Regretful video game purchases. We've all made them. Some of us have made several dozen.
Sometimes a game we pick up is not what we anticipated. Sometimes it's glitched beyond belief. Sometimes it's boring. And sometimes it just doesn't click with you, even if the world around you seems to love it.
Name the first game you wish you'd returned.
I wish I could've returned my investment in Mighty No. 9. I'm sure most of you can relate: Mighty No. 9 was announced, everyone was excited by some concept art, and the money came pouring in. I put my $60 in with the initial rush because I really wanted that fancy retro box. And how could a Mega Man revival possibly be bad?
Well, we saw how. Mighty No. 9 ended up being so discouragingly bad that I didn't even have the heart to redeem the code. I've purchased and returned a lot of bad games in my time—most them—but Mighty No. 9 really took the take. If I could get my $60 back, I would in a heartbeat. But as it is, I'll just have to take it as an expensive lesson learned.
X-Men Destiny, straight up. I have never been more disappointed in a game. I've never been so saddened to see a developer miss the selling point and create such a poor title. If I could get my time back from any game, even the span before I actually played it, X-Men Destiny would be the one.
Imagine an action RPG where you can create your own mutant with a variety of powers. Imagine being able to take your mutant into world of the X-Men, navigating your way between the X-Men and the Brotherhood. X-Men Destiny was supposed to be Knights of The Old Republic for the X-franchise. Instead, we got an action game with slow button-mashing combat, few meaningful choices in the story, and only three mutant characters to choose from.
X-Men Destiny was a disaster outside of game as well. Anonymous sources said that Silicon Knights took resources away from XMD to focus on Eternal Darkness 2. Silicon Knights founder said the real issue was the budget was negatively impacted by Disney's acquisition of Marvel. A legal case involving the game, between the studio and Epic Games, the developer of the Unreal Engine used to power XMD and Too Human, saw unsold copies being destroyed.
X-Men Destiny was dire from top to bottom, and I'm still waiting for another developer to deliver on that premise.
Legend of Legaia, a 1998 PlayStation RPG. I am all about games inspired by Stephen King's The Mist -- one of the best short stories ever written -- but Legend of Legaia somehow manages to turn "Holy shit, there are Lovecraftian monsters in the fog!" into a total snoozefest.
Boss battles drag on forever, and that's a problem by itself, but the game's cut-and-paste characters give you zero motivation to save the world. The main character, Vahn, is a typical silent protagonist, and he's predictably balanced by a gruff senpai figure named Gala. Then there's the sweet, innocent feral child named Noa who would be completely immemorable if not for the part in the game where she puts her hands behind her back, cocks her head, and asks Vahn what a pimp is. That scene is burned into my memory forever.
I never got around to returning Legend of Legaia, and I can't even remember why. I think being in the vicinity of the game just sapped my will to celebrate life. Or maybe I was secretly addicted to the game's overworld theme. A few years later, someone broke into our apartment and stole Suikoden II, but left Legend of Legaia behind. FML.
I'm gonna go recent on this one, because I don't want a hate mob on my back for saying I dislike a beloved 3DS RPG. (On that note though: I've always found this ZEAL piece to be illustrative as to why.)
Anywho late last year, I was so, so excited to finally play Final Fantasy XV. As a tepid fan of Kingdom Hearts, I was elated seeing the game rebranded those many E3s ago; no longer Versus XIII, now warranting its own roman numeral next to it. This was the first massive change in direction for the series, throwing in a static party of four cool boys, a road trip, and action combat.
Alas, I ended up having a frankly terrible time with Final Fantasy XV. It's common for me to drop games when I get distracted with others, but it's rare for me to completely abhor an experience as I did with Final Fantasy XV. I always think back to why I had such a passionate distaste for it, and I always circle back to the fact that it just never felt like Final Fantasy to me. The story was an incomprehensible mess, I wasn't particularly fond of its bland take on an open world, the combat was clunky. The coolest things about the game—the road trip aspect, Prompto's camera—were instead buried under the mess of everything else.
I still firmly believe that there's a great game somewhere in Final Fantasy XV. Even if playing it felt like there were too many cooks in the kitchen. Almost like before development, its pitch meeting went something like Key & Peele's joke-meeting for Gremlins 2. Too many ideas for one single game, losing what made Final Fantasy games so special in the first place. (Side note: I don't hate Final Fantasy XIII because I love its world, characters, and combat even if its pacing is whack, so I guess take this all with a grain of salt? Final Fantasy IX is also the best one. Bye.)
What a coincidence that this is the community question the same week that the game I want to answer with is getting a re-release on the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Yup, I'm talking about Team Bondi's LA Noire.
I'm a pretty big fan of detective dramas, and as a LA native the idea of an open-world adventure game set in old timey Hollywood excited me a lot. I had just finished up Red Dead Redemption so Rockstar's involvement was a plus. And of course this being 2011, the idea of facial animation so precise you can use it to figure out whether or not a character was lying felt like a big leap into the future.
Then I booted it up and played it in practically one sitting. After finishing the game I let the game sit with me for a couple days, then I actually did end up returning it.
I had a couple issues with the game, even beyond the lackluster combat and driving. The story fell far short of any hardboiled detective mystery. At best it felt like a subpar TV drama, at worst a cut-and-past story of a bunch of different other detective stories. Cole Phelps? He's a huge asshole but the game doesn't actually justify it with a complex narrative. They just push him through a trope-laden story but with nothing new to show for it.
I could go on and on, but I guess what happened was that I might have been too hyped for the game, only to have it disappoint me greatly. So much so that I couldn't stand having it on my game shelf. Funny enough, my friends send me a copy of LA Noire every couple of years as a joke so I actually own three copies of the game now.
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