Since we - and indeed you - are all gamers, it's pretty much assumed that we're skilled at playing all kinds of games. However, this week we're asking whether there's a game that you might enjoy playing, but you're not really that good at. If that's so, why do you keep playing it? What is it about that particular game that keeps you entertained?
While you think of your answer, here are the games the USgamer team enjoy playing - but feel they need to work at a little more to get their skills fully up to speed.
Back in March, I wrote about not being particularly good at COD: Adcanced Warfare, but still loving it, so I won't repeat myself here. But I must admit that I do love FPS games - even though I'm not really that great at them. Particularly PvP.
Most of the reason I'm a multiplayer fan is the challenge: I really like playing against other players, despite the fact that most of them are better than me. Even though it can sometimes be very frustrating getting nailed repeatedly, when I do kill someone, it's makes for an even sweeter moment of victory, knowing that I've finally managed to outwit someone - or got the jump on them.
But in terms of which game I'm currently playing that I'm not that good at - I have to point to Destiny. It's taken me quite some time to get through the game, and I've had to be quite methodical about working my way through some of the tougher post-storyline quests. I haven't been completely thwarted yet, but I've definitely had to spend a couple of nights beating some of them - particularly Paradox in the Vault of Glass. Man, I found that a serious challenge.
When I play strikes, I'm usually the guy with the lowest amount of kills. That said, I'm also usually the one with the most amount of revives - which I do find odd. Perhaps it's because I normally play a healer in MMOs, and I just have that save-the-team mentality. But when it comes down to killing stuff, I'm just not particularly quick on the trigger compared to other players - I think it's probably my advancing years finally catching up with me. That said, I'm competent enough to hold my own.
That's where experience comes in I guess. I've been playing games since the late 70's, so even though I might not be that great at a game, I still know how to play it well, even though my reflexes and aiming skills might occasionally let me down. As a consequence, I tend to just be a little slower than other players - perhaps playing a little more conservatively and taking more time to do things.
That's what happens when you start getting old!
I'm pretty bad at MLB: The Show. I can hold my own in pretty much every other sports game, but MLB: The Show is on a higher level in terms of its learning curve. I've been playing this game since 2009 and there are still periods where I feel completely out of sorts when I'm trying to hit.
I blame the fact that MLB: The Show is an incredibly realistic baseball simulator. Okay, "blame" isn't necessarily the right word. Credit, maybe? Anyway, hitting in MLB: The Show is a battle of wits and intelligence, especially at its higher levels. Getting the timing down is tricky enough, but it's even trickier when a smart pitcher mixes in offspeed pitches, curveballs, and the odd blistering fastball high in the zone. You have to have a sixth sense for when to swing and when to hold up, and I unfortunately lack that all-important instinct.
I still really like MLB: The Show, though! It can be a little on the dry side, but its atmosphere, hitting mechanics, and animation are all first rate. And with the baseball playoffs in full swing, I admit that I'm kind of feeling the itch to jump online and play a few rounds against my friends.
Alas, I'm unlikely to beat them. More than any other sports game, MLB: The Show requires the basic skills of the actual sport to succeed, and I lack almost all of them. Then again, I may end up doing better if I play as a team other than the Minnesota Twins. There's something to be said for playing on something other than the game's equivalent of hard mode.
I've written plenty about this series over the years, but I have only ever finished one of the games. I've made it pretty far into each chapter of the series, but I've only seen an ending for the most recent game, which allowed you to use alternate characters who more or less amounted to easy mode. That is because, you see, Umihara Kawase is really freaking hard.
There's something endlessly fascinating about the Japanese propensity to create super hardcore games that will wreck you in a minute, then cover it over with super-cute artwork. The Umihara games feature some of the most revoltingly adorable in-game art I've ever seen, all pop-eyed fish and neotenic schoolgirls and scans of pencils and clouds; and the cover art drifts a bit into skeevy territory with its illustrations of the young heroine. But underneath all of that is a game concept that will break you over its knee and chuckle quietly to itself as you writhe in pain and pray for the sweet embrace of death.
Many games have featured grappling hook elements, but none with such elaborate and complex physics as Umihara Kawase. It's a point of pride for creator Kiyoshi Sakai; he was able to program some insanely advanced rules for grappling, swinging, and elasticity into a Super NES cartridge. That element of the series has never changed, and Umihara Kawase remains one of the most daunting and difficult series I've ever encountered. It's recently arrived on Steam, so for the price of a few lattes, you can check out the brutality of this classic series as well.
I offer up Star Wars: Battlefront as an avatar for many first-person shooters. I enjoy first-person shooters. I like playing their single-player campaign or occasionally jumping online. The thing is, I'm pretty bad, especially on a controller. I was weaned during the days of Unreal Tournament and Quake 3 Arena on PC. Those were my highlights.
So I've played Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Titanfall. I'm looking forward to Star Wars Battlefront and Call of Duty: Black Ops III. But if you throw me in a competitive multiplayer situation in any of those games, I will let you down. I'm good enough for single-player, but in multiplayer, I'm little more than a kill sponge. Yes, I'll take people with me occasionally and sometimes I'll even have kill streaks, but my skill level is still below the average of what I run into online in most of these games. (Oddly enough, I'm slightly better in Star Wars: Battlefront.)
Have you ever played a sport with your parents that they played in high school? Imagine seeing the basketball bounce of the backboard as your father wistfully smiles, remembering his championship game. That's how playing online shooters is for me. Faint hints of a better time, but mostly a lesson in abject failure. Despite that, I keep playing. Perhaps one day I'll get better again. I doubt it, but my fingers are crossed.