Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2016
Kenneth Stuart
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Chantilly
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This geeklist is for all those games that we gave up on. Whether the game was too boring, wasn't challenging enough, had poor controls, or any other reason, if you don't feel like finishing a game, post about it here!


Information to include:
- Platform
- How long you played
- Reason for abandoning
- Anything else you want to share


Remember to keep your comments friendly and discuss only the game. Comments attacking people, e.g. "No intelligent person would play this," are not acceptable.

New Users:
Feel free to join the discussion at any time. You need not read all existing entries before participating. Simply post your abandoned game to the list.


As always, if your comment would be good to include in the User Information on a game page, be sure to post your comments there as well.


Links:
Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2016
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2016
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2015
Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2017
What video game did you play this week? subscription thread
Abandoned games listed alphabetically
Abandoned games listed by user
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1. Video Game: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes [Average Rating:4.79 Overall Rank:7415]
Video Game: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Republic Heroes
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Platform: PlayStation 2
Time invested: 15 minutes

In this game based on the "Star Wars Clone Wars" cartoon series, you play as Anakin Skywalker and his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano. This is basically Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles with improved graphics. There is still way too much platform jumping and the first boss is difficult because it isn't clear what you are supposed to do to advance. This is not a horrible game, but it doesn't deserve the time that it would require to master the controls. I have way too many other games laying around that are much better.
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2. Video Game: Gyromancer [Average Rating:5.33 Unranked]
Video Game: Gyromancer
Dario Delfino
Italy
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I like this game, I was having fun. I liked the drawings even if kinda low res. The gameplay is just a casual puzzle game, like bejeweled.

So... why quitting?

Because for some reason my savegame is corrupted and I should restart after 4-5 hours of playing.

That's too sad, so I'll move to something else.
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3. Video Game: ibb and obb [Average Rating:6.13 Overall Rank:5051]
Video Game: ibb and obb
Dario Delfino
Italy
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This game is a puzzle game with cute graphic and a background music and atmosphere I don't like so much. But that's not the main issue.
And it's not even that I have to play it alone instead than coop with my brother like I wanted.

The problem is... it's too hard.

Or at least, too hard for me NOW, I don't want to struggle and get stuck every 5 minutes.

So, after less than 2 hours I quit.
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4. Video Game: Ether One [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:5782]
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Simon Hammar
Sweden
Täby
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Platform: PS4
Time played: Don't really know… probably 10 hours or thereabouts.
Reason for abandonment: Too confusing. Too large. Too much.

Don't know if this qualifies as abandoning 2016, since last time I played it was 2015, but it was 2016 when I sort of decided to abandon it. When doing so, it struck me that I have very rarely done so. I've got stuck in games, and sort of never completed them, but never actively abandoning them, except FFX.

Reason? The game is good… a bit too good. In fact, it's what I've pictured Myst to be, all these years, except I never played Myst.

Ether One is bst described as a very modern text adventure game. The interface (between player and game) isn't text adventure – it's first person 3D. But what you actually do is text adventure. You walk in various areas, finding a LOT of stuff, picking up the occasional thing, looking at things, and then using some things with other things to… well, solve puzzles. Not logical puzzles but the kind of "pick up rope / use hook with rope / throw hook" type of puzzles.

The game's pretty fascinating – it's slow, contemplative and as far as I've seen, no Game Over or anything. You just walk around. The game is about reliving someone else's memories; what you do is walk around in the various stages (centered around a hub world) and pick up pieces of memories, represented by red ribbons. Apart from that, each stage ("world") contains film projectors that are gradually repaired when you solve puzzles, and who rewards you with story parts when completed.

I played through the intro, the first world (mine), got stuck in the second world (harbour town), picked up the game weeks later and partially used a walkthrough to refresh my memory, as I'd forgotten every single thing and the second world (harbour town) was rather large, got some solutions that I didn't understand at all (you were supposed to write a specific something on a picture, and I never understood where the word in question came from, or why you were supposed to write that specific word, or what happened when you did). What struck me is the amazing amounts of red herrings, item you can pick up that don't amount to anything, occasionally really hard puzzles and that the game obviously expected you to have a way better memory than I've ever had.

I entered the third world, feeling refreshed and like "Now, I'll pay attention, and really examine stuff, and walk around slowly"… it was some kind of mining town, and and I walked… and walked… and walked… and walked… and walked… and walked… up stairs… down some stairs… into a room… out a door… back again… out in a town… and walked… and walked… in and out and it never ended.

And I just "I'm not doing this", and turned off and abandoned.

The game is amazing, but it doesn't grab me enough for the amount of attention that it demands. If I had just one game left, and this was it, I'd probably love it. Currently, I'm mostly playing video games to get away from the horrific amounts of "should"s that surround me, which means I'm rather stressed when I play. In such a situation, Ether One is implayable. It's not that the puzzles are difficult. It's that it's difficult to even figure out what the heck you're supposed to do. There're so many red herrings and weird items that you never have any use for (or will you, in the future? Will this gas mask be useable in a future world? Will the game demand that you have an object from one stage to clear another? I don't know… how should I know?), and the place is so large, and some puzzles demand that you find that little note in that little place and…

…and I just can't keep all this in my mind. It slips away, I forget where I am, where I put THAT object, what was said, where I read that hint, etc, etc, that the game just tired me.

If I ever reach the stage where everything at home is fixed, no cleaning up to do, no cupboards to clean out, no deadlines for next week… then maybe I'll pick this up again. But I don't think so.
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5. Video Game: Fearless Fantasy [Average Rating:5.67 Unranked]
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Dario Delfino
Italy
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This game was the random free game I got from purchasing munin on indiegala.

I played it for 20 minutes before realising it was not my kind of game. It's very casual, obviously ported from tablet, and I was not even good at it.

Well, I hope munin will be better
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6. Video Game: Scrolls [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:4496]
Video Game: Scrolls
Dario Delfino
Italy
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I played this good game on android for 8 hours before quitting.

Reasons:

I disliked UI (especially deck creations)
I couldn't find any player online
I'm already playing hearthstone
There was too much "grinding" for cards even to beat singleplayer trials
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7. Video Game: System Shock 2 [Average Rating:8.52 Overall Rank:26]
Video Game: System Shock 2
Justin Rio
United States
Bellevue
Nebraska
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Platform: PC
First time? Yes
Hours played: 26

I started playing SS2 back in 2014 because all the critics I listen to always reference it as such a great game, especially for its time. No doubt I would have agreed had I played it back then. I enjoyed the story and the character advancement.

I haven't played it since mid-2015. I was approaching the end of the game, to the point I was running through a flesh tunnel which is (what I think is) the final approach to killing the mother brain thingy. This is the only place I remember encountering antiquated game play issues, and it kinda killed the game for me. The running surface didn't react the way I expected it to as I was running through the tunnel, stopping where I didn't expect to clip or the blowholes pushing me in unexpected directions.

I've seen most of the story. I won't personally gain anything by finishing the challenge, so I'm done.
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8. Video Game: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter [Average Rating:7.10 Overall Rank:1208]
Video Game: Serious Sam: The Second Encounter
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Serious Sam: The Second Encounter HD on Steam

Fun oldschool run n' gun style FPS game. The level design is linear and nothing special, the gameplay being mostly about fighting tons and tons of enemies with satisfyingly destructive weapons. The first few levels were lots of fun, the later ones got hard and also really repetitive. Still, it was pretty fun. Just like the first encounter, really, except this game has all of the first encounter campaign, plus a couple additional campaigns with some added weapons and enemy types.

Reason for abandonment: Just too repetitive and not quite fun enough for me to want to keep playing it instead of many other games I want to play.
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9. Video Game: Eidolon [Average Rating:3.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Eidolon
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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On PC.

This indie game is a post-apocalyptic walking simulator that takes place in Western Washington state. There are odd little survival elements like fishing and hunting and stuff, but they feel out of place and tacked on, just existing in the game to add a bit of survival flavor. The landscape is huge and the walking pace is super slow. The graphics are very minimalist, to the point where it can be easy to get disoriented. What story there is in the game is told through random notes on paper you find laying around the huge playable area and isn't even coherent. In the relatively short time I spent playing, I couldn't even tell if the game had an actual coherent story to tell or not.

Overall, it's the most pointless, boring, slow, graphically unimpressive, walking simulator that I've ever played.
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10. Video Game: Viridi [Average Rating:3.75 Unranked]
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Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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Steam recommended I try out Viridi after I played Eidolon for a bit. It was free to play and looked like it could be neat/relaxing, so I tried it.

This is a free-to-play (with microtransactions to get more seeds/plants) game about growing small potted succulent plants. Watering your plants is tedious and requires individually click/spraying each little sprout. This is the only videogame I have ever seen or heard of that makes growing and maintaining plants more difficult than it would be in real life.
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11. Video Game: Medal of Honor: Warfighter [Average Rating:5.59 Overall Rank:6726]
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Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Xbox 360
Time Played: 1:30

One of my friends was such a huge fan of Medal of Honor: Allied Assault that he and his friends collected money to maintain an online server to support multiplayer bouts of the game. When I learned that, I asked him if he had ever played Medal of Honor: Warfighter. He thought for a moment, then remembered buying it on release day. After another few seconds, he added that he took the game back that same day. Unfortunately for me, this was between my two sessions of the game so I already knew why he must have wanted a refund.

I had been looking forward to playing this game for some time as I am a big fan of the MOH franchise. At first, I was stunned by the beautiful graphics, which are probably the closest thing I've seen to photo realism in a game. Then, I noticed that the game handles like something like the PSone/N64 era where you are confined to a tight corridor, many areas are inaccessible, and you can get stuck on corners. I was suffering through the poorly designed areas and imprecise hit detection in the knowledge that this isn't a lengthy game, but a sniper scene broke my will to continue. The game aims for realism, so you have to aim off-centered to account for the wind, which is fine and well. The problem is that the game is not consistent on what direction and to what degree you have to alter your shots. In a short scene lasting a few minutes, it is a reasonable assumption that the wind will remain constant. In this game, however, I assume that the physics might be imported from another planet.

While beautiful, this game is literally unplayable. I went from Normal to Easy difficulty to try to get through the sniper section, but that didn't make any difference, even on the regular FPS levels leading up to that point. Looked at in relative terms, this is probably the worst first-person shooter that I have ever played.
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12. Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass [Average Rating:7.29 Overall Rank:503]
Video Game: The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Platform: Wii U
Time played: 2 hours.
Reason for stopping: Ocean King's Temple.


Since this came out on Wii U I thought I'd give it a try, and it started off promisingly enough. I played happily until my second visit to the Ocean King's Temple, a famous graveyard for Zelda players. I just hated it, and I know there is a lot more of it to come. A timed stealth level, with trial and error, and imprecise controls.
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13. Video Game: The Bridge [Average Rating:6.01 Overall Rank:4580]
Video Game: The Bridge
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Platform: PS3.
Time played: 2 hours.
Reason for stopping: Annoying, not fun.


I quite enjoyed Toki Tori and The Swapper on the Wii U and thought I'd give this one a try. But it has nowhere near the charm or intrigue of those two games. I found the rotating confusing to get my head around, and some of the mechanics are a bit opaque (the veil, in particular). I almost finished it to be honest, but not quite.
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14. Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [Average Rating:8.93 Overall Rank:6] [Average Rating:8.93 Unranked]
Video Game: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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System: PC
Time: 30 hours
Reason Abandoned: Choppy on my PC; game is starting to feel like a chore

The first ten hours of The Witcher 3 really captivated me! Finding new types of enemies, schematics for gear that can be crafted, recipes for potions and bombs that have various effects, a wide variety of quests to carry out...but by hour 20 there's just too much of it. I can craft dozens of different swords, and find even more as rewards for completing quests...but none are as good as the one I crafted a few levels ago. I can craft my fifteenth different decoction, but can only reliably use one at a time. I approach all fights the same way, and it's rare I'm fighting anything but drowners anymore. I'm upgrading oils for particular enemies, but they all do the same thing (+10/25/50% damage against that enemy type). Considering the care that was put into making each quest feel unique, it's a shame that there is not more variety in alchemical stuff (maybe not every decoction has to cost exactly 70 toxicity? Maybe some oils can give a poison/slowing/stunning/leeching effect instead of having the exact same damage buff as every other oil?)

Another sticking point is that I was really eager to play this game after replacing my 6-year-old PC. After getting decent performance running Shadow of Mordor, I was really looking forward to seeing a big difference on a new computer running a GTX 960. Unfortunately, this game frequently has awful performance (especially in the Novigrad area), probably even worse than I was getting with Mordor on my Radeon 7750 on my outdated PC!

I enjoyed many of the 30 hours I spent with the game, and maybe I'll get back into it two years from now when I can justify upgrading my video card, but let's be honest...two years from now, there will be many other games I'd rather be playing, so I'm going to have to stamp this one "ABANDONED".
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15. Video Game: Super Paper Mario [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:890]
Video Game: Super Paper Mario
Kevin J
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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System: Wii
Time Played: ~7 hours, about half the game
Reason: Cute jokes that lead to tedium and non-fun

I've had this on my "to re-play" list for a while, and jumped into it last weekend. The Paper Mario series is one of a few franchises that paved the way for games like Undertale and other games that toy with the player's expectations and injecting self-aware humor into the game. Specifically, Undertale has a lot of common scenes and characters.

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Both games include an apropos-of-nothing game show; both games include a stereotypically nerdy lizard character who is into anime et al and has fandom posters adorning his/her bedroom. Both games have a "dating" scene that takes the form of a traditional jRPG.


Unfortunately, Super Paper Mario pairs a lot of cute self-aware jokes with tedium, on top of some other pretty bad game design choices; there was enough that I decided it was not worth the effort to finish the game. I sort of knew that going in since I had played the game before, but I forgot just how bad and frequent it can get.

Some examples (spoilers below):
-Mario has to pay off a debt of 1,000,000 Rubees through various forms of slave labor. First, you have to hit a block 100 times -- not so bad, it takes less than a minute. Then, you have to run on a giant wheel for 3-4 minutes, straight.
-There is an enemy that will send you back to the hub town if you touch it, including jumping on it, which up until this point in the game is the primary way to defeat enemies
-a particular NPC tells you the correct sequence to hit a set of blocks (left/middle/right) to have a secret door appear. The sequence is more than twenty inputs long (and requires you to write down the code).
-The above NPC will only tell you the code if you say "please", which is accomplished by typing it in the on-screen keyboard; he then makes you type is 4 additional times.

Playing this game lets me appreciate how it paved the way for other games to play with the player's expectations and prior experience games, and playing Undertale allowed me to appreciate how it's possible to do it without actually making the core game un-fun.
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16. Video Game: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam [Average Rating:6.00 Overall Rank:6410]
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Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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A few hours in.

The first two Paper Mario games and the first M&L game are among my favorite RPGs of all time (yes, I like them even more than Super Mario RPG). But since then, both series have been on a downward trend and I think this is just where I get off.

Never mind that these games are failing to evolve in any meaningful way, Paper Jam really just feels like they aren't trying anymore on every front. Looking back on games like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door - the game was just absolutely brimming with charm everywhere you looked. The characters were unique, memorable, and adorably goofy in the way only Mario RPGs can be. And though stuck to the standard Mario level themes (e.g. "snow area", "desert" etc.) each location had a personality distinctly its own; towns and dungeons were strongly characterized and full of memorable little scenarios and characters.

By contrast, Paper Jam is simply the blandest Mario RPG to date. They've tried to retain the goofy humor, but without bothering to make the characters, story, or even locations creative or memorable in any way. It's lazy paint-by-numbers.

Oh, and the only new addition - the papercraft battles - are just excruciating. They control like a 1990s throwback, and after exactly 30 seconds of doing the first one I was So Done With It.

Could I play through the entire game and get some mild enjoyment out of it? Yeah, probably. The battles are still fun and engaging and occasionally some of the humor still hits the mark, but I've just gotten to the point where I can't imagine sinking 25+ hours into such a run-of-the-mill game.
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17. Video Game: Darkest Dungeon [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:471] [Average Rating:7.81 Unranked]
Video Game: Darkest Dungeon
Mandy Benanav
United States
San Rafael
California
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35ish hours in. There's a chance I'll return to this and finish it up, but given how bad I am at returning to something once I've put it down I think it's unlikely.

I loved my time with this game. Really. The random number generator stuff can be extremely frustrating and is absolutely punitive, but I liked it so much anyway that I put up with it. This is a very clever game of party management where the battles always feel tense and exciting.

The problem is, I simply hit a wall where there is nothing to do but grind. It's quite apparent that I would have to grind for several more hours before being able to make any real progress again, and after giving it a go for a few hours I just can't bring myself to do it.

Still, really fun game that I'm totally happy to have put as much time into as I did. I do wish the campaign were shorter with more emphasis on optional challenges, rather than having a huge grind wall to enter the endgame, but I would happily recommend this game.
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18. Video Game: King Arthur II: The Role-Playing Wargame [Average Rating:3.45 Unranked]
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Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Boo to my first properly abandoned game of the year! And it was so promising, too!

Time spent: 7 hours

Reason for abandoning: A lot of stuff in this game is just borked

I was playing the Dead Legions prologue DLC, but since the basic game offers the same mechanics, I can say with some certainty that playing the main campaign is unlikely to change my opinion about this one... and it's not good.

See, the first game in the series, King Arthur: The Role-Playing Wargame was a bit of an unpolished diamond in the rough. It was a bit buggy, was poorly balanced, but it had a soul - imagine playing a high fantasy take on the King Arthur legends, which combines Total War like strategy and battles with choose-your-own-adventure-style narrative quests. If that sounds cool, go check it out, as it really feels great playing that game, despite all the problems it has.

KA2 doesn't fix any of those problems, and to add insult to injury pretty much kills some of what made the original game fun to play.

So, first of all, you only have one army now. Just a single army with a single leader, and despite the map being smaller, it still feels frustrating to just walk around with a single guy despite being (in the Dead Legions DLC, not the main game) a Roman Legionnaire and having tons of infantry under your command.

That alone could've been salvaged, but unfortunately the game simplifies other stuff as well, including the strategic layer. You can build simple buildings in all of your provinces, and unlock new ones using a tech tree - but since they all translate to rather flat and uninteresting options, it's hard to even care about that progression. Gone are the various modifiers which made deciding who to make a liege-lord an interesting puzzle. The tech tree, instead of being simpler, is just boring and indecipherable at this point. Building stuff is locked behind a poorly designed menu.

And even if they only did that, the game could've still been fun to play, because the core of these titles are the battles. Unfortunately, this is where the game makes its biggest misstep, or rather two missteps.

First - the magic shield. This is a mechanic that serves to combat a problem that the first game had, which had you spam spells early in the battle to hurt enemies plenty before actually clashing in melee. Personally, I always treated it as a quirk, further combated by the rather short ranges of spells. Now you have to batter the enemy's magic shield in order to even cast a spell successfully. Each time you fail, the shield weakens, so after you've cast three spells to no effect, maybe the fourth, or the fifth, might work. Maybe. But there's a catch.

See, almost every battle you play, you are put in a position, where all strategic locations are closer to your enemy, than to you. What are strategic locations? Buildings on the battlefield, which grant you spells. The most common spell encountered in those locations? Lightning Bolt. Imagine this - the enemy starts with four of these, and you need to kill each and every one of the enemy troops before you are granted victory. Which means you're at the receiving end of this, basically:


But that spell kills off around 1/4 of a unit each time it goes off. That's an actual mission, at which point I decided to give the rest of the game a pass, but even in regular battles you are almost certainly being battered with the stuff - and other nasty spells, because enemies also have those. So, in effect, what they tried putting into the game with the magic shield, they nullified by the frequency of combat spells. Nobody wins - you are still getting pounded, but your own spells don't work for half the battle, so you don't even get to pound them back.

Also, strategic locations no longer decrease morale, so you can no longer win a battle before just killing all the enemy troops off. This is infuriating, and leads to just sitting there, waiting for the battle to be over, when your victory is absolutely certain.

In short, KA2 is an inferior sequel, which sacrificed too much of what made it cool and experimented too much with what already worked. And that's a bloody shame, because the plot is actually interesting (both in the DLC and the basic game), full of moral choices and difficult decisions in the choose-your-own-adventure bits and a revamped Diplomacy system (which, for a change, I quite liked!). That narrator though... he's a tough sell, with his ham-and-cheese sandwich approach to both dialogues and descriptions.
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19. Video Game: Lux Delux [Average Rating:5.00 Unranked]
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Dario Delfino
Italy
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I didn't understand it was just a risk look alike game... I had played that enough. Plus there is no undo button and some slighty difference in rules that I should learn.

The game is good (good AI and a lot of maps), don't misunderstand me, it is just not what I expected.
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20. Video Game: Disciples III: Renaissance [Average Rating:6.62 Overall Rank:4423]
Video Game: Disciples III: Renaissance
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Boy, it seems it's my day for abandoning strategy games!

Abandoned when?: after less than 30 minutes, I finished the tutorial.

Reason for abandoning: poor production values all around. Gameplay feels flat and uninspired.

I used to be a fan of Disciples II. Used to. My last experience with it, a few years ago, was less than stellar. I heard Disciples 3 wasn't a very good game, but I got this in a bundle to try it out. Well, turns out I could've listened and saved myself 30 minutes.

Disciples 3 sacrificed some of what made it different from the Heroes of Might & Magic series for this one, namely the combat system which was more akin to a jRPG before, but now takes place on a tactical map with hexes. This, by itself, doesn't really break the game - it doesn't seem to change all that much in the game's dynamics, surprisingly.

What does ruin the game is the move to 3D. Poor, low fidelity 3D, with an even poorer interface to boot. This game feels cheap in every way, from animations, to voice acting, to terrible dialogues (it's a fantasy game in which people say "Hi" and "What's up?" to one another), to the aforementioned interface which is the main reason why I'm abandoning it.

See, menus and navigating them was never the series' forte. Here though, the lack of a single thing should tell you everything you need to know. When you inspect an item in your inventory, it doesn't compare it to what you currently have equipped.

To some, this might be a stupid quibble, but think about it. When was the last time you saw a game with an inventory system which didn't allow you to compare what you carried with what you had equipped? By 2009, when this game came out, it was game design 101. In 2016, when I played it, it's just a symptom of a bigger problem - Disciples 3 just isn't well produced enough for me to keep playing.

And here's the catch - if this was a 2D game, it probably would've been better for it. The move to 3D did nothing for it, which can't be said of games predating it by several years, such as Heroes of Might and Magic V. All it did was show how low the production values were. The graphics are almost as muddy and boring as they ever were in this series, but now even the weird "can't say if it looks good or horrible" art is gone, replaced by generic 3D models with poor animations.

Well, whatever the case, this saves me at least a dozen hours, so thanks for being crappy, I guess? Not really, I'd love to play a modern rendition of this game, but Renaissance just doesn't cut it.
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21. Video Game: Shantae [Average Rating:5.43 Overall Rank:6917]
Video Game: Shantae
Luis
Spain
Madrid
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General info: Abandoned 4 hours in, after completing the first dungeon and almost reaching the second one. Played the 2DS virtual console version, which is a reimplementation of the GBC original.

Commentary: This is the worst kind of metroidvania I have played to date, hands down. The game was released during the Game Boy Colour's end of life, and I must admit it's one of the best looking GBC games I've played. Music is great too. Sadly, every other department is sub-par at best.

Platforming is actually alright, as controls a good, but the thing is level layouts are simplistic and extremely linear. The metroidvania aspect is implemented in the worst way possible: extremely linear maps with tons of backtracking. So even if controls are responsive, traversing the game's world is extremely boring. Worst part is that this could easily be avoidable, as the game has a fast travel mechanism, but unlocking it requires reaching tons of collectibles, which requires even more back and forth.

Now, combat. As movement controls are swift, avoiding enemies is actually rather fun. Thing is, you don't actually want to avoid them, as the game has an economy-based loot system, so you have to murder everything you cross paths with to be able to afford the necessary items and upgrades. Which is bad because most enemies can soak up tremendous amount of damage, and so do you, which makes for an extremely slow-paced and annoying combat system. Worst of all, enemies that have low health respawn almost immediately and indefinitely. So avoiding enemies is fun, but prevents you from progressing, while battles are grindy and boring. The boss battle I encountered was also disappointingly simplistic, but maybe subsequent ones are more engaging, who knows.

And, finally, the elephant in the room. Remember I mentioned the game was a technical achievement for its time? Call me cynical, but I sincerely believe the game wouldn't have been such an underground success if it didn't had so many pixel boobs. I was reluctant about the series precisely because I feared this could happen. Hate to be right about these things.

To end this rant with a positive note, I also purchased a discounted copy of Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, and that one I'm enjoying quite a bit. I'm glad I grabbed both at the same time because, considering how little I enjoyed the GBC original, chances are I'd have given up on the series as a whole.
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22. Video Game: Path of Exile [Average Rating:7.42 Overall Rank:627]
Video Game: Path of Exile
I can't justify continuing with this game, so I've stopped (after 31 hours). The game itself is decently fun, but it seems like the *real* fun is in some sort of meta-game with repeated runs and multiple characters etc. And it is just too tedious and boring to replay the same basic levels over and over again in an attempt to optimize (or try out) different builds.
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23. Video Game: Xenoblade Chronicles X [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:3494]
Video Game: Xenoblade Chronicles X
Simon Woodward
New Zealand
Hamilton
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Game: Xenoblade Chronicles X.
Platform: Wii U.
First Time: Yes.
Time Played: 64:00 hours.
Reasons for Abandonment: Ultimately boring.


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(Image credited to www.thejimquisition.com)

Thoughts:

I was really excited about this game. I loved the original Xenoblade Chronicles (a sprawling JRPG with a good story and characters, amazing environments and music, and a hybrid linear-open world structure), and the trailers for this new game looked amazing. Finally an epic jewel for the Wii U's crown!

And it frequently is amazing! Your main character (default name Cross) is one of a group of survivors of a galactic war that has destroyed Earth. The colony ship managed to escape but was forced to crash land on the planet Mira. Establishing a viable colony is the priority, and the many side-quests typically revolve around this, while the main story quests focus more on developing political events.

Using this flexible quest structure, Xenoblade Chronicles X goes full open world, allowing you to go almost anywhere in its 5 huge regions from the very start of the game. Exploring these outdoor environments is incredible, with breathtaking scenery and a majestic sense of scale, teeming with life and points of interest, and backed up by excellent music. It's a joy just to run around gawking at the scenery.

The party-based combat is pretty good too. Combat is initiated either manually or when the passing fauna take exception to you. As in the first game, you control one character from the party (of up to 4), and the other party members attack by themselves. Your regular (melee and ranged) attacks happen automatically, while special 'arts' attacks are selected from a menu bar in real time, and have cool downs. A wide array of interacting effects (buffs/debuffs etc) are simulated, including environmental effects, adding up to an extremely complex system for anyone who wishes to dig into it. It differs from the previous game in not having chain attacks or prescience, but it does have overdrive, mechs ("skells") and aerial combat as you progress.

Sadly, other aspects of the game are decidedly half-baked. The story is dull, the hub city is boring (with ear-bleeding music), and the characters and dialogue are uniformly bland. There is also a ton of microcustomisation necessary for every playable character and mech you use (and there are a lot available) which quickly becomes burdensome. Basically the hub city is a place you will hate to go to.

The amazing exploration kept me engaged for many hours, while I waited for the story and characters to warm up. After a while, though, I began to feel like I was just going through the motions. It's such a great pity when a game does so many things right, but fails to attend to fundamentals like writing.

So, half a great game, half a mediocre one.

Rating:

6/10
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24. Video Game: Hero of the Kingdom [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:4209]
Video Game: Hero of the Kingdom
☄️ LJ ☄️
United States
Dist of Columbia
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I played a solid 2ish hours in my attempt to play every game in my library. It got *super* repetitive though. It just took a little while to realize that.
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25. Video Game: Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Aperture Tag: The Paint Gun Testing Initiative
Sicaria Occaeco
United States
Salt Lake City
Utah
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Platform: PC
Time Played: 95 min


I really like Portal and Portal 2. I also enjoyed Mel Stories and so I was expecting to like this one. But it fell flat.

The game is buggy. The voice acting and script are terrible. The puzzles just weren't interesting.

One bug that happened a couple of times is when a cube gets stuck in a tube. This causes more and more cubes to jam. This is a big problem because the game calculates collision physics for all those cubes. It didn't take long for the frames to drop to a ridiculous crawl. I could move faster in swimming pool of molasses. This made me restart the level.

Another issue is you can't remove goo/paint from a surface. This usually isn't an issue but there were a couple of places the goo got in the way when I had to rethink my approach. So I had to restart.

Another issue with the game is there are usually different ways to complete a level. Now normally this would be a plus. However there were a couple of times I thought I had it figured out and then had to rethink. This is when I came across the absolute terrible save and load system. Or rather save all you want but you can only load the latest save, even when it's an autosave.

With all the issues I was having; Blocked up cubes causing major FPS drops, no ability to remove goo, and no ability to save and load properly I was forced to redo too much. It became a chore with uninteresting puzzles and cringe worthy attempt at humour. I skipped ahead to some of the later sections and it didn't seem to improve so I'm done. Although the music was the one redeeming factor.

If you want a Portal fix there are much better mods and fan made maps out there. Mel Stories is a good one. This one just sucks.

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