What games ended up feeling entirely different when you returned to them later?

Recently finished a replay of SNES Zelda LttP, which I hadn’t played since I finishing it in 92 (I was nine). It got me thinking about games that seem vastly different when you return to them.

What games have you returned to that ended up feeling entirely different?

(Sidenote: This has made me extremely doubtful that a Shadow of the Colossus remaster will stick the landing.)

Highlights of my Zelda LttP notes:
-This game feels so much smaller and shorter than it was in my mind.

-Far less than NES Zelda but there are still a few really obscure “gamey” things here; specifically screw the block you have to push to get to the end of Gannon’s tower.

-The girls trapped in the crystals handle most of the story explanation, which is pretty lose. They also give off a strange harem feel at times.

-Makes me view BotW with even more awe. You can see the DNA here, but what an evolution, consistency of design and polish that is just astounding.


I’m playing through Super Metroid for the first time right now, though I’ve messed around with it before and have watched others play it. The thing that gets me now with it is the obscure blocks of ceiling or wall you need to shoot to get to path critical upgrades. More than a few times I needed to consult a walkthrough just to find whatever obscure path will allow me to progress. It’s definitely not a game that’s as elegantly designed as I was led to believe. Still lots of fun though.


Every sidescrolling arcade beat 'em up. They were epic experiences when I was a kid, but they are so awful to play now. Pretty much the same from start to finish, enemies that are intentionally overpowered to steal your quarters resulting in the only viable attack being a jumpkick…


Paradox’s main-line titles transform radically to the point where it can be kind of intimidating to start a game, because there’s always some sort of major improvement coming soon.


Couldn’t agree more. I love the idea behind these games but I don’t buy them anymore. I get far more enjoyment from watching a Austin and Rob strategy game stream than I do from starting a game myself and then wondering if I should just stop and wait for the next big update.

I mean I just dumped 90 hours into Stellaris over the last month but now I’m paralyzed by the way that they’re going to completely re-tune warfare and the entire FTL system for the upcoming 2.0 patch

then again, you can always play on old patches for Paradox games, so you don’t have to lose an ongoing campaign. I really appreciate that they do that.

I’m going to say CRPGs in general, but the one that sticks out is Baldur’s Gate.

I played it when I was a kid who was mostly into Half-Life, Unreal, and other shooters. Booting up Baldur’s Gate just made no sense. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what the hell I was supposed to do or where the hell I was supposed to go.

I went back to the game in High School and ended up liking it quite a bit, and really enjoy CRPGs now (though I’ll be damned if I have time to play any of them).


Playing Dune 2 as a kid I had absolutely no clue what I was doing and the second rocket turrets became available, I just spent the entirety of the map’s available credits on rocket turrets to the point where I couldn’t possibly afford an army to go and win the mission. I was like “but what if they get through to my base!!”

Came back years later and just smashed through it in like a day with the Ordos, who everyone back in the day thought were the hard mode faction. It’s so weird how bad I was at grasping core concepts of games in general as a child.

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definitely skyrim! i first got it on xbox when i was about 12 years old and started a new game on pc when the special edition came out recently. it has been an interesting experience coming back to these familiar questlines and characters with how much my perspective has evolved. skyrim is a darker and messier place than i remember - a lot of implications in character dialogue and details in the world completely flew over my head as a preteen. i’ve also been reading more of the books in the game this time around, and they’re actually really interesting. i always collected the books before, but i never got around to reading a lot of them.

thieves guild is still the best tho

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Maybe games don’t change as much as we do. What you are saying reminds me of my first playthrough… which was when I was 25. I remember being super happy that I could get a digital collection of the books to read on my phone while I was at work.


I had kind of the opposite experience with Baldur’s Gate 2. I got so infuriated with every single combat encounter having a level 20 wizard in it casting time stop and then casting every single spell on their spell list. It’s like playing D&D with the worst DM ever. Baldur’s Gate 1 still rules though.

I’m debating whether Omikron: The Nomad Soul counts, as I never beat it when it first came out and I played through it a couple years ago MAN that game is not fun in the slightest, so I suspect that might have something to do with why I never finished it.

Railroad Tycoon, the old one for DOS, is a game that I played a ton of as a young child, like 5-8 and as such I was never good, I got by through money cheats and playing with all the difficulty modifiers at the lowest, but my memory was of it being super deep and complex, and going back to it as an adult, it’s still a good game but more simple than I remembered. Simple as in opposite of complex, not opposite of difficult.

I was a long time player of Payday 2 before they introduced microtransactions on top of regular DLC, which put me off the game for a long time, and then I decided to try and go back to it some time later since the game was probably still going to be fun(at least I thought)

Even though the new content wasn’t actually that bad, I still couldn’t shake the fact that there were weapon skins giving any advantage at all on top of DLC for a game that has a fuckton of technical issues. Waypoint did a video on RAID: World War II last year also published by Starbreeze, and the technical issues I saw in that video were basically the same issues I saw in Payday 2, a game I put nearly 400 hours in and bought DLC for.

Payday 2 is not a bad game per se, and I think it does some interesting things with progression and theme, but it’s the perfect textbook example on how to piss off a loyal playerbase.


Definitely agree with this! I’m finishing up playing BOTW and was looking to keep playing an open world game, so I booted up Skyrim. The differnece this time was I tried to play it with the sensibilities I learned from BOTW, so no looking at compass, using the map and looking for landmark features to guide my way (like sign posts). It really draws you in deeper into the experience, and like you, i had played it as a teen, so I was more focused on getting loot and finding as many things as possible. I overlooked the darker tone and atmosphere… or just wasn’t paying attention at the time. Excited to see what the game has to offer 7 years later.


that sounds like a pretty cool way to play the game! when i have the time and patience, i always like to walk to a new place in skyrim, rather than fast traveling or taking a carriage. the journey can be just as much of an adventure as the quests awaiting me at the destination, and sometimes it’s nice to just take in the scenery. i agree - it feels cool sometimes to just try and walk along a road to one’s destination, stopping to read road signs and to talk to people at the villages you pass.

i haven’t played breath of the wild because i don’t have a switch but it sounds like a game full of that kind of stuff, so i’d probably like it!

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You have reminded of how I played both games in an incredibly similar way. Getting the map fully explored is always the most fun for me, doing missions as they come and stumbling upon new missions as I wander. I put a bit over 200 hours into each of them, can’t get enough of that explorers wonder lust.


I got about 40 hours into the Witcher 3 before and it wasn’t doing anything particularly amazing for me. I just started playing it again, I’m probably 10 or so hours in, and it feels like a total masterclass. The thing that’s really blowing me away is how they nailed facial expressions and body language in conversations. And the way even minor characters have really excellent voice acting. The outdoor environments are gorgeous and so evocative of rural eastern Europe. I’m eating it up and can’t wait to play more. I don’t know how I didn’t immediately love this before.

You may have just convinced me to give this game another shot after I slam through Celeste. Maybe this time I’ll just set it to easy to enjoy the characters and story. I think the combat is what stopped me.

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That’s definitely something that was offputting to me too, I think. I should probably mention that I cheat engine’d myself money and skill points this time around because I wanted to jump back into it quickly and effortlessly. Maybe that’s the reason that I’m enjoying it so much this time: I’m actually totally focused on the story and not as concerned with the combat (although I have died a few times and had a few fights against higher-leveled solo enemies that were pretty exciting).

I also am coming off of playing things like Dark Souls 2/3 and Nioh lately so maybe I’m just less terrible at games now. The skill points only go so far because you can only slot a limited number of abilities, so it mostly just opened up my ability to screw around and try different builds. (For what it’s worth, the alternate version of Quen that heals you when hit is pretty amazing, as is the skill in the alchemy tree that heals you for a huge chunk of your health when you drink a potion.)

Also, Gwent is pretty fun. I play pretty much everybody who’s willing.

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Goldeneye for N64 is probably my go to. It was so good when it came out for its time. And it did so much for the genre. The controls have just evolved so much for shooters that I don’t think it holds up. Going back and playing it now just feels old, not as immersive as my memory tells me (though I was 8-9 when it came out). I think being older now I obviously analyze things differently so there’s just no way it can capture that memory in the same way.

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This is a much quicker “going back to” than most of you, but Dragon Age: Origins. I majorly biffed it the first time I played, I strolled through the main quest lines, hardly touched side quests, didn’t loot much, didn’t play around with inventory, and never got the hang of combat or tactics. When it came time to head to Fort Drakon, I couldn’t get past the ogre in the alienage. I’d got the game as part of a deal with Mass Effect so I gave that a shot instead, and found it much easier, and then I tried Origins again with a different build and origin (I probably cranked it down to casual as well), and really sank my teeth into it. Picked up more story, figured out abilities, figured out who sucked and who was essential, actually met Leliana, didn’t just murder Zevran (you can really go through that game without any rogues, huh?), loved it.