Special thanks to Mr. Wapojif for making the comment that inspired this question.
As a gaming critic, I make an effort to finish the games I review. Indeed, one of the biggest problems with criticism in this medium is that I could tell in many instances that the writers did not finish the games before reviewing them. On some level this is understandable. It takes much more time and effort to complete the average game than it does to watch even the longest (non-experimental) films all the way through. However, at the end of the day, reviewing a game before making it to the halfway point – especially when the story is at all important – would be like if a film critic left the theater thirty minutes in and wrote a review based off of what they saw.
Nonetheless, I think we’ve all run into a game at some point in our lives that, for whatever reason, we could not bring ourselves to finish.
I have to admit that even though I strive to finish games before reviewing them, I did not complete Final Fantasy III. I did make it all the way to the endgame of the DS version, but I never got to see the credits roll. In my defense, the endgame is quite a spike in difficulty for a game that was actually fairly good at gradually increasing the difficulty curve. For the endgame, however, it was clear that Square Enix hadn’t bothered to do anything to polish the dated gameplay, refusing to add any save points while nerfing the two best jobs in the original version. This means that to stand a chance, one has to grind several levels, bringing the otherwise reasonable pacing of the game to a halt. Even better, the endgame can take an hour or more per attempt and involves watching a long, drawn-out cutscene. By the time I started to review games myself several years later, I was presented with the option of attempting to complete Final Fantasy III again, but I decided it wasn’t worth the trouble when I already knew that it hadn’t aged well.
That period after the success of the original Modern Warfare up until Spec Ops: The Line dismantled the genre was a golden age for the modern military shooter. One of the franchises that thrived within this time was EA DICE’s Battlefield series. The only game in the series I’ve tried personally was Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Though it wasn’t a terrible game, I found it so boring that despite making significant progress in it, I found myself wholly uninterested in seeing how it would end. With gameplay that does nothing to distinguish itself from its peers, a roundly bland cast, and subpar level design, it really didn’t have anything practical going for it back then let alone these days.
Fallout 2 is the strangest case of any of the games I’ll mention in this post because I actually remember enjoying it. It’s something of a point of contention among fans, but I enjoyed it more than I did the original, as there was a lot more content to be found. I want to come up with a reason as to why I ultimately failed to finish it, but in all honesty, I couldn’t tell you. One thing preventing me from making another attempt is the fact that it begins with one of the worst tutorial dungeons in the history of gaming. As tough as I’ve been on games that fail to stick the landing, it turns out a game putting its best foot forward is just as important.
Shortly after discovering the Sonic the Hedgehog series thanks to the GameCube port of Sonic Adventure 2 and the original game Sonic Advance, I was excited to try out the newest console game, Sonic Heroes. I played the demo on the Mario Kart: Double Dash bonus disc, and it made the game look really good. Unfortunately, the final product was decidedly mediocre. There are four campaigns with three characters each, but they all go through the same levels. The only difference between three of them is the difficulty level; the fourth requires you to fulfill an alternative objective to complete levels. Nonetheless, you need to play through all of them to unlock the final story. This would be like having to complete the same game on every difficulty setting before getting a proper ending – it’s an appallingly bad game design choice. Coupled with the erratic pacing of the stages themselves, I ended up getting bored of the game when I was playing through the most difficult campaign.
Now it’s your turn.
What game could you not bring yourself to finish despite having made significant progress?
Bonus question: Have you ever walked out of the theater before the film ended?