After winding down from platforms and open world games we loved playing, now we’re going to tackle the games we wished we’ve played. The Top 5: games in the pile of shame.
My list is comprised of games I’ve never actually finished but always wanted to. Typically, I play a lot of games to get an idea of what’s happening in the industry at that moment, identifying watershed moments where developers dared to dream and developed incredible ideas. I also played these games to be familiar with the experiences that’s out there and give context as to why certain games were popular, in an academic fashion. But because it literally takes hours to beat games these days, longer than it was back in the 8-bit and 16-bit eras, I rarely get a chance to finish them. I’ve been better at this lately, but there was a time that I would have a tough time trying to finish games whether it’s because of school or work. At any rate, here’s my pile of shame.
5. Kingdom Hearts II – The emphasis on Organization XIII turned me off of the whole thing. Granted, it featured really cool worlds and the ability to dual wield a Keyblade, Kingdom Hearts II’s interest waned on me when they began talking about storyline elements that were not familiar to me. Maybe this will change with the announcement of Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD Remix, but I wish I could’ve just played the game and understood what happened as opposed to feeling like I missed some significant goings on by not playing the other games on the PSP and DS. That being said, I’m willing to give it a shot again.
4. P.N.O.3 – Remember this? It’s a rhythm/shooter game that Shinji Mikami made for the GameCube that bears a little bit of a resemblance to Capcom’s recent Remember Me. I’ve been hunting for this game in the bargain bins but eBay or Amazon Marketplace might be my best bet at this point.
3. Fatal Frame series – It’s funny that I call myself a fan of the series but actually never have finished a single game in it. I’ve played through a good amount of the first Fatal Frame then somehow stopped. I want to say that I got to a part in the game that was really difficult, but in reality I don’t seem to recall as to why I stopped. I still have the game in my PS2 library, along with the rest of the series, so I do intend on revisiting it again… but it’ll all depend on the brunt of games coming out for the next gen. Someday, I’ll find time to play through this game.
2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – I worked so hard to get CJ all buffed and pumped up in my game while he was dealing with the drama in Los Santos and yet I never actually made it to either San Fierro or Las Venturas. Just like the characters in the game, my CJ had a dream that would never be fulfilled. The game’s still one of my favorite GTA games of all time, and I still have fond memories of forcing CJ to eat a bunch of fast food from Cluckin’ Bell only to have him throw it up all over the place. Oh the simple joys of what once was GTA…
1. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – While it never pulled enough money for 38 Studios and, by proxy, Big Huge Games to survive, I’ve always thought that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning would be one of those games that I’ll forever cherish this generation. Featuring a flexible level progression system that took into account the player experience just as much as their experience with the world, marrying it with a rich world with lots of dangers, Amalur was a world that I’ve always meant to come back to and see to the end. Unfortunately, I decided to sell my copy on the 360 and start all over again on the PS3 version. Rest assured however: Out of all the games in this list, this game’s probably the most likely that’s going to get finished.
This Top 5 is interesting to me, because I have way too many games and it’s likely that there are hundreds of them that I will never find time to play in my entire life. Curse you Steam sales and incredibly affordable bundles of indie games that support charities!! *shakes fist* Still, there are a few particular games in my backlog that I really want to find the time to play and are either highly reviewed or highly recommended by friends of mine, so they made my Top 5.
I could easily list dozens of “honorable” mentions this week, but I’m going to limit myself to only 3. First is Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, a Nippon Ichi strategy RPG on PlayStation 2 that I actually went out of my way to acquire on eBay and then promptly shelved for no good reason. I’m a fan of their games though, so I really hope to play it someday. Then there’s Dishonored, Bethesda’s stealth assassination title, which earned positive reviews from every reviewer listed on Metacritic and earned an overall Metascore of 91. I don’t often play stealth games, but this seems like a perfect excuse to step out of my comfort zone. Finally there’s Alan Wake, a psychological action thriller that belongs to a genre I am even less fond of than stealth! I heard it has some great storytelling though, so for that reason alone, I’d like to give it a try.
5. Halo 4 – I feel really bad about this one, mainly because of how I acquired it. Halo 4 was given to me as an early Christmas present and purchased for full MSRP shortly after its release by my loving girlfriend. It’s still shrink-wrapped. Why haven’t I played it yet? Well, I had planned to play the campaign with a friend of mine in coop mode, so at first I was waiting for him to buy it. Then weeks and months went by and I became distracted by other titles, and Halo 4 collected dust. I will definitely be playing this soon, hopefully with Sean. We just have to find the time.
4. Sleeping Dogs – This is one of those games that a bunch of my friends told me to play, so I purchased it during a Steam sale, and then let it sit. I actually really do want to play the game, but other open world games have had higher priority over the last year. But now that I’ve finished Saints Row: The Third and Grand Theft Auto V, Sleeping Dogs should be next on my list! That is, assuming Saints Row IV doesn’t go on sale before I start playing it.
3. Call of Duty: Black Ops – The last Call of Duty title I played was Modern Warfare 2, and I actually totally forgot that I had even played it until I noticed it while looking through my achievements on Xbox 360. I had felt burned by Treyarch because I found Call of Duty 3 to be such an incredible disappointment after Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty 2 was so phenomenal. So I didn’t bother to pick up World at War or Black Ops, the more recent Treyarch titles. I was also frustrated by the drama over at Infinity Ward, so I basically just abandoned the series entirely after Modern Warfare 2.
Alex was not okay with that.
He kept going on and on about the campaign and how Black Ops was a fantastic game, not just as a Call of Duty title, but as one of those great must-play games of all time. Still, I wasn’t convinced enough to pay more than $20 for it, so I waited… that’s when I discovered how well Call of Duty games maintain their value on the market. Eventually I did get it for under $20, and aside from running the game once to benchmark it on my PC, I still never really played it. I will play it eventually, I swear.
2. The Walking Dead – Picking up tons of game of the year awards, The Walking Dead is one of those games that I’m actually ashamed that I haven’t played. My friends roll their eyes whenever I mention that I haven’t played it yet, but it gets worse. I also haven’t watched a single episode of the TV series or read a single comic. Without really intending to, I’ve avoided The Walking Dead entirely. I suppose that’s not as surprising when you consider I’m not the biggest fans of zombies, though I really do enjoy playing Left 4 Dead from time to time. But one thing’s for certain: I will play The Walking Dead… just probably not today… or tomorrow… …
1. Shadow of the Colossus – This is it: the big one. I don’t think there has ever been a game so universally appreciated by both the public and the press as Shadow of the Colossus, and I have yet to play it, despite owning it three times over. The game was given to me years ago by my best friend, and it was shoved onto a shelf with the rest of my PlayStation 2 collection, its disc destined to never see the inside of a console or to even escape its case. I actually ended up purchasing the game years later as part of the Ico & Shadow of the Colossus Collection. Despite the game getting a beautiful HD facelift, I still didn’t play it. Then, as if to remind me that this was a game that could not be ignored, Shadow of the Colossus became part of the PlayStation Plus library of free games.
So why, after all these years, haven’t I played Shadow of the Colossus? The answer to that is probably the stupidest thing you’ll hear all day. The reason I haven’t played Shadow of the Colossus is that I never finished Ico. …that’s it. That’s the only reason. There is no true justification for this. It’s just how my brain works. I decided to finish Ico first, but I never actually managed it. I know Ico is a fantastic game. I know it’s not that long. I know that this reason is completely ridiculous. But this is a Pile of Shame list after all, so there you go. I am ashamed.
5. Metro 2033 – This game actually turned out to be better than I thought it would be. It’s an excellent first person shooter with a good story. I was playing something else at the time and never went back. I’ll finish the game eventually but I have no idea when.
4. Magicka – Magicka turned out to be a good game with weird Diablo style controls. It’s the typical point and click controls for movement with elemental attacks. Each element is mapped to a different key and pressing different elemental buttons create different attacks. Unfortunately, that became a little too much for me so I just gave up playing. I really want to finish the game but not by myself.
3. Star Wars Jedi Knight collection – I bought the Star Wars Jedi Knight collection on Steam and was really interested in playing. Everyone talks about how great these games are and I couldn’t wait to play. I started with Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy but never got around to finishing the game. What’s worse, I still have to play the rest of the games in the collection.
2. Saint’s Row IV – I bought this game with the expectations of finishing it. Well, I haven’t. As a matter of fact, I haven’t played Saint’s Row IV in two months and I have no idea if or when I’m going back. The closer we get to the PS4 launch, the less of a chance this game has of me finishing it.
1. Fallout: New Vegas – I loved Fallout 3 and wanted more. That’s until I played Fallout: New Vegas. Everyone tells me how great the game was, but by the time I got around to getting the game and playing it, I wasn’t impressed or interested in finishing the game. I’m sure the game is great, I just don’t want to go through and play any more Fallout.
I generally play all the games I want if I’m even remotely interested so critical acclaim has no bearing on my lists or interests. That said, I’ve decided to talk about my backlog and the order of which I would like to play them. My biggest problem is that I don’t particularly like starting new games before I’ve finished the one I’m currently playing which leads me to:
5. Halo 4 – I got this because I found it used for about $8 and because Ari wants to play it. Maybe after the Next Gen hoopla dies down, this will be on my list of things to do. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of the Halo games but by all accounts, this is the one I would like the most. Hmmm. Maybe I should move this to number one….
4. Skyrim DLC – Grrrr. Fits and starts. This is how I seem to be getting through the two DLC packs. My problem is that I get easily distracted with discovering new areas and side quests in this game so when I can finally sit down to play it, I go so far off the path, for hours at a time. Then a new game to review comes out so I put finishing this on hold again and again. I guess I can look at this as gaming comfort food.
3. Shadow of the Colossus – This is the one critically acclaimed game on my list, and I honestly have no good reason as to why I haven’t played it. I loved Ico and this looks like it will be right up my alley. I now have the HD version on my PS3, so someday this will be played by me.
2. Resident Evil 6 – Not a single care is given to this game’s scathing reviews. Most of the complaints seem to stem from the game being more action oriented, and I will freely admit, I’m perfectly OK with that.
1. inFAMOUS 2 – Having liked, a lot, but not loved the original inFAMOUS, I kind of let this one pass me by upon release. But now with inFAMOUS: Second Son releasing in 4 short months, I decided to pick up inFAMOUS 2 and it has been sitting under my TV stand for about a month and half. With review season in high gear, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to play this, but I suspect I can squeeze it in between reviews.
5. Final Fantasy Legend 2 – I did actually eventually beat this game. I got it as a Christmas present when I was 8 years old. I think I finally beat it when I was 13. I literally spent years, YEARS, trying to figure out how to beat Odin. I’d put the game way, then resolve to beat it and start over. Eventually, I figured out that if I didn’t run from every battle, I could get more powerful, and actually beat Odin. I finally finished Final Fantasy Legend 2 shortly after Odin’s downfall, but I mean, that took years.
4. Splinter Cell Original Trilogy – I loved the original Splinter Cell enough to get Pandora Tomorrow and Chaos Theory before I had finished the first game. It took me a while to get through the first game, and I started to run out of steam and motivation while playing through the second game. I have never started the third.
3. Disgaea – I have tried to start and finish this game on a variety of platforms since its release. I was actually able to complete the story mode of La Pucelle Tactics, so I figured I could power through this one. I think spending too much time in the Item World did me in. You could put an infinite number of hours into this game and advance and get more powerful, and be productive. And yet, you’d be no closer to completing the game. This is a worst case scenario for someone like me.
2. Phantom Brave – This is number two on my list for length of time it has been in my backlog and remained unplayed. I purchased this game in 2006 for PS2. It hasn’t seen the light of a disc-read laser. Ever. That is seven years of not playing a game.
1. Dishonored – This is number one on my list for one specific reason, and that is I explicitly said to myself that Dishonored wouldn’t enter my backlog when I bought it the day it came out. I would give it time and I would respect it and I would see it through to the end. I did not. I played it to about the beginning of the first mission after you get your outfit, I mean like “Just got off the boat” first mission, and then I quit the game. I have literally not touched it since.
Yeah, that’s our pile of shame and knowing these guys like I do, very few (if any) of these will have been played even a year from now. Anyway, what games are in your pile of shame?