Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video game series you’ve given up on

Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video game series you’ve given up on

GameCentral readers name the video game franchises they’ve fallen out of love with, from Call Of Duty to Fallout.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Xane, who asked what series did you used to play a lot but now don’t? Is it on purpose or because you don’t own the right console? Or perhaps you’ve just drifted away from the series over the years?

Everyone seemed to have at least one franchise that fit the bill, with Sonic The Hedgehog, Halo, and Assassin’s Creed coming in for a lot of stick in particular.

Somebody does it better
I have so had it with Assassin’s Creed. I’ve said that before but I feel it’s for real this time. I first started to get tired of the formula after Black Flag and gave up with Unity and it’s never-ending flood of glitches and… stale gameplay.

I skipped Syndicate but was intrigued by Origins because it was supposed to be a reboot that was more like a role-playing game and shook the formula up a lot. I tried it and enjoyed it, thought it was a bit drawn out but good. I got Odyssey as that was meant to be even better but that took all the wrong lessons as I was concerned and was so full of bloat it was just tiring to play.

And now with the Valhalla on the horizon I’m just not interested any more, I think. It’ll depend what the next setting is (how are the Vikings the good ones in this new one?) but to be honest Ghost Of Tsushima does everything that I want from Assassin’s Creed a hell of a lot better.

It’s not me, it’s you
Sadly, I’d have to say it’s Pokémon for me. I’d been losing interest over the last several years but Pokémon Sword/Shield was the final straw. They are just terrible games. At least two generations behind in terms of both game design and graphics technology and frankly embarrassing for it.

Although I think the worst thing was the fact that there was virtually no story. Like almost literally until maybe the last 30 minutes of the game and then a completely different story, out of nowhere, for the epilogue. Just complete rubbish.

It’s a shame because the new pokémon designs were great as a whole but the hamfisted way the open world section was shoved into, literally, the middle of the game was laughably bad. At first I thought I’d just outgrown the series and then I realised that it was the games that were at fault, not me. That was a bit of a relief to be honest.
Darth Tater
PS: Also, how do you make a game set in the UK and not have either Fletchling (basically a robin) or Ducklett (evolves into a swan) in it? (If they’re in the DLC I did not, as you can imagine, buy it.)

GC: Fletchling is in the first one, but not Ducklett.

Two-dimensional reasoning
I might be cheating, as it’s more of a sub-series, but for me it has been 2D Mario platformers, and that’s something I probably would never have envisioned 25 years ago.

Part of it is obviously the direction Nintendo choose to go with the New Super Mario Bros. games, which I think look a bit sterile and slightly boring, so much so that I’ve just taken the word of the relatively lukewarm reviews and never bothered with them.

Part of it is that Super Mario Bros. 1, 3, and World (plus Yoshi’s Island) nailed it to such an extent that it would seem almost impossible to continue that run, and they barely seem to have attempted it.

Part of it is to do with some other 2D games stealing modern 2D Mario’s thunder, such as Rayman Legends and Celeste.

Probably most importantly, part of it is to do with the main series simply having moved on to focusing on the 3D games, and rightly so in my experience. Those are the only ones I can get excited about now and while some people think Mario should always be routed in platforming challenges, the series has transcended that for me, into an adventure that also celebrates the joy of play, movement, exploration, and interactivity.

Funnily enough, I can’t quite say the same for Zelda, which I regard as Nintendo’s other current pillar of 2D and 3D core gaming. The Link’s Awakening remake was one of my most anticipated games of last year, although I ended up disappointed in it because of how direct a remake it was. A Link Between Worlds was comfortably my favourite 3DS game, though, and I’d definitely welcome a more ambitious, complex and bigger new 2D Zelda soon.

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Bad taste
I realised quite recently, with the Modern Warfare reboot, that Call Of Duty was not for me. I was never a massive fan but I usually bought each one, at some point, and enjoyed the story campaign and at least a bit of the multiplayer. I don’t know what it is but there was something about the gratuitous violence mixed with the pseudo realism of this new one that just started to turn me off.

Maybe it’s because I’ve recently become a parent and suddenly pretending to murder people for four hours straight doesn’t have quiet the same appeal as it once did. The game is perfectly well made and Warzone seems one of the better battle royale games but I barely touched that.

I think the thing that put me off was the increasing push for microtransactions. Call Of Duty has always been very underhand about this – at least other games have been honest about it – and this also left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not sure anything could bring me back now but I certainly don’t begrudge it it’s success or my years with it.

Always a chance
The Sonic series has to be the best example of a series I used to love but no longer do. Sonic 2 is the reason I asked my mum for a Mega Drive and must be a contributing factor as to why I still play games today. Obviously, the series has fallen a very long way since then which is also why I have fallen out of love with it. I still pop back occasionally but Sonic Mania really is the only recent entry I have played that was any good.

For me pretty much all game’s franchises are essentially on varying levels of hiatus. I cannot think of one franchise that I have completely burnt bridges with. I probably should with Sonic but there is always a chance I will be pulled back in. Even though there is a distinct possibility I will never buy a one-on-one fighter or realistic racing game again due to my lack of skill there is still a chance one game will be so highly recommended I will want to play it.

An example of a series that I put on a long hiatus is Assassin’s Creed. I gave up on Revelations, skipped to Black Flag and then skipped all the way to Odyssey which I enjoyed far, far more than I expected to. My main reason for distancing myself from the franchise was that the games are too large for their release schedule and that still holds despite the release schedule slowing, so I will probably skip the next few too.

I also pretty much gave up with Call Of Duty around Ghosts. I have enjoyed all the single-player campaigns I have played, even Ghosts, but never felt anticipation to play the next one. I only recently played WW2 because it was on PlayStation Plus and again enjoyed it but I am in no hurry to play another.

By not having access to an Xbox One it means I have also missed recent Halo and Gears Of War games but without their original developers neither holds the appeal to me that they once did. Hopefully, Halo Infinite in particular turns out to be a return to form and not just a return to an old graphical style.

Overall though new games with entirely new ideas are generally more appealing to me than new sequels to old favourites. I like trying new things, so I will often prioritise new IPs or games in franchises I have not tried before over something that looks familiar.

Pulled back in
I’m not sure if this counts but for the last checks Wikipedia 14 years I would call myself a lapsed Final Fantasy fan. I used to love the SNES games as a kid but they lost me after Final Fantasy 12 and especially 13 and I’ve never gone back. Especially given how bad Final Fantasy 15 looked.

But I was tempted back in by Final Fantasy 7 Remake and I have to say I’m very impressed. My understanding is it’s completely different to any of the others so I don’t know if it’s going to pull me into the main series again but for the first time in over a decade I’m looking forward to the next Final Fantasy.

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

In your blood
I used to go nuts for your typical Bethesda open world role-playing games. I must have sunk 300+ hours into Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3, 4, and New Vegas. Along with the GTA series and Red Dead Redemption, these were the games I craved the most.

Then I played Bloodborne on the PlayStation 4 as there was nothing that I fancied playing after Fallout 4 and my taste in games did a complete 180. Went through a 12-month period where I played every FromSoftware Souls game and then moved onto the Souls-likes from other developers… and loved them all.

Then I saw the reviews for The Outer Worlds. I know it was made by Obsidian, as opposed to Bethesda, but they made New Vegas and that was my favourite Fallout so I picked it up and was quite excited to be playing a genre I hadn’t played for a while but had always loved.

I hated it! It’s not that I think The Outer Worlds is bad and the various Elder Scrolls and Fallout games are good, I just think I probably would’ve really liked it about five years ago but not anymore.

Then I remembered, I had similar issues with Red Dead Redemption 2 (although they’re totally different types of games). I loved the original Red Dead and can tell that the sequel is probably better but I just found it boring. Both The Outer Worlds and Red Dead Redemption 2 had a couple of sessions each (around 15 or so hours) on my PlayStation 4 before I reluctantly quit, uninstalled and looked for something else.

As much as I love Souls-likes games, I kinda think that they have ruined many other genres for me.

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The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

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