Is there a game you love despite absolutely sucking at it?

System Shock remake - Shodan
(Image credit: Nightdive Studios)

As a card-carrying PC gamer, I love immersive sims⁠—System Shock, Deus Ex, Gloomwood, Dishonored⁠—it's a genre I adore. At the same time, I'm just so bad at them. On paper, Thief's expert mode with its expanded level objectives is the way to play the game, but I just can't do it—it's normal or bust for me. In Nightdive's System Shock, the combat encounters I've awkwardly stumbled through have far outnumbered my canny tactical coups.

And that's okay! I may never be "goodat immersive sims, but I'll always return to the genre no matter what, and the open-ended nature of those games makes my rare triumphs in them all the sweeter. I've got a sneaking suspicion every gamer has one such game or genre they love despite being very bad at it, and for this E3 season-delayed Weekend question, I polled the PC Gamer staff and forums for their own struggle-favs.

Is there a game you love despite absolutely sucking at it? Here are our answers, as well as some from our forums.

Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: I come back to Dungeon of the Endless year after year for a few runs at a time. It's a real-time tactics RPG—which they refer to as a rogue-like dungeon-defense, officially—where you're taking a team of stranded sci-fi folks through ships overrun with creatures, managing buff upgrades, character levels, and the light available in the ship each time you open another door and face another wave of auto-battler-adjacent fights. 

I don't totally suck at it, but I'm not, like, great. And after years of slowly chipping away at it I've really not completed as many challenges or unlocked as many ships as it feels like I should've. And that's alright with me! It's a weird sort of comfort game, not one I need to dominate.

Christopher Livingston, Features Producer: Spelunky-4-Eva. I have never beaten Spelunky, let alone Spelunky 2. I don't think I've even come moderately close to beating either game. I'm pretty sure I haven't even gotten better at Spelunky since the first time I played it. For some reason, every run I make, it's like my muscle memory has been completely erased. I never learn, I never improve, I always die stupidly and horribly. 

I never even got good at reliably killing bats, the wimpiest damn creatures in the game. But I love it! I think Spelunky is one of the best games ever made, it just so happens I'm one of the worst Spelunky players to ever live.

Spelunky gameplay showing explosion

(Image credit: Mossmouth)

Katie Wickens, Hardware Writer: All my life I've never really been good at games, shooters especially. Fallout's VATS was a lifesaver, honestly. I've only completed a handful in the nearly thirty years I've been a gamer, but the one I keep going back to despite being a massive scrub is Call Of Duty Zombies.

I started playing that way back when Nacht der Untoten was the staple, and I was absolutely terrible at it. I remember a group of lovely Irish guys carrying me through Kino, which helped me get to the stage where I could happily trail zombies without freaking out.

I've now clocked over 26 hours in WW2 Nazi Zombies and still haven't bloody completed it.

CoD guys firing at zombies

(Image credit: Activision Blizzard)

From our forum:

Alm: A lot of live service games. As the aim mainly is to improve your skills, I've never reached a particularly high level in any of them. CS:GO, I got to an OK-ish level but that took a few years of being absolutely terrible. And it's like golf in that I probably suck at it again after not having played it in about a year and a half (I got sick of the toxic community).

Also: Hearthstone. I play every day but I'm hopeless at deck building and knowing all the match ups. I'm more of a casual player.

McStabStab: Chivalry 2. I can't drag and feint like the level 100+ players out there, but what's great about that game is if you're playing for the objective you don't need to be the top frag on the board. Participating is enough to have a good time and the chaos and confusion of the battles means you don't always have to be perfect.

Chivalry 2 Fight Knight update

(Image credit: Torn Banner Studios)

Pifanjr: I don't think I absolutely suck at any game, but I do have weaknesses. My main weakness is that I hate looking up guides on how to play, the joy of playing games for me comes mostly from discovering everything myself. However, I'm also lazy and never really get as deep into any game as the type of player who writes guides.

So like Alm, I also suck at Heartstone, because I don't want to use someone else's guide to make a deck and I don't care enough to spend the time to perfect a deck myself. I love the single player adventures though.

Another weakness is that I'm bad at multitasking, which holds me back in RTS games, especially since I don't want to look up build orders. I loved the Starcraft 2 campaign, but I got slaughtered in multiplayer by early game rushes.
If I would get over my distaste of guides I'd probably be a lot better. I once got some tips for Starcraft from a competitive player and went from being destroyed by the AI to getting second place in a 8 player free for all. I lost from the first place because of my bad multitasking skills making me lose my entire air force while I was distracted.

My other weakness is my lack of patience. It's usually not too bad, but it's a problem in turn-based strategy games where a single mistake can be disastrous, like chess for example. It's also why I doubt I'll ever be able to finish Angband.

BeardyHat: I love old adventure games, but as soon as I start having to constantly read a guide on what to do, I lose all interest. Recently put about 4-hours into Star Trek 25th Anniversary and got to the third or fourth episode, but then was totally lost. Looked-up a guide and while the stuff you're required to do isn't completely esoteric, I'm not sure I'd have figured it out on my own, but at that point, I lost all interest in the game. I might as well watch a video of someone playing, which doesn't interest me.

As for games I love that I suck at? Probably RTS games. However, part of the fun of games for me is doing well or, at least, feeling like I'm doing well, so I refrain completely from multiplayer, because I'll simply be crushed.

mainer: ARPGs. Mostly older ARPGs, like Diablo 1 &2, Grim Dawn, Titan Quest, and Sacred 1 & 2. I love the frantic, real-time combat, the loot gathering and finding high-level or set-piece equipment, building and leveling up the different characters, and the overall atmosphere. But I also suck at certain things, like major boss battles. 

Diablo 2

(Image credit: Blizzard)

I find myself dreading them, fighting them more aggravating than fun, and very little patience to fight a boss multiple times in a row. I'm pretty good in mob battles and with most mini-bosses, but those chapter-ending or quest-ending bosses are my bane in ARPGs.

I'm also not much of a "farmer", where you have to grind certain areas or battles over and over trying to get better equipment drops. A certain amount of grinding is inevitable to level up your character, but I'm not good at doing a specific area or battle multiple times just for the chance of better loot.

ZedClampet: I don't really have an exact answer to the question because if I really, really suck at a genre, I avoid it. It's hard for me to enjoy something if I'm extremely bad at it. If the question is what games that I'm sort of bad at but still enjoy, then the answer would be pretty much be everything that I'm playing. I'm not particularly good at gaming.

Now that I think of it some more, I do actually have a specific answer, and that is V Rising. I'm constantly getting confused with the controls, and yet I've just started my 3rd playthrough.

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.