Don’t Take My Word For It (Part One)

“I can’t believe you haven’t played this game?! It’s my all time favourite!”
“How can you call yourself a gamer when you haven’t played that?!”
“Oh my God, where were you when that was released?”

These are just some of the questions that are raised when gaming tumbles into my everyday conversations. Having missed many of the big name releases over the past six years thanks to focusing on my studies or due to general lack of funds, I am often faced with an embarrassing scenario where someone starts discussing the ending of a game I have yet to play. Of course, I can’t cover my ears and start shouting “SPOILERS LALALALALALA!” because there really does have to be a statute of limitations on that.

It is embarrassing, I must admit. It kind of feels like I’m stuck in the un-cool club. I was always picked last at PE, so I’m kind of used to it, but it especially bugs me when I’m told that this that and every other game is the best in creation – but what is even more frustrating is when people tell me that I would have loved it. How could they possibly know that when I haven’t even tiptoed into playing that particular series? Am I really so predictable that – just by looking at me – someone can tell exactly what kind of game I’m going to like? So I decided to take a stand; why should I take other people’s opinions as gospel? How do they know that I would have loved to have played it, when I can’t even be sure of it myself?

It’s been difficult to get hold of some of the titles; sometimes I get lucky and get gifted a copy, or stumble across a great combination in the GAME multi-buy second-hand but still raping-you-on-price section. Other times I borrow a well loved copy from my boyfriend; but every time the key motivation for me to pick up these titles after all this time is the harping on of someone else.

I started my saga nearly a year ago now with a copy of Assassin’s Creed that I had owned since release (an account of my tumultuous relationship with this title can be seen in my article Should I Stay or Should I Go?), and since then I have managed to complete several big name titles, though whether they hit the mark that their recommender was so certain they would is another issue entirely.

Assassin’s Creed
Okay – so I’ve had this one since release and, after one particularly impulsive gallop on a horse, I gave up on it pretty quickly. I was eventually coaxed back into playing it nearly five years after its initial release and I realised that my speed to claim it too difficult was a hasty one. I felt a fair amount of regret at my own ineptitude, and a small amount of shame that I had let my pride get in the way of a title that truly took my breath away.

As the story progressed, I was hooked. The combat left a lot to be desired, and nowadays the graphics are outdated as hell, but I didn’t hesitate to move straight on to Assassin’s Creed 2 the second the credits had finished rolling. Unfortunately, I seem to have stalled on Brotherhood; finishing 2 saw me sat opened jawed in shock (and slight confusion), but my inspiration to further Ezio’s story line has faded, and again I’m tempted to just write off the rest of his saga and that of any Assassins to follow him. Until I’ve finished Brotherhood though, perhaps this tangent is a little unfinished?

Dragon Age
I remember on the release of Dragon Age it was all that people could talk about. My Facebook and Twitter feeds were full of it, and all I could think was “why can’t I play this?”. I picked it up briefly when playing my then-boyfriend’s copy, but after a short few hours, I turned it off and never really had a desire to go back. So when again, quite recently, it came up in discussion as one of those “must have played” games – I stuck it on the list.

I paid a little closer attention to it this time around – talking to more of the bystanders and trying to understand as much about what was happening in the greater world around my character as possible, but again it started to fall flat very quickly. I found Alistair bloody annoying – and even more so when he dumped me later in the story! (I offered you my heart, you regal bastard. Was I just too elf for you? Was that it?!) As well as this, I generally just preferred the company of my dog Spot to the others in my party that I was compelled to travel the battle-scarred country with.

The dialogue bored me, the story didn’t pull me in and as I neared the end I was begging for it to be over.  This really did actually sadden me. As a fan of Fantasy, how could something like Dragon Age have fallen so flat with me? I felt almost guilty that I hadn’t derived the same sense of pleasure from it that others had felt, and was almost certain it was because I hadn’t played it right. Alas, having disliked it so much – I won’t be playing through under a different race to find out.

Given this shaky start, I was a bit reluctant to go on exploring past releases further. Yes, I’d enjoyed Assassin’s Creed, but given the hype around the most recent releases that I have no desire to play, I couldn’t help to feel a little reluctant to continue. That is, until I started my next well known title…

Last five articles by Jo



  1. Rook says:

    Damn you Jo… leaving the article on a cliffhangar.

    There are games that I have played and enjoyed so much that I want others to experience that same sense of satisfaction from them. It then boggles my mind when they haven’t played, won’t play or tried and didn’t enjoy my much loved game that sometimes I just want to shake them and say what’s wrong with you. :)

    I know I have games unplayed that my mate tells me I am missing out on a great game so it happens to us all.

  2. Chris Toffer says:

    Dragon Age is something I picked up at Christmas, after years of badgering that it was supposed to be good. I’ve given it an hour and never really gone back. I’ve probably not given it the attention it deserves, but that’s what happens!

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