What Game Did You Want To Like But Couldn’t?

I used to record a podcast, at the end of which we’d take questions submitted by listeners. Somewhere early on we were asked the question, “What game does everyone else seem to like, that you wanted and tried to like, but bounced off?” We then spent the next two years ignoring the question as it was submitted again and again, by people who presumably did not know we’d already answered it.

If it’s a popular question to ask, maybe you’ve all got answers. So I’m asking: what game does everyone else seem to like, that you wanted and tried to like, but bounced off?

I can’t remember what my answer was on the podcast, but the obvious choice now would be Dark Souls. People rave about it. I like a lot of what I hear when people talk about it, particularly satisfying melee combat and grand world design. But I played the first hour or two of the first game and didn’t enjoy myself enough to want to persist past clipping and hit detection issues. I got frustrated, I rage quit, and I didn’t go back.

Or I can give a more recent example: Dustforce. I love platform games and have been itching for something recently with a satisfying sense of movement. I’d never played Dustforce, though I’d always planned to and I expected to love it when I did. But instead I found its running and jumping sticky, and slow, and the animation ugly, and was almost instantly eager to stop playing.

In both these cases, I’m not arrogant enough to think that the games are bad. I haven’t played either enough to make that kind of statement, even if I wanted to pick that particular fight with people who love these games. But each fell down the gap between my hopes of what they were, based on what people had told me, and the reality of what it is I enjoy when I play games.

It’s not uncommon to dislike a game, of course, but there’s a difference when it’s something you actively want to like. Especially because it’s sometimes possible to bridge that gap. Alec, for example, recently battled through his initial frustration with Dark Souls to become a fan of the series. I’ve done the same, with flight simulators and grand strategy games. It might seem odd to fight past an experience you’re not enjoying with the hope of discovering entertainment within, when there are many easier, more immediate pleasures, but it can be worth it if overcoming the ten-hour hump with Europa Universalis unlocks hundreds of hours of enjoyment that lie beyond it.

So tell me in the comments. What do you want to like, but don’t even after you’ve tried hard?

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258 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Philopoemen says:

    Dark Souls – I want to be like all the other people and love its brutal learning curve, and dark fantasy setting but I quickly realised I am getting old and am more suited to isometric, turn-based, dark fantasy settings. Things that don;t require reflexes, or timing in general.

    • Psychomorph says:

      Dark Souls. The controls. Gamepad or not. I tried. Several times. I keep trying. I just can’t.

      I hate console so much.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Another vote for Dark Souls. Some of the worst PC graphics of its generation, an interface made in MS Paint by a dyslexic Japanese person, no character or story discernible enough to make me care about playing, and a ‘challenge’ in the form of random insta kill boss attacks. And the game makes the error of not explaining anything, but then being totally counter intuitive due to its own complex design conceits. If you are going to invent 13 incomprehensible categories of player and enemy stats then you really need to explain what they are. Oh, and terrible performance and GFWL and awful controls.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        I’ll throw in that absolutely terrible camera too. The main reason why I didn’t persist with it I think. After a few deaths because my camera went too close to a wall and left me completely unable to see what was happening I decided the game wasn’t for me.

      • GGiyo says:

        Haven’t played long enough eh? No attack in Dark Souls is random. In fact, the IA isn’t that flexible and does the same thing all of the time (easily exploitable weakness), except for the DLC bosses. It will look random if you put it down immediately and quit. Play on and you’d get to observe and be familiarized with enemy attacks.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          ‘Random’ in the sense that the only way to learn is trial and error. The game doesn’t bother to give you any basis to predict the way in which a new boss will destroy you in 1-2 hits, and therefore you are left to inevitably die with no hope of using skill to avoid it. Not ‘random’ in the sense that the completely unheralded murder-hits are randomly generated, they obviously aren’t.

    • cfgauss says:

      Definitely most of all Dragon Age: Inquisition. What an absolute piece of shit. Utter garbage of a game, from the hideous looks to the way they ruined the world of Dragon Age. I LOVED Dragon Age: Origins beyond belief, to this day I stand by it being a PERFECT example of how RPG should be done, and even Dragon Age 2 was not as bad as people say – DA2 is kind of a guilty pleasure for me to be honest – but my GOD did i rue the day i ever bought Inquisition.

      To a lesser extent, i would say i really tried to like Witcher 2 and 3 but they didn’t manage to return to the endearing charm of the first one, they became standard triple A overproduced games, albeit quite well done and not as disappointing as the Assassins’ Creed series became starting with that insanity that was AC3…it was all downhill after that. By now Assassins’ Creed has firmly adopted the mantra of Call of Duty: “make the same game over and over again every year and make it as mainstream as possible”. And definitely the newer titles in the Total War series were pretty bad as much as i tried to like them and that hurts all the more because i adored Medieval 2 and Rome 1.

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    Oakreef says:

    I’m with you on Dark Souls. I’ve put more than a dozen hours into Dark Souls and while I did enjoy it somewhat, I realised I was spending three hours of annoyance to every hour of enjoyment to it.

    • Unsheep says:

      Same here, it just felt tedious after a while.

      Also, the lack of an engaging and involving narration made me loose motivation and interest in actually continuing the game.

      Too many gamers seem to think ‘narration’ is simply there to serve as a “filler”, but it also works to motivate you to keep playing the game, to put up with the tedious or boring parts of a game.

      With no motivational factor, a game sometimes becomes very shallow, and that’s how I experience Dark Souls; you kill things with swords.

      • Cheradanine Zakalwe says:

        *dark souls spoilers ahead*

        This is a really interesting perspective, because I personally love Dark Souls story, and think its actually one of the best narratives ever told in video games.

        The land is steeped in myth and legend, with a lot of the story gleaned from item descriptions, architecture and the bits and pieces you pick up from NPCS. The story is set out like a traditional heroes tale on first inspection – you must link the fire and fulfil your destiny. On closer inspection though, you find out you’re being manipulated. The tale is a tragic one of the entropy of the universe, everything that grows into something glorious eventually dies and decays, and you’re being used by various forces entirely for their own ends.

        I find the difficult gameplay works well with this as well. You feel insignificant and puny, any the terrible lows of getting crushed give you an amazing feeling when you triumph over a challenge.

        Its certainly not for everyone, but the story in dark souls is one of my favourite.

        • artrexdenthur says:

          I agree, the story’s fantastic. It’s a bit of a shame I only know it from reading wikis, but I just find that more satisfying than spending the required amount of time getting good at the game. Still, I think the game’s style/presentation is perfect even if it drives time-poor people like me away.

        • Urthman says:

          Is it a great story, though? I’ve played through (and loved) Dark Souls, and read several articles that claim to lay out as much of the story as players have been able to piece together and it’s just…kind of okay? The whole bit of how you can give your life to keep the fire going a while longer or maybe you actually should let the fire die and maybe usher in the age of humanity…is kind of interesting but not particularly unique or amazing even compared with other video game stories. It’s kind of tragic to see a bunch of sympathetic or heroic characters who failed and went hollow, but there’s not much to any of the individual stories beyond that.

          The atmosphere of Dark Souls is beyond great, among the best in all of video games. But the story? Is there a particular character or event you can point to that you think makes the story great?

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            basilisk says:

            VERY HEAVY DARK SOULS SPOILERS FOLLOW:

            The twist. It’s all about the twist which isn’t even there.

            If you just run through the game, it’s a perfectly banal “Chosen One saves the day” story. If you dig deeper, you’ll find you’re not the Chosen One, you’re just a useful idiot. Who, just because of very blatant flattery by one shady snake and the cynical illusion of a kind princess with enormous breasts, takes up a suicide mission for the sake of someone they probably hadn’t even met who’s pulling the strings from behind the curtain. Not a hero, just cannon fodder. Used and thrown aside.

            And yet the evidence that this is all manipulation is there. Pull at the ends of the fabric, go to places where the manipulators don’t want you to go, break the sequence (i.e. try to break the game!) and you’ll find out not all is as it seems. Play by the rules and all you get is an ignoble death.

            It’s essentially exploring the idea that everyone wants to be the hero of the story so badly they don’t question anything. A story about brainwashing that *brainwashes the player*. Everyone who finished the game thinking they’ve saved Lordran is just another victim of their own hubris and obedience.

            If that isn’t brilliant, I don’t know what is.

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            basilisk says:

            Continued:

            And this is why the storytelling in the game is so obscure. It needs to be obscure, otherwise this concept would never work. It’s deliberately feeding you myths and half-truths (and one or two complete lies) and laughing at you as your conditioning to always play the hero makes you reach the wrong conclusion in your head.

            In essence, it’s one of those stories where just before the final confrontation, the weird mage from act one appears and says, you fools, you’ve been doing my bidding all along! Muhahaha! Except in DkS1, the weird mage is far too clever to even show his face. This particular mage is perfectly happy to stay hidden and move all the pawns from behind. They are there, in the game, and can be found and even killed. But you need to put in the effort to find them.

          • Urthman says:

            I guess, for me, it takes more than the wrinkle that the villain never steps on stage for his evil monologue to make that completely tired cliche of a plot that’s been used in a zillion other video games (never mind all other media) seem fresh.

            And to me, I’d describe most of what you’re talking about as having more to do with the game’s fantastic atmosphere than a contribution to the game’s “story.” (But then I think that’s true about a lot of games. Half-Life has a pretty lackluster story but great atmosphere and environmental storytelling.)

      • carewolf says:

        That and the annoying grinding. Fuck having having to fight the same mobs over and to get from A to B or having to do so to go up a level. Plus badly designed challenges. I killed the NPC apply and even the dragon and ventured into areas I wasn’t supposed to be able to, but could not get anywhere with the goddamn griffins. I only later read in wikis, the game is supposed to “open up” after beating them, and I needed the NPC to help me there. And of course the griffins where not anywhere near a save-place, so get ready to go through stupid irrelevant NPCs for every time you try beating them……

        Dark Souls is crap.

        • dazman76 says:

          This is such a typical and classic lazy-play response for Dark Souls, that I think you might just be trolling for a fanboy response :) I’ll take the bait. Dark Souls isn’t for everyone, but you can’t have an error-filled rant and then call it “crap”.

          There are no Griffins in Dark Souls. The “Bell Gargoyles” may or may not open new areas upon death, depending on what else you’ve done up to that point. Their name is shown on-screen during the fight – and in the Wiki you referred to. Be honest, you weren’t concentrating with either were you? :)

          I’m 99.9999% sure you didn’t get to areas that you “shouldn’t have been able to get to”. Several of those do exist early in the game, and all of them are behind large, glowing yellow barriers that can’t be circumvented. All but one of those barriers are beyond bosses you haven’t beaten, if you haven’t rung both Bells of Awakening. You can’t glitch past the one exception – so that isn’t where you’ve been either. Any other area you managed to reach – you were absolutely supposed to be able to go there at any time of your choosing. Including areas that will have you tearing your hair out because of the difficulty at that point in your character’s progression.

          You were supposed to say that the game wasn’t for you – but instead you said it was crap. That’s an entirely subjective statement aka your opinion – so here’s my opinion in response :) Mostly because you couldn’t even get the boss name right even after reading a wiki… either that, or you couldn’t be bother to straighten your facts long after playing the game before writing your bit – which is also a bit rubbish really. But also because I see reviews written in the same slap-dash manner, that often lower ratings for products that have simply been mis-understood and deemed “bad” as a result.

          • Raoul Duke says:

            The fact that you need to explain that much because the game fails to do so sort of says it all. It’s like a movie which only makes sense of you read a 2000 page novel first.

        • GGiyo says:

          It’s not for casuals bud. It sets you loose in the game world, and lets you fend for yourself. It doesn’t give you a map or prompts on where to go (most of modern games). But it “hints” you. Like how some areas will beat you so bad until you find the one that is suited to your level.
          Can’t say it’s not for everyone because it’s very much doable, and games of old were much more obscure and unfairly difficult. Compared to Demon’s Souls (its predecessor) DaS is less complicated and you’d see how areas’ are structured from a mile away. It only requires you to persist. The game doesn’t get better. YOU get better. RPG at its finest.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yep especially in these big RPGs, I’m yet to find one where the combat didn’t become a bit samey after a couple of dozen hours. Wanting to get to the next bit of storyline and see what happens next keeps the motivation up but Dark Souls just didn’t do that for me. Too much of it is just random bits of lore rather than telling me why I’m doing what I’m doing.

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    Qazinsky says:

    As someone who bounced off Dark Sould too, I had more success with Dark Souls 2. Gave up on the Witcher and Witcher 2 but finally got on with Witcher 3. Sometimes what is needed to get into a game is to play a more polished version (keyboard and mouse controls in Dark Souls case, please don’t kill me, Dark Souls fans).

    I think it would be easier for me now to go back and play the original Dark Souls, because I have already gotten some training for it in another, but similar game.

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      phuzz says:

      Same here with the Witcher. Gave up on the first two after about 2-3 hours each, mainly put off by the combat and the fact I couldn’t really work out how any of the systems worked. I could see that the world building was really interesting, but somehow neither caught my interest.
      The Witcher 3 however seemed to do a better job of explaining how things worked from the beginning, and I could finally enjoy a game with the world and setting that I’d been intrigued by from the start.
      Not quite finished the main plot yet, loving it immensely :)

    • GGiyo says:

      I finished Dark Souls on a laptop. Touchpad and keyboard. What’s wrong with it, if may I ask?

    • GGiyo says:

      I finished Dark Souls on a laptop. Touchpad and keyboard. What’s wrong with it, if may I ask? I’m just an average gamer. DaS doesn’t have the omni directional roll so it’s less complicated ng Dark Souls 2.

  4. melnificent says:

    Real-time 4x games. I love turn-based 4x and frequently play until the wee small hours, but real-time doesn’t work for me. The real-time gameplay revolves around frequent pausing, but it’s not true Turn-based.

    • Replikant says:

      Good one. I tried to get into RTS when the genre was young and horrible path-finding and practically non-existent unit-AI meant that my artillery units would end up on the front line while the main battle tanks got stuck behind some trees and a bridge and while I couldn’t get my infantry to accept a simple attack order.
      I understand that in real life there is no turn-based warfare but at least real-life persons aren’t lobotomized into complete idiocy (at least not all of them).
      Years later, I read the glowing reviews of Wargame:AirLand Battle and Company of Heroes and decided to give it another try.
      As it turned out, path-finding problemes and non-existent unit-AI are still all the rage. If I order my tanks to set up a defensive line near some woods I shouldn’t have to pixel-chase micromanage them all to go into cover.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Well not true really. Real life warfare is essentially turn based once you are high enough up the command structure. You tell your forces where to attack and what you want to accomplish. A general isn’t micromanaging his troops around a battlefield. He’s looking at the situation, ordering his troops to attack A, defend B etc and then reacting based on what the enemy does next.

        The role you play as commander in an RTS is less realistic because even the mid-ranking officer in charge on the ground is just giving commands to his squads and the low ranking officers are responsible for micromanaging their troops as far as where to move, what to do etc.

      • Slazia says:

        I totally agree with this. Micromanaging tons of units against AI that can micromanage every unit at the same time is totally unfair. Multiplayer also feels stupid as its not about tactics, but about who can click 100 times a second in order to deal with all their units. Saying that, I love Wargame: Red Dragon. I play the 10 v 10 maps with very limited budgets. Every players controls only a small handful of units.

        If you are interested in trying this, be warned – the vets heavily stack the teams. So for new player, it’s gonna be an awful experience; So much so, I had to write a guide to encourage them to ruin the stacks and make the game better for everyone: link to steamcommunity.com

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    Captain Narol says:

    FTL, Sunless Sea and Endless Legend.

    I’m not much into roguelikes so that might explains for the first two…

    • Vandelay says:

      Endless Legend was a surprise for me too. I expected to really love it, as I normally like 4X games, such as Civ and Gal Civ. The idea of every side being very unique and a focus on story, sounded like just the right thing to inject new life into the genre.

      But when I played it, I constantly ended up being placed near strong angry creatures. I was always having to focus on military, at real odds to how I generally want to play these games. I normally can’t in other games either, but it normally takes a 150 turns or so before things fall apart. Here it wasnt much more than 20 or so.

      Still I’m looking forward to seeing more of Endless Space 2. I’m more interested in sci-fi than fantasy and the originally seems to be closer to what I would be looking for.

    • Unsheep says:

      I’ve struggled to enjoy rogue-likes as well. When I play a game I like to feel that my time was invested in *something*, that I have achieved something with my time.

      There are exceptions though.
      Survival games like The Long Dark have the same overall design as a rogue-like; you play until you fail, then you need to start all over again. However the gameplay feels so unique and immersive in that game that I don’t actually mind restarting it over and over.

      Some rogue-likes or rogue-like-likes (or whatever they are called) still let you level up or upgrade your character even when you die. So with each new round you get gradually stronger and can go longer into the game. Starward Rogue is one of these games, and I think it’s a great game. It has procedurally generated levels and gameplay mechanics that are simply fun. So this type of rogue-like can actually feel worthwhile.

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      zapatapon says:

      Strangely enough, I love FTL to bits but on the other hand totally bounced off Endless Sea.

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    Ninja Dodo says:

    Far Cry 2. Really tried, but got so very sick of driving the same roads and clearing the same checkpoints again, and again, and again.

    • Catterbatter says:

      I loved FC2, but I agree the travel could be annoying. After 15 hours or so, I was frequenting the same two or three bus stations because they had vehicles that would go off road and avoid the checkpoints.

    • Unsheep says:

      For me it was the side-missions that made FC2 loose it’s potential. There was so little variety in them that I only did a few of them in the beginning of the game, for the remaining 80% of the game I did not do another one.

    • specialsymbol says:

      Strange – for me FC2 was one of the best games ever, possibly the best game in the franchise. It’s incredibly atmospheric, everything feels just spot on. And it’s fun!
      The checkpoints can be annoying, but after a few tries you know how to get around these (either by crashing them) or how you can quickly dispose of them.

      I don’t really know if, were they permanently removed, the game would be better. I am afraid it might feel empty then.

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    Nauallis says:

    Civilization 3. I read rave reviews about it from nostalgia-blinded fans, and I just.. no. That game was shit. Civ 1 passed me by, as I grew up using a Mac, Civ2 was fantastic, 4 & 5 have been absolutely amazing. But 3? Garbage.

    Endless Space. I played the game in EA, and I enjoyed it. On final release? I don’t know what the hell I’m playing. Why include custom-designed warships when you can’t actually control combat? The AI just min-maxes, but there’s not a way to tell what kind of weapons they use beforehand, to counter them. Last I played it’s not possible to meaningfully follow the AI’s diplomacy, and when the game just suddenly announces that the AI wins a diplomatic victory? Nope!

    Others: Pokemon Go – It’s not even a game. Counterstrike – Nope! League of Legends – Nope! Dark Souls – It’s wide & shallow, as other people like to say. There’s enough “story” to get you interested and no actual meat to the story.

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      Jekadu says:

      I’m not entirely sure what the point of claiming Pokémon Go isn’t a game is. It’s interactive, people are having fun with it and it gamifies walking. I think that’s good enough!

      I’m not a fan of video game snobbery.

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        Nauallis says:

        Eh, I’ll take snobbery over gatekeeping. I’m not telling anybody not to play it.

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        Minsc_N_Boo says:

        I thought game snobbery was a requirement for RPS readers? Didnt you check the T&Cs?

        Put me down for Dark Souls as well. Tried hard to like it, but so far not had the urge to get passed the second boss.

        Also anything RTS based. I have not really enjoyed one of these since Warcraft 2

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      basilisk says:

      On the contrary, Dark Souls has one of the cleverest stories in the entire videogaming medium. It just makes you work very hard for it and you’re unlikely to piece it all together on your own. In fact, I’m pretty sure that most players, including those who’ve finished the game, never figured out the full extent of what’s going on.

      I know that DS fans saying these kinds of things tend to sound like some kind of weird cult, but there is a lot more to the game than meets the eye.

      • draglikepull says:

        If most players never figure it out I’d say that it’s more likely obtuse than clever.

        I’m reminded of a line I read in a music review years ago: “Obscurity isn’t a talent.”

        • FreshHands says:

          Sorry to sound like a weird cult member.

          But you are wrong (and forsaken by the Lords).

          Even though I don’t dig it, Mozart’s stuff is still arguably objectively and empirically better than, say, the Saints Row 4 Soundtrack (which I love).

          On topic: The recent isometric RPG revival. Accessed all of them Early. Didn’t complete or like even one of them. Sadface.

          • Flatley says:

            Mozart isn’t “obscure,” he’s one of the most talented and recognizable composers in the entire history of humanity. And it’s not like it takes a whole lot of effort to enjoy his music — it just sounds nice. It’s not dissonant or confusing. In other words, it’s quite the opposite of the Dark Souls narrative.

        • artrexdenthur says:

          Yeah, that’s a tricky one. Obscurity’s for sure “not a talent” but it *can* be used to great effect both artistic and mechanical (for example, Dark Souls (both); the more successful ARGs (artistic); early Christianity (mechanical))
          The problem then becomes figuring out which hidden things are worth pursuing. For some people, the fact that a thing is hidden is all they need, which is great for them. For the majority of people, the trick is finding someone right on the edge of likes-hidden-things-but-also-appreciates-other-values to guide them to those obscure things that are truly worth looking into.

      • Unsheep says:

        When I devote dozens of hours on a game I’d like to know what the heck I’m doing it all for. I don’t want to rely on vague interpretations by self-proclaimed “game experts”. The narrative in Dark Souls did not make the storyline feel ‘deep’ to me, it made it feel ‘thin’.

        Mozart is not objectively better than modern music.

        You can objectively judge *the techniques* used in creating music and art, techniques that are scientifically testable; correct proportions and perspectives for example.

        Yet *the standards* for testing these, and the importance attached to them, are products of their time when it comes to art and music.

        That’s why the works of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo were highly praised during their time in the renaissance, and the works of Salvador Dali, Picasso and Andy Warhol in the 20th century.

        Don’t confuse Science and Art. Science deals with facts, art does not.

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          basilisk says:

          I’m not talking about any vague interpretations. Everything is right there, in the game, it’s just not shoved right in your face. That’s what makes it such a masterclass in integrating gameplay and story. If you don’t put in any effort, and you just want to play a simple hack&slash, you absolutely can, and you get a very simple hack&slash story to go along with it (from which something weird keeps poking up every now and then). But if you do put in the effort, you’ll find that there’s something quite brilliant hiding behind that story, and what all the weirdness actually meant.

          So yes, shallow is *exactly* what this game is not. It’s only shallow if you don’t look past the topmost layer.

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        zapatapon says:

        you’re unlikely to piece it all together on your own

        More generally concerning Dark Souls, I get the impression that I’m pretty much unlikely to succeed at anything on my own. This really rubs me the wrong way. I’d either have to pore over the internet to find information on how to properly play, or spend 250 hours of my time to figure it out alone. None of which appeals to me.

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          basilisk says:

          Have you played it yourself? Because honestly, the game’s reputation for difficulty is widely exaggerated. I’ve played many games that were far harder than DkS1, and even DkS1 has built-in systems that can optionally make it quite easy – most notably co-op. The servers are not exactly busy these days, but still alive.

          The whole “Prepare to Die” thing is 80% marketing. It’s a game that punishes mistakes harshly, yes, but compared to, random example, Crypt of the NecroDancer, it’s really not that bad.

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            zapatapon says:

            I have, about one year ago.

            I seem to have bumped exactly into those gotchas that all clueless newbies run into: starting with a character class chosen according to my own preference but actually turning out to be a difficult starting build for newcomers; not finding my way to the first dungeon (Undead Burg) after leaving the prison, but getting my ass repeatedly handed to me instead because of faffing around in non newbie-friendly areas; finally getting into Undead Burg (after ragequitting and having to look it up in the internets), then getting creamed by the Taurus demon in about 5 seconds of fight and having to start again ca. 30 minutes before hoping to reach the demon again. Looking again on the internet and finding the “correct” strategy to tackle the demon would have probably necessited me 10 tries (times 30 minutes) to find out on my own.

            From what I’ve read, for many newbies there is some sort of weird personal epiphany about the game shortly after finally overcoming the Taurus demon. I keep wondering if it’s worth trying to reach that state, but frankly seeing I already invested maybe 7 hours with having close to no fun at all, I don’t really feel motivated.

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            zapatapon says:

            By comparison, I had some genuine fun with Crypt of the Necrodancer, although I kind of suck at it and decided I had seen enough after reaching Level 3.

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            basilisk says:

            I absolutely understand. I also very nearly uninstalled the game after the Undead Burg. I just didn’t see what the fuss was about. The opening can be very harsh before you figure out how the whole thing works, and yes, the game is far too opaque when explaining its core mechanics. Or rather, not explaining its core mechanics. I like the approach, but they absolutely overdid it.

            All I can say is that there really is a great game in there. I, too, transformed from a ragequitter to someone who now has all the achievements. It happens.

            I think the greatest stumbling block for most people is that the game pretends it’s built on the familiar western RPG template, but deep down it’s absolutely not, and that’s what throws everyone off. Your own expectations work against you.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        “It just makes you work very hard for it and you’re unlikely to piece it all together on your own.”

        This sounds like a fancy way of saying it does a really bad job of story telling.

    • Haldurson says:

      Most of us probably agree, at least, that Civ 3 was the worst of the bunch. I did get some enjoyment out of it, in spite of knowing that it was the weakest of the series. Fortunately, as you say, the later ones got much better.

    • Jip says:

      Civ3 is a good call – it was notoriously bad at cheating, and blatantly so. I’ve been playing the Civ games since Civ1 back on my Atari ST, and Civ3 is the only game of the series I really didn’t like either.

    • ComradeSnarky says:

      Dark Souls isn’t for everyone (I bounced off it the first time I tried it) but “wide and shallow” is exactly what it is not.

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    Jekadu says:

    Going through the tab in my Steam library that I’ve labeled “Completed” there are a lot of games that stand out (when I finish a game I sort it into Favorites or Completed), but I think the biggest one is The Dig. It started out great and then deteriorated into the usual progenitor nonsense that so many science fiction stories seem wont to do. I’ll also never understand how anyone could think that the standard writing style used in adventure games where every line is a quip was a good fit for that game.

    There’s also Mr. Robot, which is probably the only game I’ve ever been angry with (although come to think of it, I was in a really poor mood for other reasons when I played it), but which a lot of people seem to like despite how poorly it works as a game.

    Hmm… I see I’ve still got Frozen Synapse lying around. I tried it briefly but nothing about it appealed to me. Maybe one day I’ll try to get into it, but probably not.

    I am fortunately pretty good at picking out games I think I’ll enjoy. The trick seems to be to find critics whose tastes either align with yours or at the very least make sense to you. Fan buzz is almost worthless except as an indicator for whether something is currently living up to expectations or not, and also on the rare occasion when something is broken about a game and a handful of critics is too small a sample size to communicate this effectively.

    • Premium User Badge

      alison says:

      The Dig was that way for me too. I love point and click adventures, and I love science-fiction, so I went in planning to love it. And then I just found the whole thing very tedious and dated (I only got round to playing it a few years back). I did finish the game, but ugh, what a slog.

      All the recent articles about Bioshock have me thinking about that one too. I bounced right off it because I went in expecting a dieselpunk immersive sim and ended up getting a fantasy fireball’em’up. Didn’t finish it. Most overrated game ever.

      But I’ve whined too much about Bioshock before on RPS. A more interesting one is Metro 2033. I started playing that and I thought it was terrific. The world is exceptionally well-realized – dark and claustrophobic and bleak. But after an hour or two of battling through the desperation and misery I just gave up. Full marks for recreating the grit of post-apocalyptic Russia, but I just couldn’t get past the shooty-bang set pieces and endless dying and retrying. It’s the only game I have given a positive review to on Steam while only barely making it through the first level or two. Good, i guess, if you like that kind of thing. I thought i did. I guess Metro 2033 showed me I don’t like pure shooters any more, even if the aesthetic is right up my alley.

      • klops says:

        I don’t think that’s The Dig’s problem, most likely you’d feel like that with any old adventure game (that you at least haven’t played before). All classic adventure games feel like that to me nowadays, although I loved Lucasarts games and even some Sierras back in the day.

  9. Premium User Badge

    zinzan says:

    Endless Space: I love turn based space empire games BUT No!!!! Dunno what it is but it simply seemed dreary…….
    S.T.A.L.K.E.R : Again a perfect me game, but just could not get into it; tried 8 or 9 times and all 3 games, just doesn’t click.. :(

    • Premium User Badge

      zinzan says:

      Civ V : having played to death 1, 2, 3 and especially 4 I JUST could not get into Civ 5 – it just didn’t give me that “just one more turn” feeling at any of the 7-8 attempts I’ve made on it over the years.

      • Premium User Badge

        jssebastian says:

        I also bounced off civ5, after expecting to love it as i did all the other 4 (especially civ 4) with only 9 or so hours played. I think my problem may have been that I bought a complete bundle with all the expansions (because everyone said that made a much better game) and found myself learning too many systems at once and being overwhelmed.

    • Jerkzilla says:

      To be fair, STALKER is, at best, a mediocre shooter. It’s the atmosphere that hooks, but the mechanics are very stiff.

      • fish99 says:

        The shooting is eventually very good, with bullet travel, drop and penetration, but you don’t get to appreciate it until you get past the initial guns which have poor stats and really aren’t fun to use (which sadly put a lot of people off the game).

        It certainly has some clunky mechanics/animations though.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        On the contrary, STALKER has some of the best shooting ever.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Andy_Panthro says:

    Telltale games.

    I played through Sam & Max season 1, episode 1 of Tales of Monkey Island and Episode 1+2 of Walking Dead.

    The Walking Dead gets so much praise in particular, but I really found it difficult to care about most of the characters, and it was light on puzzles. The choices often seem forced, and nothing really seemed to matter.

    So now I give all Telltale games a wide berth, even though they continue to gain popularity (and produce more and more games!). I do still occasionally feel like I’m missing out though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      You should at least give Tales From the Borderlands a shot at some point. You get the feeling the writers had a lot more freedom to mess around.

    • mewse says:

      It’s worth noting that Telltale was in the process of reinventing the old adventure game genre, in the first season of The Walking Dead, morphing it into a new thing which seems to slowly be acquiring the genre label: “Choices and Consequences”, which focuses on branching story, character, and difficult binary choices, rather than on logic (or illogic) around finding and combining objects to solve puzzles, as in classic adventures.

      The Walking Dead was the transition point in Telltale’s work; in the early episodes it was more classic-adventure-y, and in the later episodes it was more “choices and consequences”-y (I suspect as Telltale became more confident that the design was working). It was kind of the proof of concept that “choices and consequences” could work as the basis for a game, and lots of games since have followed that model, including everything further from Telltale.

      But in terms of Telltale’s “Choices and consequences” games, The Walking Dead is likely the weakest, in part because it was the first. I’d point at “The Wolf Among Us” as a better first experience of the genre, if you can go in unspoiled. And I’ll fight anybody who disagrees with me that “Tales from the Borderlands” is the best Borderlands game ever made. :D

  11. Premium User Badge

    Big Dunc says:

    Jazzpunk because although I like the quirky humour of it, I find that it gives me horrendous motion sickness after about 5 minutes.

    I was a big fan of Civs 1-3 but for some strange reason 4 and 5 never really grabbed me like they should have.

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      caff says:

      That’s a real shame – Jazzpunk oozes oddness with a sharp and brilliant humour. I wonder how it gives you motion sickness, does it have headbob? I can’t remember.

    • Sardonic says:

      Seconded, it’s hard to explain but I think it’s something about the color scheme with the feeling of navigating the world just threw me off hard, barely finished it.

    • Gotem says:

      that is the only game I’ve gotten a refund for, it was really painful playing it, some say it is the colors, or the shapes or the FOV settings, but couldn’t stand it for more than 10 minutes and was with a headache hours afterwards

  12. Premium User Badge

    caff says:

    Undertale. I think it’s JRPG feel just turns me off – I didn’t play such games as a kid, and nor would I now. I appreciate there might have been a lot of depth there, but I just couldn’t get into it.

    Another is the Binding of Isaac. I think the main reason I don’t like it is because I’m terrible at it.

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      keefybabe says:

      Both of these for me too. I can see how well written undertake is but I’m just not gripped by it, an Isaac, despite loving both rogue likes and twin stick shooters does nothing for me.

  13. liquidsoap89 says:

    Kotor is the big one for me. I love Bioware’s games, but I just didn’t enjoy Kotor at all. The Chronicles of Riddick game is another one. I heard tons of good things about it, but I just couldn’t remain interested after a few hours of play.

    • Premium User Badge

      Nauallis says:

      Perspective question: Did you play KoToR within a couple years of its original release date, or after you’d already played Jade Empire and/or Mass Effect?

      • godunow says:

        Funny enough Mass Effect was my nemesis. I bought whole trilogy on Origin, played through the first one not enjoying it at all, but having heard sequel is one of the best games ever.

        Halfway through ME2 contacted EA support and deleted Origin account.

  14. tigerfort says:

    Civ: Beyond Earth. Loved the older Civ games, although my RSI made me cut back a fair bit. And there’s some really nice stuff in C:BE, like the fact that research isn’t just a linear path from past to future. Despite which – played it for a couple of hours over the course of a day, and just couldn’t be bothered to go back.

    Also Crypt of the Necrodancer, which I tried out on one of the free weekends. I love roguelike(like)s, but rhythm games are a bit hit-and-miss for me, and even when I got a really good beat combo going, it just felt too much like work and not enough like fun.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Oh, rhythm games! I couldn’t think of anything to post, but now that you mention that genre, I’d put Audiosurf as a big one for me. I foolishly tried to feed it classical, jazz, and rock a number of times, and nothing about the game seemed to be in sync with the music, ever. I eventually smartened up and gave it some electronic stuff with more obvious beats, and it still just did its own thing, so I gave up. It bugged me since I really like it in general when things do things consistently to the beat of music (or do them to an inaudible rhythm), but yeah…it didn’t do that.

      Crypt of the Necrodancer intrigues me since it controls and reacts to its own beat, but I’m not too sure I’ll like the rest of it.

    • Horg says:

      I was the same way with BE, only got 5 hours at launch before uninstalling. It was, to use the cliche, a perfect example of a product being functional but ‘soulless’. However, Rising Tide went on sale recently and its managed to hook me. Customisable leader personalities break up the monotony of the factions and allow a more dynamic diplomacy system to emerge. The war score system provides some desirable rewards to playing aggressively. Several of the underwhelming mechanics (stations, orbital units, spying) got fleshed out and became viable. It’s still a Civ game at the end of the day, with all the problems that entails, but it’s a lot better than it was.

    • April March says:

      Crypt of the Necrodancer for me as well. Though in my case it’s couldn’t as in ‘was unable to’: I’m awful at anything involving rhythm (much to the dispair of my drummer girlfriend) and couldn’t get almost anything done in it.

  15. Haldurson says:

    I really wanted to like “The Witcher 2” because everyone told me how great it was (I hadn’t played the first one). I could not get through the first major section of the game because the controls just felt unnatural to me and extremely unpleasant and twitchy and just awfully difficult to struggle with and figure out. I gave up on it.

    A very similar thing happened to me with Kingdoms of Amalaur (sp?) — I hated that UI with a passion. I actually got a lot further in the game than I had with “The Witcher 2”. The controls and combat system just felt so contrived, the UI was probably the worst UI I ever tried to struggle with, this side of SotS 2. Then again, I tend to get bored easily anyway with twitch games and games that are mostly dexterity based. It doesn’t help that I’m bad at them due to visual and coordination issues.

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      Andy_Panthro says:

      I had the exact same reaction to The Witcher 2. The interface in general just felt awful. I tried my best, and pushed through to the first village after the intro bit, but just couldn’t get used to it.

      It’s a real shame, because I’d enjoyed the first one so much I’d pre-ordered it.

      I’ve not tried The Witcher 3 either, but I’ve got a friend who’ll hopefully lend it to me when he’s finished with it (on PS4).

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        It’s nice to see others mention The Witcher 2 here as well. People always mention it as a great leap in quality and a great game in every way.

        While not a bad game and certainly much better than many other games, I was put off by the many changes it had from The Witcher 1. No good music setting the mood, QTE’s, the serious and dreary all the time story/setting, the simple combat with much fewer animations etc. I enjoyed it much more after a second playthrough, but it will always be clearly inferior to The Witcher 1.

        My no. 1 game for this would be Dragon Age: Origins, because of its grindy combat. Lovely environments quickly wear out their welcome for that reason. You just want to be done and go do something else, somewhere else, but your current “dungeon” never seems to end. The boss fights and later stage clustfuck fights are even worse than your regular enemy encounter. Story, voice acting and other things are top notch. I blame myself for not playing on Easy (where friendly fire is disabled) and the game for not letting Normal be a fun experience.

    • sinbad says:

      For me Witcher 2 is by far the worst of the trilogy. I completed it, but enjoyed it so much less than either of the others. Could never understand the unbelievable praise it got. Adore 1 and 3 though.

    • brucethemoose says:

      +1.

      I REALLY wanted to like TW2, but I just couldn’t get used to the mechanics.

      I still plan on trying 3 someday, maybe if it goes on sale.

  16. Zekiel says:

    Papers, Please. I gave up on it due not to the horrifying losing-your-humanity thing (as you’re supposed to) but because the actual game mechanics were playing havoc with my RSI.

    Also Fez. I’d sort of understood it as an inventive platformer, whereas actually its more a puzzle game. I didn’t have the patience to try and solve the puzzles (let alone decipher the language) so it lingers, abandoned, shaming me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Jekadu says:

      I get why so many enjoyed Papers, Please, but I played through it once and then didn’t really think about it again. From a craft perspective I am definitely impressed with the diegetic interface, but it also works against it — as so many reviews pointed out at the time, Papers, Please isn’t a very fun game. The core gameplay loop is actual work. It’s an interesting game, but if the story doesn’t do much for you then you probably won’t feel engaged.

  17. shocked says:

    Just today I refunded Factorio (that everybody seems to love). The time I played it I continuously fought with the controls and building a big factory under these circumstances just isn’t enjoyable. Also it’s very linear in its progression… not sure I would enjoy that over a longer time. Perhaps I’ll take a look in a year or two if they fix the controls.

    • Darloth says:

      While I can understand that some people wouldn’t like the progression or indeed the entire idea of Factorio… the controls? It’s WASD to move and left click to build or interact and rightclick to unbuild. I’m interested to hear what’s so unlikable about them.

      • shocked says:

        I can’t control it with mouse only. No icon for the inventory, press ‘e’ instead. When it’s open, there’s no close button and I can’t simply right-click to close the window either, no, press ‘e’ again. When you build something and want to rotate it, you can’t use a button or the mousewheel to do it, no, it’s ‘r’. Rotate counterclockwise? Three times ‘r’. To get out of ‘build mode’, you can’t right-click, press ‘q’ instead. And that goes on and on. Also all the CTRL- and SHIFT-click-shortcuts could be done mouse-only.

        Basically the circumstance that you have to control the player character with WASD and that you can build stuff only next to the him is just super annoying. Building a conveyor belt could be done with two clicks to mark the start pos and end-pos and then your character could go there and build the stuff by himself. Instead I have to place every single tile manually and rotate the tiles myself. It’s just too cumbersome for me, especially if I have to do it again and again.

  18. JFS says:

    Dragon Age Origins. I wanted to love it, I bought it thrice (don’t ask), but it never really clicked. It had a few memorable moments, as far as I got, but it never came near Baldur’s Gate or comparable games.

    On second place, because I didn’t have as high expectations, is Divinity: Original Sin. I totally didn’t get it. Minimum fun, strange gameplay, gave up on it after three hours orso.

    • Dicehuge says:

      I had a similar reaction with both games. Love the old school RPGs, the Baldur’s Gates are my favs, but just couldn’t get into origins. The combat felt a bit clunky and the story never seemed to reach great heights. I think I played Original Sin too much in early access and by the time it was released, the novelty, particularly of the combat, had really worn off.
      I bought DA:O twice too. The console version was dreadful.

  19. gwop_the_derailer says:

    Mine is everyone’s favorite 1989 Genesis title – Herzog Zwei!

    One of the earliest progenitors of the RTS (and MOBA) genre, featuring a giant transforming mecha that hauls around tanks! What’s not to love?

    Well… not being able to win a single map, as it turns out.

    Maybe I should give it another go someday, eh?

    • gwop_the_derailer says:

      Oh, and here’s a fascinating article on how the password encoding system of Herzog Zwei left a little message for the players, found almost 30 years after the game was made.

      link to eenerd.com

  20. shocked says:

    Oh, and Divity Original Sin was a let-down for me. The combat-system was great, but I really didn’t like the characters, world and story. Very disappointing.

    • Gordon Shock says:

      The same EXACT experience. I adored the gameplay and the mechanics, but the characters and the dialogue didn’t do anything for me. I do hope that part 2 improves on this.

  21. Shizzle says:

    Any Fallout game.

  22. hoho0482 says:

    Every Rpg ever that isn’t either golden sun or skyrim. Keep trying however, but not enjoyed or come anywhere close to finishing witcher 3, fallout 4 or crashlands recently. Yet gs and skyrim 2 of my favourite games ever (after lasersquad and civ).

  23. Sardonic says:

    Definitely with the writer on Dark Souls, it just felt bloated, floaty, and ugly.

    I really, really could not get into Crusader Kings 2. The economic, research, and combat systems all just felt terrible to me. I get that the ‘point’ of CK2 is more the familial interaction stuff but that really didn’t do it for me, and I mentally could not get past comparing it to Medieval Total War 2 which I felt had a much better implementation of the concepts.

    Having said all that I regard Stellaris very highly, and it’s one of my favorite 4Xs to date. Paradox seems to have come a long way in terms of systems design.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Crusader Kings 2 gets my vote. Far too large an up-front investment for my increasingly short attention-span brain.

  24. Chris Evans says:

    Tried Minecraft, couldn’t get into it at all.
    Tried Terraria, got into it a bit more than Minecraft, but not enough to continue with.
    Tried Don’t Starve…enjoyed it but not enough to continue with for a longer game.

    Bit of a trend there I think!

  25. Caradog says:

    If you had asked me a year ago I’d have said Dark Souls. I played it for a few hours then came up against the Taurus Demon and was killed so many times that I decided that, if was what the first proper boss was like, then the game wasn’t for me.

    Well, after a year of being worn down by the Daft Souls podcast I gave it another go. After many more deaths I beat that demon, then the gargoyles and – impossibly – rang the first Bell of Awakening. Nothing could stop me after that and it’s turned out to be the best gaming experience I’ve ever had.

    As for my current answer to the question, I’d say Dark Souls 2. I found it to be a pale shadow of it predecessor – linear, stuffed full of cheap gangs of enemies that gank you, boring bosses and loose combat controls. I just can’t understand why it got the rave reviews it did!

    • Wagrid says:

      I’m glad somebody else found the controls in DS2 really loose. I don’t see that brought up a lot but they really bothered me. To me those games are defined by tight, responsive controls and DS2 not having them kind of broke it for me.

      • Caradog says:

        As the game went on I leant to live with it and adapt, but it still annoyed the hell out of me. I can’t tell you the number of times I got killed because the game didn’t register raising a shield (pretty much instant in the first one and nerfed to make it harder) as well as a failed item swap (see my additional rant below).

    • Dare_Wreck says:

      On one hand, I’m not sure what rave reviews you’re referring to. The game got respectable reviews, but nothing quite like the first Dark Souls. Secondly, the controls of DS2 feel exactly like the first one to me, so I’m surprised you ultimately got along great with the first one but then not so much with the second. The level design definitely isn’t as good as DS1, though.

      • Caradog says:

        Well I found button inputs followed by actions very laggy and unresponsive, rolling extremely unpredictable (improved with ADP, I know), and using both the shield and estus flask (also improved with ADP) slooooow as hell. Most of all I missed the ability to queue R1 / R2 actions that the 1st one allowed you to do, such as queuing a swap between the cleric’s chime back to a shield mid casting animation.

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          Oh yeah, I get what you’re saying now – good point. In DS1, I noticed that you could always queue up one more action by pressing it during another action, and the game would go ahead and do it after the current action’s animation completed. This was very handy for estus use.

          This changed in DS2, where you seem to only be able to queue up another action if the animation of the current action is almost done, which is incredibly irritating when you’re close to dying and desperately need to take a swig of estus. I end up mashing the estus button now during, say, a sword swing when near death to make sure I restore health at the end of it.

          I don’t know if that’s exactly what you were referring to, but that is a difference I’ve noticed between DS1 and DS2.

          • Caradog says:

            That is *exactly* what I’m referring too! :) I assume the devs decided things were too “easy” the way they were, but the result feels imprecise and makes casting spells and using items / estus even harder than it already was. I reinstalled the first one to give it a whirl (and, if I’m honest, to revisit Firelink Shrine, a place that filled me with more awe and wonder than the whole of the second game put together) and the controls were totally on point.

    • michelangelo says:

      I absolutely agree about Dark Souls sequels (all of them, except Bloodborne, which we dont talk about here, obviously ☻) felt like I did love Dark Souls for way too different reasons then sequels authors did.

      And Undertale. I totally did like writing, plot, charming combat mechanics/ideas, imagination stimulation and so on… but I just didnt get back to it. As I am writing all this actually, I cant really put into words why—It for sure deserves second chance.

  26. wodin says:

    Panzer General\Panzer Corps. Wargames that use massively oversized 3D units turn me right off before I even start. So abstract it doesn’t even have a discernible hex scale. Plus not keen on rock, paper,scissors mechanic.

    Real time games like Company of Heroes and Men of War. I’d love to be able to play and enjoy them, but it’s all just to much of a click fest for me. Though there are two games that are real time that I actually love and have no issues with, Graviteam Tactics series and Close Combat 2 and 3.

  27. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    Wolfenstein: The New Order, for some reason. Deary environments, a story that apparently expects you to care about characters you’ve only just met, and a stealth system that’s kinda mediocre but also makes the inevitable explosions of violence feel like a failure. Clearly I am missing something, as this game is apparently beloved by everyone else who has ever played it, but I couldn’t make it more than a few hours. Single-player shooters are usually my thing too (love Bioshock, Metro, Half-Life, Bulletstorm, etc).

    The other big one is Else Heart.Break(), which I should probably try going back to at some point. Loved the premise, but navigating around the world was just clunky enough to make the experience a drag. Unfortunately I tend to be kind of picky about games where the act of moving around doesn’t feel quite right.

    • Geebs says:

      I had a rather odd experience with Wolf:TNO. I first played it with mouse and keyboard and hated it. Then I tried it with a 360 controller, loved it and ended up getting and finishing The Old Blood as well. I think it’s a combination of the way the encounters are set up, and a big whacking dose of haptic feedback.

    • alw says:

      I’m with you on Wolfenstein, although I suspect it’s partly to do with me as well as the game. I think I’m just all FPS’d out. I’ve played them since my teens and lately I’ve been finding that they just fail to engage me. I think it’s the way that there’s so very little innovation in the genre. The New Order was very polished, great production values etc, but under all that it was the same shit I’ve been playing for over 20 years already. Follow the rails, shoot things in the face, press E to whatever, blah.

      I went in expecting to enjoy it but I just found it incredibly formulaic.

    • Orix says:

      Aye, I was so disappointed by Else Heart.Break(), I loved the aesthetic, but I found the people of Dorisburg fairly dull, despite a good chunk being 24-hour party people. And as you say, getting around was pretty damn clunky.

      The game absolutely refuses to help you too. There’s one character who shows up some times who might give you a tiny tutorial on the coding thing, and that was it. I didn’t even get the chance to understand it, because you have to figure everything out for yourself in the most tedious of manners.

      Nope.

      • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

        Yeah, I get that they wanted you to discover things for yourself, but I think if you’re going to do that it’s really important to make it so that they player figuring things out on their own is probable, or at least feasible :-/ It is a game that I do actually feel bad about not finishing though, because there are some really great ideas buried in there.

  28. Iliya Moroumetz says:

    Darkest Dungeon. Considering the point is to use up and toss aside your people, it kind of rubbed me the wrong way how much the game hates you.

    • Sound says:

      Agreed. I suppose if the game were re-framed to drive the point home, “You Are A Villain,” then I could revisit Darkest Dungeon. But you’re not a story villain. Instead, you’re something perhaps more realistic: someone reclaiming property out of avarice, content to do it on the misery of others. This factor, along with the grinding gameplay felt thoroughly unpleasant.

  29. Agnosticus says:

    Frozen Cortex – too much luck/randomness involved, not enough variation, loved Frozen Synapse!

    Dishonored – maybe I’ve spent not enough time with it, but it just didn’t grab me, even though i liked the theme and genre

    Stalker – shooting people in the face multiple times until they drop just isn’t for me. Again loved the theme of the game

    Don’t Starve (Together) – because of this asthetic, but the gameplay….

    Telltale games – After playing through the first Walking Dead title, I’ve completely lost the motivation to finish/start the other titles, even tough I’ve tried.

    Dungeons of Dredmor – liked the gameplay, but the graphics mostly put me off.

    • gabrielonuris says:

      Dishonored, that one… Even with all the hype surrounding Dishonored 2, I simply can’t get into that game; everything in it looks a bit off to me: its aesthetics, music, sound effects, I don’t know… too gamey for me, I don’t feel the immersion at all.

      And then we’ve got that moral system, where the game kind of blame the player for the plague. Do you wanna have fun with the cool arsenal we’re giving you?! *SLAP!* YOU CAN’T!!!

      I know the game has several endings, you can give it several playthroughs, but that hipocritical moral system was too much for me, I can’t feel I’m having fun while being guilty for the world hunger, just because I killed a guard.

    • Von Uber says:

      Another vote for dishonoured here. Really wanted to like it but it just didn’t grab me as I hoped it would.

    • Nerdy Suit says:

      Glad to see some Dishonored haters here. I could go on and on about how bad the level design is. It felt like they knew the level design was bad, so instead of fixing it to give you multiple paths to climb up to that third story window, they just said, “Here…just use your zippy zoom magic to teleport up there! See! Isn’t that fun?”

      No, it’s not. It’s broken level design saved by a silly mechanic. And the stealth was just boring. I guess it’s fun if you play as a superhero, killing everything…but if you try to play as pure stealth, it’s supremely boring and not very well done, IMO.

    • April March says:

      Dishonored, too – though in my case it isn’t the game’s fault, and I wouldn’t call myself a hater. It’s just that I tend not to like its flavour of stealth, and am also awful at it.

    • inspiredhandle says:

      Yet another vote for dishonoured here. It was… Ok.
      I tend to steer away from Victorian era aesthetics though. It’s a cheap stylistic gimmick imho, one to cater to those that love anything labelled ‘steam punk’. Yuck.

      It’s a shame really. I love Victorian era technology, but from a technological standpoint, not a “ooh everything is brass and steam, isn’t that so retro” standpoint. Nothing that labels itself as steampunk has any regard for utility, everything is over engineered, with excessive gears, etc.

      Rant over.

  30. Dare_Wreck says:

    I would have said Dark Souls a year ago and have complained about it a couple times here (as the design of the early Gargoyles fight pissed me off so much for wasting so much of my time walking from the bonfire to the fight, only for me to get extinguished 30 seconds later), but after not touching it for a year, I got back into it with the release of DS3. I gave in to the desire to look stuff up one of the many DS wikis and VASTLY enjoyed the game so much more afterwards. In fact, I ended up getting 100% of the achievements in the game. That’s a HUGE difference a year makes.

    But otherwise, the games for me that do meet Graham’s description include many already mentioned here: Dustforce, Dragon Age: Origins, and Papers Please. I like plenty of games that are similar to each of those, but for some reason, I had trouble getting into those specific ones.

    • Dare_Wreck says:

      I should point out too, since my comment ties well into the recent “When do you resort to a wiki?” article here on RPS, that one of my issues with Dark Souls was to how it obscured so many of its mechanics (the convenant system in particular is hard to decifer). Since I have very little time nowadays to play games, I decided to use the help of a wiki to make it through DS, since it’s lauded by so many people. And when I finally did that, it opened up so much more enjoyment of the game for me. I still can’t wrap my head around the timing needed to parry and riposte, but I again completed all achievements without bothering with it at all.

      Now, I’m in a race against the clock to finish DS2 before the next mini-Dare_Wreck appears on the scene, ruining any and all free time I have left for gaming.

      • Cheradanine Zakalwe says:

        Parrying is tricky if you’ve played games like DMC before – the trick is that parrying is not instant. The idea isn’t to hit the parry button as they are about to hit you because parrying has an animation. You want to time the parry so that the upswing of the shield coincides with their strike hitting you.

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          Right, I should clarify that I understand how parrying is supposed to work, I just can’t be bothered to learn the timing to do it right for every single parryable enemy attack in the game since their timing varies so much. For me, it’s like trying to memorize all the moves of every character in a fighting game – I just can’t do it, so end up sticking with a small subset of moves overall that work for my play style.

          • Caradog says:

            I finally worked out how to parry at the Kiln of the First Flame (turns out you press L2 not L1 – doh!).

            Although I’ve heard it said that a first run through Dark Souls / Bloodborne should be blind, there’s so much that’s obscured (Ash Lake, for example) that I think it’s quite forgivable.

  31. ACE454 says:

    STALKER, have never bounced so hard off a game. Far Cry 2. Oh and Pillars of Eternity, which I backed on Kickstarter.

  32. Jeremy says:

    I tried so hard to like Crusader Kings 2.. it seemed like a no brainer to me. I love 4x games, grand strategy, simulation, etc. and CK2 has all of that going on. I’ve tried starting a game 4 separate times, and each time I’m hopeful that it will click and I’ll sink 100 hours into it, but it just never happens. Ultimately, I’m not sure what I need to do to try and mine some enjoyment out of it, but as it stands, I’ve put 10 hours into it, and I think that may be the end of my CK2 run.

    • golem09 says:

      Same here, I really wanted to like it, and tried to get into it bust just felt like I had no idea what I was actually doing, and bounced right off.

  33. Wagrid says:

    Planescape: Torment. I just found the UI a chore to deal with and the combat really annoying. I got far enough in to come to the conclusion that whilst the writing was good, it wasn’t doing anything that hadn’t been done subsequently and I wasn’t willing to force myself through the rest of the game for its sake.

    • RanDomino says:

      I was done with that game after I realized I had spent an hour running around the brothel talking to people and checking quests off a list. I juuuust diiiiidn’t caaaaaare. Yes, the characters were good, but that game sucked in 2007 or whenever I played it.

    • Orix says:

      Aye, Planescape…

      I got outside the first crypt, explored for a bit, went in the tavern talked to a bunch of messed up people and yeah, kinda of interesting, but it’s very slow, and just didn’t stick with me…

      I might try it again if it is remastered, because I think I bounced off the fact that it was also very ugly, and couldn’t get any decent visual improvement mods to work on the mac version without it crashing.

    • teamcharlie says:

      Fourthed. Planescape: Torment is a shitshow as far as being an actual playable game is concerned.

      Mostly it suffers from the Infinity engine, which was simply not the right medium for this kinda experience. Maybe it should have been a pure text adventure with some voiced dialogue? Dan Castellaneta, for example, nailed Nordom.

      I think the bits and bobs of writing were generally strong, but the overall narrative is really stupid. Who cares if the Nameless One is immortal? There’s provably an afterlife. And given that they apparently planned a sequel set inside the afterlife where he works his way out, what’s the point of getting on his case about it his immortality killing other people? Presumably they’re all fine too in whatever afterlife they ended up in.

  34. aliksy says:

    Pillars of Eternity. The UI is kind of bad, and a lot of fights got frustrating because I couldn’t tell what each glowing effect actually meant. Also spells per day is garbage, and I tried to play a wizard anyway. Had more fun as a rogue, but got bored when I realized a lot of fights were turning into “if they flub their save and get paralyzed, I win, otherwise it’s a slog.” “Save or die” is a shit mechanic.

    Likewise, Divinity: Original Sin. Beginning pacing is kind of bad, and then it turned into a lot of “Did they flub their save? Then I won.”

    • Sound says:

      Agreed on Pillars. The swamp of spells, the all-or-nothing saves, the monotonous combat process… This kind of game should’ve been right up my alley. I loved it’s spiritual parents, after all. But I didn’t love this one. Couldn’t bring myself to finish it.

  35. fish99 says:

    Giving up on Dark Souls after an hour or two is criminal IMO.

    • Gordon Shock says:

      Indeed, since I’ve been an “adult” I found that I can’t pluck down hours upon hours on any given game but DS is in a different league and dedication will be rewarded.

  36. Premium User Badge

    teije says:

    A few for me –

    Thea the Awakening – should love it, checks all the right boxes, but the writing was so terrible just couldn’t stomach it.

    Sorcerer King – same as above, but found myself clicking one more turn in angry boredom just so I could end the damn thing and finish one game.

    Papers Please – too frantic, don’t like games that depend on button mashing to “succeed”, no matter how interesting the premise.

    Others, but those come to mind right now.

    • Mezelf says:

      Papers, Please… Button mashing…?
      What?

    • inspiredhandle says:

      I demand that you return to the comments section to justify your categorisation of papers please as “button mashing”

  37. spleendamage says:

    I’ll probably be shot for my list:
    X-Com Apocalypse: Oh gosh, everyone raves about this game, but although I am a great fan of original X-Com and TFtD and insta-bought Apocalypse… I just could never get into it. Too different. I’ve tried it a few times over the years, but never manager to get past an hour or so.

    SpaceChem: Yep, I actually love the idea behind this game and I can see that it’s a wonderfully constructed game, but playing the game just drives me (further) insane.

    Crusader Kings II: I really enjoy the tales of intrigue that come out of people’s AARs but my rulerships never seem to progress past me being a backwater duchy with an insipid collection of dregs in my court. I’m sure it’s just me not knowing how to create / hand off the right titles and whatnot, but I just keep bouncing off this one over and over.

    • andycheese says:

      Xcom Apocalypse for sure. I loved the idea of it, which in many ways was years ahead of its time, but the execution felt bloated by comparison to Xcom and TFTD. Also, Pillars of Eternity… I hated the backer created NPCs. Some nice writing, but their ubiquity and lack of interaction spoiled the immersion for me.

      • jezcentral says:

        In my experience, Apocalypse was a disaster if you played it turn-based-stylee. You need to play it in pausable real-time.

    • wonderingmonster says:

      The CK2 tutorial is pretty bad at teaching you how to play the game. For me it only started to click after watching YouTube Let’s Plays by experienced players. I think it was quill18 and Arumba.

  38. LinusMundane says:

    Dragon’s Dogma. Absolutely hated it, right in my wheelhouse, just couldn’t find the love.

    • khalilravanna says:

      Oo this is a good one that I’ve seen show up a fair amount in this context. May I ask how long you played before you bailed?

      I ask because I initially started playing it and found it very ahhh mediocre feeling (voice acting, story, looks, controls) but once you stick with it through the part where everything opens up (after the Hydra shows up I want to say)…Oh lord it became one of my favorite games ever. By like a large amount.

      I think the core of why it’s so good is the 1) the mechanics and *feel* of combat are some of the best in any game I’ve touched (Dark Souls quality IMO) and 2) the progression of power is one of the best. What I mean by 2 is you can wander out into the world and fight essentially a high level boss mob at level 1 and you can defeat it if you’re good enough and know how to fight it. Or you can fight things more in your level range, level up, gain more knowledge about how the systems in the game work and what the boss mob might be weak to, and then come back and defeat the same enemy much more easily. There’s just a really good progression from where you start off as a total noob adventurer and through knowledge and XP acquisition you become a godly force to be reckoned with.

  39. Gordon Shock says:

    For me it’s any puzzle games, from Myst to Toki Tori. They all look so cool and seems to reward patience but my brain simply isn’t wired to handle logical puzzles.

    Thank god reality isn’t a puzzle game otherwise I’d already be gone.

  40. Jac says:

    All of the MOBAs. The idea really appeals but for me they’re just not enjoyable games and are basically just shite RTS’s.

    • batraz says:

      I tried Lol because I was curious about that stadium gaming stuff… Didn’t really tried to like it, but it was fun for a little while being insulted by cupid morons (don’t feed, you ***).

  41. TR`Ben says:

    Overwatch. I’ve never really enjoyed it. Sometimes i get so frustrated when outplayed. Even understanding of what my opponents did right and i did wrong doesn’t help. Winning never brings delight and joy. And other players top it off with some trashtalking and arguing in chat.
    I only bought the game because of my friend, who was so enthusiastic about it.

    • Horg says:

      Overwatch would be my vote as well. I think ‘wot I wrote’ in the RPS review comments sums up why, to save repeating myself.

  42. zind says:

    Dark Souls – want to like it so badly I own all 3 on PC, haven’t gotten more than a few hours into any of them before getting bored and quitting.

    Bioshock. The most recent one is the only one I’ve managed to finish, and that was only because a friend assured me I was within an hour from the end.

    Dragon Age: Origins. I love both Kotor games, all the Mass Effect games, and Jade Empire… Something about DA:O put me off. I think it was the tactical party combat. When I play the original Fallout games I never hire a companion, and in the Kotors and MEs I am more than happy to let the AIs do their things. DA:O made me feel like I needed to take the wheel for everybody all the time.

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I’m surprised that several people here mention Dragon Age: Origins, because it seems to be such a beloved game. People who rant about Dragon Age 2 or DA: Inquisition or other games say “why can’t they be like DA: O”.

      I felt like I needed to micromanage every little thing in every fight to prevent things from turning wrong. I actually didn’t mind that aspect, it’s more that I never felt like I had accomplished something great, no sense of satisfaction, just “Okay, now that’s done, let’s move on”. Grocery shopping or vaccum cleaning is more fun.

    • Dare_Wreck says:

      Oh gosh yes – that’s exactly what drove me crazy about DA:O. I thought that the combat was incredibly annoying for that very reason. I had to micro manage everyone on my team to succeed, and no amount of tweaking of the auto combat rules (which is annoyingly very limited until you unlock more of it, at least from what I remember when I last played it some 7 or so years ago) could fix that for me.

      I got along just fine with KOTOR and Mass Effect too. There was just something about DA:O that didn’t work right for me.

    • ElkiLG says:

      I tried to play DA:O several times. Three or four. I clearly remember the last try. I was fighting those things coming out from the castle to defend the human village, I had prepared traps, like fire on the ground. I was fighting some of the things and then was warned that one of my companions had died. I checked, he was standing in the fire the whole time. I closed the game and never looked back. I’m not playing to babysit some stupid companions.

  43. Zenicetus says:

    Elite Dangerous tops my list. I have always loved the classic cockpit level space games, a genre that peaked for me with Independence War 2. Elite showed tremendous potential during the Beta period. And then the final version had such a focus on multiplayer that it turned me off.

    I want a singleplayer experience with this type of game, and the available Solo mode just doesn’t cut it for interesting content. My disappointment with No Man’s Sky pales by comparison, because it never seemed like it was very deep to begin with. Elite offered so much more promise, and then they fell down the MMO rabbit hole.

    • GrumpyCatFace says:

      Definitely agree with this. Elite: Dangerous just feels like a long, long series of G-turns and shooting, with nothing else going on.

      RimWorld is my nemesis, though. It looks amazing, but that interface just makes me cringe. Can’t get through an hour of it.

      • hpoonis says:

        Played the original Elite on Spectrum & Commodore 64. Back then most folk thought it was the dog’s bollox. 30 years later and it returned…but, in essence, it is still the same. The graphics may be fancier and the universe now has other folk flying the same ships but the core of the game is still the same and when one looks back and forth between the two, I would have expected things to have progressed far more in the last 30 years than they have.

        I might have opted for Elite but I am a definite anti-multiplayer as most gamers appear to be very clique-y and I despair of the constant use of game-speak or acronyms. So almost any game that has no single-player, I will avoid.

  44. Kefren says:

    Ditto with Dark Souls.

    I used to like old Tomb Raidr games, but I only lasted 40 minutes in the reboot, and quit at the point where you had to shoot a deer with a bow and arrow. I hate having choice taken away. It would have bene better to give you choice of being weaker (and maybe slowly dying) until you find food. Sicne I am sure I’ll be raiding camps full of supplies after another ten minutes.

  45. nimbulan says:

    Jazzpunk – The game just feels like a random mish-mash of weirdness. I feel like it’s trying to be funny, but it doesn’t work.
    Dead Space – This game has zero redeeming qualities. It’s one of very very few games I’ve ever played that give me motion sickness, you can’t see anything (done on purpose I know, to artificially induce difficulty and horror atmosphere,) the controls are broken, the combat is frustrating, and the game ruins its own horror atmosphere by warning you about the stupid jump scares with the music.
    Dark Souls – I’ll agree with you here. Even if the kb/m controls were usable, which they aren’t even with the community “fixes,” I find the trial-and-error style gameplay to be poor game design.
    Endless Space – The combat system is one of the worst I have ever experienced. It completely ruins what would otherwise be a competent 4x game.
    FTL – The game just feels like 90% getting screwed over by RNG and 10% skill. That’s not a good feeling.

    And last but not least, every single “survival” game. They’re just plain boring and a huge symptom of the problems with Steam’s greenlight and early access programs.

    • nimbulan says:

      I almost forgot GTA V – Michael and Trevor are just too ridiculously unrealistic for me to like anything about the story. GTA games have always kept a semblance of realism to their caricatures, but it’s just completely gone now. Compound that with most of the side-content being pushed over to the laggy, wildly unbalanced cash cow that is GTA Online and the game doesn’t really have much to offer. That’s not even to mention how simple the game is compared to GTA 4 (there’s plenty of videos on Youtube showing off the differences.)

    • Raoul Duke says:

      Oh man, Dead Space is just awful. Horrible controls, not at all scary, just all round average. Yet people love it…?

      It was also one of the first games to make me realise how badly console development was going to screw up PC gaming.

  46. batraz says:

    Dark Souls, not so much because of the learning curve mystic, but because the world seemed so dull and so heavy metal cover art fantasy to me. I tried, though… Painful story.

  47. popej says:

    Witcher 3

    It’s the uninteresting loot primarily.

    • michelangelo says:

      Oh yeah! There might be great game (perhaps like what was 2nd Witcher to me). But it’s beneath tons of no sense ß#$*€& I don’t care about and which I am not willing to dig through.

  48. Jokerme says:

    ARMA games. I tried a lot. Now I hate them.

    • Peter Mandelson says:

      Same. The original Operation Flashpoint was good though. I think the high point was the Operation Flashpoint: Resistance expansion CD, after that it slid downhill quickly with the emphasis on multiplayer.

  49. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    The assorted Paradox grand strategy games. 4X games are often fairly obtuse, but I can normally get into the game fairly quickly and start making (bad) decisions and doing (the wrong) things. Just clicking on things and seeing what happens, basically. Paradox strategy games just involve so much to learn before I can even start clicking on things that I couldn’t be bothered.

    Also the Mountain Blade series. I found the combat terrible, and am faintly baffled by the high praise the game gets from all corners.

    Contrary to a lot of the posts, I do like Dark Souls, but I think I’d like it a lot more without the bosses (always felt far more pleased reaching the next bonfire than beating a boss). Does this count?

    • Replikant says:

      Regarding Mount and Blade. I bounced off fairly hard the first time I tried it.
      Then I found out about controlling the units in my army and it almost instantantly got a spot on my “Best games” list.

  50. Sin Vega says:

    Gosh, loads, this is a hard one to narrow down. I retry Stalker every few years but it remains crap (tried all the mods, none quite do it), Dark Souls, Rogue Legacy (frustrating and unfair and the controls were really awkward), Binding of Isaac (way too much trial and error, plus the core ‘shooting’ was dissatisfying and hit detection felt off). Deadnaut (too little feedback, irritating controls). I hated the Firaxis XCOM too, despite trying to love it, though I’d never say it was bad.

    These sorts of games are among the most frustrating.