For me it's within the first few hours. If I hated the first two hours of a game then I'm probably going to hate the next 20.
Case in point: L.A. Noire. The first few hours bored me to death but I thought maybe if I stick with the game it would get better. Twenty shitgargling hours later as the credits were rolling I swore I'd never put myself through that again.
Of course some people think it's only fair to judge a game after you've completed it 100%. Some people also think the Holocaust didn't happen and that God put dinosaur bones n the ground to fuck with us.
Depends on the game, for me. For example, the beginning of Bioshock Infinite I loved, but after 3 hours...man did I feel disappointed. None of it drew me in as much as Bioshock 1. I didn't even feel that disappointed with 2. Although Infinite had a far more interesting story, something about it made me care less. (It was the gameplay.)
And on the other side, it took me well over 2 hours to start getting a feel for Persona 2 and actually start enjoying it.
Sidebar comment: If it weren't for that awesome pre-order deal from GMG that came with Bio1, Civ5, Bio2 (iirc), and eventually Xcom, I would've been pissed at paying $60 for Bio:Infinite.
It can really vary game to game, XCOM, one of my favorites this gen, I hated for the first 2 hours until it opened up. Tomb Raider (which you've covered in another thread), I hated the first hour or so, then fell in love with it. Bioshock: Inf. Disliked the first hour and haven't been back. Then theres those game that open with a bang and peter out and end up sucking (Battlefield 3, GTA 4, Saints 3).
The first few hours are okay to judge a game. But like it has been said, there are some games that take a few hours to open up. You just have to wonder if the game has some element that may make you want to play more, be it gameplay, story etc.
I tend to agree that if you're not enjoying it after the first few hours then you probably won't enjoy a game at all. That said, I've played a few games that buck the rule.
The first Mass Effect, for example. I found maybe the first two hours(?) (however long it takes for you to actually be able to go places on your own) really, really boring. Then the game opened up and I loved it. Resident Evil 6 was a terrible game overall but there were weird, randomly inserted segments that I enjoyed way more than it made sense to.
I think the first few hours are enough for most games. That usually gives you enough time to work out the mechanics, pacing, and tone of the game. Or anything else you will probably need to know for the full experience. If a game takes longer than that to open up, but it hasn't grabbed you in at least some capacity by then, I don't think it's unfair to pass judgement on it.
If you're invested enough by those first few hours to actually care if it picks up later, then you should carry on. If you simply aren't interested in what else it allegedly has to offer, why waste your time on something you don't enjoy to find out? I don't think anyone who has seriously hated a game in the first few hours has plodded on and found that it becomes much later by their own accord. Maybe they put it aside and started again another time, to then find that the things that made them discard the game before didn't bother them that time.
But I don't think anyone has ever played a game, hating every single bit of the first few hours, suddenly finding that later on they love the game. Games don't change that drastically. Or at least, no well designed game does.
I think sometimes it can be more than a few hours. The first couple times I played Mass Effect I was turned off by getting stuck on the Citadel for hours. When I finally made it through it became on of my favorite games this gen and I've now played it a number of times.
I'm sure it can vary from person and game. Typically, I can tell if the gameplay appeals to me within an hour. Sometimes I try to push through, but that does no good in some cases. I played God of War and Metroid Prime until I got right before the final boss, then never turned them on again because I was offendedly bored by the lacking gameplay and slow pace. Dante's Inferno and Prince of Persia 2008 are another two games that did absolutely nothing good to me but I still dropped about four hours into each.
Vanquish took about two hours for me to get into the swing of things, and then it went from tedious to a playground of risk/reward circus of badass fun. Red Dead Redemption had me trepidatious until I left Bonny's ranch, and then it turned a finer frontier emulator than I had expected, and I already had huge hopes for the game.
If a game does something to piss me off in the first five minutes, that's when I start to judge. Doesn't mean I won't still give it a chance but I can't say I think that there is really any set amount of time that games should have to make a good impression, unless I want to test my ability as a gamer to become invested in a game that I'm not really having fun with. I don't I necessarily have a very fair way of looking at it, it's just my individual point of view and a game designer might hate me for it, oh well. Objectively I think it's fair to judge what you have seen and probably a little more. An RPG that could potentially last 100 hours doesn't need to grip me within the first few missions to be a good game, but if the first missions suck horribly then it is still wasting my time. A poor beginning is a cum stain on any game, film, or book.
I remember wanting to trade in Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II on the Gamecube after a few hours of playing it. Unfortunately, by the time I realized this was not for me, the stores had already closed. So I figured I'd wait for the next day.
That evening a friend of mine came over and we played the game in co-op together with fresh characters. Which spanned to a full year of Phantasy Star Online co-op sessions between the two of us.
Depends on the type of game. If it's something like a puzzle game, you can safely judge it pretty quickly. If it's a game with a story or campaign of any kind, you're really not doing it or yourself any justice unless you play it all the way through before casting judgement.
I don't think you necessarily need to play all the way through. I only went through that fucking Ocean King temple in Phantom hour glass 3 times before I realized I didn't want to deal with that repetitive shit anymore.
I was pretty hypocritical there, considering I technically "judge" games without even playing them all the time. Phantom Hourglass is one of them, as is Spirit Tracks. In those cases they're just judged "not worth my time".
If it's a game with a story or campaign of any kind, you're really not doing it or yourself any justice unless you play it all the way through before casting judgement.
I used to agree with this back in the day, but increased cost and decreased leisure time lends to stricter guidelines of judgment. As others have said, a few hours to learn the mechanics and let the game open up is fair enough time to objectively decide whether the game is actually good or bad. Since I don't play with the intention of critiquing anymore, things have become much simpler: if I don't like how a game is going within the first half-hour, I chuck it.
if I don't like how a game is going within the first half-hour, I chuck it.
I don't rent games, so I almost always only get games I'm damn positive I'll like. The most recent exceptions being Onichanbara for the 360 and every Metal Gear game for the PSP, but that's my PSP's fault. I just hate the control set up on it for 3D games like that.