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Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
Lotus
The Elder Scrolls: Legends
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Perudo: The Pirate Dice Game
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
House Party
Qwixx
Istanbul: Digital Edition
Red Dead Redemption II
Eternal
Scythe: Digital Edition
Terraforming Mars
Portal (2007)
Darksiders
Luigi's Mansion
World of Warcraft
The World Ends with You
Super Mario Kart
F-Zero GX
NetHack
Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress
Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
Yoshi's Island DS
Fallout (1997)
Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia
Mortal Kombat (1992)
Pit-Fighter
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter 2
RollerCoaster Tycoon
Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom
LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4 (Console/PC)
Star Control II
Marvel Trading Card Game
Super Smash Bros. Melee
SimAnt
SimIsle
RoboSport
RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Wild!
Alien Syndrome (1987)
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky
Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap
Titanic Adventure Out Of Time
Clue
Langrisser II
Lost Secret of the Rainforest
Rock Band 3
Xenoblade Chronicles
Swords & Soldiers
Video Games Ambivalently Continued by VGGers in 2019
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The third wheel to the ever-popular Videogames Beaten by VGGers in 2019 and Video Games Abandoned by VGGers in 2019 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 2018

This list is for the games you're still sort of playing, albeit without full enthusiasm, but have neither beaten nor abandoned them. 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: Rastakhan's Rumble [Average Rating:9.25 Unranked] [Average Rating:9.25 Unranked]
Seth Brown
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PRO: Highest production value and smoothest interface for a CCG, filled with entertaining cards and some truly fantastic solo modes.
CON: Playing against other players is mostly annoying.


A moment of silence for SolForge, once my favorite online CCG, now defunct.

Anyway, Hearthstone is the online CCG I end up playing these days (technically I still log into Eternal now and then, but I play Hearthstone much more). There's a lot to recommend about Hearthstone; you start with not just a basic deck for 1 class, but a full set of basic cards that include decks for all 9 classes. Blizzard has spared no expense in making a game that's not only high production value, but incredibly smooth in a way that frankly no other online CCG has yet managed.

Unfortunately, actually playing the game against other players is mostly an exercise in frustration. First of all, everyone is running ridiculous decks from the Internet, even at the lowest ranks. So you're quite likely to be facing down either a ridiculous combo that can kill you from full health in a single turn, or at least a something that fills their board with giant monsters in a single turn, to kill you next turn. Or the other month, a deck based around a card that was literally just "if you've emptied your hand and deck, your opponent loses"

So if you've cobbled together a deck from whatever decent cards you have, a typical "good stuff" deck, you're probably going to be thwomped by someone who has a carefully synergized deck. This is a good thing in general -- someone who builds a better deck *should* win most of the time -- the problem is that this persists even at the lowest ranks.

Thus in order to win games against another player even at rank 20, you'll probably need a well-crafted deck of your own. And this is annoying because a) To keep up with the Joneses, said deck will probably need some expensive cards, b) Because the sets constantly rotate, even if you spent a lot of money on a big collection in December of 2017, by 2019 all your cards have rotated out so you can't play them in Standard,
and c) Unless you're pretty good at the game, trying out your own deck ideas will just get you stomped by people piloting known decks.

Again, all of this isn't a bad thing at the highest ranks, where competition should be fierce and require you to play the best decks. But I'm a casual player at the very bottom of the ladder, I just want to put together interesting cards I have and play decks I haven't copied from online, and doing that it's hard to win many games (which you need to do to beat most of your quests, which you need to get gold to buy boosters without paying cash).

Still, the solo adventures (which are completely free!) are a lot of fun and involve mini-campaigns for your deck where every win gets you a choice of 3 new 3-packs of cards to add to your temporary deck for this mini-campaign only. So I continue to mostly play them and then grind quests for gold occasionally but never seem to leave the bottom ranks.



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2. Video Game: Toybox Turbos [Average Rating:7.25 Unranked]
Aaron Tubb
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Fuquay Varina
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PRO: It's a casual fun top-down racer.
CON: I'll have to replay events for better placements to progress.

Toybox Turbos is a really nice tribute to the old Micro Machines racing games, and is quite enjoyable in a casual fun kind of way. Also features up to 4 player splitscreen, which I have played with my boys a bit. I'm close to the end of the single player campaign, needing only a few more stars from events to unlock the final class of vehichles, but events are definitley getting harder at this point. I've been playing it occasionally for the past year or so.
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3. Video Game: Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City [Average Rating:8.25 Overall Rank:1352]
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The surprise with this one is that I thought I had settled in. After clearing the first floor of the labyrinth, I decided to explore the Seafaring portion of the game, which was not in the previous EO.

(My only experience with the series is a full playthrough of EOII)

I completed a ton of Seafaring exploration and assumed that would give me at least a modest advantage back in the Labyrinth, but nope.

For the moment, it seems like any tactical decision-making is moot. There is a good chance one of my characters will get one-hit-KO'd as I explore the 2nd floor, regardless of what I do. I have all the best equipment available in every slot for every character.

OK?

Maybe I need to powerlevel some of my characters by fighting sea bosses, or maybe my party is poorly suited to this part of the game. EOII was hard, but I literally never felt like I was subject to random KOs the moment I set foot in the labyrinth.
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4. Video Game: Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword [Average Rating:8.50 Overall Rank:19] [Average Rating:8.50 Unranked]
p55carroll
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Minnesota
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"Drizzle, drazzle, drozzle, drome; time for this one to come home."
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Pro: One of the best 4X TBS games ever
Con: Stacks of doom

My longest-running case of gaming ambivalence. I experienced it with the original Civ, back around 1991, and then with every iteration through Civ V (haven't seen Civ VI yet).

I just finished a game of Civ IV, so it's fresh in my mind. And that goes to show I'm still playing it in spite of my reservations.

In that game, the usual happened: things were going swimmingly, and then the bugle sounded, announcing that Babylon had declared war on me. I was somewhat unprepared for that, as I always am. But the thing is, even when I'm prepared overall, I don't even know how to prepare for what the AI does. It sends a "stack of doom"--more units than I can imagine the enemy could have built already--to pound one of my cities into submission. No matter what units I've stationed in that city, or whether I've built walls or a castle there, the first enemy attack almost always overwhelms me.

Apparently the best defense is a good offense, and I hate that in a game. I don't mind going on the strategic offensive, but when I do so I want to know my garrisoned cities are relatively safe. I don't want to have to go on the tactical offensive every time battle is in the offing.

But in this particular game I just played, the Babylonians only took one of my cities. They did it with trebuchets and knights, and by then I had artillery and infantry. So I gathered my superior forces and, several turns later, recaptured the city. That's all there was to the war; the enemy agreed to peace after that.

So it turned out to be a good game after all. I love playing Civ, but I hate war in Civ, and yet the game would be too boring without war. So, I'm endlessly ambivalent about it.

I like the way war works in Civ V better. Unfortunately, that version feels long and slow and unsatisfying. Playing Civ IV has pretty much killed Civ V for me.

Now I wonder if Civ VI would be more to my liking or less.
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5. Video Game: Pikmin 2 [Average Rating:8.07 Overall Rank:248]
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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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Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. Chief Seattle
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Pro: I paid for it

Con: Holy bananas I don't like like trying to tweak out and guess my optimal squad, trying to separate the pikmin particularly during combat, trying to activate only a particular color, having Louie decide to fall over while separating the colors, having some of the pikmin decide to pick Louie up and drag him to the ship, having my pikmin wind up getting poisoned by a farting beetle I can't see because of the foliage and it taking me several attempts at the Frontier Cavern before I could even figure out what was killing my pikmin...

Pikmin 1 was a funny little puzzle for most of the ship parts. It did get pretty intense for some of the battles but overall was alright.

Pikmin 2 shows that my natural aversion for the RTS genre was well founded and that even a Nintendo RTS with cutesy grass people is a frustrating experience for me.
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6. Video Game: Distant Worlds [Average Rating:7.46 Overall Rank:2576]
Kristopher
United States
Allentown
Pennsylvania
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I jotted it down in my Risk campaign book. I always used to do that so I could replay my moments of glory over a glass of brandy in the sleeping quarters. --Arnold J. Rimmer--
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Pro: It's just incredible. Massively involved as much as you want it to be - you can totally automate everything if that's what you want. Huge maps with thousands of stars.

Con: It's massively huge with thousands of stars and moving parts that every game will take HOURS to play. And bc there's so many moving parts, it's hard to figure out just where you went you wrong, if you lose.


You know, I finally beat a game of this last year, and put it on the list of "Completed" even though it's one of those multiple continuing play games ala Civ or other 4x games that you never really "beat."

But I've found I haven't gotten back to it. I still intend to play it, as its awesome, but I'm back in the "afraid to quit the current empire and restart so I just avoid the game" mood which seems to happen a LOT with this game. I wish it was shorter somehow. But that would diminish it, I think.
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7. Video Game: Final Fantasy Tactics Advance [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:365]
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PROs: It's easy to find a place to leave off because you can save during battle. Game is portable.

CONs: All I really have left to do it grind; I hate grinding. Not as fun as FFT, and there are weapons I seemed to have missed, which means there are skills I've missed.

I had trouble defeating the final boss gauntlet, so now I'm just grinding to try and get assassins, but man do I hate grinding. I did get 2 ninjas and am working on duel wield on the main character, but man the assassin class takes forever to get.
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8. Video Game: Deus Ex: Invisible War [Average Rating:6.66 Overall Rank:1598]
Seth Brown
United States
North Adams
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PRO: Deus Ex game, cool abilities and faction choices
CON: I have to restart a lot

I wasn't super-excited about this game, but since I'd played the original and want to play all the new ones, figured I should play this one too for the full series. However, it's really old and Steam kept kicking me to the desktop at every loading screen.

So, installed a bunch of community patches, changed all the settings, running it outside of Steam, and it stopped kicking to desktop at every load screen, but now it still crashes frequently. And this is on top of my own deaths. Tonight I had to sneak past a small strike force and a large rocket-launching robot to break into a lab, had to restart half a dozen times:

* Killed by robot's rocket launcher
* Killed by robot's rocket launcher
* Kill robot, game crashes
* Kill robot, killed by strike force
* Kill strike force, killed by robot's rocket launcher
* Kill robot and strike force, game crashes
* Kill robot and strike force, save game. (and then enter lab, explore a bit, game crashes again.)

Basically I'm saving every 5 minutes which is a dumb and annoying way to play a game, but I've already done everything they recommend to fix it. When it stops crashing, it's not a bad game, but honestly at this point I just want to beat it before I move on to the more modern Deus Ex games and it's becoming more of a slog than a pleasure.
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9. Video Game: Pixel Dungeon [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:5669]
Chris
United States
Chicago
Illinois
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PRO: It's a solidly made, decent to look at roguelike with good, functional controls, visuals and sound.
CON: There might be a bit too much RNG nonsense to deal with, I'm just not interested in getting "good" at it, and frankly, it can be just kinda boring.

I'm not sure what it is about this game. I keep coming back, largely because a phone game means I can play it anywhere I have a free minute. I'm not sure why I don't find it as engaging as, say, nethack or DCSS, my other played roguelikes, but I just get kind of bored when I play more than a little of it at a time. I feel like a lot of times whether I get very far or not just comes down to RNG. I can probably do better but I don't want to? I guess? But it kills time when I have time and there is a bit of I guess just compulsion to it. I honestly don't even know if I'll ever beat it, but I'll probably not stop playing it.
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10. Video Game: GoldenEye 007 (2010) [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1537]
Derek Green
United States
Columbus
Ohio
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Xbox 360

Since this is part of my hardcore list and I am near the game's end, I will not give up, although I have more than had my fill of this game.

At first, I was digging the feel of old-school challenge and item finding with the modern amenities of a Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare clone, which is very much what this is. Sure, the stealth in this game is mediocre and the cover shooting system is beyond horrendous, but so long as the game is not overly long, it is still an enjoyable experience. The last mission in Nigeria, however, is a grueling gauntlet where the challenge on Agent (2/4 difficulty setting) has become more stressful than challenging. It isn't much fun to have to memorize hyper-specific patterns to advance. I am taking on some kind of laser weapon now and I have died about 50 times trying to advance across a walkway in the face of enemy fire. Before that, I had to face several frenetic challenges in a row with no interruption for an equally challenging but different interruption, say a stealth section.

The first five missions are solid, if unspectacular. The last mission just flat out sucks because the difficulty does not stem from clever level design and is not justified by good story-telling. It is just a pure gauntlet down a corridor where you have to take on enemies using twitch reflexes and where there is almost no chance of being able to employ any kind of strategy whatsoever.

So far, I am thinking that this game is about a 5.5/10. I am pretty disappointed in it, to say the least since I was initially very excited by the promise of a game combining cover, stealth, and twitch, a promise that this game fails to deliver in any way.
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