The Top 5 Games I Want to Like… But Just Don’t

Ever been in a situation where everyone you know can’t stop talking about a certain game and no matter how hard you try it’s just not for you? It’s something I think every gamer experiences, it falls into a different category than simply over or under-rated. These are the games that sound amazing, games with concepts that we expect to see fully realized, so much so that we’ll even tolerate flaws that would normally make us put the controller down.

But you can’t force yourself to enjoy a game; Product choices are very subjective. Sure there are some objective views on technical aspects and we can compare game mechanics, however, at the end of the day, our preferences come down to personal taste.

None of the games in this list are “objectively” bad. Hell, most of them aren’t even bad from a biased view. These are just the games that to me, felt more like a chore to play. Get your pitchforks ready fanboys! You’re about to have a new target. Don’t forget to tell us what’s on your list in the comments too!

5 – RTS Games… Basically All of Them

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II

Okay, this is cheating but screw it, this is my list kids! I didn’t grow up on strategy games so I didn’t really give them any sort of chance until a couple of years ago. Before then, I did have Halo Wars but that was due to me being a fifteen-year-old who bought anything with Halo on the box.

Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II was the first strategy game I actually got into. By that I mean private matches with friends. I was never good enough to play these games against hardcores online and I likely never will be.

It’s weird for me because on one hand, I do like the idea of RTS games but at the same time, that concept comes along with a feature I hate which is not being in direct control.

What I mean by that is in real time strategy games, you play as the commander, giving orders to the people under your control and they listen. However, for obvious reasons, you’re not in direct control of their actions. As a result, whenever I give an order and the unit does something that I wouldn’t, I get frustrated. That, and I don’t enjoy having to wait for things in games and well, that’s a main part of RTS games and for good reason.

Don’t get me wrong, there are strategy games I enjoy like Dawn of War II, Command & Conquer 3 and R.U.S.E. However, even those games come with staples of the genre that just don’t appeal to me.

It’s too bad because I really want to get into games like Shogun 2, Company of Heroes and Age of Empires but I just don’t have the patience and – as a result –  the skill for them.

4 – Arma II

Okay, so I know I said most of the games on this list aren’t bad but, time for an exception. I respect Bohemia Interactive’s decision to make their games the way they do since they have a loyal following of players, but I’m not one of them.

Terrible controls, robot-like voices, crappy aiming, hideous graphics, atrocious inventory and glitchy enough to embarrass anything from Bethesda, is more than enough cause for me to dislike this game.

Couple all of that with easily one of the most poorly optimized engines I’ve ever seen in a PC game, Arma II will always be one of the biggest waste of twenty bucks I have ever spent.

3 – The Assassin’s Creed Series

This is not exactly a controversial choice since many peoples’ feelings on this game are split. Some people love it, some people hate it, some people think it set the bar for a new generation and others think it barely surpassed average.

Me? It’s got a lot that I like. The setting, time period and themes are all appealing but overall the game is soooooooooo boring! The color pallet is repetitive, the cutscenes and dialogue are dull, eavesdropping and pickpocketing are tedious and the sword combat is laughable. I personally still hold the belief that it is impossible to die by sword combat in Assassin’s Creed. It’s mind blowing just how easy and uninvolving it actually is.

Plus, AC had one of the biggest missed opportunities in gaming. It could have been a franchise with smart isolated stories about different characters over multiple time periods but instead was ruined with a sci-fi layer that has to be dragged into the following sequels.

I’ve only played the first game and a little bit of the sequel, so maybe Brotherhood or Black Flag will work for me. As it stands, I just can’t get into this series. I like many of Ubisoft’s games but AC is a series that fell short.

2 – Dark Souls

There were two occasions when I could’ve got my hands on a review code for Dark Souls II, one for consoles and a month later, another one on PC. I said no on both occasions because as a reviewer, when you say yes to a code, you have an obligation to play a good sized chunk – if not to completion – and look at it as objectively as possible. I like to think that I am a pretty fair reviewer but being fair also includes knowing when you can’t say yes.

Through sheer luck, I ended up getting a free copy of the original Dark Souls last year and after putting it off for many months, decided to give it a go. I knew that I would be getting into a punishing game with encounters and levels that refuse to hold your hand. All of these things sounded good to me on paper and while the game did make a good first impression, by the time I killed the first two bosses, I called it quits.

This is probably the part when people write in the comments that I’m bad at the game and that’s why I dislike it. True, I’m probably not that good at Dark Souls. I didn’t get very far and I only played it for a few hours. However, I don’t believe that is why I quit it.

Dying in Dark Souls is a given. It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen a lot. The challenges in the game aren’t what I object to. What really got on my nerves was having to start all the way back at the last bonfire you saved whenever you died. What resulted was me dying in a very difficult zone and having to spend another two to five minutes clearing rooms I already went through to get to the part that provides a challenge. I understand that this is a staple of the series and that fans enjoy it since it adds tension but for me, it was nothing more than tedious.

For example, one of the most memorable games from 2012 was Hotline Miami. It too is a punishing game and, like Dark Souls, it is as much a puzzle as it is an action title. It’s a game where you have to plan your moves ahead and when that plan fails, you try to improvise ‘till the end. However, Hotline Miami is an extremely fast paced game. Not only do you spawn back at the checkpoint almost instantly but you’re also not that far from where you last were.

Once again, Dark Souls is not a bad game, not even close to one. I really respect From Software and Namco Bandai (or is it Bandai Namco… oh whatever) for not dumbing down the sequel so that it has a “broader appeal”. It knows its audience and it gives them exactly what they want and that’s something that more games should be doing.

1 – Saints Row: The Third

It’s frustrating when a game you want to like isn’t engaging. Saints Row: The Third goes beyond that. It’s a game I feel that is straight up, bad. Don’t get me wrong, things like the driving controls, graphics and distinctive style are improvements, but taken as a whole, Saints Row: The Third is a game that blows my mind in the worst possible way. Something felt wrong within the first few seconds, when the game opens with a Star Wars parody that’s about as funny as a river of bloated, dead kittens.

The witty dialogue and sharp script from Saints Row 2 is replaced with lame references and dick jokes disguised as being “ironic”. There are some good voice actors and returning cast members but they’ve got nothing to work with. Honestly, they might as well have ditched the voice cast because the characters portrayed in The Third have lost everything that made them likeable. Pierce never shuts up, Shaundi has morphed into standard bitch #27 and Gat is gone within the first hour and what little he does bring to the table is betrayed by the weak script.

All this may have been forgivable if it was in the name of making the game more fun to play, but it’s not! Combat is boring, the weapons have no impact or punch to them, enemies are dumb and the missions are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. One of the stages involves dragging this character along while you repeat the same escape routine about five times, to which the character says something along the lines of “haven’t we already done this?” Hahaha! Get it? He said that this level is repetitive, which it is, but he said it, so therefore it’s supposed to be funny!

Saints Row: The Third is the video game equivalent of a bratty child banging its head on the wall for attention. It took the goofier scenes from SR2 and multiplied them, as if that’s the only thing people liked about the series. This wouldn’t be so frustrating if this was a stand-alone game. I remember playing and around the four hour mark, it finally hit me. I didn’t give a shit about any of these characters. If the planet became an inferno and all of these people were burned alive, I would light a cigar from their smoldering corpses. Beyond that, it’s not even a competent sand box game. The world feels empty and dull, the mini-games from two are either rehashed or removed, the missions are padded to the point of insanity, the gangs you fight have no personality and the game is not even that long!

I don’t know what happened at Volition when they were making this game but thank god they came back strong. The only reason that I don’t say Saints Row: The Third has no reason to exist, is because it lead to Saints Row IV, one of my top three games of last year. SR IV does still carry a few issues from The Third but as a whole, it’s arguably the best game in the series. As much as I love the newest entry though, I wish I didn’t have to see the weak link that is Saints Row’s third installment. Also, whatever gangster bitch came up with “Whored Mode” needs to be beaten with the penetrator.

Note to Volition: Of course, I mean that last sentence in the nicest way possible because you guys are awesome. Hopefully Saints Row V will be even better than IV, but before I wrap this up I just want to ask one thing; how drunk were you when you made a level with intentional lag?