You all can thank Occams for this topic. He asked "What games have you finished out of spite" on a recent episode of my podcast. And that caused a light bulb to turn on above my head and I decided to write this list that you are currently reading. We all have those games that we wind up completing long after we've stopped enjoying ourselves. For me, it's usually because it's the newest entry in a series of games I've enjoyed. But, as you can see from this list, perhaps I need to spare myself the pain and break the cycle.
Oh, Gears of War. No games got more play time last generation than the Gears of War series did for me. Between the broken yet tolerable multiplayer, incredibly satisfying shooting, fantastic co-op gameplay, and the best version of wave-based battles in all of gaming, it's no wonder why the Gears games are system sellers for Microsoft (the next Gears will likely prompt me to finally pull the trigger on an Xbox One). Gears 3's Horde Mode is some of the most fun I've ever had, it didn't matter if I was playing a pickup game or playing with friends, I sunk hundreds of hours and played thousands of waves of Horde.
So what's the best way to build on that momentum? By omitting everything great from the next game, of course. I'm not going to sit here and pretend I know anything about game design, and yes, I understand that this is more or less a side story and was developed by People Can Fly rather than being a strictly Epic joint, but how can you get rid of so many things that have been in the game from the beginning? Why can't I plant grenades on walls anymore? That's how I got the majority of my kills because I suck at multiplayer. They got rid of the Locust for competitive multiplayer, now pitting COG Team Red versus COG Team Blue, and turned it into a class-based team. The Horde mode is completely removed, and in its place is the less than thrilling Overrun. Judgment is so far detached from what drew me in to the series, and I haven't even spoken about the campaign yet.
The campaign is balls. Marcus Fenix isn't exactly breaking the mold as far as videogame characters go, but he's the face of the franchise. In Judgment, they replaced him with the series' most unlikable character, Baird. They cut the campaign up into smaller chunks, which is good in theory, but totally immersion-breaking in practice. The only redeeming qualities about the campaign are the sections that are set up much like a Horde wave, and the optional difficulty spikes, which briefly put you at a disadvantage for the opportunity to obtain a better ranking when the section ends.
But despite all the negatives, I still found some enjoyment in Judgment, it just doesn't stack up to the rest of the series.
I love Professor Layton, and I've played enough Phoenix Wright to consider myself a fan. I was so stoked when I first heard about this crossover, and knew that I would be there on day one when it came to North America. Then I started playing, and I was on board and totally captivated for the first 5 hours. I really liked the story and where it was going. Being a Christian that believes in an omnipotent, omnipresent being that's responsible for the creation of all things, I found the Storyteller to be a particularly fascinating character.
Then I started playing the witch trials in Labyrinthia. And I continued to play them because they seemingly go on forever. That's when I realized that maybe I wasn't quite the Phoenix Wright fan that I thought I was. But I continued to press on just to get to the next Layton sequence, which would then be cut short by an insane amount of reading which would inevitably lead to another tedious witch trial.
Thirty hours later, I finally reached the conclusion. That's probably the longest I ever continued to play a game after I had lost interest. It was technically a Professor Layton game (though I felt he got the short end of the stick), so I felt like I had to finish it. Never again.
Flower is the first game I played where I legitimately felt cheated out of my money. For every other game on this list, I can understand why some people felt about the game the way they did. I understood the criticisms and couldn't disagree, but with Flower, I have no idea why people love this game with the amount of fervor that they do.
When I say this next sentence, keep in mind that I've yet to play Journey, but I have played Flow and Flower, and hated both of them. So, just based on the Thatgamecompany games that I've played, I think they're one of the most overrated developers out there today. Honestly, I'm waiting to play Journey until I can get it for free, because I disliked Flower that much and don't want to risk any more money.
I disliked Flower for the same reasons I disliked Proteus: I found there to be no substance to the game. A game that can be "beaten" in 45 minutes for $15 whose gameplay is basically that plastic bag scene from American Beauty yet features exactly zero Kevin Spacey? I'm still scratching my head on just what it is that people see in Flower.
"Oh, it can't be that bad" I told myself as I read the reviews for Assassin's Creed III. How could it be? ACII was great, Brotherhood was my favorite so far, and Revelations may have been unnecessary but was still mostly enjoyable for me. "These reviewers are overreacting!" I mean, this is Revolutionary America, that's a great idea for a backdrop. Some of America's founding fathers like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin are featured characters, that sounds so good!
Then I fired up the game and it is so not good. I wasn't there, but I can't imagine that the Revolutionary War was this boring. My biggest gripe is that you spend so much time running around a world full of nothing. In Brotherhood, I would often forego the fast travel system because I loved traversing the rooftops and landscapes of Venice. In Assassin's Creed III, the fast travel was cumbersome and the world completely unimaginative. Where I found Altair and Ezio to be characters I grew to like, Connor is barely a character at all. I love the idea of a Native American protagonist, but Connor has the personality of a 2x4.
And unlike most people, who found the naval combat to be one of the few redeeming qualities to the game, I hated those sections with a fiery passion, and that's the reason I skipped Black Flag. The only thing that drove me to finish ACIII was seeing the Desmond story to the bitter end, and bitter it was, indeed.
Prior to 2012, the idea of not picking up a Resident Evil game on launch day was completely foreign to me. Operation Raccoon City was so abysmal that it dashed all hope that I had for Resident Evil 6, and this is coming from someone that legitimately loves RE5 (in co-op mode, at least). Resident Evil is one of my all-time favorite series, and several entries in the franchise would make it into my top games of all-time list. I've probably written about RE more than I've written about any other games. What I'm trying to convey to you here is that I'm a bit of a Resident Evil superfan. Or, at least, I was.
There were RE spin-off games before Operation Raccoon City, and I always knew better than to compare them to the main entries, but I just couldn't shake the feeling that ORC was a death knell for the series. Pre-release trailers for RE6 did give me a little bit of hope, channeling the relentless pursuit of series icon Nemesis in the form of the Ustanak, but that wasn't enough to make us overlook all the things the game does wrong. Resident Evil 6 does its absolute best to imitate Gears of War and fails miserably.
I come to Resident Evil for survival horror/action, not a run-of-the-mill third-person-shooter. I'm all for taking the series in new directions, but it was just taken too far. Why do characters now have stamina meters? And karate moves? Why are there (bad) car chases sequences? Why are there stealth sections? Why are there swimming sections? Why am I in a war-torn European town? Why doesn't Chris Redfield leave the B.S.A.A. and compete in the Mr. Olympia contest? He's certainly been juicing enough.
Why is this game 30 hours long? And why did I play every minute of it?
Thanks for reading, hopefully it wasn't as infuriating for you to read as it was for me to write.