I have a problem that I think it would be interesting to ask all you Bitmobbers to help me solve.
The cusp of the problem is this: I hate this year in games. While I can say I've enjoyed playing games this year. No game I've picked up since last December has given me that fuzzy positive feeling of playing an instant classic.
The last few years were a rich and wonderful harvest. Left 4 Dead, Mass effect, the orange box (every damn game in it), Bioshock, Fallout 3, MGS4. All games that, while not perfect, consistently gave me the fuzzy feeling of playing something impressive and fun throughout. All of their faults only things that would worry me in passing and the games themselves are things I keep to this very day, content in the knowledge that I could go back to them and still enjoy myself whenever I pop them in.
This year, meanwhile. Is the flip side of that coin. Every last game I've looked forward to and picked up. Resident Evil 5, Prototype, Batman: AA, Brutal Legend, Ghostbusters, Marvel ultimate alliance 2, Halo ODST, Borderlands, left 4 dead 2 and Red faction, all have some aspect of them that feels forced, frustrating, or phoned in.
Resident evil 5 spends so much of it's story energy ripping off metal gear's plot devices that it forgets to have interesting characters or tie into the rest of the series at all. Not to mention the sadistic quick time events and boring enemy design. I sold Prototype, Brutal Legend, and Red faction for all being half finished feeling open world games with frustrating combat and iffy storytelling. Ghostbusters and Marvel ultimate alliance 2 are passable but mediocre licensed games that I only keep around because the subject matter is more impressive then the gameplay itself. Halo ODST is 5 hours long and I can't find anyone to play hoard (I mean, firefight) with because theirs no matchmaking system and my friends who have the game moved on a week after it came out.
I wrote an in depth inflammatory review detailing all the ways I think that Batman: AA only gets it's endless praise because the first half of the game is 10 times better then the rushed and embarrassing latter half. Valid hate or not the game lost all my respect halfway through. Even left 4 dead 2, which should have been a slam dunk, ruined me and my roommates enjoyment of it for the first time we ran through it in coop because the friendly AI when you don't have 4 people is broken and the game on normal is too much of a difficulty spike compared to the first game.
GRAAAAAH! JEFFREY WANT UNIVERSALLY POSITIVE GAMING EXPERIENCE!!! JEFFREY SMASH!!
Borderlands is the only one that came out of this year long rage storm even half smelling like roses, and that's because I wasn't looking forward to it until a week before it came out and the loot whoring and leveling manages to make up for the fact that the storyline was written with crayons on a chuck e cheese napkin.
I tried, throughout the year, to rectify this malaise with a little retro diving. I picked up Odin Sphere, Ratchet and Clank, Shadow of the Colossus, Beyond Good and Evil, and Persona 3 at various times during lulls in other game releases to try and sooth the constant disappointment with games that were praised consistently by the gaming press.
Odin Sphere was too slow paced, confusing and repetitive. Ratchet and Clank's camera and gun targeting doesn't hold up well at all compared to modern games and it's minigames are a nightmare torture. Shadow of the Colossus represents every tiresome trial and error trope that makes me hate video game boss fights all shoved into a single game. It tires me to play it so much I never picked it back up after the second boss. Beyond Good and Evil's stealth is disgusting to my metal gear senses and it's semi open world structure is muddy enough to where I have trouble figuring out how I'm supposed to get to the next story mission.
That leaves persona 3….and if you know anything about my tolerance of game difficulty you should have realized by now that the fact that I even bothered picking that up was a big mistake on my part.
Holy tapdancing polar bears I hate everything!
So I can't even navigate my way through old games to find my next soothingly awesome masterpiece to try. It's like I'm freaking cursed to never truly like a game ever again. This is why I need Bitmob's guidance to save the year of 2009 for me.
I need you all to come up with a game that I haven't played that is awesome enough that I can't possibly hate it that I can purchase for around 20 dollars before Christmas. Solving this problem is practically a puzzle at this point as my overly judgmental game hating senses have been agitated into gross overload and my personal taste in games is definitely not the norm. I figure that it could be a fun exercise for everyone to talk about their own taste in games and mine in this sort of framework. It could give everyone a different perspective on the games we like and how it differs from person to person.
I realize this is a strange request that probably won't catch on as much as I would like but please, if you are even remotely interested in helping out with this little project I would appreciate some input. Reaching some kind of well thought out consensus for this will need as many people putting in their opinion and thinking it over as I can get. Otherwise I might as well just be asking a single person for a recommendation and that rarely works as well as it should.
The rules are as follows.
-the game must be awesome mostly because of it's single player element. I have plenty of multiplayer and coop stuff and need to re commune with my inner single player.
-the game must cost around 20 bucks (i'm broke and new games are cheating) and be available to play using the following list of systems: PS2, PS3, Xbox 360, gamecube. I don't have a Wii or original x box, my PC is an untrustworthy load of crap that I don't feel like toying with, and I have more then enough games for my DS but I usually only play it on the toilet.
-I reserve the right to say I'm not going to play any game especially if I already bought it and finished it or stopped playing it for some legitimate reason. I'll try to keep an open mind but I do have to spend my money on this stuff.
-feel free to ask questions to figure out more of my gaming taste, use this comments section to discuss the problem amongst yourselves, or just toss in an idea for consideration and never pay attention again. I'm very interested in seeing if people actually want to come up with ideas for something like this and may even start 'taking requests' more often as I need to expand my gaming horizons and love talking about my and other people's taste in games.
Now some details about my taste in games to help people figure this stuff out. Since I sure as hell can't do it alone.
-legend of Zelda is boring to me for some reason. I have no idea why. Objectively they seem to be good games but the puzzles hold no interest and the combat and exploration elements are too slow for me.
-I like every 2d metroid but didn't like any of the Metroid-vania castlevanias due to unforgiving boss fights and feeling lost constantly.
-Very hard games piss me off to no end but repetitive games are a higher tolerance for me if I have a sense of progression or a great story pulling me along. I for some reason have tolerated multiple dynasty warriors games simply because beating on stuff on easy difficulties and unlocking characters scratched some obscure itch. I wouldn't call those games good but they were great podcast and zone out games. Still you don't want to mistake a high tolerance for repetitiveness as a high tolerance for aimless wandering. If I'm not able to guide myself to the next thing I want to do quickly it breaks the flow of the game for me.
-I am a fiction snob, interesting characters and creative story boost a game above and beyond. It helps if some of the good characters are female.
-solid controls are important as hell. If I ever feel like I'm fighting the controls in a game instead of the game itself then it pulls me out of things very quickly.
-fighting games, RTS games, and anything with a bunch of quick time events in it are the bane of my existence. Also character action games tend to eat my lunch. I like god of war or devil may cry on occasion but I can only play them on the lowest difficulty. Ninja Gaiden I can't even play on that.
-kingdom hearts was the shiz. Also crackdown, jet set radio, super mario sunshine, and earth defense force 2017.
Anything else that I could tell you about my taste in games is either among my articles on the site or easy for me to bring up if you ask me a question or suggest a game that I have something relevant to say in regards to. I will check things often and would really appreciate the pontoon of sanity in the angry gaming sea if this experiment produces a new favorite game for me as it's result. Pitch in early and pitch in often. I don't see this as being any fun if it doesn't breed an actual discussion.