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Games you want to love, but can't


Melan

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I got the idea from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Let's discuss games you wanted to enjoy, but for some reason, couldn't get into. By this, I mean games usually recognised as good, not embarrasing failures like DX:IW.

 

I will start (I may have written about this before):

 

Half-Life 2: Episode Two. It is polished. It is professional. It has perfect pacing. I stopped somewhere around the White Forest Inn, because I realised I did not care anymore about these people, and because the action was so carefully directed I felt like a spectator along for the ride, not Gordon Freeman, Ph.D. making actual meaningful choices (with a crowbar).

 

Not that you have much choice in an FPS, but at least in something like Unreal I could more or less control how I would approach a situation, which was part of the game, and sometimes it was a bit like actually exploring a place. That was an illusion, but a bearable one. Somewhere between the original Half-Life and Episode Two, it became too much. I suppose the problem with the HL2 episodes is that they do not even feel like games anymore to me.

 

On the other hand, I loved the hell out of NecroVisioN, and especially how it goes full-on crazy around the halfway point, so it's not just jadedness.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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Yeah I was about to say, for that matter HL2 itself. Looked great and was all kinds of manufactured fun, but just lost it. I was on a high from the intro part, which was evocative, and was really preparing to love it, rolled with the whole warp part, though felt that leaving the city just to have to come back was sort of dumb, and I started increasingly realizing that there wasn't a real story here, just excuses for "gaming on", and then it jumped the shark for me when the big plot-turn I was waiting for was playing catch with a robot dog while the world burned, and from that point on it was just gaming on for its own sake and I didn't care.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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. On the other hand, I loved the hell out of NecroVisioN, and especially how it goes full-on crazy around the halfway point, so it's not just jadedness.

LOL what r u like, on the other hand this is an old 2009 game so I should be able to pick it up on the cheap...

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One more for HL2. Where the first was elegant in that it funnelled you out of a facility going to hell, HL2 had you doing vssfvsvfvs* at the whim of NPCs. Maybe I find necessity easier to swallow than compliance - (a big problem with most games, actually.)

 

Deus Ex. (No one is allowed to let me live now.) Hong Kong was fantastic, but besides that area, there isn't much to the game that I like.

 

All real-time strategy games. I want to love them but I'm so terrible that I'm stuck with loving turn-based games.

 

Which brings me to.......Civ. I don't like Civ. (really, kill me now.) I can only get so far into a game before a nihilistic feeling of 'why am I even doing this?' creeps over me, but I appreciate how the games are simulated. I'm more of an X-Com person.

 

 

* I honestly don't remember what it was or why it was important.

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Mount and Blade - It has some awesome elements, the realistic setting (no magic crap, no phantasy star kind of insane medieval weaponry, no tiring fantasy lore), the combat system (which works a lot like TDM's), some simple but very interesting looking cities and villages, and the whole army fights which can get quite exciting; it has no story, you just wander around, interacting with a statistics based world (even the npcs are just statistics, with randomized speech), all there's to do is to become a merchant with an army or to plunder countless places, for the heck of it. You just wish there was some kind of objective, something to make all the carnage "meaningful" (but I always think its amusing how we become quite the despot when playing strategy games, you just send the soldiers to their deaths without even flinching, and find yourself chasing fleeing enemies without mercy, or killing huge amounts of nameless people as if it was the most fun thing you could possibly be doing).

 

Dead Space - huge production values and awesome art direction, sounds, design... but just becomes arcade action after a promising horror beginning, complete with shoot the asteroid and boss stages mini games. And having to go around the whole ship to fix the smallest things... That stuff is just so outdated, the "space janitor" thing. All you hear is "we just found out this ship is infected by some crazy monstrosities and we are all in shock and barely survived the first wave - why wont you go by yourself deep into the ship's entrails, every possible basement level and maintenance dead-ends, pumping fuel, turning on shields, getting rid of "something" blocking the machines, shooting asteroids, turning on some lights, finding some batteries, collecting scattered pieces for some computer to work, oh so now they cut the air supply, please deal with that", etc etc etc. Couldnt finish the game, its just too repetitive for me, pretty soon the thrill was gone.

 

Oblivion, Gothic kind of action, sandbox rpgs - never thought I would say this, but I just cant bring myself through the slow, predicatable path of going from lowly squire/fugitive/village boy to the baddest, most awesome warrior ever in the realm, anymore. You have to go around selling rat meat, rusty weapons, having to face the frustration of hitting someone on the head with an axe to score... 1 damage point (oblivion, literally). Just give me a proper, trained hero and let me go about my business, please.

Edited by RPGista
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Hehe, I quite disliked Necrovision except the end when things get crazy. The game looks great but I'm truly not a fan of the gameplay itself. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love fast-paced FPS (especially Quake and Painkiller), but I found the overall gameplay really lacking which is a real shame.

 

There's not a lot of games I didn't get into no matter how hard I tried, though I can name a few. I tried to get into Mass Effect but gave up midway through. Same with Dragon Age, but I stopped a lot earlier because I found the UI terrible and the combat mediocre. The story seemed cool and I liked the introduction, but once I got to the wilderness I had a huge Meh on my face. I also tried to get into Hitman Contracts until I realized it was a bad rip-off of Hitman 1. Blood Money was awesome though. Overall I tend to give up games when they are either too sandbox-like without a clear goal of what the player must do, or when they are too restrictive and linear (like most FPS games nowadays, sadly). I've always considered Thief to be a perfect blend between the two ; it's kinda sandbox with a big map with a ton of areas that offer a lot of different ways to achieve a clear goal, and it's still linear enough so you don't get bored.

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Dead space 2 seemed ok...

 

As for games that I want to love but can't, first thought was Gothic 3 which was a huge graphical jump and was the final part of the series(the next part is BS as I've been told but who knows...) and had a lot fo new stuff... BUT it had too easy combat system and became too repetitive + after freeing 3 cities I found out that I can't free more and was fucked forever(no way to get it back in place) so Piranha Bytes fucked it up...

 

Hym what else...

 

Full spectrum Warrior - great concept, great graphics and nice looking simulations BUT no option of saving - just checkpoints, only 1 way of approaching situation(no actual freedom), funny situations breaking immersionn of the game.

 

I'll say if there is more... AH YES

 

PoP (the sketchy one) - WHY U NO DIE EVER!

Edited by pusianka
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Necrovision was fun. After all, it was I who recommended the game to melan, I believe. :) Never finished it though. Don't remember why. I guess, something came up.

 

For me KOTOR definitely falls into that category. I hear from all sides that it is so damn good, but I just can't get into it. Bores the hell outa me...

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Riven.

 

Had no problem with the slide-show gameplay, loved loved LOVED the atmosphere, especially the occasions when you'd see some signs of human(?) presence in the distance, but when you got there, there was no-one around; the feeling of being watched by an unknown (but not necessarily hostile) presence - in bright sunlight - is one of the most deliciously creepy-without-being-really-scarey experiences I've ever had in a video game.

 

And then - **hangs head in despair** - it went into switching puzzle overdrive. I had gritted my teeth and managed to solve most of the puzzles up to a certain point, but I got to a stage where it felt like I was having to flick four or five switches about half-a-mile from each other to try to get something to happen and after about half-an-hour I packed it in (it was cheaper than hurling the computer through the window and healthier than having a brain aneurysm).

 

Still kinda regret it 'cos that atmosphere was absolutely unique, and I may have another go at some point with a walkthrough. My bad etc, but I've never come across a 'fun switching puzzle'. :angry:

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For the sandbox-like games, I notice that there's no real objective, but then I play them with a much different mindset, not really as games anymore but a kind of zen-gaming ritual... So for Mount & Blade or especially sims (like IL-2) it's just a matter of starting up a scenario and riding around, bashing some guys, (or flying around and shooting guys), and for Skyrim I mostly just like to get on my horse and ride around the countryside, minecraft is like that, Stalker can be like that, GTA:SA... And it's easy to just turn it off even if I haven't finished a mission or accomplished anything; I don't even have so much desire to. So I don't get into them as games, but I still like doing stuff in them and just being in their world for a few minutes, which is maybe a different kind of thing.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Mass Effect 2. I bought it, played a few minutes and was tired of the one path hallway and scripted scenes. An expensive mistake.

 

HL2. I started it twice, this time I got to the swamp boat scene. It''s just sooo scripted. running through tunnels... meh.. Don't know if I'll ever finish.

Dark is the sway that mows like a harvest

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<p>While I loved Ground Control 1, GC2 was a total failure in my eyes. Sure, the graphics were good, but the rest... let's face it, if you don't have to economize on your units (as in "not throwing them into enemy fire"), it's not Ground Control. You could always just order replacements if you had enough captured drop points.

My Eigenvalue is bigger than your Eigenvalue.

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Unfortunately, and it hurts kind of to say that the only games that fall into this category for me are the Zelda games.

I CANNOT play these games. I can't get into them AT ALL.

I've tried to play "The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past" countless times but I have given up on all occasions.

Tried to play "Ocarina of Time" too, but that endeavor ended in a similar fashion.

 

I will try to play "Twilight Princess" at some point or another hoping it won't be as unmanageable.

 

Yeah, also played the first Zelda game a little way back. Didn't get into that either.

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Yes yes yes! So I'm not the only that thought halflife 2 wasn't all that fantastic!?

Halflife 1 was awesome, it had a lot of cool concepts and ideas and HL2 just did away with them keeping some popular material which was horrible imo. They don't even seem like the same game if you think about it. (Where was Xen and the Xen creatures, the sci-fi aspect etc etc.) It just ended up feeling like a conservative boring Hollywood movie.

 

Others include:

Dues Ex HR - Couldn't even finish it.

Thief 2 - Loved Thief 1

Red Orchestra 2 - Would be awesome if it worked

 

Pretty much anything made by ID after Quake 2.

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Well one has to admit Thief 2 wasn't the masterpiece Thief 1 was.

With Thief TDP, every level carried the story a step forward, and they had a ton of character, and every level was top shelf IIRC.

With Thief2, you could tell the levels were there to feature different kinds of sneaking scenarios, and certain levels just dropped the ball like Casing the Joint (when you could just go straight to the room to steal the thingy right there, so what's the point of a 2nd mission to do it? And it was buggy as hell, IIRC there was a street lamp sticking out of the floor, stuff like that).

 

Ah but I still loved it of course. Even with the warts it far outshines most other games IMO.

Probably it's greatest contribution though was as the best platform for FMs.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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My personal opinion is that Thief 1 was a masterpiece because its original gameplay, the level design becomes horrible halfway of the campaign. Thief 2 is basically all the geniality from T1, with a campaign that gets better and better until the end!

 

But, opinions are like that :)

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To put it in perspective, I played Thief Gold when it first came out and I was young, it was amazing, immersive, scary, interesting and all believable.

 

Thief 2 came out and my computer wouldn't run it, fast forward 10 year after forgetting about Thief's existence and then playing Thief 2, I wanted to experience the same originality. Crazy new places, new characters, new themes, big adventures etc but T2 didn't really feel as epic as T1 for me. Plus the surveillance cameras and robots felt out of place for me and unbelievable. Kind of like Thief DS' eye. It made me think, okay this makes sense, but it's out of place and feels kind of dumb. (On a side note I think our robots are way better and more believable than T2's)

 

Memorable T1 moments:

Thief 1's first mission, finding the entrance to the mansion

The first time I played the second map I was scared out of my mind and got lost in the caverns

The Bone Horde scared the crap out of me and I got lost in there as well

Thieves guild, the rag tag slapped together atmosphere

The Sword's crazy mansion

The Haunted cathedral which also scared the crap out of me

Getting lost in the Lost City

 

These levels were all amazing, I spent hours on each and loved them.

 

In Thief 2, I remember most of all:

 

The unexpectedness of Trail of Blood (which was neat but looked awful)

The massiveness of Life of the Party

The interesting environment of Precious Cargo

 

It just 'felt' different for me. Age was definitely a factor but I still think Thief 1 was cooler even after revisiting both recently the last couple years :) Thief 2 just never really did it for me, due to it having less emphasis on crazy, original and interesting environments.

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FWIW Thief 1>> Thief 2 in all ways except 16 bit textures, loved the atmosphere of T1 hands down, and you really didn't know where it was going plot wise. T2 seemed much more on rails IMO. Just like I like Quake 1 far more than any sequel, odd hodge-podge, atmosphere and ambiguity is what's missing these days. Case in point and to the original post:

 

HL2 reminds me of Spielberg films: interesting visceral concepts, incredible production values with full spit and polish that make it worthy of great praise and profits... AND so god awful formulomatic, play-tested and/or focused grouped to utter dreck. Running low on health?? Just by chance that breakable crate happens to have a health pack, or ammo, or some other spawned in thing just in the nick.. Like Knightboat “Every week there's a canal... Or an inlet... Or a fjord...”

 

Also underwhelmed with Portal, but enough Valve hate, the bigger offender in my book is Bioware's turn for the mundane with Mass Effect (a reskin and shuffle of the Bioware “Plot-o-matic” of KoToR of 10 years ago, granted with an elaborate new universe) and its twin in a D&D skin, Dragon Age. I don't know if it has been done but the crew of ME and party of DA seems to be interchangeable: Lumbering oafish surly fighter- check; exotic, potentially skanky vixen – yep; girl sorta next door utility player – affirmative...; Grumbling second banana – okay...

 

Anyway, got two thirds of the way through the big city part of DA Origins where the not currently present party assassin NPC gets threatened by some bounty hunter; suddenly elf-like not elf assassin boy appears and I get to defend a character that hasn't done squat for my party (though his level has gone up sitting on his ass back in camp)... Christ, could you see that being done in Baulder's Gate? Ugh, can't cut content though, jezuz some team worked six months and burned thru 120 grand in assets for that sucker, you're going to play it dammit! Checked out there and then with no regrets.

 

This is why I love seeing the kickstarter thing going as well as it has. Money up front to get some old school devs back to making games that not everyone can find unobjectionable. Bring it! And someone get the Undying team back together...

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Others include:

Dues Ex HR - Couldn't even finish it.

 

You've definitely lost me on this one. Sure, it would have been nice to have some tweaks here and there (like a Beyond Deus Ex mode, where health is not automatically replenished, making Painkillers obsolete, or less wooden animations, or the absolutely retarded/disappointing ending), but as a whole, this is one of the best games I've ever played. And I'm around since Wolfenstein 3D.

 

Also, I quite liked Doom 3 when playing with the uber-awesome Sikkmod. Less shadows, more eye-candy. OTOH, I also quite liked Quake 4, and I seem to be one of a small minority.

My Eigenvalue is bigger than your Eigenvalue.

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... I seem to be one of a small minority.

 

Got your back, all the games you mention are awesome(Doom3 is cool as is, I say) and I'm actually quite shocked to find out how many games that I like people here don't.

But you know, that's fine. People are different. :)

 

Also, now that it's come up in conversation, I was very close to putting Thief 1 as one of the games I really want to love but can't.

I was afraid to be hacked to death with a machete, but I'll just say it. I like Thief 2 better than 1.

Why? Because I like Thieving in areas that are actually populated by humans. It never made much sense to me why a thief would delve into catacombs and underground fortresses. It's Thief, not Indiana Jones. But then again, I feel that it's part of what Thief actually is and I should shut my pie-hole, I'm probably looking for the wrong experience in the wrong game in this specific case.

 

Edit: Removed stupidity... Nevermind.

Edited by GameDevGoro
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Curiously, I liked Thief 2 more than Thief 1. Thief 1 had those pointless explore large boring area with boring undead.

 

Thief 2 had the essence I loved: "here is a location X with a map. A few weak points in security are here, here and here. Go in, choose route, get trinket, get out."

 

I liked HL1 and HL2, but can see the problems. They are more like interactive movies. Enter new area. Kill. Enter new area. Kill. Solve simple puzzle. Kill. Not much room for intelligent decision making. But the story was fine so I still like playing all of them.

 

Elder scrolls Oblivion and Fallout 3 both suffer from the same thing. They are very cool the first moments. They you realize how limited to world basically is. You can interact with things by killing. You can talk to people but they give you static missions with low amount of incentive to accomplish them. You can be either a paragon hero or a jerk. There aren't many interesting things you can do and mostly it is about killing monsters. Everything in the world happens pretty much the same way every time: not much reason to play it again once you finish it. I cannot put it to words what exactly is wrong, but those games -after the initial WOW- die due to feeling so detached to the world. Like I was there but I could not interact with the world enough.

 

Heck, I feel more attached to the world in dungeon crawl stone soup (try it!) than fallout 3.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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