Saturday, September 10, 2016

FORCED - 2/20 hours

I have a confession to make - my first reaction to this game was neither measured, useful, or wise. About five minutes into it, I started to feel an intense, irrational loathing, all out of proportion with the game's merits or flaws. It's weird, because I remember enjoying myself when I played co-op with my friends. In retrospect, I probably just enjoyed hanging out with my friends, and the game itself was immaterial.

I can't exactly pin down what it is about FORCED that rubs me the wrong way. It has some fun and fast-paced action gameplay, the puzzles are clever, and its art design is distinct and attractive. But I can't shake the feeling that the game and I are enemies.That it wants to defeat and humiliate me.

It's paranoid, I know, but I have my reasons. There's the plot, where your character is victim of ritualized exploitation and with the exception of your spirit guide, every single NPC treats you with absolute contempt. Which I get is just a way to establish our antagonistic relationship and motivate me to get through the levels, but so far it's been working a bit too well. Then there's the load screen that warns me the game is meant to be difficult and suggests I find a co-op partner, which strikes me as good advice, but delivered in an unnecessarily smug way. Although, to be fair, this is probably my own hang-up because I never quite clicked with the whole "games should make you suffer for victory" ideal that so many people seem to prefer.

I'm sure that these feelings will pass. FORCED is a decent game. In time, it will grow on me. It's just right now I kind of want to punch it in its metaphorical face.

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