From The Armchair: Leaving Things Unfinished

ArmchairWhat ho, chums!

After struggling to enjoy Assassin’s Creed III, I finally decided to permanently shelve the game this week. It’s not often that I’ll leave a game unfinished – I hate abandoning things halfway through, and the same goes for TV series, books and pretty much anything really. So that gives you an indication of just how much Assassin’s Creed III was irritating me: you should have heard the names I was calling Connor the other night when I directed him to air assassinate General Pitcairn, only for him to leap onto the back of Pitcairn’s horse instead. Presumably, when I pressed the button marked “assassinate” he interpreted it as a command to “ride off into the sunset with the target and live happily ever after”. Actually, perhaps they should introduce a button that does specifically that, might make a change from all the murdering.

Still, all this irritation got me thinking of the select club of other games I’ve given the old heave ho while halfway through. There are a few that have been so mind-bendingly difficult that it was all but impossible to get to the end: old school games like Kid Icarus, Castlevania and Mega Man 6 spring to mind. Having said that, I’m proud to say that I finished Battletoads on the NES all those years ago – I guess paying £45 for it in 1990s money was enough incentive to see that bastard-hard game through right to the end.

Possibly the most infuriating moment was leaving Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic unfinished. I’d borrowed it from a friend, but I was just about to head off and live in Japan, so I had to give it back when I was right near the end – just before the infamous twist, as I found out later. I always vowed to buy it myself and go back to finish it off, but I never did.

I almost gave up on Deus Ex: Human Revolution a couple of times because it annoyed me so much, but in the end I saw it through. The same can’t be said of Jade Empire, which I began and enjoyed, but I just couldn’t face the idea of pouring 60 hours of my life into it when there were so many newer games around that I wanted to play more (I bought the game a long time after it was released). The same was true of GTA: San Andreas and GTA: Vice City Stories – once something has been sitting unplayed on your game shelf for long enough, the excitement at playing it dwindles down to nothing, especially as newer and more interesting games begin to emerge. I recently got rid of a slew of old PS2 games that I was partway through, simply because I had no idea when I would find the time to play them. I also remember parting with Half-Life because it just became too frustrating, even though the start of the game was fantastic.

So what games have you left unfinished, and why? And are there any you wish you could go back to?

Toodle-pip for now!

Did you ever finish Half-Life?
Did you ever finish Half-Life?


  1. Every Assassin’s Creed game I’ve played (1, 3 and 4), every Final Fantasy I’ve played post FFVII, most survival horror (exception Silent Hill 2). Ridiculously hard boss battles and random difficulty spikes are what often kills a game for me. Although sometimes something new and shiny comes along and then I just can’t get back into the mindset of a good game (sorry Dark Souls and Dishonoured)

    1. A serial unfinisher! I should also add the Final Fantasy games to my list – in the past I’ve started playing Final Fantasy VI, VII and X only to give up on each within a couple of hours at most. I generally like JRPGs, but I’ve just never been able to get on with Final Fantasy. Just too many cut scenes, I think.

  2. I just never quite got Final Fantasy VII – but pretty much everyone I know absolutely loved it. It’s the same thing with Frozen – I absolutely hated that film, yet everyone seems to rave about it, even critics like Mark Kermode. That and FFVII are two of those rare moments when I’ve found myself peering at the rest of the world from the other side of the glass, wondering what all the fuss is about…

    1. But, crucially, did you like Frozen? Perhaps that’s the litmus test for participation in modern culture.

  3. I recently discovered Balloon Kid via the Wii U Virtual Console – it’s ace, but brutal. Still, it has that ‘just one more go’ factor in spades.
    I’ve only ever played Devil May Cry 2, and that was pretty damn difficult – can’t remember whether I ever finished it, but I do remember knocking the difficulty down to easy because I was struggling.
    My memories of Devil May Cry 3 have become intermingled with those of Onimusha 3 I think – that was the one with Jean Reno, right? I’ve never played any games in the Onimusha series, but the third one looked great.

  4. My gaming stamina often seems to peter out at final or near-final bosses. I gave up on Metroid Prime years ago for reasons, but recently returned to playing it again. Now I’m stuck on the final Metroid Prime boss, and I just don’t have the time or patience at the moment to battle it. Same was true of FFVII, the first Assassin’s Creed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, and a slew of others — stuck near the end but don’t care to finish.

    P. S. I tried my hand at ACIII, but the beginning of the game was so dreadfully boring, I just couldn’t bring myself to continue on.

    1. I’m with you on this one – I gave up on both Dead Space 2 and Batman Origins: Blackgate at the final boss because of the absurd difficulty spike. It almost makes sense to give up on the final boss – if there’s no more game to play after that, why bother slogging through the final fght?

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