Gameological Q&A

Final Fantasy X

Just Walk Away

Which games were you content to leave unfinished?

By The Gameological Society Staff • January 24, 2013

Welcome to Gameological Q&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. It’s extremely similar to The A.V. Club’s AVQ&A feature. You might even say it’s exactly the same. If you have a brilliant question that would make a fun Q&A, send it to brilliantquestions at gameological dot com.

The question for this installment of Q&A comes courtesy of reader HobbesMkII:

There have been a couple of Q&As about desiring to spend more time with a game, or playing a game over again, which I (and I suspect most people) can certainly relate to. However, I’m also a serial uncompletionist. I never finished Dragon Age or its sequel. Started Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim, but still haven’t completed the main quests. Arkham City still could stand some saving by Batman. It’s not that I don’t enjoy these games—I’ve put in an embarrassing amount of time into each—but I don’t feel particularly compelled to reach the ending of the game. Have you ever experienced something like this? Why do you think you walked away?

John Teti

I picked up Super Hexagon around Christmas, and for a couple of weeks, I played it on every subway ride. In the game, you’re at the center of an collapsing vortex, trying to avoid the torturous spiral of deadly walls that perpetually threaten to crush you. There are six difficulty levels, and the easiest one is called “Hard,” so that gives you an idea of how things are going to go down. Even on the first level, it feels like you’re trying to make sense of a hallucination that’s on fast-forward. The object is to last one minute in the vortex without being crushed, and after countless attempts, I managed to pull it off on “Hard,” and then on “Harder.” I like a challenge, and I usually hate to be beaten. After a couple days hacking away at the frenzied “Hardest” level, though—still the third-easiest of the game’s six modes—I put Super Hexagon away and don’t plan to return to it. It’s not that I think the game becomes “unfair.” (In fact, as I’ve written before, I’m cool with unfair games.) Super Hexagon is beautiful and clever, and I love that it doesn’t condescend. I simply recognized that I could be happy with the challenges I had overcome and leave the harder, more obsessive fare to others.

Drew Toal

If there were such a thing as bespoke video games, where the game maker analyzes your preferences and tendencies and makes a custom-fit game accordingly, I’m pretty sure mine would come out looking something like Fallout 3. Just everything about it—the atmosphere, music, the recognizable but decimated open world, the super-mutants—it all fits my style perfectly. And I do like the game very much. For whatever reason, though—and I’ve tried playing through twice now—I’ve quit soon after finding the post-apocalyptic super DJ, Three Dog. I don’t really have an explanation. I think fondly of the section I’ve played, and I sometimes miss hanging out with the hardy folks of Megaton. But I just get to a certain point and walk away. Maybe it’s too depressing? I used to live in D.C. (the game takes place in the remnants of the capital), and after the initial thrill of seeing the bombed-out husks surrounding the National Mall wears off, I just start to get bummed out. Maybe I’ll try New Vegas. That place seems like it sucks.

Jason Reich

I just had this experience with Dark Souls. I had a rocky start, but the game quickly went from being a frustrating struggle to a labor of love. And then just as I was seriously getting into it, ready to join the cult of Dark Souls, I unexpectedly fell into a pit and got cursed. Oh, so now I have to play with my stamina permanently cut in half, or get some item I never heard of from a merchant I haven’t visited, only I can’t build up the souls to purchase it because my stamina is permanently cut in half? And even if I do lift the curse, I know I’m going to get immediately re-cursed as soon as I get anywhere near that same area again? Nope. Not gonna do it. I felt like I was being punished for making the effort to learn the game’s lessons. I’m glad I played it to see what it was all about, and I’ll probably even pick up the sequel, but I have no urge to go back to it at all.

Steve Heisler

I’ve tried a number of times to finish Uncharted, because I wanted to play Uncharted 2, widely considered by many to be, quote, “a good game.” But I found that Uncharted had smoothed out the edges of Indiana Jones, presenting a hero that always said the right thing at the right time not because he’s an interesting person, but because it was preordained that he would. So, I gave up and jumped right to the sequel, hoping to find something different—perhaps a chance to leave my mark on this world and become intertwined in a deeper mystery. Nope. Same old shooting of guys until more of the same guys show up. Same wimpy selection of weapons. Same reduction of a boring movie to a series of rote tasks because, hey, this is a video game so we might as well make a guy move from one spot to the next. But I don’t think I gave up on the game merely because I thought it was boring. That’s too simple an explanation. I was frustrated that the game never felt like it was trying very hard to earn my admiration. All the rough edges were sanded off, and the game had an air of self-satisfaction—it assumed I would like it. In other words, Uncharted and its sequel didn’t allow me the luxury of my own opinion. It had one at the ready.

Ryan Smith

Saints Row: The Third doesn’t have a story as much as a series of increasingly ridiculous vignettes all working to outdo the last with over-the-top violence, potty humor, and use of the word “fuck.” The game seems to care less about how the Saints gang was going to reach the pinnacle of media fame in Steelport and more about finding new and creative ways to kill people. (See: purple dildos, clown cars.) That’s why—even though I had more fun than I’d like to admit leveling up my zombie-voiced gang leader for a while—there was a time I felt comfortable putting my controller down before I reached the final mission. A “good” ending would likely have resulted in my character facing the death sentence or life in prison. That was probably not going to happen in this moral-compass-free game. Plus, is there really anywhere to go after you’ve driven in a gimp-drawn chariot race?

Emily Gordon

Shadows Of The Damned was one of my favorite games of 2011. It was funny, it was dark and twisted, and it had a world I liked to hang out in—namely, hell, if hell were a weird circus town. Main character Garcia Fucking Hotspur was there to rescue his girlfriend Paula, who had been kidnapped by Fleming the demon. Frankly, Paula and Garcia’s relationship weirded me out with how codependent, masochistic, and addiction-soaked it was, but who am I to judge? The game was satisfying to play—until I got to the final boss fight. I’d fought my way through a million demons to get to Fleming, but for whatever reason, I could not beat him. I would accidentally shoot Paula (which ends the game), or choke to death in the darkness, or not shoot the correct piece of Fleming floating above my head. I tried about a dozen times and realized I was getting really angry, and that’s when I made the decision to stop playing. I loved the game, and I didn’t want my memory of Shadows Of The Damned to be tainted by this massively hard boss fight. So, unlike Paula and Garcia, I walked away from this self-destructive relationship before it consumed me. And I feel totally fine about it.

Matt Kodner

Growing up, Lands Of Lore: The Thrones Of Chaos, a cheesy fantasy RPG from the early nineties, was one of the games that my sister and I would watch our dad play. We’d help out by shaking him and screaming, “KILL THE ORC!” until he had killed the orc. Recently, I found an intact version online and started replaying it, armed with a plethora of vaguely European-sounding Let’s Play videos. Upon reaching Castle Cimmeria, the game’s massive final level, I entered a room full of pits and recognized it as the point where your magical atlas self-immolates, your compass goes bonkers, and almost any step in any direction whirls you around in place. I had fond memories of my dad heroically brandishing a sheet of graph paper and painstakingly making his own map through trial-and-error. I took one idealistic step forward and immediately fell through a pit with no idea where I was. There was no part of me that wanted to blindly putz back to that room and waste away trying to beat this thing. In talking with my dad about this, it turns out he never actually finished the game either, similarly throwing his hands up in disgust at one of Castle Cimmeria’s idiosyncrasies.

Anthony John Agnello

I’ve always stayed away from strategy games. Not immediately accessible, chunky tactical games like Final Fantasy Tactics or XCOM that absorb you for days by gripping you with moment-to-moment action. I’m talking about investments in forward thinking and planning, like Civilization. My fear was that I’d become woefully addicted, much the same fear that’s kept me away from games like StarCraft. About six years ago, though, I decided to throw caution to the wind and sat down with a friend to play a match of Civilization IV, a sort of friendly competition and crash course. We started at 11 a.m. on a Saturday. When I looked at the clock again, it was noon—on Sunday. Never. Ever. Again.

Cory Casciato

I came to the game years late, but I loved the original Metal Gear Solid to the point that I took a sick day from work to finish about half of it in one marathon session. Naturally, I was pretty excited to play Metal Gear Solid 2. For the first hour or so, I was enjoying the hell out of it. Then the game bogged down in long, incoherent cutscene after long, incoherent cutscene. Eventually, I wasn’t playing at all—I was just watching the damn thing and getting more and more annoyed. Just as bad, what I was watching was the worst combination of silly, stupid, and pretentious imaginable. About three hours later (at least 100 minutes of which had to have been spent watching cutscenes) I was done. I shut it off halfway through one of the short films and never turned it back on again, nor did I ever play another Metal Gear Solid game. The non-cutscene parts of the game were just as much fun as the original, but if I’m going to watch a movie that stupid between the occasional gaming segment, I’m going to need the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew to get me through it.

Kate Cox

I am a completionist, so I end up finishing even things I hate, but Divinity II did me in. I have a weakness for Larian Studios—I loved the first Divinity game, and I really enjoyed playing the second, bugs and all. I even settled in to play it for a second time when the expansion came out and my near-complete saved games from the base version were incompatible. Then I got to the final mission of the whole expanded game. It’s an escort mission—a flying dragon-form escort mission—and after failing it eight or nine times I made a very rude final pronouncement to my screen and uninstalled the game. It just wasn’t worth my time anymore.

Joe Keiser

In my earliest memory of purposefully walking away from a game, I turned my back to 1991’s Lemmings. It’s a brilliantly simple game in which you take a group of lemmings and find them a safe path through a dangerous world. But saving all of them is nearly impossible, and there are frequent situations where you will be tempted to ask a lemming to kill itself so that the others might live, which would let you continue the journey. I couldn’t do it. This wasn’t some war game where the cause is just and every grunt knows what they signed up for. These were lemmings, and all they wanted was to live, and they trusted me. And in return, I ask some of them to become suicide bombers for the greater good? The game asked me to do something, but doing it perfectly was beyond my ability, and the resulting blood was on my hands. I’m not strong enough, Lemmings.

Matt Gerardi

I had finally ponied up for a PlayStation 2 and was working my way through Final Fantasy X. I loved the game—the music, the characters, the spectacle. After around 40 hours, I hit something of a minor roadblock in the third fight against some blue-haired dude named Seymour, so I put the game down for a couple of days. Meanwhile, some of the more boisterous members of my family came up from Florida for a visit. Word had spread that I had some crazy new game machine. “Remember Mario?” someone surely asked. “It’s incredible how far these things have come!” And so I was tasked with showing off the prowess of the PlayStation 2. “What better first impression than the opening scenes of Final Fantasy X?” I thought. And so I obliged the out-of-towners. A family of three—one a hyperactive toddler—packed my tiny bedroom, yelling to the rest of the family across the house about something totally unrelated to Blitzball. Needless to say, I was pretty peeved. Once the bombast of the introductory movie and the family-reunion diversion was over, I took control of Tidus and saved my new game—right over my nearly complete adventure. Forty hours gone in one absent-minded second. I never played the game again.

Adam Volk
Hitman: Absolution

I recently experienced this phenomenon with Hitman: Absolution. I’m a big fan of the series, so I was really looking forward to the latest blood-soaked outing from Agent 47. Halfway through, however, I’d had my fill and turned it off in disgust. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever quit playing a video game simply because of a terrible story. The story never seemed to know quite what it wanted to be: a serious neo-noir morality tale or a tongue-in-cheek polemic full of scantily clad killer nuns. Its tone also left a bad taste in my mouth. The real world has been depressing and violent enough as of late; mowing down a small army of cops and innocent civilians felt a little too sadistic—even by the gore-spattered standards of most third-person shooters. Excessive violence I can stomach, but the painfully bad writing in Hitman: Absolution left me feeling queasy enough to quit.

Derrick Sanskrit

There is a level early in the original Trauma Center—after you’ve performed enough surgeries to know the ropes but before made-up sci-fi viruses get involved—where you’re removing a series of aneurysms from a patient’s intestine. You’ve already done this a couple of times by that point, so you should be pretty comfortable with it. After treating the first two, though, another five or so pop up all around, and because of the famously bad controls of the game, you spend more time zooming in and out of different parts of the patient’s guts as he bleeds out than actually treating him. My poor guy died from ruptures six or seven times while I just figured out how to use the magnifying glass. Finally, I got my timing down. I had a procedure. Vitals were steady; everything was going great. I zoomed in to the final aneurysm and…my arm tensed up. My actual, real-life arm just seized up and shook. The hand holding the stylus started slamming into the DS, stabbing the patient repeatedly. The nurse shouted “Doctor!” through the DS’ tiny speakers. I was actively killing this virtual patient! My heart racing, I felt the blood drain out of my face. The steady tone of a flatline pierced the air, and I shut the DS, slid it away, and passed out. Somehow, this game had given me a panic attack. I didn’t play video games for a week, and I never played Trauma Center again.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

517 Responses to “Just Walk Away”

  1. KidvanDanzig says:

    Every Grand Theft Auto game

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      GTA IV is a rare game where I really want to finish just to see how the story plays out.  But I never will because my gaming time is too precious to be driving all the way across an entire scale city and watching the same cut scenes every time I mess up a mission.
         I’m all for the dazzling veracity technology brings to games, but making me stop at a little fake toll bridge and wait behind little fake cars full of little fake people just to get to a mission wears down my goodwill. 

      • Girard says:

        This is exactly why GTAIV was the first thing I thought of when I read the question. The story’s pretty compelling, but not compelling for me to put up with so many cumulative hours of boredom.

      • ComradePig says:

         So much of GTA’s frustrating mission design could be solved by just adding in a reasonable checkpoint system.

        There’s simply too many missions, ones involving driving in particular, that become utterly joyless due to the trial and error generally required to complete them. I’m all for difficult games but repeating the same tedious section of a mission over and over to get to the difficult bit is simply not enjoyable. It’s a bit odd really, the GTA games are superbly designed in so many areas but the  the central mission design frequently seems trapped in another era.

        • Markthulhu says:

          Yeah, the checkpoint system, or I guess more accurately the complete lack thereof, was brutal. I gave up when I had to win a race to progress — even though the driving controls were terrible for the purposes of racing, I wouldn’t have objected to having to do the race over and over again, because it was pretty short. But making me drive halfway across town every time I lost, and force me to listen to the same dialogue over and over and over? To hell with that.

          I think that’s why I’m generally not that interested in sandbox games, and also why Sleeping Dogs is one of the few I’ve finished — it had a checkpoint system that was actually reasonable.

        • Skywarp79 says:

          I gave up on Vice City because I just couldn’t beat the level where the Cubans have Lance tied up in the junkyard.

        • Mike Daniels says:

          Nothing makes me more inclined to  drop a game never to return than being forced into a “race” that I need to win in order to progress to the next mission.   GTA is the main offender but Assassin’s Creed seems to force you into one check-point foot race in each game as well. 

          If a game wants to force you to race (especially when the race is shoe-horned into the story) then make the mandatory race relatively easy to win (or make the competition as likely to miss turns or crash into obstacles as the player is likely to do).

          The developer can always offer more challenging races as side-missions for money/experience if that’s how they wish to increase the mission or play-time count.

        • I haven’t played GTA4, but San Andreas had a good checkpoint system that let you start a mission after the first failed attempt and skip the part where you drive across town or whatever. It’s weird that they would remove that feature for the sequel.

          I did quit both GTA3 and Vice City on what I think were the final missions, after trying and failing many times over to survive massive shootouts, and I didn’t feel too bad about it, since I had experienced pretty much the entire games, and could still load them up and mess around in the city if I wanted to.

          But if you want a similar game that I quit out of frustration, there was The Getaway, which was a sort of Guy Ritchie-influenced, British-themed, “realistic” (in that there wasn’t any HUD and the action was a bit more down-to-earth) version of GTA, and I remember a mission that I tried endless times, driving back and forth across London but eventually failing in really frustrating fashion. I eventually decided I was done, and didn’t really care that there was more game to come that I never got to play.

        • Melancholic_Rodeo_Clown says:

          @Skywarp79:disqus I came up with a technique on that one where I’d come to the club where you got the mission in a helicopter, then fly over to the mission site and land on one of the weird tower thingies in the junk site and shoot everyone from up there.

          It worked on about the third try.

        • John Gaunt says:

          I gave up on a GTA game (Don’t even remember the number, it was the one where the main character is a black guy.) because to progress, you needed to complete a mission based on the dance games. Hey, I admit, I’m not good at those games but I didn’t *think* I was playing one.
          “Best” part? If you fail, you can’t retry then and there. You have to drive around pointlessly until you’re allowed to go back and do it again.
          Ratchet and Clank had a similar gameplay section but if you get it wrong, you can retry right away so you can eventually get the hang of it.
          With GTA, I was forced to stop playing that section for minutes at a time, effectively killing any chance I would get it down through repetition and effort.

        • stuartsaysstop says:

          @Markthulhu:disqus Sleeping Dogs seems to solve the two major problems with the GTA series. Generous checkpoints and proper driving mechanics (and perhaps easy opponents) that have me winning every mission-dependent race.

      • Xtracurlyfries says:

        The thing I hate most is that GTA prides itself on being a sandbox game yet is nothing of the sort.  When I’m on a mission to take out some bad guys, I want to grab a sniper rifle and set up a perch across the street. Instead the game forces me to walk into a little glowing circle at which point my character blunders into the middle of the bad guys’ warehouse and basically says “You suck, I’m going to kill all y’all” then hides behind a bunch of crates.

        Really, GTA? You claim to be an expansive open world game yet there are really two games here: constrictive missions and a bunch of driving around a city. LA Noire really exposed the system in this way when it let you essentially avoid the driving around and were left just with the other type of game.

        • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

          Not on my undocumented Serbian immigrant salary.

        • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

           I tried this, but because I’m cheap I kept trying to shoot the cab driver to get my money back, then getting caught up in a big police chase that took longer than just driving there would.

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         My answer is GTA4 too. Such a cool location and such awful controls. A perfect example of realism gone too far.

        I really, really hope that GTAV is the same level of awesome without all of the bullshit on top.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      I’m usually incredibly anal about finishing games.  If I start something, I have to finish it.  But I hated “Dragon Age 2” so much that I quit somewhere in the beginning of chapter 3.  

      And this is coming from someone who played Dragon Age 1 on the hardest difficulty twice.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        DA2 certainly wasn’t DAO, but I felt it was worth finishing. Once, anyway.

        • dreadguacamole says:

           Not sure about that, actually. I was giving it the benefit of doubt right up until the final act; I really liked some of the things it was trying to do, so I ignored a lot of its more obvious problems, trusting them that it wasn’t nearly as half-assed and undercooked as it seemed.
           Except, it totally was.

        • As a noted DA2 apologist, even I have to admit that it felt like it was shipped in an unfinished state. Perhaps they spent all their budget on the excellent voice acting.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          I think I played the last two-thirds of DA2 with an I-hate-you-for-holding-me-hostage scowl on my face.  I wanted my points but resented everything about the game, in particular the absence of a *spoilers* chop-Anders’-idiot-head-off-before-he-sets-off-the-bomb-he-was-obviously-making-and-prevent-the-whole-episode button. *end spoiler*

          I wasn’t even impressed with the voice acting, except for Varric, who deserved to be in a much better game.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Bakken, what ticked me off about the game was that much like DAO, if you’re role-playing your character, but you like certain party members or want to side with a certain faction, it can go against you on further plays. Whether it’s fitting Shale into your party or picking a Final Alliance in DA2, I had to make decisions that were right for the character but would go against a future decision in how I played the game.

          DA2 SPOILERS

          I chopped his stupid head off for that junk. I hated him all along but needed a healer. They really forced you into keeping a psychopath in your party unless you were a healer yourself.

        • ryanthestormout says:

          I enjoyed Dragon Age 2 until I went back and played Origins again. That’s the moment when you realize just how much is missing from that game.

          That said, I don’t think it would have bothered me if it were billed as a side story instead of as a full fledged sequel. The first one was a love letter from Bioware to a bunch of people like me who grew up on CRPGs. The second really is Mass Effect with swords. Which I have no problem with in itself. I’m not a Bioware hater by any means and I don’t mind the direction the company has taken. It makes sense and it’s been very profitable to them and the games are still fun to play and the writing’s still strong in and of itself. I was more bothered by the direction this specific series had taken, especially when you consider that Origins was a hugely successful game and this sort of extreme overhaul didn’t seem necessary at all.

          Also, the Old Republic should have just been an expansive single player game instead of a plot driven MMO. This has nothing to do with anything: I’m just airing grievances.

        • MichaelC says:


          Totally agreed. I hate it when a game makes it perfectly clear what is going on, but doesn’t give your character the agency to head it off at the pass. I was furious at the Anders thing. For one thing, it was ridiculous in the first place; but even so, it didn’t give you a chance to do anything about something that was so obviously going on. It made your character a dupe, even if the player themself wasn’t.

      • Girard says:

        I get that way with some games, but not all, and I’m not sure what does it. As mentioned above, I’ve bailed on GTAIV despite finding it kind of interesting, and likely won’t ever complete it.

        Conversely, I played all the way through the Last Story, despite my being on record here as hating pretty much every single thing about it (apart from being able to put your party in hotpants). I think JRPGs reach down and activate some muscle-memory from my middle school days playing them ad nauseam, and I just feel compelled to go through the motions until there’s no more game left. It may also help that JRPGs are a more known, finite quantity than an open-world GTA-style game, so some part of my brain knows that as long as I keep pressing forward, this thing will be done and dusted in, say, 50 hours or so.

        • Dikachu says:

          Yeah, I bailed on GTA IV twice… once only about 10 hours in, but then like 2 years later I picked it back up again and got pretty far.  I even passed BOTH of the fucktardedly badly designed motorcycle-only missions. 

          The one that got me was where you have to drive a carload of mobsters clear across town, then set up in a building to snipe their rivals.  You get like 20 seconds to take them all out or you fail, and have to REDO THE WHOLE GODDAMN THING AGAIN.  Over and over and over.

          FUCK that.

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          I gave up on Last Story about a month ago, despite only being about 6 hours in.  It was such an unengaging slog, and I find it difficult to relate to reviews that love the story and combat system.  Would you say it was worth the effort to have finished?

        • Girard says:

          @AmaltheaElanor:disqus : It absolutely was not worth the time. The game is ugly, boring, embarrassing, and hackneyed from start to finish. I finished it because there is something wrong with my brain, bot because it was actually worth it!

      • MichaelC says:

        I somehow muddled through to the end of DA2, but I was grinding my teeth with irritation the entire time. I force myself to finish games, but I usually don’t get stuck in games as terrible as DA2. A shame, since I thought DAO was a masterpiece and was beyond excited for the sequel.

    • valondar says:

       I think I played like three or four story missions in Grand Theft Auto III, and that was it. And I played it nonstop for months. I just mostly used the cheats a lot.

      At the end of the day, I was more interested to know what’d happen if I stacked a bunch of tanks together and then fired at them with a rocket launcher than I was what’d happen next in the story.

      • Dikachu says:

        God, GTA3 was fun to fuck around with.  The AI was pretty remedial compared to later games, so you could get some pretty hilarious results.

        I also got so good at entering the “blow up all cars” cheat code that I’d just do that over and over and laugh myself stupid listening to people shrieking and cursing.

      • Enkidum says:

        As I say below I’m much more of a story completionist, but I did like fucking around in GTA (IV, in my case). Mostly I just liked killing random people, which probably says something awful about me.

        • Dikachu says:

          Nah, I loved the crap out of that too… though I preferred it in GTA 3 because it was a lot easier to hide from the cops.  Also, the random things the pedestrians said were a lot funnier too.

          “My mother’s my sister!”
          “Yep, I been drinkin’ again.”
          (Heavy lisp) “There’s a place you can go!”

      • Professor_Cuntburglar says:

         Yeah, GTA3 is fun to fuck around in, but the shooting mechanics are basically unusable. I got to the point where I would go out of my way to use a car to kill people because that was so much easier than shooting them.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       There’s always at least one mission in every GTA game I’ve played that I just cannot finish, so I eventually give up on it.  For a game series that prides itself on its ability to fuck around in an open-world environment, its missions are pretty damn constrictive.  It really upset me with San Andreas, too, because I was really invested in the story, but I just could not finish that damn Countryside race mission.  The loose GTA car controls are great for quick getaways, but they just don’t work that well when racing across uneven terrain.  Most times I just flip my damn car minutes after starting the race. 

      • TaumpyTearrs says:

        That race frustrated me to no end. I gave up on it for a few weeks and played through Metal Gear Solid 3 (also one of my favorite games ever) for  the first time.

        I beat the race the first time I tried when I came back to it, and finished the game. After all, I was more committed to those gamea than the college classes I was failing.

        Also frustrating in San Andreas was when I took the time to conquer EVERY gang territory right before the mission where you get thrown in the middle of nowhere and lose all your shit (including gang territory).

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I stopped playing for a week trying to do the damn mission with the remote controlled, armed helicopters and the only reason I ever picked the game up again is because a friend of mine aced it for me on the first try.

        • Melancholic_Rodeo_Clown says:


        • Mikehole says:

          I rage smashed a controller on that mission. It made me hate the living shit out of David cross.
          I tried twisting the controller to break it, but that didn’t work so I brought it to the garage to stomp the motherf$&ker.
          Quit for a month or two then came back to it and got it on the second try.
          Still hate the sound of David cross.

      • Dikachu says:

        It really is remarkable how much time and effort Rockstar puts into the environments and stories of GTA games, and then spend about 3 minutes designing the character and car controls.

        • ComradePig says:

           I hope to god that GTAV is using Red Dead Redemption’s foot and shooting controls, which I actually found competent and satisfying respectively.

          The perpetually awkward auto-aim system in prior GTA games really needs to go.

    • blighty says:

      Good call on Manhunt and Condemned 2. Loved both of those games up until they ditched their, you know, CORE GAMEPLAY in favor of poorly implemented FPS mechanics. It reminds me of the first Uncharted and Far Cry. For some reason halfway through the game they introduce monsters as a primary enemy, and it breaks the gameplay by turning into Doom.

    • Merve says:

      The problem with Grand Theft Auto games is this: I have fun screwing around for a while, doing missions and jacking cars. But then I realize that I’m spending most of my time commuting.

      On the bright side, GTA has made me realize that I always want to live within walking distance of where I work.

  2. Cheese says:

    I never beat the main story quest of Skyrim. I worked through all four of the guilds and the stormcloaks, maxed out most skills I was using, and then lost interest. I consider the game essentially completed whether or not the credits rolled.

    • PaganPoet says:

      I still have yet to invest any significant amount of time into Skyrim, but I actually feel a bit guilty about it. Eventually, I’ll find the motivation to really dive into it and discover the amazing game that everybody tales me is there. Same with Fallout: New Vegas.

      I’m assuming we’re talking about generally good, well-made games in this article and not horrendous piles of crap. The answer would have to be any of the Katamari games. They have quirky characters, colorful, lovable designs, infectiously catchy music…all things I would normally love in a game. But, I just could not get used to the controls. Even patrolling around the easier levels was quite a chore for me.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I don’t know if you’ll find that in New Vegas. It’s okay, but it’s also brutally difficult, and the environment is so depressing.

      • ChicaneryTheYounger says:

        Counterpoint: New Vegas is amazing, with great world-building, a surprising amount of queer characters, a solid engine and fantastic design sense.  The armour mechanics are a little dodgy, and the weapons need to be repaired a little too often, but it’s a noted improvement over Fallout 3.

      • New Vegas didn’t really click for me until a few hours in, once the dark humour had begun to manifest.

        As for Katamari Damacy, that’s a real shame, but I can understand it. The first Katamari was over so quickly that it felt like I had barely grasped its mechanics by the time the credits were rolling. Then, when I went back through it a second time, it was all too easy to max out the size of the Katamari.

      • Chum Joely says:

        I’m with @ChicaneryTheYounger:disqus — New Vegas may be worth another try.  (I’ve certainly made no secret here of my adoration for it.)

        If the difficulty is an issue for you, don’t play in “hardcore mode”. I wasn’t too good at shooters when I started, and I managed to get through the whole thing with only two missions (over 45 hours of game time) where I really had to fight through huge numbers of “do overs” to finally finish them.

        I also highly recommend locating a “companion” to help you along. I think the first one you run into is Boone (sniper in the “dinosaur tower” at Novac), though, so that’s a good little ways into the game. It definitely makes combat easier to have one of these magical companions with you at all times. (And if you’re not playing in hardcore mode, the worst that can happen is that they get knocked out during combat, then wake up saying “What’d I miss?” after you kill or escape the last enemy.)

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I actually just play regular, but every time I want to go somewhere, there’s like half a dozen screaming bandits, or four deathclaws, and it kicks me back to where I was.

          I now I personally haven’t given up on it; I never can give up on Bethesda’s games. I just wish NV felt a bit more personal.

        • Chum Joely says:

          @drflimflam:disqus Hmm, I don’t know how much you’ve played, but there are certain paths you shouldn’t try to travel by too early in the game. I got to level 17, owned a rocket launcher, and still didn’t feel too comfortable around Deathclaws. The area northeast of Goodsprings, including Sloan, is kind of a Deathclaw-dominated no-man’s-land not to be trifled with until you hit a very high level… and the west side of Outer Vegas can be a little touchy too (for bandits).

          There are plenty of areas that don’t have either of those nuisances, though, so maybe you should set your current missions aside and explore the calmer central portion of the map for maximum sidequests until you level up a bunch more?

          Or maybe you already know all this.

        • Drunken Superman says:

          I’m currently playing through New Vegas and having some of the same issues.  I think it’s because, while enjoying it, I wish I had a little less freedom.  For example, when I first came across Caesar’s Legion in Nipton, it was too easy to righteously kill the whole lot of them.  That should be much harder to do for a low-level character.  Now I’ve got pain in the ass Legion assassins constantly popping up, who are incongruously much harder to kill.

          As a side note, I’m also always torn between playing a character and wanting to see everything.  I got immediately cut off from any Brotherhood missions because I wasn’t going to take all my equipment off for some stranger.

        • Chum Joely says:

          @DrunkenSuperman:disqus In general, I would vote for playing a character. I liked this game enough that, even with a long backlog of other games, I have started a second, “hardcore” playthrough within 10 days of finishing my first 3-month slow-motion playthrough… (NB: I have two young insomniac children, that’s why the slowness)

          It may be too late for you to fix this, but if you want to avoid that particular hassle of dropping all your equipment at the Brotherhood HQ, you should pick up Veronica (kind of the most awesome NPC I’ve run into so far… in any game whatsoever) as a companion at the 188 Trading Post on the southeast fringes of New Vegas (so, just NE-of-center of the overall map of the game, I do believe).  Veronica is ex-Brotherhood so she just walks you through the front door and you don’t lose your equipment. Also, she kicks extreme ass in combat.

        • KidvanDanzig says:

          @drflimflam:disqus The game is open world but it definitely challenge you if you stray from the path set out by the core questline (counter-clockwise around the map from the west). It’s definitely possible to tear through to New Vegas toward the beginning but you’ll either need to figure out some really tricky / terrifying fights with the giant wasps or get some stealth boys to make it past deathclaws.

        • Melancholic_Rodeo_Clown says:

          I’m a two companions man, usually roll with either Elvis’s dog or EDI from Primm. Much like in Skyrim though, if you’re playing in Hardcore mode you’re going to want to make your companions stay behind if you’re going into a difficult battle… good packhorses are hard to find.

        • TaumpyTearrs says:

          @ChumJoely:disqus  My lady gunslinger character was deeply in love with Veronica. I always kept an eye out for dresses to give to her.

          Actually, my love of Veronica is part of why a few glitches ruined my game. I had already had a glitch that caused the “good” Army guys to start attacking me all the time. I had already attacked Caesar’s Legion intentionally, so after the glitch I had both those quest lines closed off, and shit tons of people attacking me wherever I went. I kept soldiering on, though, because I liked my character (Ryoko) and Veronica so much. Since Veronica kills it with melee weapons, I had her decked out in the best power armor I could find and gave her this crazy power lance that zapped people. She kicked crazy amounts of ass with it and I loved it. Then I had a glitch that made her lance disappear. It was the only one I had ever found, and I was heartnroken.

          I still “finished” the game, but because I was so frustrated I just tore through the necessary missions to finish the story and ignored all the side quests (although I had already retrieved the plane for the Boomers before the glitches). I didn’t even go scavenging or sell stuff/pick stuff up from storage anymore, I just played through the last chunk with what I already had. Sided with the Yes Man because I love Dave Foley, and fought my way through both armies at the end. By the time I beat Caesar, I had run out of health items and ate my last bit of food to stay alive. I was playing hardcore, so all my limbs were broken, I was over-radiated, and out of ammo.

          It ended up being a memorable, intense experience, but the fact is I beat it in around 20 hours, and if not for the glitch I would have easily sunk 50+ hours into that game.

        • Chum Joely says:

          @TaumpyTearrs:disqus  After Veronica saved my life, twice, in very dramatic fashion on Black Mountain, I just felt like I owed her a dress. And I was ultimately able to give her one when we finished the big “White Glove Society are cannibals” mission at the Ultra-Luxe. That 3-second dialogue where she giggles and gushes over getting the dress was a surprisingly emotional payoff for a sort of silly “backstory” element. Just a nice touch.

          Also: Holy shit, are you saying that Yes Man was voiced by Dave Foley? You’d think I would have noticed that since I, too, worked extensively with Yes Man, and since I’m a big KITH fan… huh. Now I’m even more annoyed that I didn’t seem to see any indication of the voice actors in the closing credits.

      • ryanthestormout says:

        Same re: Katamari. Love the concept and the presentation, but there’s always one level I have to play over and over again until I ragequit and never pick it back up.

        And yet I keep buying them…

    • wzzzzd says:

      I never even started Skyrim. I spent more time on Morrowind during highschool than I’ve ever spent on anything else in my life but when I stopped playing Oblivion I felt I was done with the franchise and I’m pretty content with having left it where I did.

      • MrTusks says:

        Don’t let Oblivion be your last TES experience. Skyrim is so much better. It’s no Morrowind (which I just want them to remake with more technical agility, dammit), but you’ll never want to revisit Oblivion again.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          I loved Oblivion because it was my first brush with that type of gameplay, and I approved this message.

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        Skyrim jettisons some of Morrowind’s more archaic mechanics (such as roll-based combat in which you swing blindly at point-blank range until the dice decide you hit, and some of the more broken skills) and is much more “visceral” and action-y but it’s otherwise a worthy sequel to Morrowind. What made Morrowind truly great was the feeling of being dropped into a thoroughly alien culture / land that held even stranger and ominous mysteries. Skyrim feels more familiar but the world is still massive and interesting to explore and what’s more, it’s gorgeous.

    • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

      I’m always surprised to hear how many people have finished Skyrim.  Or any Elder Scrolls game, for that matter.  I always figured they were more like an unsolvable math equation or a Rubik’s Cube, something fun to toy around with, but never actually intended for completion.

      • KidvanDanzig says:

        I’m surprised by how many people beat Morrowind (I never have) but Oblivion and Skyrim, with their incredibly forgiving level scaling and (especially) their fast-travel mechanics, can be torn through if you’re really intent on doing so. I beat Oblivion at level 9 in like 5 or 6 hours, fighting nothing but the weakest possible demons as I ran through the Oblivion gates. It was actually sort of funny.

        Skyrim and Oblivion are sort of opposites – the latter’s main quest is the best thing about it (even with its awful finale) considering its dishwater dull world, intensive difficulty scaling, randomized content and generic art design, whereas Skyrim has really interesting art design, specifically tailored content and more considered scaling married to a decent but unremarkable core narrative. Morrowind had them both beaten but only by degree, in Skyrim‘s case.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

           I’ve finished Morrowind, though I was pretty much a demigod myself by the time I did, which is ironic considering I was tasked with taking out an evil godling.  Also, I was carrying around the wealth of nations.

          I’ve tried a couple times to finish Oblivion, but I just can’t be bothered.  Even without the bullshit scaling (there were many times I was robbed by bandits with better equipment than me!), it just never engages me.  It’s a shame, too, because it’s clear they really tried to step up their game.  The problem is that, with the quest arrows and fast travel, it just feels like I’m ticking off items on a list, instead of adventuring.  I’m pretty sure if I really wanted to, I could finish the game in about a day’s time:  Fast travel to the mission location, complete objective, fast travel to the next spot, rinse and repeat.  They streamlined the game to the point where there’s barely any game left over.

        • stakkalee says:

          @The_Misanthrope:disqus I didn’t finish Morrowind, for exactly the same reason.  I put an immense amount of time into the game, and by the time I was scaling Red Mountain I was so powerful that I knew the final battle would be anticlimactic.  I saved the game right outside the last dungeon, telling myself “You’ll come back and finish it in a day or two,” even though I wasn’t really fooling myself.  Morrowind is an excellent game, but I had wrung it dry before finishing it, and that was that.

        • ricin_beans says:

          Yeah I still haven’t finished Morrowind, even though it’s still probably my favorite of the series.  I will one day, but every time I play I get to the point where I don’t want to trudge back across the map and just set it aside for a while.

        • MrTusks says:

          Maybe I just did it at the right level, but fighting Dagoth Ur in Morrowind was the most epic battle of the game for me. Plus you get some sweet constant effect rings, which for that game were super rare. The final battle in Oblivion is a bitch at any level because the scaling made it feel like the same thing the entire time.

          The final battle of the main quest in Skyrim is underwhelming, but that game is designed to never truly “end”. I have 120 hours on my main and about 80 hours spread over half a dozen other characters.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I’ve played Morrowind a good 4, 5 times but only finished it once, simply because the task ahead to eventually defeat the ash plague and all that is insanely daunting.
        Oblivion’s main questline was fairly tame compared to that, but even so I probably finished 1 or 2 games of at least 8 played.
        Skyrim goes the same way.
        The good thing about Elder Scrolls games is not that only that you have the choice to not finish the main quest, it’s that the game is a completely different experience if you don’t.

      • ComradePig says:

         Yeah, I’ve dumped over a hundred hours of playtime each into Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim and yet haven’t completed the main quest in a single one of those games. The appeal to me was always just pursuing the side missions and generally wandering about the world aimlessly and taking in the ambiance.

        • MrTusks says:

          I was wandering aimlessly in Oblivion and literally found a unicorn. I rode that bitch all over until a pack of minotaurs just outside the capital city killed it. Damn game.

      • Learning to solve a Rubik’s cube is a solid investment of your time. Using just the “basic” techniques of Lars Petrus’ method, it takes me about five minutes to solve.

      • The_Quirk says:

         I HATED the scaling in Skyrim.  By the time I gave up, it seemed like I was being slaughtered by every beastie that turned up.  And the goddamn dragons were showing up EVERYWHERE. 

      • WorldCivilizations says:

        TES game came to mind for me, too. Morrowind I love without reservation, but the main quest is very, very long, so it’s very easy to get sidetracked. Oblivion and Skyrim are shorter, but are similarly hard to get through because they’re shitty, watered-down games.

    • Fluka says:

      I have done this three times with Skyrim now.  Third time I got the farthest and had the most fun, and wrapped up the final Thieves Guild quest, which was nice until I discovered I had to do a bunch of minor thieving quests to *really* finish the storyline.  At which point I remembered that I had laundry to do.  There’s a good chance I will never finish the main quest.

      I never finished the main storyline of Morrowind (guilt!!) or Oblivion (meh) either.  The odds are not in Skyrim’s favor.

      • Bakken Hood says:

        Yeah, multiple stab wounds to whoever designed the finer details of the Thieves’ Guild campaign.  The useless armor you have to keep for some reason (thank frickin’ God they patched that), the arbitrary rules of the side jobs that you had to look up to make any sense of…that was just terrible execution.

        Hasn’t stopped me from leveling four characters into the 40’s or higher, but everyone after the first told Brynjolf to stuff it.

        • MrTusks says:

          I have yet to finish that Thieves’ Guild quest where you have to go into that cave and kill a bunch of ghosts. For some reason they decided it was a good idea to make an entire faction’s worth of quests based on stealth, but make the final dungeon all about combat. I got splattered a dozen times and never went back.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        Oblivion’s main story was generally way too generic and Skyrim’s isn’t that far off. It’s all taken from “How to dress your RPG 101”, but well…
        The final moments in the Imperial City are not bad and some of the puzzle tasks under time duress in Oblivion are also fine, but it’s a tedious quest for precious little payoff… unless of course you want to visit the Shivering Isles, which requires you to beat the main quest.
        The issue is that a very open world game weighs itself down with very linear questlines, so freeroaming, exploring, crafting and collecting are generally more fun.

        • indy2003 says:

          Yeah, pretty sure you’re able to enter once you’ve played the game for a short period of time. I found what I played of Shivering Isles immensely enjoyable, but I was forced to quit halfway through because one of the quests was broken and I was unable to complete it.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      Bethesda has shitty writing, so their main story missions are rarely worth playing.  This is true of nearly all the Elder Scrolls games and Fallout 3.  I’ve played Elder Scrolls since “Daggerfall” and I usually have to force myself to finish.

      Fallout:NV has awesome writing, though, but it was made by Obsidian.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I agree on everything but the NV story, because I don’t find that it particularly sticks out. At least I don’t think that it’s any more enjoyable or creative than most of the others, though Fallout 3’s story must surely count as the lamest.
        Morrowind takes a very interesting fantasy angle and plays TES’ prophecy driven theme the best, but yes, in essence the story is usually a sore letdown from what the game itself is.

      • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

         I agree with this, but in entirely the opposite way.  I love FONV, but I do not give one single fuck about Mr. House, his shitty city, Caesar’s Legion, the NCR, or any of those motherfuckers.  Oblivion?  It’s a boilerplate D&D game that had some interesting mechanics introduced, but would not be refined for a few more Bethesda titles yet to come.  Some of its side-quests (especially DB) are really good, but the main story is boring as hell.

        FO3 at least has a personal hook that can keep you interested in the main storyline, though I find that I have more fun with FO3 if I decide, at the outset that I’m going to “be a Ghoul-Slayer” or a “Mutant Slayer” or “Join Riley’s Rangers” or some other minor accomplishment, and direct all of my focus towards that goal.

        Skyrim and Morrowind are the best of them all, in terms of writing, with MW edging Skyrim out a bit, as it takes its whole prophecy angle to heart, and yet strings you along with the possibility that you’re not *really* the Chosen One, just someone who can play the part for political gain.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      I’m going to treat Skyrim like I treated Oblivion: tool around for a long, long time, and when I start to feel ennui settle in, when I start to wear down, make a mad rush for the plotted end of the game.

      • indy2003 says:

         I tend to be this way with massive RPGs in general. At the beginning, I’m taking every side quest, collecting every plant, spending a lot of time exploring… and eventually, once I start getting the itch to play something else, I’ll blaze through the central story like there’s no tomorrow.

    • Bad Horse says:

      Skyrim, I’m sorry to say, just never has connected with me. It’s too big, and the sidequests are too piddling, and the aesthetics are pretty but not all that compelling to me. I’m probably never getting past level 20, at the rate I’m (not) playing it.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        My only big complaint with the game is figuring out how to get up mountains. Also some parts of the game look so cold, and it’s winter, and when it’s zero outside and snowing in the game, there’s something there that makes me even colder.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          I’ve noticed this a whole bunch. I hate going into the winter sections of the map (so I basically avoid the Northeast portion entirely) because I feel cold when I do so. I’ve never felt that in any other game.

        • Bakken Hood says:

          As a geography geek who likes mountains, it bothers me that Windhelm gets all that snow and isn’t buried under a glacier.  Thinking about these things too hard is what allows me to swim between the ice floes without batting an eye.

    • Haymz_Jetfield says:

      I’ve put 70 hours into Skyrim and don’t really feel like I’ve accomplished anything. Most of those 70 hours were thoroughly enjoyable though.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        I realized the other day that I’d spent a lot of time ferrying raw materials to my house and finished products from my house to shopkeepers, which is essentially just sort of running a business, and hadn’t felt like I’d wasted my time at all.

        • Melancholic_Rodeo_Clown says:

          Yeah I decided at one point I wanted to level up my smithing and to do so spent my time hunting animals, turning their fur into leather, turning that into bracers and selling it to whats-her-face in Whiterun. After a while it was like that was my job and it was wicked fun.

          I still enjoy doing that from time to time in Skyrim, it’s nice and relaxing and really satisfying when you nail an elk in one shot from hundreds of meters away.

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      I just recently bailed on Skyrim, which I’d planned because I was taking a long trip and wanted to play something I could easily walk away from. But I was extra glad to bail on it because for my first playthrough I picked a stealth character, only to discover that nearly every quest was impossible to complete as a stealth character. You can sneak through the dungeons just fine, but whoops, now you need to kill six guys. Oh, were you trying to play the game as something other than an offensive powerhouse? Good luck with that.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        The early days of that have been challenging for sure, but I feel like I’m starting to see the light at the end of the stealth tunnel as only leaders withstand a bowstring in the darkness. Next time I ding I’m also getting 3X damage on successful stealth shots with the bow.

        Though I did run into a Silver Hand Cave Leader Guy that was way too tough for me and run like Benny Hill through the caves until I found a secluded spot underneath a waterfall to catch my breath. That was two days ago. I still have to figure out how to escape from that wrathful Nord.

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          Glad to hear it gets easier. I nearly always prefer playing stealthy when it’s an option, and it felt like I was being punished for it. I’m sure I’ll give it another try eventually.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          The way to defeat the wrathful Nord was to get him into the water. He just floated there while I turned him into a pincushion.

          Got the 3X stealth archery and as my stealth and archery pass 50, the game is getting easier. I also levelled up my fire Dragon Shout to Inferno, which is very powerful. So I’m getting to be very capable, and the Dragon Shout is great for when baddies crowd me.

      • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

         You must be very bad at archery.  The stealth mechanics in Skyrim are terribly broken, to the point that you can, eventually, drop into stealth while in melee with someone.

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          Key word is “eventually,” right? Anyway, sniping guys from stealth works just fine, it’s when they and their henchmen come charging at me after the first hit or sent twenty zombies at me that I have problems. Again, I’m sure it’d get better on a longer playthrough.

        • The_Juggernaut_Bitch says:

           Sorta.  I mean, it does kinda depend on what race you choose (despite what the UI suggests, they are *not* created equally) and, more obviously, your gear (for archery, the type of arrow is as important as the bow that fires it) and then comes in both your Stealth and Archery skills.  Make no mistake, though, Skyrim is *not* a tactical espionage game.  In *most* situations, you cannot just sneak past a bunch of dudes and get the fat loot… though that does become viable later on, in some scenarios.

          Me, when I play a rogue-like character, my focus is all on Stealth, Archery and One Handed weapons, and I tend to play Dunmer, because that Fire Cloak ability is the shiznit… that and because, stats-wise, Dunmer are the most combat-capable race.  You don’t get to see the racial stats (STR, CON, AGI, etc) outside of the CK, but they do exist, and the game does take them into account.  Basically, melee is a thing that *will* happen, and though stealth will eventually mitigate it to a great degree, you gotta be prepared to pull out a dagger, or a spell, for when you are spotted.

  3. Iain Andrews says:

    I walked away from the devil may cry demo after the first few hallway to cutscene cycles. The familiar combat animates with stlyish fluids and motion, but it’s sprinkled between footage of an unplayable dante, and pull the wall before jumping chores.

  4. Two games come to mind.

    Final Fantasy 8. I got to, essentially, the final area, where for some reason you lose all your abilities, and have to fight various bosses to gain them back. It seemed so… stupid, like some random, asinine idea to pad out the endgame while showing off more monster designs. FF8 is a questionable game in many respects (I tend to describe it as a game that I admired, but ultimately failed in its experimental “love story as video game” aesthetic), but that final section just made me roll my eyes.

    Second was Windwaker. I love Zelda games; the problem is that when I approach the end game to all Zelda games, I go heart-piece hunting. Generally speaking, moving around in the boat is kinda annoying but has it charm; however it becomes a CHORE when you travel to each section and have to maneuver the boat in such a way to fight pirates and cannons and birds or whatever, THEN figure out what to do to acquire the heart piece – THEN sail to the next section… it just got tedious and just not fun. I tried it twice and still haven’t beaten it.

    (An aside: I’m finding Skyward Sword very odd. It’s like… a fan-made Zelda game, and it’s obsession with its “precise” motion controls is problematic. I found Twilight Princess a better game.)

    Oh, and Cory – if you think MGS2 had a lot of cut scenes… hehehe… hahahaha…. AHAHAHA!

    Ahem. Metal Gear Solid 4. Enough said.

    • PaganPoet says:

      God, MGS4 is like watching Wagner’s Ring Cycle in one sitting.

    • Drew Toal says:

      FF8 was my other choice. Fuck that game.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I spent a lot of time defending that game when it was first released, but looking back on it, what the hell were they thinking?

        Likewise, I spent a lot of time bashing Final Fantasy 7, but I still go back to it from time to time, because in the end it really is a pretty good game.
        (My personal favorites still being 5 and 6, however)

        • Citric says:

          On one hand, I appreciate that they were trying to be experimental. On the other hand, they were very stupid experiments.

      • Pandas_please says:

         Was it the ridiculous memory thing, or the broken game mechanics that did it in for you?

        Seriously who thought the whole enemies level up with you was a good idea?

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I generally dislike when developers try to do that. Let me determine what is hard enough. Don’t try to determine it for me.

        • The_Misanthrope says:

          I always thought it was meant to be an overreaction to overpowered PCs, but it really fucks with your sense of progression.  You are no longer becoming stronger, faster, and better; You’re continually fighting against an ever-evolving enemy.  Granted, I could see a mechanic being at the heart of some survival horror/RPG hybrid, but in most other cases, it’s just bullshit.

        • Pandas_please says:

           It got to such a ridiculous point in FFVIII that I, literally, fought an enemy from the very beginning of the game and it was actually more difficult to beat on disc four! Players would tailor play throughs based around gaining the least amount of levels possible and just junction magic to be extremely powerful. Argh, it was just a mess. So unsatisfying.

        • Bad Horse says:

          Until the end boss, of course. The final rush is not clearly gated at all, so I found myself on disc 4 fighting Ultimecia with a desperately underpowered party, and it took 10 tries, a fuckton of Aura Stones, and a lot of flawless Zell limit breaks to get it done. 

        • MrTusks says:

          I hate FF8 because it’s like playing FF with only the “Item” command.

      • Asinus says:

        That was the only FF game I have started and not finished until XIII (Well, XII, but I only just bought it). I was really close to the end, too, I think, but I realized I just didn’t give a crap anymore and just stopped playing. At least with XIII, it took just a couple of hours before I seriously considered how ridiculous it was that, according to reports online, I’d have to play for 20 hours just for the game to “open up.” Twenty hours? Maybe I would have quit FF VII if someone had told me when I’d started how many hours I’d sink into it, but I can’t think of any scenario where I’d play a bad game for 20 hours just to play a slightly less bad game. I’d rather just play a good game. 

        Anyway, VIII was so disappointing, because it was the 2nd FF game I played (because it was the 2nd one released for the PC), and after being moved by VII, it was amazingly unengaging. 

        • Of all the numbered offline Final Fantasy games , the only ones I’ve abandoned were 3 and 12.

          In FF3 (DS version), I just got fed up with the archaic game elements. You really had to abuse the job system, and employ a very specific strategies in order to beat bosses. That’s in stark contrast to FF5 where you can (mostly) get by on whatever party you please. (Twice or thrice I used Samurais to just throw money at my problems.) I put it aside in favour of a newer game, and eventually traded it in at EB games without remorse.

          FF12 had lots of great qualities. I put over 20 hours into it, but it never really felt like fun. I put it aside after hitting a sudden difficulty spike, and then never got around to playing it again.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          FFXII is all about that. It’s about playing, hitting a brick wall, levelling and gathering gil, and then repeating.

        • MrTusks says:

          I’m in the minority that loved 12. Maybe just because it felt like WoW.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Tusks, that’s why I hated it. I have (and currently do) play WoW, and I like it. I don’t want some offline variant that has none of the fun of the online game.

        • estta says:

           You’re missing out, Unexpected Dave! FFIIIDS is a really beautiful game if you embrace job tailoring to specific boss battles.

          /says the nerd with Doga’s theme as her ring tone and the music from Eureka on her workout playlist.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        I appreciate that there were some neat ideas in FFVIII. The idea that you could essentially give up fighting random battles was neat, but I also remember being a lot younger and being stuck with garbage weaponry because I could never find the right stuff to upgrade it. I still own it and will get back to it someday.

      • Dikachu says:

        FF8 is the point at which Square basically became a J-rock fashion studio that just happens to make interactive emo-teen soap operas on the side.

      • A few months ago, as I was cleaning my basement, I came across my FF8 strategy guide. I thought to myself, “I should play this again,” and casually flipped through the guide. Every so often, something would catch my eye and I’d think, “Oh yeah, that. I hated that… Ugh. That. I hated that too… No! Not that! Never again! Fuck this game forever! Ahhh!” I dodged a bullet (of pulse ammo) on that one.

      • Spacemonkey Mafia says:

        FF VIII was my first major Final Fantasy disappointment.  The bland characters, questionable magic system, unskippable summons animations and earning money by passing a standardized test all worked hand in hand to utterly quash my interest in the game.  I’m still uncertain if the game’s primary form of transportation being a flying trade school goes in the plus or minus column.
           But, I’m still grateful for the game, since the FF series’ penchant for pendulum mood swings between iterations resulted in FF IX.
           That game is awesome. 

        • caspiancomic says:

           Agreed. My first taste of FF disappointment was X, only because I went from VII straight to IX. IX is, to this day, my favourite in the numbered series, and maybe my favourite Final Fantasy overall (only major source of competition: Tactics)

    • Mike Mariano says:

      I quit Wind Waker at that point, too. Hunting for Triforce shards comes out of nowhere and is abysmal, even with a walkthrough. I will never go back to the game because of that.

      I did the same thing to Metroid Prime once I learned Chozo artifacts were mandatory. I got to the point of having Let’s Plays running on my iPad with a walkthrough open on my laptop while playing the game on my TV before deciding it wasn’t worth it. I’ll never play a Zelda or Metroid game again because of these terrible design decisions.

      • Girard says:

        To be fair, no other Zelda games have that sudden Triforce hunt thing (the only reason Wind Waker has it is because of a time crunch that led to them cutting out a significant portion of the game), and the heart piece hunting that turned Kevin Johnson off is optional and only for the more obsessive-compulsive players out there. I’d recommend at least give Link to the Past a try, as it’s pretty much impeccable.

        As for Metroid Prime, backtracking is just kind of par for the course with those games, so if that’s a problem, yeah, you won’t like them. However, if you were to give the franchise another shot, I’d (as with Zelda) recommend its SNES iteration, as having one less dimension to worry about when exploring its labyrinthine  spaces. (Also those are both series where the SNES iterations are not only arguably the best games in their respective series, but arguably among the best console games ever made.)

        • zebbart says:

          I’ll second both points. I just played Super Metroid this past November and I was stunned by how great it was. There is a lot of back tracking, but as everyone says that is kind of cool because every time you have to go back through a section you have some new ability that allows you to reach a new area from the old one, so it opens kind of fractally instead of linearly. Plus the music – it’s got to be the best soundtrack from the 16 bit era. I would seriously listen to that music by itself, and it matches the setting and the look of the game so well.

          Has there ever been a Zelda game where getting all the heart pieces didn’t ruin the end of the game. If not by making it a tedious fetch quest, then by making the end boss way way to easy? Personally I kind of liked the Triforce piece hunt of Wind Waker, but the heart pieces there is just no point to getting. Consider them a scalable difficulty meter where you have to earn the easiness if you really want it.

        • Channel 8 News says:

          For those who took the plunge on the Wii U (or are planning to), Super Metroid will be available on the Wii U eShop for $.30 in May. This VC version will be playable on the Gamepad. It’ll only be so cheap for 30 days, then back to ten bucks.

        • I feel as though, the back tracking in other Metroids makes sense and it makes sense in Prime until the artificer   Usually, you get a cool new power and you have to go back to that place you saw earlier where you can use your new power!  But with the artifacts  you beat a truly difficult boss, and instead of rewarding you, they give you no new powers and a huge fetch quest.  I just never had the energy to finish it.

        • I tend to be a completist for the most part, @zebbart:disqus , and by the end game of most Zelda games, getting heart pieces tends to take maybe an extra two or three days for me (since I tend to get a bunch of them on a regular play through.) I like some of them being cleverly hidden, although the mini-game ones are always a pain.

          I’m also a guy who got all the beads in Okami, which was EX-FUCKING-AUSTING, partly because a number of the painting sections were (confirmed) broken, but also that some of the mini games were brutal as hell.

          But Windwaker’s ocean made acquiring them more time-consuming and more confusing. I’m hoping the remake adds more the whirlpool teleportations.

      • God and Metroid Prime is such a masterpiece up until the “Go find this obscure shit” chozo BS.  It was just a blast to explore that games world and then they didn’t know how to finish it.  So sad.

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        I kind of love the chozo artefact fetch-quest in Metroid Prime (as well as looking for the battery-thingys in MP3) but I realize I’m in the minority. You want to check for energy tanks anyway, and this way you can do both at the same time. And I like strolling around confidently where I’ve already been without fear of running into any bosses.

    • Citric says:

      I’ve actually seen that stupid “we were all childhood friends and then forgot somehow” twist somewhere else*, and I couldn’t decide what was the worst scenario: two people coming up with the idea independently, or two people seeing the same thing and being equally inspired to do that kind of stupid twist.

      *It makes slightly more sense the other place I saw it, while simultaneously making the characters seem more stupid.

    • Girard says:

      I remember my very first time playing a Zelda game in earnest was Link’s Awakening (I had rented Zelda 1 when younger, but didn’t get far into it), and my initial instinct was to obsessively-compulsively hunt down all the heart pieces. I thought I had them all – the realized there were TWO ROWS of the damn things!
      At some point, even with the Player’s Guide in hand, I determined that it wasn’t worth it, and wound up beating the game with an incomplete heart meter, which at the time seriously irked me.
      However, that experience has led to me not really giving a crap about heart pieces anymore, knowing they aren’t really necessary to beat the game, and that has probably saved me a lot of…heartache in my years playing Zelda.

      Hey, speaking of WindWaker, did anyone see that they’re remaking it, without cel-shading? Because that’s totally not the game’s most instantly-recognizable and universally praised element. What the hell. Look out for the next Okami HD release – this time using the render engine from Jak & Daxter!

      • double_hawk says:

         no its still cell-shaded, just upped the visuals to HD which looks freaking fantastic in my book

      • double_hawk says:

         eh i dunno man, I think it looks great.  Considering all we’ve seen of the character models is one screenshot I think its a little early to judge it. Actually his kinda reminds me of the controversy when wind waker was first announced only in reverse haha

        • Girard says:

          We’ve got two screenshots, which pretty clearly show the way the figures are rendered. I mean, it looks all right, like little 3-D Rankin Bass models running around a lush landscape – I could see a new Zelda game with a similar aesthetic being pretty great.

          But remaking the most ageless and visually striking Zelda game in such a generic way feels really super stupid. Again, like rendering Okami in the Jak & Daxter or Kingdom Hearts engine or something. It looks okay (and in that respect is better than, say, the hideous HD Monkey Island remakes), but still feels like a misfire from an art direction standpoint.

        • Matt Gerardi says:

          I’ve got to agree with Girard here. The changes they’re making to the rendering and lighting leave the characters and colors looking oddly flat—a travesty considering how vibrant the original is (especially in HD when played on that Doplhin thingy. Holy moly is it pretty.)

          Then again, it’s still early. We’ll see how it turns out. 

        • double_hawk says:

          exactly its early, I have faith itll be fine. In any case itll be a reason for me to buy a wii U earlier than anticipated

        • Girard says:

          Part of me wonders why they didn’t opt to remake a well-loved but undeniably ugly game like Ocarina rather than give a face-lift to the Zelda game least in need of one.

          I could see Ocarina working well with either the TP or SS style, though that upgrade would require new modeling and animation, I guess, rather than just a new rendering engine.

          • double_hawk says:

            Plus they kinda already did an updated visuals version of ocarina on the 3ds. I suppose since the Wii U can’t play gamecube games (seriously, what the fuck) thatd be one reson to do it with wind waker. Unless virtual console will eventually have gamecube games

        • Girard says:

          Oh yeeeah. I kind of forgot the 3DS existed there for a second

        • ApesMa says:

          Seems really weird to me to be all “seriously, what the fuck?” about a system not being backwards compatible two generations back.

          And yes, I don’t see why those games wouldn’t be on the VC eventually as the Wii had N64 games and PS3 has PS1 games.

        • double_hawk says:

           cause i have gamecube games i still want to be able to play dammit!

        • ApesMa says:

          Yeah I get that, but even though it’s less convenient I assume you still have a GC and/or Wii lying around. Would GC games even work properly on the Wii U? Many games like Super Mario Sunshine used the analogue trigger functionality which the Wii U gamepad and Pro controllers don’t have from what I hear.

          • double_hawk says:

            then they could’ve just left the gamecube controller ports there. Honestly its not that big of a deal, there’s barley a handful of gamecube games I still play at all. I was hoping to sell my wii but who knows, may not eve get much for it anyways

        • ApesMa says:

          A used Wii can’t be worth much now, certainly not enough to compensate for not being able to play your GC games again. I still regret selling my NES and SNES due to the games that still aren’t available on the VC and the nostalgic value.

          I’ve kept all the systems I bought since then, but all of them are pretty much useless. N64 games have dated horribly in every way, the Wii plays GC games and the GBC and original version of the GBA require the eyes of an eagle if lighting conditions are less than perfect.

          • double_hawk says:

            true. i still have my snes and n64 hooked up along with ps3 and wii. its not like it takes up much room anyways haha

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        I do agree that they seem to have stepped a bit too far away from the iconic look of the original, but I’m sure it’ll be stunning none the less.

      • Dikachu says:

        I actually didn’t like the cel shading much… though I don’t think it was due to cell shading itself, but by the fact that Link looked like an encephalitic leprachaun.

      • double_hawk says:

         can we also talk about the other announcement from nintendo yesterday?  cause they seriously got me excited for the wii u again

        • Girard says:

          The Epic Yarn/Yoshi thing? Or some of the other stuff? Apparently a new (real) Mario game is in the works. And there were a few other announcements.

          • double_hawk says:

            all of it really. a new 3d mario game that isn’t galaxy (as great as that was); yoshi looks pretty fantastic and i loved yoshi’s story on n64; plus anytime a new zelda is announced i get way too excited

        • Girard says:

          The new Zelda and Mario have my interst piqued, but without any specifics, I’m not any more excited than I was before the announcement – I mean, they were an inevitability anyway.

          If the Yoshi game does stuff to set it apart from Epic Yarn, it could be lovely. I loved Yoshi’s Island but hated Yoshi’s Story, so if this is more like latter, and doesn’t do much to set it apart from Epic Yarn, I don’t know if I’m looking forward to it.

          Generally, I’m cautiously optimistic, but not really excited about anything I’ve seen. And I’m irritated about the whole Wind Waker thing.

          • double_hawk says:

            well i guess i’m just excited cause i’ve been looking for a reason to buy a wii U and they’d be the reason. E3 this year will showcase them all which will be good.

      • ApesMa says:

        Seems like an overreaction to me, but hey, to each his own.

        The most interesting thing to me about this whole thing is this bit of information from IGN: “Nintendo also plans to tune up the original experience, though precisely what changes that might entail is a mystery at this point”.

        Remember how they had to cut three whole dungeons and add the Triforce hunting quest everybody’s complaining about due to time constraints? This has me hoping they will release the game as originally intended. Also wouldn’t hurt to make all the sailing back and forth less tedious (personally I actually didn’t have a problem with it, but I know a lot of people did).

        • double_hawk says:

           oh man that would be crazy awesome

        • ApesMa says:

          Yes it would be, and I suspect that might be their main reason for choosing this particular title, as it still looks gorgeus as opposed to other Zelda games (and most other games in general) from the N64/GC era.

          It must have hurt a lot to have to release such a compromised game back then, especially when people hated the Triforce quest that much. Making the sailing less tedious as well should be a relatively easy fix (add some more islands, enemies etc, make it faster, let us warp earlier on, maybe change the mechanics a bit). If they do that they will have fixed the major complaints about the game.

    • The_Misanthrope says:

       It was FFXII for me (then again, I never played VIII).  I really liked the gambit system, despite the pact that it was essentially designed to take me out of the gameplay; Futzing around with it stimulated the amateur coder in me.  The big problem with the game really came down to the same one I’ve had with most of the Ivalice-based games:  your characters seem to be tangentially related to the larger story playing around you.  I would play for a bit, then some cutscene would happen, and then it would take me back to the gameplay and I’d have no idea what the fuck that cutscene had to do with my scrappy group of adventurers.

      • Dikachu says:

        FFXII was actually the first FF game I finished since VII came out… I really liked it, as it wasn’t nearly as whiny and retarded as VIII, X, and X-2 were.

        I didn’t finish IX because I just couldn’t deal with the invisible-monster thing anymore.

        • Crusty Old Dean says:

           You mean random encounters?

        • Dikachu says:

          Yeah, that… I didn’t play FF IX when it was brand new, and by the time I did, RPGs had moved past that horrid old mechanic.  Going back to it was just too painful… getting from point A to point B and having to stop every 3-4 steps for a 4-5 minute encounter that wasn’t even a challenge was too much for me.

        • Crusty Old Dean says:

          Yeah I hear you. FFIX in fact has an incredibly slow battle system, starting every battle with a few seconds of the camera panning the environment. And the commands you give the characters are often not performed until several minutes later.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I watched my girlfriend play Xenosaga 1 and 2.
      You don’t know what cut-scenes are.
      I think I cried gently for her to stop.

      I mean, seriously. Xenosaga 2 came with a DVD that had the cutscenes of Xenosaga 1 on it “in order to make sense” (right). The DVD had a runtime of 4 hours. 4 hours of awful voice acting and really horrid characters. Some emo-vampire immortal kid who pouts throughout the entire game. Some large-breasted cyborg chick who would burn entire fleets in cutscenes and then be knocked out by a particularly tenacious butterfly in the game. A bespectacled scientist chick who has low self esteem (WHAT A TWIST!)…
      The low point of the game was a 8 minute unstoppable cutscene at the beginning of the second game, followed by 3 steps taken and another cutscene of 5-8 minutes, then one chest opened, a few more steps and yet another cutscene, all reminiscing about the first game.

      Sometimes I think I hate games. This was that time.

      • What also hurts Xenosaga is that Xenogears was pretty damn good.  Xenosaga’s battle system was a snore fest, it’s cast consist of anime-throw-aways, and the ending had no pay off because they were planning some enormous 7 game story so they held all their cards under the table.

      • ApesMa says:

        Sounds to me like you hate crappy interactive CG movies, not games.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I like that sentiment a lot better, but at times I do hate what is colloquially referred to as games… even those with no cutscenes. ^_^
          Mind you, sometimes I even hate steak, so it’s a come-and-go-thing.

      • His_Space_Holiness says:

        Aw, I loved the Xenosaga series, mainly because its story was so batshit. But I can definitely see how it would be infuriating to someone who didn’t find all the crazy pseudo-philosophical nonsense as charming as I did.

      • caspiancomic says:

         A buddy of mine wanted me to play Xenosaga. This was the same guy who got me into Disgaea, so I trusted his opinion on the matter. I rented it, and “played” it for hours and got almost nothing accomplished, except for getting an earful of masturbatory mythologizing about space travel and robots and shit I didn’t care about at all. I brought this up with my friend, who explained to me that “the first ten hours are pretty boring.” That day, I returned the game.

      • rvb1023 says:

        Xenosaga 2 actually qualifies this list for me. I don’t think I have ever played a game with a worse battle system. I only finished it and the rest of the trilogy in time for the US release of Xenoblade.

        Goddamn it Xenosaga 2 was terrible.

        • Asinus says:

          IIRC the team changed between 1 and 2 and then after 2 the first team returned again. Something like that. It also started to get embarrassing to play as they kept sexing up COS-MOS between games. I seriously sat on 1 for years before finally playing it. I got to that (literally) 45 minute cut scene and gave up. 

          The voice acting wasn’t too bad (I mean, come on, it has Vash and Millie), but it could have been better; I’ve definitely heard worse. 

    • double_hawk says:

       speaking of Wind Waker , who’s pumped for the HD remake they announced yesterday?  I’m pretty excited myself

    • I never even made it past the Seifer battle on Disc 3.  That damn game…  Still, if I had to sit down and pick a favorite Final Fantasy it would be 8.  It was the bravest and had the coolest art style in my opinion.  Though 7 and 9 were more fun, I’ll always have a soft spot for 8.

    • MrTusks says:

      Skyward Sword was fun, but everything about that game feels unfinished and rushed. The graphics are a step back from TP on the GC, and instead of making nine different areas we got to do three areas three times each. The motion controls were actually fun for me, though I can understand how an option to turn it off would be appreciated by many veterans.

      • ApesMa says:

        Would be very hard to turn of the motion controls for the swordfighting especially, they were such a fundamental part of the gameplay.

    • AmaltheaElanor says:

      I found the motion controls in Skyward Sword completely unreliable and inaccurate – half the time, Link would swipe his sword the exact opposite way I did, which becomes a problem when you’re facing enemies where you have to counter their weapons in a specific way – and so gave up 10 hours in.  Not worth the hassle. 

      • ApesMa says:

        That rarely happened to me, and when the calibration was off it could be quickly and easily fixed. The motion controls in that game were in my experience great and reliable while actually adding a lot of depth to the combat system.

        A lot of gamers seem to be very conservative about controls, dismissing innovations like the Wii U gamepad as gimmicks. The industry would be headed towards stagnation fast if Nintendo weren’t here to innovate. Some of these innovations will be far from perfect to begin with, like the N64 controller.

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          While I don’t disagree that it’s important Nintendo looks to innovate, I still spent the entire time I played The Last Story on the Wii thinking “This game needs a traditional controller.”  (And not one that I have to buy as an extra accessory.)

      • @AmaltheaElanor:disqus and @ApesMa:disqus

        I’m all down for innovation. In fact, I think the motion controls for TP worked well, if a bit problematic here and there.

        Skyward Sword’s emphasis on precision wouldn’t have been a problem if much of what you did didn’t required accuracy of movement as well as placement. In intense, fast-paced battles, you have to position your sword fast, then swipe fast, but the game often mistook positioning as swiping, so when you’re trying to move the sword into a spot to strike, you accidentally swipe, looking a hit and often being hurt with a counter attack.

        It’s prevalent when fighting the lizards, and I BET originally Giraham would counter-attack quite often when he grabbed your sword – but Nintendo realized how frustratingly hard it was, so they coded in an “escape” with waggling.

        Beyond that though, as people mentioned above, there are some other minor yet unforgivable decisions, like having to AIM while z-targeting (?!) and (most unforgivable in my eyes) backtracking through temples and other areas.

        It has some fun moments, sure, but it seems content with circling the wagons way too much.

        • AmaltheaElanor says:

          It’s been more than a year since I last played it, so I’m wondering if the whole repositioning vs. swinging thing was my problem.  All I know was the motion controls were most definitely not acting 1:1.  And while this wasn’t a big deal when using things like the flying beetle, it’s a huge problem during combat.  Oh, look – Link just swung the opposite direction I did, and now I lost another heart.  That skeleton boss fight in the first dungeon took me half an hour because I was having so much difficulty making a hit.

          To be fair, that wasn’t what really drove me to give up on Skyward Sword – which I’d attribute more to my waning interesting in the Zelda franchise; it just became the final nail in the coffin.

  5. PaganPoet says:

    Wow, Matt Gerardi’s story is tragic. I have a bad habit of keeping only one save file of any game I’m playing, so similar things have happened to me before, but nothing quite that dramatic. It’s a left over habit from the day of PS1 memory cards with only 15 save slots.

    • Citric says:

      I have had similar things happen, but had the opposite reaction, it just made me more determined.

      The most dramatic example of this was MGS4, and my bundled PS3 that had a defective hard drive. So, before I realized that the HD was unsalvageable, after many attempts to save it, I had played through the first couple sections of that game three times. Then I gave up and replaced the drive with a 320gb, because it seemed like the thing to do (and I was too impatient to wait for warranty.)

    • caspiancomic says:

       Yeah, I’ve had a couple of heart breaking “lost save file” stories in my day. I once accidentally saved over an endgame FF7 file in which I had been grinding my party for the fight against Ruby and Emerald Weapon. Levels in the 70s and well on their way to 99, Knights of the Round, level 4 Limit Breaks on everyone, Master Materia unlocked, etc etc. Saved over it accidentally because a buddy of mine wanted to see the beginning of the game. I would have cried if I had been by myself, but he and his cool older brother were watching, so I swore instead.

      Related story: The PSN version of P3:FES has a known bug that eats your save file periodically mid-game. I had seen my file disappear occasionally, but it was simplicity itself to save again in the newly empty slot. When I was like 70 hours deep, though, my file vanished and any attempt to save in the vacant slot produced a message saying there was no memory card in slot 1. I scoured in internet in a panic for a bit, wondering if there was a way to manage the simulated PS2 memory card on the hard drive without quitting the game, but found nothing. In the end, I was actually able to make a save game in any of the slots but the first one, which is corrupted to this day. Now I save three time before quitting, in slots 2, 3, and 4, and back up my saves on a USB key after every session- just in case.

      • TaumpyTearrs says:

        Due to memory card glitches and little brother glitches, I lost my FF7 save two times in a row, both times right when I got to the Crater. First one was 80 or so hours, that hurt. Second time I was going much faster, I was at 30 or 40 hours when i lost it. I started the game a third time, but never made it more than a few hours in.

        • Cheese says:

           Speaking of little brother glitches, my brother managed to erase the data on my Star Fox 64 twice, and then he had the unmitigated gall to complain about how I didn’t have the multiplayer unlocks my cousin had.

      • Jackbert322 says:

        “I would have cried if I had been by myself, but he and his cool older brother were watching, so I swore instead.”

        Let it out, Caspian. Let it all out.

    • feisto says:

      Oh, man, I used to have that habit as well. The game that finally shook me out of that habit for good was the PS1 Final Fantasy Tactics. There was a three-stage battle that ended with a one-on-one against Algus, but after getting slaughtered every single time using every strategy I could think of, I realized that my Delita just didn’t have the right set of skills to beat Algus. So I thought, okay, I’ll just return to the world map and develop those skills…only to realize that saving in between battle stages means I had no choice but to complete that battle to return to the world map. I’d just locked myself out of victory. I’ve never managed to get myself to play through the whole thing again since.

      On a completely unrelated note, my notebook has a funny sense of humor and ran out of batteries just as I was wrapping up this comment, reminding me that I still also have a habit of forgetting to periodically save in games.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

         I hate FFT.

      • Algus?  Get that amateur out of here, the Wiegraf battle caused untold amounts of tears to be shed between me and my brothers.  You were all alone, he was unstoppable and he could make swords come out of the ground.


        Now that I know it exists, I’ll be able to tailor my character’s development appropriately. At the time, I recall it being an extremely long and tedious fight that I somehow managed to scrape through by the skin of my teeth using some cheap hit and run tactic.

        • feisto says:

          @twitter-493417375:disqus, yeah, that was my tactic too, but a) I didn’t have a far enough movement range to avoid being counter-attacked and b) I didn’t have a single self-heal ability on me. AND I’d locked myself out of tailoring my abilities any further.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       I had already beaten in on Dreamcast, but I was playing Skies of Arcadia Legends on GC with FlimFlam, Jr., who was heavily involved in the plot, and he liked to play it by himself. As he is wont to do, he started up a new game and slapped a new save over 20 hours of agonizing dungeon-grinding (the game basically starts off well, goes down the crapper, and slowly gets better through the ending). I’ll never beat that Gamecube version now, but maybe he will someday.

    • Girard says:

      My first JRPG, FF Legend III met a similar fate on a school trip. I was almost to the end boss, and only had one save. During a middle school trip to Boston, I loaned my Gameboy to friend who wanted to try the game out (his parents didn’t let him have games at home, so playing anything around him put him in this weird Gollum mode where he HAD to get a turn).

      He promptly started a new game, then promptly saved over my almost-compete game. I think it took me about a year before I could muster up the energy to give the game another go.

    • zebbart says:

      My two tragic save losses both involve Zelda 1. When we first got the Nintendo in 1988 my mom got really into Zelda and progressed through it a lot faster than me or my sister. That is until one night when mom brought me home from some after school thing to find that my sister had saved her own game over my mom’s slot. She yelled, “You BITCH!” at my 10 year old sister and never played again. It was not cool at the time but has rewarded us many time over by giving my something to make fun of my mom about for the rest of her life. But then I got screwed over myself when after getting up to the last dungeon with 16 hearts I tossed the cartridge on my bed and it got zapped with static electricity, only to show a grey screen ever after. I got another copy and beat it many times later on but could never bring myself to throw away my dead gold cartridge.

  6. Cloks says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever finished a traditional JRPG. I like them for what they are but hours of grinding just don’t appeal to me. At a certain point, I’d like my pointy haired protagonist to abandon all the sturm und drang and just save the gosh-darn world already. I could list all the JRPGs I’ve started but I’ve played significant amounts of many Final Fantasies, Dragon Quests and Xeno-games and haven’t seen the endings of any of them.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Final Fantasy VI has, literally, the most satisfying ending of any game ever. I may be stretching the truth a little bit there with rose-colored nostalgia glasses, but it has to at least be in the top 5.

      • Bakken Hood says:

        I “discoverd” FFVI through sub-legal PC emulation over a decade after it came out, and I was pretty blown away without the benefit of rose-colored glasses.  Coulda done with some fat-trimming, but I won’t dispute the greatness of that endgame.

        • PaganPoet says:

          I agree, I can recognize some of its flaws now. It becomes pretty unfocused about two-thirds of the way through. Still, to have such an epic scope, 14 playable characters and most of them have compelling stories and personalities. 

          In a way, the “loyalty” missions of Mass Effect 2 remind me a lot of that last part of Final Fantasy VI: they’re all technically optional, but it’s worth it to do them because they help you understand what drives each character to fight.

        • Girard says:

          I likewise discovered FF6 later through emulation (I didn’t really get into JRPGs until the post-FF7 PSX explosion). It was kind of revelatory – this game already had most of the awesome stuff I had found so amazing in FF7 as a middle schooler (and given FF7 the credit for, in my ignorance), but on top of that had a better story and much more aesthetically-pleasing sprite-based graphics.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @PaganPoet:disqus: I find these “loyalty missions” a bit of a double-edged sword, because if I dislike the character and don’t agree with their motives or they are just awful characters, learning more about them through additional gameplay and often infuriating mini-game missions isn’t going to endear me to them any further.
          Especially in games where the NPCs and fellow fighters are flat stereotypes, I could do with knowing less about them.

      • zebbart says:

        Is there a point where you get over the hump and the game play becomes fun? Or is it all just about the story? That’s the only game I can think of that I walked away. At least in the first 10 or so hours the adventuring is very on the rails so there is no real exploring, and the combat is super easy but also super frequent and so super tedious. A point came where I couldn’t find the one place on the map where the next thing to do was and I came to hate wandering around the plain, pressing a 20 times to mindlessly kill whatever popped up every 10 seconds, so I quit. That was at the part where the characters reunite after their (first?) separate quests. Does it get more challenging and open after that?

        • Citric says:

          It gets very open after the half-way point.

        • PaganPoet says:

          Well, up front, I will say that the encounter rate will not change. It will remain high through the entire game, but as you progress into later dungeons, it’s no longer going to be as easy as just hitting fight all the time. You will find relics that cut it in half or turn off random encounters altogether, but not until much later in the game. For better or for worse, a high encounter rate is just the nature of old-school RPGs. I understand that for some people, it could be a deal-breaker, I just happen to be used to it since that was the norm with games when I was a kid.
          Your three parties are reuniting back in Narshe after being separated from each other on the raft, correct? If so, you’re a (kind of difficult) multi-party battle scenario and dungeon away from where magic finally opens up to any of your party members. That, to me, is where the game really starts to take off in stride.

          You’re also not too far from having access to an airship, which opens up like 95% of the world map to you.

          Also, as  says, the second half of the game is very open-ended. After two or three story events, you’re free to explore the world map and complete all the side quests, or go directly to the final dungeon.

        • zebbart says:

          Thanks @PaganPoet:disqus that’s good to know. That’s exactly where I am and what made me quit was not remembering where the starting cave was in Narshe or realizing that’s where I was supposed to go, so I was just roaming back and forth trying to find any untried square of territory or any new NPC interactions. As to the encounters, maybe I just don’t have the patience and wonder I did as a kid but they never used to bother me. I think when the get more challenging I will enjoy them just as mini-puzzles that interrupt the real game. I’m playing through Earth Bound now and I love how it can actually be hard to survive all the random encounters between yourself and your goal, how the enemies try to avoid you once you are powerful, how they are all visible on the screen so you can at least try to avoid them, and how when you’re overpowered enough it just automatically awards you the win rather than making you go through the motions of battle.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          This may defeat the purpose of playing games for some people, but I fire up the podcasts when I’ve got some grinding to do. WoW, Final fantasy, even exploring the wilds in Elder Scrolls sometimes.

    • feisto says:

      Yeah. For me, the initial grind is just so much fun, and then I usually slowly lose interest (or, in the case of PS1 era JRPGs, lose patience with the dramatic zoom-ins and overlong combat motions that had to account for at least 70% of the duration of those random enemy encounters). One of few JRPGs I saw through to the end was Grandia, but I loved those characters way too much to not want to see the end.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Now that I look back on it, despite being what was once my favorite genre, I’ve only ever beaten a handful of JRPGs. Some are all-time favorites like Chrono Cross and FFX, and some are grinders I just happened to finish, like Skies of Arcadia and Grandia III, for most JRPGs, I’d either get to the end and just move on or I’d get bogged down in the game’s systems.

      I envision a future, after my son has moved out, where I spend my free time playing old RPG’s on my old tube TV.

    • dreadguacamole says:

        My problem with JRPGs is that they’re story-driven games where the story and characters are very hard to stomach if you don’t care much for anime tropes. Seriously, the only FFs whose story I could stand were 9 (because it was aimed more at children) and 12 (though it went off the rails badly about halfway through).
       I tend to like the gameplay, but it’s kind of hard to stay interested if you’re cringing every (way-too-frequent) cutscene…
       There are exceptions, of course (Chrono Trigger, to start with.) But whenever I think of whatever the last Star Ocean was called, or Eternal Sonata, I want to smack Japan in the back of the head.

      • rvb1023 says:

        As much as I love IX, that was easily the most anime-styled game in the series, especially from an art direction standpoint. The only difference is the protagonist wasn’t nearly as whiny.

    • You can get through 90% of Final Fantasy 4-10 (excluding 5) without much grinding, but those final dungeons can get nasty.

  7. Citric says:

    Assuming that this is something I actually enjoyed that I’m perfectly happy to walk away from, that means I can’t include GTAIV (Which I hated) or the innumerable games I keep thinking I should return to, like Shadow Hearts (got to the last area, didn’t finish, plan on playing it this summer) or Seiken Densetsu 3 (which I seem to attempt every four years before quitting in the exact same place. Time flows like a river, and history repeats), I can only really think of one thing I’m perfectly content to let be and have no intention of actually finishing.

    Tokyo Jungle. The day I got the game, I played for hours. The next day, I played for more hours. Then I slowly played a little less each day, until finally I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. It might be because as the difficulty increased it got less fun, or it might be because it’s a really repetitive game, but I finally decided that I got my money’s worth and I got as far as I needed to go.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Great answer with Tokyo Jungle, I had an almost identical experience. My first few hours were all “this is awesome! It’ll never get old!” But after 10 or 15 hours it was like “how many fucking breeds of goat to I have to unlock before I get a tiger or a giraffe or a dinosaur!?” I think Tokyo Jungle is a great example of how “more” content doesn’t necessarily make a better game- there were like a billion dog breeds in that game and they all played almost identically. Get rid of the majority of the early game filler species and let us get our hands on something that actually plays differently- horses, hippos, dinos- and I might still be playing it today.

  8. Jason Reich is a weenie and you can get the uncurse item from the merchant in the bridge tunnel that leads to Undeadburg. Come on bro, man up.

    • John Teti says:

      I love the mix of big-brotherly chiding and genuine helpfulness in this comment.

      • Oxperiment says:

         Plus, bro, you can tell Jason that he can avoid getting cursed just by jumping over the open drains in the depths. There’s no need to go back to those areas and get cursed, unless for some reason you want a rough but doable experience with the New Londo Ruins.

      • Fluka says:

        All Dark Souls advice to henceforth contain the vocative “bro.”

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Why? Because it’s just as infuriating as a 6 hour stand-up special by Dane Cook?
          Cuz it is to me.

        • HobbesMkii says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus Dane Cook doesn’t actually have six hours of material, does he?

        • Effigy_Power says:

          If he gets to repeat the same jokes the way Dark Souls recycles its content he does.
          He’ll just say the same joke over and over for 30 minutes, and louder with every single word.

        • Enkidum says:

          @Effigy_Power:disqus That might actually be a good description of his standup.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          @Enkidum:disqus: I didn’t dare to ask anyone, lest they imagine I have some sort of brain-damage fueled desire to watch any of it.

        • Fluka says:

          I just like the juxtaposition of tone and subject, e.g., “Bros advising bros on how to successfully slay the Capra Demon.”

    • Jason Reich says:

      Yeah, I’m familiar with Google. But for a game that relies so heavily on trial and error, in this case the punishment for error felt so out-of-whack unfair compared to everything that came before. I do enough work during the day that I don’t need a game to remind me how inadequate I am. All y’all bros are really cool for finishing it, though!

    • SnugglyCrow says:

      I picked up the platinum trophy on Dark Souls but because I was concentrating on getting the achievement and not building up my character I’ve got a lvl 115 guy with no clear attribute favorite and I’m on NG++.  So I bought the DLC and instead of starting a new game i continued playing with the character I have and it took me 4-5hrs to beat that winged lion/ram/scorpion and I’ve spent like 4+ hours working on Knight Artorias and got him down to a quarter of his hitpoints like once.  So I was pretty surprised to give up on an extension of a game I had completely OCD’d on the original.  And I’m too proud to spend 1-2hrs in Anor Londo repeatedly killing those two NPCs to raise my experience level.

      Will some bro please step up and tell me that it’s essentially impossible to beat the DLC with a lvl115 guy who has like only a single attribute above 30 and none above 40?

      • It is essentially impossible.  The DLC content is pretty hard on NG+ and above even with a reasonably focused build at SL110-120.

        Start a new guy!  Once you know WHERE stuff is, and you surely do, you can plow through the content pretty easily, NG feels like a joke after beating NG+.

        (sidenote, if you really want to grind levels, the phalanx demons in the painted world can be killed with AOE pyromancy really easily)

  9. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I’m an enormous Myst fan. Call them slideshows, but I find them irresistible. I’ve finished all five games in the series plus the pseudo-spinoff Uru.

    But there’s an Uru expansion pack, The Path of the Shell, that I haven’t touched. The reasons are twofold:

    1. One of the puzzles in POTS is absolutely heinous and involves hours of idling to solve properly. I can’t stomach it.

    2. From what I understand, POTS ends with a massive, complicated, world-spanning puzzle. I sorta like the idea that I will never solve it. Games like Myst are in such low supply, and I like having a small piece of the original artifact left for me to revisit one day.

    The last room in Path of the Shell is also the last room in the original Myst. It’s perfectly cyclical, and I’ll never experience it. And so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written.

    • Craig Iturbe says:

      Oh, that reminds me that I walked away from Riven. It was a totally solid game, and I guess the idea of putting each area on a different cd was clever and thematically appropriate, but goddamn did it get tiresome to constantly switch disks. After a while I just couldn’t take it anymore.

      • nowimnothing says:

        Yeah, switching those disks killed Riven for me too. Especially with the frequent need to use the transportation system.

      • ItsTheShadsy says:

        If you ever feel like it, do give Riven another shot. The current releases (from Steam, the App Store, etc.) get rid of all the constant disc-switching.

    • zebbart says:

      Oh wow, I forgot about giving up on Riven. I loved Myst to the point I thought maybe I didn’t want to play any other kind of game any more, but I hit something in Riven that I just could not figure out. I should try to find a way to play it as an adult, and with Google being a thing that I can go to now.

  10. reckoner says:

    I agree that the cutscenes in MGS2 were a little off the wall, but the absolutely bonkers Codec conversations that occur towards the end of the game between Raiden and “The Colonel” are comedy gold. And dude, if you haven’t played Metal Gear 4, you’re missing out. As for games I’ve given up on, I fucked off of the Ninja Gaiden reboot after about a week. That shit was just ridiculously hard and not even that fun.

    • dreadguacamole says:

       Heh. I got Ninja Gaiden 3 on rental recently and returned it within half an hour. Probably the shortest it’s ever taken me to realize a  game I was previously kind-of-interested in had nothing to offer me whatsoever.

    • double_hawk says:

       I came hear exactly to post about ninja gaiden.  Fucking A! I had so much fun early on in that game but the extreme and sudden ramp up in difficulty is just ridiculous

  11. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    OH man, I have a bunch of these. Uncharted 2 is one that springs to mind immediately. I played through a lot of it without really enjoying it much at all. It was the first singleplayer AAA game I had played in a long time, after playing a bunch on the PS2, and I am just not interested in that kinda thing anymore I guess. Like, why even bother playing it if it’s not really challenging or fun or interesting. It felt like i was watching a mediocre movie. 

    I still haven’t finished New Vegas, but that’s not because I am done with it by any means. I just tend to get bogged down in sidequests or whatever. I also still haven’t finished windwaker, because I got stuck at that stupid stealth part at the very beginning of the game. I’ll probably start that again sometime soon though. I’m just burnt out on those two for a bit.

  12. Enkidum says:

    I honestly can’t think of a single example that really fits the spirit of this question, in my gameplaying. There are games I stopped because they suck (although even there I have a high tolerance once I’ve started), and there are games I’ve put aside but mean to come back to (I will beat you, stupid final mission of GTA IV!), and there are games I just kind of forget about (AssCreed 1, these days). But basically if I’m playing it and I enjoy it, I’m going to try and beat the solo game. 

    Provided it’s a story-based game, I guess. I don’t have quite as strong a completionist urge for achievements and so forth – I’ll never 100% GTA IV, but I will finish that damn final level!

    I’m really trying to think of a single example, but I’m coming up empty. I suppose this is because I’m noble of heart and pure of spirit, and y’all are a bunch of quitters.

    • SamPlays says:

      I will generally do my best to complete a game but there are exceptions. The most notable exception is God of War 2 because I know it’s a challenging game but it’s not THAT difficult. There’s a section where I was progressing down some kind of ramp/staircase and every few steps I would get trapped in a confined space with 5-10 monsters. I had played through the first game without much trouble but this staircase brought me to the point of not caring about the game. I know I could have got through it with a little bit of dedication but it felt right to leave at that point. 

      Drew Toal’s account of Fallout 3 is interesting. I’ve completed the game’s story but I never once met Three Dog. I know there’s a section where you’re supposed to travel to the station or whatever but I kept focusing on side quests and exploring various nooks and crannies. By the time I resumed the main missions, I must have done something where I could no longer meet up with him. To me he was always just a voice on the radio. 

      And I’m with you on the 100% completion thing. Generally, I’ll stick to the main story and (if possible) anything on the side that is of interest. Maybe if games didn’t have like a bazillion tasks and collectibles, I’d be more inclined to give it a go. As for trophies… whatever, man!

      • Aurora Boreanaz says:

        I think I’ve mentioned this story previously here, but I didn’t make it through God of War.  I got the game really cheap on sale after it’d been out for a while.  I didn’t really like it much as I was playing it, Kratos was just too much of an over-the-top asshole for me to care what happened to him.

        I got to the last fight with Ares, got pissed at the bullshit “take away all your powers and give you a shitty sword” fight after about 20 tries with and without a walkthrough, took the game disc out, broke it in half and threw it away.  I watched the end on YouTube and have never touched another GoW game.

        • SamPlays says:

          I didn’t even bother with Youtube to see the rest of the game. I did, however, watch Dead Space video walkthroughs for the asteroid blasting and post-asteroid blasting sections of the game. Fortunately, it all looked terrifying to play so I feel okay missing out on it.

          To put a slight twist on this topic of walking away from games, I have a fear that I’ll end up ditching Portal 2. I recently got a copy because it’s supposed to be awesome but I’ve never been very good with certain types of puzzle games (i.e., those that require the player to be a verified genius). There’s clearly a bunch of them here at Gameological but I am not one of them. (Lately, I prefer running cars off the road in Burnout Paradise). But I digress. 

          To those who still have to complete the last part of GTAIV, a funny thing happened to me at a “pivotal” decision-making point. [NOT SURE IF THIS IS A SPOILER] I had to choose whether or not to kill someone important and chose to let him live. He ran away and my buddy and I started driving. There’s a fair bit of in-game dialogue that reflects on the choice I made and I’m pondering if I made the right decision. Then, minutes later, lo-and-behold! The guy I let go is in front of me running down the street! As such, I promptly ran him over with my car and the game instantly switches to dialogue about revenge. But, rather than acknowledging that I changed my mind, the game assumes I chose to kill the person before I ever got into the car. 

  13. Spacemonkey Mafia says:

    I was playing Super Citizen Kane for the Super NES; which
    started off with this really badass mode7 sledding level.  It was great fun and it made me look forward to the rest of the game.
    Then it abruptly switched to this business/dating sim.  I did pretty well, passing each level getting most or all available points.  But despite my many in-game accomplishments, none of it lived up to that first sledding level.  I was happy during that level, and being honest, think it was the last point where I truly enjoyed the game.

    So I turned it off and played F-Zero.  I always play the green alien dude.

  14. Merve says:

    I have ragequit a fair number of games (e.g. Far Cry, Oblivion), but assuming we’re talking about games of some merit here, I have never finished all the missions in a RollerCoaster Tycoon or Worms game, which is kind of embarrassing, since I’m a huge fan of both franchises.

    Another notable incomplete: GTA: San Andreas. I made it all the way to the last mission and then failed it when the underpowered graphics card on my old laptop couldn’t handle the section with the fire. I haven’t picked up the game since.

    • valondar says:

       I barely play the missions in Worms games. For me the most rewarding single player was creating my own NPC Worm teams, giving them their own silly agendas (this is the Cyborg Worm team! This one is the Evil Universe counterpart to my worms!) and fighting those instead.

      I’m kind of disappointed the latest Worms release doesn’t let me do that anymore.

      • Merve says:

        I played a lot of Worms 2. The degree of customization possible in that game is staggering. Usually what I do is I just tune all the weapons up to max power and get several teams of worms blasting at each other.

        • valondar says:

           Exactly! I loved creating my own voice files for the different Worms. I used to grab .wav files off the internet and thus get an entire group of Worms which spoke like Darth Vader. I played Worms 2 more than any other Worms game ever, and god was not just a great solo game for ridiculously long play hours, but a great party game for when friends were over.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Custom map with all worms on 4-5 vertical platforms with nothing else + Concrete Donkey = Nobody wins but it’s hilarious!

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Oh man, Far Cry. I bought the 360 version new, was way excited, played for about an hour, and then died. And then died. And then died.

      And then sold it. Ugh.

      • Merve says:

        Exactly. It’s not even that the game is too hard; it’s that the game’s difficulty level alternates between laughably easy and stupidly difficult so often that it causes whiplash. Not helping matters is the checkpointing system, which can cause you to lose nearly half an hour of progress every time you die.

        Also, any game where you can be shot at through walls deserves to have its installation disc smashed into a thousand tiny pieces with a hammer.

    • SamPlays says:

      Oh yeah, I completely forgot about San Andreas. Probably because I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t make it very far in the game. I think the first time I had to “tag” rival turf was when I put it down. It wasn’t out of difficulty but a pure disinterest in what the game was asking me to do. Thanks for the reminder!

  15. GTA: San Andreas wiped me out for the nonexistent pathfinding in that huge city and some maddening early missions which would inevitably kill me again and again, send me to the hospital broke and weaponless, and I’d have to start all over again after fetching a goddamn pistol. I played through Vice City all the way and felt like I made the right call – VC suggested to me the kind of game that’s fun now, but future generations will find absurd that anyone ever suffered through.

    Just couldn’t get the hang of Siren and Killer 7.

    Onimusha had a prohibitively intrusive camera in the first boss fight and that’s as far as I got.

    Tried a couple of early Resident Evil games too – didn’t like them. 

    Some of these I may come back to, but I’ve got quite the stack of  unplayed games as it is.

    • reckoner says:

      I got so frustrated with Onimusha that I had to take a three week hiatus before returning to the game. I did eventually beat it, but I wouldn’t play it again.

    • Girard says:

      I want to like Killer 7 so much, but I just can’t get into it, and am so bad at the combat that I never make any progress. And the puzzles felt kind of arbitrary, like bad Resident Evil 1-type things.

      I suppose I should give it another shot. Or just give in and watch a Let’s Play.

  16. Fluka says:

    I tend to always finish games with self-contained story lines (i.e., not Skyrim), starting from an early age where I trudged through to the bitter end of a bunch of Kings Quest games.  This makes me feel all the guiltier that I walked away from Braid a few months ago.  Oh god, I know it’s a classic, and my sister’s boyfriend was asking me the other day “Did you get to the ending?!”  But I started to get major puzzle fatigue during the section with the rewind-replay shadow.  I know the game designed that I can just charge ahead, but my stupid obsessive nature insists that I *must* get all those puzzle pieces.  And god…after a day of doing my own “puzzles,” i.e. debugging my own shit code, all I really want to do is shoot something.

    Trapped in a hotel until Sunday for work, however, so maybe I can finally finish it this weekend…

    • PaganPoet says:

      Some of those Braid levels really are head scratchers. They’re all that more rewarding once you figure it out, though…assuming you can resist the temptation to run to an online FAQ. I’ll admit, there were a couple of puzzle pieces I had to look up the solution to… =[

      • Fluka says:

        I’ve gotten waaaaay less patient with getting stumped in puzzle games as I’ve gotten older.  I admit I looked at a “hints” FAQ once or twice for Braid, mostly just to see if I had the right idea but wasn’t moving fast enough, etc.

        I actually reinstalled the aforementioned Kings Quests 4-6 about a year ago too, from Good Old Games, to give em a go out of nostalgia.  It look me 30 minutes before I unceremoniously hit uninstall and went to overturn a table.


        • Juan_Carlo says:

          Some of those King’s Quest games were impossible without a FAQ, though.  Like the puzzles didn’t follow logic at all.  Just their own bizarre adventure game logic.

          Still, my boxed copy of the Roberta Williams Anthology is perhaps my most prized gaming possession.

        • Girard says:

          NO WHAT YOU’RE SAYING IS THAT RAMONA WILLIAMS IS A SADIST. So much of my childhood was subjected to abuse at her virtual hand. Then I discovered LucasArts and all was well in the world again.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          I have next to no patience for puzzles. If it’s a slight little thing, whatever, but I stopped playing Legend of Grimrock because half of the game was dungeon puzzling. Get out of here.

        • Fluka says:

          @Juan_Carlo:disqus In the cold light of day, I do remember that my 10 year old self ended up buying a strategy guide for those games, the 90s equivalent of consulting a wiki.  So maybe I should listen to my wise 10 year old self.

          Because seriously, how the fuck was I supposed to know to “Use pie on yeti”?  What if I already ate the pie?  What do you *mean* “I’m screwed”?!

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          @paraclete_pizza:disqus : The Old Man Murray post on Roberta Williams adventure games is still relevant here.

    • caspiancomic says:

       I admit, to my great shame, that there was a puzzle in Braid that I had to look up in a walkthrough. The one where there’s, like, ladders, and time moves more slowly in the proximity of some kind of item, and you have to move platforms by flicking a switch, and there are just a billion things to keep track of and so many potential ways for them to interact that I didn’t have any idea what to do.

      Free advice? Don’t even bother trying to get the super-secret “true ending.” The hoops you have to jump through to unlock it are ludicrous. I actually think the “true ending” is discreetly making fun of you for being a self-flagellating completionist weirdo by giving you an ending that only makes sense if you’re the exact sort of self-flagellating completionist weirdo who would unlock it.

      • zebbart says:

        I’m really looking forward to going back to Braid in maybe another year so that I will have forgotten the solutions (some of which I’m pretty sure I looked up) but my unconscious will prompt me in the right direction so it will feel like I am figuring them all out intuitively.

        Also getting that alternative ending. I am one of those types, but every time I let the game sit for two hours for that one star where you have to do that something would come up where I’d miss the window of opportunity.

    • Zack Handlen says:

      Braid made me feel really, really stupid, which isn’t a bad take on my approach to relationships.

  17. PPPfive says:

    I just about made it through 1, absolutely adored 2, and now I am quitting Mass Effect 3 (have it in my pocket to trade-in when I saw this article oddly enough) because it is a boring grey military shooter, the writing has taken a serious nose-dive and they are taking extreme liberties with the character of ‘my’ Shepard. I understand I’m not missing much of an ending.

    • valondar says:

       I actually quit Mass Effect 3 sometime before leaving Earth just out of sheer frustration, and I bought it the day it came out and had jumped right into it. Having been told that playing multiplayer is basically essential to getting the best ending, and then findijng that the multiplayer wouldn’t work no matter how many ports I opened, or even if I reinstalled the game twice, or on another PC, and the problem I was facing seemed to not exist as far as customer support was concerned… I just couldn’t take it.

      This was well before I found any major issues with the writing, and certainly before the blow-up about the ending I’ve never seen. I just… goddamnit, I’m too much of a perfectionist to play the game with that kind of detail lying around.

      • Fluka says:

        If you’re ever inclined to give it a second go, the free “Extended Cut” lowered the bar to get the “best ending” substantially, so that no MP was required.  (The “best ending” in this case, mind you, being less than ten seconds of ambiguous video.)

        • valondar says:

          Thanks for that. Maybe I will get back to it, there’s a lot I genuinely loved about the series, and – honestly – BioWare games in general.

          I’ve been playing the Witcher lately, and the frankly atrocious writing really makes me respect BioWare a lot more.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          Yeah, I never played MP and got a perfectly good ending. Now I have played MP, but here’s the thing about that – every day you don’t play, “Fleet Readiness” goes down anyway. The best way to beat the game is actually to play the solo game until near the end, then rush multiplayer over a weekend, and then finish the game.

          It’s kind of dumb that way, but I love the ME trilogy pretty hard.

    • Enkidum says:

      Actually Mass Effect may be a reasonable example for me, if you squint a bit at the original question. I played through the first one and quite liked it, but couldn’t be bothered to pick up 2 or 3. I know enough about them from having read extensively online and watched videos, etc, and I know pretty much exactly what to expect, and, meh….

      So yeah, if a series counts as a game then ME for sure.

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      I put ME3 away for several months after getting the deluxe edition the day it came out, playing about a third of the way through, and becoming so “homesick” for ME2 that I went back to playing that and went through the classes that I hadn’t done already. When I picked up ME3 again, I’d come to peace with the things that really irritated me (the changes in graphics showing up in the faces, which just aren’t as good as they are in ME2; the game generally being darker, not just figuratively but literally, and not being able to manually switch on your flashlight) and enjoyed it enough that I’m on my third playthrough now. Yes, the dialogue has also suffered and even the Extended Cut Ending sucks, but there are also a lot of enjoyable moments along the way. Depending on how exactly you play and who survived the end of ME2, there are at least three deaths of your former squad mates that are just heartbreaking.

  18. jessec829 says:

    I have a very bad habit of not finishing games, even games I enjoy. For instance, I never finished Prototype, or Alice, or Neir, even though I like those games. Once I get a feel for the game mechanics and the world being built, I tend to lose interest. Other games just eventually bore me, like FFXIII and (I’m sorry!) Red Dead Redemption. Finally, there are games I love too much to finish, like SMT: Nocturne and Gravity Rush. It’s a mixed bag. 

    • I’m kind of the same way with games(including Red Dead, which I really should get back to eventually). But I’m glad you mentioned FFXIII because I HATED that game and after pouring tens of hours into it, I finally just stopped, sold it off and felt a huge sense of relief that I didn’t have to deal with that confounded game anymore.

    • TaumpyTearrs says:

      I gave up on Red Dead Redemption after 10 hours or so, too. Would have been a waste of 60 bucks if my roommate hadn’t played it for like 50 hours.

      • Wade says:

        RDR is maybe my favorite game of the past decade, but I totally get why people get bored of it or tired of it. There’s a couple of plateaus where it seems like the missions are random and going nowhere, including one about that 10-11 hour mark or so. A lot of the game’s missions seem unrelated and random, and it’s a lot of long distance riding just to get to some missions which are good some not so fun. And there are the side quests which are frankly all kind of downers and nihilistic. But a little past where people seem to quit, the characters and missions start to connect and basically sync up to a huge mission which is right in the middle of the game.

        I found when I first played it, I got bored around that point then really got into the multiplayer for a couple of months withouth playing SP. Then got back into the SP, got into Mexico for abit, again went back to MP for a long time at about 94% complete (basically when there were about 3-4 missions left). Eventually went back and finished it all.

        MP was my saving grace for that game.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Don’t apologize for RDR. There are some good things about it, and there some really terrible things that just suck the fun right out of you.

    • Eddie Ramirez says:

      So, someone spoiled the end of Red Dead Redemption for me (Spoiler: that he dies and you can later play as his son). This is while I had just started the game. So, I made it to a point where I’m with the wife and kids, and every mission left seemed like it was just a side mission (stop thieves from stealing cattle, etc.). I figure, this is as happy an ending as I’m going to get, so I’ll just stop here.

      • Enkidum says:

        More spoilers: that isn’t the ending. There’s about an hour or so of missions as his son, ending with a very particular scene that everyone obsesses over that brings together everything that’s gone before, including John’s death.

        EDIT: as someone said to me when I made a similar post, don’t stop playing until you get to the credits. (If you want the whole story, that is.)

      • SamPlays says:

        If you’re content with that as an end point for the game (I agree, it’s not a bad place to stop), you could easily transition into Undead Nightmare. That story takes place prior to the true ending of RDR and takes you right back to the “home” episodes just before the last missions.

    • SonjaMinotaur says:

      Me too! I am also one of the “once I understand how the game works it holds no more interest for me” crowd. Also, the bigger the game world the less likely I am to get anywhere in the main quest, then I drop the game when the next game with a more structured story comes along. Also, in games I do like, if I am stuck in a section with a stupid problem – a jump I can’t make, a zombie I can’t get past, a boss fight that won’t end – I quit, swear I’ll try again (I won’t) and move on to the next thing.

  19. I’m terrible at finishing games.  I actually have a notepad document on my desktop with a list of all the games I haven’t finished, going back to PS1.  I try to cross 2-3 off before starting a new one.  I don’t succeed much.

    The Achievement system (or Trophy, if you use your PS3 for some reason) is a huge offender.  For online shooters it’s one thing, but for something like Skyrim or the Lego games, I know that I can get them all just by basically playing through the game to its fullest, making it more daunting to complete.

  20. Bakken Hood says:

    I picked up the original Fallout about a year ago when GoG was literally giving it away.  I met Harold and shot some deathclaw eyeballs before burning out on the painfully clunky interface.  As a fan of FO3 and especially NV (I’m not necessarily proud that I have 2000 GS points between them, or that I completed my three full FNV playthroughs in something like a year), I know I’m missing out on some greatness, but I just don’t know if I’ll ever get back to it.  Enjoy being a dessicated corpse, Mr. Overseer.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      Fallout and Fallout 2 are SOOOOO worth it, though.  I played through them for the first time ever last year, and the interface was daunting, but once you get sucked in you don’t notice.

      Plus, Fallout 1 is surprisingly brief.  The main quest has a time limit, so you can’t fuck around.  I think the whole game took me something like 15 hours to complete and I did just about everything.

      Fallout 2 is like 3 to 4 times as big, but it’s maybe the best in the series.  The writing and world building are more or less equal to Fallout:NV (which I also regard highly), but I prefer Fallout 2’s combat to New Vegas.

      Plus, playing Fallout 2 with a low intelligence score is kind of hilarious.

    • Zack Handlen says:

      I had the exact same experience. My brain just couldn’t work the way the game wanted it to.

  21. caspiancomic says:

    The header image made me laugh because FFX is one of my unfinished games as well. To be honest, I didn’t even really particularly like the game- I adored the battle system, but almost everything else about it left me a bit cold. Somewhere near the end of the game, after like 40 hours or so (the place where you meet Kimahri’s people), I made a lot of progress without saving and was killed by a random encounter through sheer carelessness. I had lost two or three hours’ worth of work, and just didn’t like the game enough to do it all over again. Haven’t touched it since.

    Also: Wild Arms 2. The original game was one of the defining PS1 JRPGs of my youth (see also: all of them), and I’ve always heard people saying that the first two are the equally great highlights of the series. When I was a kid, though, I got like ten hours into WA2 and just got bored. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to be doing, and I didn’t really care about the world or characters. A couple of years ago I was bedridden with illness for most of the year, and spent the time barrelling through all my old favourites- the entire Suikoden series, Final Fantasies VII and IX, Vandal Hearts, Wild Arms, etc (yeah, I was really sick.) Eventually I decided to give WA2 another chance, certain that in my youth I was merely inexperienced and impatient with it. Nope- I got a little further than I did when I first played it ten or more years ago, but got bored with it again, and for the second time in my life I shut it off and never returned to it.

    Oh, and I also started but never finished several of the Humble Bundle V package from last year. Amnesia was too scary (shut up, it was), Lone Survivor was interesting but over my head, Super Meat Boy was too difficult for me, and Psychonauts’ Mac version was never sufficiently patched to be properly playable. The whole bundle set me back like ten bucks though, so I’m perfectly happy with the entertainment I did manage to siphon from them.

    • Something_terrible_on_the_moor says:

      Your comment finally made me go back and finish Lone Survivor. Turns out I was missing one item to get to the final boss. And the crappy ending I got didn’t shed much light on anything, but I’m still glad I finished it. Now to get back to Super Meat Boy. I’ve been stuck on the last (?) level forever. (I almost got the same bundle as you, except I already had every game but Bastion.)

      As for Amnesia, don’t feel bad about not finishing it. It has one of the crummiest endings I’ve seen.

    • Jackbert322 says:

      Hey dood, you should go on PSN, answer the question I asked in my message, and then go on the store and buy the PS2 version of Psychonauts for $5!

    • Citric says:

      My copy of Wild Arms 2 had this weird glitch where it wouldn’t load FMV, and I had to swap discs if I wanted to continue on. I actually did like the game a fair bit though.

      I also remember once I asked an innocent question about it on a message board and it triggered a completely insane fight between two people.

  22. mobvok says:

    I eagerly bought the PS3 Ico and SotC Collection to experience what I missed out on, and honestly doubt I’ll ever finish Ico. When playing it I feel like I comprehend every whimsical element of nostalgia that gets the game praised to the heavens as a PS2-era classic, but the actual gameplay experience itself is like a cheese grater on my brain. Either I was dragging a lump of flesh behind me displaying not the slightest hint of agency on her part, or whacking shadow goblins with a 2×4 and clumsy controls. I tried to get back into it a couple of times since I do have a touch of compulsion to finish the main quest of games, but my subconscious doesn’t lie- after a while I was far more comfortable just ignoring it and moving on, so I did.

    • Crusty Old Dean says:

      It’s really not a fun game, even though I remember loving it back in ’04 or whatever. I guess the graphics were a huge part of the charm?

      • SamPlays says:

        The controls are clunky and the graphics were pretty good but I think a big selling point (for me) was the architecture and layout of the castle. It was a really well designed setting for the game. 

    • AmaltheaElanor says:

      Aw, man.  I’ve been meaning to pick up this collection, since everyone and their dog praises SotC as one of the best games of the last decade.  But your post makes me think it might not be worth the effort.

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        Ah but SotC is a whole other bag of potato chips. At least I hope so, I didn’t dare replay it for fear it would not hold up either and ruin my precious memories.

      • mobvok says:

        Well, don’t let me dissuade you from SotC, I think it’s worth checking out. Of course, in full disclosure I didn’t finish that game either, but I can imagine myself doing that and enjoying it in a way I can’t with Ico.
        The disappointing thing for me is how after giving up on Ico, I retreated online looking for some ornery negative critical review of the Collection re-release to comfort myself with, and, nope. No critic appears to have used the occasion of the re-release to re-evaluate the original game (like I’ve seen with Super Mario 64, Ocarina of Time, etc.). Which is fine, I guess, I’m ok being in the tiny minority on this, but I’ve been online for a while now and I know how there’s always at least an Armond White for any critical acclaimed media, but, nope.

  23. ems55 says:

    I LOVE that game–I’ve done the side quests and played through Shivering Isles more times that I’m willing to admit. But I’ve never finished the main quest, not even once.  I’ve never gotten past the part where you’re supposed to meet Martian at that temple. I always get distracted by a deer or a mudcrab wandering along the edge of my screen and my “oh I’ll just chase it down real quick” turns into 50+ hours of wandering around.

    • Fluka says:

      I know you meant “Martin,” but that typo still accurately describes like 95% of the NPCs in Oblivion.

      *Runs to pet sheep.  Gets chased by random minotaur halfway across Cyrodiil.  Realizes how much she missed minotaurs in Skyrim before getting gored to death.*

      • Effigy_Power says:

        I miss warm and inviting environments. As much as I love the harsh beauty of Skyrim, I get cold feet every time I step anywhere near Winterhold. Some lush Cyrodiilian valleys would have been nice.

      • Merve says:

        Damn. It’s not “Martian”? @ems55:disqus almost had me regretting that I ragequit Oblivion. Now I know I made the right choice.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      That’s funny, I beat Oblivion, but after a few hours into Shivering Isles, I stopped. And I hear that part is particularly awesome.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I thought you had to finish the main quest to be accepted into Sheogorath’s realm? Did they change that?

  24. Histamiini says:

    On the subject of Super Hexagon/Teti, I’m sure there are individual differences between players, but I’m convinced that despite its being the third level, Hexagonest is actually the second hardest in the game. You should give Hyper Hexagoner a serious try and you might surprise yourself.

    The first two levels are clearly easier than the others. After them, it’s just a matter of getting used to the speed. Beating the final difficulty takes a little bit of extra stubborness though.

    • John Teti says:

      Thanks, Histamiini! I’m going to give it a shot.

    • Jackbert322 says:

      Hey, I think I may have accidentally offended you last week. When you mentioned beating Hyper Hexagonest, I genuinely was impressed, not saying “congrats” out of obligation/sarcasm. I said the same last week, but I think it was in a response to one of my comments, so I don’t know if you saw it. So, sorry if I offended you.

      • Histamiini says:

        I was just joking about you congratulating me out of pity or obligation. I understood that it was sincere, but even if it had been sarcasm, it wouldn’t have offended me.

        Disqus is fucking with me. I can’t see this thread at all. Only way to see the responses is through my email notification links.

        • Histamiini says:

          Ah, a ‘load more comments’ button appears. Or was it there all along? This is exactly how Disqus does it – it makes you doubt your own mind.

  25. Aaaargh says:

    Civilization or Alpha Centauri have often done this for me. Both games are probably my favourites of any game, but the problem is that as they go on they just build complexity upon complexity until I just can’t face loading the game and confronting 30+ cities and 20+ armies.  Much more fun to start again from the beginning.

    • valondar says:

      I haven’t played Alpha Centauri in like, a decade (I couldn’t resist picking it up from gog over the Christmas sale for some reason) and it’s admittedly bewildering to get back into. How I found the entire game so self-evident at eleven is beyond me.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      The fact that there is no new version of Alpha Centauri (if you don’t count the fairly okay Civ4 mod) is staggering to me.
      It was the first game I played that had a neat handle on philosophy and transhumanity and I almost miss it more for the little videos than for the gameplay.

      • valondar says:

         I still cite it as one of the best examples of video game writing. The reveal of the true nature of Planet was just mind-blowing to me as a kid, and I’m surprised how well most of those cutscenes still hold up. They’re like the little quotations at the start of Dune chapters, they’re lovely.

        And hell, I just like the idea of ideologically divided factions. As much as I loved Civ 2, I guess I haven’t been able to get into the more recent Civ games because there are basically games that are better ‘history simulators’ (like the Paradox titles) than Civ ever managed to be, but I’d love a new Alpha Centauri.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Being separated by ideology rather than nationality (which is what most strategy games do) or race (which is what most SciFi and Fantasy games do) makes a lot more sense to me generally.
          And yes, the little video snippets were, for all their low production budget and use of stock photography, really quite good.

    • Dikachu says:

      I agree 100%… by far the most fun part of Civ games is the exploration and expansion part.  Once you get to the more modern parts where you’re basically forced to either start attacking each other or grinding technology, it’s a shitload less interesting.

      Someone needs to create an Early Civ game that emulates the earlier parts of the game with some other kind of end-game that doesn’t involve ludicrously time-consuming grinds.

  26. KidvanDanzig says:

    This is one of those things that’s gotten weird with trackable achievements, too. Like I remember a developer on… I think it was Dragon Age 2, some Bioware guy, who pointed out that achievements basically prove the worthlessness of significant choice design in video games, because the majority of gamers never finish what they start, and most make fairly predictable choices. Why put the time into presenting tangible options to players when they will likely never see the outcome of one let alone several?

    From what I can recall, though, it was a pretty blatant rationalization of DA2’s hilarious disregard for plot outcomes in DA1 (I’d like to think they would have accounted for them had they more than a single year of development time). It’s a wonder why they supported savegame porting in the first place.

    • Juan_Carlo says:

      That’s my favorite thing about achievements, though, browsing through and seeing how many people actually finish the game.  Usually it’s shockingly low.  Like the highest I ever recall seeing is 35%, and that’s a high number for any game.

  27. offalWaiter says:

    Biggest one for me was Dante’s Inferno, but that had more to do with how terrible I thought the game and story line to be.  I couldn’t be bothered to care and I can kill hell creatures in other games so why should I bother doing it there?

    Most notable would be Need for Speed: The Run.  I took great enjoyment in driving like a crazed man cross country in an orange ’82 Golf, especially through my hometown, but could never beat the final race!  After an hour or two of repeat tries I just decided it wasn’t worth it.  

    Brutal Legend, Dragon Age, Fable 2 and Batman: Arkham Asylum to name a few more…

    anyone else feeling anxious with all this unfinished-ness?!

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I actually finished Dante’s Inferno on the first try and didn’t think any lesser of it than I did of any of the God of War games, which I didn’t finish funny enough.
      I think DI is really mostly about taking in the nightmarish vistas, which I thought were fairly hellish.
      That said, the story was so flimsy and inconsequential that I tuned that out fairly quickly… but then I did the same with God of War’s testosterone sprayed myth-boner.

      • I joked about this last week, but DI is, in my opinion, better than GoW3 – but that’s not saying much. Both games have stupid stories, but DI’s combat was closer to GoW2 and GoW3’s – more intuitive, a tad bit more forgiving, weapons and moves actually mean something beyond looking cool, dodging/blocking actually works, etc.

        SO disappointed in GoW3.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          I didn’t really care for any of the GoW games.
          On the plus side it featured a mythology (if highly skewed) that I had a lot of interest in and featured some iconic monsters.
          On the downside, the game was a horrible button-masher (DI is just as guilty of that) and fraught with awful quick-time events. And then the male fantasy of fucking some bitches as a reward for carving up a gigantic multi-penis metaphor (the hydra) didn’t appeal to me that much. It was so sprayed in testosterone that I thought my cat had peed on it.
          That was a bit of a turnoff Dante’s Inferno didn’t have. Plus it very closely followed the illustrations by Gustav Dore in the original “Divine Comedy”, which have always been some of my favorites.
          So DI for me really wins out just on technicalities, but it still wins.

  28. valondar says:

    This is going to be weird to admit, because it’s one of my favourite games ever, I’ve returned to it periodically over the years, and perhaps only the release of its sequel last year will make me give it a rest…

    I’ve never finished a game of Crusader Kings.

    I’ve played literally hundreds of games. I’ve played as Bohemia and made myself King. I’ve played as Nubia and through enormous patience and careful management, gradually seized and then ruthlessly maintained small tracks of Egyptian land.

    I’ve played as Meath and united Ireland and then threw in Kings of Wales and Scotland for an encore. As Leon, I’ve united the Iberian Peninsula. As Germany I’ve claimed France and Poland. And on and on and on. And yet I never last more than one or two hundred years.

    This is probably because somewhere along the line I royally fuck up (accidentally realizing that I’d given my son the crown to Egypt, and now I’ll never get to back for my tiny Nubian state) and the best laid plans of empire begin slipping from my grasp as the good work of my forebears withers away.

    Now it’s true I don’t finish a lot of games I start with most Paradox titles, but there are plenty of Europa Universalis II games or Victoria games or even Hearts of Iron games I’ve seen all the way to to end. Yet for some reason a game that was a standout to me even among the excellent Paradox strategy lineup was a game I just couldn’t finish.

    • HobbesMkii says:

      Oh, man, so much this for me. I love pretty much all of the Paradox titles, starting with CK2, but I’ve never gotten to any of their end dates.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I just recently finished a game. I started as a fictional clan in central Ireland, where my own family hails from, and with my first two rulers united the country quite amiably. I then decided very early on to keep what I have rather than to try and expand further, so I married heavily into Scotland and England and helped them out where I could with my private retinue army. I sent Crusaders out once, just because the pope didn’t like me too much, breathed a sigh of relief when the Golden Horde stopped at the Baltic Sea and eventually drove back the fictional Aztec invasion with the rest of a united Europe. By the end Islam was almost gone from the map due to the HRE winning one Crusade after another and I somehow ended up with holdings in Mali.
      I got a pretty high score and one of my kings reigned for over 70 years, which was great for him, but bad for his heir who died of old age a year after succession… that set me back a bit.

      All that said, slogging it from the Norman Invasion to the beginning of the Renaissance was at times a huge drag and involved a lot of waiting around for stuff to happen. At some point I couldn’t wait to have kids so I had something to do.
      I think CK2 is a game that is made to be failed hilariously and with huge disastrous finales for your dynasty.
      If I had anything to complain, it’s that you can’t start later in the time-line (or I haven’t figured out how to), because playing a small Russian dynasty right before the Mongols arrive might be fun.
      All in all, it’s a game that gives you everything without requiring you to finish. The only thing you miss out on are the later scripted events, fun though they are.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        You totally can start later. Select a scenario from the list on the left, then go up to the center top of the map where the date is listed. Each of those buttons with the arrows changes the date. The Mongols thing might be tricky, because it’s an event that fires anywhere within a range (I think it’s 50 years, without the code here in front of me) from a specific date (which I also can’t remember off the top of my head).

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Consider me illuminated, Hobbes.

        • valondar says:

           Just want to say that’s a feature I really do love (and really only became common with Paradox titles starting with EU3). The original Crusader Kings only had a series of three set dates and you had to pick from those. I remember WANTING to play say the Latin Empire – the short lived Frankish state that replaced the Byzantines – or say the Kingdom of Jerusalem from its foundation, but neither option was available.

          And yet I’ve started games from the latest possible date in CK and never finished those either.

  29. Johan Halin says:

    I desperately want to like Ridge Racer Unbounded. It looks pretty, sounds fairly nice, but Bugbear tried to marry their Flatout-style “realistic” handling with Ridge Racer’s trademark crazy arcade handling. The result is absolutely terrible handling with the worst drifting mechanic I’ve ever seen, and I just stopped playing after a week or so.

    Almost had the same thing with DiRT 3. The game is pretty great, with awesome rally races and everything, but I hate the gymkhana stuff with a burning rage. I did finally return to the game after a year or so, after realizing that I could just set a lower difficulty level on the gymkhana races and barely passing them.

  30. Pgoodso says:

    Battletoads. Turbo. Tunnel. The THIRD level of 13.

    The End.

    Oh, and could anything add to the frustration inspired by that terrifying and stupid race through a giant’s intestines? Oh, yes: TWO-PLAYER.

    My brother and I were 7 and 8 years old.

    Our childhoods died on that level. We don’t speak of The Before Times.

    • I love the turbo tunnel. It’s harsh but fair. I played it for the first time in ten years the other day and I only died once. The trick is that you have to learn to respond to the sound effects moreso than the visual cues. It’s almost more of a rhythm game than an action game.

      The game only gets harder as it goes. The placement of obstacles and enemies is randomized in some levels.

    • Turbo Tunnel is actually glitched on two player. The second player for whatever reason can’t land on the platforms during the jumping section. (At least last I heard.)

  31. fieldafar says:

    It’s funny how I get excited over games like Skyrim or The Witcher 2, only to realise that I am really terrible at ‘fantasy’-themed RPGs and abandon them once I completed the first main mission. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Skyrim has been frustrating a bit for me so far as a stealthy cat-man, but it’s starting to ease up as I level into the low teens. I still had to drag the difficulty down a touch.

      I like the idea of most D&D RPG’s, but then they often want me to spend so much time strategizing each fight that it’s not worth it to me. If you want to be a tactical game, go for it, but I like battles in my story-driven games to be quick and fun (with the occasional boss fight to push me a little). I’ve barely progressed in Baldur’s Gate II, Neverwinter Nights, and a bunch of other similar games for that reason.

      • Enkidum says:

        The solution to almost all of the “strategic” RPGs I’ve ever played is basically the same. Mages with area spells, and a couple of big single-hit spells, then tanks and archers to shield them. Boom. 

  32. jondavid666 says:

    Jason Wright can’t play Dark Souls past the Curse Frogs.

  33. TaumpyTearrs says:

    @Stummies:disqus  You think that’s bad, I was kicking ass through the sewers on Dark Souls, had just had three hours of uninterrupted progress, no deaths, exploring a new area and killing the basilisks no problem when I got cursed all of a sudden. “Well this sucks” I thought, but I still had half my life.

    Then I went back to retrieve my souls, and ended up getting cursed TWO more times, leaving me with 1/8 of my life bar. For the first time I releneted and looked online, and luckily I was at the point in the game where I could obtain the item to remove my curse. Of course, it took me hours to get there since my 1/8 lifebar meant every enemy was a single-hit killer now. I finally dealt with it and moved on.

    I never finished the game, though, I made it to the city of Anor Londo, got a trophy and then found out that is where the game gets REALLY hard. I made a little progress, but after numerous asswhuppings I decided that just making to quit. I might finish it one day, but making it to the city felt like a huge achievement, moreso than many games I have completed.

    • indy2003 says:

      Anor Londo is where my Dark Souls journey ended, as well. Getting there was hellish (I had been cursed twice, and Blighttown was a truly awful experience), but at that point I felt like I could handle just about anything. Alas, Ornstein and Smough crushed me time and time again. Every now and then I would manage to take down one of them, and then the other would finish me off in a matter of seconds. I eventually decided to summon aid, but every time I reversed hollowing I would quickly be greeted by some overpowered invader who would kill me with some weapon or spell I had never even seen before. After I ran out of summoning opportunities and fought Ornstein and Smough a few more times in vain, I finally set the game aside, saddened by the the fact that it had thoroughly kicked my ass. I like a good challenge (Demon’s Souls is still one of my most rewarding gaming experiences), but Dark Souls is simply sadistic.

      • doyourealize says:

        Just curious, were you using the Drake Sword since the start of the game? I read an article about how it’s a horrible weapon, simply for the reason that it makes you overpowered at first and you lose time learning the mechanics, then becomes a piece of shit right around Anor Londo.

        • indy2003 says:

          No, by the time I actually got the Drake Sword I already had a weapon which was slightly more powerful, so it got very little use. Honestly, I could handle just about everything else in Anor Londo without too much trouble – the fights took a little while, but after I figured out each baddie’s patterns I was good to go. Smough and Ornstein were on another level entirely.

    • Jason Reich says:

      Sounds fair to me. I’m not saying I don’t like the game or that it’s broken somehow. I just prefer my gaming time to be pleasurable, not frustrating or crushingly repetitive. I really liked the time I spent with Dark Souls but after a while the return on investment just wasn’t worth it. Call me a wuss (or, as elsewhere, get my name wrong) if you must but I was ready to put it away. It’s much more satisfying to tell people I crapped out on the game and listen to them ALL FREAK THE HELL OUT.

      • Citric says:

        Heh, a friend of mine got obsessed with Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, and tried his damnedest to get me into it, but since I generally not a fan of being made angry in my leisure time, I’ve never given them a chance.

        This frustrates him to no end, which I find incredibly amusing.

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Dark Souls is apparently a very challenging game in that people will criticize you for not playing it in its entirety. I walked away far earlier than you, for the record. I was having fun one day, but the next day I felt no need to pursue it further.

    • doyourealize says:

      Didn’t even know multiple curses kept halving your health bar, and I’ve played through that game quite a bit.

      • indy2003 says:

        They’ve actually added a patch which changes that – now your health bar never gets lower than one-quarter of its original size. Apparently too many people were getting their bars turned into tiny slivers.

  34. There are way too many to mention for me. All it takes is one sour experience to make me put aside a game for a while. Any time I lose a lot of progress due to a cheap death or power outage, I need to leave the game alone for a while. 

    In the early days, a password feature was a surefire way to make sure I’d never finish a game. I loved me some “Mystical Ninja” and “Lemmings” back in the day, but the tedious task of recording and saving a string of numbers, letters and symbols (especially when they use “0” as well as “O”) was enough to keep me from ever seeing the end. 

  35. Ytadel says:

    Well, I quit Metroid: Other M when I realized halfway through that I’d rather just replay Super Metroid. Then I did just that! And I haven’t gotten back around to it since.


    Dark Cloud 2, I liked the game a lot at the time, but I only rented it and ran out of time, I originally intended to rent it again and finish it but I never did for some reason, even though I kept the save file to this day

    part of me still wonders whether or not I should get that game one day and start over from the beginning and finish it

    p.s. I remember the fact that you could take “ghost photos” in the game creeped me out, it seemed so out of place in such a cartoony game 

    • Girard says:

      I remember really enjoying that game, but don’t actually remember much about it. Which either says something about me or about the game.

      I did beat it, though I never got sucked into the post-ending extra dungeon/quest stuff.

    • doyourealize says:

      Oh yeah. I remember playing and liking the first, but same story. Never beat it. Never played 2.

  37. Crusty Old Dean says:

    I walk away from games more often than not. I just don’t find any prestige in beating them. Usually I stop just before the very last dungeon/showdown, because I know the final stretch will probably just be hard/dark/boring.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      With the exception of RPGs, I generally loathe boss fights because of how often they depend on you completely altering your play style to succeed. With “final” boss fights generally being the most difficult and egregious in changing everything, I  often stop short at that point myself.

  38. DrFlimFlam says:

    Final Fantasy XII. I put 40 hours into that game before I decided that I was done playing an offline MMO and moved on with my life. There are many games where I have stopped but plan to pick them up again. FFXII is not one of them.

    Also, that FFX story makes me so sad. What a great game.

    • doyourealize says:

      I know you’re out there, and I know there’s a lot of you, but I’m always amazed when I hear from someone who swears by FFX over FFXII. I mean, I’ve played (and mostly enjoyed) them both, but don’t understand how XII isn’t everyone’s favorite. Plus, that voice acting in X

      PS – Not starting a fight, just making an observation.

      • DrFlimFlam says:

        The voice acting isn’t wonderful in FFX, especially Hedy Burress’ slavish adherence to lip synch. But I like the game world, the artistic design, and the battle system. Also, did I mention that I played 100+ games of BLITZBALL?

      • Crusty Old Dean says:

        FFXII is one of those games that I really want to like, and it is obviously superior to FFX in a lot of ways but… it just fails to really draw me in somehow. Ivalice is jaw-droppingly large and gorgeous but it’s almost… too big? For the first time in any FF game I can’t be bothered to talk to every NPC, and some areas are so large (and repetitive) that they really start to grate on me.

        Also, as an non-native english speaker I find the plot a bit hard to follow at times (doesn’t help that the bad guys are wearing masks a lot of the time, obfuscating their identities).

        But I’ll totally give it another go once it gets a HD-rerelease.

        As for FFX, I can’t defend the hammy plot and acting, but the battle/level up system was sooo fun and addictive. I cant believe how much they’ve mucked up summons in subsequent games after getting it so right in X.

        • DrFlimFlam says:

          FFX was the BEST at giving you a level-up system that was largely on-rails but was super-addictive to go through.

  39. Girard says:

    I think Drew’s notion of “bespoke video games” would make for an awesome Q&A. Was a game ever released that just seemed – from an aesthetic, gameplay, and tonal viewpoint to be pretty much made for you? It doesn’t necessarily have to be a ‘favorite’ game, just one which uncannily suits your sensibility and made you suspect for a second that the developer may have installed surveillance in your house so they could cater to your taste.

    • Bad Horse says:

      I pondered on this question for myself – I realized I’ve had a game like that every single year for the last five years. Games allow you to make your own emotional investment regardless of whether the creators intended it to be that way. XCOM’s developers clearly meant the troops to be empty action figures that you could chuck into the meat grinder without tons of remorse, but you find yourself forming attachments to them regardless, in a way you wouldn’t if you were just watching a movie starring these dopey, generic soldier types (hello, Battle: Los Angeles).

      So when I say Mass Effect 2 fits my notion of a perfect game just about to a T, it might not be because the developers did everything to make it so. I love the aesthetic combination of 70s pulp and modern polish, I love the perspective and control, I love the satisfying illusion of choice, and I love the understated humor (which was, sadly, mostly gone from ME3).

      But a big part of it is just that I played it. I was the one who could never figure out the goddamn Cain until Haestrom, and then executed a perfect flanking maneuver and nuked that Colossus right before he did the same to me. The experience winds up being tailored by your actions, even if the game as such is not, and those are the memories you take with you. That’s what you remember long after you’ve finished the actual authored experience. And that’s what makes games, potentially, a tremendously evocative art form.

      • PaganPoet says:

        I laughed out loud in ME2 after Grunt’s loyalty mission. If you manage to actually kill the Thresher Maw, EDI informs the party that there have been several mating requests from the krogans for Grunt, and one for Shepard.

      • Halloween_Jack says:

        OMG the Cain. I too couldn’t figure it out at first, but once I broke down and read the wiki, I realized that a) it has to be at at least 100% to fire, b) you have to be exposed for 4 seconds while it charges, which is a bit of a problem most of the time with most of the foes that you’d use it on (unless you have Tali or Legion pop a drone for a distraction first, or you do if you’re an Engineer), and c) if it hits too close to you, you’ll nuke yourself, too. Once you get all that sorted out, though: tactical nuke! It’s especially fun when you’re in an enclosed space (I used it on the geth boss in Tali’s loyalty mission–that’s right, I used a tactical nuke on the bridge of a starship, because that’s how I fucking roll) and you have to get it just right in order to avoid frying yourself. So much damn fun.

    • Girard says:

      I obviously can’t draw any conclusions about it now, but from what I’ve seen so far, Double Fine’s new adventure seems fairly “bespoke” to me. Aesthetically its textured, painterly style evokes Yuri Norstein, one of my favorite animators, and is a style I’ve drawn upon in my own little animation projects. The self-conscious mechanical nods to LucasArts classic adventures likewise reach down to some bone-deep ludic aesthetic preferences I have. It’s too early to say, but it feels a bit like the sort of game I think of when I fond myself thinking “I wish there were more games like _______.”

      Kentucky Route Zero’s blend of Lynch, text adventures, graphical adventures, and a strong aesthetic gives me a similar feeling that that game’s constellation of influences is right up my proverbial alley.

      • SamPlays says:

        When I saw the screen shots, it instantly reminded me of Flashback and Out of this World. Aesthetically, those types of games appeal to me but history has demonstrated that I’m not very good at playing them. I did manage to get to the TV studio in Flashback, though, which I think is pretty good.

    • GhaleonQ says:

      That’s basically how I described Skull/Dokuro in my NeoGAF Games Of The Year post, but the closest anyone has come is Little/King Story.

      -ex-Lovedelic lead Yoshiro Kimura, likely the nicest of the 3
      -produced by Yasuhiro Wada, 1 of the industry’s good guys who remain standing
      -art game leanings without self-satisfaction about having them
      -real-time strategy with puzzle, role-playing, and graphic adventure elements
      -Yutaka Minobe and Yoko Shimomura (my favorite video game composer) on music doing…
      .-..rearrangements of popular Romantic-era art music
      -music contributed by Swimmingpoo1, a sort-of-obscure band I like on a not-obscure label I like called Novel Sounds (think Flau, Noble, or Room40)
      -deeply cute, funny, and sincere with a sudden profound shift into thoughtful existentialism and darkness
      -gibberish voices
      -hugely substantive in gameplay and tone
      -oil-on-glass animation inspired by my favorite animator, Aleksandr Petrov (who’s not as popular in Japan as Norshtein, but is, like, a thing)
      -cow knight

      My tastes can be idiosyncratic, so no one should have ever come that close to matching them.  I have never been more excited for a game from the initial magazine reveal to release.

      (Unless I just want to see what a game is like, I always finish, almost always 100 percent, so going on about this is all i can contribute here.)

      • Girard says:

        I think most folks, you included, have multiple idiosyncrasies, which also make a question like this fruitful. Like, the two games I mentioned above are somewhat similar graphic adventure throwbacks, and appeal to a largely overlapping set of idiosyncratic tastes (gameplay-wise, and a little bit visually).

        But I’m sure I could come up with other, very different games, that feel “tailor made” for me. 

        Another variable, I suppose, is time. In many respects, FF9 was tailor-made for high school me, who had gotten deeply into PSX JRPGs in middle school, and had spent the time since emulating older exemplars of the genre, from which FF9 drew. Starship Titanic is probably a good example of a game superficially tailor-made for my high school sensibility (Doug Adams AND Terry Jones AND text adventures AND graphic adventures?!) but that I actually didn’t enjoy a whole lot.

      • Enkidum says:

        “Cow knight” as a reason to keep playing is better than anything anyone else has posted. Anywhere, about anything.

    • Merve says:

      A bunch of games fit this description for me:

      Psychonauts – There are three things I enjoy more than almost anything: 3D platformers; humour; and twisted imaginations. Someone decided to put all three in a video game. That person is a genius.

      – The Deus Ex series – I’m quite fond of the cyberpunk aesthetic. The Deus Ex games use that backdrop to tell stories about weighty issues like politics, technology, transhumanism, and economic disparities. But I also enjoy the games for how they seamlessly mesh combat, stealth, puzzling, and conversation into a unified experience. (By the way, I’m not including Invisible War here, because it sucked.)

      – The Mass Effect series – Two words: SPACE WIZARD.

      Sleeping Dogs – I’m quite a fan of the open-world genre, but I find that too often, such games get bogged down in unnecessary nonsense. (Um, why do I have to go to pilot school in San Andreas again?) Sleeping Dogs is an open-world crime game without the bullshit, and it has sensible checkpointing to boot. More than that, though, I like games that have a real sense of place. Sleeping Dogs’ version of Hong Kong evokes…something. I’m not sure exactly what. Maybe it’s not what a bustling Chinese metropolis is really like. But it’s still a place I’d like to visit.

      • SamPlays says:

        I missed out on Psychonauts back in the PS2 days but apparently it’s on sale for like $4.99 on the Playstation Store. Sounds a like a no-brainer for me. I’ve only played Deus Ex Human Revolutions and it made a lasting impression. I found the stealth system a bit strange at first but it ended up being one of the most enjoyable aspects of the game. I gradually learned the rules and methods of sneaking around by the mid-way point, which made me want to go back to the beginning because I was pretty sloppy with it at first. Your comment about Sleeping Dogs also reminds me of what it was like to navigate the environments in Deus Ex. 

    • valondar says:

      Well besides the most obvious choices (Crusader Kings, Mass Effect, Alpha Centauri) I guess I’ll say Machinarium. I have a sneaking love of weird sci-fi Czech animation. And now it’s an adventure game?

      • Girard says:

        Ooh, Amanita’s entire output is pretty much “bespoke” to me. My Bohemian blood has a congenital affinity for weird Czech animation, and beautiful, quirky, laid-back graphic adventuring teased out of that aesthetic world? I’m all over that.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Send that in as a question. The Game Made For You. I can probably count games that speak directly to me on one hand, but it’s so wonderful when they do.

      Which is why I was literally depressed for some time after beating Mass Effect. It was like someone made a space saga for me and it was awesome and then it was OVER.

      • Girard says:

        Hopefully the attentiveness the staff have to the comments here (with Comment Cat and all) will alert folks to this question idea if they find it useful. Maybe, though, I’ll actually send it in to the email address listed, too.

    • The very first Red Faction (and to a lesser extent, Return to Castle Wolfenstein).

      Both games fully take the FPS mechanic to brilliant and variable places – shooting, vehicles, stealth, plotting – and both have ridiculous stories to justify them, and there’s so much in variety of level designs and objections that you’re always on your toes.

      Honestly, we should be talking about these games pretty much every single day.

  40. Swadian Knight says:

    I’m like the anti Steve Heisler: I once had to house-sit for a family member who’d just moved into their new place while they went out of town, and the only distraction available was a PS3 with a copy of Uncharted, which I finished about 13 times, practically in a row, over the course of the following two days. Sadly (for me), I agree with Mr. Heisler: the game is just not particularly interesting, and what little appeal it has quickly fades after the first playthrough. I don’t think I’ll ever touch another Uncharted game if I can help it.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      That King Harlaus. Sure, he invites you to “a feast”, but you always end up sitting his fucking castle and all he has is Uncharted? You have to put an end to that abusive relationship. He’s not good for you.

    • SamPlays says:

      I thought Uncharted was a fun game but it defines “popcorn experience” and is fairly mindless, even with the “puzzles” and platforming. My only lasting memory is the monsters in the Nazi bunker. It felt like the game was forcing me to change my play style – I tend to play pretty conservatively, creeping along, using a lot of cover, setting up headshots, etc. But I had to change up this approach in the bunkers because the monsters were too quick for me to aim accurately. Much to my chagrin, I ended up running and gunning through the level, which worked like gangbusters. 

      I have to admit really liking Uncharted 2. The added gloss and superficiality was balanced by some genuinely exciting and much more diverse level designs. The third game was kind of a slog for me but I’m sure I’ll be playing future installments.

      • Bad Horse says:

        I don’t know if I like Uncharted 2 as much as I used to, but I will say that very few games have made me shit as many bricks. When you’re having a gunfight while taking helicopter fire, the building suddenly collapses, and you have to make one of those action hero leaps to survive, that’s something more AAA games should have.

  41. doyourealize says:

    I might be breaking the rules a little, but I got here late and most of the games that answer your question are already mentioned, so I’ve got two games I haven’t finished that I still think about every now and then…and want to finish.

    The first and most heart-aching failure is Fear Effect 2, which I loved. I played through the first and was loving the second. I got to a part where I was in some kind of dream world (with Deke, I think) and just travelling from room to room all similarly designed. One of the rooms had a fight that, for some reason, I couldn’t beat. I don’t know what it was, but I feel like it was just normal enemies in an impossible space. I have that game sitting in front of my TV still, waiting to be finished…even though I’d probably have to start all over.

    The second is Silent Hill 4: The Room. I completed the first two, didn’t like the third at all, and found my original sense of adventure in the fourth. I especially loved the actual “room”, a small area you wandered around in first-person, slowing uncovering more details after each level of the game proper. However, at some point, I kept dying by who I assume is the end boss (though not at the end of the game), a dude with a shotgun in a field somewhere. As I’m writing this, I guess this game better answers the original question, but I still think about going back sometimes. I liked the feel in that game.

    I am also fine with never having beaten the final boss in Condemned: Criminal Origins, who is a little bitch that sucks hardcore.

    • caspiancomic says:

       Silent Hill 4 is a good answer, I never finished that either (geez, the more of these comments I read, the more I realize I never finish anything). I’m a big fan of the first three games in the series, and actually quite like The Room as well, but for whatever reason I never gathered much momentum in it. I think it’s because you can return to your apartment periodically- it helped diffuse a lot of the tension that the game otherwise did a good job of making omnipresent. I mean, the game has unkillable enemies that can pass through walls and follow you into different sections of each level (terrifying!), but it also allows you to travel back to your bachelor pad and get into your jim-jams and collect your thoughts over a mug of cocoa (not terrifying at all.) I understand that later in the game your apartment actually becomes more dangerous, but I never got that far.

      • PaganPoet says:

        The apartment actually becomes downright terrifying later in the game. I’ll never forget almost wetting my manties when I saw crying demon babies spawning from my wall. =[

  42. Zack Handlen says:

    FINAL FANTASY XIII broke me. I made it to the big open monster-hunting part of the game, and I was kind of enjoying it, and then I realized that jumping back into the story just meant another ten to fifteen hours of rail-RPGing, so I gave up. (It helped that I had a roommate who was also playing the game; I just let him finish it, because why would both us have to suffer?) 

    I’ve never been able to get very far in GTAIV. Or any of the GTA games, really. I love the concept, I’ll get into the style and the mood of it, and then I’ll hit a mission that depends too much on me being overcome so-so controls, and I’ll balk. Or, and this is less dramatic but happens a lot more often, I’ll just forget to play for a week or so, and then when I try and get back to it, I’ll have forgotten where everything is, and what I’m supposed to be doing. 

    I’m getting close to dropping LEGEND OF ZELDA SKYWARD SWORD, which is bumming the hell out of me. I don’t know if it’s the control system or the slow pace, but so far, I haven’t been swept away by the story or looked at combat as anything more than a mildly tedious chore. I like the characters well enough, and the game looks great, but after reading a lot of rapturous reviews, that doesn’t seem like enough to keep me going. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      The few hours of FFXIII I played broke the news to me that Square Enix was not the same company that had lit my imagination on fire as a teenager. Also, that I was no longer a teenager.

    • double_hawk says:

       I don’t know how far along in Skyward Sword you are but in my opinion the fights do get pretty fun, especially the boss duels

      • Zack Handlen says:

        I’m a bit into the second dungeon. The game was starting to grow on me some, but I got distracted by other things, and haven’t found much need to go back to it. But I have heard it gets better as it goes, so hopefully I’ll give it another shot soon.

    • Wade says:

      If I could just drive totally chill through San Andreas in a freshly jacked convertible chevy, listening to TuPac wax lyrical about Californian Dreamin’, while only stopping to pop a cap in some presumptious Baller tough guy wannabe who dares to front when I pass by, then I would be in heaven. Forget safe houses, Triad night clubs, or rogue CIA bullshit.

    • indy2003 says:

      I actually wound up dropping TWILIGHT PRINCESS midway through for the same reason. The game had some terrific moments, but the tedium outweighed the fun in a way that I hadn’t experienced in any other Zelda game.

    • You may want to look above and check out some of the issues I had with Skyward Sword as well. To me it’s a combination of questionable level design decisions (that get MORE questionable later in the game) and a combat mechanic that has trouble differentiating between swinging the sword and positioning it.

  43. dreadguacamole says:

    JRPGs and Nintendo games, with a few honorable exceptions. I’ll enjoy them for a while, but if I drop them for any amount of time, chances are I’ll never be arsed to get back to them.

  44. Effigy_Power says:

    My experience that was is very similar to Matt Kodners. I was introduced to fantasy very early on by my role-playing brother and his friends and would spend evenings watching them hurl dice and insults at each other until it was my bed-time. So essentially I never saw the end of one of their adventures, which may be the reason why I never finished, despite all best intentions, the first fantasy computer game I ever attempted.
    It was called “Legend of Faerghail” (my mom probably allowed me to play it because of the Gaelic name, she’s weird like that) and was some Eye-of-the-Beholder-clone on the Amiga.
    The game featured what I remember as a pretty vast surface land with tons of enemies and loot, and from there you can enter a handful of dungeons with varying themes. Those varying themes made sure I never played the game to the end. No character in your group is as good as the one you create, so the main char’s class more or less determined the difficulty of the dungeon. A trap-filled dungeon would be infinitely easier with a thief-main, a dungeon heavy with undead would be cakewalk for the priest. By the same logic, at least one of the dungeons would be almost impossible for a certain class. Good luck fighting the magic flinging phantoms with your warrior… kiss your armor goodbye.
    After a while and my nth attempt at finishing the game, I’d know what dungeon has what problems and avoid it, then start a new game.
    LoF was my first RPG and one I remember fondly, but not one I was ever going to subject myself to finish, simply because the last 1 or 2 hours of dungeoneering would be nothing but punishment.

  45. Matt Bean says:

    Bioshock. It’s frequently on “Best Game of All Time” lists. And I can
    see why. There’s much to love from the graphics, to the game play and of
    course to the story. Shame is, I never made it to the revolutionary,
    spoilery, moment I’ve only been able read about. Because along the way
    of blasting bad guys and saving/sacrificing little sisters…

    You have to find about a dozen bottles of water. For some convoluted
    busywork reason that takes you out of the fun. Fine, I stuck with it for
    three hours only to still need one bottle of water. No help from the
    game map. I’ve checked countless websites and they say it might even be a
    glitch. This stopped me dead in my tracks. Way to screw up an amazing
    gaming experience so I can hunt for bottled water.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       Weird. I don’t remember that at all.

      • Matt Bean says:

        Probably because it’s not a huge part of the game. It’s one of those innocuous busywork tasks they throw at you. It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes if it goes properly. But whether it was a glitch or just stupidity on my part, it just ground the game to a halt.

    • Jason Reich says:

      Bioshock : Jason Reich :: Dark Souls : Steve Heisler/other outraged gamers

    • Merve says:

      BioShock’s underwater art deco hyper-capitalist paradise is an interesting place, isn’t it? Propaganda posters, opera houses, crazy steampunk contraptions – they’re all lovingly rendered, creating a real sense of place. In its ruined state, it almost seems as if it’s meant to be explored, so you can uncover its history like an archaeologist. In short, Rapture is one of the most fascinating, unique settings in any video game.

      And then they put fucking fetch quests in it.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        It’s like the map in LA Noire. All the range, look, theme, graphical prowess or realism are absolutely worthless if you don’t use them properly.
        You can replicate the Sistine Chapel all you want, but if the only thing available inside is to fetch 5 golden cups for the pope, I couldn’t care less.

  46. duwease says:

    It’s funny that the article pic is FFX.. I’m normally a “do everything, get all achievements” completionist, and I think FFX is the only one in the entire series (aside from the NES 2 and 3) that I just dropped.  That would be my first and main choice.

    Blitzball.. ugh.  *shakes head*

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      You recruit Brother and swim circles around the rink and then pass to Tidus for an easy score.

      I have played at least 100 games of Blitzball. It was the perfect “15 minutes before work” time waster.

  47. dmikester says:

    There are two that leap to mind for me, one old-schoolish, the other from 2011.  I’m sure there are others that I’m not remembering, but these definitely stand out for me. 

    The old school one is Vagrant Story, which is a game where I absolutely loved the story and mood but had an incredibly hard time getting my mind around the gameplay and eventually gave it up after about the second or third boss.  I actually bought it as a PSOne Classic a long time ago; it’s telling that I haven’t dared start it again, though I think I’ve matured enough as a gamer that I could handle it.

    The 2011 one is Skyward Sword, which is a real tragedy for me.  I’m a huge Zelda fan, and have completed all of them to 100% minus some of the handheld ones, and I was ready to get blown away by Skyward Sword (pun sort of intended).  But the motion controls were SO bad that I gave up midway through the first dungeon and have felt absolutely no desire to go back, even though I know it’s a major Zelda game I haven’t even seen most of and that it’s important to the story.  When not being able to accomplish something in a game happens not because the game is just legitimately difficult and requires you to hone your skills (a la Super Hexagon like John Teti talked about above) but because the controls inhibit something that should be simple, like say landing on a platform with a Heart Piece that in any other Zelda game would have required some maneuvering and maybe a puzzle or two but not endless retries with finicky game design, it’s time for me to step away.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

       I did not understand How To Be Good At Vagrant Story.

    • Crusty Old Dean says:

      I bought Vagrant Story when it was released for PSN and put a few hours into it but I did not get it at all (the supposed appeal nor the gameplay mechanics)…

      I got my ass pretty thoroughly kicked in the first dungeon of Skyward Sword but the controls clicked with me eventually and I learned to love them.

    • Halfway through the first dungeon was when I knew that Skyward Sword was not the game I was looking for.

    • ApesMa says:

      I assume you’re talking about jumping down into the cave in the lava area, and I’m sorry but I can’t see how that could be at all difficult. The controls in that game are weirdly devisive, those of you who dislike them have all these issues that people like me just don’t, others are somewhere in between. Swordfighting in particular was fantastic, I don’t get why anyone would want to go back to buttons after that.

      • dmikester says:

        Here’s the point and why it’s divisive; it’s not difficult as in tough but fair and something you can master through skill (like say Ninja Gaiden Black), but needlessly tedious and frustrating in ways it had absolutely no need to be.  It wasn’t jumping down into the cave that was hard, it was angling it so you landed on the Heart Piece.  Basically anything that required precision of any kind was so aggravating for me and I assume the many other people who dislike the game that it just took away any of the fun.  The controls became the focus of the difficulty rather than the game itself, which is a huge issue for me (and again, I assume many other people).  If it’s not for you, then I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  48. dmikester says:

    Bioshock!  That’s one I’d totally forgotten about.  I’d heard all about the great story and gameplay and quit about two or three hours in.  I vaguely remember the bottles of water, and I think I might have quit around the same time.  I think you hit on the problem; a lot of the game did feel like busywork and just took me out of the experience.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      I think at times it’s hard to forget how much of gaming in general is just busy-work to pass the time. Sure, there are examples of games that sweep you through the story without forcing you to do something too tedious, Sleeping Dogs did that fairly well as a late example.
      But in general, when you consider it, there are very few games that do not pad out the timer by making you fetch some asinine and inconsequential item for some half-baked NPC, just so a door opens 5 minutes away where you just came from.
      Somehow some games dress it up better, but it’s always there… and when the game doesn’t really have the plot power or visual aesthetics to hide that, it becomes a real hindrance.

      • dmikester says:

        I completely agree.  And it’s weird, because when a game really hooks me I get super, super into the busy work, like getting 100% in GTA games or the fact that right now I’m going through surveying every world in the first Mass Effect…for a second time.  But for whatever reason, Bioshock just didn’t hook me enough, and it would be worth really thinking about why.  I wonder if it’s because the busywork seemed so incongruous with the rest of the gameplay.  My strongest memory of Bioshock was feeling constantly distracted by what felt like overwrought game design when what I really wanted to do was get lost in the world and explore.

        • Merve says:

          This. BioShock feels like a game where you’re meant to explore, so things that feel like an impediment to progress ruin the sense of immersion.

        • Bad Horse says:

          See I always saw the fetch quests as an excuse to explore.

        • SamPlays says:

          The goddamn planet-scanning from ME2 was such a stupidly brilliant thing to put in the game. I generally do not engage in completion-oriented behavior but I spent a hella lot of time searching planets. Maybe it was the scanning interface, or that I have a passing interest in space, or maybe because you occasionally came across a side-mission or novelty/treasure. Regardless, my wife thought I was playing the dumbest game ever whenever she walked into the room. But I always had enough minerals for the main story upgrades.

        • Merve says:

          @SamPlays:disqus: Can I make a confession? I actually kind of like planet scanning. It was something relaxing I could zone out to for half an hour at a time.

        • dmikester says:

          @Merve2:disqus I haven’t even gotten to ME2 yet, and I love the planet scanning in ME1.  I agree; there’s something weirdly soothing about it, and it feels like you’re really exploring these unexplored worlds.  I also love that a pretty large number of them don’t have anything of importance in them; they’re just worlds, there to see and note but then to just move on from.  The relaxing music also plays a big part.

        • Merve says:

          @dmikester:disqus: In ME2, you don’t actually land on the planets, though. Planet-scanning is a kind of mini-game that looks something like this:

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          Here’s the thing about ME2 planet-scanning: it’s so mindless that, if you have someone you want to have a nice long phone call with, you can mute the sound, put in your phone headset, and have a conversation with far less distraction than you would if you were driving. You can’t say that about the endless fussy inventory management of ME1 or the fetch quests in ME3 that often end up with you dodging Reapers.

    • Get back in there!  It’s worth it to make it to the garden levels at least!

      • dmikester says:

        Yeah, I really, really should.  There are just sooooo many other games out there right now. I was hoping to catch up on old games at the end of this year, so I’ll put Bioshock on the top of the list when that comes.  Just need to get through the Mass Effect trilogy and Ni no Kuni for now…

    • doyourealize says:

      I finished the first game, but I got to the level in Bioshock 2 that makes you kill all the big daddies to move forward (you know that thing that was an optional sidequest in all the other levels, now you have to do it!), died while stealing the Adam from a corpse, and figured, “Well, that was fun. What can I play next?”

  49. As a Nintendo loyalist, I had to suffer through some otherwise insufferable games during the N64 years, but I finished them. Not necessarily “100% completion” finished, but achieved the final ending and was more than happy to put the game down.

    Until two Rare games finally broke me.

    I finished both Banjo-Kazooie games and loved the hell out of Conker’s Bad Fur Day, but the “collectathon” forumla started to really wear thin around the time I made it to Donkey Kong 64. I gave it my best effort, I really did. I even eventually got the golden banana for beating the original arcade Donkey Kong game’s four levels, despite their shoddy hit detection, impossiblly-shallow fall tolerance, and overall primitiveness (and I say that as someone who was alive to play the game in the arcade in the early 80s, although most of my experience was on the much easier Atari 2600 version). That was agony, but I was never so elated as when I finally beat that big monkey on the fourth level.

    Then I found out I had to do that again in order to get the Nintendo Coin I needed to access the final boss. At a higher difficulty level.

    Screw. That. Noise.

    I didn’t even make it to the point where I actually needed the coin; I just put the game down where I was (haunted mansion level, I think; somewhere towards the end anyway) and never looked back.

    The second game was Jet Force Gemini. Everything about this game was awesome, and I was really getting into it. I got to the first “ending” and then the game really opened up by connecting the three characters’ paths… in order to inflict another collectathon upon me. Still, I’ve survived worse, right? I mean, I was able to beat Canary Mary in Banjo-Tooie–twice (without cheating! Ask me about my inhuman button mashing skills that were honed during that torture). And the mechanics are still engaging enough that tracking down all of the ship parts should be fun…

    …until they asked me to gold-medal a specific Floyd mission. Up until that point, the Floyd missions were entirely optional. Given their poor controls and no-leeway tolerances for success I was content to give them a miss. But one ship part laid in wait at the end of one of these tortuous obstacle courses. I would need that in order to reach the true ending.

    You know what? No. I had better things to do with my time and stress levels.

    I still feel kind of bad about that one (unlike DK64). But I stand by that decision.

    • Dikachu says:

      I loved the hell out of Banjo-Kazooie, but I found Banjo-Tooie to be pretty subpar… it seemed like a rush job in a lot of places, and the goddamn N64 could barely handle the graphics in some places.  I also tried to get thru Conker but I found it horrendously lacking in a lot of places… you could tell they just kinda gave up at one point and rushed it to production.

    • rvb1023 says:

      Man, I loved Jet Force Gemini but as a kid the game was too long and hard. I don’t think I have ever felt so lost playing a game, except for maybe Minecraft.

    • SamPlays says:

      When it comes to platformers, I’ve only gotten into the “collect-a-thon” spirit with the first Jak and Daxter game. I think I actually found all of the Cadbury Cream Eggs but afterwards I really questioned the point of going through the trouble. I’ve never gone out of my to collect things in games since then – planet-scanning in ME2 doesn’t count!

    • DK64 was the game that soured me finally on the 3D collect-a-thon gameplay as well, but there were so many others that contributed to it as well – GEX 2 and 3, Jersey Devil, Croc, Crash Bandicoot, some Looney Tunes game, Spyro – people often forget how FUCKING many there were, all of them fun in their own right, but GODDAMN.

  50. Wade says:

    I remember being terribly invested and interested in a couple of games that I just put down and haven’t gone back too.

    I did that with San Andreas, which I loved until that bastard flight school mission – although i nearly quit after trying the David Cross voiced RC plane mission. And then the “Vegas” missions were boring to me.

    GTA IV was just interminable to me. I got maybe 4 hours into that, and it was just tedium.

    I also did that with LA Noire. I was fascinated for a couple of hours, then got bored with it. I kind of want to go back to that one because I know that it got better from where I left off… but meh.

    I can see why people would feel that way about Uncharted. I kind of think that’s why those games aren’t real long in the tooth as far as complexity of plot and time length. They’re fairly simple and not that long. They’re almost more about playing the run and gun just to get to the story scenes. For me they were worth it. But I agree it can get a little tiresome with the shooting shooting shooting. I think they got better with that each game though, integrating story and character into the action. But had the games been a couple of hours longer, yeah would have dropped them.

  51. For me the rare exception of a game I’ve put more than 5 hours into and never finished is Half Life 2. It’s a really simple reason too. Every time I’ve played it, I get a few hours in and something happens where I can’t go any further. Saved game corruption, repeated crashing, etc. It’s not that I don’t like the game, but at this point I feel like I’m cursed so fuck it.

    • valondar says:

       I never finished the original Half Life. I was really impressed by it at the time, so I can never remember why I didn’t. Other concerns, I guess (that and I rarely finished the single player in FPS games anyway).

  52. duwease says:

    Oh, I’ve got an odd one that I’ve never quite been able to explain.  Super Meat Boy.  I beat that sucker, and then I went back and I beat enough Dark Side levels to unlock the “FINAL final” level and get the true ending.  I was playing through the final level –the second part of the final level, even — and I just.. stopped wanting to finish.

    I still don’t get why to this day, but I still also don’t really care about doing it.  It wasn’t the hardest level, it wasn’t the longest, there was nothing particularly stand-out-ish about it.  Considering the length of SMB levels, I was literally 60 seconds or so away from the end game.. although, like the final “60 seconds” of a basketball game, it was probably going to be more like 30 minutes.  But in spite of all that, the compulsive, competitive part of my brain had just decided that it had had enough.

    As a person very interested in the behavioral psychology of game design, it really intrigues me.  None of the common knowledge around the art would indicate why it happened.  Do people have reserves of patience that eventually wear out, even in tiny increments at a time, no matter how close the goal is at hand?  I feel like there’s some sort of higher knowledge about human motivation there, begging to be found.

    • doyourealize says:

      Now you always have something left incomplete, something that makes you feel like there’s still more out there…

  53. If I’m going to abandon a game I almost always do it because I realize I think it’s a garbage game (Demon’s Souls) in the first 5 hours. If I like a game I will almost always see it through to the end.

    The rare exception of a game I like but never finished is Half Life 2, and it’s a simple reason why; the universe doesn’t want me to play Half Life 2. Every time I try I get a few hours in and something happens to stop me. Saved game corruption, constant crashing, etc. So eventually I said fuck it and stopped trying.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      The biggest problem is that Half-Life 2 is not fun. It’s like your computer(s) is trying to help you as best it can.

  54. Thomas Crane says:

    Final Fantasy X-2 right before the end
    Resident Evil: Code Veronica (got stuck in a staircase and was like “fuck it”)
    GTA IV (got my fill before I could complete it)
    Final Fantasy XII
    Fallout 3
    Persona 4 (lack of save spots and Kanji’s Bath House kick my ass)

    I want to add that Borderlands 2 owns my gaming life right now. So much fun.

  55. Too many games to list, but most recently, freaking Far Cry 3.  The game does a lot of things right and it does a lot of things wrong, but as I get further the number one thing that irks me is minor; you can’t skip cut scenes.

    And when the cut scenes are as bad as they are in FC3 it’s just not worth it.

  56. Dikachu says:

    I will say, due to the PS3’s trophy system and being able to compare trophies with other people, I’ve completed a lot more shit than I would have otherwise.  I try to go for 100% completion on most of the ones I buy, with the exception of ones like GTA and Little Big Planet which require utterly excessive effort to get.

  57. Kyle Pinion says:

    Skyrim and Red Dead Redemption are the two that come immediately to mind for me. I’ve greatly enjoyed both, but Skyrim is just a case of maybe TOO MUCH game that the whole thing starts to overwhelm me and I yearn to go play Portal or something, and RDR…those endless vistas, while beautiful start to grate when you’re tracking back and forth on them. My best excuses anyway…

  58. stakkalee says:

    Red Dead: Redemption just left me cold.  I got about 10 hours into it and then the repetitive missions and stereotypical NPCs just wore me down.  Plus, I couldn’t find anything in John Marsten to grab on to and identify with; if I’m not playing a self-made character, one I can imbue with my own chosen qualities, if I’m instead playing someone pre-made, then they need to have personality, and Marsten doesn’t.  I have a weird relationship with the Western genre – I either love it (whatever “it” happens to be) or I’m completely indifferent to it, and RDR fell into the latter category.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      John Marsten definitely had the personality of cardboard. I’ve complained about the endless libertarian ride-alongs, but people here chastised me for it before.

      But they’re there and they’re endless. It’s like being tuned into a talk radio station while on your way to the mission. Talk about plains life or whisky or anything, but I don’t play games for politics.

      • stakkalee says:

        I’m not fundamentally opposed to politics in games, even politics that are normally anathema to my actual beliefs.  And westerns have always had a ton of political symbolism, with the rugged Western Individual chafing against the exanding order of the effete Eastern State – you can read westerns as libertarian vs. collectivist, democratic vs. authoritarian, Male vs. Female, even morals vs. ethics.  But I don’t need to have the same damn conversation with the sheriff, the conman AND the corpse-fucker!

    • Wade says:

      I think with RDR, it really does tend to be about the long game as far as the main character goes.

      For the first third of the game, you get a bit of his story, but it’s just a typical reformed bad guy story. And the side missions are kind of depressing and almost hopeless. As you get further on, you start to see Marston in comparison to the other cast of characters, and it changes the way you think of him. Especially as the various supporting cast start to tie together in the last few missions before crossing into Mexico.

      And further in, the contrast of Marston with the later characters becomes more dramatic and revealing, as well as the depresing side missions, which begin to weave a pretty interesting big picture. And the last couple of hours of the game are amazing as far as storyline.

      I don’t want to be too apologistic for RDR. I know exactly what you mean in the first part, the game can be a long haul. I too dove into MP for a long time before getting back into the SP and finding what was great about it.

    • Dikachu says:

      I only got about 3-4 hours into RDR… for me, though, it was the controls.  They’re just so unforgiveably BAD, even worse than GTA.  Why they fuck does Rockstar want to punish the player so much???

      • Effigy_Power says:

        That was my issue too. Looking around while on a horse or, god forbid, shooting at something… unbearable.
        Not that the 28 fingers you need to control this game make the controls any better or more responsive. They are just completely and unnecessarily confusing.

        • SamPlays says:

          I don’t know what it is exactly but I’ve never found the controls in GTA or RDR that bad. I’ve heard similar complaints about the aiming system in Uncharted. It’s an interesting contrast in subjective experiences but I’ve always been able to find a comfortable groove in playing these games. But I can’t say the same for any of the Metal Gear Solid games. It always felt like I was continually learning how to control my character, even after 8-10 hours of play.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Makes perfect sense to me. Controls and how we use controllers are by far the most subjective aspect of gaming and it figures that some people will love a control scheme hated by others.
          That said, the developers don’t exactly help us by not allowing us to freely program the buttons -or- if they do, don’t have the game update the button designation for tutorials or action-sensitive commands.

  59. zed_zeddington says:

    Star Ocean 2 for me.  I had been enjoying the game quite a bit and was clearly approaching the final boss, but I didn’t want to miss any content so I went around and explored a little while.  At some point there is a special event you can trigger where an NPC disappears or something, and the final boss says “haha! She was my limiter! Now I can show you my true power!”  Once I finally go fight him, I get absolutely pummeled over and over again to the point that I go to a walkthrough (which I hate doing) and discover that, without this event, you can kill the boss at level 70 or so, but after it, it requires you to be level 200 or so.  Even though I am a rotating-3-save-slot guy, none of them were pre-event, and I didn’t see any easy or non-time-consuming way of gaining 100+ levels, so I gave up.  Really kind of mean game design that you get *punished* for exploring.

    • Effigy_Power says:

      My gf played Star Ocean 2 and gave up way before you, which now I am glad about, because she’s someone who would backtrack an entire level in Dungeon Siege 3 if she knew she forgot a coin.
      Punishing the player for taking their time (especially when it’s not announced anywhere) is a dick move, but not exactly one that’s uncommon in JRPGs.
      When we played FF12 and read somewhere that we couldn’t get the most powerful weapon in the game because right at the beginning there was an unmarked and unremarkable chest we weren’t supposed to open, 30 hours into the game, …
      Screw that.

  60. COACH HUGHES says:

    I have NEVER finished an entry in the GTA series, on any platform, ever. At a certain point, I either get bogged down in a tough mission, give up and find something else to do, or I get so immersed in the virtual world surrounding the game that I lose focus on the storyline. GTAIV lost me at the (god damned) helicopter flying mission and there’s not enough going on in the virtual world to keep my attention so there it sits, unplayed since 2009. 

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Same. Got pretty far in GTA3, quit trying to Save Lance in Vice City, hardly played the others.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      Same here, all the way back to the top-down GTA 1 and 2.  Try a few missions, get annoyed, go back to wandering the city blowing things up.

  61. jcagney says:

    Dragon’s Dogma. So much potential. Such a dull, repetitive mess of a game.

  62. Mike_Bracken says:

    I’m pretty anal about finishing games — even the ones I don’t like (says the guy who put over 75 hours into FF XIII just so people couldn’t say “oh, the game got a lot better — you should have kept at it ’til you got to this part…”), but Dragon’s Dogma is the most recent one where I threw in the towel early. 

    I was honestly okay with most of the game (sure, it’s basically Capcom’s take on a generic western RPG, but the pawn system was neat), but the lack of a fast travel feature was finally the straw that broke my spirit. I haven’t spent that much time aimlessly walking in a game since the trek from Windurst to Jeuno to get my Chocobo license in Final Fantasy XI. At least all that walking made sense. You can technically fast travel in Dragon’s Dogma, but it’s not something you can do for most of the early part of the game. I’d sit down with an hour to play, pick a quest, and never even get close to the location (because you wind up fighting ten thousand bandits littered along your path) before my time was up and I had to do something else. It’s a baffling design decision that messes up an otherwise interesting game. The good news is it appears they’re fixing it in this newly announced version. Maybe I’ll finally finish the game now…

    • doyourealize says:

      & @jcagney:disqus  – I had the same reaction as you two for the first part of the game, but at some point, something clicked. I don’t know what it was – and I still shake my head at the refusal to include a real fast travel or the inclusion of nonstop groups of snow harpies and snow wolves whose battle tactic is to run away – but by the end these were also things that made the game a little more endearing. I can’t remember a game in which my knowledge of every area was so complete the way it is in Dragon’s Dogma.

      I guess what I’m saying is, I understand what you’re saying, but still think you’re missing out.

      • Mike_Bracken says:

        I feel like I missed out, for sure — which is why I’m interested in the Dark Arisen expansion pack. Hopefully the “travel improvements” will remedy my one major issue with the game. 

        Of course, the idea of them releasing it at $40 is troubling…but this is Capcom, after all. :-)

      • jcagney says:

        I don’t think I’m missing out. With the exception of a few escort quests that I didn’t feel like doing, I played almost to the end. I got to the point at the end — just after the climactic battle — where the story completely stops making sense and the game essentially forces you to collect a bunch of stupid baubles from a bunch of pointless rooms. At that point, even the completionist in me was ready to move on to games that were actually enjoyable.

        • doyourealize says:

          Ah, didn’t realize you got that far. Yeah, that was weird, but I didn’t mind those rooms considering almost every one had some cool-ass monster to fight, and fighting those guys was my favorite part of the game.

  63. Haymz_Jetfield says:

    I usually play 20-30 hours of every Final Fantasy/JRPG, get wiped out by a boss I feel that I’m massively underleveled/geared/unprepared for and then walk away, usually for good. I figure by that point I’ve hit my sweet spot for enjoyment as well as more than gotten my money’s worth.

    I’ve just started Persona 3 FES and I can already feel this starting to happen with less than 10 hours into it.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Persona 3 FES is fantastic, one of my favorite games of all time, but if you hate dungeon grinding, it might not be the game for you. And I’d expect to be wiped out by a few bosses, but AT LEAST the game gives you a save point right before, so be sure to take advantage of that.

      • Haymz_Jetfield says:

        I’m actually enjoying the combat mechanic of it even if I did get wiped by the second ‘difficult’ enemy on the 10th Floor and I had neglected to save for the past hour or so.

        Does Tartarus ever change at all? I’m already sick of staring at those checkerboard textures.

        • PaganPoet says:

          It changes, yeah, but you will get sick of all the sections. That’s one of the bad parts of the game, Tartarus gets repetitive, visually and aurally. Eventually I just start muting the game and listen to my own music while grinding. I love the battles in the game, and I love the story and social sim section of the game, but exploring Tartarus is a bit of a chore.

          Whenever you get to a boss floor, be sure to activate the elevator. Not only does returning to the bottom floor replenish your HP and SP, but it also gives you a chance to save.

  64. MrTusks says:

    Someone may /cast Throw Stone at me for this, but Final Fantasy Tactics. I always hit a point where a battle is impossible to win without a very specific squad, and to get that squad you have to grind forever. I kinda go through cycles with this game…I just picked it up again recently and abandoned it after I lost the third battle because I knew I had to grind out a bunch of Wizards to win. That’s an easy thing to do, but it gave me Dragoon flashbacks from my first playthrough. No thanks, not again.

    Equally reprehensible is my abandonment of Dragon Age: Origins. I spend dozens of hours crafting the perfect team, but I have to fight Loghain one-on-one? My rogues and mages get splattered, my tanks hit like wet noodles. Goodbye.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Really? I have played through the game entirely twice, once with a dual-wield rogue and once with a tank, and both times I did just fine.

      The fight at the end of Act I in DA2, however, was an incredibly near thing. Thank the Maker for that Mabari War Hound.

      • MrTusks says:

        Yeah, I can’t explain it. Maybe some day I’ll go back and dump the difficulty to Easy just to progress, but I have so many other things to consume I may never get there.

  65. Markthulhu says:

    I quit trying to finish MechCommander (90s strategy game for the unfamiliar), because I’m pretty sure I’m destined to never beat it. The first time I just lost interest, but the second time my dad reformatted our computer and forgot to save some of my files, and the third time our comupter got messed up by some virus. I was more or less at the same point in the game at all three times, too. Maybe if it shows up on Steam or GOG I’ll give it another try, it’s pretty damn fun. But then my computer might just flatout catch fire or something, to maintain the curse.

  66. OldeFortran77 says:

    Um, Peggle? I’m pretty tenacious about wringing all the achievements out of a game.

    • Aurora Boreanaz says:

      It was so awesome when PopCap released Peggle as a mod for World of Warcraft, so you could play in-game while taking a gryphon across the continent.  I got all but 1-2 levels at 100%, but never could completely finish them.

      Then of course with the next big patch/expansion, the mods didn’t work any more.

      • Effigy_Power says:

        You don’t see a problem in that?
        A game that has stretches so pointlessly long and boring that a second game is made to pass the time, not to mention that the developers are fully aware of how boring and awful those passages are?
        That is exactly why I quit WoW…
        That and people yelling at me to show my tits.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          Oh, no, I totally get that.  From about the second expansion I was well known for bitching about the flight paths.  “So we have MAGIC PORTALS in the major cities, but only to the most current NEW one, and we still use scenic route flights to go anywhere else?  Tell me why the goddamn Mages Guild doesn’t just have portals everywhere now!”

          I even had my mage act as a taxi service for a while, portaling around between the major cities, to help offset the stupidity of this.

          Another thing I like about Guild Wars 2 – You have to travel on foot to the waypoints for the first time, but then you just pay a teleport fee to the Asurans for instant travel from then on.

          Also, sorry for the misogyny you had to deal with. Any time I wanted to look at a scantily-clad female character, I would just make my own rather than bother others.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          The misogyny aimed at my character I can take, people on a guild-forum asking girls to post nude pictures… not so much. ^_^
          All-girl guilds don’t alleviate that, since they are about 85% male.

  67. I never finished Final Fantasy 12. I loved the game. But I got stuck on that dragon boss after the bunny stripper village and ultimately had to stop 

  68. rvb1023 says:

    Other M and New Super Mario Brothers.  There are others but those I refused to continue playing for how terrible they were.

    • Mike_Bracken says:

      I’m weird — I actually like FF XII’s gambit system, particularly when compared to XIII and XIII-2’s paradigm set-up.

      • rvb1023 says:

        I just despise MMO combat and the battles were sluggish and boring for me. The only single-player game that has gotten MMO-style combat even remotely right is Xenoblade, which did away with MP, focused only on cooldowns, forced a greater level of teamwork between characters, and sped up the gameplay.

    • Citric says:

      But… but… I really like FFXII’s gameplay!

    • ApesMa says:

      The New Super Mario Bros. games are lazy because people keep buying them in massive numbers no matter what. The first one is the biggest selling DS game of all time and the #7 on any platform with 29 million copies, that’s more than SMB3 and SMW ever sold (and the latter was bundled with the SNES).

      The Wii version sold 26 million and is #10 on any platform. As a comparison the brilliant Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 sold 10 and 6 million respectively. Not much insentive to step up their game there.

      The best people and biggest resources are reserved for prestige titles like Zelda and the 3D Marios these days, NSMB sells itself.

      • rvb1023 says:

        Oh I am aware of the laziness at Nintendo (Case in point, two of the four people playing still play as generic toads, despite there being plenty of characters they could just throw in) but part of it is the fact these games have been so well received despite ignoring 20-some odd years of gameplay innovation. Games like NSMBW is mainly the reason I became so bitter towards Nintendo these past few years, though that Nintendo Direct conference went a long way to remedying that.

  69. taylorhicklen says:

    Heavy Rain is the only game I’ve had to flat-out walk away from. It was the week before finals, and I had just reached the part where you have to pick a finger- any finger- to methodically saw off. I had been pretty gung-ho about saving my virtual son until then, but after slicing off my pointer finger, I was more than happy to turn the game off and take a few deep breaths. The next day, I shipped it off to Goozex. No regrets.

  70. Goon Diapers says:

    Dallas Quest anyone? Nobody ever found a way out of the forest.

  71. The_Quirk says:

    I confess, I’m a serial dumper of games.  I quit Arkham City during the interminable fight w/ Mr. Freeze.  Quit Dragon Age II when it got boring.  Dumped Katamari Damarcy when it Got. Too. Fucking. Hard.  Same w/ Epic Mickey II.  The last game I finished was Lego Batman II.

    • DrFlimFlam says:

      Which is funny, because LEGO Batman 2 is roughly as glitchy as the rest of the franchise’s recent efforts.

  72. AmaltheaElanor says:

    Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS.  It was one of my first DS games I ever bought, and I loved Wind Waker.  And I enjoyed Phantom Hourglass – even slogging through that same Ocean King Temple a hundred times.  But then, some 3/4 of the way through the game, Link’s ship is boarded by the lady pirate (I think her name was Jasmine?) and the only way to continue the game is to defeat her, and the only way to defeat her is by hitting her three times from behind.  I swear, the difficulty on that fight was so illogical, especially considering how unreliable movements and sword-swinging are using the stylus and touch-screen (and no option for switching to the D-Pad).  I must’ve tried a dozen times in which I always died, and gave up and never went back to the game, even though I loved almost everything about it up until that point.  Stupid game.

    Also, Super Mario Galaxy 2.  Again, a follow-up to a game that I loved (the first SMG is in my top ten) and I know it got lots of praise, but I felt like they just changed or took away most everything that I loved about the first.  And even though I managed to get over 80 stars, at a certain point, I realized the game was just making me miss the first one; so I quit and played SMG again a couple dozen times.

    • ApesMa says:

      Regarding SMG2, I think it’s pretty much you against the world there. What didn’t you like about it?

      • AmaltheaElanor says:

        Yeah, I’m fine with being the only one who feels that way about SMG 2.

        I loved the first one and I think it was in large part because of how much it used the gravity element, with so many of the galaxies jumping from planetoid to planetoid.  To me, that’s the single biggest element that was removed from the second game that altered it just enough for me to be unhappy.  I didn’t think it was a bad game by any measure – I just wasn’t having any fun playing it, and eventually, my only drive to keep going was to justify the cost of buying it.

  73. Skywarp79 says:

    Everyone thought Viewtiful Joe was a breath of fresh air to gaming. So I picked it up and was underwhelmed. When I finally hit a boss I couldn’t finish (the boss rush level, actually), I lost whatever little interest I had.

    • SamPlays says:

      YEah, VJ was supposedly some sort of fantastic return to form for action games but I was pretty unimpressed. The graphics were pretty awesome but the rest of it was kind of confusing. I may have gotten to the second level but when I had to fight some kind of Sewer Shark Bullshit Boss, I happily quit playing.

  74. I’ve only ever finished one Bethesda game in recent years, Fallout 3 and only with some PC “assistance” (codes that drop a brand new Assault Shotgun and rounds into your inventory). I’ve put maybe 30+ hours each into New Vegas, Oblivion and Skyrim and then just stopped dead. Never sure why, apart from Oblivion where the broken levelling system made me quit.

    As for the other games in the article, I’ve actually played a good number of them so here goes:-

    Uncharted – Dull crap. On level 4 and have no intention of playing further. It’s just a terrible game.

    Hitman: Absolution – On the last level after several evenings play but that was about 3-4 weeks ago and I’ve not picked it up since. I need to finish it to justify buying it at full price but it’s all so ‘meh’ I’ve struggled.

    Dark Souls – Getting cursed is annoying as hell (I assume you’re in the Depths as you mention falling into a pit immediately prior). You don’t even need to go to areas with the basilisks if you don’t want to so buy a purging stone or 2 and man up. You don’t get gamer bragging rights by quitting Dark Souls.

    Metal Gear Solid 2 – I actually finished it last weekend, although I agree the cutscenes are utterly ridiculous. From the 2nd to last boss to the end I was sat in front of the PS3 for maybe an hour and was actually gaming for 10 minutes. Replaying any section usually turns into a frenzied mashing of the x button and shouting “Shut up!” at the TV. Apparently they get worse as the series goes on too…..

    Edit for typos

    • SamPlays says:

      MGS2 was probably the most incomprehensible of the series. MGS3 was relatively down to Earth story-wise and MGS4 was interesting enough with its futurist rantings. The last game is worth playing just for the sequence in the Middle East where your “Rat Pack” is getting assaulted by “Frog” soldiers in the palace.

      • I’ve got the HD collection and 4 to play through so it’s going to happen at some point. I just got a PS3 and having not had a console since the Mega Drive I’m a bit taken aback by the amount of cutscenes in games these days. I’m also British so I was so shocked my monocle popped out.

        • SamPlays says:

          All complaints aside, the MGS games are, overall, pretty awesome. I’m not convinced of their replayability but they’re great rides while they last. I think there’s a free MGS encyclopedia/timeline available at the Playstation Store, which would be useful if you want to bother understanding the story and plotting on your own time. Otherwise, enjoy!

  75. Jackbert322 says:

    I bet I have a bunch of these, but there is one that really stands out.

    My first system was a Nintendo DS given to me by my aunt, and from then until a couple years later, my only experience in gaming was getting games from her and not understanding how to finish them. I didn’t know anything about guides on the internet and such, so if I got stuck, I was stuck. The one that stands out is Lost in Blue 3. You choose a character out of two options, a boy and a girl, and end up stuck on an island with the character option you didn’t pick. I think I ended up getting about 25% through, and then there was a part where you had to open up the next section of the island by making a bridge out of a log and some vine. I could not figure out how to build the bridge! The instructions were exceptionally obtuse and my partner would not cooperate. So, after a bit of trying, I accepted that I was stuck on the island. I’d spend every day in-game (I was stranded with a calendar for some reason…) doing the same routine: wake up, go with my partner to drink some water, send her back to the cave while I went fishing and searched the beach for fruit, come back with fish and fruit, cook a meal, wander around for a bit, and go to bed. Every. Single. Day. Then one day, for unexplained reasons, she ran away! I chased her into the forest, where she promptly keeled over. Dead. Game over.As a ten year old, this made me feel bad. I made my cute blond anime girl friend kill herself! Were my fish not good enough? All those hours wasted!So then I went back to making stop-motion movies in Pictochat.

  76. KidvanDanzig says:

    Actually for the first like 12 months I had it I never finished Oblivion because of a bizarre bug – I would start the game and the area immediately outside the prison cell where it starts failed to load, leaving a giant yellow-and-purple exclamation point. The emperor would descend the prison stairs with his entourage and step into a bottomless void. The player is then left helpless in his locked cage for all eternity.

    There were no hotfixes since it was the 360 version. They ended up patching it with the first expansion.

    Oh also I forgot that I got to the final mission of Dead Space before just saying “eh” and dropping it. Did not have that problem with DS2.

  77. George_Liquor says:

    I am bad at finishing games! I’ve never come close to beating any GTA game, I’ve barely scratched the surface of Skyrim and New Vegas, and I’ve played Arkham Asylum for maybe 20 minutes. Mirror’s Edge, though, is one of the few games I’ve willingly walked away from. Parkour: The Videogame sounded like such a cool concept, but in practice it’s mind-numbingly dull & repetitive. The lame cutscenes and lousy dialog didn’t help, either.

  78. Josh Fennell says:

    Final Fantasy X was the twee-est, most grating and childish thing ever.  It was so sickeningly pretentious, but lord, did I try to finish it.  Blitzball and the stupid, stupid character who sounded like a retarded Hawaiian just put it over the top for me and I walked away.  I have not touched another one since.

    • PaganPoet says:

      Funnily enough, the voice actor for that character (Wakka) is John DiMaggio, AKA Bender and Jake the Dog.

  79. MidnightNoon says:

    I loved, loved, LOVED “Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga” for the DS. It’s one of the funniest games ever, particularly the running gag of Mario being a celebrity while Luigi is his nobody brother whose name no one remembers. Also, Fawful’s every line is comedy gold.

    However, I could never get the hang of the complex button-pushing required to pull off the combos, which is too bad because I was never able to level them up enough to defeat the final boss. In the end, I looked up the game on Wikipedia to find out how it ends.

  80. signsofrain says:

    Whoof, this is quite a thread! I’m late to the party but here’s what I walked away from:

    Shadow of the Colossus: I tried that stupid sea serpent fight about a million times, never got it.

    Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan! : I’ve beaten every level on all three difficulties except the last level on the hardest difficulty. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I’ve tried. I’ve come close, but never actually managed to finish it.

    FF9: Got stuck fighting some kind of red witch or something.

    Sonic Adventure 2: Fuck digging for gems, seriously fuck it.

    Kirby’s Adventure: Beat everything except the “fight all the bosses with one health meter” thing. 

    Ultima 6: Got to where you had to talk to that guy to get him to make you a lens with a glass sword… but somehow the conversation wouldn’t trigger the way it was supposed to. I had been playing the game for about 2 years sans guide-book and had only recently started using a guide to try and finish the game at long last… I must have broken the game somewhere. Never went back and finished it. To this day I still think about replaying that game…

  81. Justin Leeper says:

    I know the part in Dark Souls to which Jason is referring. The cursing frog dudes are super annoying. I made the mistake of accidentally swinging at the vendor who sells the anti-curse, so I had to find an alternate way to get my medicine. However, I made it through that ordeal — and many other difficult sections — to complete Dark Souls. I suggest Jason does the same (there are many great FAQs/Wikis for the game).

    I could name literally hundreds of games I played a bunch but never finished. Most recent has been Persona 3 (it moves pretty slow), Driver: San Francisco (got pissed off at back-to-back races), and Lollipop Chainsaw (not nearly as good as I’d hoped).

    Then there are the games I beat out of spite — meaning I was sick of them but just had to finish. Members of this group include Uncharted 3, God of War 2, and Metroid: Other M.

  82. As a kid a remembered thinking about how by the time i had a job and my own house I’d spent the minutes playing anything I wanted at anytime. That time is now and the unfinished games are piling up though there are two the directly relate to what happened to the writers.

    FFX was a game i just got tired of and there’s this compulsion – especially on JRPGs though i haven’t played one in years (though just got Nino no Kuni which is great) – where you get through most of the game and the world opens up allowing a player to go for side quests or the final stage. Well my recent compulsion is to just screw around and get bored. Hopefully NNK does not bring this out.

    Ah Dark Souls. Maybe the best game I’d played in years. It reminded me of – and it hurts even typing this – NES games of yore like Ninja Gaiden or Mega Man. Only way to progress is to die and die and die. I got to the boss battle at Anor Londo wearing my cool looking red mage uniform – the Crimson Klansman – and….the yellow light death. I purchased a new unit and haven’t had the heart to go through the brutality again.

  83. Dante Kleinberg says:

    I used to try to finish almost every game I start, but with free time at a premium I’ve gotten much better at walking away from games that are not doing it for me. Just this month I walked away from Halo 4 (after 3 missions), Uncharted: Golden Abyss (after 15 chapters), and Hundreds (after 82 levels).

    In fact these days I walk away from so many games I’m wondering if I’m misinterpreting the spirit of the question. If a game is really great it will compel me to finish it.

    OK, there was one game last year that I loved that I still walked away from: Cook, Serve, Delicious! That game is fun to play and has a great sense of humor, but it became repetitive before I reached the level of a five-star restaurant.

  84. Halloween_Jack says:

    I’ve got a slightly different class of uncompleted game, for some of them: I have a couple of times stopped playing a game–Bayonetta and Portal 2 are the most recent ones–because I’m burning through them so fast that I don’t want them to end. I both look forward to, and dread, picking them up again, because they’ll be done before I know it.

    Otherwise: I’ve put down Oblivion, because I wasn’t really interested in it–I may pick it up eventually to play through the main story. I may pick up Fallout 3 again at some point, but find my interest in the story diluted by the endless vacant-lot, abandoned-gas-station ambiance of the world. In terms of MMORPGs, I found both Rift and Star Trek Online too grindy (which is too damn bad in the latter case, since I’ve been a fan of the franchise since TOS), and although I was considering renewing my membership in WoW after City of Heroes was killed, I found out that the latest expansion was a combination of Kung Fu Panda and Pokemon–fuck that commotion. Was looking forward to Diablo III, and didn’t mind the initial problems, but after sailing through the game pretty easily as a Demon Hunter, got so frustrated by the end boss fight that I ragequit.

  85. Sean Payne says:

    If you are mowing down people in Hitman, then you are playing it severely wrong.

  86. Oh, the exact same thing happened to me, in Dark Souls. But, then, when I got rid of the curse I noticed it was so easy to avoid being cursed that I finished the game having been cursed about 2 or 3 times, only. 

  87. toad3000 says:

    Edit: Damn. This should’ve been in response to Amaltheaelanor.
    I am way late responding to this, so odds are no one will see this (unless Disqus notifies you when you’re replied to).  I, too, thought SMG was MUCH better than SMG2.  Something about the designs in SMG2 was missing some of the magic in the first (plus, let’s face it, it’s just less revolutionary than the first).  It also made me ragequit a few times, which is a serious black mark in my book.

  88. Uthor says:

    There’s lots of games that I give up on cause their not my cup of tea for one reason or another (recently Dishonored because I just can’t enjoy FPS stealth games).
    One genre I keep trying and quiting is RTS games. I like the concept. I generally like the game play. I’m good enough to get 1/2 to 2/3 of the way through the game, usually by brute forcing my way that far. But there always comes a point where the enemy has more resources or your team is crippled or SOMETHING and I’m just not a good enough strategizer to juggle 18 things at once to fight my way out. So I quit and pick up the next RTS a year or two later.

  89. Anuj Kumar says:

    This is very useful information shared here. I am
    really thankful for this.