Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Unpopular Opinions

I know I have a contrarian streak, but I never go in to a game thinking on purpose, "I plan to hate this because everyone else likes it."  Indeed, I like a number of obscenely popular games (Bioshock, Portal, and the Fallout titles among them).

But then a day comes when everyone is writing about World of Warcraft.

Yeah, people.  You go and enjoy that, I guess.  I'll be over here with games that didn't piss me off in every possible dimension.  Seriously: I disliked the art, the camera motion, the controls, the UI, and the community.  That right there is a pretty big set of turn-offs.  I'll never be sitting around saying that just because I don't like something, it must suck -- but it sure sucked for me.

In fact, other than a smattering of Diablo II back in the day, I don't think I've ever particularly enjoyed a Blizzard title.  Blasphemy, right?  It gets worse.

I've written before about me and party-based games.  So also in the Annals of Unpopular Opinions, I didn't enjoy Dragon Age, and really I'm not that big on playing sci-fi environments either, so the Mass Effect titles didn't do it for me.  And while I'm going all Andy Rooney and crapping on everyone's parade, I'll mention that exactly two -- 2 -- Japanese RPGs in all of gaming history have really appealed to me, and both were titles I was able to play on the DS: The World Ends With You and the re-release of Chrono Trigger.  I have yet to be able to make it through more than an hour or two of any other JRPG, including each and every Final Fantasy game.  I was unable to avoid observing FF13 being played in our home (only one living room, after all, and it doubles as my office / PC gaming location), and I was also unable to avoid mocking it.  Constantly.  That thing is beyond ridiculous.

While I'm ranting, I may as well point out that due to time / money / parental restrictions back in the day, I never played a Metroid or Mega Man title.  And that I suck at racing games and loathe PvP titles.


This has been Your Critic's adventure as a Cantankerous Old Coot.  On deck after the holidays: thoughts about the Uncharted series, thoughts on the Syberia series, and an episode in which I realize partway through The Longest Journey that *this* is the game I remember playing but was unable to identify.  Happy Thanksgiving y'all. :)


  1. I'm a terrible shooter. Fortunately FO3 has V.A.T.S. and Mass Effect has Garrus and Wrex or Zaeed.

  2. In Fallout 3 I needed VATS, but much to my surprise in New Vegas, on a harder difficulty setting and all, it turns out I am one hell of a good shot without it. Granted, it helps to have a spectacular sniper rifle, but apparently all I ever needed was the iron sights, heh.

  3. I like DA for the emotionally abusive relationship with Morrigan, but the action seems pretty passive compared to RPG-shooter hybrids like ME and FO.

  4. MORRIGAN. That's what was missing from the xpack.
    [That and ANY kind of inter-party relationship arcs.]

  5. I loved the Sniper Rifle and bullet time thing in ME2... helped my sucktastic blasting so much.

  6. I never got into Halo, or ANY shooter really since Wolf/Doom. (OK, Wait, I played a couple Unreal Tournaments..that's it). I wanted to like Half-Life 2, but playing it for more than 10 minutes meant I had to go lay down and try not to throw up. Counterstrike. Yawn. Etc.

    I didn't like the GTA games either.

    I DO like the WoW art, but that's about it.

    I did kinda like Dragon Age, but I got bored 1/3 way through the xpack and I doubt I will ever finish it.

    Happy Thanskgiving to you too... I'm about 14 hours south of home in Cali right now :).

  7. i finally just got dragon age, and since i am a sucker for those types of games i am sure i will enjoy it. but it needs to wait until i'm finished with the witcher.

    the ones i just can't do, though, are real time strategy games. starcraft, i think, ruined me forever, even to the point where can't enjoy starcraft anymore (let alone its sequel).

    other gamer confessions: i do not like racing games, the metal gear solid franchise, games that force you to be a bad guy, games i have to play with other people, basketball titles other than nba jam, and minesweeper. i hate minesweeper.

  8. I like what I've played of Half-Life 2 -- a few hours' worth -- but I came to it *after* Portal and so to me it's kind of amusingly retro. ;)

    And we're hitting the road at the ass-crack of dawn tomorrow... usually it's just easier!

  9. I don't like racing games but that's because I am beyond abysmally terrible at them. When I played on in the nVidia 3D demo booth at PAX East least year, I actually had a crowd of onlookers -- a half dozen of them, nominally my friends -- laughing at how bad I was. (But the 3D sure was awesome!)

    And I've never liked sports games, but I can see where they and the racing games would appeal to some people. My problem with Minesweeper is that I usually manage to hit a mine on my *very first click.* It's uncanny.


    2. If I get my games through Steam, can I add mods as if I'd installed from dvd's?

  11. I believe there's always been a rule that reshuffles the board if the first square you click is a mine. So you are literally impossibly bad at minesweeper!

  12. 1.) They released a DS port of Chrono Trigger a year or two ago. They added one kind of maze / dungeon area to it, but it's optional, and otherwise it's the same game it was umpteen years ago. Amazon has it for $15 right now it seems. ;)

    2.) Yes! I've got mods all over New Vegas and I downloaded the GECK as well to learn to make my own. The only catch is that the folder where you need to install them is buried under Steam, instead of somewhere else on the PC, but since *all* New Vegas PC installations verify through Steam, the internet is full of instructions.

  13. 1. Ah. I'm nostalgic enough to buy the game but not to buy a DS :)

    2. Interesting. How do you feel about using Steam to verify, vis-a-vis the other DRM we've seen?

  14. I like DRM-free gaming but I realize that most studios will never try it. So given that DRM is a necessary evil, I actually like Steam. For starters, it works. And I like having the game keys tied to an account, rather than to a PC: I can log in as me on either my machine or my husband's, for example, which was handy when we were dating long-distance and is handy still now that those PCs are in two different rooms. Similarly, I can log on as him if I want to play a game he owns and I don't. (I realize that this is technically not fair play on their TOS, but as we're married and share a household and all physical property in it, I think it's fair to own only one copy of a single-player game for our family.)

    Also, given how often one of us is upgrading or rebuilding a PC, it's pretty easy to run afoul of "limited activation" DRM without even using more than one machine. Reinstall for some reason, or replace a hard drive, and you blow through those activations too damn fast. With Steam, just log in and re-download. Poof!

    Plus the automatic patching and easy access to DLC are pretty handy.

  15. Definitely not so, in my experience! I have totally lost the game on my very first move in the past. (This led to me abandoning Minesweeper and learning consistently to win at FreeCell.)

  16. There must be a KC exception to the rule then, because I've played Minesweeper compulsively and badly for years. I've oft died on move two but never once on move one. I'm not doubting your word, just agreeing that you're worse at MS than it should be possible for anyone to be.

  17. We left Portland @ 9pm and got to Sac @ 7am. It was... not the most fun drive ever with upset toddlers and half-sane drivers. NOT looking forward to the return.

  18. Sounds similar to my FPS skills.
    A: "There is no one there. Why are you shooting there? Why are you still shooting there? Shoot OVER THERE. At the guy. Oh, dude you're dead."
    ME: "I couldn't get the gun to point where the guy was, but I didn't want to die without a fight."

  19. Yeah, I can snipe without VATS but I need it for close combat, unloading my SMG into the charging Mirelurk's face. I'm not good at CQC, as Left 4 Dead 2 is proving over and over.

    Upon further reflection, I depend on VATS when I'm using rare ammo (.306, .44) and need every shot to be a BOOM! Headshot!. I eyeball it when ammo is plentiful (10mm, .32) but replacement parts for the gun are scarce because VATS speeds up wear and tear significantly. So with my favorite gun, Lincoln's Repeater, I use VATS because I can cannibalize any hunting rifle for spare parts but .44 ammo is dear. With say the Backwater Rifle from Point Lookout, the Chinese Assault Rifle or any submachine gun I eyeball it because 10mm and .506 ammo is everywhere but lever action rifles, Chinese AR's and SMG's are hard to come by. Sniper Rifles and Scoped Magnums use rare ammo and rare replacement parts so I try to avoid using them at all, whereas the common hunting rifle and Ol' Painless are easy to both supply and maintain.