Games That Aren’t Easy To Recommend

There are some games that hit all my personal sweet spots, games that make me want to scream how good they are from the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. But sometimes there are games that come with huge caveats.

Maybe it takes a while to get to the good stuff, or they could be jam packed with super fast J-Pop. Sometimes, even if I love a game, I can’t easily recommend it.

I sat down with Stephen and Gita to discuss which games are almost impossible to recommend and why it hurts to see those beloved games fall to the wayside.

I’d love to know which games are your toughest sells when friends ask for recommendations or how you cope with being the only one who is super into Cytus II on iOS. I can’t be the only one, right?


  • Ar Tonelico II. It’s not a good game, it has sloppy UI, game-crashing bugs and an atrociously bad localization. I loved it (the elements of it that work really work for me) but it’s nearly impossible to recommend to anyone.

  • I would have to say Warframe. Just for its sheer amount of content and learning curve, making most of my friends turn away from it. Such a great game though.

    • That’s a fair call, as much as I love the game it’s become a very different creature to what it started as.
      Cant seem to take a break without a couple of new resources or features being added.

      • Yeah lol, I took a break for a few months came back and so much had happened in that time frame. Had to re teach myself lol.

  • Dwarf Fortress, very few survive the learning curve and while the “graphics” have their charm, there’s few that can overlook it.

    • I wanted to enjoy Dwarf Fortess, and tried to get into the game, but that learning curve was just too brutal. Start on the wrong map, and no amount of perseverance is going to let you survive long enough to know you were making progress.

      I keep meaning to go back to it, but something else catches my eye and it just goes back into the Pile of Shame.

      Theres no denying that theres a damn good game hidden in there, but its just so hard to get good enough to see it. Good answer to the article.

      • It took me a full month (Well afterwork and weekends) before I started to enjoy dwarf fortress.

        I still remember my first session with it, game on one screen, a vent channel with a mate who was a die-hard fan and a wiki article on another screen…I think DF is the only game that gets a pass.

  • Winter voices. It’s got the underlying skeleton of a character-focused RPG using turn-based strategy… its skill trees are exciting and provide meaningfully different approaches to combat, and the dialogue is at turns witty and mature, insightful and challenging, with choices that actually mean something to your progression. The thoughtful art and narration wedge the atmosphere directly into your brain, such that you can just about feel the environment’s chill. As an RPG, I’ve never played anything quite like it.

    But the poetry can become laboured, the pace is deliberately slow, its mechanics/puzzles sometimes fall into traps of being too predictable/easy to ‘game’, and the entire undertaking is violently and severely hamstrung by running crawling through broken glass on the fucking tempermental abomination that is Adobe Air, which will not allow itself to be hurried along by any amount of PC horsepower.

    I WILL finish the episodic series at some point, to mine it for its rich storytelling gold, but it’s a brutal exercise in self-flagellation to just attempt to play the fucking thing, much less make meaningful progress.

    If it weren’t for the demo, I could never in good conscience recommend that anyone try it out.

  • No Mans Sky. Its a very different game to what we got at launch, and I’ll recommend anyone that has it floating about go back and check it out. As soon as the games name comes up though, you open yourself up to massive negative criticism based on the release window.

    Its still also heavier on the exploration side than the shooting side, which isn’t for everyone. That always made it hard to recommend.

    • See, I initially really enjoyed the exploration side, but once you visited a few dozen planets, the scales sort of fell away and the ‘exploration’ became about as meaningful as rolling dice, without any goal or context. Oh look, it’s 4 this time. I wonder what the next dice-roll will be… twelve!

      But it’s always the same number of dice, with the same number of faces. Just different combinations that you eventually grow numb to.
      “Oh, the annoying aggressive bug predators have eye-stalks this time.”
      “Well that’s an interesting latin’ish name for the identical spitting vine plant.”

      It’s like seeing the code of the matrix or something. Especially when the god-awful pop-in meant that it felt like the game was actually generating the thing in front of your eyes, creating outposts because the random number generator said it was about time you encountered an outpost, rather than because there was some reason for whoever placed it there to want to put one there – proximity to landmarks, resources, suppy lines or whatever. It just made the whole thing feel so bloody random and pointless, like someone had taken a bunch of monopoly houses and thrown them at a blob of clay.

      By the end, my only real driving goal was to complete learning the different languages.

      • That’s what makes it hard to recommend. That repetitiveness is still there, but it was always going to be. Its the most consistent thing since it was originally seen at E3. Everything around it has been fleshed out a lot since launch though. If you just look at that side of it, the game really hasn’t changed, and its hit and miss depending on the person.

        For me, I went from trying to find every object on a planet, to just happy to be the founder of the planet and moving on. The individual species/rocks/plants meant nothing to me. I might scan whatevers in the vicinity when I landed, but that was it. Time on a planet is spent gathering resources if I need them, or trading up to a better ship. That sort of thing.

        The changes to housing, portals (think Stargate. No, really), basic story, and so on do a much better job of disguising the repetition though, and they’re adding to it regularly. They could have just abandoned it, but they haven’t, and some credit is deserved for that.

        As I said, if people are still judging the game by the launch experience, I suggest giving it another run now. Theres plenty more, down to a hardcore mode and sandbox mode. You may still come across the same limitations and be turned away, but you may not.

  • For me Nier is the one that’s hard to recommend. Not Nier Automata, but the original one. They’ve shoved so many different concepts into that game that makes it hard to recommend. At it’s core it’s an Action RPG, but honestly it doesn’t really do that very well. It’s grindy, with weird difficulty progression, disjointed playstyles (Visual Novel section anyone?), but for some reason all of those faults made the game more personable and memorable to me. Plus the soundtrack is my favourite of all time.

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