The recently released Fire Emblem: Awakening on the 3DS comes with six possible difficulty settings. There’s ‘Normal’, ‘Hard’ and ‘Insane’, and on each of them you can either turn ‘Casual’ mode on or off, which toggles whether or not the characters who die during battles stay dead.
Death has always been a major part of every Fire Emblem, bar this one and the last one (a DS release that never made it outside of Japan, for some reason). If you lose a member of your team in battle, you can either restart the fight in the hopes of not having them die, or you can move on without that character for the rest of the game. Consequently, my in game clock’s play time is about half of what my 3DS’ Activity Log reports.
As an experienced Fire Emblem player, ‘Casual Mode’ seems almost blasphemous. Yet director Genki Yokota admitted in an April interview that, despite initially feeling the same way, this choice has ultimately opened up the game to new players.
Accessibility is something I’ve spoken about on here before, but it’s something Fire Emblem, I think, has handled very elegantly. Still, my embracing of the harder style of Fire Emblem gameplay, and the idea that some other people just can’t do this, has got me thinking about the games that I just can’t ever seem to bring myself to play.
For a long time now, I’ve struggled with big RPGs. I played Fallout 3 and Skyrim for about five hours each and loved them, but stopped because there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Similarly, I was sent a copy of Dragon’s Dogma Dark Arisen last week, and while it looks staggeringly brilliant the idea of sinking into another huge RPG terrifies me. I put this down to my enormous backlog, more than anything -- the time I could spend making a dent in any of these worlds could be spent finishing one of the many, many other games I have sitting around.
This is, of course, a rare privilege that comes from a combination of being a lucky game reviewer and having a poor grasp of both time and economics. But then, it’s not just big RPGs that I avoid for their time sink potential: I’ve had The Simpsons Tapped Out on my phone since before it even properly launched. I am yet to open it up, because I learned some lessons from my crippling Jetpack Joyride addiction.
And then, you have games like Dark Souls. I want to play Dark Souls. I want to love it the way the rest of you do. But the idea of actually going through with it just makes me feel anxious. Along similar lines, I’d love to go back to Far Cry 2 but probably never will. When I played it on 360, the restrictive save system intimidated the hell out of me. Starting the game up started to seem like a huge time investment.
Perhaps my reasoning is silly. Maybe, one day, I’ll come back to all of these games.
But I want to know -- which games have you had sitting on your shelves or in your digital collections for a long time that you simply can’t bring yourself to play, even though a part of you really wants to give them the time you believe they deserve?