Games You Realise You Hated (Forum Post)

Shut up, I've been busy. But anyway, this is exactly what the title says: a list of games that I realized I hated while playing them.

EDIT: There's a problem with the font that means half the post is in teeny-weeny-eye-strain-o-vision. I'm trying to sort it out, but since it involves retyping everything, my chronic laziness is stopping me from fixing it particularly quickly. Sorry.

EDIT2: Ok, think I've fixed it. Huzzah.

Halo - About 8 hours in, I encountered the Flood. I also realized that I'd just spent the last hour running through the exact same corridor that had been copy-pasted about 300 times. This was around the time I abandoned the game and moved onto something more fun. Looking back on it after I'd finished painting the cat, I realized that aside from a precious few levels that take place outside, the majority of the time I spent playing the game was me running through corridors, all of which looked extremely similar, fighting exactly the same enemies and using exactly the same tactics - shoot everything that moves, wait until my shields are nearly gone, hide behind cover, wait for shields to regenerate, then rinse and repeat. I also realized just how bored I'd been with the game. The series may have a great story and a thrilling arc, but if the gameplay itself is less fun then an hour-long session of Sudoku, then I couldn't care less.

Tomb Raiders I - V - For obvious reasons, really. Playing the Core Design'd Tomb Raider titles in modern times is very, very boring. The games are very slow paced, and while that works for some titles (stealth games like Splinter Cell, mostly), an action packed 3D platformer should be fast paced. TR was most definitely not faced paced. I skipped the first TR in favour of its Crystal Dynamic'd remake (which I very much enjoyed, PoP-style platforming needs to be done in more games), so I have played through about two-thirds of TR2. But I really couldn't keep going past the ice levels, because my arms had fallen asleep by this point. So yeah.

Timeshift - I've actually finished this. But that was on my old PC, when I could only play games for 15 minutes at a time before my graphics card overheated and my PC switched off. Playing it in small chunks, it's surprisingly manageable. Playing it in larger chunks, which my new PC allows me, lets you realize how little fun the game actually is. The time manipulation mechanics are fun at first, but after the novelty wears off, you're left with a distinctly average shooter with a few fancy 'hey, look how cool we are' gimmicks. Or rather, one fancy gimmick, that isn't really all that fancy, because in order to make it through the game, you will be using slo-mo pretty much all the time. And that gets real old, real fast. Which is a little ironic really, when you think about it.

Exodus From The Earth - Chances are, you've never heard of this. Good. It is quite possibly the most boring, tedious, badly translated attempt at a modern FPS I have ever played. Almost every cliché in the book is here, from fighting through a factory/warehouse to a confrontation with a CEO in his office that turns sour, and the action itself is hopeless because you can never tell if you've actually hit anyone with your shots. There's no response - no blood, no screams, nothing. You just have to keep shooting in the hope that you're actually doing some damage. Add in the fact that I genuinely got stuck at one point in the game and had no idea of where I was supposed to go, and I literally just went 'sod it' and gave up. Which is not normally a good thing.

Painkiller / Serious Sam - I've lumped these two together because they're extremely similar (and both have had multiple sequels that changed bugger all but still charged us full price for the privilege), but you can also include pretty much any FPS to come out of Germany along with them. Apologies to Yahtzee, but the reason he likes these games is the same reason I get fed up with them - they're all about killing. And I don't know about you, but when a game does nothing but throw wave after wave of enemies at you, it doesn't take long for you to get tired of it. Especially when there's little to no variation in the enemies or their attacks. I mean, at least Doom had the odd keycard-fetch-quest to liven things up.

Dead Space - Initially this game actually got off to a good start. Then my machine needed reformatting and I had to restart the game. To my utter shock (and indifference), I realized this game did not match up to how good my mind thought it was. Although the game had its moments (and time you enter a zero-g or de-pressurized area, mainly), the vast majority of the time you just do exactly the same thing. Wander around with your gun drawn shooting the arms off stuff. And while that may describe around 95% of games out there, Dead Space somehow managed to make it incredibly repetative, unexciting and routine. The second you see an enemy, you inwardly sigh and start carving all its limbs off, and that's why I gave up. Also, those little insect-like creatures? Screw them. Screw them all.

XIII - I put this solely down to the controls. The game is an utterly horrific console port which, aside from the standard mouse-look that all PC games have to have by law, completely fails to grasp how a PC FPS should work. As well as the movement feeling unnaturally sticky and unrefined, you can't select weapons with the number keys 1-5. Instead, you have to cycle through them using the PageUp and PageDown keys (or Z and X, if you're feeling fruity). That means that it takes far too long to change weapons, and the same goes for the inventory (though that's a little more standard in games). The game has a great story, being based on a cracking graphic novel series, and I spend a great deal of time on it, but the controls really did cripple it and I just couldn't take any more. Shame, really.

The Nomad Soul - Again, this is down to the controls. The Nomad Soul, also known as Omikron, was by roughly the same guys who made Indigo Prophecy (aks Fahrenheit) and Heavy Rain. It attempted to mix several different gameplay styles, such as a 2.5D fighting section, an FPS section and, IIRC, a driving section, all connected by a third person bridge that also served as the main part of the game. Unfortunately, the fighting section is absurdly difficult to control, the FPS section is woefully bad, the driving section lackluster and the third person section incredibly clunky. There's a brilliant story here, and there's a body-swapping mechanic that worked so well the makers of Driver have stolen it, but the over-ambitious attempt to combine so many genres into one just doesn't work. Another shame, but if a game constantly kicks your ass purely because it won't let you play it properly then it's no wonder no-one bought it.

Why Adventure Games That Kill You Died Out (Article)

Not quite a forum post, but a comment on a Kotaku post. The post itself showed two videos containing the many ways to die in Space Quest III, and I felt moved to write the following in response.

EDIT: This post got some interesting feedback. I may include some of it, along with my responses. Maybe.

There is a reason why games like this are no longer made.

Although they were far from the only company doing so, Sierra titles really were the stand-out champions of 'games that kill you for no reason'. Unfortunately, while many people like games that perform this service, it did an awful lot to hold games back.

The primary issue is right there in the title - killing you for no reason. If you were to walk right into the path of an enemy, then fair enough, but games like Space Quest would often kill you just for walking to a new screen. Half the time you wouldn't know what was there, and you were severely punished for merely being curious. This, as you can imagine, would be incredibly frustrating for an average player, and would easily convince them to just give up and try something else.

The second problem is the genre. Adventure games never have, and never will, lend themselves well to instant-death situations. In action titles, it's much more acceptable, but adventure games are generally known for making you think your way out of a situation, and suddenly throwing in a stealth section or limited windows of opportunity just don't gel with the rest of the gameplay. And don't even get me started on items that you have to pick up or you can't complete the game.

The third problem is checkpoints. Adventure games like Space Quest didn't have them, so when you died (often unfairly) you would either have to reload a previous save or restart the entire game. And since half the time you didn't know whether an area was dangerous or not, sometimes you could end up losing half an hour, or worse, more, because you hadn't saved for a while.

Modern gaming has solved a lot of these problems. Adventure games now rarely (if ever) let you die, and if they do, they let you retry from a point in time not too far back. This makes the games far more enjoyable, and means that players can feel free to explore without worry of being unfairly punished.

I'm focusing on adventure games purely because that's what's featured in the videos, and that's immediately what people will think of when they read this topic. Action titles have also gotten much easier, but there's a different discussion.