Top 7... Painfully slow beginnings to great games

Not fast like a ninja. Slow like a sloth

Some games choose to take their time, easing us in gently and deciding to keep their best bits well hidden until many hours have been invested. We're not saying it's a bad thing, it's just that sometimes it can feel a bit... slow. Like painfully slow. These are seven great games that we have enjoyed immensely, despite them taking longer to get going than a bonfire made of snow.


7. Okami

There aren't many things to moan about when it comes to Okami. Connoisseurs will appreciate that it's a damn fine sexy game. But if we had to moan about one thing (besides the fact no one bloody well bought it), it would be that the start of the game drags like a wet sock full of moderately-sized pebbles.

Ploddy in the extreme, it could turn players with an impatient constitution off the game completely. Maybe that's why it sank faster than, funnily enough, a wet sock full of moderately sized pebbles.


Above: Amaterasu is saying "Just get on with it, for f***'s saaaaaaaaake"

The first 15 minutes is all story-telling, soothing lute music and pretty-looking Japanese painting. And it's all narrated by Okami's not-really-talking talking noise. Which is kind of cute when you get into the game, but when it's being used to retell a long-winded legend in its entirety, it just comes off as irritating.

And things take a while to improve when the game does finally begin. It's all meaningless getting-to-know-you gameplay. Headbutt some pots. Learn how to use a paint brush. Eat a few dumplings. It's a generous couple of hours before any sign of Okami's true brilliance begins to shine through like a celestial sun beam of joy. But then its good times all the way. (Cheap, naughty boss run at the end notwithstanding.)


6. Batman: Arkham Asylum

I might be on my own with this one, but it's my list. So shit off. After countless disappointments, only the most desperately optimistic comic fan could've been expecting developer Rocksteady Studios to finally make a game worthy of wearing Batman underpants. It was approached tentatively, with professional, cautious cynicism.

On first play, I had this one pegged as a better produced re-run of the 2005 game, Batman Begins and nothing more. It was just Batman doing the same old Batman stuff. Observe:

Yes. It was awesome to be up against the Joker. Yes. It was awesome to be inside Gotham's premier psychiatric institution. But the initial corridor plodding, straightforward stealth set-pieces and learn-through-repetition scuffles against identi-kit buzz-cut thugs was decidedly sub-awesome.

But then... Scarecrow joins the party with some of his trademark psychotropic mischief and things finally begin to kick into gear. In an instant the experience is no longer a by-the-numbers Batman adventure, but a master class in how to do a superhero game right. It was deserving of GamesRadar's most coveted'Game of the Year' Platinum Chalice Award. And there's no higher acclaim than that.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I don't have the energy to really hate anything properly. Most things I think are OK or inoffensively average. I do love quite a lot of stuff as well, though.
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