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Big series I’ve given a miss

Some video game series are considered classics that every gamer needs to play. It’s therefore something of a surprise when you come across someone who hasn’t completed at least one entry from these franchises. For example, how many people do you know who haven’t finished at least one The Legend of Zelda release?

I have to hold my hand up here. Yes, I have fond memories of playing Ocarina of Time with my brother when we were kids and The Wind Waker with my stepson more recently, but that doesn’t mean we completed them. In fact, there are a number of well-known series where I’ve either not finished a game or haven’t tried one at all, because they’ve just not appealed to me or I’ve been distracted by other titles. Here are eight more franchises in addition to The Legend of Zelda that I still need to get my teeth into.

Assassin’s Creed

My brother gave me his copy of the first Assassin’s Creed game to try out over a decade ago and I do remember finding the first couple of hours enjoyable. I liked the contrast of the different story elements and the visuals were rather pretty. But my overall feeling was one of boredom: the missions were a rinse-and-repeat mix and I just couldn’t be bothered to complete any more of them. I put down the controller then, and that has made it hard to go back to the series since – although a lot of people have told me the later releases do get better.

Borderlands

I’ve never understood the fuss about Borderlands. Although I have friends who rave about the series, it’s not one which has ever appealed to me and I haven’t played any of the games. In fact the only dealing I’ve had with the franchise is briefly participating in a tabletop-RPG based on its world perhaps eight or so years ago. Dan over at nowisgames.com is a big fan and I’m sure he’s going to tell me I need to rectify my lack of experience; but after hearing his thoughts about Borderlands 3, it doesn’t sound like something I need to worry about too much right now.

Fallout

My stepson has been obsessed with its post-apocalyptic world for years; several blogger friends have told me I really need to play the series; and I previously promised a stream to Rob from Bandicoot Warrior. So why haven’t I started Fallout yet? After getting over the hype-train and subsequent shouting about Fallout 76 last year, I tried to install the original game on my PC and just couldn’t seem to get it working due to resolution issues. I’ve written before that I can’t play a franchise without starting at the first release so Fallout will have to wait until I spend some time on fixing them.

Final Fantasy

I used to watch a group of male friends play after school when we were teenagers, although I couldn’t tell you which Final Fantasy game it was. I also briefly tried to play Final Fantasy X over a decade ago. But as revealed in a post last month: give me a release which makes use of turn-based combat and you’ll be lucky if I even click on the start button. In some ways it’s a shame, because I’ve heard so many good things about the Final Fantasy storylines and I think I’d probably enjoy them. I just don’t want to have to sit through rounds of turn-based matches to get to the narrative.

Metal Gear

My dad was into technology when my brother and I were growing up so we had access to a number of consoles, handheld devices and PCs during the 1980s and 1990s. But I don’t ever remember playing or even coming across a Metal Gear game in all that time, so the franchise has completely passed me by. It does intrigue me now though and Athena from AmbiGaming encouraged me to try it; but if I’d want to go right back to the beginning if I was to do so. With over 20 titles in the series so far, that’s a whole lot of games to get through.

Pokémon

My younger brother loved the cartoon when we were kids and I’d often get roped into watching it with him. That explains why I was intrigued when a friend showed me his copy of the original Pokèmon game on his Game Boy (I can’t remember if it was Red or Blue). I borrowed the cartridge once he’d completed it and spent a few weekends chasing after the creatures; but ultimately, ‘collecting’ games and turn-based combat just isn’t for me. The nearest I’ve come to a release since was traipsing around my old town after my stepson and Pokèmon Go! until it rained.

Red Dead Redemption

I almost completed the first Red Dead Redemption title. I must have made it to only a few hours away from the end when I got distracted by another game (I can’t remember which now) and didn’t bother going back to finish it off. At some point I’d have liked to reunite with John Marston and fulfill his journey before moving on to Red Dead Redemption 2, but the hype surrounding it before its release late last year totally put me off. It eventually got to the point where I didn’t want to open the WordPress reader for fear of seeing yet another post about it.

The Witcher

My other-half was obsessed with this series when we first met. It wasn’t one I’d played or ever been interested in but he was keen for me to give it a go, as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt had recently released and he thought it might be something we could play together. One day he left me with his copy of The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and told me to try it – but a few hours later, I grew bored and realised I’d much rather play something else. Although he was a little disappointed, he admitted it was kind of cool seeing his new girlfriend finishing Diablo III the next time he came over.

I’ve come to realise that the more hype there is surrounding the series, the less likely I am to play it. Perhaps that’s through fear of being disappointed – or because there are so many news articles I can read about the same franchise! I’m not the only one who still needs to get to grips with some big games though. While drafting this post last month, Will from Geek Sleep Rinse Repeat published his own article about the best titles he hasn’t completed so head over to find out what’s on his list.

Who knows, some of the entries on my own may soon be knocked off. Our upcoming 50-day challenge for GameBlast20 seems like the perfect time to get some of them crossed off the backlog.

Kim View All

Video game lover, Later Levels blogger and SpecialEffect volunteer. Big fan of wannabe pirates and fine leather jackets.

18 thoughts on “Big series I’ve given a miss Leave a comment

  1. The thing with the Witcher for me was I never played the first one and I wasn’t a fan of the second as I didn’t understand what was going on. The characters were the only thing I really liked about 2. So I wasn’t hyped for Wild Hunt. But when I played it, I was hooked and it quickly became my favourite game of all time and made me go and read the books. It’s the only open world game where I spent over 100 hours on a single playthrough. I completed all the side quests except one or two and I still wanted more.

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    • The thought of giving The Witcher a second chance is appealing, because it feels as though there must be something I missed seeing as so people people love the series. But the fact they’re such big games is really daunting! The last time I put over 100-hours into something was Horizon Zero Dawn a few years ago and I’ve just not been able to bring myself to sign myself up for something that long since…

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      • Yeah it does require a big time investment. The second time when I played through on hard, the base game took about 80-90 hours to get through. The Hearts of Stone expansion took 10 hours, while Blood and Wine added another 25-30 hours. The start is slow, once I got about 10 ours in, I really got hooked.

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        • Wow, that’s some serious dedication there! In the past I’ve always played open-world RPGs over the Christmas period but I’ve not looked at them for the past couple of years. That break has made me miss the feeling of getting totally sucked into a world though… I just need to find the right game, I think.

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  2. “Inverse hype” is definitely a real thing, as I often feel it about big-name games. You hear *so much* about certain things that you just wish everyone would shut up about it, and you feel less inclination to play it than ever.

    In my case, I’ve also consistently found the greatest emotional resonance with the games I play and cover today, too, so I feel no real need to keep up with the latest trends in big-budget games.

    Regarding a couple of your series above: with Metal Gear there’s no real need to play *all* of the games in the series, since numerous are non-canonical plot-wise, some are weird experimental games and others are reimaginings of stories from earlier titles. If you want to explore the series, I’d recommend checking out the Metal Gear Solid games up to 4 at the very least; at about 10-15 hours each, they’re not a huge commitment, and they are eminently worth your time, especially if you enjoy big-budget comic book-type shenanigans.

    As for Final Fantasy, note that it’s an extremely broad series and as such there are a few installments in the series (or its spinoffs) that eschew turn-based combat, so you might be interested to try those sometime. The Crystal Chronicles subseries, for example, consists of real-time action RPGs; there are two MMOs, both of which are quite different to one another (FFXI is more like EverQuest, FFXIV is more like WoW); FFXII uses combat similar to Dragon Age (in fact, Dragon Age pretty much nicked its party AI system wholesale from FFXII’s programmable “Gambit” mechanic); and FFXV has a very interesting stance-based take on real-time combat.

    Also note that from FFIV to FFIX, even the “turn-based” games make use of a system called “Active Time Battle”, where although you’re picking things from a menu, time continues to flow while you’re doing so rather than being strictly turn-based. FFXIII and its sequels/spinoffs make use of a very energetic twist on this with extremely cinematic combat visuals. And Final Fantasy X-2 brought a twist on the original Active Time Battle system back after FFX was more strictly turn-based.

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    • Pete… please… stop giving me even more games to play! 😆

      Out of all the games on this list, it’s probably Metal Gear that I’d be most interested in playing. And to hear that I only need to concentrate on several on several of the games makes it seem that bit more accessible. The next gaming market is taking place in March so I’ll have to keep an eye out for copies for my PS2…

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      • Haha, sorry! But you said you might be interested… 🙂

        If you have a Vita or PS3 to hand, you can skip the PS2 versions and grab the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which has HD versions of 2 and 3. I think they included a digital download code for the PS1 version of the first one, too, but not sure if that was a limited-time thing. That said, the PS2 versions might be cheaper.

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  3. I find your lack of Metal Gear Solid disturbing…. haha I’m only kidding. But I agree with Pete; there really isn’t a need to play every single one. I’d suggest starting with the PS1 Metal Gear Solid Snake, and then playing MGS2 and 3, like he said. That’ll give you the gist of the story, for sure, and they are not overly-long. MGS4 is a time commitment and a half, but it brings the whole story arc to a (somewhat?) satisfying conclusion. It’s great if you like a “serious” game that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and, again echoing Pete, has some wild comic book vibes to it.

    Interestingly enough, the other series I’ve only dabbled in, myself, with The Witcher 3 being the only one I really partook in of that series, with the exception of a hot few hours in FFXIII and a hot 45 minutes in FFX. I’ve just picked up Assassin’s Creed Odyssey so we’ll see if I can get into that series. Fable is still on my list, however, so that really should take precedence! haha

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    • I’m glad to hear I’m not alone ha ha! I must admit, there’s something about big-budget games which puts me off and usually makes me hesitant to play them. I feel much more comfortable with the length and storylines of indie titles.

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  4. Thanks for the mention! I wish the circumstances were better haha. I was walking around Exeter with my wife the other day and we saw a huge advert for Borderlands 3, “wasn’t that the game you kept going on and on about? What happened, you don’t talk about it any more?”

    “That’s because it wasn’t very good wife!!!” 😭😭😭

    Your list is similar to mine though, assassin’s creed (bored a couple hours in), MGS, Pokémon, loads of similar to my own list. Still want to try Just Cause.

    I’ve started celebrating what I *have” managed to play now, instead of thinking about all the stuff that goes unplayed. I just think about Fallout 4, putting that series off for over 10 years, now it’s one of my favourites.

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    • I was working on an end-of-year post yesterday and made a list of all the games I’d played and completed this year… and I have to say, I was surprised it was so many. Some of them were a lot shorter than others but it’s nice knowing I’ve managed to get through at least one a week on average. Ellen and I are planning on bringing back #LoveYourBacklog Week for 2020 – but it’s more about celebrating our love for our gaming collections, than feeling guilty about what we haven’t started yet.

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