You may be wondering, how can one formulate a TOP 5 list when that list would appear to highlight things at the BOTTOM of said list? Well, just because something isn’t at the top of a list, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth celebrating, right? Hmm. Lest you think that I don’t understand how lists work…you may be right. Still, this particular list has been on my mind for a while now and it seemed worth sharing. if only to remind myself that if can’t be all things to all people, I shouldn’t expect that same from the games I play. (wait…what?) I mean, look, great games come out ALL THE TIME these days, but deeming a game to be “great” is highly relative. And looking back on games that we thought were once “great,” even if they legitimately are, can be an eye-opening experience. It’s like when we all thought neon bike shorts and “Star Wars” (not the movies) were “great.” Times change, and so do tastes.
This aspect of life in general has reflected itself in the games I’ve chosen to play over the past couple of years. While I’ve taken on a smattering of new games, replaying older favorites has become my preferred way to pass my gaming time. Doing so has taken me down memory lane quite a lot, and it’s made me realize that some of the games in my own library that I once praised, even if just moderately, simply don’t meet what I want from games now. This list serves as my memorial to five very fine games that I have neither the time nor energy nor desire to replay any time soon. No hard feelings.
5. Super Mario 3D World
This darling sequel (on the Wii U) to the 3DS’s Super Mario 3D Land has quite a lot going for it. It’s a bright, fun, and colorful game that fits squarely inside the Mario-verse. With plenty of coins and bells and secrets to find, there’s really no shortage of platforming goodness of the 3D variety here. Cat suits and all! But although I was extremely excited to get my hands on this game when it first came out, playing through it just felt…lackluster. It turned out that I wasn’t all that excited with Cat Mario and his Cat friends in their new, 3D romper room. While the game play was fine, I found myself mostly frustrated with navigating the game’s 3D world. I completed the game out of necessity rather than joy. There have been plenty of times when I thought I should give the game another try, but I never have. Someday, maybe, I suppose.
4. Assassin’s Creed III
Not too long ago, I thought about marathoning all the Assassin’s Creed games in our stash. As rote as AC game play might read nowadays, I’ve had a generally good time with the titles I’ve played, and playing through its older titles seems like a good way to segue into its newer titles that I haven’t played. But, my good intentions came to a halt when I started thinking about replaying Assassin’s Creed III. Set in the time and place of the American Revolution, my history-driven self should have been all over this game. Instead, I found it to be doleful and rather boring. The game’s New England-ish settings wasn’t nearly as intriguing as, say, the Third Crusade lands of the first game or the Italian Renaissance of the second. Worse was that Connor, protagonist Desmond Miles’ ancestor this time around, was just…flat, which was really unfortunate considering his heritage. Again, this could be a “someday, maybe” game, but not today.
3. Fallout 4
Upon finally completing Fallout 4 last year, I honestly had never been happier to see a game’s credits roll. While there was plenty that I really, really, really enjoyed about the game, it’s story was just kinda…dumb, and seeing it through to the end was the sloggiest part of the whole experience. I also didn’t have that great a time traversing apocalyptic Boston, at least not compared to the rollicking good (and sad) times I had in the nation’s capital in Fallout 3 and the deserts of the American West in Fallout: New Vegas. Put these three titles together in hand, and I would readily pick to replay either of the latter before ever returning to the Commonwealth. At some point, I could see myself returning to Fallout 4 for everything but the story, but, again, there are better times and better stories to be had in other Fallout titles. (And yes, I’d even include Fallout 76 in that!)
2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
This is probably the most emotional pick on my list, because my reasons for not completing the game when it first came out were wrapped up in frustration and fear. My reasons for finally completing it many years later were wrapped up in equal parts determination, anxiety, and elation. And upon witnessing the final moments between Link and Midna, I quite literally cried because of the ending itself, as well as seeing the end of a ten-year journey come to a close. I have no desire to re-ride the roller coaster that is this amazing and brilliant game. None. Once was more than enough.
1. Xenoblade Chronicles
Following quite closely on the tails of Twilight Princess, I can think of no other game that I enjoyed more and want to replay less than Xenoblade Chronicles. For me, playing XC was nothing short of an extraordinary ordeal. As unforgettable as its characters, settings, and story were, every session with this game was like taking up a gauntlet that tested my wits and patience. To be honest, I don’t even know how I conjured up the immense amount of focus took me to just finish a single go-round with XC, and I know I couldn’t settle in with the game again now. Completing the game was a very proud moment for me, one that I am more than happy to leave in the past.
Now it’s your turn! Sound off in the comments with some of the games that you once enjoyed–or not–but never want to replay again! (At least, not any time soon.)