May Game Challenge: Week Two (Making Good)

suck less cover

For the first time in a while, I can actually report that I made progress towards my monthly challenge! Hooray! This past week I was all over the gaming map: I played a decent amount of the Overwatch beta, I completed The Park (more on that later), I got baffled by Kholat, and I actually managed to taper off of Destiny without ceasing to exist.

All around: a win.

Let’s start with Destiny.

I started to get a little peeved with the lack of drops and rewards this past week, but also with all my exotic engrams not decrypting at the level cap (even though I am). It didn’t help that my frequent co-op partner seemed to be getting everything while I was getting nothing, and I got all kinds of frustrated. The RNG can get old.

But, perhaps it was fortuitous, as it aided me in the process of putting the game aside for newer fare.

I also took part in the Overwatch beta, and, at first, I was having a lot of fun. I was occasionally doing well enough to be featured at the end of the match, but, the more I participated, the worse I seemed to be doing. In addition, my frequent co-op partner (who is exceptionally good at online multiplayer games) ended up getting much of the match-end accolades, and I ended up with none (literally, none). I tried to keep a good attitude about it, but after a while, I just started to feel like I sucked, and I can only take so much of that before I start to lose interest in playing. I kept doing my best but, apparently, my best wasn’t good enough.

For now, I’m keeping my pre-order for Overwatch, but I’m a bit concerned about my longevity with the game.

I played a couple of games I’ve been wanting to for a good long while (The Park, Kholat), and my experiences were at both ends of the spectrum. The Park left quite an impression on me (again, more on that later), and Kholat, a game I’d been looking forward to playing for well over a year, let me down about as hard as a game can.

I deliberately didn’t want to know details about the game other than what I already knew: that it was based on the mysterious (and real) Dyatlov Pass incident. In avoiding details, I also inadvertently avoided some pertinent information: the game has a lot of flaws and can be borderline unplayable.

When I booted the game up for the first time yesterday, I was impressed at the visuals and spare use of any directive. You are set loose in this snowy locale to look for coordinates. All you have at your disposal are a map and compass (with no “you are here” marker, mind you), and you have to wander (mostly) aimlessly looking for clues.

The first indication I had that there might be game design issues was when I read that there were several fast travel locations. The map isn’t that big, and I didn’t understand why there would be multiple fast travel points.

After playing for two hours, I totally get it.

I also, in those two hours, never found a second fast travel location.

You walk slower than slow, and your (limited) “sprint” is virtually indistinguishable from your regular speed. Neither can save you from the instantaneous death of the evil entity of the game, and death puts you back at unforgiving checkpoints, forcing you to (slowly) retrace your steps to a (hopefully) better outcome.

The first time I died, it was not only not scary, it was completely unprompted. I had no idea what happened. One minute I was walking, and the next, poof. Dead. It was then that I was introduced to one of the (many) lengthy loading screens.

I tried. I really tried. I wanted to like this game so badly. I really did. But I managed to die repeatedly because I couldn’t get away from the instantly appearing evil entity, and when I was able to find my way around, even a little, I ended up dying from random, almost completely hidden, pits of spikes in the ground.

Kholat seems like it doesn’t want to be played. Which is too bad, as I had such high hopes for it.

After I finally gave up, I looked at some reviews online and my experience was far from isolated. I have no idea how people even found additional fast travel points. I wandered for hours and found none after the first. I had no idea how many hours I would have had to put in to see the end credits so I made a choice: to put the game down and call it a wash. Time is just too precious to spend on a thoroughly frustrating (and fruitless) experience.

I almost wish I would have stuck it out. Since I’m still curious, I will likely look online to see if anyone has a playthrough I can watch.

With that, I’m going to try to play another short game today, but at this point, I’m all ready for Uncharted 4 on Tuesday. As soon as it arrives, I will be diving in.

What are you playing this week?

Categories: games

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