I'm done with AAA games

The last one I played was Tomb Raider, I guess, on the PS3. I had started it on PC and played for an hour and a half or so then quit. Then I got it through PS+ on the PS3 and tried it again, getting a little further. Then I had no desire to return to it. To be clear, everything I had seen and read about it since before release had me really excited for Tomb Raider. And I did like how they approached the reboot, and the concept of putting the character through the wringer. I think it’s brilliant, in theory. The execution, technically, is outstanding. And I just don’t want to play it.

Before that, I tried Red Dead Redemption on PS3 and Arkham Asylum on PC (I now have that on PS3 as well). And again, I can totally see why these games are considered among the best of their generation, but I just can’t bring myself to boot them up after I’ve put one or maybe two sessions into them.

I’ve dipped into Uncharted 1 and 2. Spent about forty-five minutes in Borderlands. Years ago I excitedly tore open a copy of Bioshock, then barely got through the first section of the game. I never finished Half Life 2.

(This is going to sound like hyperbole, but the thought of playing Assassin’s Creed makes me feel kind of nauseated.)

There’s nothing appealing about the combination of stress and banality I feel when I consider playing one of these lauded AAA games. I know this is a common analogy for games, but they really feel like amusement park rides; like I’m treading my way along the rails set out by some designer or design committee. But what game isn’t, right? Somehow the hugeness of these makes them feel more shallow, more forced. The turn-offs abound: The leveling up mechanics in games like Tomb Raider seem beyond unnecessary and tacked-on. The virtuosity of the environments and animations are often let down by the reality of movement and control in a 3D world.

So clearly, this is just a matter of taste and I’m not trying to make an argument that these aren’t great games or others shouldn’t enjoy them. I’m just not wired for these things anymore, I guess. But I don’t know how it happened, or why I wouldn’t enjoy a really well put-together big, intense game. I expect to see many in the future that make me think, “I bet that’s just spectacular,” and then I won’t give them another thought.

Anyone else?

I get what you mean by playing a game that is ‘on rails set out by design’, but I’m going to admit that I appreciate that when I’m looking for mindless entertainment. Personally, I game as a means of relaxation. Sometimes, I don’t even want a challenge. I just want to smash orcs in Mordor or climb towers in Assassin’s Creed, shoot robots in Hard Reset or click on random pixels in the latest hidden object puzzle game I’ve bought.

Now, on the days that I want more, I dig deeper into some turn-based tactical game. It can be a AAA game or something created by a small team (ex. Frozen Synapse or Batteplan: Civil War).

Usually, though, I don’t even want to think and just want to hear the ‘ding’ of accomplishments/achievements.

Excellent, more for me! That’s how that works, right?

What type of gaming experiences do you like, Nightgaunt? I’ve found myself in the same boat as you. I’ll buy some lauded AAA title when its eventually on sale for like $10 and play it for a couple hours so I can see what all the fuss was about, and then put it down and go back to something like Mount & Blade. Despite the production values, most AAA titles don’t have a sense of being able to explore the world/setting/lore the game is set in, which is something I value when I spend my time gaming. A lot of AAA titles might have a lot of work put into making an interesting setting, but you’ll see it when they want you to see it, as they want you to see it. Like Bioshock Infinite where they spoon fed it to you in little doses, as opposed to Dominions where the lore and world building is there, whether you choose to go out of your way to see it or not.

Geez, that almost has to be a proper Zoiberg quote right?

As for AAA…

What is AAA really? Where there is a design studio of at least 150 people? An epic marketing campaign? Stellar graphics?

I will be staying clear of Beyond Earth and any Total War game from now on and I guess they are AAA titles. What about the Europa Universalis 4 or Galactic Civilization 3 games? They must have a few dollars being thrown into their development? Are they AAA?

It’s probably clear there are few strategy AAA titles so it’s not hard for me to stay away from AAA :)

I’m sending AAA games back to AA to work on their plate discipline.

Yep, almost exactly the same feeling - right down to the nausea about everything AC :-P

In the last few years I’ve become increasingly aware of this alienation. Big Gaming, all the hype and excitement surrounding the AAA titles, not to mention the expensive and calculated blandness of the actual products, feel increasingly like some weird fiction – completely removed from what I love in gaming and what I want from it.

The truth is these days I play indies almost exclusively. Currently working through my Spiderweb backlog.

I’ve never said I’m done with AAA games, but they just haven’t made a game that appealed to me.

In fact, Civ going AAA with Civ V, that really seems to suck the appeal out of the game, and I think it hurt the game design.

Sometimes I think too much budget= a need to design to minimize risk, which leads to game that aren’t good enough.

I find my enjoyment of an AAA title greatly depends on the distance I can put between myself and the silly hype machine. A few years after release, the complete, fully patched edition available cheaply and nobody screaming at me how awesome it is, I can savor it on my own terms and without any expectations.

I get more enjoyment out of things made with some evident belief and passion than I do the big, slick games. My favourite games at the moment are Warframe, Divinity Original Sin and The Secret World. They have near-AAA quality, but they don’t have the feel of being calculatedly designed by a committee in service to some coked-up marketing loon.

I’m not sure civ5 being bad could be put on its budget so much as jon shafer not having the most thought out design decisions. Seems like people just hate critiquing design and just go on about selling out.

It works both ways. I wish DAO was a bit more streamlined, preferrably have the entire crafting system removed, reduce the total number of items (forks, knives, etc) and remove stealing in towns.

The fact that we will one day get Saints Row 2-4 means that AAA games have justified their own existence. That 5 will come will just ram it home more decisively.

I don’t know, games are just a diversion for me when I have free time and a good game is a good game, regardless of how many “A’s” it may or may not have. It really all depends on what one is in the mood for at the time.

I am getting pretty tired of Ubisoft’s icon-splattered mapped open world games - they are all getting to be really samey. I haven’t tried Far Cry 4 out yet, but… yeah. That’s getting weird.

I’ve been in the same boat, Nightgaunt. Being AAA doesn’t blacklist a game for me or anything, they just rarely interest me.

My latest AAA attempt was Assassins Creed Unity, which i got for free when buying my graphics card. I’ve played barely an hour of it. Doubt I’ll load it up again.

If you’re not playing AAA games though I have to wonder why you needed to upgrade your graphics card in the first place.

I have two gaming rigs at my house: the one I use and a guest machine for friends that occasionally like to drop by. The GPU in the guest machine was an old GTX 460 and was starting to show signs of going out. The one in my desktop was old as well, but a bit better (GTX 570). So I upgraded the card in my primary rig and moved the 570 to the guest machine, so that the 460 could be retired.

Plus, I figured a video card upgrade couldn’t hurt when running Elite: Dangerous and the like at 1440p. I’m also a tech enthusiast, so have a Gsync monitor on the way to play around with.

I’m playing Wolfenstein at the moment. It’s really good. It’s everything I want in a big budget shooter*. I think you just have to pick your battles these days and not expect every iteration of a series to be worth playing. The main problem as I see it is too many resources into iterations and sequels, and not enough into developing the next Arkham Asylum or Mass Effect or Far Cry 2. Hopefully with a new console generation we see a bit more ambition.

Also, I can understand most of the OP, but I cannot trust a man who didn’t finish Half-Life 2.

*They pretty much had me at dual-wielding auto-shotguns, but I admit I have simple tastes.

I have the same problem as Nightgaunt, except in my case it doesn’t limit itself to AAA games. No matter what pc-game I play, I just grow tired of it real quickly these days. New games, games I have spent hundreds of hours on, after two or three sessions I simply can’t be bothered to play on, where as a year ago, I could go on for days!

Part of my problem, if it is a problem, is that I’m currently very busy with other stuff, ‘usefull’ stuff. This made me realise that gaming, while fun, doesn’t really get me anything. It also made me realise that while I thought I was having fun playing games, and thought I was unwinding from work and relaxing, more often then not I really wasn’t… Subconsiously, I have known this for quite a while longer, but I just wasn’t ready to admit to myself that maybe I should be doing other stuff then gaming.

I sort of quit playing games, about 9 months ago now. I still play some older games (Skyrim, Xcom, Diablo 3), but for a few hours a week at most, and I haven’t bought anything new since March. I am tempted sometimes (specifically with the new expansion of WoW and with Dragon Age), but I just know I won’t have the time to play much anyway, and I’ll probably be done with these new games way to soon.

So: is it a game-problem, or a me-problem? Maybe I’m just getting old? Maybe my interests are just shifting? Maybe it’s just temporary? I don’t know, but to be honest, at the moment it doesn’t really bother me either, because I simply need the time I would otherwise have spend gaming. So if I can stop gaming without missing it too much, thats fine by me right now…

I’m done with just about everything. Which is good timing, since I have less free time these days.

I find myself writing off more and more genres each year. When you truly care about picking 10 games to play each year rather than adding everything to a backlog, it forces you to consider how to maximize your time. For me, that’s exploring new genres.