Often, I find myself trying to describe a certain game to a colleague to try and explain what it is and what it’s all about. Sometimes this discussion ends up putting them off of the game in question completely, when my intention was to sell it to them. Despite my best efforts, whenever I explained what it technically was that you had to do, the chance that my colleague would actually play the game decreased and decreased. This is a shame as it meant that they missed out on playing a great game.
Here are 5 such games: games that sound terrible on paper, but once gamers get their hands on them, they immediately fall in love – presented in no particular order.
Resident Evil 4
What it technically is: Mostly an escort mission, with tank controls, an inability to move and shoot at the same time, and tons of QTE’s.
Why we love it: Resident Evil 4 overcomes what we would consider problems through the sheer quality of its moment-to moment pacing and its consistently engaging and varied level design. Yes, we have to save Ashley and yes, it is annoying to hear shout “Leon, help!” time and time again, but these moments are rare enough that we find ourselves willing to forgive them. It also helps that Ashley is not made of glass and has a little bit more self-preservation instinct than you would think. And if you really can’t stand her, you can throw her in a bin.
“Got some good things on sale, strange-ah.”
However, screw the part where you have to cover her while she pulls levers.
As for QTE’s, RE4 is often forgiven for their inclusion, and once you see how they are implemented, it’s easy to see why. While it can be annoying to be watching a cutscene only to have a prompt you couldn’t possibly have seen coming pop and kill you minutes in, RE4’s QTE’s happen during gameplay as well as cut-scenes. In one segment, the player must dodge a creature’s surprise ceiling-attacks by pressing two buttons at once. The prompt is the same each time; so suddenly this button combination becomes the dodge button, which players will instinctively reach to when Leon needs to dodge something again. It means that you’re reacting to the events in the game rather than the mini-game on screen.
RE4 is also the only one of the modern Resi’s that is actually scary, with plenty of well-executed moments in there, made even more impactful by the fact that it is exclusively single-player.
What it technically is: A karaoke machine featuring colourful plastic toys that can in no way teach you the guitar.
Why we love it: Alcohol.
Ok I’m not going to leave it with a one-word verdict but I’m sure there are a lot of you out there that never owned Rock Band or any of the million-plus Guitar Hero games, but played it at great length due to knowing someone who did. The fact is, coming together as a unit to form something greater than the sum of its parts is a truly special experience, and one that Rock Band outputs brilliantly (assuming your vocalist isn’t tone deaf, and/or one or more of the party is drunk) – however silly you look while playing it.
How many times did you get through John Lennon’s “Imagine” in one night?
And even with its party-game feel, the game more than provided the hours upon hours of gameplay that hardcore fans wanted if you put the time into it. Being able to 100% expert Dream Theatre may sound like a waste of time to some, but to others, it was just another video game challenge accepted (as well as a lucrative Youtube partnership).