Top 10 Games I Enjoyed but Never Finished
Image source: Suzy Hazelwood

Top 10 Games I Enjoyed but Never Finished

Sometimes you’re playing a game and you just need to drop your playthrough before you finish it. A lot of us have probably done this. This doesn’t always mean it’s a bad game though, I’ve stopped playing games before I finished them even if I was enjoying it. Maybe it’s a difficult boss battle, maybe it’s the gameplay in general, or maybe there’s just another more exciting game you want to play instead. There are lots of reasons to stop playing a game you enjoy. The following is just a short list of games I enjoyed playing, but never finished for one reason or another.

These aren’t really in any specific order, although I would say that #1 is probably the game I most regret never finishing!

My list was inspired by gamergal.exe’s list with the same premise, which you can check out over on their blog here!

10. Alan Wake

  • Developer: Remedy Entertainment
  • Release: February 16, 2012
  • Platform: PC

Alan Wake was okay. The story seemed genuinely interesting, and I did enjoy what I saw, but the gameplay never had me hooked. The atmosphere was also cool, but playing the game just wasn’t doing anything for me. Once I realized the gameplay wasn’t going to click with me, it didn’t take me long to drop my playthrough.

9. Phantasy Star

  • Developer: SEGA
  • Release: November, 1988
  • Platform: SEGA Master System

I’d played some of Phantasy Star II on a PC compilation SEGA released in the early 2000s. The first game in the series, Phantasy Star, I’d had no exposure to until much more recently. On a whim, I decided I wanted to see the series’ roots.

Playing through with a guide, I enjoyed this game as a cool romp through video game history. It’s an early RPG, and it’s cool to see a lot of staple RPG mechanics even back in the early days of console RPGs. In the end I ended my playthrough because I decided I’d seen enough, and while playing through with a guide was fun, it wasn’t much different than watching a playthrough of it online. If I recall correctly, I did watch the ending of the game online, just to see the conclusion.

8. LEGO Jurassic World

  • Developer: TT Fusion
  • Release: June 10, 2015
  • Platform: Xbox 360

PatronusLight and I love playing LEGO video games together, but for whatever reason LEGO Jurassic World is one we started, but then never played again! I attribute this to a few things. Our copy is on Xbox 360, and was a Christmas gift. But, at the time we got it, our Xbox 360 gaming days were coming to an end. I had just built a mid-range gaming PC and begun building my Steam library, so a lot of my gaming was happening on PC. We also had recently bought a PS3, so my PS3 gaming days were just beginning. Those factors combined to essentially make us both forget about LEGO Jurassic World, which is a shame because it covers not only Jurassic World, but also the 3 Jurassic Park films, all of which I enjoy.

7. The Guided Fate Paradox

  • Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Release: November 5, 2013
  • Platform: PlayStation 3

This is a roguelike game on the PS3, and it was pretty fun! It’s hugely anime, a lot of the characters are the embodiment of one anime trope or another. The gameplay was fun too, exploring dungeons and gathering experience and equipment.

In roguelike fashion, each dungeon starts you off at level 1. But, you can gain permanent stat boosts and upgrades for your character that persist across dungeon runs using the rewards you get from returning alive from a dungeon. I don’t remember all of the mechanics anymore, since it’s been a while since I played it. I think what drove me away was a combination of getting distracted by other games I got close to the same time, and the difficulty. You definitely have to do some grinding here, things get pretty tough otherwise!

6. Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic

  • Developer: Triumph Studios
  • Release: July 25, 2003
  • Platform: PC

Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic is the third game released in the Age of Wonders series. I’m pretty sure I got my copy at a school book fair in middle school. Wherever I got it from, it made quite an impression. Between the magic-filled fantasy world, the tactical combat, city management, and role-playing elements, I was blown away by the whole package. Seriously, wizards and magic in Age of Wonders are awesome, Wizard’s Towers are so tall, it was the coolest thing ever when I was a kid and it kind of still is. Anyway, the combination of all these gameplay elements also meant that it was a lot to juggle, and I was never able to finish all the campaign missions.

I still have a lot of nostalgia for this game, but realistically I’ll never finish it. From the hours I poured into as a kid, it feels like I’ll just never be very good at this game. Maybe I’ll play it a bit more someday for nostalgia’s sake, but chances are I’ll end up trying the next game in the series - Age of Wonders III - to experience something new before I ever play Shadow Magic again.

5. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks

  • Developer: Nintendo EAD
  • Release: December 7, 2009
  • Platform: Nintendo DS

Spirit Tracks has a lot of really cool, unique elements for the series. For one, trains are a central part of the game, and these don’t often, if ever, feature in The Legend of Zelda. Secondly, Zelda takes a larger role in the adventure here, but she’s a ghost for much of it!

I honestly don’t remember why I stopped playing this game. From what I remember, it was pretty fun and I did enjoy it. At some point I must have gotten distracted by another game or something, and just left my Spirit Tracks playthrough by the wayside.

4. Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest

  • Developer: Rare
  • Release: November 20, 1995
  • Platform: SNES

I like platformers like Donkey Kong Country 2 quite a bit. Modern platformers like Super Meat Boy or Slime-San have shifted the balance of gameplay to require extreme practice or skill, and are designed with the expectation that you’ll fail a lot before you can complete an individual level. Platformers like Super Mario World or Donkey Kong Country can have some difficulty, but I think overall their design doesn’t require anywhere near the perfection that some modern platformers do. Personally, I enjoy the style of Super Mario World or Donkey Kong Country a lot more.

So, in my youth I played a decent chunk of Donkey Kong Country 2. Despite my efforts, I was never able to complete it though! At the time, I just couldn’t make it past certain levels! I think I got somewhat close to the end, I sort of remember reaching the K. Rool’s Keep world, but I never made it any further. This was the only Donkey Kong Country game I had on SNES, though I remember renting Donkey Kong Country 3 from a video store at least once. Due to its presence in my childhood, I do like the idea of completing Donkey Kong Country 2 someday. It’s possible I’ll revisit it at some point in the future.

3. Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen

  • Developer: Capcom
  • Release: January 15, 2016
  • Platform: PC

I thought everything in Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen was fun and exciting. I liked its gameplay mechanics and medieval fantasy setting. The idea of climbing on a monster’s back to strike at it during combat is really cool, and Dragon’s Dogma allows you to do exactly that! But, after playing it for a bit, I got to a point where I just felt stuck.

To be honest, I didn’t really know how to advance the main quest at that point. I had a marker on my map far in the distance, but I couldn’t figure out how to reach it. After some aimless wandering about, eventually I just called it quits and uninstalled it. Its not out of the question for me to give Dragon’s Dogma another try someday, but its not at the top of my to-do list. For what its worth though, I really enjoyed what I played of it!

2. How To Survive

  • Developer: Eko Software
  • Release: October 23, 2013
  • Platform: PC

I think the reason I quit How to Survive was a boss battle near (or at?) the end of the game. The third-person survival action was something I enjoyed a lot throughout the rest of the game, but once I hit that point I guess I’d had enough and considered my knowledge of How To Survive adequate.

1. Super Mario RPG The Legend of the Seven Stars

  • Developer: Square
  • Release: May 13, 1996
  • Platform: Super Nintendo

Super Mario RPG is a game I loved playing on the SNES. Despite this, it’s also a game I never completed. I think the reasons why probably boil down to my inexperience when I originally played it. I got all the way to the final boss, but I just could not defeat them as a kid. Since then, I’ve replayed Super Mario RPG via emulation, only to get stuck on what I think is some weird emulation bug, because I can’t make it past a late game area!

In the end, this is the game I’m most disappointed I never finished, as I’ve always enjoyed it a lot, yet I’ve still never reached the ending!

Ben

(bsinky)
Ben
The self-proclaimed "Guy with the Backlog", as of this writing his Steam backlog is slowly growing to the point of consuming him. Meanwhile, he spends most of his time trying to catch up on the retro classics he missed, as well as replaying the games he grew up with.

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