Last week, we shared a few games which we enjoy despite their damning general consensus; this time around, we’re discussing the instances where the opposite is true. Apologies in advance for the sheer heresy to follow.
Sora's Monsters Inc. transformation is just ghastly.
Liam | Dishonored
Arkane Studios’ stealth-‘em-up came into my possession some time after it originally launched, snapped up for a bargain price as part of a summer sale. After reading glowing reviews (both press and user) I was looking forward to stepping into the role of Corvo Attano: Super Assassin.
As it turns out though, I found Dishonored a chore to play. The characters were weird looking, the story was convoluted and failed to grab me, and the in-game world was dreary and depressing. On top of that, the gameplay was frankly just boring.
I know stealth games are all about suspense, waiting for the perfect moment to make your move, but my word does it get tiresome quickly. My overriding memories of Dishonored involve crouching on rooftops watching guards walk in circles…
More annoyingly, I soon realised that the Dark Vision power, which lets you see enemies through walls, is accompanied by a creepy – and very irritating – sound effect whenever it’s activated, which is pretty much constantly.
Perhaps it’s just Arkane Studios that I don’t get on with, as I also found Prey very underwhelming.
Arkane make stellar games, actually.
James | Rockstar single-player campaigns
The single-player experience is sacred, and continues to be executed exceedingly well despite games executives' insistence that the time for solo experiences has been and gone.
Why then, do I neglect numerous examples from one of the hottest developers in the area - Rockstar Games? I’ve tried my hand at numerous Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead games, so I feel like I've given them a fair chance, but none have gelled with me to the extent that the likes of Mass Effect and BioShock have.
I think the biggest culprit is their sprawling maps, filled with hundreds of activities and locations to explore. While Ubisoft is champion of its own overstuffed take on this, at least in their games it feels like there's an end in sight. With Rockstar though, each game becomes more intimidatingly imposing, causing me to venture less and less into their increasingly detailed worlds.
Instead, GTA and Red Dead Online have been my safe havens, offering a largely simplistic take on each game’s world and more specific tasks to undertake within them. You can also shoot your friends in the face, so there’s that.
How could you not be absorbed by the story of Arthur Morgan and the Van der Linde gang?
Chris | Dark Souls
An engaging narrative, thought-provoking lore and gripping combat with a focus on learning the fundamentals of each enemy encounter; these are just three things I’d add to Dark Souls. Admittedly, the first two could be in there, hidden away between that huge boss fight which requires you to roll around a lot and the other boss fight which requires you to roll around a lot.
You may struggle to work out which bosses I’m referring to, and that's understandable, because it's all of them. In fact, the same could be said for any of the regular enemies too.
I've spent maybe an hour with Dark Rolls and that should have been enough to turn me off, but it wasn't. I wasted even more of my fleeting life watching gameplay videos to see if it was a "me" issue, and I can confidently say that it's not. Everyone else is the problem.
I need something to aim for; a goal, a direction, even a vague hint that the long-dead, amnesiac ghost of a plot could be found somewhere - anywhere.
Mind you, I suppose I’d know if the story was that riveting, as someone would’ve already made it into a terrible film starring Michael Fassbender. Maybe someone more athletic, keeping the rolling in mind...
Sounds like someone needs to git gud...
Rob | BioShock
My first voyage into Ken Levine’s beloved world began with the final entry, BioShock Infinite. I’ll be honest, the only thing that got me through to the end was the shooting and hook-based traversal, as the story is one of the most pretentious pieces of dung I’ve ever experienced.
Is Booker DeWitt actually the mythical, two-dimensional baddie Comstock? Once you’ve made it through to the painful, plain-bloody-nonsense baptism ending - just, ugh, what a load of convoluted tripe.
So why, years later, did I find myself playing the original? Well, a particularly persuasive associate implored me to throw Infinite aside (I was more than happy to oblige) and give it a go. “You’ll love the underwater setting,” she said. “It’s a brilliant portrayal of a Utopian society gone wrong,” she said, knowing that very sentence would immediately put me right off.
Still, I plundered the depths and again came back empty-handed: lovely combat and visuals, but the story was and still is the exact kind of elitist baloney that leaves me cold. Mute indie games like The Gardens Between have had an infinitely (pun very much intended) larger emotional impact on this big softy, and did it without the pretence.
Sorry Rob: BioShock is, in fact, a masterpiece.
Which beloved title can you just not get along with? Tell us all about it in the comments.