Like a Lutheran soup supper, every game is a blend. If the small parts are ignorable or add flavor to a game, I'm willing to play it. But if the bad parts are just too plentiful, and seriously detract from the game's success in doing what it started out to do, (see Daikatana for a perfect example of this), the game is a complete failure in my eyes and isn't worth playing. I certainly do enjoy more of the same; games are made up of components both figurative and digital, and the better developers and modders blend the said ingredients at their disposal. Like a head chef, it makes for a unique experience despite the commonness of its ingredients. Game developing, in almost every sense, is the same as making food.
All the passion and fame in the world couldn't save Daikatana, and all the ingredients and nostaligia ever made couldn't save the Painkiller spin-offs (which I see as doing worse every time another is made). Even the infamous F.E.A.R. games are fun, although they become a more generic, not bland as some would call it, product every time another is made. F.E.A.R., Project Origin, and F.3.A.R. are some of my favorite gaming experiences of all time, although they have almost no replay value because their heavy linear and story-driven gameplay isn't all that different the more times you play it. (Replay-value is a feat that Underhell excells and surpasses them in almost every way, for those who are looking for more sci-fi, bullettime action horror.)
Replay value, modularity, and pure Excessive Overkill-themed gameplay are abound in every level of Rise of the Triad. Although there is a serious problem with Rise of the Triad that I would like to point out, and it's a problem that, if anything, adds to the uniqueness of a game that would otherwise be the most generic, bland, and unappetizing shooter I've ever played:
It's seriously fucking hard.
I've never played a more agonizing and jaw-droppingly twitchy shooter in all my life. Nothing does this better than Rise of the Triad. Nothing. This, combined with the terrible performance and its framerate's apparent digital suicide and the clipping bugs, balance issues, and seemingly random placement of game materials makes this game the most agonizing experience of any kind I've ever had- and I grew up with Tourette's disorder!
The game is hard to run, hard to play, and hard to excel at, but there's one thing that makes me coming back every time: It's not hard to enjoy.
Let me get one thing out of the way first though: this game isn't for everyone. If you're an individual with little to no stomach for agony, like TheBigPixel, you are not ready to play this game. Agony is different than Angst: Angst is towards others, Agony is against oneself.
This, people, is why Yahtzee (who loves this game) and why TheBigPixel (who hates it), both icons of the indie game reviewing industry, of which I am but a feeble newcomer, have such different opinions of Rise of the Triad. Growing up with 6 disorders is a seriously hard thing. Every other aspect of my life, however, has been fine, if not extremely lucky, but my disorders have given me, too, a giant stomach for agony, and no stomach for angst. These are two things people confuse, especially in the gaming industry. They are not simply bad, they are something people must get a taste for. They are by no means easy to use, and are some of the hardest games to make, of any kind, in general. (For a game that excels in blurring the lines of these, look no farther than Dead Space 3, and for a game that is horribly Angsty, look at Dead Space 1. There's a reason why I like the third better.)
I seriously enjoy Rise of the Triad, but so many simply not strong enough to withstand it, or more like withstanding themselves playing it. Nobody should be chastized for not being able to enjoy this game. It's simply unfair, as the game's enjoyability is entirely reliant on the individudual, not just a as a gamer, but as a human being in general. This game is like the spiciest, most expensive, 6-hours-to-prepare and 6-hours-to-recover-from Indian Curry you've ever had. Its first few levels are some of the most fun I've ever had in a game, but I can only enjoy it because I have a stomach for it.
The only reason it's so unpopular is because people aren't used to agonizing games in general. While unplayable games are bitter, and scary games are sour, agonizing games are for adults. Agonizing games, while they can certainly be fun (just look at Serious Sam for an example of this), are a very hard game to prepare. They require a master in their craft in every facet of the company who makes it. They can so easily become too monotonous or too confusing or too repetitive. But Rise of The Triad has what I believe to have the most potent, strong, and WELL PREPARED agony I've ever had the privilege to enjoy.
Still, there's several things I'd wish they'd done:
First of all, is the map system between levels. I would have loved it more than anything in the world to freely travel between levels, like in Super Mario. Second, I wished the game's modular design would have been easier for computers to handle. (modular design is the most agonizing thing a computer can be subjected to).
Besides these two things, the game is almost perfect at what it does, and the developers for this games are masters at their craft. It takes so much skill to make a game of this potency, and for that, and for their true honesty and sincerity and humbleness, despite their game's impossible-to-withstand agonizing gameplay, its terrible performance issues and the flaws I just mentioned, this game is one of the most important games one can produce today. I stand by that statement with my life. This game is important, not because it takes a master gamer to play, but because it takes a master dev team to produce and produce well. The fact that this dev team is scattered around the globe, in different time zones, and in only digital contact with each other, only furthers my point. Some masterpieces are universal, and while that takes true skill, it's a more angstful thing for the creator to produce. Agony, on the other hand, is only made for the elite, and this is why this game, despite its flaws, is the best Elite Gamer's Game I've ever played.