I know I am not alone when I look at the growing backlog of games that I own and among that piles of games are some gems that I wish I could find the time to go back and finish but after years of being in denial I have moved onto acceptance that if I want to continue playing newly released games then quite simply, I will never finish some of the best games ever made. Through this series of articles I will list my top 10 games for each major platform that I have started but never completed. Some games I will have played merely the intro and tutorial whereas with others I have ploughed hours into them but for one reason or another never went back to them.
This timearound it is my favourite gaming platform, the PC. I have tried to list 10 games that are exclusive to the PC but as you can see there are a couple of multi-platform games within my top 10. The games are in no particular order but I would like to hear from you if you started any of these and never completed them. Please try and make your comments spoiler free.
Half-Life 2: I have lost count of how many times I have returned to Half Life 2 in a an effort to complete it. It has been a minor miracle that I have managed to avoid any storyline spoilers since it was released but it becomes harder and harder to avoid articles that mention the ending or the twist. When Half Life 2 was first released my sound card struggled with it and the sound looped and jumped so I gave up and returned to it after an upgrade. I got really far then a hardware failure meant I have to restart. Repeat this situation more than 10 times and you have an idea of where I have got to. At the last attempt I installed a high texture pack and got to City 17 to the point where I discovered I had been double crossed. I think I am very very near the end but that save game was over 2 years ago and I can’t find it now and don’t know if I can face working my way up to this point again. Episodes 1 & 2 are still sitting on my shelf awaiting installation.
Dragon Age Origins: This was a Christmas present a couple of years ago and long after most of my gaming friends had completed it, I finally installed it and pushed the sliders up to maximum setting to enjoy the game. It looked fantastic and I was really enjoying it but an annoyance that I just couldn’t forgive was that the text was tiny on my 1920×1200 setup. I must have played about 5-6 hours before giving up awaiting a patch. Dragon Age 2 is now out and I feel the urge to continue my original Dragon Age: Origins quest but will I?
Fallout 3: Another Christmas present from my wife (have i mentioned how great she is at buying me the best games?). Installed the game, installed the hi-res texture pack and just loved the game. Maybe as many as 10 hours of gameplay have passed in my Fallout 3 playthrough but it was just one of those games that unless I knew I could devote at least 2 hours at a time then I didn’t even bother booting it up. Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and after a year I decided to play it again only to discover the Games for Windows Live! had screwed up and lost my save game. I tried to start again but just couldn’t get into it again.
Homeworld: An RTS set in 3D space, oh how I loved the concept and at the time the graphics were groundbreaking. Here was my favourite genre, real time strategy, set in real 3D for the first time. I remember spending hours just spinning the camera around some of my ships. One of the features of the game was that the size of your fleet at the start of each level was dependent on how you had finished the previous level. I found myself with a small fleet deep into the game and didn’t have a save file that I could fall back on to replay the last level to see if I could have a better advantage on the level that kept kicking my ass. Alas, I never returned to Homeworld and it’s one of those game I keep my fingers crossed for a modern reboot or even a 3rd game in the series to be announced.
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic: A Bioware masterpiece set in the Star Wars universe. Similar to Fallout 3 and Dragon Age, here is a game which could eat more than 40 or 50 hours of my life if I let it. Unfortunately to dedicate that sort of time to a game at my stage of life would mean a month to two months of ignoring any new releases. Something which is never going to happen. Despite picking this up for pennies in one of the many Steam sales my total gameplay time for SW:KOTOR cannot be more than 2, maybe 3 hours.
Return To Castle Wolfenstein: I think I must have only played the first two levels of this game but the storyline of battling the Nazis and the occult really fascinates me. Recent Call of Duty games have stole some of RTCW’s thunder with their zombies DLC but I still wish I had the time to play this game. I had missed out on Wolfenstein the first time it was released and at the time, many gaming magazines were previewing Return To Castle Wolfenstein as a chance to relive the classic for those who missed out the first time.
Black & White: Another one of Peter Molyneux’s flawed master pieces. Black and White put you in the position of a god looking over your people. The new twist to this game was the addition of a large creature which you commanded and your followers worshipped or feared. This was one of the first games I remember incorporating a good and evil choice tree that impacted how the game world react to you. I got to the second last level, about to enter the portal that would move me to that final island when a game breaking bug attacked. My creature went through the portal but the game did not recognise this had happened and left me with a leash with no creature and no way to progress. no way was I replaying that game to get to that point again, what a shame.
Far Cry: When Far Cry was released my PC setup was not capable of running at the highest settings and I really tried to perservere for a while on the lower settings but in the back of my mind I knew I was missing out on what was possibly the best looking game at the time. So an upgrade or two meant I could now do the game justice but like many of my games listed here, I somehow lost the save file which was about halfway through the main story. I tried a few times over the years to replay this but it just feels so dated now that I fear I missed out on a FPS which had a lot of influence on how the genre plays today.
Mafia: Taking a sandbox world similar to Grand Theft Auto 3 and wrapping it in a gangster storyline was always going to be a hit with me but the frame rates were horrible on my PC at the time and the cars were so slow that I lost interest after a couple of hours. I probably spent more time checking out the reflection of the two towers in my car than I did playing the game. The storyline is regarded as one of the finest gangster video game stories ever told but I am afraid I will never experience it first hand now. I have started playing the sequel and if I loaded up the original game I expect I would be so disappointed at how the graphics have aged so much that I may not be able to play it.
Doom 3: Oh how Doom 3 scared me so much. I was lucky to have a PC at the time where I could turn everything up the the maximum and experience Doom 3 the way it was meant to be played. Which meant creeping around every corner and hitting quick save with each enemy I dispatched. The use of lighting was marvelous in this game and I loved how I was forced to alternate between the torch and my weapon. However a modder ruined this experience by releasing the duct tape mod which meant you could tape the torch to your gun, effectively ruining the experience in one foul swoop. I’m about 75% of the way through but its now been over 4 years since I last had an attempt at completing Doom 3.
So tell me, should I dedicate time to go back and complete any of the 10 named games? Or are you in the same boat and have started but never finished some PC classics that you wish you could find the time to revisit?
Next up is the Xbox 360. Which 10 games will I pick?