We all know what it feels like when a game really clicks with us. That wonderful feeling of mental investment and excitement that reminds us why we play games in the first place. But what about when that just doesn’t happen? When, despite all the chance you give the game and your desire to like it, you just can’t. I’ll say right here that I didn’t think it was possible. I thought that if a game was decent and had aspects to it that appealed to you, you’d be able to like and enjoy it. That was before I played The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings.
Before I go further, let me just say that I don’t think The Witcher 2 is a bad game, because well…it isn’t. The combat has a layer of complexity to it, the characters and world are well developed, and it’s well constructed visually. So what’s the problem? It’s obviously a good game; Fan and critical reception can attest to that. It’s a solid WRPG, which is more or less my favorite genre. It’s got rich lore and good writing, which again I’m usually a sucker for when it comes to RPGs. By all counts, this game should be on my top RPG list, but instead I just can’t bring myself to play it. The most frustrating thing about this situation is that I simply cannot put my finger on what the problem is. All I have is a vague feeling.
It feels like a combination of how a lot of little things about the game feel. Combat for example, doesn’t flow in the way I think it should. It somehow feels inconsistent in how enemies are targeted while simultaneously overly-complex in how moves and magic powers are executed. It works well enough, but the problem is that it feels…off somehow, making it unappealing. Another example is how time is passed and potions are made, both of which are essential systems in the game. They both function well, but once again something about the process for each feels wrong. Do I know how I would have them change? No. Do I know what’s wrong with them? No. Something about them just rubs me the wrong way and keeps me from playing.
It wasn’t even like this at first. I didn’t actually have many noticeable problems with it during the first few hours of the game. Rather, these were feelings that grew as time in the game went on. The more I experienced these gameplay mechanics, the more I realized that there was something about them I didn’t like, and the more they discouraged me from continuing in the game until I reached the point I’m at now. That point being that I don’t want to touch the game again.
That was my experience with The Witcher 2. The first game I’ve played that defied my attempts and desire to like it. I haven’t encountered another game before or since that defied all attempts to enjoy it and it boggles the mind.
What about you? Have you ever played a game that you feel you should like, but find that you just can’t?