Open Thread: Video Game You Couldn't Get Into?

Piggy-backing off of last week, what's a video game you wanted to get into but just couldn't?

I have a few. Wild Arms I've tried to play several times, but I always lose my tenuous grip on the plot about halfway in when it seems like I never really accomplish anything. Legend of Legaia has a plot that I really enjoy, but the grindy nature of the game means I've only played to the end once. Disgaea I love, but the Item Dungeon sucks me in (I'm a completionist and heartily wish I were not) and won't let me go.

Various other, non-turn based, non-strategy games are just not playable for me, including Silent Hill which is supposed to be very good.



chris the cynic said...

Deus Ex: Human Revolution I'm going to have to play at some point, if for no other reason than the fact that going forward it's almost certainly going to be what people think of when they think of Deus Ex, but when I tried to start playing it just kept on throwing me. Never did make it that far because it seemed that there was an almost unending sequence of things that took me out of the game. "Oh, cut-scene in why my character puts away his gun for no apparent reason, decides to be a complete idiot, gets attacked while absurdly unarmed because he wasn't looking where he was going, and then managed to pull out a sidearm I know he doesn't have because I fracking checked because I had been in the mood to use a sidearm but couldn't because he didn't have one," is not a good way to get the game rolling, and it just sort of went downhill from there.

Especially one of the conversation choices in the first post-augging area where the choices given weren't the choices you're told you'll be given. (If choice is labeled "ignore" it shouldn't mean, "confront in a viciously passive aggressive manner significantly more assholic than the straight up confrontation.")

So I never could get into it. The gameplay seemed to be passable, but I was constantly being flung from the narrative.


Various other, non-turn based, non-strategy games are just not playable for me, including Silent Hill which is supposed to be very good.

You know how I usually respond to this by pointing out that I've found that cheating can solve that problem? I recently encountered Mirror's Edge which is for the most part a wonderful game, but they disabled cheating (and saving for fuck's sake) which meant that if I hadn't found something online that could implement cheats of its own I'd never have been able to get through it.

I really don't see the point of making it impossible to cheat in single player. The people who don't cheat are unaffected, the people who like to cheat have less to enjoy, the people who need to cheat can't fucking play. Nobody benefits, some people get screwed over. I don't see the point. I've even written a post about that.


I think that there are several games I could never really get into, but none of them are coming to mind.

Brin Bellway said...

These threads are making me realise just how few video games I actually play. I tend to think of myself as "someone who plays video games", but perhaps I'm being overly broad.

Like last week. I had nothing to say about plots, because the game I've been playing most lately (and thus the one that springs to mind) is Crawl, a roguelike with a "plot" that goes like this:

"Okay, we're obligated to give you a Macguffin to go after, so we stuck one at the bottom of the dungeon for you. What did we call it again? Oh yeah, 'Orb of Zot', right, whatever. Basically, go explore the dungeon, kill things, figure out what the randomised items do, have fun, don't worry about the Macguffin because you will die well before ever getting a glimpse of it. Bye!"

chris the cynic said...

These threads are making me realise just how few video games I actually play. I tend to think of myself as "someone who plays video games", but perhaps I'm being overly broad.

Well, I'm definitely someone who plays video games, but I haven't really played that many. So you've got company in that regard.

Bificommander said...

Well, I recently bought Xenoblade Saga under the motto that if you Americans are kicking up such a fuzz about wanting it released in the US it's probably good right? As a long time PC-only-owner, I hadn't gotten to play any JRPGs since Final Fantasy VIII which I found amazing at the time (please don't hurt me FF fans). I've played only a few hours, found it boring, and haven't started playing since I was completely stonewalled by the first encounter in the first dungeon of the game. I just get plastered. I'm pretty sure this isn't just incompetence on my part, I'll need to grind more before I can proceed with the story. And I already did a lot of sidequests, most of which were 'Kill X monsters' or fetch quests. So yeah, that was a waste of money.

Another game is the X-saga games, most notably X3. Huge space exploration with great graphics where you can own whole corporations of space-factories and fleets, it sounds awesome. But none of the games I own I can get myself to playing for more than an hour, even with the later versions of the game that at least HAVE a tutorial. Which is boring as hell. I had more fun with the EVE-Online trial, and that game is often touted as 'Spreadsheets with lasers'. I don't know what it is about the X-games that just put me off so much, but they do.

Other than that, I don't get why I haven't been able to get into Shogun 2. I loved the Total War games, I finished Shogun 1 several times, and this game is considered great by just about all the fans. Well, now that I've reinstalled my computer again, I might give it another shot, last time it kept crashing (but even before when it didn't do that, I didn't enjoy starting it)

And I'll list Sword of the Stars 2 too, though I know why I didn't like that one. Buggy and unfinished as all hell. But frankly, even if it had been finished, I still doubt I'd have liked it. All the new mechanics kind of irk me. And I clocked more than a 1000 hours in the first game.

Will Wildman said...

These threads are making me realise just how few video games I actually play. I tend to think of myself as "someone who plays video games", but perhaps I'm being overly broad.

Neh, you play games, you can call yourself a gamer if you like. I don't think there's a quota. I'm in the same boat in a way - I used to play all the time, and I still do pretty regularly, but a lot of games just don't have the pull for me that they used to, so it's more 'that would be a fun gap-filler for an hour or two' instead of 'must journey forward TO ADVENTURE'. I know far more games by reputation than by experience, and I'm reasonably judicious about what I will or will not spend time/money on, so there aren't many recent games that I want to play and haven't - if I haven't picked it up yet, it's usually because I never plan to.

There are ancient games that I've wanted to play and haven't. Once I learned that emulators were a thing, I figured I should edumacate myself on the grand operas of the Final Fantasy saga, but no matter which one I tried, I could play for 15-30 minutes and then just be all "Why is this a thing I am doing?" I also have no patience for grindy RPGs any more, which cuts me off from a lot of classics since they were made in that era. I was extolling the virtues of the Phantasy Star trilogy last week, but I cannot bear to touch the first two now because they just demand too much repetitive monster-stabbing.

TheDarkArtist said...

I always watched my one friend play the Metal Gear Solid series, but I just could never get into the gameplay. I'm generally terrible at any game/class that requires being stealthy, I'm more of a tank/brute force kind of person when it comes to games. In any case, I'd love if there were some really well written novelizations of the series, although sometimes "awesome video game plot" doesn't translate well to a written narrative.

Asha said...

I bought Oblivion a few years ago, and every time I've tried to play it I get frustrated and bored. I need a very strong story to keep me interested, as well as NPCs that are interesting. Plus, first person perspective drives me crazy, for some reason. I have Deus Ex: Human Revolution and keep getting thrown out immersion for that reason.

Mime_Paradox said...

Dark Souls. It was highly recommended by a group of gamers I respect a lot, and I ended up buying it despite my lack of enthusiasm for its aesthetics. Despite the initial thrill of using the robust character creatorto create a seventy-year old dark-skinned, white-haired female monk whom I don't feel I can ever replicate cause there's just too many options to fiddle with--it was quickly tempered by the fact that the game just doesn't manage to hold my attention. Part of it is its famed "holy crap let me live for more than a minute at a time" difficulty level, but that's not entirely it, I feel--Shiren the Wanderer can be just as hard, and is much more swear-inducing in its penalties, yet is much more engrossing. The whole feel of the game just makes me feel like the current generation of vidcons has nothing to offer to me. New games--with marked exceptions--are just not fun anymore.

Samantha C said...

I watch a lot more than I play, but somehow I have been just completely, utterly unable to give a care about Zelda games. The whole franchise. Out of all the Let's Players I watch and all the different variations of Zelda they've played, I've only been able to get into one Majora's Mask, and one original run. Every other time I try to watch Zelda I just tune out, no matter how much fun the commentary is. Somehow, while Mario-style platforming is fun to watch, and top-down, single-dimension dungeons I can cope with, 3D action-adventure like that is just boring. And it kinda sucks, cause it's one of the only BIG franchises I have no second-hand experience/knowledge with.

redsixwing said...

Red Steel.

I know the Wii has kind of an awful game lineup. (Mostly I play Wii Fit because yoga, and assorted Zelda.) But I was so looking forward to Red Steel. Katana and pistol duels! High crime on dirty streets! How much fun could that be?

But no, no. It was not to be. The graphics were confusing, the camera angles sucked rocks, and the dueling system was terrible. If the bad guy has a sword, you cannot by any means snipe him (always him) with a gun from a distance, and he'll take multiple successful hits with your sword before he goes down. If the bad guy has a gun, hitting him with a sword is a sudden anticlimax as it'll instant kill anyone who isn't also a sword-wielder.

Also, what plot?

Cupcakedoll said...

The Elder Scrolls games, at least 3 and 4. They look pretty, they're basically Fallout 3 made fantasy and I love Fallout 3, but... where are the monsters? Where are the quests? I'm just running around pretty areas and that gets boring if there's nothing to find or fight! Still going to give Skyrim a try at some point though, because dragons.

jill heather said...

I feel like I should like Civilization, but I don't. I am still waiting for a resurgence in the Sierra/LucasArts game style. (I liked how LucasArts made unwinnable situations impossible, but the death scenes in the ___ Quest games always rocked, as long as you had sufficient saved games. In related news, the Space Quest guys are kickstartering for a new Space-themed game, not starring Roger Wilco.)

I enjoy Diablo more than I think I should, despite the fact that there is little strategy and at best poor plotting.

Gelliebean said...

I picked up two recently that I had to quit after the first 45 minutes or so.... Assassin's Creed and Two Worlds II. The latter was especially disappointing because we had put a reserve deposit down when it was first supposed to come out, but then it got delayed and I never quite got around to looking for it again. But really, for a game that's pretty recent, you'd expect better in the way of graphics/animation/acting.

For Assassin's Creed, the concept seemed pretty intriguing - reliving ancestors' histories - but the controls are nasty, and the immersion gets ruined pretty fast when you're jumping from the middle ages to a futuristic operating table and back again over and over. (Not really a spoiler, I don't think; it's obvious within the first ten minutes what's going on.)

I am glad we didn't get either of these new.... Not sure right now whether I'll ever try to pick up one of the AC sequels, but I'm guessing not.

One that I thought I was going to drop, but later got more into, is Dead Island - I just couldn't get a good feel for the story, but the further you go the more info you get and it's starting to grow on me. DH finished it last night, but I've been avoiding the living room while he plays so I don't pick up any spoilers. :-)

Will Wildman said...

I enjoy Diablo more than I think I should, despite the fact that there is little strategy and at best poor plotting.

I'm curious which of the three iterations you mean (or perhaps all?)

While I generally have fierce demands in regards to plotting, I do feel like there's a niche for games which have just enough plot to justify the presence of an Adventuring Landscape, in which multiple players can sketch out their own storyline. (This is probably why I have recently discovered that, if I can get over the Fear Of Being Me Around Strangers, I freaking love tabletop RPGs.) Diablo II basically had an excuse plot that directed you from point A to B to C to Hellbeasts, but it was a great environment for my friends and I to invent personalities for our characters. Thus Diablo III, which is in many ways vastly superior in plotting, actually feels a bit like a letdown - their dramatic improvements made it so the (still-pretty-mediocre) plot is hard to ignore, which in turn feels like a restriction of freedoms.

It's one of those cases where it might have actually been better if they were lazier and hadn't tried to plot so much.

Also, I felt thoroughly betrayed because it seemed like they were doing their damndest to make the anemic plot stand out as something different in fantasy adventure world, and then in the end they just threw it all out. I'll probably blog about it soon, rather than take up overmuch space here in the thread, but the whiplash from the second act to the fourth was substantial and unappreciated.

chris the cynic said...

Bad storytelling does let the imagination run wild. Just look at all the Left Behind and Twilight fiction.

jill heather said...

Will, Diablo 2 and 3, though I got almost nowhere with D3 so far, I've been playing the various characters through Act 1 to see which I like. So it's possible that the story in D3 will bother me as I interact with it (I have been spoiled for the main gist, but don't know the details -- though I'd be interested to hear your take on the plot), but probably not because I played 2 in order to have fun killing things. I didn't imagine a personality for my character, I don't remember what plot there was, I just ran around and killed things and liked it. I assume that D3 will be much the same, running around killing things (finding lore because it gives me XP) and enjoying that. We'll see: it's the summer, and I'm not a student anymore, so I am playing not very much because it tends to suck me in for hours.

I would really love to get into tabletop RPG, but I don't know anyone local who is into it and don't have the vaguest how to find anyone.

Silver Adept said...


As a fellow Disgaea player, I understand your pain about the Item World. The only NIS game I've played to completion, including sidequests, is Phantom Brave, and that's only because you can cheat to avoid a lot of the grind by abusing the title system. That game series makes completionists cry.

@The Dark Artist - atleast for Snake Eater, there's a special DVD in the special edition that basically takes the game and makes it into a movie to watch. Don't know if the others have the same.

I, too, wish for more adventure games of the style of yore.

As for the actual topic, I was stymied by bugs from completing Septerra Core, but the game's combat would be frustrating at the beginning. Xenosaga II generated a lot of controller-throwing rage before I set down with a walkthrough. I think that's where my gauge is - if I go to the walkthrough because I want one hundred percent, then we're okay. If I go there because I'm banging my head on something, that's bad. Very bad.

I can't get into rougelikes like Nethack, though - I keep dying before I feel like I can accomplish anything, often because the RNG hates me.

Majromax said...

And I'll list Sword of the Stars 2 too, though I know why I didn't like that one. Buggy and unfinished as all hell. But frankly, even if it had been finished, I still doubt I'd have liked it. All the new mechanics kind of irk me. And I clocked more than a 1000 hours in the first game.

I'll chime in with another Paradox game: Victoria 2. It's another of their grand strategy games, but while I had a great deal of fun with Europa Universalis, I never could get into V2, even with some pretty deep fan-mods. To me, the game felt a bit like everything was economically railroaded, so without being really gamey I never got too invested in things.

Loquat said...

There's this MMO called Global Agenda that I tried to get into - it was for sale cheap, and has no ongoing fee, and like The Secret World it totally segregates your appearance from your stat-bearing gear so you're free to dress your character however you please - but it has very little plot, there's not much to do at low levels besides run dungeons and PvP matches over and over again, and it's a shooter where you have to actually aim. It's primarily the need to aim that primarily killed it for me; I'm terrible at aiming. I'll put up with the need to aim if the game has a really good story, like Mass Effect or Portal, but not otherwise.

Leeloo Dallas Multipass said...

Okage, a little RPG for the Playstation 2 about a boy whose shadow is possessed by some kind of demon-creature bent on taking over the world. Fun story, quirky characters, lovely design sense with a sort of Tim-Burton-but-more-lighthearted look to the characters... and some of the dullest, most repetitive gameplay I've ever encountered in an RPG. Every single enemy encounter felt the same, and largely pointless. Another, more recently example of "Fun idea, boring execution" was Opoona, about a group of aliens exploring a human colony planet. It's really a shame because both could have been great with proper gameplay, but as it is they're reduced to boring slogs.

Cupcakedoll said...

In related news, the Space Quest guys are kickstartering for a new Space-themed game, not starring Roger Wilco.)

Thanks for that, I just shot them a few bucks. And hey, Jane Jensen's kickstart is complete, she's got her own adventure game studio. Sierra lives on!

...lordy, I could lose a lot of money on kickstarter, there's some cool projects here.

Mary Kaye said...

After Alpha Centauri I've never been able to get into another Civ game. They're all just, "I've seen all of this before but now it's slower and more grindy." I'm a Despotic Conquistador by temperament, meaning that I try to win my Civ-like games very early, before the enemy can develop defensive tech. Call to Power, which I played a certain amount of simply because it would run on my Linux laptop, made despotic conquest nearly impossible--you had to be in for the long grind, and I just wasn't.

By contrast, my husband likes to see the late game; but he doesn't play recent Civs either. I'll have to ask him why.

Centauri is a sufficiently good game, though, that I don't mind if it spoils me for all the others.

I played a moderate amount of Skyrim when it came out, and it left me completely cold. I just don't care. I had a similar reaction to Oblivion but it took longer for me to realize I didn't care. It's a shame, as Morrowind was an all-time favorite--I've played it through twice, plus hanging over my husband's shoulder while he played it. there was an interesting interview in _Game Informer_ with one of the Morrowind designers where he notes that they aren't ever likely to make another one like that, as it's too much of a niche market, but he's a bit regretful as it had qualities the more recent games don't even try to have.

jill heather said...

Argh, I never saw the Jane Jensen kickstarter. Bah. It appears I can maybe still buy it via paypal on their website.

Leeloo Dallas Multipass said...

@jill heather: Telltale Games has been making some Lucasarts-style adventure/puzzle games recently, including Tales of Monkey Island, a Back to the Future game, and three Sam and Max games. I thought they were a lot of fun; maybe they're worth looking into for you (if you haven't heard of them already.)

Froborr said...

Alpha Centauri and Master of Orion 2, between them, ruined turn-based conquer-the-world/universe games for me. I can't get into any of the later Civilizations or any other space-based 4X games.

Galactic Civilizations is thus high on my list of games I wanted to get into (my friends went nuts for it) and just couldn't. Also on that list are the Total War series and the Homeworld series--in both cases, I try to play, go into total sensory overload, and lock up. Strategy is not really my forte--I suck at chess, too--and *fast* strategy is right out.

I played the GameCube Fire Emblem and liked it a lot. Tried the Wii sequel and just could not get into it. Same thing happened much earlier with Final Fantasy Tactics: loved the first game on the PSX, could not play the portable sequels.

Tried one of the Elder Scrolls game, whichever was on the XBox. Definitely not for me.

Oh, and going way back, the first time I really wanted to like a game and just could. not. play it: Mario 64. Also Mario Sunshine. Mario Galaxy was a lot of fun but only in short bursts.

Launcifer said...

I think I mentioned - either here or in an earlier thread - that Morrowind was probably one of the very few fantasy games I've encountered that felt like a fantasy game, a world I'd never see for myself that the game allowed me to visit, as it were. The only other time Bethesda has come close to it is with the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion.

Tell you what's left me cold recently, actually: The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. I bought it based on the reviews, which seemed to promise an allegedly mature storyline and great gameplay. The game world's tiny, which is definitely not a bonus for me and the alleged maturity seems to come down to a bit of (solely female, for the fail) nudity and lots of swearing.

TW: Profanity

I mean, some of the language doesn't even make sense. For example, there's a situation early in the first act that causes a secondary character to appear and ask "What the arse fuck is going on?". I mean, I just found it -and other instances like it - to be incredibly jarring. I wondered if it was a translation thing, like the guy was supposed to say what the buggery or something and they just whacked in a literal translation from the Czech equivalent of the phrase, but whoever did the translation has a very good grasp of specficially English idioms, so I don't think it's that.

malpollyon said...

I bounced off the Devil May Cry series twice before I finally "got" them. Played DMC1, found it ugly and far too difficult, couldn't see what all the fuss was about, gave up about a third of the way through. Some years later gave DMC3 a try, based on the strong reviews, this time I was determined to give it a fair shake, so I played up until the preantepenultimate(my spellchecker suggests "pretentiousness", how appropriate) mission. I still found the game punishingly difficult and not much fun, but I liked the cutscenes. I only finally got into the series when I picked up the special edition of DMC3 as part of my determination to own and play every game with an unlockable alternate protagonist (for some reason I *really* like playing through games again with a slightly different set of abilities, it's one of the reasons I like the post-SotN Castlevania games so much), that time the combat just "clicked" and it's now possibly my favourite game on the PS2 (although depending on my mood I might nominate Shadow of the Colossus, God Hand, Disgaea or Okami).

Aidan Bird said...

I agree with you on that Morrowind really felt like a fantasy game. I absolutely loved Morrowind, played through it several times, trying out different types of characters and just enjoying the immersion. I've modded it a bit - mostly the graphics, sound, but I did try a few sidequest mods as well. I haven't yet played the Bloodmoon expansion for Morrowind, but the rest of it was just fantastic.

However, having said that, I never could get into Oblivion, the next game in the Elder Scrolls series. It just... seemed flat and the storyline just didn't interest me as much as Morrowind's did. Though I've never played the Shivering Isles expansion for Oblivion. There was really only one quest in Oblivion that I found enjoyable - the missing painter quest - but other than that, I stopped playing and went back to a modded version of Morrowind.

The Witcher game - I had the same problem you did with it. I stopped playing it in disgust. It just drove me nuts.

As a side note: I tried getting into Final Fantasy games, but I tended to put them down about a third of the way through and then never pick them up again. I mean, most had pretty decent storylines, but I just got tired of trying to level up my characters with a bajillion small battles in order to be strong enough for a boss battle. I still love the music of that series though.

Launcifer said...

Having played Bloodmoon, I spent an hour grinning at the sheer familiarity of SkyrimI. The latter feels somewhat cribbed from the former, which is probably a bad thing, but I enjoyed the scent of the familiar that went with all of those in-world nods.

Really, I can't help but feel that that particular game is perhaps the apex of fantasy world-building. They had me from the moment I realised I was hitching a ride on a giant flea.

I enjoyed Oblivion, if I'm honest, but it felt incredibly generic, like just about every fantasy novel I've read. Typically central- to northern-European grography with added tropes. The only quests I liked weren't even marked ones (the treasure chest sequence in the north, the Udefrykte matron that was a nod to Bloodmoon et cetera).

I've also thought of another game with which I've struggled recently: Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning. Admittedly, my reasoning's change over the past few months, since I originally disliked the colour palette, though this has since taken a backseat to (pick one) either the sheer volume of sidequests, the fact it's been cribbed from the sensible bits of virtually every other fantasy game ever made or the fact that its production appears to have bankrupted Rhode Island for various and vaguely convoluted reasons.

As a final note, I reckon that some of the problems you and other posters have had with the FF franchise might shed some light on why Chris_the_Cynic had trouble with Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Squaresoft/Square/Enix just seems to do things that way. It's not even a JRPG issue. It's just a strange quirk of the company (or the companies under its control). I did like Blitzball from FF10, mind.

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