We’ve all been there. We’ve either purchased a game we’ve waited years for only to be sorely disappointed or we tried playing a multiplayer game with an overly aggressive and angry individual that destroyed any essence of fun. Whatever the case or cases may be, we’ve had unfortunate times in our gaming history, but which one was the worst?
Now, I know this is a subjective question. By gaming experience, I quite literally mean any experience involving gaming. You don’t even have to be the one playing the game. Maybe you saw a friend throw his controller through his TV because he was struggling to get that final high score in Peggle. Maybe your worst gaming experience was having to watch your friend play Peggle. Who knows? All that matters is that it qualifies by being a video game experience. No board games this time around.
For me, it’s too hard to call. It’s not that there’s so many for me to choose from, it’s just that they are all about equal levels of shitty. I’ve had games spoiled for me, I’ve had people act like jackasses when I was trying to play seriously in co-op and I’ve even had times where things nearly got violent. I find it hard to pick just one. I’ve reached this point that unless someone repeatedly punches me in the face while I’m playing a game I’ve waited 10 years for while telling me in painful detail how the main character dies in the last level, I probably won’t be too phased by anything.
So what about you? What was your worst gaming experience?
Maybe the developers behind the game should change their name to Somewhat Ready At Dawn, am I right? Anyway, Deformers, from the minds behind The Order 1886 and those two PSP God of War games, seems like a step in a radically different direction for the studio and honestly, it shows. The game plays a lot like a concept that never evolved. It’s creative, cute, colorful and fun, but the fun certainly came last in the development of this $30-dollar game.
Gameplay is only one aspect of fun in a video game. The whole experience with the game can’t feel like it’s a chore. Unfortunately for Deformers, they didn’t seem to understand that concept because everything, and I mean everything, was a chore. The game consists of these little creatures who are all nice and squishy and they generally just go around ramming each other until one explodes and one is victorious. The idea behind that seems so stupidly simple and enjoyable that you think the rest of the game would be too.
Let’s start with problem number one, the game must be connected to the internet. I don’t hate always online games like Destiny or anything like that because it makes sense for those types of games, but when you can’t even edit your characters in the workshop or play locally because the game can’t connect to the internet, you have made some very poor design choices. And let’s talk about the customization for a second. With the price of all the accessories and various items and how much money you earn via their level up system, it’s clear that Ready At Dawn is pushing to have you buy their in game currency through the PlayStation store, Xbox Marketplace, etc. I ranked up quite a bit in the game before trading it into GameStop and all I could afford was a blue hat. A little blue hat to put on my squishy friend. What kind of reward system is that?
The second big problem that needs to be address are the servers. They are terrible. I found myself lucky not just be in a full game, but a game period. It didn’t matter what mode I was playing, it would always struggle to connect and then when it did, I never got booted, but I always seemed to see a bunch of players just leaving left and right. It was very unfortunate because I loved ramming into my enemies and making them go splat, but that fun started to diminish when there was only one chump running away from me and my posse.
The third and final problem are the modes. They are incredibly bland. While the character choices are different enough to make a real impact, you really only have two modes because team deathmatch and deathmatch don’t do much to change things up so you’re basically left with some type of deathmatch and what they call Form Ball. If you want to play a soccer based game where you can charge into people and have them explode, you might as well just play Rocket League. I was very disappointed that their soccer mode was unpolished and uneventful. They didn’t have cool extra powers to help you out or something. It was just boring and after about five games of it I was done.
Deformers is a good idea, but a missed opportunity. Maybe next time, Ready At Dawn. Maybe next time. (Isn’t that what everyone said after The Order 1886?)
I’ve amassed over 200 games for my PS4, over 40 for my 3DS and another 40 for my Vita. That’s not to mention all the games I own for my PS3 and steam account. Out of all of those games, I know I’ve only played about four or five dozen. That might sound like a lot, but when you put it against 300+ games, only playing fifty or sixty some odd games doesn’t really feel like much of a dent. It’s led me to question if I’ll ever get through my backlog of games.
What even qualifies as checking off a game on the list? Is it simply playing the game for a sufficient amount of time or do you actually have to beat the game? My personal belief is that it’s when you’ve played the game enough to where you want to stop playing it. Whether or not that means you enjoy it enough to conquer it or enjoy it so little you uninstall it from your console, having a full experience, whether positive or negative seems like a good determining factor in my eyes. For instance, there are games like Tetris, how many times are you going to play that before you consider it a game you’ve fully experienced or experienced enough of to check it off your list? Granted this formula must be changed depending on the type of game you’re playing.
There’s the sense of obligation as well. I’ve purchased these games, why wouldn’t I play them? I clearly had enough interested to buy them in the first place. What is keeping me from playing them now? Is it just because I can go and play something safe and familiar instead? Is the risk worth the reward? What if I find out that I just spent all that time and money on something that’s garbage? A Lot of the time that’s what holds me back. “Oh man, this game looks so good…oh look there’s Destiny, a familiar shooter? Sounds good to me,” that kind of thing.
What I really want to know is: are there other ways to take down your backlog? What’s your preferred method? How many games have you gotten through and how many do you have left?
The short answer is: yes, but it’s one that is most promising. The Xbox One is well into its third year on the market and even though the console has a strong and dedicated following, the console is lagging behind its major competitor the PlayStation 4. The console itself boasts a hefty number of bells and whistles and a great backwards compatibility system, but is lacking in quality exclusive titles. With cancellations of highly anticipated games like Scalebound and Fable Legends, it’s no surprise that Xbox One consumers are a little worried at this point at the state of their exclusive gaming experience. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Xbox One S was just released in August of last year with mediocre sales.
This is where Microsoft’s new console, code-named Scorpio, comes in. Microsoft recently announced the specs of the Scorpio and it’s nothing to be laughed at boasting an impressive 12GB of GDDR5 RAM and a custom CPU and GPU. But why does this matter? According to Microsoft, it’s to win over developers. After seeing the initial stumble of the system and then the quick take off of the PS4, developers have found creating games for the PS4 to be easier and more beneficial. Microsoft hopes to change that with the Scorpio and honestly, I think they might be able to do it. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve never been an Xbox fan and after briefly owning an Xbox One, I can’t imagine why I would purchase another Microsoft console with their wonky and clunky UI, unnecessary features and sparse library, but the Scorpio has me intrigued. They’re ditching the traditions we’ve expected of console generations. Instead of just releasing newer, slimmer and faster versions of the same product, they’re giving players a second a true and unique second option.
Unfortunately, the announcement and the expected late 2017 release of the Scorpio does mean something else, Microsoft is desperate. It’s a little too familiar to something else that happened in the gaming world recently, namely the Nintendo Switch. The Wii U had a lot of similar problems to the Xbox One. I’m not going to say that the Xbox One is as bad off as the Wii U was because that certainly isn’t the case, but the correlations between the two are undeniable. The Wii U suffered for a couple years until its final breath this year with the release of the Switch and it looks like Microsoft is taking a page from Nintendo’s book. Instead of trying to salvage the current system which would take a huge amount of time and money, they’re betting all they have on one major attempt. The biggest things the Scorpio has going for it is that, unlike the Switch, it has a whole library of games from two previous generations to work with. Microsoft has announced the console will be able to play Xbox One and Xbox 360 games proving that their wonderful implementation of backwards compatibility won’t be leaving any time soon. But even with that and the new powerful specs of the Scorpio is that enough to pull in consumers and developers? I don’t know, but I’m optimistic.
Tutorials in most games bother me, but none of them bother me as much as tutorials in JRPGs. Unfortunately, Persona 5 is no exception. Like everyone else, I’ve been waiting for Persona 5 for what feels like an eternity, so practically shoving the disc into my system was a no-brainer for me when I finally got my grubby little hands on it. I was met with hours long of hand holding. I suppose one could argue that considering a main entry in the Persona series hasn’t been released since Persona 4 in 2008 and Persona 4: Golden for the Vita in 2012 that Atlus wanted to give both old and new players of the franchise an easy way to settle in. The only problem with a process like that is it makes the story and the game feel like they’re dragging. It made me realize how often I’m hit with a problem like this: a sense of struggle to get to the good parts of a game.
Coincidentally, on the same day Persona 5 was released, Drawn To Death was put online as one of PlayStation’s free games with PS Plus and I ran into the same exact problem. For a game that’s all about being fast, hectic and crazy, the idea of a mind-numbingly boring tutorial seems counter intuitive. The real problem with Drawn To Death’s tutorial system is that it doesn’t stop after the section they labeled as a tutorial, it continues on for a few online matches as well. The developers had this uncontrollable urge to explain every single detail to their audience. It makes the experience stutter.
Amidst all this tutorial hell another game seemed to pull away from this pattern and was met with a lot of critical praise. I am of course talking about The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. The game abandons almost all ideas of a tutorial. It gives you a few tips for how to use a power here and there, but everything else from the story to the gameplay is completely up to you to figure out and experience on your own. It’s made me wonder. Is this the right way to do a tutorial or is it simply situational? Do developers really think players are too stupid to figure out what the X button does on their own or are they just afraid they’ve made a game that’s so complex in its mechanics that everything needs to be explained? What exactly should we be doing with tutorials?