By BigSocrates 0 Comments
If the pile o' shame is games you bought but never played what do you call games that you played half of and then walked away from for no good reason? The pile of super shame. With some actual time to game this week I resolved to mount an assault on mine. Here's how it has gone so far.
This was a PS+ game I played and enjoyed earlier this year, but then I got busy and when I had time to game again newer and shinier things were available. It's a pleasant, rather easy, adventure platformer with a twisted sense of humor and some pretty great music/voice-acting. It wasn't hard to beat the last 4 levels and I remembered the story pretty well, but picking it back up again it struck me how little game there actually is here. The puzzles are beyond trivial (heck you generally only have at most 4 options of what stickers to use at any given time) and the platforming isn't even intended to be difficult. The only challenge comes in sections where you have to avoid guards by platforming and using your two defensive stickers to distract them. The problem is that the controls are finicky and these sections are often built without a clear path to take so I had to die multiple times before I knew what I was supposed to do, and even then it could be tough to execute with the controls. I can see how it would be much better with a mouse. Anyway I didn't enjoy the frustrating guard sections and the rest of the game was a breeze so despite really great aesthetics and a story that came to a fun and satisfying conclusion I ended up feeling like there wasn't a lot of game here. I liked my time with it but wished they'd done more to make it mechanically interesting.
Worth finishing? Yes. To see the story and enjoy the aesthetics.
I had been picking away at this game for the better part of a year. My general experience had been that the game looked great and was decently fun to play for a little bit, but I would get bored after about 45 minutes. After I got to the Sorrowing Meadows a combination of frustrating enemies and an aesthetic I didn't enjoy made me put it down for an extended period. Picking it back up to push through to the end, I realized why I kept getting tired of it. The combat is boring, and there's way too much of it. Dust has amazing, lush, visuals, the type I always wished video games could have when I was a kid, but it pairs these visuals with relatively simple combat and, more importantly, enemies with very simplistic AI that are boring to fight. And a lot of them. A LOT of them. The platforming in Dust is much better than the combat and I ended up looking forward to the platforming sections and trying to push through the combat as quickly as possible. The back end of the game is also packed with story and revelations that just didn't draw me in. Too much lore that I could not bring myself to care about. The voice acting is pretty mediocre, and not just from the annoying Navi-like character Fidget. The ending of the game had some emotional resonance though, and I could see some people really digging the story. The game looks great throughout and it plays well in the platforming sections (not that the combat is horrible, just repetitive and simple); hard to believe it was mostly the work of a single person.
Worth finishing? Sure. The art is fantastic, the platforming is fun, the ending is satisfying, and I am glad I learned the answer to the game's fundamental mystery.
The Swapper PS4
I put it down after being stumped by a few puzzles. Now was the perfect time to pick it back up. Full disclosure, though I did figure out most of the puzzles that stumped me previously, there was one I had to look up hints for because I just could not get it. I also looked up the locations of the secret terminals because trying to find a bunch of false walls that do not have any particular visual cues or in game hints is my idea of an anti-fun nightmare borefest. I really liked the puzzles in the game, and the aesthetics are once again great, both spooky and beautiful. The music is good, the voice acting is good, the story vast and mysterious, touching on deep philosophical questions...and yet. And yet. I didn't like the ending and overall I feel like the story is unsatisfying. It raises a bunch of interesting ideas and just sort of drops them, like you're having a conversation with a stoner. "What is a mind, man?" You also are not an active participant in the story at all, which is something that's hard to pull off in video game. The way Patrick Klepek and others were going on about this game I was expecting to have my mind blown. Instead I got a nice little puzzle game with a cool look that might not have been worth $20. I don't know I'd recommend it to others at that price, though it's worth playing.
Worth finishing? Yes, if only to get it off my plate. I liked it overall, but I liked it more before I finished it and saw that, story wise, there was no there there.
I put this down when I couldn't find the hatch in the 3rd level (I'm an idiot, I know.) When I tried to pick it back up my save was corrupted. Yay BF4! I vowed to play it all the way through from the start. No better time than the present. Except never. Because, as everyone in the world has said, the Battlefield 4 single player just isn't very good. It's definitely a competent shooter and the game looks great on PS4, but there are no particularly memorable set-pieces and good lord does that story stink. The game tries to tell a story about loyalty and sacrifice but it's impossible to take it seriously both because it's poorly told and because it takes place in a Battlefield game where you are slaughtering hundreds and hundreds of guys in a cartoonish fashion. There are a lot of other issues, such as the fact that the game makes a big deal about you being given command of your squad and then has every other member of the squad, including people who join you briefly and aren't even American soldiers, giving you orders. It also does my least favorite thing ever in a game, where you're supposed to look for intel and collectibles but your AI squadmates are constantly telling you to hurry up (SHUT UP! I AM THE SQUAD LEADER AND I WANT TO PIXEL HUNT FOR DOGTAGS!). There were too many lulls in the action while various people prattled on uninterestingly and no particularly memorable set-pieces to differentiate the levels. The ending is silly and unearned, and I didn't care about the final choice at all. As for the gameplay, the enemy AI is pretty terrible and makes up for it by constantly throwing grenades at you with MLB accuracy. It's often unclear where you're being shot from and most of my deaths were due to screen shake and dark environments. Vehicle sections were generally annoying and more difficult than the main game. Checkpointing was inconsistent, especially in the beginning of the penultimate mission when there are two linked areas you have to clear of enemies, and no checkpoint between them making dying to a random guy with an RPG in the second area particularly frustrating. The only reliable way I found to get through certain areas was to grab a sniper rifle and pick people off from range (these were not areas designed specifically for sniping.) I've played worse modern military shooters (I beat both recent Medal of Honor games) but that doesn't make BF4 single player worth playing. Aside from a couple particularly cool visual moments there's nothing in the single player you won't get from the multiplayer.
Worth finishing? Decidedly not. My time would have been better spent just playing a half-dozen more hours of Battlefield 4 multiplayer, which, you know, is an option if you own Battlefield 4.
Overall I'm glad I went back and finished these games. Most were worth playing, and even Battlefield was just mediocre, not truly awful. Getting through them also means I will we be able to start new games without the feeling that I should go back to them. I have this unopened PS4 copy of CoD Ghosts I picked up on the cheap just waiting for me to pop it in...
I've learned nothing.