A few weeks ago, I posted one of those tier lists that have been going viral on Twitter, dividing most of the major video games I have played into a few different categories based upon how much I enjoyed them. I got quite a few questions regarding why I put certain games in certain places, but since the social media platform I was using doesn’t allow me to give lengthy responses easily, I decided that I would instead discuss a few of my most controversial decisions in a blog post. Additionally, since I do review games on here frequently, this chart should let people know at a glance how my gaming taste compares to theirs, and I always like to be as transparent as possible about the titles I enjoy.
While many of my decisions aren’t too confusing, there are a few that I was either asked about directly or just wanted to address because I know they are a little bit controversial. Since these are going to be fairly lengthy analyses, I actually want to split up my opinions into multiple parts. In other words, this is basically just a mini-series of posts that get all of my most unpopular opinions out of the way in one fell swoop. This will be fun!
Wait, you put Persona 5 in the lowest tier? You Monster!
First of all, I have been asked countless times about my general dislike of Persona 5, especially given that I ranked the two prior entries in the series much higher on my chart. The answer is that I have a generally complicated relationship with the franchise. Overall, with the obvious exception of Final Fantasy X, I don’t actually care much for the traditional turn-based combat of older JRPGs, as I often opt for tactical or action RPGs instead. With Persona 3 and 4, the stories and characters presented there were so phenomenal that I was willing to slog my way through the dungeon-crawling segments in order to get to the life simulation half of the game.
In the fifth entry, however, the balance shifted. Whereas the prior two games were a fairly even mix between fighting shadows and hanging out with my friends, the Phantom Thieves spent a lot more time in the dungeons. This, combined with the fact that I wasn’t quite as engaged with the plotline as I was with prior titles because about two-thirds of the experience is an extensive flashback, led to one of the most crushingly disappointing experiences that I have ever had in my years as a gamer. Since I had hyped this title up and truly believed it was going to be my game of the year, that also did nothing to help what a sour taste it left in my mouth. All is not lost, however, as I intend to go into Persona 5 Royal with an open mind and hope I enjoy it more the second time around.
What about Borderlands 2? I thought you love that franchise!
Funny you should ask that, hypothetical person. I didn’t enjoy Borderlands 2 as much as the original entry because I picked a bad character class. Since I love Lilith in the first game, I thought it made logical sense to pick Maya and stick with the Siren class. While Lilith managed to play a support role while remaining varied and interesting to play, Maya felt like she had to stay on the sidelines and be more akin to a traditional healer class in an MMO. When I played as Lilith, I was constantly using phasewalk to run all around the map, which gave me tons of flexibility to approach battles however I wanted. Maya, however, felt like the only way to play her successfully was to phaselock an enemy to freeze them, run away, and shoot from a distance.
While I ranked Borderlands 2 low due to my individual experience with one class, I strongly believe that my dislike of Maya is the only roadblock in the way of falling in love with the game. Therefore, I’m currently working my way through as another class and having a much better time so far. If I do end up enjoying my second playthrough, I’ll make sure to update everyone on this.
Why is Dragon Age: Inquisition ranked so low?
Here’s the thing: There’s a lot that I love about Dragon Age: Inquisition. The story at play here is the strongest of the series so far and I loved getting more time with some of my favorite characters, like Cullen and Leliana. Unfortunately, for everything I love about this entry in the franchise, there is a major issue with this title that completely kills any potential enjoyment that I may get from it: The side quests.
I love side quests in RPGs. In fact, I’m really lenient with the quality that I expect from these sorts of mini-adventures. It’s nice when The Witcher 3 came along and revolutionized side stories, but even the lowliest of fetch quests are weirdly addicting because I love to gain experience, get new loot, and learn more about the world surrounding my character. The only real requirement of side quests for me is that I must be able to venture forth with the main quest whenever I want.
Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn’t believe in this one golden rule. Every time that a main story mission has been completed, the next quest is blocked off by a certain number of power points. These power points can only be earned by completing miscellaneous objectives and side quests. This means that I have to take huge breaks between each story mission, which pads out the game to be unnecessarily long. In my estimation, the main story of this game isn’t much more than twenty hours of content, but I spent nearly three times that hunting down question marks on my map so I could move on with the story.
Now that I know how the story ends, I actually suspect I’ll have a more positive experience in a second playthrough because I won’t feel angry that I keep having to pause learning what happens next in favor of collecting weeds and rocks for ten hours. In fact, writing this post is actually good practice because after I have finished The Witcher 3, I really want to go back into Dragon Age: Inquisition and do a deep-dive into its world and mechanics. This is just a small taste of some of the stuff that I hope to discuss there.
If you’re curious about why I placed anything in a specific tier, feel free to ask me in the comments below and I’ll explain the best that I can or put my response in another entry! I’m actually planning on checking back in on this chart in the future, after I have some replays under my belt. As I said in some of my mini-analyses, I have a suspicion that my first experience was not entirely representative of my true opinion on the game. For those who follow me for my bookish content, there’s no need to fret, as I will absolutely be doing a similar chart with the notable books I have read recently.
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