Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2018
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The third wheel to the popular Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2018 and Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2018 geeklists, this is the list for games that you are still playing even though you are frustrated with at least one aspect of them. See last year's at: Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2017

This list is for the games with which you have a love/hate relationship, maybe games that have no way to fully "Beat" the game (esp. online games), maybe games you play obsessively and then feel bad about, maybe games you stopped playing but then felt bad about quitting... basically games that have at least one annoyance that should merit quitting, but that also have at least one shining glory that keeps you hooked.

Post your games here, ideally starting with:

At least one PRO
At least one CON


Naturally, following with a detailed explanation of both sides of your ambivalent feelings is best.
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1. Video Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft [Average Rating:7.39 Overall Rank:434] [Average Rating:7.39 Unranked]
Video Game: Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
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PRO: Very streamlined, high production value CCG with entertaining cards. Also, the new Dungeon Mode is awesome.
CON: F2P seems increasingly unfeasible, everyone Netdecks.


While I always preferred SolForge, since its demise Hearthstone has been the online CCG I end up playing. And one could certainly do worse -- it's more streamlined than Magic, has excellent production value and many entertaining cards (moreso than the many imitators).

The annoying thing is that in order to get credit for your quests (read: Get any packs without paying real money), you have to play ranked matches against other players. And even at the lowest ranks, people are copying decklists from the Internet, using combo decks involving multiple new legends. Thanks to the swiftly rotating sets (which not only release new ones a few times a year, but also continually make sets more than 1-2 years old illegal), the cost of keeping up with current best decks can be somewhat prohibitive. And I didn't want to build the current best deck in the first place; I'm more a casual player anyway, since for me a lot of the joy of CCGs is trying out weird decks and just playing casual games against people doing same. But since even at rank 20 my opponents are using ridiculous multi-legend combos that make their hero power free to activate, does 2 damage to anything, and recharges whenever they play a card, it's hard to get far with a thrown together casual deck.

The saving grace of the game may be the new Dungeon Run mode, which like the old MtG Shandalar game, allows you to play a series of matches after each of which you get a choice of how to improve your deck, making it a tiny little campaign with randomized branching choices, power progression, and is very satisfying.

So at this point I basically enjoy the Dungeon Run, and begrudgingly grind quests sometimes so I have enough gold to buy a few packs of the latest set, even though that's not really enough to build any sort of deck based around it.
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2. Video Game: Age of Rivals [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:4356]
Video Game: Age of Rivals
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United States
Minneapolis
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Looking at these stars suddenly dwarfed my own troubles and all the gravities of terrestrial life. I thought of their unfathomable distance, and the slow inevitable drift of their movements out of the unknown past into the unknown future. H.G. Wells
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Pro: I can see there is a lot more depth to this than say 7 Wonders which I like ok.

Cons: I really don't know what I am doing. I'm pretty bad at evaluating the cards and putting together a competitive game.

I'd like to improve and I like the game ok. I just don't feel like I'm learning the system by playing it.

I'm also less likely to play this since I just bought Super Mario Run which is a really great game.
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3. Video Game: klocki [Average Rating:6.31 Overall Rank:5531]
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Pieter
Netherlands
Tilburg
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Good intentions are no substitute for a good education.
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I abandoned this game and noted that on the "Abandoned" list. Then I was listening to a podcast and to do something with my hands, I checked how far I actually was in the game. I found that I had abandoned it at the penultimate puzzle. So just for the achievement, I spent 3 more minutes on it and finished the game.
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4. Video Game: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag [Average Rating:7.81 Overall Rank:215]
Video Game: Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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I've been playing this one for a while, probably close to 10 hours now - or at least it feels like it.

PROs: the pirate theme is pretty cool, I like listening to shanties, the soundtrack is very good and I find the colour of the water very appealing (?!)

CONs: it's as boring and formulaic as all the other AssCreed games.

I didn't finish AssCreed 2 or 3 because they just bored me out of my mind. Black Flag does so little to change the formula in the grand scheme of things that it's almost ridiculous. Yes, I could technically just spend time exploring the sea, fighting naval battles... but it's not used for anything. I mean, you could improve your ship with the found booty, in order to... fight more naval battles and improve more, I guess? I'm ok with this gameplay loop, I really like my hack&slash games, but there's usually something chaining that loop together. Not so in Black Flag. Do it for the sake of doing it, or focus on the main story, which - both in terms of plot and gameplay - is just dreadfully dull.

Suffice to say, no matter if I end up finishing this one or not, I'm not playing any more of these other than the two spin-off titles I've got left, Chronicles Russia, and then the DLC for this one, Freedom Cry - which at least promises an interesting premise, though I'm sure they'll find a way to make that super boring as well.

Not the franchise for me, clearly.
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5. Video Game: Endless Space: Disharmony [Average Rating:7.50 Overall Rank:3156] [Average Rating:7.50 Unranked]
Video Game: Endless Space: Disharmony
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United States
Minnesota
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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Pros: A good-looking space strategy game with a nice interface
Cons: Delay between turns and reports that it's broken

I bought this on sale at Steam. I'm sure it must be worth five bucks, and I've pretty well enjoyed it so far. Unfortunately, I've also read some reviews. The consensus seems to be that the original game was grossly unbalanced in some ways and that the Disharmony expansion corrected some things but added new problems.

So now I want to continue learning the game, but I'm reluctant to put any more time into it because I'm likely to sooner or later run into those problems I've read about.

The only problem I've encountered so far, though, has been an annoying delay at the end of each turn. I could get used to that.

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6. Video Game: Sword of the Stars Complete Collection [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.26 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Sword of the Stars Complete Collection
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‘Well, at any rate, the Dormouse said—’ the Hatter went on, looking anxiously round to see if he would deny it too: but the Dormouse denied nothing, being fast asleep. ‘After that,’ continued the Hatter, ‘I cut some more bread-and-butter—’"
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I can't believe I'm posting this again, two years after adding it to one of these "Ambivalently Continued" lists.

Pros: It's Master of Orion, one of my all-time favorites, only new and improved, with some cool new game concepts.
Cons: I get lost in the 3D strategic map, irritated by the voice acting, and befuddled by random events and real-time tactical combat.

On the whole, SotS has a lot of appeal. I don't usually like cartoony art, but I prefer the crisp, colorful look of this game to MOO. The music is tolerable (though combat announcements are a little jarring). The economic, research, and ship-design systems are all pleasantly simple and straightforward, enabling me to focus on expansion and conquest.

Tactical combat is optional; I could auto-resolve it and skip the real-time battle. But most of the time, the space battles look and sound and feel pretty cool. If I ever play enough to catch on to what's happening, I might like it.

Finding my way around the map, however, is a pain. In my current game, I chose a 2D map, and it's still awkward. If I zoom in enough to see the information I want, I lose the overview. I hate having to remember (even momentarily) where things are in relation to each other; I want to see what's where.

The trouble is, I still don't know how many of these problems would clear up if I simply put enough time into the game. If I played steadily for a few months, I might look back and laugh at how hard it seemed in the beginning.

But in over two years, I haven't been able to do more than start into the game, struggle with aspects of it, and quit. And then come back and try again.
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7. Video Game: Final Fantasy X-2 [Average Rating:6.51 Overall Rank:1391]
Video Game: Final Fantasy X-2
It's V-Y not V-R
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Overall, I'm finding that I really just don't care for the Final Fantasy X sub-series. Both games have fun elements, which makes it all the more frustrating that there's so much bullshit to trudge through. I managed to finish the first game at the end of last year, then moved to FF VIII for a change in scenery before trying out Final Fantasy Barbie Dress-Up Doll House.

At this point I'm not sure if I want to muscle through the end or call it right before the end and move on to Persona 5.

PROs:

I actually really like the dressphere system despite how I just referred to it. The combination of having to prepare garment grids outside of battle and dynamically changing between jobs during fights provides a lot of strategic options for the team. The outfits themselves, the transitions between them, and the fact that abilities are determined by clothes are all the sort of lighthearted absurdity that I can get behind in a game.

After having to move in a line through the first game, being able to travel the world from the very beginning of this one is a refreshing freedom.

The story involving powerful factions filling the power vacuum and looking for conflict because they don't know how to handle peace is interesting.

CONs:

I'm at the end of the game. I have a maxed out white mage and two maxed out dark knights. That should be enough to annihilate enemies, but instead, despite supposedly being overleveled anyway, I find out that I still need to grind levels. I'm tired of it.

Also, most of the roles are now useless, if they weren't the entire game. Songstress hasn't been useful since the first chapter. Dark knight is undoubtedly stronger than any of the others, so there isn't much of a use for warrior or samurai at all after picking it up. The gun mage's blue magic is a chore to get, and is rarely helpful at all.

Gravity magic sucks. One of the garment grids provides immunity to it and allows the user to cast Demi, but the only enemies it would be useful on are immune to it as well. I have yet to actually use the spell on something and it be more effective than a regular attack.

The main character in Final Fantasy X was Tidus, though he was the only character not referred to by name in dialogue since the game allowed the player to name him. But he does have an official name. So why in this game does everyone dance around it referring to him as "you-know-who" or just pronouns? No one even refers to him by some obscure title like
Spoiler (click to reveal)
"the dream of the fayth,"
they just go out of their way to not name him to a point that makes all dialogue concerning him sound horrible. There is no sensible reason to avoid naming a character that much unless there's a curse associated with speaking it.
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8. Video Game: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia [Average Rating:7.12 Unranked]
Video Game: Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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PROs: includes flashes of solid design

CONs: has none of the charm of the previous two games, but inherits most of their problems.

AssCreed Chronicles Russia is a tough sell. It includes an interesting setting, but also has some of the worst faux-Russian accents I've heard in any medium ever, which is extremely distracting. The main character is also pretty poorly voiced - while the previous two games couldn't boast anything more than passable performances, this one's protagonist, Orelov sounds like the actor was just half-assing it all the way through.

While China was this series' Mark of the Ninja, and India went more in the direction of Prince of Persia, Russia struggles to find its identity. It seems, so far (five missions in) to have entirely discouraged from hand-to-hand combat, has by far the most complex and difficult sections which require near-perfect timing, and - in one instance - boasts some of the worst-placed checkpoints in a series which went from "fair" to "annoying" pretty fast. Its unique sniper sections aren't enough to freshen things up, and the design does more to annoy the player than to make him feel smart for solving the riddles. It has some very arbitrary level design, too - like blocking shooting your rifle in a section because there's gas in a train wagon, leaking from random tanks... and the ensuing explosion will kill you even if you actually STEP OUT of the wagon after shooting.

Not sure if I'm going to finish this one. I enjoyed China and kind of enjoyed India, but this one is just a slog.
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9. Video Game: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Video Game: Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Played this for just over an hour.

I've played three in-campaign mission of this, and got pretty much pounded in each of them (won a single one essentially by sheer luck). I'm pretty confused as to why, but I clearly don't understand the game's mechanics yet. I'll watch a few YouTube tutorials and see if that clears anything up, but between the poor UI and an unfixable localization with a translation that I'm not certain is a 100% legit (the game doesn't have an option to change the language from my native Polish to English, which is just idiotic, given the VO is subtitled anyway), the game has failed to make a good first impression.

While I love the idea behind it, and I'm willing to put some effort into learning the ropes, it's going to be hard sell from this initial hour.
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10. Video Game: StarCraft [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:62] [Average Rating:8.07 Unranked]
Video Game: StarCraft
Aaron Tubb
United States
Fuquay Varina
NC
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StarCraft: Remastered

PROS:
One of my favorite games. It's still amazing today, and the remaster is well done. Now that I can customize my hotkeys, the game is much easier for me, as well. I've always wanted to beat all the missions (I could not finish the Zerg Brood War campaign back in the day).

CONS: Missions can be kind of long, and I have tons of other games I also want to play, and that I haven't played before.
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11. Video Game: Rock Band 2 [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:82]
Video Game: Rock Band 2
Dave B
Scotland
Glasgow
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PROS:
- I tend to complete these kind of games
- It's got Megadeth in the soundtrack
- It's not Guitar Hero is Dead


CONS:
- Read on


[The following I wrote last night in a downer mood. Forgive my swearing.]

Stop the bus, I think I've had enough.

Is this the end for Roarqual? Very possibly, because I'm busy at the moment, I want to move on to other games and this playthrough got stale three and a bit months ago.

I decided to play the Harmonix Marathon on Hard. Nine songs, ranging from tunes so easy I regret missing one note due to schoolboy error (Conventional Lover) to songs I nearly failed but pulled back, to my pleased surprise (Get Clean).

8 / 9 beat, including two of the hardest in the game. I had this in the bag... right?

Then came the ninth number:



(I didn't pass it, this is someone else playing, I've put their video on the post to show how insane the note chart is.)

"Fuck you, David," the Harmonix employees said, "Fuck you, and Roarqual!"

Yeah, well, fuck you as well, Harmonix. Fuck you, Abnormality, fuck you, EA, fuck you, Roarqual, fuck you, Jimmy J Durham.

I've tried to get through this game twice. The first time calibration issues killed my enthusiasm. The second you've read about. I don't care if the game is objectively good; subjectively, I think it's a piece of shit.

Because ever since I formed Roarqual, everything's gone to hell, and I've been up to my neck in problems, playing the game and outside of it. I thought telling a story about a metal band overcoming numerous obstacles to success would've been fun; instead, I spent three months whining that I knew nothing of how any aspect of society worked, or what goes on within the music business. 60s Batman is far more plausible than the shit I was writing, and that was a goofy comedy / superhero parody / 60s critique that saw Batman dancing in a bar and a guy who dressed like Robin but looked nothing like Burt Ward fight cartoon henchmen with their themed names imprinted on their jumpers, to a silly soundtrack and "KAPOW!" flashing on the screen every two seconds.

I wanted to beat this, for Roarqual, for Alex, for those who commented thinking Roarqual would get somewhere, for me: every time I start a story here, it falls by the wayside; I wanted to break that streak.

But I can't do it. I hate this game. I hate the time I wasted trying to figure out my calibration. I hate missing notes. I hate those stupid looking HOPOs. I hate how the only way to activate star power involves blocking the screen with the guitar. I hate how awkward it's been to get my singers and drummers decent changes of attire, given I'm the guitarist and bassist, the only ones earning money. I hate how I always miss the upcoming note after unpausing. I hate those trails of notes that I end up falling out of sync with. I hate missing notes because either my finger or the fret button didn't register. I hate playing songs I already played in Guitar Hero: World Tour years ago. I hate that Caught in a Mosh is in the sequel. I hate the weird difficulty jumps. I hate not being to change difficulty mid-setlist. I hate not being able to create a setlist I think would be awesome, in a series where that's the idea, because I don't have LIVE, I'm a cheapskate and I'm pretty sure the song downloading service is down nowadays. Worst of all, I hate that I hate this game, when I actually liked the first one when I played it years ago: I was slightly happier then, I didn't have to worry about getting my calibration wrong, I wasn't getting screwed over by The Bosstones or Abnormality, I felt like I was actually working towards something, and I wasn't wasting time writing the destitute man's Spinal Tap in between sessions.

Beating 8 / 9 songs in a row, then failing the ninth song three times in a row on the first verse, and losing thousands of fans from it, may be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Unless a miracle occurs, or someone on this site - by a divine stroke of genius or luck - can give me a brilliant reason to see this crappy playthrough to the end, I give up. I surrender. I don't wanna be in a rock band anymore.

Basically a (weirdly profound) quote from the Punkomatic 2 character Sid sums up my current feelings for this playthrough:
"Once you start doing something for any reason other than loving doing it, you're digging your own grave, man!"
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12. Video Game: BATTLETECH [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:1386] [Average Rating:7.65 Unranked]
Video Game: BATTLETECH
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Battletech just broke my heart, and I'm not sure I'll be able to forgive it.

I've spent 26 hours in the game, trying to get over its wonky difficulty rating in the campaign. Trying - and failing - to finally get my hands on better mechs and gear. Trying - and failing - to do just the fifth of many main story missions. It broke me.

It took me three tries before I got the first part of the mission right. Then I was able to clear the field of enemies... only the objective is destroying a building. A building I don't seem to be able to target with any of my best current mechs.

There are no other available missions to grind. Even if there were, I'm tired of grinding and want to see some actual progress. Only the game doesn't allow it. I don't have a good enough lance. My skills are not up to par. I don't understand what this mission wants from me.

Tried approaching the main combat area from another angle. Got up a mission boundary. No-go. Too high to jump down using jump jets.

I talked to a few people who played this game, and they seemed to have none of my problems.

What the hell is wrong with me, and why does the game I was most hyped with FOR YEARS end up disappointing me this much?
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13. Video Game: XCOM 2 [Average Rating:8.37 Overall Rank:188]
Video Game: XCOM 2
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Actually, it's XCOM 2 with The Long War 2 mod. It's killing me.

I beat all the original X-Coms. I beat XCOM: Enemy Unknown. And I beat regular XCOM 2. But the Long War mod just keeps kicking my ass. I've lost the campaign five times now (I think; I've lost track). I even put the game on the "Rookie" difficulty level, just to finish the damn thing, and I've lost twice on "rookie." I'm about ready to give up.


For some reason, I just can't find the goddamned missions to liberate a region. And until you liberate a region, you're blundering around in the dark, not even able to keep track of the "doomsday counter" to see how close the aliens are to completing the Avatar Project and winning the game. There are five specific missions you must complete to liberate a region; the closest I've come is completing three missions, and the Avatar Project was finished before I could tackle the fourth. The other four times, I never even found the third mission.


"Rookie" difficulty? The crucial missions all seem to be revealed when I have less than a day or two to infiltrate, putting me up against 20+ aliens with reinforcements repeatedly dropping in. And not just the rank-and-file advent guys: mutons, mechs, the snakes, sectopods, all which are armored up, difficult to hit and rarely miss, due to the constant completion of "dark events" which I can't seem to keep up with. I win, but with a shot-up squad that takes over a week or more to heal. Then there's another critical mission (usually to counter a dark event), and my best troops are still sidelined (I usually run two squads, with reserves) meaning its even harder to win.

All "rookie" difficulty seems to do is extend the mission timer and delay the arrival of reinforcements. So I pick a region, recruit, put recruits on intel gathering, while my ship scans the region … and still no friggin' liberation missions appear.


I know how to win combats; like I said, I'm no XCOM novice. But I can't liberate a region if I can't find the liberation missions, and the longer it takes, the stronger the alien forces get, and the closer the aliens get to completing the Avatar Project.


What am I missing? I put resistance fighters on gathering intel, while my ship scans the region. Don't know what else to do.


Anyway … PRO: It's XCOM. Love the tactical battles. Love being able to edit the appearance and names of my troops. Love researching and developing better weapons and armor, and watching my troops improve with experience.


CON: Where the hell are the liberation missions??????
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14. Video Game: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana [Average Rating:4.67 Unranked]
Video Game: Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana
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This might be "abandoned", I haven't decided yet, but I know I'll probably go back to it because it's Ys and I'm compelled to play everything in that series.

But holy fuck, Ys 8 is just bad at almost every level. Bad system design, ripped from the recent Tales games but without any of the strategic decisions that made those games addictive. Lame, undersized dungeons. Terrible bosses, doubly damning since those are usually the high-point of an Ys game. A completely miscalibrated difficulty curve, where common mobs are more dangerous than bosses, with faster attacks and much higher damage output.

The nail in the coffin that pushes it to near abandonment is one of the most awful sidequests I've ever seen (note, in Ys 8, sidequests aren't really optional because you have to do them all to open up the final dungeon). You're whisked away to a fight on a beach, against these dinosaurs that have an undodgeable and unblockable "roar" move that knocks you down, and causes you to need about 30 seconds to get back up, during which time their buddies can one-shot you. There's nothing you can do about this, other than hope they don't use that move and keep trying until you get lucky. This is some of the most awful game design I've ever been unfortunate enough to encounter, and I really don't know that I'm willing to roll the dice on something that direspects me this much.
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15. Video Game: Master of Magic [Average Rating:8.63 Overall Rank:42]
Video Game: Master of Magic
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Pro: A classic PC strategy game with more customization options and spell combinations than most, plus heroes and artifacts and everything else but the kitchen sink.
Con: It's old and feels slow.

You'd think I'd have had plenty of time to have decided one way or another about this 1994 game. But here I am, still torn over it.

Recently I installed the unofficial 1.51 patch, which debugs the official version and fixes some broken things (like diplomacy and AI naval/amphibious movement). I played three games, and they went smoothly; no technical problems at all. I also noticed an improvement in game play overall. So, I don't think I'd ever go back to the version with the last official patch (1.31).

However, the game drags early on. It takes forever to complete buildings in cities, and you need a lot of buildings. Somehow you also have to forgo building often enough to put some kind of army together. And while you're doing both of those things, you have to squeeze in generating settlers so you can send them out and found new cities.

Eventually, you get to where you've got a bunch of developed cities, and then the pace picks up. But now you're probably facing some AI opponents as powerful as you are, if not more so. You've also got so many cities that micromanaging them all is a chore.

With the bugs worked out of MoM, I like it better than Civilization (any version of it), but probably not as well as Master of Orion which has better pacing and is more streamlined. MOO2 has the same building problem as MoM; it might be even worse in that regard.

Yet, I'll probably continue to play MoM for old time's sake and because it is a good game experience in spite of its drawbacks.
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16. Video Game: Warframe [Average Rating:7.11 Overall Rank:1939]
Video Game: Warframe
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North Adams
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PRO: Super-cool graphics and gameplay, tons of ways to advance, collectible warframes/weapons, a vast plethora of loadout options, constant new modes, cool cosmetics, FREE GAME!, damn near everything, really, except...
CON: I keep crapping out of missions lately.

I'm at the point where most of what I need to do to progress in the game is in their newer open-world/MMOish section, the Plains of Eidolon. One big thing I need to do is mini boss-fights against Eidolons, which is vaguely monster-hunter-esque in terms of teaming up against a giant creature. My success rate with this is very low, rarely because of death, more often because the monster runs away before we can kill it, or my squad leaves, or the host drops. Host dropping multiplayer is very frustrating, and I keep losing all the rewards I'd picked up in-level (twice even after we'd killed the boss, but I couldn't make it back to town before the host dropped).

Today they released a new warframe and quest, out on the plains. I figured, okay, instead of hunting the Eidolon which I've been very frustrated with over the past week, I'll just farm for the new frame. So I joined a bounty to do so, picked up some good loot, we successfully finished the bounty, I was on my way back to town to cash in, and... you guessed it, the host dropped again.

GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

Probably back to another week of just doing daily logins and not really playing.
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17. Video Game: Domina [Average Rating:6.80 Overall Rank:5410]
Video Game: Domina
Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Played a full game that ended in total defeat. It took me around 2 hours.

PROs: it's a fun little management sim with optional dexterity-based combat that I entirely automated

CONs: looks like it would take a whole lot of grinding to win

The summary says it all. This game is cool and all, but it seems to me like, after playing a single game, I don't really know what I should do differently to do better.

It doesn't help that the game has a pretty poor UI solution for picking your gladiators for a fight. You can't compare your stats with the enemy's before you make your selections, and even then you have to move the cursor left and right and remember which stat had which value... not ideal.

It also seems to me, like the game has plenty of completely auxiliary systems and unnecessary busywork (like having to upgrade most gear by doing it one-by-one from the basic stuff through all the options in between) and would've been a more elegant design if it shaved its clutter a bit.

Going to pass on it now, but hoping to return for another try when the mood strikes me.

EDIT: I just saw that the game has one easier difficulty than the one I played on. I might try that out on my next attempt.
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18. Video Game: Final Fantasy IV [Average Rating:7.94 Overall Rank:145] [Average Rating:7.94 Unranked]
Video Game: Final Fantasy IV
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For some reason I purchased Final Fantasy IV for my phone.

PRO: It's Final Fantasy IV!

CON: ...Through the eyes of madness.

I guess this is some bobble-headed DS remake? No thank you - I like my 16-bits just fine. It is not what I signed up for, because:
a) It doesn't capture my nostalgia, which honestly is a big part of why I would want to play the game; and
b) The iPhone controls, which in my experience work just fine for a orthogonal 2D 16-bit RPG, aren't as fluid or smooth for a more isometric, 3D RPG that allows me to move in 8 directions.

I got this on the back of having played through the first four Dragon Warriors last year, as they were all pretty cheap and I never did beat DW3. I was eyeing up the fifth game in the series, and figured if I was going to pony up for a more expensive retro RPG, FF IV would be a better option. Whoops. That's what I get for not really paying attention to what I was buying. "Luckily", sunk cost fallacy and the fact that it vaguely gestures at the game I remember mean that I have yet to stop. I'm just slow-roasting it - over the span of about three months, I've finally gotten to Troia. If I'm lucky, I might finish it this year.
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19. Video Game: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.21 Unranked]
Video Game Compilation: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor – Game of the Year Edition
Krzysztof Zięba
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Played it for around 90 minutes so far. Man, talk about a bad first impression.

PROs: it's a competent Assassin's Creed / Batman: Arkham smash up.

CONs: Man, where do I even start.

I'm wondering if I'm just super jaded at this point. This game has received a good reception overall, and there's a fair amount of people here on the geek that enjoyed it. And I've got to say, as much as I don't care about Assassin's Creed, this one promised that it might improve on the formula. And it kind of does, but that's just not enough.

1) the story is presented in one of the most messy ways I've seen in AAA games. They do the bare minimum set-up before they let you lose in a huge open world and bury you under an avalanche of prompts, symbols and concepts.

2) You start off in a huge open area and are asked to choose an objective to pursue, while also being attacked by Orcs wherever you go. No easing in, here, you get dumped into the game which just shrugs its arms and goes "You figure it out."

3) so I get it that we're in Mordor, so I need to have Orcs everywhere, but really, they ARE everywhere. Remember how Batman: Arkham games would have small pockets of enemies that you'd clear out, and you could then explore. Not so here. If you even manage to kill all of them as the reinforcements start coming in (not a huge challenge, the combat system here is laughably simple so far), you'll end up in a spot that only requires you make a few steps in the wrong direction, and another bunch of enemies comes in.

4) the Nemesis system sounds cool, yes, I can see it being immersive and emergent, but holy shit, everything else in this game is so been-there-done-that that it hurts me to play it. Collectibles, challenges, just an overall slew of stuff that's just... there. This is the game, apparently. Just keep killing orcs, and maybe sometimes a bit of plot?

5) if you didn't tell me this was a Middle-Earth game and use the familiar names of places, I wouldn't know. It barely feels Tolkien-esque, mostly when the Wraith (who I know the identity of, but don't want to spoil it here) "forges" towers. Which, again, I mean, f***ing towers in open-world games, just f**k! gulp

If I didn't care about the first hour of this, does it even make sense for me to continue?
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20. Video Game: Metal Gear [Average Rating:6.24 Overall Rank:3238]
Video Game: Metal Gear
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I've been curious about the original to Metal Gear games for a while - what does a 1987 stealth game look like, exactly? - and they are both included in Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection.

Well, I fired up the first game, and was thrilled to see a "save data" and "load data" option that had clearly been added for the rerelease. I took it slow at first, saving every few rooms. Got the keycard, gas mask, landmines, and handgun. After I died fighting some guards, I went to load my save, and the file started me at the very beginning, without any items.

I mean, we're only talking about 10-15 minutes of progress, but what?



Tried googling this, and found a customer support page with an indecipherable answer. They seem to be saying that the original game only saves progress at a handful of checkpoints. So... why is there a save/load option at all?

There is an easy difficulty setting, so I guess that's my best bet, but I'd much rather play with the original difficulty and the option to save.

Sigh. Save states are so common for any kind of re-release (Wii VC, various Genesis collections, etc etc). Too much to ask from Konami I guess.
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21. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty [Average Rating:7.72 Overall Rank:222]
Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
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First time playing... although I watched bits and pieces of friends playing this a long time ago. For all kinds of reason, I was ambivalent from the start, but also curious.

Well, I just defeated Fatman. That fight alone was enough to send my ambivalence through the roof.

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22. Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater [Average Rating:8.38 Overall Rank:59]
Video Game: Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
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First time playing.

Surprised at how flawed this is - parts of it are great and there are long stretches where I'm having a blast, but what is up with these terrible bossfights?

I beat Ocelot and The Pain on my first or second try. They were annoying, and sloppy, and I felt like I wasted a lot of resources, but at least I beat them. Took a few tries to get a sense of how to abuse The Fear's patterns, but god, that was one of the worst bossfights I've seen implemented in any videogame. At least there are alternative ways to defeat The End.

Now I'm on The Fury. At first I was pleasantly surprised. This is the most coherent bossfight in the game so far, in principle not difficult to understand.

But now that I've wasted over an hour of my life trying to get past it, my appreciation has vanished. I see relatively little skill involved here. I can consistently deal 75-90% damage to this boss, but it feels random whether he will catch you with his flamethrower or not. Controls for aiming weapons are terrible. Ugh.

If that weren't enough, at the beginning of the fight, I have to spend a good two or three minutes in the menus, equipping the right weapons and camoflauge. If I save my game, it doesn't save any of those choices. Because as usual, MGS games have an appalling hybrid save-checkpoint system that doesn't really work.

I know what to do to win here. I just feel like it's random whether or not I'll be able to do it before I'm caught by attacks I have little chance of evading.
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23. Video Game: Dragon Age: Origins [Average Rating:7.89 Overall Rank:77]
Video Game: Dragon Age: Origins
Kristopher
United States
Allentown
Pennsylvania
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Ok. So, I started out playing this this year. It was the second attempt at playing it. (The first time, I just didn't like the interface, and probably started with the wrong storyline that didn't engage me. etc.)

Pro: It's great. The characters and different starting backgrounds are really interesting. The interface is neat once you got used to it. It's epic and awesomely huge! I went out and bought the Expansion, DA2, AND Dragon age;Inquisition because of it. I had every intention of playing everything through, all at once.

Con:It's epic and awesomely huge! So much so that there's very few quest storylines that are easy and simple to finish in a short period of time (besides the stupid little Chantry or Irregulars quests, where there's really nothing to them.) And there's SO much going on, you are aware of the fact that you aren'y going to see every storyline or every character come to completion. Which - in a game that's so massive and huge - I know I don't want to replay it right again, and will most likely forget what's happened before, the next time I played it.


I'm still continuing it because it's so massive and huge and I don't feel like going back and RESTARTING it another time, in order to finish it. But I forget what's going on or how to control it already, and it's only been 4-5 months since I played it last. You think I would have learned with my Epic Idea of Playing all the Mass Effect games right in a row.
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24. Video Game: Perfect Dark [Average Rating:7.77 Overall Rank:214]
Video Game: Perfect Dark
Dave B
Scotland
Glasgow
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PRO: Perfectly (no pun intended) decent game, I'm so close to the end

CON: That f**king final boss



Anyone else ever actually beat this? I feel like an idiot for asking that, but how can I get through TS2's Atom Smasher and Robot Factory on Normal, and not complete this on Agent?


I actually looked up a walkthrough, said that I had to damage the boss' shield enough until it went black. I think something's up, twice I've tried the battle, twice I've unloaded my entire armoury, and I still haven't come close to destroying the shield.

If you die, you go right back to the beginning of the stage. angry Against enemies that can go invisible, and sneak up on you from behind. I think there was another game that had similar enemies...
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25. Video Game: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines [Average Rating:7.96 Overall Rank:162]
Video Game: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
It's V-Y not V-R
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Microbadge: Who cut the cheese?Microbadge: Golden GeeklisterMicrobadge: Final Fantasy VII fanMicrobadge: Feeling lousyMicrobadge: Alien fan
I'll get right to the list.

thumbsup It's VTM. I'm a sucker for the lore of it, so anything with the IP gets some credit for that alone.

thumbsup Despite the game's age, the voice acting is actually pretty good. Some characters chew the scenery (like the ghoul Knox), but they play their parts well and are entertaining in their outlandishness.

thumbsup Several quests have options for how to handle things, though this would definitely be necessary for the difference in playstyle between more bestial characters and refined, high-society types.

thumbsdown The game still strongly favors a combat-heavy build. Sure, you're a predator, but far more often than not your unlife will be easier if you're prepared to beat the shit out of your problems.

thumbsup The "behind the scenes" story (at least, in the first two zones) of an imminent clash between the Camarilla and Anarchs builds nicely. Both sides make compelling arguments for their side, so there isn't a clear "good" group to side with.

thumbsdown The player character is apparently important enough that the sects both want them on their side, but not important enough for you to be able to ask for their help when dealing with those combat-heavy scenarios.

thumbsdown The Unofficial Patch is basically necessary to make the game not look like shit on a modern PC.

thumbsup That Unofficial Patch does a really good job of cleaning up the game, and is as easy to install as it could possibly be.

thumbsdown Deciding to install the Unofficial Patch meant that I had to start over. Since I knew what to do, it didn't take long to catch up, but some quests that I did the first time through didn't work the second time, so I still don't know if I can trust the game to work properly the whole way through.
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