5 Sections We Dread In Games We Love
Hi folks, Drew from PaXaN here. With the upcoming release of the Resident Evil 3: Remake the PaXaN team decided to play through the old Resident Evil series again. Booting up the old titles gave us plenty of nostalgic moments to discuss but at the same time there were a few sections that our brains had decided to redact from our memory, things we had to grit our teeth and push through because they were just so damn frustrating. A prime example is Resident Evil 4’s escort mission through the Los Illuminados castle where you, Leon S. Kennedy, are charged with making sure Ashley Graham does not fulfill her lifelong dream of walking into a swath of enemies whilst simultaneously shouting “LEON!” every three seconds! Despite this section Resident Evil 4 remains one of the best titles in the series, and rightly so. This got us thinking about some of our other favorite games from over the years and the parts of them that our brains conveniently forgot. With that in mind here are 5 sections we dread in games we love. Also beware minor spoilers for the following games…
Final Fantasy VIII – Junction Tutorial
The opening video sequence to FFVIII (Final Fantasy VIII) is one of many fan favorites in the series. The action packed gunblade whirling between game protagonist Squall Leonhart and secondary antagonist Seifer Almasy juxtaposed against the calm yet melancholy vision of the love interest Rinoa Heartilly sets the game up to be a raucous adventure in a fantasy world. For the most part the game does deliver on this opening promise, sending your team of heroes trotting around the globe to defeat a multitude of malicious meanies and stop the end of time itself. What this opening video sequence does not prepare you for though is the mind numbingly mundane Junction System tutorials. Stepping away from series staple of learning magical spells and abilities, series developer Hiroyuki Ito decided instead it would serve the game better if characters were to draw magic from enemies and monsters to then later use in battle. Seems simple and easy enough at first, but then there are multiple tutorials explaining how to link, or junction, these spells to each characters abilities in order to increase character stats. On paper this does not seem like such a bad mechanic, but the fact that some of these tutorials would appear late into the first disc of the game, not to mention the lack of a skip button, makes that first disc a long drawn out experience for newcomers and series veterans alike.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – Wrong Side of the Tracks
Approach any fan of the GTA (Grand Theft Auto) series and utter the phrase, “All you had to do was follow the damn train CJ!”, and they are likely to start rage quitting on the spot. GTA: San Andreas was a ground breaking entry into this long running franchise. Following the story of protagonist Carl Johnson (CJ) we are treated to roughly 30 hours of wonton destruction across an imagined American cityscape and its surrounding areas. There is so much to do in this game that even to this day fans are still exploring the map environment in hopes of spotting the elusive Big Foot. The overarching story of GTA: San Andreas is regarded as one of the best the series has to offer with missions that delve you deep into the criminal underbelly of a city, from the lowest drug stricken ghettos to the flashiest drug stricken Valley residencies. There will however, forever be one mission within this plethora of goodness that stands out above all else, and for the wrong reason. ‘Wong Side of the Tracks’ is a mission given to you by fellow gangster Big Smoke and tasks you with escorting him to a drug meeting between two rival gangs. When the meeting has finished you are then tasked with jumping on a dirt bike whilst Big Smoke tries to strike down, with great vengeance and furious anger, a group of gang members standing on top of a train. We quickly find out that Big Smoke clearly went to the Storm Trooper school of aiming and his inefficient aim leads to a mission failure for the game and another broken controller for us. Players of GTA: San Andreas each have their own method for getting through this mission but the mission itself will forever live in infamy among long-time fans of the series.
Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time – The Water Temple
The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time is hotly debated to be one of, if not the best in the long running Legend of Zelda series. There are plenty of reasons within the game that support this claim. Ever following the series’ ever changing yet ever remaining protagonist Link we are treated to one the N64’s most memorable experiences. With so many towns to visit, characters to interact with, rupees to collect and monsters to mash the game has continued to delight fans both new and old. Due to the limitations of the hardware there are certain elements of the game that aren’t as delightful, such as the camera angle being an ever constant battle in the more enclosed dungeons or the persistent nagging of your fairy companion Navi with her “Hey listen!” tidbits of location lore. These however do still add a certain undeniable charm to the game and endear you to stick at the game’s time and mind bending story. That being said there is a certain dungeon within the game that is long, arduous, confusing and downright vexing in its layout and puzzle requirements, that dungeon being The Water Temple. Located deep under the game’s vast Lake Hylia the entrance to the temple itself requires use of Heavy Boots and the Hookshot just to get inside. Venture forth into this mystifying maze of maddening game mechanics and you’ll quickly find yourself biting your lip in frustration. Raising then lowering the water level within the temple was a key feature in solving the many door puzzles within the temple itself, a key feature that for many young gamers at the time, seemed impossible to master and manipulate. With video game articles and forums being in their infancy during the time of the game’s release many young gamers had to turn to an older sibling or trusted playground companion to help them get through this watery web of wending woe. The game did receive an update for the Nintendo 3DS port, making each of the temples slightly less of a challenge. Perfect for those of you who would like to play through this industry classic.
Assassin’s Creed Series – Trailing Missions
It is hard to deny the success of Ubisoft’s third person action adventure stabbing simulator. With each different entry in this series bringing new and improved gameplay mechanics, glorious settings with which to swath your way across and intricate stories that leave you wanting yet another series sequel, prequel or pre-sequel. The Assassin’s Creed games deserve their place in the limelight. The core gameplay mechanics of each game in the series is rather formulaic, with its basic premise being nothing more than climb that, stab that and then profits?? The story in each game is divided and developed through an assembly of missions, each drawing on a certain mechanic more than others. These are all well and good until we come across the downright boring trailing mission. Such a mission will demote your assassin to be nothing more than a clumsy stalker who is finding it difficult to stand on a roof without attracting the attention of an ‘of course you’re patrolling there’ guard. Thankfully this style of mission is few and far between but the fact remains that each time you have to follow a select group of targets for a select period of the time the game loses momentum. All this is without mentioning the fact that if you lose sight of your target for whatever reason you have twenty five seconds to gain sight of them again before the mission is deemed a failure. Admittedly this act of voyeurism fits in well with the game’s overall aesthetic of being a watcher or a blade in the crowd but perhaps this could be one element of realism that the games could have done without.
Bioshock 2 – Protect the Little Sister
Despite the controversy in creating the Bioshock games there can be no doubt that each game in their own way they was a commercial success. The first game introduced us to a hauntingly beautiful dystopia set leagues under the Atlantic Ocean and traversing through the abandoned city of Rapture for the first time was mesmerizing. The fractured and unstable ecosystem within the city itself instilled the perfect sense of wonder and uneasiness as you trudged your way through, testing your survival abilities. Throw in a fistful of lightning to hurl at the numerous foes within the game and the action felt right at home just as much as the tension. One enemy in particular stood out and became a series icon, this being the Big Daddy. This diving-suited behemoth was like a miniature boss encounter on the harder difficulties in the game but each encounter was worth it, giving players access to an NPC (Non-Player Character) dubbed a Little Sister and all the rewards that came with them. Fast forward to Bioshock 2 and the protagonist that we control is none other than a Big Daddy itself, in fact one of the first of its kind. What follows is psychological romp through the yet again ravaged and ransacked Rapture. Exploring the ideas of neuro-linguistic programming and gene splicing the second outing of this budding franchise gave you just as much action and wonderment as its predecessor. There was however one small caveat: that being during numerous sections of the game you have to follow suit with the Big Daddy role and protect a Little Sister as she gathers ADAM from various corpses strewn throughout each area. In theory this seemed like a great idea, but in practice this variation in gameplay style devolved into nothing more than a laborious tower defense, having to place down traps and defend the Little Sister as she goes about her deplorable duties. You are quickly turned from an unstoppable force of paternal rage into what basically equates as a giant bullet sponge. Placed on the lower difficulties in the game these sections are nothing but boring, slowing down the pace of an otherwise great game, but on the more challenging settings this spike in difficulty is enough to make you hammer that harvest button when prompted.
And that’s our list. Video games can be great ways to pass your time, offering us a challenge, engaging story and ever fleeting sense of accomplishment but as much as we love them it’s fair to say there is, on occasion, an equal amount of hate. Can you think of any other dreaded section in games you love? Leave a like and comment down below and thanks for reading!
Author: Drew Lewis
Editor: Erik Larsen
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Hi folks, Drew here from PaXaN. I am an up and coming video game journalist looking to inject your daily cravings for virtual screen time with various features on video games and the industry itself. Keep an eye on this space for more news and features on your favourite games both new and old. Have an idea for a feature piece or something you’d like for me to cover? Send me a message on WeChat or email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. WeChat ID: DrewAW, Email: email@example.com
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