THE PCG Q&A
Find all previous editions of the PCG Q&A here. Some highlights:
- What's the best game you ever received as a holiday gift?
- Would you ever give up Steam as your main gaming platform?
- Which 2018 game is still on your pile of shame?
It happens. You've got that one friend whose excitement may as well be radioactive for how effectively it spreads, mutating everyone else until they genuinely believe that they too will enjoy this one new MMO and should all sign up and play it together. Inevitably, sometimes there's regret. Which brings us to the topic of this weekend's PCG Q&A. Which game were you tricked into thinking you'd like?
Did your friends' eagerness convince you that you too would love the multiplayer game they needed you to join? Did an article trick you into thinking an old game you'd never heard of was right up your alley, only to learn it was actually impenetrable? Let us know in the comments, and in the meantime here are our answers.
James Davenport: The Metro series
Most people I know regard the Metro games as FPS classics. All this talk of incredible atmosphere and intense combat and exploration made extra stressful from your cruddy gear and limited resources. But I played through Last Light Redux over the summer and was bored throughout. The writing and voice acting are too overdone for such a bleak setting, like the most important thing to communicate to the player at all times is how extremely Russian this whole situation is. But, like, SyFy original Russian. Stealth sequences are too simple and frequent to create any tension after the first few, and the monster designs' guiding principle is 'what if it was bigger and dirtier?' There are some decent set pieces in there, but I just don't get it. It's a super linear, predictable shooter with some decent set pieces throughout. Nothing about it stands out to me at all.
Philippa Warr: Crusader Kings 2
Well, CK2 is an easy mark because it's the one I have actually gone so far as to pay real human cash for, but really it's every grand strategy game. Every bloody time a friend starts telling me stories about their latest exploits in whatever their hot new thing is, I want to play it too. I love stories! I love weird confluences of events that come together in a weird dynastic soap opera! And so, Fraser or Phil or Tom or, when I worked at RPS, Adam Smith will bang on about how their kingdoms are doing, and all the weird intrigues, and the rise and fall of nations, and I'll decide that this is the game for me. BUT THEY AREN'T. They are just menus and to-do lists, and shuffling units around, and pop-ups and diplomacy and more menus and having to pay attention. They are like if a newspaper and an Excel spreadsheet and an atlas had a baby and now you have to look after the baby and the baby likes everyone else except you and is covered in writing and stress. That is grand strategy games.
Joanna Nelius: A Way Out
I thought the concept was interesting: a co-op prison breakout game. I'm all for new and experimental ways to make games and tell stories, so I thought I would enjoy the format of A Way Out. It wasn't the slow pace of the story that made me dislike the game nor the monotonous stealth missions. Oh no. All my co-op buddy and I did was yell at each other, and not in a fun way. This wasn't some internet rando. This was someone I knew. "Where are you going?!" "You have to pick up the broom so the guard thinks we're working!" "Why are you checking for another exit when the ladder is right in front of us?!" "No, YOU hide in the laundry basket!" After the first hour, I was done. Haven't touched the game since it came out. Didn't even finish it. Maybe I would have liked it better if it was a singleplayer game.
Jody Macgregor: Red Faction Guerrilla
Play Red Faction Guerrilla, they said. You'll love it, they said. You've got a hammer and every problem is a destructible building. Plus, the story is told from the perspective of a terrorist! How bold and how novel. But while the destruction is fun at first, being chased by endless GTA cops is not and eventually the joy of smashing and blowing up wears off. And sure, it's told from the point of view of an insurgent force, but it takes the easy road to making them sympathetic by having their opponents be so one-dimensional calling them "cartoonishly evil" would be an insult to the subtle motivations of Skeletor, or Gargamel from The Smurfs.
I got as far as the part where you have to rescue colonists during an artillery barrage that sometimes randomly blows one of them up, failing the mission and forcing you to restart. To hell with that.
But even a Red Faction Guerrilla killjoy like me is glad it gave us this song.
Wes Fenlon: James Pond
I really liked James Bond movies as a kid. James Pond had the gun, had the suit, and almost had the name. What could go wrong?
Well, James Pond sucked. He was not as cool as James Bond. A harsh lesson learned about animal mascot games at a young age.