It felt like it was chasing Game of Thrones or any other bit of prestige TV writing, and most of that just comes up boring to me. The world was big and interesting, but so much of it came back to that weird place of “Big Important TV” writing, where everyone is “layered” and “Actually, the bad guy is okay because of this motivation.”
It’s probably unfair, but that’s just the feeling I had and once the Bloody Baron was over, I couldn’t really go forward.
As JRPG trash, I want to enjoy Etrian Odyssey games, but I always manage to get burnt out on them. I like the dungeon crawling/mapping out the dungeon and learning it little by little, but there’s just so much dungeon crawling that I get really tired of it and end up dropping the game. There’s also just a bunch of small things that tick me off, like how the retire system works, or how the 4th game locks you out of the better classes until you get through certain dungeons.
I also want to enjoy Monster Hunter, but I always get burnt out during the first few hunts.