There has been a fair old gap since my last communique, but of course this is only to be expected as we approach the zenith of the summer season, and thoughts turn from computer screens to outdoor recreational activities (I speak of course for myself and not for my winter-locked, Antipodean co-author Sir Gaulian). One such activity took the form of a highly entertaining outing to Longleat Safari Park, where Ms. D and I drove in stately procession around some impressive grounds while monkeys ripped off all non-essential trimmings from our motor vehicle. It was a highly entertaining day.
As well as coming face to face with our nefarious simian cousins, I have been joyously blasting and romancing my way through Mass Effect 3, and even Ms. D has been getting into this most magnificent of gaming series. Well, I’m not entirely sure whether she’s enjoying it or whether she’s so used to the sight of me playing the game that it has become a part of daily life which it would be unthinkable to be without, even if one doesn’t have a trace of interest in it – like listening to The Archers on Radio 4. At any rate, she says it’s “comforting” to see me saving the universe one species at a time.
Mass Effect continues to be my game of the moment, but I also worked my way to the end of Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate: One More Subtitle for Good Luck on the 3DS. I say ‘worked’ because it really did start to feel like a chore at the end, which is a shame because otherwise it was a very entertaining game in the Metroidvania style. Two things let it down: a dreadful map and frustrating boss fights. The former meant that one of the game’s main pleasures – hunting out secrets – was ruined because it was impossible to work out how to get anywhere. The game itself was 2.5D, meaning the controls are 2D but Batman sometimes moves into the screen, yet the map is top down, and doesn’t show levels below you. Either the map should have been in 3D or the game should have been ‘proper’ 2D, but the current combo makes for eventual frustration.
And speaking of frustration, it was the final boss that made me give up entirely on the game in annoyance – what I call a ‘force quit’. I was right near the end, but the ludicrously precise timing needed to finish the game meant that all fun was sucked out from the experience, which is usually my signal for putting the kibosh on a game. Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate: Subtitleacular is by no means the only game that’s elicited a full-on force quit recently: here are a few more that have been cast aside, never to be revisited.
Outland – Sir Gaulian loved this game, and I too found it highly entertaining, particularly the joyously intuitive control system and stylish graphics. Sadly, one of the later bosses – a giant flying dragon – proved just too irritating with its ‘bullet hell’ attacks, prompting a force quit.
Kid Icarus 3D Classics – I’m just about old enough to remember when the original Kid Icarus came out, although I never played it at the time. I got the 3D Classics remake as a freebie download for my 3DS, so I was looking forward to sampling this classic game, but I was baffled by how hard it was. After dozens of attempts, I couldn’t even get past the first level. Apparently the game gets a lot better, but the frustration just isn’t worth it – I dread to think how long it would take to finish.
Castlevania – I’ve written about the ludicrous difficulty of this NES game before, and in the end it proved too much for me. I eventually managed to get past Frankenstein’s monster and his leaping pal Igor, but not much further.
Liberation Maiden – This wasn’t so much a force quit as a gradual waning of interest. The fact that the game is by Most Agreeable Pastime favourite Goichi Suda was what initially made me buy it, and the story is brilliantly bizarre – the female president defends her country by hopping in a spaceship and blasting everything in sight. But after a few goes I found it quite repetitive, and I simply couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for a return visit.
Trauma Center: New Blood – This is a brilliant game, but it’s hamstrung by its obscene difficulty. I really enjoyed the first few levels, but this zany surgery simulator gets rock hard extremely quickly, even on ‘easy’. A shame, because it’s a fun – and funny – game otherwise.
So over to you – are there any games you’ve been forced to quit?