Years ago. I made the decision to beat all my games, or come as close as I was able to. This turned out to be a pretty big undertaking. Like I said, it’s been years, I’ve been going by console generation, and I’m still working through my collection from two generations ago. Since then, I have played hundreds of games. Beaten hundreds of games. And as much as I have impeccable taste, there are still some bad ones that slipped through. Sure, there were a few I wasn’t actually able to beat. There were a handful I couldn’t bear to go all the way through. There were a couple I called completed just because I technically saw everything the game had to offer, and couldn’t bear to truly complete it.
Even so, in the time I’ve been taking on this quest, I have beaten nearly every game I’ve owned. Even the horrible, miserable, foul games that made me question my faith in a kind and loving God forevermore, I endured, and I conquered. I have defeated Fur Fighters. Overcome Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub Zero. Thoroughly plumbed the depths of Wrestlemania X8. I have seen some of the darkest parts of the world of video games.
Why, then, is it Baldur’s Gate, one of the most highly regarded games out there, that I just can’t bear to force myself through any longer?
There are a lot of people who like this game, for very good reason. Even people who, like myself, never played it in its proper era. People who love the story, get really into the world, even people who enjoy all the prep-work the game’s combat is based on, all things I’d normally enjoy myself.
But in trying to figure out why people liked the game when I just could not, reading over what people were saying about it felt like I had somehow ended up with a completely different game than anyone else. The world that people loved, in what time I played I just saw standard fantasy forests and villages, with no more details than you could see anywhere else. The plot? They had some interesting things with the iron crisis, but I cleared that up and I never got the story past the base that some jerk killed my dad and wanted to kill me. Both of those could have become something good, but I’ll never know, because neither of them managed to go anywhere in the first ten hours I spent playing the game. Neither did the gameplay. I was a mage. I had one spell slot. I could cast one spell a day, then I was completely useless. First level D&D 3.5E was always really weak on the first level, and that stretches out so long here.
I’d love to jump into the middle of this. I’d love to see the game everyone else enjoys so much. This is one of the favorite games of a great swath of people, and there has to be good reason for that. It has to turn into something great later on.
But as much as I enjoy a good slow-paced story, 10 hours without giving me anything is a little too much. I don’t know if I’ve ever played a game that’s so slow about everything. I spent ten hours with this great, wondrous, award winning game, and did not come across a single hook. This game is amazing. I was bored out of my skull. Everyone loves it. I could not go on. I have finished so much worse, and I will likely never beat this game, or play its sequel.
It goes to show, the critical success, the popularity, it’s no guarantee that you’ll find the experience enjoyable. People like different things. And that’s a beautiful thing. And sometimes, it’s okay not to like something. Even when the whole world disagrees with you.