I’m just going to say it: Comfort zones are overrated. Some of my most cherished gaming experiences have stemmed from titles I typically wouldn’t have given the time of day prior to trying them out. Games like Days Gone, which I pontificated about just one of the dozen memorable experiences I have had during it on the first ‘Storytime with Alexx’ last week, are in theory something I shouldn’t like in the slightest but become absolutely enamoured by given half a chance.
I talked about five games I came out my comfort zone for in May 2019, two negative experiences and three positive ones, and so this week I want talk about another five I have had since then. The first entry is of course Days Gone, and while I could repeat myself from last week and knock off for an early lunch instead you can read all about it here.
Another game I give regular tongue baths to so I’ll keep this entry as clear and concise as possible. The story and world building packed within this Hideo Kojima helmed game are nothing shy of awe-inspiring. A larger than life cast of characters driving forward a frankly insane plot that kicks off with a second Big Bang and just gets weirder from there, this is simply not an experience you want to pass on.
Yes, there is a lot of walking in the game but it is important to stipulate that the amount of background mechanics constantly in motion, like maintaining balance and responding to changing terrain, alongside the continuous raising of stakes means that a simple trek across a couple of miles can be as stimulating as a shoot-out in other games.
If you’re in the market for a game which will allow you to chug Monster Energy drink and then throw grenades made from your own urine at ghosts within five minutes then this is most certainly the game for you!
As you will no doubt be aware, not all games you venture out of your comfort zone for will provide a positive experience. I picked up Borderlands 3 on the same day (last Black Friday) I acquired Days Gone, both games I was only mildly interested in which conveniently had their prices cut as aggressively as a mop-top by a cocaine infused barber.
Looter shooters aren’t new to me as I had a fun couple of hours with the first Destiny as described in my previous comfort zone feature from 2019. The difference here is that where Destiny was entirely new to me, I did have some experience with the Borderlands franchise already having played and not enjoyed part of the first game. While the gameplay was intentionally entirely different I had also played the Telltale Tales From The Borderlands, so had a basic knowledge of the world of Pandora, which was my second favourite Telltale game prior to their unfortunate closure.
Guardians of the Galaxy was the best, and no it isn’t up for debate.
The above considered I was fairly sure going in that the gameplay wouldn’t do much for me but the story likely would. It wasn’t to be however, and after being shouted at by in-game mission givers for a couple of hours I decided to pack it in and uninstall. I can see why other players will like it but it’s definitely not for me. Moving on..
If you’re a regular reader of mine then I can already sense you rolling your eyes and groaning at the fact I bothered to play this game in the first place. To those unsure what I mean, Hellpoint is very much a Soulsborne inspired game, and hard games and I go together as well as a peanut butter and petrol sandwich.
Not only did I take a chance on playing Hellpoint, I was asked to review it for the site as I had an Xbox One and a couple days to spare while on furlough last summer. The plan was simple; I would review it from the perspective of a player who shuns the slightest difficulty increase in games, meanwhile Javier could discuss its pros and cons with the experience of someone who has played every Soulsborne to death, no pun intended.
As you’d expect I gave the game a very tough time after the first boss wiped the floor with me even after several hours of grinding the mouth-breathers peppered around the opening area. I allowed myself to become so convinced that the boss (I referred to her as the ‘Electric Bitch’ in my review / rant) would meet her doom in my final attempt facing her that when she electrocuted me to death for the hundredth time I launched my controller into a nearby bin so hard that it still rattles to this day.
Hard games were not, are not and likely never will be games I enjoy, though you can’t fault me for trying! (Yes you can)
Red Dead Redemption 2
‘Oh great, here comes Grand Theft Auto: Horse 2’ I complained upon the announcement of this game. I didn’t give the first Red Dead Redemption much of a chance before deciding I hated it back in 2010, and was convinced no force on Earth could compel me to play, let alone enjoy the new instalment.
This is the third game on this list that the kind hand of fate called Black Friday reached out to and slashed its price to such a degree even I had to admit it was worth a go and purchase it. The thinking behind the decision was solely that by playing the game it would grant me more license to give it another hard time for having the audacity to exist in a world clamouring for Grand Theft Auto 6.
How. Wrong. I. Was.
I love Red Dead Redemption 2. From its huge gorgeous map to its deep RPG elements, but most importantly, I love Arthur Morgan. He had always been a great protagonist to play as but it was the slow and steady character development which kept hammering home that despite his flaws, occasional aggression and questionable morals, he remained a good man unblemished by Dutch van der Linde’s shoddy leadership.
There is nothing I would change about my experience with Red Dead Redemption 2, aside from the fact I would have played it at launch instead of whining about its existence for years beforehand.
Days Gone, Dishonored and Red Dead Redemption 2 are games I might never have played, and came so close to not discovering how important they would become to me years later as treasured gaming memories.
I hope these examples have been entertaining, and demonstrated my point on the importance of getting out of your comfort zone as often as you can. Not all new experiences are going to be winners, but there are diamonds out there that make it worth any disappointments you encounter on the road to finding them.
Let me know what games you came out of your comfort zone for in the comments below or on Twitter @RespawningUK and I’ll be back next week so I will catch you then!