Let's list off some games that could have, or should have been great but for one reason or another they fell short.
First up, Gears of War 2.
Speaking strictly on the multiplayer for this one. The mechanics were solid, the weapon balance was better than the first, they were on the right track. And then it was all for nothing as glitch after glitch plagued the multiplayer, matchmaking times were incredibly long and most of the time the game felt worse than the original Gear's terrible host advantage.
Such a disappointment.
Now that Gears 3 has (almost) been announced, will Epic finally capitalize on the potential this series offers on a MP level?
I actually tried to play the game after reading Anand's thread on IGN about it with a fresh new perspective, many years since I had ever touched it, playing the way he suggested looking for only the best fruit. But it still didn't take for me. Might have to do with what we talked about in another thread where I like to move quickly in platformers.
I, for one, wasn't looking for a sequel to Yoshi's Island since I'd never played it (and still haven't ).
Have you played Final Fantasy 6? I by and large agree with you on JRPGs but that game, while starting off somewhat weak, by the end had me completely hooked and I wanted to do every single side quest when normally I'm just trying to get the game over with.
Another one that is a little different is Golden Sun, because it has Zeldaish puzzles. They're not exactly mind blowing, but compared to normal JRPG gameplay I found them very refreshing.
Both of those games do have a ton of random battles though which is to their detriment, imo.
The sniffing for secrets mechanic is incredibly tedious.
I kind of agree about that, actually. I don't mind sniffing suspicious places (like Simba said, you can kind of get a feel for where the secrets are, a la Metroid and Zelda, but that won't stop completionists from sniffing everywhere, anyway) for point-bestowing secrets/shortcuts/whatnot, but I don't think the melons should require sniffing. The fun part of Yoshi's Story, for me, is that it's a bit like a 2D Mario 64. There are little Melon Challenges strewn all over the levels. You have to discover them and discover what you have to do in a similar way. Once you've explored the hell out of the level, you can string them all together for a perfect 30-Melon run.
It actually feels a LOT like Mario 64, to me. How you would spot a star while exploring a level, and then figure out how to reach it. I guess I just said that.
Maybe you don't like that style of game. I dunno. It's kind of like the difference between Super Mario 3 and Super Mario World, except Yoshi's Story goes much farther in the World direction. It's the missing link between World and 64.
Keep in mind, I only seriously played the game on Virtual Console, so I didn't have any inflated expectations. In fact, they were pretty low (even though I remember loving the aesthetics of the game).
I know, I know. I refuse to play it on GBA because I want to play it the way it was originally meant to be played and I thought it would long be out on Virtual Console by now so I never sought it out for my SNES. Now after so much waiting and hearing about how much I'm missing, I'm somewhat afraid it won't live up to the hype.
Well, anyway, it gives me something to look forward to on Virtual Console. It's nice to look forward to a game that hasn't come out yet, but it's also nice to look forward to playing something that is already a beloved classic.
I am prepared for the fact that I might not love it. Two of my friends that I usually line up with pretty well with both told me it wasn't great long ago (which is one of the reasons I never went out of my way to play it)
I know that feeling and it's very frustrating. You read impressions and it sounds right up your alley, all your friends are going on about how great it is, you finally get a chance to pop it in and...it doesn't click. It almost makes you feel like there's something wrong with you. But that's just the way it goes sometimes.
That'd be an interesting topic for it's own thread, if I weren't too lazy to do it. Games that came highly recommended from people you trust and you just didn't appreciate them in the same way.
Hmm. Two I can think of offhand are Final Fantasy VI and The World Ends With You. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed both of those games, but I heard so much about them in advance from people whose opinions I generally trust who ADORED them that I felt like there was something wrong with me for merely thinking they were good / borderline great.
This one sure as hell didn't live up to the bar set by Harvest Moon (SNES) and Harvest Moon 64. And no HM game really has come close, since. I suppose the GBA game was good, though, and Rune Factory is great.