What does it take for you to put down or be "stuck" in a game?

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bigsocrates

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This morning I returned to Ys: The Oath in Felghana after nearly a month away. It's not my favorite Ys game, but I had been enjoying it well enough and I was probably 85% through it and intended to see it to the end. What happened was that I got to a boss that it was pretty clear I was going to have to grind to be able to beat. I'm sure that someone more skilled than I was would have been able to beat her without leveling but I just wasn't able to. Grinding in Oath in Felghana isn't unpleasant, since it's a quick paced action RPG, and it generally doesn't take very long, so this wasn't a situation where I was going to have to spend 5 hours struggling through some unpleasantness in order to get further. In fact this morning it took me about 15 minutes to grind up a level, and then 3 attempts to take down the boss even with a month of rust regarding the game's systems. For a 2005 vintage action JRPG that's basically nothing. Even by modern standards "grind for 15 minutes and then take 3 attempts to beat this boss" is hardly some onerous or unreasonable requirement for advancement. That's just vidya games.

There are a couple additional relevant factors here. I like Oath in Felghana okay but it's far from my favorite Ys game, and it was done no favors by playing it in close proximity to Ys Origin, its follow up that's superior in almost every way. I probably should have taken the break before starting it rather than close to the end. I'm also playing it on PC, and I don't play a lot of PC games. I especially don't like playing PC games with a controller because at that point I'd rather be at my big TV on a console. When I'm just in the mood to play something it never occurs to me to sit down at the PC I spend much of the rest of the day using to do so.

But Ys Origin is far from the first game that I've put down for trivial reasons. Unless I'm loving a game it's super easy to lose me with just a subpar section or a small difficulty spike. When I was younger I left a trail of unfinished games behind me because of this. Being middle aged and more patient now I will usually come back and finish a game, though I still haven't gone back to Inversion despite being on the final boss in that game, and in fact I stopped playing the 360 altogether just because I didn't want to have to buckle down and spend 45 minutes or whatever learning that fight until I could beat it. In my defense there, that game is not good and I shouldn't have played as much as I did of it anyway.

Of course I don't always just put a game down when I get to a point I'm not enjoying. I used a walkthrough once to find where to go in Axiom Verge just because I'd spent hours wandering and was either going to cheat or stop playing altogether. I was able to finish the game after that and I was really just missing an obscure jump you had to make to an area that wasn't clearly marked, so I don't think it damaged my enjoyment.

So the question here is what does it take for you to set a game down and move on to something else, even if it's only temporary, or declare yourself stuck and use a cheat or walkthrough or whatever? How many hours are you willing to bang your head against a difficulty spike or a boring section before turning your attention elsewhere?

Is there anything that will make you give up on a game altogether and what are those circumstances?

For me it's a combination of things. It depends on how much I like a game, how busy I am in life and with other games, and just how unpleasant the spike is. But in general it's not that hard for a game to push me away. Even in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which I consider my favorite game of all time the Yiga Hideout was so irritating that I dropped it for like a month before forcing myself to go back and get through it. I don't enjoy being frustrated in gaming and video games should not feel like work. That's not to say I am incapable of working through difficulty spikes or that I hate any challenge. I finish most games that I start. But it's not that hard to drive me away from a game if I'm not felling it and not in the mood. I am going to try and finish Oath in Felghana but if I wasn't still committed to playing through the rest of the series there's a chance that I wouldn't. And all it took was a difficulty spike so small it might as well be a speedbump.

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noboners

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While thinking about this question I realized that I tend to use walkthroughs pretty regularly. Especially if it's something similar to OPs Axiom Verge example. I used a walkthrough for all of Axiom Verge after I got stuck in the opening 45 minutes. I just don't really care for being "stuck" in games and have no problem looking something up if I feel like I'm missing something. I never look ahead in the guide though. Just enough to get me progressing.

But if it's a boss or some sort of combat scenario, I will usually try it for a couple of days before I lower the difficulty (if that's an option). I'm trying to remember the last time I just gave up on a boss and never came back. Usually when I walk away from a Souls-like it's just because I've had my fill and not because of a particular boss...

So I guess my answer is: it depends on how much I'm enjoying the gameplay/story/world and how much the game will help me get over a particular hurdle. For instance, I will probably continue playing Outriders because I enjoy the combat loop and know that if I start feeling like Sisyphus, I have no problem just lowering the world tier.

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Justin258

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I don't often drop games out of difficulty. I did with Sekiro. Parrying and blocking mechanics in anything have always been a very weak point for me. I consistently fail spectacularly at such mechanics. I practiced on Sekiro over and over and over again but it seemed like even the first areas of the game always felt like an incredible struggle. I got past some snake thing and to a boss in a huge arena who was riding a horse (I think it was a horse) - anyway, I was never able to last long and I just gave up there. I'd like to say that I'm going to give it another go one day, but I've been saying that for a long time and have never done it.

The biggest reason I drop games is because something else caught my attention. I have so much I want to play. If I don't actively try to stop myself, I'll play something for an hour, think "this is awesome!", try something else, rinse, repeat. I've quit games because of tedium, irritation, difficulty, confusion, and so on, but the number of games I've quit due to those factors pales in comparison to the number of games I've "temporarily" set aside because I had an itch to play something else. I've gotten a lot better about this, but I'm still bad about it... but on the other hand, I can't just play one game for a hundred hours and nothing else. I must have variety or I'll just hate everything. At least in single-player games.

Another major reason, lately, has been multiplayer games. Even five years ago, you would never hear me say this, but over the past few years I've played a lot more Rainbow Six: Siege, Counter-Strike, Halo, and Call of Duty than I thought I ever would again. Sure, I had dabbled in those games in the past, and I played a lot of Halo and CoD in high school (that'd be early-mid 360 era), but these days it's so much easier to practice my aim or play a 30-45 minute game or something of Counter-Strike than it is to dedicate an hour plus to an RPG or something where I might get stuck in a cutscene. Liberal use of mute buttons (regardless of competitive or not - if you care about your rank that much then be a human being and not a mouthy monster) and friends that often play with me make this much more bearable.

I do still try to play plenty of single player games, for the record, and I've been better about finishing them last year and this year than perhaps ever before, but there are a lot of days where I'd really just like to slip into something comfortable and not have to deal with "newness". Dust 2 again, please.

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FacelessVixen

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I just simply move on from whatever when I'm in the mood for a different genre.

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cikame

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I deinitely used a walkthrough a few times for Axiom Verge it doesn't take long for me, if i'm lost after 5 minutes i'll use a walkthrough, same goes for puzzle games, you're supposed to get stuck in puzzle games but i hate that and will look for answers after about 5 minutes (i love the hint system in The Room series).
During the final battles in Final Fantasy 13-2 it's very easy to get stuck if you didn't do enough grinding before hand, i wasn't having trouble with the fights for the entire game up to that point so it felt like really bad design to suddenly get stuck like that, so i just watched the ending on youtube.
Recently i was playing Shadow of Rome for the first time, i was loving how old fashioned Capcom it felt, but i was aware of how shallow the combat is and as the game went on it became really difficult to deal with, no amount of persistence felt like it was going to get me anywhere so i gave up.

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brian_

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I spent an entire Sunday beating that last boss in Sekiro, so I'm definitely stupid enough to keep banging my head against something for as long as it takes. The thing that usually gets me to stop playing a game are technical issues. Most notably, I stopped playing Fallout 4, and Rage 2 because they crashed multiple times on Xbox One. I just have no patience for that. I stopped playing Outriders, which is sort of for technical issues, in that the servers were down, but more that I think it's dumb that I can't play it single player while the servers are down.

I did drop Red Dead Redemption 2 because I thought the world was too big, and did not care to explore it, or to even do the travel required to just mainline the game.

I guess technically I did give up on Let It Die when it got too hard, but the reason the difficult in that thing spikes halfway through the game is because it is a horribly gross free-to-play money trap. By far the worst case of difficult increase in order to suck more money out of you I've ever experienced. And I had already put in about $20-30 at that point, just because I was enjoying it at the time. None of that prior spending did anything to curb that difficult spike.

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norm9

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When I'm stuck and feel like I have to look at a guide (which I didn't do in the past but do now because I just don't have the time) I consider that a failure on the game's part to give enough information for me to continue.

Most recently, I became a vampire in Oblivion and was stuck for days only moving around at night while trying to figure out what to do. Eventually looked at a guide to solve my problem which there was no way I would've known what to do without cheating. And now I'm desperately trying to avoid looking at anything for future roadblocks.

Spent a literal week looking for the dwemer puzzle box in Morrowind last year before I cheated and looked it up.

Most other times it's due to a bad save like in Ninja Gaiden, or FFVII with a end of game save without healing potions.

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inevpatoria

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I'm kind of having one of these moments with Destiny right now.

The game's a treadmill in almost every way. Anyone who's familiar with the game knows how it runs you through the same activities time and time again. But that's not the issue.

Destiny has a trio of really tough missions called "dungeons." They're meant to be completed with three-person fireteams—and they're designed accordingly, often dropping players into confined spaces in which they must perform convoluted tasks against a constant onslaught of infinitely spawning enemies.

But, of course, the game awards special items and cosmetics to players who complete each of the three dungeons solo without a single death.

So, for the last month, I've been banging my head against a particular dungeon—it's called Prophecy, for those curious—which is largely regarded as the most challenging of the three.

Not only is it emblematic of some of Destiny's worst encounter design, but it's both a tremendously RNG-focused challenge and, currently, riddled with bugs. Many of those bugs can stop a flawless run in its tracks—there are currently two widespread glitches that literally prevent forward progress.

I've managed to beat the dungeon somewhere between three and five times solo, but there's always something beyond my control that leads to a death along the line, essentially scrubbing my flawless hopes. Every time, it's something stupid. A critical enemy I need to kill goes immune when it isn't supposed to be, or it clips through the wall or the floor when it shouldn't, or the crucial items you need to collect (typically by simply walking over them) won't interact with the player at all. In this dungeon, one moment too long in the open and you're cooked.

To make matters worse, Destiny has a system of mods and buffs that can mitigate difficulty.

But herein lies an additional problem. Some of these mods aren't readily available—they're sold at random by a vendor, who sells two a day, every day, but often does not sell the mods a person might need. (For instance, this vendor last sold a mod called "Protective Light," which significantly reduces damage when the player is near-death, on November 18.) Worse still, some of these mods are only usable until the end of the season—which is next Tuesday.

I normally don't care about the way Destiny disrespects my time. I play it mostly for the feel of the guns and occasionally to bag unique weaponry. But at its highest level, the game is more of a needless frustration than a rewarding test of my abilities. And what's more, for one reason or another it's the sort of thing that I've put way, way, way too much personal investment into. As if completing this dungeon in this fashion will somehow validate my worth. Which I know is patently ridiculous but can't stop feeling anyway.

This weekend, after having burned something like fifteen hours between Saturday and Sunday in repeated fruitless efforts, I uninstalled Destiny. I just need a break. Whether it's for my mental health or for an excuse to do literally anything else productive with my life than play Destiny.

So that's my story. Hah.

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Topcyclist

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@justin258: I'm with you on sekiro. I was super excited about it. Like weirdly excited. Got it. And even though I beat all other souls games (bloodborne lost my attention for a bit, not because of difficulty). Sekiro seemed like bloodborne all over again in that I'd warm up on it. Got stuck where you said too. The normal mooks were annoyingly difficult if you didn't do parries. That boss was frustrating on the horse. Then I took a hint most don't tell you. Don't parry and just hold down block. Even if it goes up block is way different in that game than souls. then I just hit and ran with the attack that slingshots you over to the opponent for a cheap hit. It felt satisfying winning, then I got stuck at another cheap boss in a cow that's on fire. You'll be glad you quit when you get here since I just was forced to cheese the boss. Blocking isn't useful here nor parrying since the fire. The game just never felt made for the combat they wanted you to do. After I beat that, there was an open section of cool terrain but as I crossed a location, and noticed 20 guys waiting to fight me...I got kinda turned off. It didn't have the same soul's feel and I wasn't getting the parry stuff. The animations are smooth but always feel like I'm getting hit even when blocking. I ended up using a maxed character at a friend's house to see the stuff I was missing and couldn't even bring myself to go home and complete the game. It just gets harder, with bosses that have multiple assailants in the one fight, faster fights, all for what feels like not much reward in comparison to dark souls. I always felt dark souls wasn't the "hard" game people state it is, as long as you are patient and or over level. Sekiro felt different. That said, like you, I plan to go back, and one day beat it, though it's not a good sign that all the people I know who love souls games, quit at the last boss seeing it as memorized rhythm-based timing and not worth the effort.

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theonewhoplays

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Random envounters + slow traditional RPG battles. I have no patience for that any longer. A traditional RPG will have to work hard to get me onboard these days. I played the DQ11 demo and couldn't even finish it. The extremely simplistic fighing combined with the slow (and uninteresting) story telling was too much.

I think the last traditional RPG I beat was the DQV remake many years ago. Games like Xenoblade Chronicles (1) and FF7R work a lot better for me.

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judaspete

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Kind of a broad answer, but I put down a game when it's just not fun anymore. Happens a lot with RPGs, 50 hours in doing the same shit gets old.

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sparky_buzzsaw

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#13  Edited By sparky_buzzsaw

When there's a point where it feels like it isn't worth it. Usually that comes about when I can't feasibly beat a game without devoting myself slavishly to its mechanics. It's why I like games where the numbers keep going up and I have options to brute force a section I'm terrible at - see something like Rogue Legacy or Disgaea, where there are always options to get stronger. If I'm also constantly butting heads with a game's story, I'll sometimes quit out of frustration with that too. My tolerance for stupidity is lessening the older I get, though I did just finish FE: Three Houses, which is reaaaaal dumb.

There are also, sadly, a ton of games that just aren't playable for me past a certain point due to visual accessibility problems. I've never beaten Grim Fandango because of the late game lock puzzle, never got past the midway point on Telltale's Guardians of the Galaxy because they intermittently put some of the QTE buttons on similarly colored backgrounds, and bounced off the similar Telltale Minecraft second season because of a shooting gallery section I couldn't win. This has led me to often times being perfectly okay with cheating or cheesing game systems to work things in my favor. Borderlands 2, for example. The Warrior boss is one I have trouble with because of so many visual distractions on screen all at once, but I can safely cheese the boss by sticking to one corner near the exit and not have to worry about anything but an errant shot or two.

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Shindig

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@justin258: I'll echo you on Sekiro. I did beat that game twice but every attempt I have to give it another run is met with memories of just how much time I spent banging my head against it. Seeing that game in motion is great but it will not meet the same level of 'I can half pay attention to this' that the other Souls games get.

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DrPeatore

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I don't get "stuck" often with games but I do find myself bouncing off of them fairly quickly.

Sometimes it's just a mood thing, sometimes I just don't have the time to commit to a game that doesn't get going right away.

Witcher 3 is a great example of this.
On paper it should be a game that I'm all about, but I've never managed to get more than a couple hours into it after several attempts.

Everyone tells me that it kicks off a few hours in, but I always get so bored leading up to that.

It's really hit and miss though, I'm currently running through route B of Nier Replicant and boy howdy does that game not respect your time.

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Nodima

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I almost always finish a game that I start, so it's nothing particular. I dropped Watch Dogs 2 a year or so ago because its characters were aggressively annoying. I dropped Shadow of War last month because, as the keep-taking grind opened up, I felt the value of anything I was doing in that game drop precipitously. Paradox, perhaps, but true.

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peffy

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Right now I'm "stuck" on Yakuza Like a Dragon Chapter 12. I finished the boss fight against Majima & Saejima , who were I think level 50, while I was level 42.. it was a pain in the butt.. then I googled about it and apparently I should have been level 50 before that fight. So I felt like I had to start grinding. Or finish the battle arena thing which will give me lots of XP. But I hate battle arenas so I just haven't felt like going back to it. That was nearly a month ago.

Yakuza is one of my favourite series of all time, and I'm kind of stunned I got stuck like this. I like turn-based battles but the frequency of "random" encounters and the forced grinding really wore me down. (Also, I neglected to train people in the magic/elemental jobs, and the thought of ALSO grinding those jobs up from level 1 is just.. uhghhhh)

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cornbredx

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I have always felt myself pretty stupid. Up through my mid 20s I never could beat any game without a guide or walkthrough. Never.
Now that I am older I often can beat games without a walkthrough (even games I used to be confused by- it's super bizarre sometimes), but (and Vinny has talked about this somewhere before) once you feel like you have to use a walkthrough it's over. You cant keep playing anymore without it at that point. There's something about once you start doing it you don't stop for the rest of the game. At least that's how it is for me.
But that's with like puzzlers and adventure games. With platformers or mechanics driven games I tend to give up on those when they literally hurt my hands to continue playing and I no longer want to experience that or deal with how punishing the game may be even just in my brain.
With typical RPGs I give up on those when the story goes on too long and I become done with the game itself. Often this just happens and I don't even think about it and then I realize later I never went back to that one game I liked and I forget why I stopped playing it.

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Zacklby

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I've only recently realized that the main reason I drop a game is the setting/environment. I played 20 or so hours of Assassins Creed: Origins and then realized I just couldn't see any more Egypt. I jumped to Far Cry 5 and got Montana'd out in 16 hours. I try to force myself through it but I just get so bored of seeing the same environments and level design. I need variety in what I'm seeing, even if it's purely superficial. Give me a snow area, a lava area, or a level of hell.

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styx971

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it depends on the game but generally its a i'm just not having fun type of thing. sometimes games also overstay their welcome and i'll either mainline them or put them down cause of that. other times they just aren't exactly fun anyway or they appear like too much of a time investment so i'll drop thewm. other times other things come out n i'll just abbandon whatever it was for something else... thats kinda what happened to me with persona 3 a number of years ago something else came up and i put it down near the end kinda then about 3 yrs later i picked it back up n beat it within a day ...same thing with xenoblade chronicles (1). more often if i get stuck on a game i'll just look up a faq instead of getting upset and dropping it, thats not to say i haven't dropped things from getting stuck n not longer having fun with something. it really just depends on the game.