Facing the Facts: I’m Done Completing Games I Don’t Enjoy Playing

Author: Nathan Doverspike

For nearly 18 years, I’ve been playing video games, from Tomb Raider 2 to Horizon Zero Dawn (go play it if you haven’t, it’s amazing) and loving my time with most of them.  Every once in awhile you come across a game that just doesn’t click for you, whether its the story, theme, gameplay, art style, or maybe something as simple as the music.  I used to do everything I could to push passed these obstacles, in the hopes that there would be some sort of payoff in the end; some feeling of satisfaction for continuing with a game that I didn’t necessarily enjoy.  One title, named Mass Effect Andromeda did just that; it broke me of this habit.  As the title of this article states, after playing Mass Effect Andromeda, I realized that I can no longer beat games that I get no enjoyment from playing.

Before I get into all the reason I refuse to beat games I don’t enjoy and the game that ultimately crushed my soul, I need to say this first.  I LOVE Mass Effect 1 through 3.  I was even alright with the original ending of Mass Effect 3 before they extended it with free DLC.  It had a conclusion, even if it felt like there wasn’t as many choices as there could have been.  It made sense, and that’s what I wanted.  I also adored the characters.  There’s a reason there is a giant piece of artwork featuring characters from Mass Effect in my living room.  The characters and their stories were the best part of the original trilogy, in my opinion.  That said, on to this albatross of a game.

There’s not enough space on this page to describe how frustrating that game was.  To start, the facial animations at launch (they released a patch  that fixed some of the issues) were not only atrocious, they were appalling to behold.  They were so gross, that I thought I was playing some terrible $1 Steam Greenlight game (RIP Steam Greenlight) that used Unity stock assests to make a quick buck or two.  Want to see how ugly they can be? You’ve been warned.

Mass Effect Andromeda Weirdest Face Ever

This is the first person I interacted with in the game. Little did I know, it didn’t get much prettier than that…face.  I think that’s a face?

Yup, that’s how my failed journey through the boring and uneventful game called Mass Effect Andromeda began. With that face staring at me.  Ok, so the combat was satisfying and the skill tree allowed for a bevy of customization.  But in a game that resembled Dragon Age Inquisition more than the original Mass Effect trilogy, I didn’t enjoy the exploration, party members (there were only six, SIX), or the bland/terrible story they tried to tell.  I loved the premise: you are sent on a 600 year journey to find another galaxy to colonize in case the Milky Way is destroyed by the Reapers.  Cool right?  It is, until some of the worst writing in video games is on full blast right from the start and all the characters look like they are from some alpha version of the game.  It felt unfinished.  By all means, it was.

I spent over THIRTY FIVE hours on this turd.  I did everything I could to enjoy it.  I would play podcasts while playing so I had something interesting to listen to (the dialogue is embarrassing except for maybe Drack and Jaal).  That only helped so much, until I realized I wasn’t even having fun exploring the FIVE planets. Yeah, you have the pleasure of exploring FIVE planets the WHOLE GAME.  Even Dragon Age 2 had more locations to explore, and they even recycled a lot of them to pad the time it takes to beat the game.

I ended my playthrough after reaching the third planet.  It was a giant ice location full of sadness and emptiness. Wait, that’s what I was feeling while I was playing this.  Sorry about that. I meant to say it was full of empty space and sparse enemy encounters, sprinkled in a few giant towers that you need to scan (that part sucked too) and a ton of fetch quests that amounted to getting some experience and nothing satisfying.  I couldn’t take the punishment anymore, so I traded in Mass Effect Andromeda and used the money to wipe my tears away.

As we come to the end of my sad tale, I want to make it clear that I am totally cool with anyone liking this game.  I just found it unbearable for the reasons listed above, but everyone is more than welcome to have their own opinions and likes/dislikes.  I want to hear from YOU!  Are there any games that you just couldn’t finish?  Why? Was it because of the gameplay, story, or something else entirely?





Why It’s Ok To Be Afraid of Change In Real Life and In Video Games

mass-effect-2-characters-wallpaper-3.jpgAuthor: Nathan Doverspike

As I search for the right words, the best way to say what’s on my mind, one phrase keeps coming to mind: everything happens for a reason.  While cliché and overused, it rings true for me, and I hope you as well.  Friends come and go, jobs are earned and lost, and money is always finite.  But that phrase, everything happens for a reason, is helping me cope with being afraid of change.

Change always seems to happen when it is the most inconvenient in life.  Whether it is a new job, moving to a new town, starting a family, making new friends, change always likes to butt in and threaten the comfort of routine you’ve seemed to surround yourself with.  It is comfortable to stay at the same job, comfortable to live at the same place for a long time, and comfortable to be content with the same friends and not branch out to find potentially new and exciting guys and gals.  Change is scary, and that’s totally ok.

Just like real life, change in your favorite game can be scary too.  Some games, like Mass Effect 2, do a phenomenal job of implementing necessary changes to an already fantastic series.  With characters like Mordin, Grunt, Zaeed, and Legion they took an already great cast from the first game and really ramp it up.  Unique loyalty missions, the ability to scan planets for resources instead of landing on each one (personally I liked that but it took way too much time), the occasional button prompt for either a “good” or “bad” reaction during dialogue, and the best ending mission for a video game I have ever experienced, it serves as a prime example for change resulting in positive outcome.

That isn’t to say that change always results in something turning out better than before.  Resident Evil 6 is one of my least favorite video games.  EVER.  I truly despise that game.  It changed so many things that made Resident Evil 4 unique, like well-developed characters, decent voice action throughout, a fantastic story, beautiful environments, satisfying weapons, pretty much everything was streamlined and watered down.  Resident Evil 6 was way more action than 4 (like literally all action), and I believe it suffered from a story standpoint.  Resident Evil 6 didn’t just give players three separate campaigns, it game players three excruciatingly poor campaigns with bad boss designs and some abysmal weapons.  Don’t forget that the U.I. was disgustingly ugly and the inventory management sucked too.  Last thing, the ending boss of the Leon campaign made me rage quit that nonsense, and I never went back.  In other words, change isn’t ALWAYS good.

The best way to deal with change in any situation is to keep an open mind and remain positive.  Even though Resident Evil 6 was damn near a disaster of a video game, that didn’t damper my excitement for a return to roots entry in Resident Evil 7 (see my review here).  Even unfortunate and upsetting events can lead to positive situations later in life.  The result won’t be immediate, but a positive attitude can turn a turd of a game like Duke Nukem Forever into something less awful (I think).  It’s normal to be afraid of change; just remember that everything happens for a reason.

Why I Love RPG’s and The Games That Stole My Heart

reckoning_screenshotAuthor: Nathan Doverspike

Before the Mass Effect Trilogy ultimately stole my RPG loving heart, I couldn’t get enough of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.  The characters were memorable, wielding colorful lightsabers able to cut down alien scum was a blast, and the stories that game told still inspire me to write to this day.  And that doesn’t even cover the AMAZING score the two Knights of the Old Republic games nail to really complete the authentic Star Wars experience they so satisfyingly knock out of the park.  If you haven’t yet noticed, this whole article is dedicated to my love and infatuation with Role Playing Games, more commonly referred to as some of the most amazing video games ever to grace this galaxy.

Fantastic writing is needed to really immerse the player in the world and convince them to become invested in the game.  Games such as Mass Effect 2, Knights of the Old Republic, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning are prime examples of excellent writing.  Knights of the Old Republic introduces players to arguably the most badass character in the entire Star Wars Universe, Darth Revan.  Darth Revan can be evil, force choking his victims at will, but also has that pull to the light side that Star Wars Episode VII presents with Kylo Ren (who is now canon in the official Star Wars lore).  Knights of the Old Republic 2 is always amazing with the inclusion of Kreia, who isn’t who she appears to be throughout the whole game (only click the link if you don’t care about SPOILERS).  That twist is one of the best, right up there with Darth Revan’s reveal in the first game.

Those games are fantastic, but what is even more impressive is the galaxy and lore created for the Mass Effect Trilogy.  Commander Shepard is tasked with creating an elite group of aliens to defeat the impending doom the galaxy faces.  Every 50,000 years a galaxy destroying force descends upon them to wipe them out and restart the galaxy.  The player’s task: by any means necessary stop the galactic apocalypse.  Your choices, both good and evil, have real consequences.  Certain characters will leave your party permanently if you make decisions they strongly oppose.  Likewise, you can earn their trust, and they will battle even harder for you in the fight to end all fights.  One such fight, labeled the Impossible Mission, is one of the best experiences I have ever had and occurs at the end of Mass Effect 2.  Seriously people, please play at least Mass Effect 2 if you love RPG’s.  It has everything, amazing soundtrack, interesting characters, heart wrenching stories, exciting and fast pasted combat, and naked aliens!

The last example of why RGP’s are amazing is a slightly flawed but still awesome experience.  Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was well received, but like most games with a huge budget and not as much marketing, it failed to cover the costs it required and thus will most likely never see a sequel.  Well, that and 38 Studios, the developer, unfortunately went bankrupt in 2012 after they were unable to pay back the state of Rhode Island the $1.125 million loan they owed.  Regardless, that game is massive offering hundreds of quests, dozens of unique weapons to find, and R.A. Salvatore as the lead writer for the game.  Tthat alone is enough to check it out in my opinion! (Did I mention there is a Chicken Overlord easter egg, because that is pretty rad.)

All the games listed above bring something unique to the table and remind me why I love games so much.  To me, RPG’s have that special extra bits of lore; that link (see what I did there) of personal attachment to your character since you get to make the decisions for them.  They are your gateway into these massive and wonderful worlds created by some of the most brilliant writers and artists in the video games business.  In all the examples above, the combat goes above and beyond to create a memorable experience for the player, especially Knights of the Old Republic’s ending.  RPG’s give you a world outside of your own to experience, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Let me know in the comments what are your favorite RPG’s and if you think there are some that I should definitely play!