Jay Little
Repeat after me: Games are supposed to be fun

12/19/2017 11:50:48

So over the last few weeks I've been dividing my time between Divinity: Original Sin and Horizon Zero Dawn. I stated playing Divinity first so I've plowed much more time into it, lets say 60 hours. Whereas I've put about 25 hours into Horizon. I love Horizon. So why am I telling you this? I have a confession. I hate Divinity. I hate nearly everything about it. I can already hear you asking, "Why do you hate it?" That's the wrong question though. You should be asking me, "Why are you still playing it?"

I've been thinking a lot about that over the last few days while I've debated whether to stop playing it altogether. Yeah that's right. I'm debating whether or not to stop playing a game that I just told you I hated. Why don't I just stop? The short answer here is that I've already put so much time into it that I'd rather finish it than quit. But that still doesn't pass the smell test of rationality, does it? In fact it sounds downright idiotic.

Currently I'm about 80% through the game based on what I'm seeing in the online strategy guides and FAQs. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Nevertheless at this point I'm pretty sure that the light is actually a train rather than an escape from the pain. Thats because the pain here is derived from the vicious cycle I seem to be caught within rather than the game itself. The truth is that this isn't the first time I've found myself in this position. Though I hope that it will in fact be the last time.

So yeah I'm done playing Divinity. For me, its just not fun. To be clear, it may be fun for other people and I'm good with that. We all have different definitions of what makes a game fun and that's perfectly fine. I play a lot of RPGs and a large part of the fun for me is pitting the player against the computer with a consistent set of rules which apply to both parties. This is where Divinity fails. It's so desperate to challenge the player that it constantly spits in the face of its own rules in an effort to do it.

NPCs commonly have two to three times the amount of action points PCs do. NPCs are given a wealth of tactical advantages that make no sense. For instance there is one area of the game where PCs are slowed due to the high speed winds in the area. NPCs in that area however are not also slowed. Turns for PCs in high stake battles are often skipped without any valid reason such as a status effect. The conversation/debate system is horrifically frustrating as it basically consists of playing rock/paper/scissors with a weighted scoring system. The game is also full of puzzles that are reminiscent of the pixel hunting head scratchers from adventure games of yesteryear. In addition there are a variety of situations in the game where you are expected to exploit quirks in the game engine in order to progress. On top of all of this, the plot in the game is idiotic and generic at best. At this point, I can barely be bothered to read the in game material regarding it because its so cookie cutter that it almost hurts.

None of that appeals to me. This is coming from a guy who cut his teeth on old school Goldbox RPGs so I'm not against playing tough games just so long as they are fair. And for the most part Goldbox RPGs were largely fair. Those games didn't generally spit in the face of players by ignoring their own rules. Of course there were some notable exceptions to that, but they were largely reserved for huge end game battles. A great example of this is the final three battle sequence in Pools of Darkness in which your ability to use magic spells is disabled after the second battle.

So yeah that leads me to my first New Years Resolution for 2018: "I will only play fun games". It sounds simple and easy. It should be. But it is so hard at times. Nevertheless I'm going to get an early start by kicking this shitty game to the curb. Games are supposed to be fun and games like Divinity just aren't fun for me. And if I'm not having fun, then what the fuck is the point?

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