The PCG Q&A
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights for you:
- Has a game ever felt like it's become your job?
- What game made you really, really fucking think about life?
- What's the most hyped you've ever been about an upcoming game?
This weekend, we ask the PC Gamer writers and you the following: what game did you hate at first, but eventually love? You don't necessarily have to hated the game in question—some of our answers below fit that criteria—but maybe it's a game that made a bad first impression, then won you over later. Either way, we want to read your answers in the comments below.
This weekend, and in coming weekends, we're also going to feature answers from our supporters at the PC Gamer Club, where we'll ask members of our Discord channel to weigh in. If you're interested in joining us, learn more at that link.
Tom Senior: Hollow Knight
I didn't hate Hollow Knight, but I certainly found it dull for the first four hours or so. I walked away from it for months, not understanding the hype. Fortunately I revisited it a few months back, got far enough to unlock a few movement and combat upgrades, and now I love it. I don't know if I prefer it to the deeply strange sci-fi metroidvania Axiom Verge, but I do appreciate its incidental characters and their unfolding stories. Combat becomes properly tense and challenging a few zones in as well, and the bosses are beautifully designed, often tragic figures. There are obvious Dark Souls inspirations, but I feel like it has something different to say about its crumbling world. I'll put in another 20 hours or so and unlock its deepest secrets.
Samuel Roberts: Resident Evil 6 (sort of)
I'm not sure I can quite stretch to saying I eventually loved Resident Evil 6, but I definitely hated it to begin with. It was an obvious misfire by Capcom, tripling down on the big action of Resi 5 while getting further away from what people originally loved about the series. Its flabby multi-part campaign, especially Chris's, left a slightly sour taste.
That said, I persevered with the game and came to love its Mercenaries mode, which boils down its surprisingly sophisticated combat into a score attack format, where it thrives in my opinion. You just have to be willing to learn all of its weird quirks, and how you can get the most out of your characters' ability to dodge, dive and roll. I still never finished that campaign, but according to Steam I've managed to get 21 hours out of Resident Evil 6, which is a lot longer than I put into Resi 7 (which, even with its weak final act, is still the better game).
Joe Donnelly: The Evil Within
There's a set piece near the start of The Evil Within where protagonist Sebastian Castellanos is trapped in a barn with a rotund and hostile zombie man, donned in a spiked mask and equipped with a chainsaw. Standard survival horror stuff. Thing is: if you're not stocked up on ammo, he a total bastard to kill. So much so, it turned me away from the game entirely during my first ill-fated playthrough.
Last year, ahead of The Evil Within 2's then-imminent release, I returned to the first—this time stocked to the gills with explosive crossbow bolts. I offed the offending Sadist baddie, and discovered one of my favourite survival horror games to date. TEW is weird, unsettling and disjointed, but in doing so finds a wonderful middle ground between Resi's B-movie charm and Silent Hill's twisted peculiarity.
Phil Savage: The Witcher 3
I finally started playing The Witcher 3 towards the end of 2015, and—surprise—I loved it from the very beginning. I'd have played it closer to release, only The Witcher 3's online advocates made it a hard game to like. For months after it came out, comments threads underneath any article about any other RPG were filled with people explaining for many paragraphs how much worse it would be than Geralt's apparently perfect adventure. There's a point with online fandom—usually around the time a community resorts to needlessly dumping on all competitors—that the thing they're advocating for becomes tainted by association. The game wasn't at fault, but I was annoyed by it regardless. Luckily, I was able to deal with my illogical irritation in a healthy, adult way: by posting pictures of Geralt in a bathtub above any story that mentioned the game.
Chris Livingston: DayZ
My first time playing DayZ, I was greeted with a pitch-black screen. I thought maybe the game hadn't loaded, but no, it was just nighttime and cloudy so I could see precisely nothing. I stumbled around in the dark for a while, then quit. The next time I played I spawned in daylight and was immediately punched to death by a stranger. The third time I played I ran about forty feet, heard a gunshot, and was informed I was dead. The next time I didn't see anyone and lived right up until I starved to death because I couldn't find a single calorie of food.
Eventually, DayZ became one of my favorite games even in its patchwork Early Access state, but it was a rough, unpleasant, utterly unenjoyable beginning for me. I watched streams and videos to learn how to survive, I memorized the map, I had lots of memorable encounters, and even made some friends. I love it, it just took a long time to get there.
Andy Kelly: Mad Max
I bounced hard off Mad Max when it was first released, thinking it was just a pretty generic open world game. But then I watched the video above and was inspired to return to it, and ended up finishing the entire thing in a weekend. I don't know exactly what clicked, because it is, at its core, a pretty generic open world game. But I love the sense of journey it has, and how evocative the world is. As I worked on my car and upgraded it, it started to feel really personal to me, like something I was weirdly proud of. My trusty steed. And I actually think it's a very good Mad Max story with some pretty interesting story beats. I'm glad I gave it another shot, because a game I totally wrote off ended up being one of my favourites of recent years. Fancy that.
Wes Fenlon: Bulletstorm
I couldn't have been more turned off by Bulletstorm when it first debuted at E3 years ago, with CliffyB introducing it as an over-the-top edgefest with dialogue like "You scared the dick off me!" It struck me as a shooter trying to be extreme in an era already overstuffed with shooters, and I was so prepared not to like it. A few years later, after Bulletstorm had gotten a really positive critical response, I actually decided to play it, and my first impression was still bad, because I had it in my head that the whole game was playable co-op. It wasn't—only a side mode. But Bulletstorm was supposed to be good, so I saddled up solo to give it an honest try.
And, uh, Bulletstorm is amazing. In the context of a full campaign, its humor is far more campy and self-aware than it is edgy, the weapons are all creative and have even more creative upgrade options. Best of all, the arcadey score system makes every fight about playing as ridiculously as you can, rather than as efficiently. I've never played a shooter since that had me going out of my way to fling enemies into the air or blow them in half instead of going for headshots. What a fun game. I don't think the world really needs a Bulletstorm 2, but I'd love to play more shooters that took that arcadey scoring system to heart and did something similar.
The PC Gamer Club weighs in
Erdelf: Anno 2070
At first, I only played it with a few friends, but didn't get into the systems and didn't understand it at all.. basically I just messed around a lot, tried to enjoy just playing with friends without enjoying the game and bought nuclear submarines to do a devastating attack...and then get killed in the next five minutes because these guys actually play the game. One year later, I played the campaign out of boredom and actually got into it, and bothered my friends then to play, to which they happily obliged. Now it is in the top 20 of all the games I've ever played.
I initially despised Overwatch and considered it just an overrated Blizzard version of Team Fortress 2. Eventually I ended up getting it just to see what all the fuss is about and after being a bit overwhelmed initially it won me over pretty fast because it just was a pretty polished experience for me. I'm not playing it daily any more, but at least during the various events I tend to pick it up again for a bit.
Find out more about joining the PC Gamer Club here.