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Confused Popularity

I’ve been reading a post by Nerdist reader Robin Burks about the Mass Effect movie, and I have a confession to make: I didn’t like Mass Effect. No wait! Come back!

I really wish I could tell you why. The Dragon Age deal where Bioware said “Ta for making us lots of money, have a free copy of ME2” meant that my brother chucked me a copy of Mass Effect 2, so I thought I may as well play through the first again. And I didn’t enjoy it. At all.

I know that I don’t have to like what everyone else likes. I spend half of my time explaining to people that they’re wrong when they say that Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare is a good game, another third running away from said people, and the last part…I can only remember pain. Seriously, though, what is it that people enjoy about MW? The single player campaign (especially for the second) has to be the worst writing I’ve seen for a long time, and the multiplayer is the same old same old.

What’s worse is that I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t like Mass Effect. Was the combat annoying just because I was playing it wrong? Did I just make the mistake of putting too much effort into the wrong skills? Or perhaps (and this one is the most likely) I just sucked at it, and I don’t like games where I’m not brilliant and therefore die 8 times because they have shotguns and all I have is apistolohgodohgodstopdyingshepardthisisgettingannoying. Ahem.

On the flipside, there’s several games I loved that nobody else thought much of. Bloody Good Time I thought was fantastic, but everyone else just said that The Ship was better at everything and wrote BGT off. Project: Snowblind is a game that most people haven’t even heard of, but it was a fantastic game that scratched the Deus Ex itch I had perfectly.

I can’t be alone in this. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t understand the rest of the world’s obsession with something. So, over to you. Any medium you like, what is it that everyone else likes and you don’t or vice versa? If I’d been writing this 2 days ago I’d be also saying that I wasn’t enjoying the new Deus Ex*; from the metal side of me, I don’t understand why people go crazy for Metallica (I can listen to them, but I think they’re a bit meh), folk me doesn’t like Steeleye Span or Penguin Cafe one bit, and don’t get me started on Torchwood: Miracle Day.

*It’s alright, I worked out it was my fault, though EIDOS could have do a lot better with their plot “twists”. You can see each one coming a mile away.

Patrick Rose does games writing, sometimes does music, and waffles on Twitter. As an aside, he has a couple of game servers you can use if you want to (though they’re in Europe, so high ping ahoy!).

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  1. NVKen42 says:

    Mass Effect 3 killed the entire series in the last 20 minutes. After years of being told your in game choices matter, it turns out they really don’t. Thousands of people are beyond upset about it, and rightfully so IMHO.

  2. Johnny says:

    Probably a stupid question… did you put the difficulty to easy? I never thought of it as a challenging game. I prefer to play on the lowest setting of most games for my first play, then turning them up for multiple plays to keep it interesting. I think of games as more of an interactive story. Being frustrated and doing things over and over to get them right takes me out of that story.

  3. Patrick Rose says:

    Quick things: I’m talking about ME1, I hear that ME2 is better. I think I might have to go down the respec route, because I’m fed up of dying. I tried to play it again just so I wouldn’t make any errors due to a poor memory and enjoyed it right up until the Geth decided to start shooting at me.

  4. Johnny says:

    I love everything Mass Effect. Scratch that, everything Bioware.

    I hate everything Call of Duty

    Gears of War is meh.

    I really enjoyed Too Human.

    I couldn’t get into Oblivion.

    etc. etc.

  5. CaptainxBumout says:

    I love the Mass Effect series! I bought the first Dragon Age game and I just couldn’t get into that. I thought the character moved around like the bad 3rd person mode in Fallout and Oblivion. I sold it shortly after but I was willing to give the 2nd game a go but I haven’t as of yet.

  6. Tiffany says:

    This is going back quite a bit, but for me it would be Final Fantasy VII. I couldn’t stand that game.

    Since most of these comments ended up being about the Mass Effect series, I wish I could add an opinion; however, the fact is that I’ve never played any of those games because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them due to the genre and the outer space setting. (I have no idea why I don’t like games set in space, but I’ve always been that way.)

  7. Lady ARod says:

    Although ME2 is one of my favorite game and I realize how much greater life would be if Seth Green voiced one of my teammates, I can understand how the first hour or so can be tedious, confusing, and down right soul crushing. I completely respect your opinion and appreciate the fact that you spoke up about it.

    As for a game I’m not 100% on board with, I’d have to say mine is Oblivion. I know… Saying that may result in my lynching but I just can’t seem to get into it. Perhaps it’s because I feel betrayed by the zombies/undead (who know I love them!) constantly trying to kill me. Unhappy face… Or it could just be that there’s so much to do!

    But in all seriousness… I sometimes wonder if the complexity of newer games deter players from playing them, or at least create obstacles that slow a players pace into getting into the game. I feel like I need 10 hours just to understand how to play Oblivion. I dunno… Perhaps Angry Birds is just so damn lovable because it doesn’t demand 200 hours of your life and you hardly have to think to play it.

  8. Jay Hernandez says:

    Haters gonna hate. Idiotically.
    Just because you think something has the worst writing, does not mean it actually does. If you can write something everyone loves, you will have people hating on you too, circle of life. Til then why bitch?

  9. Mark says:

    I only like things people do not like too and I do not like things other people like as well. Let’s make a club where we sit together and talk about how our taste in things is far superior because of this.

  10. europants says:

    This is a very common opinion. The critics were generally more enthused about the game than the gamer community in general.

  11. Jan says:

    Apparently you don’t like fun things. Just kidding. I respect your opinion, but disagree with almost everything you wrote. ^^

  12. Celt0123 says:

    Play style was probably a part of it, I played ME1 as an adept first and restarted as a soldier halfway through the first mission, just too much of a pain in the ass. After I beat ME2 came out I wanted to finish as an adept so I;m really playing ME1. Its been 4 months and I’m only 75% done, its just really annoying came to modern games (read above tech issues)m but its considerable easier since I now have an assault rifle from beating it with a soldier.

    So long/short of it, won’t play ME1, might play ME2 again, can’t wait for ME3.

    And that thing about everyone liking stuff, I could make a very long list, but the three would have to be:
    1. Reality TV
    2. News channels no longer reporting any news
    3. Toy dogs

  13. Zac says:

    Everyone is just so nice here. *sniffle* I’m so amazed with the thoughtful comments here. The Nerdist has such great nerds. I’m glad to have been following Big C’s growing network these past couple of years.

  14. Roger Stafford says:

    The thing you probably didn’t like about ME1 was the technical issues. Grafically the game was impressive, storyline nd dialogue wise the game was incredible, but technically it sucked balls. Slow framerate at times, texture loading problems, getting stuck in objects and having to load an old save are just a few of the major problems with the game technically. Also you have to remember that this is an RPG trying to be a shooter so you move around kinda akwerdly. Now don’t get me wrong I love ME1 and 2 but I do completely relate to your complaints. I’m on my second play through of ME1 and I nearly threw my controller threw the Tv yesterday when I got stuck in a wall and had to re-load a save that cost me 2-3 hours of work. As for the question. For me it is always movies. I hear about films like Citizen Kane and The Godfather being among the best movies of all time and when I watch them I enjoy them but it’s just meh.

  15. Rob says:

    i loved ME 1 an 2 .
    i first actually played the 2nd one and thought it was brilliant , it got my nerd , the best thing about mass effect to me was the story and the fact that you choose the way the lead is /jerk/ is my favorite mode (weird im so nice in real life) then once i played 1 i found it was waaaaay to simple and i wouldnt have bought ME2 if i had played 1 first . but since now im sucked in to all this i have to play ME3 and looking forward to at least 24 hours of my life devoted to beating that game and getting shepard laid once more.

  16. Thomas Weiler says:

    I’ve heard of Project: Snowblind. I played Project: Snowblind. I liked Project: Snowblind.
    I’ve only played the first mission of Mass Effect so far. Doesn’t impress me as much as it probably should.

  17. C says:

    FALLOUT…I am a huge elder scrolls fan but I could not get into FAllOUT and I found the storyline dull and boring, and was spending most of my time screaming as I spent a half hour going through my inventory. (ES FTW IMO.)

  18. thatgeekj0hn says:

    While I love the Mass Effect, I do understand where you’re coming from. While everyone thought LA Noire was awesome, I thought it was just ok. There were plenty of things I didnt like and people would just say that I didnt get “it” Of course they couldnt explain what “it” was. I will say that I hated playing either mass effect on PC, but loved playing it on xbox, not sure why. I also think that sometimes you’re just not in the mood for certain games or game types and that could also be an influence. But the bottom line is, to each their own, what one person likes another might not.

  19. Robin BUrks says:

    Hey, that’s my name up there! LOL First question and forgive me if I already asked you about this. But did you play female Shepard? Because I’ve heard the story works better with the female character than the male.

    Obviously, I loved Mass Effect (and yes, I played female Shep) and thought the storytelling was stronger than in Dragon Age. It’s a different kind of story, though, so maybe this is just a case of different strokes for different folks?

    I’ll forgive you this one time, but that’s it! 😛

  20. Wade says:

    People like whatever they like I guess. So, did you mean you just didn’t like the original ME? Or you meant you didn’t like ME2 at all. Not sure I followed. I mostly liked ME, but I found that it doesn’t hold up to me after playing ME2. Although I do like the story a lot.

    Is it the deep RPG aspect to the game? It’s not a run and gun like Modern Warfare or whatever. These days, the pacing of a game like ME2 can be kind of awkward. And even having played through it 1 and a half times, I’m still not sure I am using some of the weapons correctly. What about Fallout 3 or New Vegas? Are you wanting it to have been more of a first person shoot em up?

  21. J says:

    The “allihaveisapistolohgodohgodstopdyingshepard”part makes me think you just weren’t playing the game correctly for the class that you’d chosen. If you want to give it another go, I’d suggest figuring out what style of play you prefer and then choosing a class based on that.
    Like being the tank? Go with Soldier.
    Like sending people flying from far away? Go Adept, Vanguard or Sentinal. But be forewarned that Vanguards are for heavy duty up-close style too.
    Like sniping? Soldier or Infiltrator. But in ME1 you have to crouch to get it aiming steady at lower levels.
    Want to enjoy exploding the Geth? Give Engineer, Sentinel or Infiltrator a try.

    I prefer run and gun Vanguard, myself. But that’s probably because I always wanted to play D&D as a fighter-mage.

    And pulling up the power wheel for precision aiming makes Mass Effect the only shooter-type game I can seriousy kick ass at.

  22. Zenjack says:

    You’re not alone in not liking things other people do or visa versa. Where I can’t agree with you on Mass Effect (I though the game was fantastic). I do understand liking something others hate. I love Dragon Age 2 and I think the bad rap it had been getting snowballed because of a few technical issues with the game. I think those who call themselves hardcore “gamers” just because they like to harsh on anything that others so call gamers like need to get off their couches and get a damned life.

  23. wampus says:

    I also don’t enjoy Mass Effect. I couldn’t bring myself to get past the first hour or so of ME 1. I can’t really put my finger on what’s “bad” about it in particular. Maybe it’s a combination of clunky combat and tl;dr story lines. Maybe I bought it when I just wanted a FPS and it wasn’t what I was expecting. Maybe it’s because the movement makes me slightly nauseous and I can only play for an hour or so at a time, although that didn’t impede me from liking L4D2.

  24. Lucid Gamer says:

    I only played Modern Warfare 2 and Black Ops, both which I enjoyed a lot. I really enjoyed the story though more than anything and always played through on easy because the gameplay gets old and repetitive very quickly for me.

    I also have a hard time playing ME2 where I find myself forcing to play it. Something about it just isn’t that engaging for me. I really really loved dragon age so i suspect it’s just I’m not a fan of shooters that much.

    Lastly, as a developer in the game industry I’ve found that you get a proportional amount of fans for your game based on your marketing budget. No $$$ behind the game and you don’t get a large fan base. There are exceptions both ways of course but in most cases I think you’ll find it’s almost like people are sold into thinking they must like a game.

  25. Gophergawd says:

    You monster! I would have to say the story of Mass Effect is the reason I love it so much, I am really drawn into that world. If you started with ME2 the story may have been less dramatic to you than if you started at ME1, although game mechanics in ME2 are superior. Did you play all the way through ME2? There are points early in the game I stalled at due to being low level but by the end was destroying most foes with satisfying results.

  26. Ross the Boss says:

    It says you’re a games writer at the end, but you think it’s possible that ME2 was too hard? That seems strange. I know “gamer” has expanded recently to include moms with FarmVille time on their hands, but you’ve got to be more concrete about what went wrong with Mass Effect.

    Maybe you didn’t play the first, and jumping in the story felt strange? The entirety of the first game was a trek to find out what the Reapers were, so maybe you didn’t have the same emotional/time investment that others had. That said, going back to 1 is tough, given how much better 2 was.

    I could go on thinking of reasons why someone could dislike ME2, but I won’t. You know your own reasons, I hope. And you won’t get much argument about C0D or Madden fanboys clinging to their franchises. The only company I fervently follow is Valve, and the only franchises Mario, Zelda, Metroid (+Valve)…

    And come on. Disliking Metallica? That’s almost more popular than liking them, though you’d have to denote which decade we’re talking about.

    On your last note, if you liked Deus Ex and NOT Mass Effect, that would have raised some eyebrows. They’re very similar, if 100+ years apart.

  27. This is more true for me in the boardgaming hobby. There are several games I’m not a fan of that are wildly popular – Small World, Puerto Rico, Caylus, Battlestar Galactica and Nightfall, just to name a few.