This may sting a little
So, we all have "our thing", our tick, our compulsions. This is a little story about my biggest one. I'm a bit of a completionist when it comes to video games, as I'm sure some of you reading this are as well. Now, that's not to say that I go through and complete every single achievement in every single game I play - this is a topic for another post (possibly). No, this is more in the sense of finding secrets, completing all of the objectives/missions/quests, doing all of the difficulty options and playing all of the games that are in a series.
This isn't inherently a bad thing, at least not for the makers of these games, they're getting their money out of me after all.
This is a bit of an issue in the regards that it causes a massive back log of games for me - a log I may share at some point. Some of the games are much older titles that I have been dying to get through and some are much more recent titles. Being a father/husband and working a normal 40 hour/week job along with my other projects and such takes up most of my time as well (I know I'm not alone in this at all). So, you can imagine that I've been a bit lacking in this "completionist" title I speak of.
What is the issue here?
Recently I have felt a bit out of sorts. I've started playing a few games, but not finishing them. It pains me to say that, but I honestly just haven't found the time to worry about difficult spots or boss fights or anything else that has halted my progress (including a lack of interest) and instead have chosen to put the game down for the time being.
This is not like me at all. I haven't ever given up on a game, no matter how hard they've gotten. The most recent titles to fall by the wayside are Megaman 11 and The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Now, I love both of these games and I've played through pretty much every other game in both of their respective series - I haven't played the X-series games for megaman, nor have I played Skyward Sword. These aren't the only games I have given up on, but these are the two that hit me the hardest.
As I have stated already, a couple of times, I'm a completionist. These are two of my all time favorite game franchises. Why can't I force myself to just complete these games? They're not the most difficult games out there by any means, and yet I've gotten stuck in both games and forced myself to put them down (mostly out of fear of smashing my Switch on the ground in pure frustration).
What seems to be causing you to stop playing Breath of the Wild?
This is where it gets a little harder for me to talk about. These stopping points for each game are probably the simplest little things to overcome and yet I just can't seem to get through them. For Zelda it's partly the overall scale of the game. As I said, I have a lot going on in my life and can't really dedicate the amount of time this game requires you to put into it at this point.
The next issue I have is a simple, single word, that you'll probably laugh about as you read it. Now, I haven't looked up any walkthroughs or guides, I enjoy the challenge of solving these kinds of issues on my own. So you can possibly understand my frustration with this part of the game. I may have missed a shrine or some sort of tutorial that would make this a little easier, but at this point in the game I feel that I SHOULD have seen the necessary maneuvers to complete this task.
That one simple word I was speaking of earlier: Lynel
<< [This guy.] [Not him, this is his much easier little brother from the original game] >>
Alright, now that you've gotten your chuckle in, let me explain; these guys will kill you in just a couple of hits (1 - 2 if you're not geared at all). Though their moves are telegraphed, there's no explaination as to how you counter them, nor how many times you can hit them (or where) before he will strike again. Now, I know this seems like a good time to just experiment and see what works and what doesn't. Let me tell you, I experimented... a lot.
This is the number of tries I gave to defeating the first Lynel I came across. No, I'm not exaggerating either, I actually counted as I played. I nearly smashed my pro controller on the floor in frustration. I tried using different arrows, shielding, parrying (my timing isn't the greatest with this by the way), bombs and all other manner of tools at my disposal. I would do minimal damage each time before being sent into oblivion by his sword that is the size of a three-story home.
This isn't meant to be a complaint about game design, or some sort of way for me to air my grievances about the game.
No, I'm simply letting you all know about my frustration with myself. I would love to finish this game, but until I figure out this guy, it just ain't gonna happen.
Alright, that's reasonable. What about Mega Man?
This one is going to be a lot more general. There is no real one word answer for why I put down this game. It's not a hard explanation or anything, it's just a lack of skill (or at least I think that's all it is).
We all like to think that we're good at things after a little bit of practice. Put some time in, get the desired result you want out, that's a pretty basic equation right? Well, in single player video games it seems to be the case that after your first couple of hours you should know how to beat the majority of the game. Some bosses may present different issues, some levels may have different mechanics you haven't seen yet, but for the most part you know what to expect after your few introductory hours.
That's how I felt going in to Mega Man 11. It's been a handful of years since I've played a Mega Man game (Mega Man 10 came out 8 1/2 years before 11), but I remember how the play them fairly well. That was my thought at least. So I chose to start with what I thought would be a somewhat easy level/boss in order to get a power under my belt and get my feet wet. That first triumph would feel so sweet, so satisfying! If only it happened...
Not knowing where to start, but having somewhat of an idea, I went with Block Man first.
I mean, come on... This guy? He should be a breeze!
I overestimated myself...
I completed the level after a couple of tries. The platforming was tight, the gunplay felt good, enemy variance was nice. Overall I was really enjoying the game so far. I cleared each area, finding as many goodies as I could (remember, this is about being a completionist after all!). Then came time for the boss.
The first part was simple, he would run back and forth a bit, you'd shoot him and then slide under him when he jumps. Easy, right?
Yea... well, that little, wimpy looking guy from before turns into a behemoth.
I know that for you veteran Mega Man players who keep up with the series and probably play it far more regularly than myself this guy is a joke. You can more than likely blast through this boss without losing much, if any, health. Well, for me, once he transformed I was dead within about 5 seconds. So I restarted at the checkpoint, made my way back to him and started again. I beat phase 1 with ease again. Then came this giant. Once again I was dead quickly. Though I managed to hit the huge red circle on him a couple of times this time around.
So, I tried again and again... and again......... and again. Finally I decided this boss needed to be skipped for now and to try another one. I moved on and attempted to do Impact Man. I mean, he had drills for hands, maybe he would help me with Block Man, maybe I was doing them out of order.
I get into the level and I struggle to get to the first check point. This level was much harder for me than Block Man's was. It was still fun to platform and shoot at the baddies, but those baddies weren't quite as pleasant as the others were. The stage also presented it's own set of challenges. I eventually managed to get through all of that and meet this little fellow here:
He fires off some projectiles and attempts to run from one side of the stage to the other to run you over. Sounds simple enough. Well, I couldn't get past his first phase. I jumped, I slid, I tried to use the slow time mechanic, I tried everything I could think of. I just couldn't beat this guy. *Quick note, I realize now that I was doing them in the right order and should have just kept going as I was.*
I gave it the old college try, playing it out for several attempts before finally giving up on him. This held true for the other bosses in the game. I have not yet beaten a single one of them and I bought this game back in October of 2018, about a week after it was released.
So basically you're telling us that you suck at video games...
Yes... well... n-no. I'm trying to say that I've given up on these titles for now, but I do intend to clear them in the future. I also intended for this post to be more of an "accepting our shortcomings" type of post. I push myself constantly to do my best, to complete everything I attempt and the reality is that it won't ever happen. At least not in a short amount of time, which is usually the time frame I give myself for games and projects to take shape before ultimately surrendering to them. I'm sure that given a solid weekend I could complete Mega Man 11, or given a few nights I could probably finally topple the Lynel. But I know that as of right now, I do not have the skill (or time to acquire that skill) to complete these games.
This is by no means a complaint about these games, I think they're both amazing, beautiful pieces of art in their own rights and deserve all of the praise they have received. I just wish I could commit the time to complete them for myself and have the satisfaction of finishing off the latest games in two of my favorite franchises.
If there is one thing that I have learned, it's this; Sometimes, all you need to do is take a break, reevaluate and get back to it.
Having said that, I will be picking up BotW again soon and this time I will put as much time as I can reserve for it into completing it.
Because in the end... I am a completionist.