No this post really doesn't have anything to do with Braveheart (that I am aware of). I play a lot of games as I am sure many of you on the site do. But not every experience is an enjoyable one. Yesterday I had a rant about how god awful BF3's single player is, but in reality a lot of the pain was my fault in the end. It's time to man up and figure this shit out, so I can enjoy all my future gaming experiences.
1. The worst offender - The act of brute forcing my way through a campaign from start to finish so I can be done with it and move on. If I am having this feeling towards a game then there is immediately a problem. Firstly I can't really be enjoying the experience if I am feeling this way. I shouldn't find myself yelling at the game when I die, resulting in having to re-do a checkpoint, because the gameplay should be so much fun that I'd happily head-shot some more goons. But I don't stop. I keep going. I beat BF3's single-player in one sitting in fact. Secondly I shouldn't feel the need to get through it in one sitting, I should be segmenting the experience so it lasts longer. This should be my first warning indicator about a game, because often it starts off on a sub-conscious level.
The simple solution - If I am enjoying the story but not the gameplay, Uncharted 3 for example (which I painfully beat on Normal and wished I hadn't), turning down the difficulty is the way to go, even if it means starting over. Playing through a mediocre game on easy can be more fun than it really should be. However if I am not enjoying anything about the game, I need to just shelve it. Even if I am half way through, just pushing through it to get my money's worth is a waste of my time and misery.
2. Next up on the list is - Don't stop playing my favorite games because I feel the need to get through this thing they call the 'backlog'. I need to just play the game I feel like playing at the time, even if it is just a craving for a game I have already played and beaten. Who cares. The concept of a backlog can be confusing because it shouldn't exist really. Generally when I buy a new game I play it through to completion and if not I'm either not in the mood for that kind of experience it is offering and when I feel like shooting zombies for instance, I can go back and pick it up. But I should not pick it up just so I can clean up my backlog.
3. Obsessive quest for power - Whether it'd be making the most bad ass character in an RPG or trying to collect all those stupid achievements, I need to re-focus on just enjoying the game. This means no grinding for soul gems all day in Skyrim to max out enchanting. I need to progress my character at the speed the game designer intended. This means the difficulty remains challenging and I don't end up grinding. This is also why I haven't played an MMO for a long time, I find the the quest to get the best loot and player build painful. For some people however this is the only reason they play games. When I play with one of my friends in co-op games its all about getting all the achievements and making sure he has the best character build/weapons (better than mine anyway). I'm not the same but I do love skill trees and player builds I just need to turn off the part of my brain that wants to get caught up in the math of % damage output. I'll let crazy people enjoy that part.
4. This one isn't an issue but a solution (and somewhat of a tangent) - Mixing things up makes it more fun. Alright I love making new player builds in Skyrim (I think I'm on my sixth). It's somewhat freeing seeing that level 1 on my character screen and being able start out from scratch knowing the infinite possibilities of how my character could turn out. I love the feeling of getting a new perk point and having all sorts of great options to dump it in. Then I hit a point where I have purchased everything I wanted and things become boring. So for me I get a high from playing through a game with a different build.
I have been playing reckoning since its release day and I am enjoying it. I have been playing a straight warrior mainly because greatswords are extremely powerful and combined with relentless assault, makes you a force to be 'reckoned' with. But it got old after about 10 hours because there was nothing in the might tree left that made any difference to how I played. Nothing! So why keep playing if my character is already a badass at 1/3 through the game. Well thank the gods(or whatever religious icons appear in Amalur) Reckoning knows this and has a respec option that is super easy.
First I tried a might/finesse build that used poisons to enhance my greatsword and bows for ranged damage. But the issue was that bows are weak and useless from what I could tell (why have an arrow limit that takes forever to come back when other range weapons you can spam forever) and my character just felt weaker than my straight might build. Early on I also dabbled in a might/sorcery combo but changed to straight might because I made the mistake that I discussed in issue 3.
Then I did it! I made a Jack-o-all-trades build and haven't looked back. There is always a perk to upgrade in one of the skill trees that will be useful. So far I am using daggers for stealth and close combat, Chakrams and spells for ranged and the might skills Relentless Assault and Scorpion's 'get over here' spear for their usefulness. The combat makes me dodge, switch between ranged and close combat and is overall more fun than just activating relentless assault and pressing X to win. So if the combat in Amalur is boring you then go jack of all trades and mix it the f@#$ up.
So there you have it. Some may find themselves in similar predicaments and I hope my solutions will help you out. But that being said human beings all seem to be wired completely different. One person's trash is another's treasure and things I hate will always be loved by others. But I feel in the end if I can figure out what experiences in life fill me with happiness and try to rid myself of obsessions that lead to tears, I'll be a happier person. I will probably continue to figure out the inner workings of my brain and why I enjoy playing games. It will be necessary if I have any chance of fighting through the barrage of sequels and sameness, to try and enjoy gaming like I used as a kid. The moral of this tale is really simple. Don't do things you hate because you feel (or have been told) you should. For freedom!!