Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2016
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The third wheel to the popular Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2016 and Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2016 geeklists, this is the list for games that you are still playing even though you are frustrated with at least one aspect of it.

This list is for the games with which you have a love/hate relationship, maybe games that have no way to fully "Beat" the game (esp. online games), maybe games you play obsessively and then feel bad about, maybe games you stopped playing but then felt bad about quitting, maybe games that have at least one annoyance that should merit quitting, but that also have at least one shining glory that keeps you hooked.

Post your games here, ideally starting with:

At least one PRO
At least one CON


Naturally, following with a detailed explanation of both sides of your ambivalent feelings is best.
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1. Video Game: Teslagrad [Average Rating:6.50 Overall Rank:4501]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
Massachusetts
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PRO: Charming world, cool powers, neat little puzzle platformer
CON: Got difficult quickly


Started this one last year and almost put it on my 2016 hardcore challenge list, but glad I didn't because I am completely stuck. It got to the point where I know what I'm supposed to do in a room, but don't have the dexterity to jump, invisi-dash, red punch, blue aura, and reverse, all before falling. The world is really charming though, the bosses so far have all been entertaining, and it's definitely a cool game. Cool enough that I'd like to beat it. But where I am now is just an exercise in frustration. I plan to go back to it and try again, but if I still can't make any progress it's even odds whether I keep trying or just abandon the game.
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2. Video Game: Grand Theft Auto V [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:58]
Andrew Hodkinson
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Owen Sound
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PRO: Great world and great characters
CON: The online component has burned me out, especially as the contradiction between open world and exacting heists became apparent. I should write a review.

Really liking this game but perhaps the online burnout will make it difficult to get back in. I also found shooting while driving a car to be really hard. In the game. Shooting from a car in real life would be easier. But the dialogue and characters and teasing story line incline me to go back in through the single player story mode.
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3. Video Game: Stronghold HD [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
p55carroll
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"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." --Emerson
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Pros: Challenging, interesting, humorous
Cons: Tough, expansive, time-consuming

I don't usually get into real-time games, but a Geekbuddy turned me on to this one, and I'm mostly delighted with it.

It has a great tutorial, and the campaigns provide a step-by-step path into the full game. Building and defending castles is great; besieging them is fun too. Video and sound are impressive to me. The humor helps me lighten up, and I think there's just the right amount of it.

On the downside, some of the scenarios have already been pretty tough, even on Easy level. I've yet to win the Long Valley mission near the beginning of the economic campaign. But for practice, I've gone back and replayed earlier missions on Normal level, and won. So I guess I'm improving.

Another source of ambivalence is the increasing size of scenarios. I played one of the historical castle defenses (Leeds), and it was so big I could hardly keep track of everything at once. From the look of it, custom games can get even bigger. I'd be a long time working my way up to being able to handle that.

Oh, and then there are the advanced possibilities I wouldn't have thought of if I hadn't seen them in YouTube videos: e.g., designing a castle with a maze in front of the gate, or building detached towers just to distract siege engines. Not sure I'd enjoy taking advantage of AI weaknesses this way.

Very fine game overall, though.
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4. Video Game: Total Annihilation: Commander Pack [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.83 Unranked]
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Pro: A big wargame with lots of cool stuff
Con: Too much competition

I could just as well have listed StarCraft: Brood War instead. I bought both games at just about the same time, not realizing how similar they are. I'm told they diverge and start feeling very different in time, but as a beginner I'm not seeing the difference (except that there are more story elements in SC).

I'm glad the campaigns ease a player into the system, but at this point (in both games) I've bumped up against a hurdle that I wonder if I'll get past. And if I decide to meet the challenge, shall I meet it in this game, in StarCraft, or in Stronghold? Learning all three games at once is a bit too much.

But so far I haven't been willing to let any of them go. Hence, I'm torn; and I guess that's a form of ambivalence.
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5. Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Average Rating:8.94 Overall Rank:11] [Average Rating:8.94 Unranked]
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Pros: Engaging fantasy setting and characeters, potentially deep RPG mechanics, exploration.

Cons: Awful HUD / navigation (sadly no PC mods for me on PS4), substandard controls and movement, glacial pacing, and a total inability to set goals and act on priorities within the system. Game basically tells you to stand in line for hours every time you want to do something (build up a skill, craft new gear, complete a quest).

Hardest pill to swallow is the frequent deaths combined with the totally unnecessary 40 second load times. Everything is always several levels ahead of me, even when I'm doing the lowest level questlines available. As I've said before, I die in this game ten times more often than in Demon's Souls or Dark Souls.

I haven't touched this game in nearly a month. I have a feeling that it might eventually click, but I'm sick to death of the constant bullshit I have to put up with in the meantime. The dilemma is that if I decide to focus on all of the amazing looking titles I've recently acquired (Fallout 4, Bloodborne, etc), it will be months if not upwards of a year before I look at Witcher 3 again, and I probably won't remember what I'm doing in the game.

Hell will freeze over before I choose to restart from scratch, since my main beef with the game is the developers' rigid, uncompromising insistence that the system not respond to your priorities in any way. It would take me just as long (15+ hours) to slog my way back to where I am.

Not wild about giving up on it, just really not interested in bulldogging my way forward while there are so many tantalizing alternatives.
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6. Video Game: The Bureau: XCOM Declassified [Average Rating:5.33 Overall Rank:6856]
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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I've been playing this game for about 4 hours. So far it hasn't been as bad as some people were saying it is. But I fully agree that it is first and foremost a very mediocre, bland game - the level design especially is very poor, it's like a first-year student's C-grade work. The animations clearly suffer from being half-assed, and the gameplay itself is passable.

I keep playing this, because every once and again, there's a very cool idea here. I have no doubt all that's going to be a waste of time by the end, but I'm enjoying what this game could've been and I'm mining it for ideas for an RPG campaign set in a similar setting with a similar plot. Only better, hopefully!

If this game was shorter, I'd just power through it. As it stands, I'm not sure if I'm going to actually finish it, but I turned the difficulty down to Rookie (Easy) just in case. The game doesn't work smoothly enough to make me feel competent on Normal difficulty, it's all way too clunky and the balance seems very off for most encounters.
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7. Video Game: Outside the Scope of VGG [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
Kurt R
United States
Philadelphia
Pennsylvania
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All life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other.
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Deadnauts. Not in the database.

Pro = Equipping a team and breaching a space ship similar to Space Hulk
Con = Game play is not clear

I'm not sure what I think of this one. On the pro side, you get to equip your team with weapons, shields, or tech suits for offense, defense, or data gathering, and that's fun to equip a team. Then they breach a ship and have to complete a mission.

I'm not sure I'm doing combat right. It seems to happen automatically but I may be missing how to use my shields or direct fire. Plus, it's intentionally difficult and I've yet to figure out how to resurrect my crew after they're killed. Once you're down some crew, getting through the next mission of the campaign is pretty difficult and then they're all dead and it's campaign over. I'm not sure if I'll start another campaign or not. If I do, I'll have to watch this video series to learn a few things.

If anyone else out there is playing and has advice, I'm open to input.

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8. Video Game: Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent [Average Rating:6.46 Overall Rank:2519]
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United States
Minneapolis
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Less ambivalently continued and more grudgingly. If this wasn't on my hardcore list, I would abandon it.

I don't care about the puzzles or the story, and I resent the time it takes to solve the puzzles. I'm frankly considering chewing through all my gum and randomly guessing just to get through this game. And maybe spending time on any puzzles that look/seem interesting.

Pro: Art style
Con: I don't care

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9. Video Game: Xenoblade Chronicles X [Average Rating:7.36 Overall Rank:3252]
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Platform: Wii U
Time played: 50 hours.
Reasons for ambivalence: Don't feel like I'm going anywhere.


This one might be abandoned, actually. I enjoyed the first Xenoblade Chronicles very much and this shares a lot of the same DNA. I've pushed on, enjoying some bits and not enjoying other bits, waiting to get hooked. But it's kinda bland. Exploring the outdoor environments is incredible, with amazing scenery and music, teeming with life and things to do. But it's just really weak in terms of having bland characters and a barely-there story. Plus I really dislike spending time in the hub city, it's extremely grating, but you need to go there a lot.
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10. Video Game: Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Siege [Average Rating:7.34 Overall Rank:1964]
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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PRO: Very tense game! There are rounds where I realize I'm holding my breath and my hands are shaking!
CON: There will be many times where you get killed without any warning because someone happens to have the right angle on you, or worse, when by all rights you got the drop on someone but they were able to snap out a quick headshot in their spray of bullets.

I rarely get into online competitive FPS games, but every now and then the mood strikes me. Since I got a free PC copy as a Ubisoft employee, and since I like blowing things up, I decided to throw myself into R6 Siege. Since it released, I've been playing it almost every day, often only two or three matches at a time when I have less than an hour free (when I pack lunch, I often play two matches at lunch at work), but sometimes I'll decide to play many matches in a row when I might normally be playing a single player story-based game.

I'm torn on the game; there are as many good rounds where I feel like I contributed to the team in some way as there are bad rounds where I get killed in the first minute and have nothing to do but to watch players who are better than me slaughter the rest of my team. Sometimes I wonder if I should just stop playing, since I'm never going to be "done". I'm used to playing games with an ending, and some part of me feels like I'm "wasting" my time just having fun with this game rather than "beating" other games, but another part of me says that it's all just leisure time anyways, so if I want to play some R6, I should just do it and not feel bad!

I might be ambivalently continuing this through 2016, since they have quarterly updates planned, with new maps and new operators.
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11. Video Game: SolForge [Average Rating:7.17 Overall Rank:1681]
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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Platform: PC and Android phone
Pro: Interesting, compelling, fast-moving, balanced
Con: Ever-expanding, with option overload

Thanks, Seth, for turning me on to this game and giving me a boost with it. I played for hours and hours, all weekend, and now I have it on my phone too.

My experience with CCGs and the like is very limited. Years ago I played Portal in hopes of getting a small taste of the Magic phenomenon. Later, I played Astral Tournament and Astral Masters on the PC. It's a pleasant sort of game, interesting enough to keep me engaged and coming back to it again and again.

The ambivalence is just my reaction to the expansiveness of it. So far, all I've done is play quick games with random decks against the AI. It's a lot of fun, and I could keep doing that for a long time to come. However, I've gotten to where I beat the Hard AI about nine times out of ten, so that has become more an enjoyable respite than a challenge.

Meanwhile, I've been collecting silver and event cards and opening booster packs, and I haven't yet bothered to find out what all those prizes and things are about. I did glance at the deck-building screen for a minute, but I shuddered and ducked back out quickly. Too many cards, and no idea where to begin doing anything with them.

I tried creating decks in Astral Masters some years ago, but I didn't like it much, and soon I was back to just playing with standard decks instead.

Chances are I'll never get into multiplayer gaming (with SolForge or any other game). So about all that's left for me is to continue doing what I've been doing until I get tired of it.

I really enjoyed the weekend's learning experience, though. I just think I might be happier with a self-contained game like cribbage or bezique. There nothing new gets added; once I've learned how to play, my job is just to work on playing better and better.
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12. Video Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Average Rating:7.40 Overall Rank:438] [Average Rating:7.40 Unranked]
Seth Brown
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North Adams
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PRO: High production values, addictive CCG, Tavern Brawl
CON: Opposing decks usually similar, only like Tavern Brawl


Tavern Brawl is a wacky format that runs for 4-5 days every week, with bizarre global enchantments, and/or random cards in deck, and/or the ability to play as a boss with cards players don't get. It's pretty fun on a good week; I've played over a dozen matches this week with the two wacky bosses, and I played a lot of unstable portal brawl. Many weeks are really enjoyable formats, and I like playing them.

The rest of the time, the rest of the games, I usually don't enjoy it, and I'm just grinding quest rewards to get gold so I can buy (the new adventure, the new set, &c). I've always been susceptible to the CCG addiction, and Hearthstone is no exception. But I don't love playing. I don't hate playing (unlike various other online CCGs I've quit in frustration only after grinding cards for a while), but if there's no gold reward in it, I rarely want to play a random game of Hearthstone unless it's Tavern Brawl.

(compare w/SolForge, where every time I make a new deck I want to play half a dozen games with it immediately, and more later.)
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13. Video Game: Might & Magic Heroes VI [Average Rating:6.33 Overall Rank:3854]
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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PROS: it's a solid HOMM game with a lot of character and some neat ideas
CONS: the game's difficulty in the campaign is completely out of whack

I've played around 15 hours of this game so far. I got through the Tutorial missions just fine, and then bumped over the first hurdle - playing the very first mission of the campaign on Normal. It was a nightmare, and required me to exploit the game to beat.

So I turned down the difficulty to Easy for the next mission, hoping it'll make a difference. Well, it didn't - not really, anyway. So right now I had a tough fight in the second mission, and that's maybe around 50% of it. But I'm stuck. There's nowhere to get an army from. I can't progress. I'll have to reload an early save. But even then, I don't really see how I'm supposed to NOT lose the majority of my army. I might need to try out another campaign and see if anything changes, but some comments I saw on the net suggest that this, the Necromancer missions, is actually the easiest campaign.

I like a lot of things about this game, but I'm calling bullshit on the level design. It's completely bonkers.
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14. Video Game: Tomb Raider: Anniversary [Average Rating:7.33 Overall Rank:862]
Kristopher
United States
Allentown
Pennsylvania
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So, I've been making my way through some old Tomb Raider games I bought for $3 each off Xbox Live. I played the very first one, and maybe the second on PC years ago, but never got around to some of them. So when I saw a bunch for $3 a piece, I had to get them.

uh... Maybe nostalgia makes you look at things differently. But I having a hard time getting through this one.

PRO: It's Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. Puzzles and action and jumping and shooting etc.
CON: It's Old School Lara Croft, Tomb Raider. With annoying "hit this mark here or it's slide way down to the bottom and make the long hard journey back up through the puzzle only to miss the mark again and start all the way back down at the bottom" puzzles that are starting to drive me nuts.

As much as I hate playing a game with a walkthrough, I consult one more than half the time to limit the headache the game gives me from the constant motion sickness of having to redo everything over and over and over again to figure it out...

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15. Video Game: This War of Mine [Average Rating:7.58 Overall Rank:603] [Average Rating:7.58 Unranked]
Dario Delfino
Italy
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This game is VERY good, don't be fooled. It has a great atmosphere is well done and it's kinda addictive.

The real issue here is exactly that sad atmosphere... it's sometime even TOO sad and if someone dies I feel miserable for too much time XD

And broking up with my girfriend does not help at all soblue
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16. Video Game: Final Fantasy IV: The After Years [Average Rating:5.00 Overall Rank:6845]
Matt
United States
Alabama
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Pros:
thumbsup The nostalgia factor of the familiar characters and setting
thumbsup Playing from several different perspectives and seeing them cross paths
thumbsup Having
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Golbez
as a major party member
Cons:
thumbsdown Level grinding
thumbsdown Locations are reused to excess
thumbsdown Little payoff to story even near the end

As part of my excitement for Final Fantasy XV, I decided to play other FF titles that I had missed before. With FFXIII and FFX/X-2 still on the menu, I started with something I would be more familiar with, a sequel to the first game in the series that I played. Unfortunately, it's a mixed bag, which I imagine can be largely attributed to the fact that development of the game was handled by a company other than Square-Enix.

The beginning of the game shows promise, as the first tale (the game was originally released in episodic format) focuses on the son of Cecil and Rosa. There is some intrigue with the appearance of The Hooded Man
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Ok, not really, it's obviously Kain
and the mysterious behavior of Cecil. The lunar phase system is introduced, and seems like it could encourage you to try different tactics with any given party in the game.

When starting to play through the six episodes that follow (which you can play in any order), the plot thickens. Who is the Mysterious Girl? Why is Cecil acting this way? Why is the Lunar Whale ship being pulled from its resting place? As you play, each of the characters starts at a relatively low level, and as you progress through their story, you get them to a more respectful 20 or 30 or so. You realize that the moon phases don't really matter except when the handicapped category is the one that your party of, say, five monks relies on entirely.

Then you play through more of them, and there's more exposition. No answers, more setup. You grind through to level 20 or 30 a few more times. You see more mundane locations multiple times - the Underground Waterway becomes a place that you dread not because of difficulty, but because you've already seen it so many times.

You get to Kain's tale, are given a few answers, and take your fifth trip through the Underground Waterway. The Lunarians' tale explains little more, but hey, we're somewhere totally different this time. That's progress.

The final tale, The Crystals, is all that's left afterward. The climax of the game. And we don't have any idea who the villain is or why anything is happening. That, and most of the characters you played in earlier chapters are now incredibly underpowered for the escalated situation. "20 or 30 or so" isn't enough anymore, even though that's what got you through the end of the previous chapters. The result: more level grinding, this time with characters that die so easily that the fights are often over with those that need the EXP the most lying face down on the ground.

At this point, more than 40 hours in, the only real reason I'm continuing to play is to prevent all of the time I've already put into the game from being a waste.
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17. Video Game: Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
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I am a fan of the Phoenix Wright and Prof. Layton games. Phoenix was always the stronger series, though I really liked the style and laid back ness of Layton. Maybe it was brand loyalty of the animation studio, maybe it was my love of puzzles even when I've heard (almost) all of them before, but I enjoyed them.

Thus it is not lightly that I say, this is not a good game.

I'm on what I am sure is the final section. I maybe should have given up but I just feel such a connection to the two series's that I just can't say I'm done yet. The game gives voice to maya and Phoenix beyond their typical interjections from previous games and they are not great. The puzzle sections are completely linear and barely challenging except for one or two clever ones. I will say that, given the nature of the universe, the puzzles kind of make sense. At least, if the nature of the universe was meaningful at all. I feel like the end of the game is going to be a mile of exposition that is just not going to be very exciting.

The trial portions are also fairly uninteresting. Either the clue is blatantly obvious, or it's weirdly obscure and doesn't make sense to go after. So often when I saw Phoenix doing his success face, I knew he was just going to be shut down for some trivial who cares or other.

Mainly, the game feels like a well-polished exterior over an uninspired engine. Even the gimmick they introduce to trials is usually trivial. I won't even get to the story, which leans farther into just a weird supernatural universe that seems to be saving all its Gotchas for the last possible second.

But

I can't give up on these characters. I'm not willing to say I've abandoned it yet. So here we are.

I'm giving it a bad rap because there are still good things about it, but it's far inferior to the rest of either series (that I've played at least).

*sigh* that sunk cost fallacy though
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18. Video Game: Assassin's Creed III: Liberation [Average Rating:6.84 Overall Rank:2380]
Krzysztof Zięba
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I've played this for maybe six or seven hours, and I'm somewhere around two thirds of the campaign done.

PROs: cool female protagonist, free running is fun, the setting is interesting

CONs: the gameplay formula is wearing thin, and the plot is fragmented and managed to disinterest me despite my initial curiosity

I'm not a big fan of the AC series, I've only beaten the first one and Liberation is the second game I've played. I felt like it got a bad reputation for being a mobile part, but I'm sort of understanding the criticisms of this one the better the more I play it.

The game's narrative is probably the biggest problem, as it's very chaotic and fragmented, with disconnected parts that are supposed to make you care, but all that just falls flat on its face. I'm not sure the cool protagonist can make me play this for much longer. The gameplay is pretty boring and bland - I had the most fun exploring the city in search of collectibles, but even that feels like a pointless grind at this point.

It might go to the abandoned list, to be honest, but I'll give it another shot in a few days and see how I feel about it then. I'm tired today.
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19. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:746]
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I'm pretty sure this is appearing on the abandoned list soon, but I'm not certain yet. This game is simply total garbage, an obvious .

Mission 14 is what really hammered it home. Someone at Kojima's studio decided that "hey, let's have a mission where you sit in one spot and watch a guy on binoculars for over thirty goddamn minutes was a good idea. When he was alone, I tried interrogating him to get the information from him that way, but, nope, he simply spits out some nonsense about "the interrogation happens at night" (when it's already night), and then once I knock him out, three guards psychically are drawn to my location instantly, alerting the whole base.

So, in other words, in order to succeed at this mission, they literally want me to just sit in one place and watch one guy forever. Amazing videogame design. Brilliant.

But this really just is an exemplar of the game's issues. Why is this one individual mission so bad? Ultimately, because it's just an incredibly restricted set of scripted sequences in a genre that has only ever worked by giving the player latitude to explore. But, the thing is... almost every mission in the game is like this. MGS V's mechanics simply don't allow for Thief/Dishonored style level design; its version of stealth is simply "Pac-Man in 3D", and it gives you fewer ways of escaping bad situations than most other stealth games, so there's literally no room for developers to create interesting scenarios through level layout and enemy placement. As such, the game has to throw scripted sequence after scripted sequence at the player to create something "interesting"... but stealth games, as a genre, simply don't do visceral thrills well, which makes MGS V arguably inferior to literally every single heavily scripted, linear, setpiece-driven FPS ever made based solely on an utterly misbegotten core template.

This game has no reason to exist. It's a giant pile of nonsense, a stealth game that really wishes it was an FPS.
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20. Video Game: Total War: Shogun 2 [Average Rating:8.11 Overall Rank:282]
Krzysztof Zięba
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I've played this game for about 17 hours, out of which the current game probably took me half of that time.

PROs: it's a Total War game - a genre I like, and also a game about feudal Japan - a theme I adore
CONs: the campaign took me by surprise, probably making my entire progress meaningless

Each Total War game has a quirk in the campaign. Medieval has the Pope and crusades. Rome has the Senate and civil wars. Shogun, apparently, has something called Realm Divide, which is basically the current Shogun telling everyone to band against your faction. Which I didn't know about.

To add insult to injury, when that happens, even your Allies and Vassals start losing loyalty and ultimately turn against you.

Here's my problem - around 40% of the provinces I currently hold have been conquered by my Vassal. Also, my forces are stretched thin, and I'm woefully unprepared economically for the coming conflict.

And I wouldn't have been angry at the game, if not for the fact that it basically urges you to hurry up with your conquests. It doesn't give you all that much time to conquer Kyoto, and the clan I played with, the Date, is inherently made for racing through the provinces as fast as possible.

Whereas in other Total War games I kind of knew what I was doing, here I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. The costs of buildings and the economy in general doesn't feel too balanced either, as I feel it mostly slows down your progress, creating a false choice between investing in your armies OR building up your income. It's always been this way with Total War games, but in this one it seems very tough to balance out. The only case where I felt it was worse, was in the basic campaign of Medieval II: Total War... and I disliked that one strongly.

I'll play a few more turns and see if on Easy difficulty the Realm Divide is manageable. Maybe I'll even manipulate my Vassal into being destroyed by my enemies, so when they inevitably betray me, it'll be easier to take their lands... but I've got to say, I kind of hate the fact that your allies keep losing trust when the Realm Divide happens. And that it happens before you get close to Kyoto - if that was the reason for the Divide, you could at least plan for it...
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21. Video Game: Jurassic Park: The Game [Average Rating:5.70 Overall Rank:6203]
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I just completed the first episode of this game... I've got to say, it's not TellTale's finest.

I'm a fan of the Jurassic Park books and the first two movies, but even I am having trouble with this game. Mostly it's because the quality is just plain low. Animations are shoddy, some of the dialogue just cuts off, the QTEs are very rugged and not paced well at all... and having dinos in it just means there's a lot of death to QTEs which you immediately get to redo.

The cast of characters so far has been interesting, but the action has been less than thrilling. I'm having serious doubts if I should keep playing this, because the quality likely won't get any better.
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22. Video Game: Borderlands 2 [Average Rating:7.95 Overall Rank:87]
 
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Platform: PS3.
Pros: Gorgeous art, solid gameplay, decent humour.
Cons: Juggling loot, questionable ethics, no sense of progress.


I'm not sure that this is really my kind of game. I prefer more linear, story focused games, whereas this is really built around the multiplayer missions and loot. I do love the art style and music, the guns are nice but I am so sick of managing my inventory.

But the main thing that is turning me off is having to kill all these bandits and I don't know why. Am I just a heartless murderer? What's my motivation? I don't want to play the antihero.

I also find the structure less satisfying, there's little sense of progress in any sense, through the story, through the map. It's all a bit samey. I just hijacked the train.

Nevertheless, it's a quality game.
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23. Video Game: Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic [Average Rating:8.27 Overall Rank:31]
Simon Woodward
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Platform: Crappy laptop.
Pros: Famous.
Cons: Dated, clunky.


I wanted to play this for historical reasons, because it is the precursor of Mass Effect, and because I like Star Wars.

On the other hand I am not a big fan of turn-based combat (although it's cleverly disguised here) and it just feels less exciting than newer more action focused RPGs. There's your typical talk to people, get side quests, manage your skills and inventory, crafting.

I also am not a fan of PC gaming. But I don't have an Xbox.

I am up to Dantooine.
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24. Video Game: Battle Realms [Average Rating:7.70 Overall Rank:2263]
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Platform: PC
Pro: Graphics, army-size limit
Con: Army-size limit, graphics

I'm still in a quandary over which RTS game to work on learning (see items 3 and 4 above in this list). Because of it, I haven't done much at all with them. But lately I'm reconsidering Battle Realms.

Games tend to be small, slow, and simple in the beginning and then get big, fast, and complicated later on. I find I often get overwhelmed somewhere in the middle. Then I have to force myself to push ahead, or else I just quit and play something else.

BR has a tutorial and intro scenarios; I'm good with that. It's also good-looking--bright and cheery like Stronghold, not dark or dull like StarCraft. I'm not thrilled about 3-D, though; I always find that more annoying than interesting.

One unusual feature of BR is the army-size limit. You build units out of peasants, but when you reach your limit, peasants stop appearing. Then, if you lose units, peasants start generating again. So you can't just steamroll the opposition via max production and increasing numbers; you have to create elite units, get them experienced, and use them wisely.

I thought the smaller number of units might suit me, since I sometimes lose track of all my many units in Total Annihilation and other games. But the drawback in BR is that upgrades and special abilities become that much more important; and it's hard to keep track of those in a real-time game.

Maybe I should stick to turn-based games. Or real-time sims (e.g., Red Baron (1990) and Silent Service II, both of which I still like a lot and get along well with), where I have very few units to pay attention to, and where I don't have to deal with production at all.
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25. Video Game: Dungeon Keeper 2 [Average Rating:7.64 Overall Rank:287]
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Platform: PC
Pro: Humor, digging, possession
Con: Dark, tricky

Might as well list the other RTS games I've been ambivalent about. This one I didn't expect to like, but it surprised me. It has some excellent features and has been pretty fun to play.

The art (mostly red and black) doesn't appeal to me, though. And it's tricky to balance the economics, recruiting, training, exploring, and all that's going on. The "possession" spell is wonderful: it temporarily turns the game into an FPS basically, as you play from the viewpoint of one of your minions. But again, it's tricky--yet another set of skills to learn.

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