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Games

When the Last Boss Prevents You From Beating the Effin' Game

If my Switch is bent, it's because I'm gripping it so hard while trying to beat 'Golf Story.'

by Patrick Klepek
Nov 9 2017, 4:00pm

Image courtesy of Sidebar Games

In yesterday’s Open Thread, Austin talked about the number of games—good games!—he’s bounced off in 2017, often because there wasn’t time to finish them. While it’s true I’ve been forced to put down games I was enjoying (hello, Persona 5), I’m pretty strict about finishing what I’ve started. It’s a habit. It’s why I, despite reservations, I saw South Park: The Fractured But Whole all the way to the end. It helped The Fractured But Whole was pretty easy, of course; it’s easy to imagine I’d have walked away if the difficulty suddenly ramped up. Right now, sadly, I’m running into a situation with a game I love.

I’ve put a little more than 20 hours into Golf Story, a delightful sports RPG on Switch, and the end's in sight. With dozens of side quests completed and every course unlocked, the game has given me a final task: win a tournament. It’s not any tournament, mind you, but the pro tournament, which means everyone is extremely good. To win, you need to play a near flawless game; a single mistake on a hole can topple everything you’ve been building.

The play of the other golfers isn’t randomized, so you can’t just keep replaying the round and hoping you catch a lucky break. Every time, the score to beat is zero, which means you’re either hitting par on every single hole, or making up for extra strokes by occasionally finishing under par. It’s a daunting task, given the course is full of randomized wind elements that love to take your ball flying in wild directions. (It’s also exposed how little I enjoy putting in Golf Story; the way it communicates elevation is clunky and never seems to match my intuition.)

In a dozen or so tries, I’ve gotten really close, only to botch things in the final few holes. It takes, I dunno, 10-15 minutes to complete a round? If you’re lucky, the mistake comes early, but if the error happens near the end—like the double bogey that sunk my last attempt—it means starting from scratch. It’s gotten to the point where I’ve simply considered giving up.

It’d be one thing if I was halfway through and the difficulty spike was off putting, but I’m right at the end! It’s the last thing I have to do! The end credits are around the corner! I wish the game would let me practice individual holes so I could better wrap my head around them!

Argh. Instead, I’ve stopped slamming my head at Golf Story, focusing my efforts on other games. I’m hoping that by picking it up every few days, one of the attempts will be the one and I can put Golf Story behind me. I’m sure some people have the willpower to say enough is enough and move on, but I’m not that person. I will finish Golf Story, one way or the other.

Are there any games you’ve run into this problem with, games where you’re near the finish line, can feel exhaustion setting in, but you refuse to say uncle?

Follow Patrick on Twitter. If you have a tip or a story idea, drop him an email: patrick.klepek@vice.com.

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