Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Games you hated at first, then loved

GameCentral readers name their favourite games that they never got on with at first, from Monster Hunter to Oblivion.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader ‘Daley’ Thompson, who asked what game that you like now did you not initially enjoy? How long did it take to change your mind and what finally brought you around?

A high difficulty or lack of explanation was the most common reason, with SoulsBorne games being mentioned a lot, but not liking the main character or story also put off a lot of people at first.


Tutorial troubles
Games I didn’t get on with? Easy as this one is very recent. God Of War. I really got annoyed with this one. I was getting pummelled by the minions early game and this took me to the brink. Thankfully I then learned of the block button. Daft I know, but I’d be fairly sure there was no mention of a block until a few hours into the game. Like most of the series, I assumed you learned it later. After I received the relevant info I died a lot less frequently and grew to really enjoy the comeback of one of my favourite game series, after hating God Of War 3 due to the Zeus fight at the end.

Another fairly recent one was South Park: The Stick Of Truth. It was due to a very slow start and some bafflingly frustrating training sections involving fart throwing, no really. But apart from those issues, it was a great game and showed that you can have good TV to game adaptions.


Stay on target
After all the hype and buzz surrounding its then cutting edge polygonal graphics and being the first game to use the Super FX chip, I had to give Starwing (aka Star Fox) a thorough play through. Imagining I was a reviewer for Super Play and had to write up a review, I plugged in the cartridge and immersed myself into the whole new world of polygons and barrel rolls.

Needless to say, I initially wasn’t impressed. The graphics looked crude and jagged, consisting of what seemed like shapes associated with a school geometry lesson, rather than a fun, cutting-edge SNES game. I didn’t like the lack of freedom either, as the game was on rails, and I felt the whole experience was underwhelming and over very quickly.

After some perseverance, due to valuing the glowing reviews of many games magazines, I decided to play it some more.

I soon realised that the game had more to offer, with multiple secret paths and routes which dictates the game’s difficulty depending on which path is taken. The scrolling became fun and I began to appreciate the 3D perspective and aerial combat, always aiming to better my score at the end of a level.

Slippy aside, I really enjoyed the game after my initial first opinion, and was in high anticipation for the follow up, Lylat Wars, upon its reveal.

I felt the same about Unirally, which I warmed to after more play and that was also highly rated. The same can’t be said about Bubsy The Bobcat, the more I play it the more it frustrates me and I resent its existence!

I suppose the old proverb rings true, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.

Or Bobcat, in this case!
Steve Derricourt

GC: Who ever rated Bubsy The Bobcat that highly?


Third time lucky
Metroid Prime is a game it took me three attempts to get into. I first borrowed it off a friend and really didn’t enjoy it. I then borrowed it off another friend but still couldn’t get into it. But the acclaim and love for the game kept increasing so I finally borrowed it again and it clicked.

Not sure why it took so long, possibly because of its less action focused gameplay. Now I regard it as one of the best games of all time and still try and play it (or its sequels) when I get a chance. It also made me a Metroid fan and I’ve since played Super Metroid and Samus Returns. Incredible franchise.


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First go
I think from a meta perspective the answer to this has got to be Monster Hunter, but it’s true for me personally as well. I’d played the Wii version a bit before selling it on, and never thought too much about it. Then all the hype began for the new game and I was a bit surprised as I just thought it was a niche Japanese game that nobody here really cared about.

I picked it up a few months after launch at £20 off and at first found all the same problems as on the Wii. Sure, it was all one map now but otherwise the combat was still clunky and the whole thing seemed glitchy and kind of broken.

But then I teamed up with a mate that already had it and I started to get the appeal. It’s a great game really, one you have to learn and gain experience in, rather than just beating once and not forgetting again. I wouldn’t say I was a rabid fan but I certainly appreciate what people see in it now, which I wouldn’t have expected on my first go all those years ago.


Zero to hero
The game that immediately springs to mind for this hot topic is Max Payne 3. I remember playing it after it had been out a few months on a recommendation from a friend. Initially, for the first few chapters, I didn’t find it much fun at all and very difficult, even when I reduced the difficulty. I eventually became frustrated and stopped playing.

A couple of months later I seem to remember watching two things, the first was a Game Makers Toolkit video which featured the game and also watching the fantastic Denzel Washington film Man on Fire, which kind of has a similar storyline to Max Payne 3 in its premise, so it inspired me to give the game another go.

I don’t know what it was but I think it was just through practice that I began to grasp the mechanics of the game and realised that it needed to be played as Max Payne should and not like other third person shooters. With this in mind I began to enjoy the game a lot more and eagerly anticipated every shootout, which was perfectly orchestrated by the HEALTH soundtrack.

The ending mission where you’re shooting your way through an airport terminal remains in my top three missions/levels of all time. So glad I went back to it and I would love Rockstar to do a sequel.
Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Zelda: Link’s Awakening (Switch)


Online humour
Bloodborne for me. I swear I just thought it was awful at first. I thought I’d been tricked into buying a terrible game by some sort of Internet joke that I wasn’t in on. And then, well… you know what comes next. After persevering out of a mixture of confusion, boredom, and stubbornness I fell in love with what I genuinely consider to be the best game ever made.

Bloodborn is one of those rare games that only gets better and better the more you play it, expanding its scope in a way that still seems impossible to me considering what I assume to be a fairly modest budget. The Lovecraftian style is some of the best in all gaming and so good I genuinely fear the prospect of a sequel in case it doesn’t live up to the near perfection of the original.


Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here


Slow start
For me this has to be The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion. I bought it on the Xbox 360 solely because it was the highest reviewed game on the system at the time. I took a punt on it after finding it on eBay at a discounted price.

I remember I started in a cell and some character, that I wasn’t interested in, came talking to me about a story that I wasn’t interested in either. I got out of jail and killed a few rats. I got lost in a watery sewer system and it took me about ab hour to get outside that first area. I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing.

I remember exiting the area and being met with a beautiful, sprawling landscape of lush greenery and hills. A huge open world to explore. I lasted about 10 minutes playing around in this area and saved and turned the game off.

A month later I came back to Oblivion and started the main quest again. I ended up in someone’s home that was talking to me and they were boring me, so I ran upstairs and stole something from their bedroom, as you do. I think it was a pewter mug that had little value or use.

A guard came in as they’d caught me and this was where the fun began. I reloaded and this time went and stole the mug without being spotted. The mug was useless, but I got a high from being able to get away with it on the second attempt. It was even more fun when I got to the point that there was a Thieves Guild that I could join and open up my petty crime spree even further.

The start of my Oblivion adventure was a terribly slow one, but I’ll never forget it because it was in fact hiding what would eventually become one of my most fond gaming memories ever.
Nick The Greek


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