Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Classic games you don’t get

Readers discuss games they’ve always wanted to get into but never managed to enjoy, from Overwatch to The Witcher 3.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was inspired by Futterman, who asked if there are any games or franchises that you’ve tried to play but you just couldn’t get into? What exactly was the issue and how much time did you spend playing it?

Almost every classic game you could imagine got mentioned at some point, with the biggest frustration being games that take a while to get into or have very complex systems.

No Redemption
I think the one that saddens me the most is Red Dead Redemption from the seventh generation. I always respect those who say it’s their favourite game of all time. I get it. I can see it. I admire it greatly as its virtues are clear to see. But I don’t feel it. I don’t actually enjoy it. I can appreciate it in a chilly, academic way; like an old painting by a long dead artist.

John Marston is a likeable lead, of course, and there are exciting moments, but in general I found the pace to be very… ponderous. Not quite slow, not quite boring, but ponderous. This is a game that will take its sweet ass time to get where it wants to go and either you learn to love it or, as in my case, you can’t.

Judging by the reviews of the sequel, even the most glowing ones, it looked to have even worse pacing, all the while being more pretentious. Rockstar have been slowly disappearing up their own bum-holes since Grand Theft Auto 4, now it seems that their journey is complete. Usually, I would finish that thought with a laughing face so you know that I mean that in jest.

Too much to do
I always wanted to get into The Witcher 3. I’ve heard and read a lot about it and some of the quests sound really fascinating. It sounds like the choices are never black and white, like in other games, which really appeals to me. But whenever I play it I quickly feel overwhelmed with how much there is to do and with the various different systems at play, with the various potions and tonics that do various things in and out of combat.

It’s just all too confusing for me and I quickly wish it was just a lot simpler, so I could experience the story. I think the best approach would be to just play it on easy, but I would still have the problem of the overwhelming number of things to do.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Firewatch (PC)

Random complaint
Easily Final Fantasy; Final Fantasy 7 gets so much praise and there is obviously a lot of love for it but I just can’t be dealing with the random battle system.

I’m happily exploring the overworld, then poof! Interruption and I’m in a fight I wasn’t prepared for. OK, killed those guys, let’s move on and try to find where I need to go next? ‘Poof!’ another random battle… this is annoying when I’m lost in this city, cave, jungle, whatever and I’m slowly running out of magic and potions to keep my party alive.

Admittedly, it’s not so much Final Fantasy in particular that I’m frustrated that I don’t like but basically any Japanese role-playing game where random battles are a thing.

GC: There are none in the remake.

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I have tried multiple times to try and get into Overwatch but I just can’t do it. The characters all look so cool and interesting in the videos and artwork, but you never see them clearly when you’re playing so they might as well just be generic soldiers for all the difference it makes.

The fact that there’s no single-player is a real problem too in that there’s no easy way to learn the characters outside of some very artificial training exercises. I’m surprise for such a famous game, that’s been out for so long, that it all seems so bare bones and basic.

There’s obvious a good game in there but the effort needed to find it is not one I’m willing to put in.

Bad Breath
I really wanted to love Zelda: Breath Of The Wild but after multiple attempts I think the furthest I’ve ever got in is about six hours. It’s not just that it’s not like the other Zeldas but I just find the aimless wandering to be absolutely boring. There are hints as to where to go but I don’t have the time or the patience to spend so long exploring an almost completely empty world, especially given how big it is.

I get that the size is meant to be one of the main appeals but for me it has the opposite effect. Everything seems to be designed to slow you down and inconvenience you, from rain stopping you climbing to the need to cock meals and change clothes for different environments. It’s all very clever but for me no fun at all.

Of course the worse bit is the weapon damage, but that hardly needs to be mentioned at this point. If it was maybe 10 times less quick, and you could repair weapons, I could understand but the way it is now is just really annoying. And the excuse for the Master Sword not working all the time is utterly feeble. So no, it’s not for me. I tried but the ‘best game ever’ is not even close as far as I’m concerned.

Your boogie is in another castle
Cadence Of Hyrule. I love Zelda. I love Zelda music. Alas, I have no rhythm. I gave up after two screens and countless game overs.

Not my sky
I would like to nominate No Man’s Sky.

I’d heard great things about the way the game had changed, evolved for the better, and the developers really turned around an unpopular launch, where they promised feature creep aspects they couldn’t deliver. It’s a space game, too, and for me these days there really aren’t enough of those that are to my liking (roll on Starfield).

I gave it somewhere between three and five hours in one extended game session. I liked the art style, I found the writing (sparse though it is early on) to be engrossing, and the control method pretty decent.

The problem is, the game itself just seems like a series of ticking clocks, a constant war of attrition that you just cannot win. It’s like spinning plates as a space game – I rolled with it for a while but it started to get grating.

That’s not to say I consider it a bad game – I can totally understand why people would find the gameplay loop appealing – but it feels a bit average to me, at best. Constantly fighting against little deadlines just isn’t fun; it’s too much like regular life, actually, the thing a lot of us play video games, among other hobbies, to get away from!

Having said that, I look forward to seeing what Hello Games do with their next title. If they’re as smart as they appear, they’ll take all the lessons learned here from No Man’s Sky (great name, incidentally) and make an even better one. Hopefully not releasing it too early this time…
Gary Diamond

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

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