24 votes

What's a game that you feel is almost great?

The game approaches greatness -- it is within sight of excellence -- but something holds it back. Maybe it's a glaring, unignorable flaw, or maybe it squanders an excellent idea with subpar execution.

Whatever it is, the game could have been great but instead it's, unfortunately, something less.

What a game that's like that for you? Why?

49 comments

  1. [5]
    EmperorPenguin
    Link
    Probably not as bad of a game as you were thinking, but Tears of the Kingdom. As-is, it's amazing in so many ways, don't get me wrong. But it makes so many blunders that it drags the game down....

    Probably not as bad of a game as you were thinking, but Tears of the Kingdom.

    As-is, it's amazing in so many ways, don't get me wrong. But it makes so many blunders that it drags the game down.

    • The summons are super clunky. They're a stark contrast to how seamlessly the champion abilities merged into your normal moveset. Running around looking for one of the summons to press A on them when I needed something was infuriating and should've been caught in playtesting.
    • The story really feels like it was begging to be linear, like past Zeldas, but it's a Breath of the Wild sequel, so they made it like that instead, even if it didn't fit. The dragon tear memories felt like they should've been told in order, but they're found in a random order while exploring since that's how BotW did it. They couldn't tell which dungeon you'd do first, so the cutscenes for beating each dungeon are basically the same... That got really old real quick. After Link finds out what's going on with Zelda, which is the first major quest you get, he just keeps acting like he doesn't know... He doesn't tell any of his friends, he just keeps it to himself until the second half of the game. That in particular was extremely immersion breaking.
    • The dungeons were a big letdown. I like how they were better themed than how all of the ones in BotW looked the same, and the desert one and lava one were neat, but honestly they felt less mechanically interesting than the divine beasts did. Those all looked the same, but had a unique gimmick you could control. Zelda dungeons of old were better themed and more elaborate. Skyward Sword for example had some pretty memorable ones. TotK dungeons felt like a worst of both worlds in a lot of ways.

    Overall, the game felt caught between lots of different things it wanted to be, and that got in the way of it doing either entirely linear or entirely open world as well as it could.

    27 votes
    1. winnietherpooh
      Link Parent
      Could not agree more with this as a long-time Zelda fan. Thank you for the excellent write-up! As much as I enjoyed BOTW, I'm hoping Nintendo moves away from it for the next Zelda.

      Could not agree more with this as a long-time Zelda fan. Thank you for the excellent write-up! As much as I enjoyed BOTW, I'm hoping Nintendo moves away from it for the next Zelda.

      6 votes
    2. [3]
      Lonan
      Link Parent
      I did get spoiled slightly on the story reveals with the tears, but only to the degree that a podcast said to collect the sword-shaped one last, since it was a sort of summary or wrap-up of all...

      I did get spoiled slightly on the story reveals with the tears, but only to the degree that a podcast said to collect the sword-shaped one last, since it was a sort of summary or wrap-up of all the events and wouldn't make sense if you got it before seeing the others. The story flashbacks could have been told in a linear fashion, e.g. first tear = first flashback independent of which tear you picked up, but the locations you collect them in are linked to the flashback, at least for some of them. There wouldn't be any way to have that location - story attachment and have the exploration be so non-linear. And the series seems to have embraced non-linear completely now - even before BOTW, Link Between Worlds let you tackle the dungeons in any order despite being a more old skool 2.5D Zelda game. I'm torn, because in the end there's a sort of "recommended way" to do the open world, to not make it too frustrating, and the game does seem to nudge you in that direction. Between open-world but disjointed-story and crafted linear experience... maybe a more linear experience would have been superior?

      Having said that, the only really bad part of the way story and game collide was with the final sage, because having it locked stuck out like a sore thumb compared to how open the rest of the game was. I got that sage out of order by accidentally brute-forcing access by doing the Tenet thing on falling rocks, so I missed the proper story build up (and all the associated area was weird "interesting but deactivated" scenery). The game could have let you do the thing in Kakariko Village if you figured it out and didn't get seen by the guy, as what you had to do is not obvious without a huge clue from an NPC. Instead it was a frustrating "computer says no" moment that I spent ages trying to access before assuming it really was a story-locked thing and giving up.

      I'd totally forgotten about the repeated cutscene. It was so stupid! I kept expecting something new, but nope, same thing again with a slightly different focus on one character for a frame. Not sure what you mean with "what happened to Zelda", that wasn't really revealed until you got all the tears, was it? Link knew where she was, but didn't know who the mystery Zelda showing up all over the place was until a reveal much later on. Either that, or my head-canon was that people don't really listen to Link because he talks very quietly :-)

      Regarding the companions, I didn't know you could turn them off from the inventory until maybe the 3rd one. The game doesn't really explain it. Again, thanks to an off-hand comment listening to a podcast. The phantom helpers were annoying when just wandering around, popping in and out of focus all the time with that whoosh-ping sound, so I'd turn them off unless I really needed the help. The bird one was the only one I left on most of the time, since it was helpful for flying further. The Goron guy's dotted line while riding vehicles I found hugely distracting. You actually needed it about twice, but there he was, blocking the view and making rotating sounds for the rest of the game.

      Ah! One more - you still couldn't pet the dogs at the stables. Terrible oversight, they're so cute!

      However, despite all that, TOTK was by far the best game I've played in years. I complain because I was so obsessed with the game for weeks and weeks.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        KapteinB
        Link Parent
        spoiler I was about halfway through the game when I one day jumped a sky tower and noticed a dragon flying underneath me. When I flew close, it kinda looked like it was possible to land on the...

        Not sure what you mean with "what happened to Zelda", that wasn't really revealed until you got all the tears, was it?

        spoiler I was about halfway through the game when I one day jumped a sky tower and noticed a dragon flying underneath me. When I flew close, it kinda looked like it was possible to land on the dragon, so I did. And when I did, I noticed there was something on the dragon's neck that looked like it might be possible to interact with, so I did. And it turned out to be the Master Sword! Which unlocked the final memory, of how Zelda swallows the secret stone and turns into a dragon. It was an epic, spectacular moment, even more so because it was so unexpected. But I still think I would have enjoyed the overall game more if I'd done things in the "proper" order; getting the location of the Master Sword from the giant tree in Korok Forest after finding all the tears.
        1 vote
        1. Lonan
          Link Parent
          Ahhhh, I forgot you could do it out of order! I'm going to have to replay BOTW and TOTK at some point to experience all these epic moments again, but it's never going to be like the first time you...

          Ahhhh, I forgot you could do it out of order! I'm going to have to replay BOTW and TOTK at some point to experience all these epic moments again, but it's never going to be like the first time you stumble on something like that.

  2. [4]
    V17
    Link
    Rage Mildly controversial opinion, but I think it had the potential to be a great singleplayer classic style (linear) shooter, if not for the following flaws: obviously cut in the middle with one...

    Rage

    Mildly controversial opinion, but I think it had the potential to be a great singleplayer classic style (linear) shooter, if not for the following flaws: obviously cut in the middle with one of the worst endings ever, mild balancing issues (OP boomerangs) and looking way too much like a open-world game when it's the opposite, which confused/disappointed a lot of people. Great setting, shooting mechanics, sound engine, music, amazing graphics and art design.

    Dark Messiah of Might and Magic

    This is less controversial I think. The story was idiotic and super cheesy on purpose in a way that few truly appreciated. It also had nothing in common with existing Might and Magic games gameplay-wise and seemingly very little in terms of the setting. But the gameplay is incredible. Well functioning melee, magic and endless nonsensical but stupidly fun physics kills. It's almost a better kicking down the stairs simulator than Porrasturvat.

    I'm sure there are many others. The world is full of slavjank, roguelikes that have excellent ideas but just are not finetuned enough etc. It's too late and I cannot remember any one in particular, but I'll be following this topic because I tend to like this type of games.

    10 votes
    1. [2]
      Akir
      Link Parent
      Rage had the most mechanically engaging combat in an FPS I have ever played. The stuff you mentioned did bug me but what was worse was that on PC you were basically screwed if you had AMD...

      Rage had the most mechanically engaging combat in an FPS I have ever played. The stuff you mentioned did bug me but what was worse was that on PC you were basically screwed if you had AMD graphics. To this day the game doesn’t work on AMD graphics cards except a select few from the time period it was released in, and even then I think you’re limited to a handful of driver versions. It also wouldn’t matter what hardware you were dealing with because graphical bugs were everywhere.

      3 votes
      1. V17
        Link Parent
        Good point regarding AMD compatibility, I didn't know. I thought the graphic bugs were fixed, because on my laptop AMD card the game had bad texture pop-in after release, but that was patched...

        Good point regarding AMD compatibility, I didn't know. I thought the graphic bugs were fixed, because on my laptop AMD card the game had bad texture pop-in after release, but that was patched quite fast and the rest worked flawlessly.

        1 vote
    2. SloMoMonday
      Link Parent
      I remember looking at Dark Messiah and thinking it'd fill the space for Thief style immersive sims. It was 80% of the way there and needed a little more creativity in level design, more utility...

      I remember looking at Dark Messiah and thinking it'd fill the space for Thief style immersive sims. It was 80% of the way there and needed a little more creativity in level design, more utility tools and less narrative in general. Regardless I still go back from time to time, just to kick everyone into conveniently placed spike walls.

      2 votes
  3. EsteeBestee
    Link
    I played through a bunch of Star Wars: The Old Republic last year and I think that's my pick. There are a lot of good bones in that game, especially after many, many updates, but I just can't help...

    I played through a bunch of Star Wars: The Old Republic last year and I think that's my pick. There are a lot of good bones in that game, especially after many, many updates, but I just can't help but feel it was held back due to releasing at the exact time it did. It's certainly a good MMO both by 2011 standards and by somewhat modern standards, but I can't help but feel the game would have been received much differently if it just came out a few years later to get some distance from the tab-targeting MMO graveyard and instead have a combat system closer to Black Desert or something, that would make you more "in control" of your character. But the story, voice acting, and atmosphere is all there, it just needed some extra "oomph" to make it it's own thing instead of an attempted WoW killer that resulted in "yet another tab target MMO" combat holding back an otherwise good game.

    To be honest, I think this is the case with many MMOs. Most are serviceable, or even good games, and then there's a handful that are just on the verge of greatness, but nearly all of them just miss the mark (Wildstar and New World might be others, where they were doing some unique things and just never quite got the traction they needed to stay alive).

    10 votes
  4. [14]
    daywalker
    Link
    Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen I've been a fan for years. It has a great class system, an extremely detailed character creation screen, many very fun and unique (within its own bounds) enemy designs...

    Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen

    I've been a fan for years. It has a great class system, an extremely detailed character creation screen, many very fun and unique (within its own bounds) enemy designs that require you to strategize. It has a lot of details I appreciate too, like weight and height affecting your various stats, visually distinct and diverse body parts. However, its story is very uninspired, the pawns (your NPC party members) feel extremely soulless, its world feels tiny and static. So, while it has a special place in my heart and I play it every few years, I can't say that it's overall a great game. Great in a lot of aspects, for sure, but very wanting in some others.

    Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning

    It's been a long while since I played it, but I remember it being quite a charming game. Its world, combat, class mechanics, all had a particular taste. But also at some level they all fell short of their potential. I remember the game both fondly and with disappointment.

    Elder Scrolls Online

    It could have been an excellent solo-driven MMORPG, truly unmatched in this niche. It's unique in its design in the sense that it has thousands of voiced quests, very solo-friendly design, a semi-lateral progression system that's also kind of endless, many unique races to choose from, character creation options that are far better than vast majority of MMOs, extremely detailed worldbuilding, several NPC guilds to choose from and RP as (e.g. assassin, thief), great housing system... yet it's awful in a lot of other aspects. Monetization is god awful and predatory, the yearly expansion release system created many subpar quality content due to time-constraints, its releases are very formulaic, most content is laughingly easy after a while, and of course, the combat is really wanting.

    I feel like this game has a lot of highs and lows, which make it both attractive and frustrating. I suspect it could have had a much better reception if a few things were changed.

    Remnant: From the Ashes

    It's the only "Dark Souls with guns" game I truly like. It truly did a great job in that regard. Its visuals and atmosphere are also within range of good. However, lack of NG+, and a weak story and worldbuilding make it fall short of something more.

    8 votes
    1. [6]
      payitforward
      Link Parent
      Dragon's Dogma was quite close to being great, but not quite. I could have benefited from more patching, for instance: the pawn lending system doesn't favor pawns from players that are still...

      Dragon's Dogma was quite close to being great, but not quite. I could have benefited from more patching, for instance:

      • the pawn lending system doesn't favor pawns from players that are still actively playing enough. since many players sort by all time ranking, the same pawns get lent out over and over again which gives them even more positive ratings. For a new player it's unlikely their creations will get hired at all.
      • armor system is mostly linear (not percentage based) and thus quite broken: if your sword does 46 damage and an enemy has 45 armor you'll do 1 damage per hit. Find a sword with 50 damage (a 11% increase over your old one) and you'll now do (50-45=5) damage, a 500% multiplier. There's a reason most RPGs use logarithmic scaling...
      • pawn AI has many faults and its hard to understand/inspect the details of how it works. For instance healer pawns often walk right next to the big dragon to cast their lengthy heal animations instead of staying back safely.
      • endgame content reuses many assets and tries to come up with some weird lore to justify that. same for bitterblack isles.
      • warrior vocation mostly sucks. way too many slow melee attacks with a long windup and limited projection.

      That being said: for all its faults it's still a gem in the rough and offers a unique take on the RPG genre. Some of my favorite memories are from simply taking a lantern and wandering off into the landscape at dusk. In many games nighttime is just a color filter but here navigating through the night is truly dark and scary, so much so that it reminds me of the real world. You really have to watch your step as you could easily tumble down a hill at any time. Plus there's different enemies at night time in many locations.

      Another great thing is the variety in vocations (classes). Dragon's Dogma doesn't punish you for switching clases midway through, in fact it rewards you for experimenting with all of them.

      Perhaps the sequel will truly shine although the inclusion of micro transactions hints at the game going down a dark path.

      8 votes
      1. [2]
        Halio
        Link Parent
        Capcom has had MTX in their SP games for nearly a decade, all RE games since 2 remake have them. I don’t think it’s good, but it’s not a sign that they’re declining. As long as the MTX are for...

        Perhaps the sequel will truly shine although the inclusion of micro transactions hints at the game going down a dark path.

        Capcom has had MTX in their SP games for nearly a decade, all RE games since 2 remake have them. I don’t think it’s good, but it’s not a sign that they’re declining.

        As long as the MTX are for stuff that are easy to get in-game (which is the case for RE and DD2) then I don’t mind personally, but it’s still a bit predatory for people who don’t know that these are things thag can be aquired in-game esimy.

        1 vote
        1. payitforward
          Link Parent
          Well in addtion to the exploitative gambling angle that many games now employ I'm weary of micro transactions because they warp the game design space. When you can buy outfits or looks for extra...

          Well in addtion to the exploitative gambling angle that many games now employ I'm weary of micro transactions because they warp the game design space. When you can buy outfits or looks for extra money the artists are enticed to make the normal gear plain or ugly. The camera perspective and menus might be adjusted to more frequently show you close ups of your characters even if from a gameplay or UI standpoint something else would be expedient. If there's a characters who sells you MTX than the map editor will try to warp the layout of the town so that you frequently walk buy him. A potion that grants you experience or let's you skip straigh to the maximum level will only be bought if the normal leveling process is arduous.And so forth.

          1 vote
      2. [3]
        CrazyProfessor02
        Link Parent
        Part of the reason why I stopped giving items (particularly healing items) to the borrowed pawns and really only gave them to my own pawn and character. It is a pain to get the same pawn as you...

        pawn AI has many faults and its hard to understand/inspect the details of how it works. For instance healer pawns often walk right next to the big dragon to cast their lengthy heal animations instead of staying back safely.

        Part of the reason why I stopped giving items (particularly healing items) to the borrowed pawns and really only gave them to my own pawn and character. It is a pain to get the same pawn as you had if they die in a battle and thus giving you a over burden debuf during that fight.

        Another great thing is the variety in vocations (classes). Dragon's Dogma doesn't punish you for switching clases midway through, in fact it rewards you for experimenting with all of them.

        The best class is the Magik Archer (the class that combines the archer and wizard class together), and the ability to use your pawns as ammo for a ability is really stupidly fun to use, especially against Death/the Grim Reaper in Bitterblack Isles.

        1. [2]
          payitforward
          Link Parent
          I wouldn't say there is a best class per se, all of them shine in some ways are unique enough to warrant exploration. Striders excel at climbing large creatures, mages at healing, rangers at...

          I wouldn't say there is a best class per se, all of them shine in some ways are unique enough to warrant exploration. Striders excel at climbing large creatures, mages at healing, rangers at ranged damage, and so forth. The exception might be the warrior vocation with its limited move set of slow winded close range attacks that prove hard to land.

          And that's the great thing about Dragon's Dogma: first you can switch your class at any time and even benefit from getting to keep perks you unlocked with one class as another. And lest we forget: you play not as a lone combatant but have a full party of 4 at your back. Admittely, the pawn AI isn't stellar so the player ends up doing most of the lifting yet still it feels quite different from something like Dark Souls where it is all on you.

          But yes, magic archers is both versatile and easy to play. One of my favorite skills in the game is ricochet hunter (the arrow that bounces of walls manyfold). It's a complete massacre if you use it in narrow passages and enclosed rooms but quite meek out in the open where it doesn't get to bounce. Then there's the multifold tracking arrow (forgot actual name) which highlights all enemies in the viciniity (even invisible/stealthed ones) once you draw an arrow. The trick is to simply knock the bow whenever entering a new area to scan for enemies but forebear firiing and instead plan a tactical approach instead, hehe. Which hightlights another fun aspect of the game: it pays off to pick and choose your skills accordng to the environments and enemies therein.

          1. CrazyProfessor02
            Link Parent
            Oh no what I said was just my opinion of which is the best class. I just really love the Magik Archer because of its move sets. And I agree with you that all of the classes have their strengths...

            Oh no what I said was just my opinion of which is the best class. I just really love the Magik Archer because of its move sets.

            And I agree with you that all of the classes have their strengths and weaknesses. And that is part of the reason that Dragon's Dogma is one of my favorite games of all time is because you can experiment with different classes.

    2. [3]
      Wafik
      Link Parent
      It's the only "Dark Souls with guns" game I truly like. It truly did a great job in that regard. Its visuals and atmosphere are also within range of good. However, lack of NG+, and a weak story...

      Remnant: From the Ashes

      It's the only "Dark Souls with guns" game I truly like. It truly did a great job in that regard. Its visuals and atmosphere are also within range of good. However, lack of NG+, and a weak story and worldbuilding make it fall short of something more.

      Have you played Remnant 2? They have a NG+ mode and do a better job telling the story even considering the non-linear nature of the game.

      2 votes
      1. [2]
        daywalker
        Link Parent
        Oh, nice. It's been occasionally on my mind but I haven't played it yet. But that sounds cool.

        Oh, nice. It's been occasionally on my mind but I haven't played it yet. But that sounds cool.

        1 vote
        1. Wafik
          Link Parent
          I definitely enjoyed it more than the first game and only dropped off because my friend I played the first one with doesn't really game any more and it's definitely better co-op.

          I definitely enjoyed it more than the first game and only dropped off because my friend I played the first one with doesn't really game any more and it's definitely better co-op.

          1 vote
    3. [4]
      CrazyProfessor02
      Link Parent
      I agree with you that Dragon's Dogma is such a great game, but due to the budget cuts that it received during the development, a lot of content got cut or reused due to budget constraints. And the...

      I agree with you that Dragon's Dogma is such a great game, but due to the budget cuts that it received during the development, a lot of content got cut or reused due to budget constraints. And the other issues that the game has (there is a reason why the "wolves hunts in packs" line is a meme in the game's community). But, but the ability to experiment with different classes, the new game+ modes, a great character creator, the actual use of night in the game, and the pawn system is really great.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        payitforward
        Link Parent
        Aha, I didn't know about the budget cuts but it makes a lot of sense in retrospective. Mayhaps I suspected as much. For instance in the final area of the base game (the endlessly looping chasm...

        Aha, I didn't know about the budget cuts but it makes a lot of sense in retrospective. Mayhaps I suspected as much. For instance in the final area of the base game (the endlessly looping chasm that you can jump into) the game reuses the same architecture over and over but cobbled together in different ways. The enemies and mini bosses are all reruns of previous iterations really. Bit of a shame as the game otherwise has very striking ncounters. The griphon atop the lone tower for instance or the the dragon in the hellfire grove.

        The expansion, Bitterblack Isles, unfortunately falls into the same trap. The environments are intricately designed but you'll soon enough recognize the same coutyards and hallways having been copied and pasted. Nevertheless the game here does a better job at concealing this with varied lighting, color tinting and added obstacles. There's also simply more varied gameplay here thanks to a mix of enemy types, difficulty progression and rewards.

        1 vote
        1. CrazyProfessor02
          Link Parent
          Yeah, the more that you learn about what was cut, because of the budget makes you wonder. The budget cuts was well known on r/dragonsdogma. Bitterblack was a interesting take on the various...

          Yeah, the more that you learn about what was cut, because of the budget makes you wonder. The budget cuts was well known on r/dragonsdogma.

          Bitterblack was a interesting take on the various monsters that you can encounter, plus some other monsters like the undead dragon that you cam run into after the first time you defeat the main boss and Death, which is why the Magik Archer is the (in my opinion) class because of the talent that allows you to use your pawns as literal ammo.

          Nevertheless the game here does a better job at concealing this with varied lighting, color tinting and added obstacles.

          I agree with in that the game designers do a better job at concealing the reuse of assets in Bitterblack, granted it is helpful that most of the levels are imperceptible darkness most of the time, with the light source being your lantern.

          I think I am in a need of replaying the game, because I did not beat it fully yet (as in 100% it).

      2. daywalker
        Link Parent
        Yeah, it's definitely a gem for me, and will always will be. Just one with some problems that keep it from being among the greatest. Edit: u/payitforward

        Yeah, it's definitely a gem for me, and will always will be. Just one with some problems that keep it from being among the greatest.

        Edit: u/payitforward

  5. [3]
    drannex
    (edited )
    Link
    Technomancer. It's one of my all time favorite games, but the controls? Incredibly hard and incredibly clunky. The story is great, the magic system is great, the worldbuilding of a society of...

    Technomancer. It's one of my all time favorite games, but the controls? Incredibly hard and incredibly clunky.

    The story is great, the magic system is great, the worldbuilding of a society of mages who wield the power of electricity on a colonized desertpunk cyberpunk Mars (two hundred years after losing contact with Earth) is great and strange. Came out in 2016 and quickly became an all time great for me that will have a serious cult following in ten years time.

    It's the precursor to GreedFall in their lineup, or SteelRising. You can just tell a lot of their level design style and theory was crafted in that game that marked their style for the rest.

    But those controls are rough.

    Edit: Link to the 2016 E3 trailer

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      DeFaced
      Link Parent
      Wholeheartedly agree, I absolutely love spiders as a storyteller, but they had some rough gameplay in technomancer. It has everything lined up to be one of their best games, but they dropped the...

      Wholeheartedly agree, I absolutely love spiders as a storyteller, but they had some rough gameplay in technomancer. It has everything lined up to be one of their best games, but they dropped the ball with the combat, to which they improved for greedfall and built an entire game around combat in steel rising (I'm guessing this was intentional in order to improve their combat mechanics). To this day, Mars war logs is the closest to a Bioware style RPG I've played without being a Bioware RPG. One more thing to add to the technomancer, the waypoint and map system was just bad, like almost irredeemably bad. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to understand the quest journal and how the waypoints worked...

      2 votes
      1. drannex
        Link Parent
        Spiders is absolutely one of my favorite developers, and the fact that they are one of the last remaining players who designed their own internal engine really makes it even better (and man, was...

        Spiders is absolutely one of my favorite developers, and the fact that they are one of the last remaining players who designed their own internal engine really makes it even better (and man, was Steelrising absolutely beautiful). This is sort of why you can just feel when a game is made by Spiders, especially through the level design.

        Their world building is great, absent perhaps Steelrising, which was absolutely just a combat mechanics test. Great game, but sorely lacking in story.

        Greedfall on the other hand, beautiful game and story, but repetitive (less in world, more to do with assets, oh and "A bit of my poison on my blade..."). I guess I'll add GreedFall to the list of games that could be so great. Looking forward to the pre-sequel. GreedFall took from Technomancer liberally, both in foundational story and situations, a bit in combat, and design. They also both dealt with colonialism in their own way.

        IMO they do Bioware better than Bioware ever did, if they had the funding and scale of Bioware.

        1 vote
  6. [4]
    SloMoMonday
    Link
    Both modern Deus Ex games. I'd discribe Human Revolution as tentative. Like the team played the original game a few times and understood the surface level of immersive sim. Like different powers...

    Both modern Deus Ex games.

    I'd discribe Human Revolution as tentative. Like the team played the original game a few times and understood the surface level of immersive sim. Like different powers open different paths, but to the exact same place. Or hidden power ups and obscure puzzles, but it's rarely more than 2 steps. A non-lethal approach that wasn't valid for bosses and only changes a few words in the epilog. And the impression of deep choices that lead to the 3 button end-o-matic machine.

    But the game would really shine when you went off the beaten path and land in some wild places. Also they were going all in on the world building and setting up interesting themes so I was keen to see where it was going.

    The Mankind Divided released and... I don't know. Feels like every part of the game was building up to some great pay off, and they cut it you off at the last second.

    The first Prague visit is promising and all the little environment improvements makes it feel like the devs learnt all the right lessons. Then Golem city has this rich open world segment but the main mission just falls flat. But it's fine, still having fun. Prague 2 had some interesting twists and missions and it ramps into the incredible GARM area. But regardless of how clean you've played, it ends with a cutscene where you are ambushed and I'm noticing a trend. And then Prague 3 and London are the weakest levels and feel like the slump at the end of Act 2. But that's the game.

    Like I said, it's just build up and deflate. Its a shame because they could have pulled it all together a third game.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      drannex
      Link Parent
      Repetitive level design and world assets as well, The world was just the same thing over and over visually. I loved the games, but if they made a new one they would certainly do better in that...

      Repetitive level design and world assets as well, The world was just the same thing over and over visually. I loved the games, but if they made a new one they would certainly do better in that regard I would hope. The streets, places, they were all the same.

      Sidenote: If you enjoyed the idea of Deus Ex, or even Cyberpunk 2077, seriously check out Observer. One of the best Cyberpunk stories ever told, and one of the last roles Rutger Hauer (tears in the rain...) was in as well. It's a fantastic game that feels like the greatest cyberpunk noir movie ever made. Trailer.

      3 votes
      1. BeardyHat
        Link Parent
        Thanks for the heads up on Observer. I think I've actually had it for years now on Twitch, now Amazon Games. I'll give it a go.

        Thanks for the heads up on Observer. I think I've actually had it for years now on Twitch, now Amazon Games. I'll give it a go.

        1 vote
    2. BeardyHat
      Link Parent
      Mankind Divided was a huge letdown and while I loved Human Revolution, I really have minimal desire to play it again, very much unlike the original Deus Ex.

      Mankind Divided was a huge letdown and while I loved Human Revolution, I really have minimal desire to play it again, very much unlike the original Deus Ex.

  7. Mendanbar
    Link
    Reluctantly, I'd place No Man's Sky in this category. I love the game. I'm probably close to 1000 hours in at this point, and at times it has come very close to dethroning Minecraft as my favorite...

    Reluctantly, I'd place No Man's Sky in this category. I love the game. I'm probably close to 1000 hours in at this point, and at times it has come very close to dethroning Minecraft as my favorite game of all time. The updates that Hello Games have provided (for FREE!) have been amazing, and have extended my enjoyment of the game.

    But I can't shake this feeling that Hello Games is so close to the bulls eye without being able to hit it. There's a ton of deep storytelling in the game if you care to dig through all the dialog (and plenty of people have!), and there are so many diverse ways to play and things to explore. But even with all the content, things don't ever fully connect. There are features that could have been a wonderful idea if given some love (settlements, cooking, farming), but they are left in their intro form. With no compelling reason to dig in, I often find myself ignoring them. The world is vast, but quickly becomes sort of "samey" due to the relative lack of local diversity. After a while water and plant life starts to look uniform, despite the fact that you've now seen it in every possible color.

    There have been some recent attempts to connect some of the lore into a larger story, and add some much requested features. It's become clear that Hello Games is seriously listening to the community and putting great effort into each FREE update. I honestly feel bad saying anything critical about them because I've already received so many hours of enjoyment.

    It may even be a compliment to them for creating a world that is so compelling and full of promise that it leaves me wanting more. Similar to how I wish I could somehow erase my memory and play Subnautica all over again for the first time.

    I'm rambling a bit, but I just had to cast my vote this time. I will continue to play every update of NMS, and I will be very sad when the team does eventually stop creating for the game. But every update I will continue to hope that the game inches toward that impossible goal of perfection that I see in my mind.

    7 votes
  8. Wolf_359
    Link
    Pacific Drive It checks all my boxes at first glance - incredible driving, excellent upgrade trees, amazing setting, etc. But the map should have been open, the enemies more varied and...

    Pacific Drive

    It checks all my boxes at first glance - incredible driving, excellent upgrade trees, amazing setting, etc.

    But the map should have been open, the enemies more varied and interesting, and this game should have been 90% driving with 10% walking instead of the inverse.

    Combining the quality of this game with the openness of The Long Drive would have been better.

    6 votes
  9. [2]
    Fal
    Link
    I love Mirror's Edge Catalyst (it's one of the few games I bothered 100%-ing), but there are two main issues that I think are holding it back from being great. First, the story could use some...

    I love Mirror's Edge Catalyst (it's one of the few games I bothered 100%-ing), but there are two main issues that I think are holding it back from being great. First, the story could use some touch-ups; even though its not super important to my overall enjoyment of the game, I think its overall low quality definitely harms the quality of the entire experience. Secondly, and more importantly, the open-world is entirely squandered. The City of Glass is actually a decently sized and good looking open-world setting, but almost every main quest is in one of five or so locations around the city. This results in my running the same few routes to get between quests. It wasn't until I went through the process of getting all the collectibles that I saw many parts of the city for the first time.

    It's a shame too, since I think that Catalyst's movement and gameplay is some of the most fun in any game, and the aesthetic is, in my opinion, gorgeous. I still hold out some hope for a Mirror's Edge 3, but I just don't see it happening any time soon.

    5 votes
    1. Froswald
      Link Parent
      Mirror's Edge in general is one of my favorite series in every aspect. Absolutely impeccable art style (though admittedly, moreso in 1 as opposed to Catalyst), sublime music (I've downloaded all...

      Mirror's Edge in general is one of my favorite series in every aspect. Absolutely impeccable art style (though admittedly, moreso in 1 as opposed to Catalyst), sublime music (I've downloaded all of this channel's 1-hour ambience mixes for both games just because it's an excellent way to get a dose of both aspects so far), and the gameplay is so smooth it's almost natural. I fiercely hope a third is on the way, because I agree with you--a properly made, fleshed out and readily accessible open world city that's fully freerunnable might just objectively peak the genre.

      3 votes
  10. [4]
    Eji1700
    Link
    Ogre Battle 64 It is a great game, but their is an absurd amount of content in that game that will likely NEVER matter unless you're going out of your way to get it. I'd kill for a hard mode, more...

    Ogre Battle 64

    It is a great game, but their is an absurd amount of content in that game that will likely NEVER matter unless you're going out of your way to get it. I'd kill for a hard mode, more missions, or even a map randomizer.

    4 votes
    1. [2]
      bkimmel
      Link Parent
      Try the new Unicorn Overlord. Very much like OB64 but modernized and refined. Best trpg in a generation.

      Try the new Unicorn Overlord. Very much like OB64 but modernized and refined. Best trpg in a generation.

      4 votes
      1. Artren
        Link Parent
        It's definitely scratching that itch very well! I'd also recommend looking up Grand Arms: March of the Red Dragon. It's not out yet, and it's a solo developer, but it's another game trying to be...

        It's definitely scratching that itch very well!

        I'd also recommend looking up Grand Arms: March of the Red Dragon. It's not out yet, and it's a solo developer, but it's another game trying to be an homage to OB64

    2. Artren
      Link Parent
      Still my favorite game of all time. I agree though, without a guide you'd miss so much content unless you knew it was there. As a kid however, it felt so cool when I first recruited Troi by...

      Still my favorite game of all time.

      I agree though, without a guide you'd miss so much content unless you knew it was there. As a kid however, it felt so cool when I first recruited Troi by visiting a neutral town and he offered to join. It made me look around for ways to find other hidden characters!

      1 vote
  11. Tuaam
    Link
    Jak 2 It has some of the best mix of gunplay and platforming with a good pace of story, atmosphere, and music. It's only drawback (s) is the lack of exploration and detail within the Hub World and...

    Jak 2

    It has some of the best mix of gunplay and platforming with a good pace of story, atmosphere, and music. It's only drawback (s) is the lack of exploration and detail within the Hub World and a lack of flexibility within gunplay.

    Jak and Daxter TPL is probably the perfect collect-a-thon platformer in every regard due to it's detailed Hub worlds and attention to gameplay; there is a good mix of balance with the various powerups and collectibles the player must use to their advantage and this is done within a detailed and immersive world. The lore of the world that Jak lives in is miles better than the lore from their previous game, and the great thing is that Jak 2 pretty much expands on the worldbuilding in better ways. The added plot of Jak and Daxter being sent 500 years into the future as they must wage war against a tyrannical ruler while preventing a genocidal foe from annihilating their people is extremely well done - here the story is expanded on as it branches out with morally ambiguous characters who are either in on a secret conspiracy or are not as aggressive as they seem. It also has a very distinct cyberpunk-dieselpunk theme which expands on the previous game's quasi-medieval steampunk aesthetic and feels in-line with how the series is supposed to go.

    I think really the only problem with Jak 2 in this regard is that they were caught up with the GTA craze, decided on adding some of it onto the gameplay loop, but did not think about how to adjust these new changes for the gameplay of the original game. There is nothing to do in Haven City minus driving around, ring missions, or repeats of the main story quests, no secret areas to find, environmental storytelling, or extra detail is added to the world as it very much just exists as a Hub world to traverse through. This ends up being a smaller issue as 75% of the game is centered around the same platforming sections as the original game had with added mechanics like weaponry and the same collect-a-thon elements the original had. Maybe they could have added more variety with the mech suits and turret missions here, but I think the meat of the game is pretty solid for what it is.

    It's only other problem is that the gunplay feels too superficial in some aspects: Jak cannot backtrack or strafe, so you end up having to spin-kick your way around the level and hope you're killing the enemy. There are also a few few other misc. issues such as not being able to use weapons while you're Jet-Boarding (This might be part of a design philosophy which the devs had in mind).

    4 votes
  12. vord
    (edited )
    Link
    Prismata. I honestly probably have more hours put in this game than any other game other than maybe World of Warcraft (having played that for approximately 6 years). I played it daily for no less...

    Prismata.

    I honestly probably have more hours put in this game than any other game other than maybe World of Warcraft (having played that for approximately 6 years). I played it daily for no less than 4 hours for several years. I'm going to paste one of the Steam reviews, because that very much captures the spirit of the game:

    I spent $250 on Prismata's Kickstarter and consider every dollar well-spent.

    Prismata is a hybrid of several different genres: imagine the strategy of an RTS like StarCraft combined with a turn-based perfect information structure like chess; now add the look and feel of a collectible card game like Magic the Gathering; finally add some mechanics inspired by tabletop strategy games like Dominion. You get to experience the fun of all the different genres...

    ...without any of their classic drawbacks: you don't have to be capable of 300 APM like in an RTS (because it's turn-based); you don't have to grind or pay to win to beat your opponents like in a collectible card game (because there are no pvp advantages of any kind in the game); you don't have to deal with RNG like in most games (because the devs have deliberately created a game of pure skill); you don't have to spend hours memorizing openings or dealing with the game getting stale like chess (because the pool of available units to purchase changes every single game, and every single game is different).

    It has pretty much everything you could want in a strategy game: an extremely high skill ceiling; a competitive ladder; regular events and tournaments; single-player campaigns and puzzle packs; wide-ranging time controls; fully-integrated live spectating/replay/analysis features; devs that are extremely active and responsive to players; units that are actually balanced; a good AI; etc...

    ...honestly, if I was reading my own review I would think it had to be bs. I would think "this is too good to be true, there has to be some kind of catch", etc. But there isn't, which is the entire reason I put so much money into the Kickstarter. This is the game that is worth your time.

    The problem being, that high skill ceiling resulted in a very real hard limit on players that retained interest in the game. It's so information dense and hard to pick up that it was much harder to stream than anything comparable like Magic, Hearthstone, or any RTS...killing a lot of marketing potential and long-term playerbase from Twitch streamer traffic.

    It didn't help that it was born as a flash game, and never really outgrew that aesthetic. Early players were able to overlook that flaw, but by the time the game hit Steam far fewer were willing to tolerate it. All that combined has resulted in a nearly perfect strategy game that is now defacto-dead.

    I'd love to see another stab at what Prismata achieved. I'm not sure it's going to be possible though.

    4 votes
  13. kru
    Link
    I have so many: I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is a damn-near masterpiece. And I can't really go into the details of what the game's fatal flaw is without spoilers.The major issue that prevents it...

    I have so many:

    I Was A Teenage Exocolonist is a damn-near masterpiece.

    And I can't really go into the details of what the game's fatal flaw is without spoilers.The major issue that prevents it from being a best of all time for me is that the length of each run is on the order of 15-20 hours, and most of that content will be repeated. This means that a player can easily spend 15 hours of their time to see less than 10 minutes of new content if they're unlucky, or even see zero new content if they're super unlucky. If each new run guaranteed a new content path would be followed, or did some really obvious signposting for new runs to help prevent wasted time, I'd rank this as a downright masterpiece. As it is, it's just pretty darn good.
    Aside from that, the game is amazing for what it is, an incredible story-heavy game with a clever card battle system that is themed in a way such that, once I realized what the cards represented, I was floored.

    Wyrmspan the dragon-themed spinoff of Wingspan is incredibly well done. But I think that the mechanic where coins can be found from cards in the deck, but coins also give extra turns, is not well balanced given the randomness of the deck. I like the idea of coins giving extra turns for certain always-available actions (such as reaching the end of one of the tracks), but I dislike the idea that a very lucky player can get 4-5 extra turns over another player (this happened in one of my games, instant fun killer waiting around for this last player to finish all of her turns, and this player steamrolled the group by a huge margin - no thank you). Otherwise, the game would be fantastic. But, as it is, I'll not play it again until some fix is implemented because of the huge randomness involved.

    Cultist Simulator needs a way to automatically repeat actions, or otherwise reduce the insane repetitious grind from putting the same cards into the same slots for hours on end. The game has a ton of great lore and the discovery aspect is where all of the fun is. It's just sad that those fun parts are buried beneath one of the worst, most boring and repetitive grinds imaginable.

    Wildermyth needs longer campaigns. I feel like the amount of time I spend with my lovable crew of characters is too short. Then they defeat the big bad boss (or all perish) and I have to start over. The formula wildermyth uses works very well, but I feel as though there could be more emotional impact if I was able to stay with my characters for longer than the 2-3 hour stint of a single story. (Note: I last played this 3+ years ago, so this issue may not be present anymore, but it was when I played so I'm writing it.)

    Tyranny just needed more time in the oven. It's criminally underrated, in my opinion, and was on track to become an excellent example of top-down party RPGs. Story, setting, combat mechanics, all amazing. It just needs more content, bigger maps, more fights, more dialogue choices, and a better conclusion. It might be stretching the idea here, but the single one thing this game needed to reach greatness was more development time.

    Finally, Blood on the Clocktower. There isn't actually anything wrong with the game at all. It's utterly fantastic and as perfect a social deduction game as you could want. My only problem with it is that I can't regularly get 8+ people together to actually play it!

    4 votes
  14. [2]
    Lapbunny
    Link
    I keep a whole list on Backloggd of these. Metroid Fusion's map not feeling Metroid-y, Signalis's need for another strong boss encounter or two, Virtue's Last Reward's ending, Ocarina of Time's...

    I keep a whole list on Backloggd of these. Metroid Fusion's map not feeling Metroid-y, Signalis's need for another strong boss encounter or two, Virtue's Last Reward's ending, Ocarina of Time's Water Dungeon, and the disjointed segues in Inscryption stand out to me as things that really bug me away from thinking they're pretty much perfect.

    4 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      That's great! I like your title a lot more than mine. 😆 (Also I do love Cave Story but I completely agree with your note.)

      That's great! I like your title a lot more than mine. 😆

      (Also I do love Cave Story but I completely agree with your note.)

      2 votes
  15. hammurobbie
    Link
    Going back a bit, I would say Parasite Eve. Part of Squaresoft's experimental phase, the combat was solid and they spent a lot of effort getting the New York City backdrop just right. It was...

    Going back a bit, I would say Parasite Eve. Part of Squaresoft's experimental phase, the combat was solid and they spent a lot of effort getting the New York City backdrop just right. It was hindered by omissions like a lack of voice acting and singing (music is a key plot point), and the load times were really long. It also suffered from being a bit too "on the rails". Regardless, the game had a good plot and decent gameplay. I hope it gets a remaster someday.

    3 votes
  16. ShroudedScribe
    Link
    Perhaps only a controversial opinion in the sense I link this game enough that I think it could achieve greatness, but: Starfield I was hoping for Fallout in space but it ended up being closer to...

    Perhaps only a controversial opinion in the sense I link this game enough that I think it could achieve greatness, but:

    Starfield

    I was hoping for Fallout in space but it ended up being closer to Skyrim in space. I didn't feel very attached to any of the characters (I'm not going to give spoilers so I'll leave it at that). It was very repetitive in level design.

    But I absolutely love what they did with how the gunplay feels and how you can mod your weapons (though it is very similar to Fallout 4). It's not the only modern game with good gunplay, but that core mechanic was executed extremely well in my opinion. The variety of weapons had a different feel to them and all the mods let you make them even more different.

    I ended up enjoying the side quest lines much more than the main one. My favorite being the United Colonies one. There were also a couple of interesting exploration-based quests towards the end of the main quest line.

    But ultimately the things that make it unique ("in space") are mostly the things that make it bad. I found the flight combat to be awful. 100s of planets could be cool, but most of them are boring and repetitive with copies of caves and such from other planets. Planets without major cities feel lifeless, even though many of them have flora and fauna. And the game punishes you (forcing you to grind) at one point if you don't put points into specific parts of the skill tree.

    Semi-early game spoiler

    I honestly feel like they made a fork of the new elder scrolls game they're working on. The powers feel like a direct copy of Skyrim.

    3 votes
  17. [2]
    Akir
    Link
    Pretty much every RPG. I could make a completely new library out of RPGs I bought but never finished because I got annoyed by them. The majority of almost-great ones have a really compelling story...

    Pretty much every RPG. I could make a completely new library out of RPGs I bought but never finished because I got annoyed by them. The majority of almost-great ones have a really compelling story and great gameplay but have issues with difficulty being ramped up very hard towards the end, which means that it takes way more effort to finish them than I'm able to commit to. The Tales games tend to have the opposite problems; there's probably a good story in them, and the gameplay is pretty fun, but the actual plot tends to have your party go around in very arbitrarily dungeon-like situations that basically amount to forced grinding and it just feels like it's wasting time. I was actually really enjoying Tales of Berseria before I realized that for as long I had been playing, none of the characters had taken any real action that wasn't just them reacting to the situation they had been thrust into.

    I don't blame it on the developers, per se, because an RPG is very difficult to balance properly. There's a lot of moving parts. But on the other hand, I just wish they would get rid of the notion that their game has to be super long or that the battle system needs to be super complex or challenging. For the latter issue, I think that it's actually a mark of quality to have an RPG with adjustable difficulty. Some players want challenge, of course, but nobody wants to be overly frustrated.

    3 votes
    1. kru
      Link Parent
      This is just the expectation of the industry now. I've pitched an rpg project, with a designed play-time of 20-25 hours, to multiple publishers. Every one which expressed interest was along the...

      I just wish they would get rid of the notion that their game has to be super long

      This is just the expectation of the industry now. I've pitched an rpg project, with a designed play-time of 20-25 hours, to multiple publishers. Every one which expressed interest was along the vein of "This is great, but can you give us a revised budget with at least double or possibly triple the expected play time? Thanks." Want to make an rpg? You need money. And the people with money who are funding rpgs all seem to have an expectation that an rpg needs a minimum play time of 80+ hours.

      3 votes
  18. Kopper
    Link
    Deep Sky Derelict is one I played a few years back that I almost loved. You pick a team of three guys and explore abandoned spaceships for loot. The style, the vibes, and the mechanics were...

    Deep Sky Derelict is one I played a few years back that I almost loved. You pick a team of three guys and explore abandoned spaceships for loot. The style, the vibes, and the mechanics were amazing. But it was missing so many quality of life features and it had horrible balance. There's an absurd difficulty spike about halfway through which prevents you from really experimenting or exploring the mechanics. Some of the classes are objectively better than others and it begins to get difficult if you don't optimize correctly. It feels like you get punished for not picking the "meta" option.

    If the game just had a few balancing changes so that you could actually engage with it, I'd like it a lot more. I put around 30 hours into it and came out the other end disappointed because, not because it was technically bad, but because it was so close to being a perfect game for me and fell just short.

    3 votes