It can be difficult to watch the progression of a video game franchise. Sometimes they change a lot between entries, moving away from the pillars that made people fans in the first place. A lot of times they barely change at all, becoming sterile reiterations rather than fresh new takes. Gamers themselves can develop new tastes and interests as well. The bottom line is, following a single game series can be a taxing endeavor, and, for many, there comes a breaking point when they simply lose interest in something that they used to be passionate about. Occasionally, however, the fires of passion can be reignited and our appreciation for a series renewed. These are the games and franchises that won us back right when we thought it couldn’t happen.
Gotta give another quick shout out to the Assassin’s Creed series here, though Odyssey has yet to truly win me back. The Mario Kart series, however, did lose me for a number of years. After playing Mario Kart Double Dash religiously with my brother and gobbling up the handheld offerings on the GameBoy Advance and Nintendo DS, there was a long period where I not only didn’t buy a Mario Kart game, I didn’t even touch one. Mario Kart Wii came and went without any of my attention which, upon reflection, is strange because of the Wii’s mostly barren games library. That game and Mario Kart 7 (the 3DS entry) simply couldn’t get me energized or excited about the franchise. They seemed like more of the same. Then along came Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, a game that completely took over my 2014 Summer and has become one of my favorite games of all time. The gorgeous graphics, sumptuous soundtrack, and awesome track selection were second to none and, despite my nostalgia for the GameCube era, this entry in the long-running series has become my absolute favorite.
The Call of Duty series got pretty repetitive to me, and I got bored playing the same game with a slightly different story every year. A few years ago, I stopped buying the games and playing the multiplayer altogether because it was the same thing every time. I picked up Infinite Warfare about 6 months ago because a friend recommended it, and it definitely put a cool spin on the series for me. Most of the game was played in locations that weren’t Earth (i.e.: space spaceships stations, Mars, etc.). While the story can be a little odd or not very believable in places, I overall enjoyed the experience of being the captain of my own futuristic space cruiser. The story actually surprised me in certain parts as well, not like the very predictable campaigns CoD usually has. Blackout also has me pumped for Black Ops 4.
I wouldn’t say it was a series but an MMORPG called Elsword. It had a lot of promise, but the PvP was incredibly hard and the gameplay wasn’t very enjoyable. It didn’t help that every time a new character was introduced, they would be nerfed like mad. What essentially got me back is that they put in nice little cutscenes to add context and the gameplay became much more enjoyable and less of a grind. The online community seems better too which is always a major plus.
Destiny 2 pulled me back in a couple months ago after I got a great discount on the PC version. With two big story DLC packs added since its launch and a major expansion on the way, there were more than enough new quests to keep me busy. It turns out that Destiny 2 is a great way to learn mouse and keyboard controls for shooters. The open-world sections offer low stakes target practice and ample places to practice jumping. Now that the Forsaken expansion is out, I’m having fun leveling alongside everyone else and not feeling like I’m super behind. It’s great being apart of a community that is figuring things out together instead of trying to play catch up. I consider myself a pretty casual player; I’m probably the weakest player in my clan. But I’m enjoying my slow and steady progress and will probably be playing Destiny 2 for a good while longer.
The Hitman series lost me for many years. I had Hitman 2 on PS2, and while I wasn’t very good at it, my dad and I had tons of fun together playing with cheats on. The next couple of games got too demanding and “hardcore” for a kid who would rather just go okay Halo. They also ran pretty badly on my Xbox 360, the only place I had to play them on. I wouldn’t reconnect with the series until Hitman: Absolution released late last generation. Although that game is generally regarded as a low point in the series, it was the perfect return for me, as it was more accessible to my bad reflexes, but had a high skill ceiling that allowed me to improve from a sloppy bald goon to something vaguely resembling a professional, hired gun.
The Hitman reboot in 2016 had a similar “onboarding” ramp, but with refined mechanics and even deeper, more complex systems. And now I’m waiting anxiously for the new release in November!