20 points, 1 vote
Autumn Almanac: The designers really thought about how to execute parkour platforming on a touch screen and it shows.
abcfsk: Mirror’s Edge is just wonderful.
Before we finally crack the top fifteen, it’s time to pause for a page from the ‘can’t-please-everyone-all-the-time’ file. When I asked people to submit their votes, I also asked them to name their “most disappointing” game of the year. This wording was intentionally vague; I didn’t necessarily want to hear what folks thought the WORST game of the year was, I wanted to see what got under their skin and annoyed them. Unsurprisingly, virtually all the games mentioned as most disappointing also made the countdown. Here’s a selection of responses to our hall of shame:
Brilliam: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
I loved MGS, MGS2, and MGS3… in that order. What made them great was that they pushed the definition of player and console and game to the absolute limit. Not only does MGS4 fail to do this in the same way, it’s also got one of the most irritatingly preposterous scripts in the history of script…and not in a way that’s amusing, like MGS1 and 2. Definitely one of the most interesting games I played and beat this year, but hardly one of the top 20.
Edgertor: Fable II
Though it was my first real RPG, Fable II ended up giving me the feeling I’d wasted my time. The ‘relationships’ you have are stupid and superficial, the customizing dopey and the only good thing about it is that you get a dog… and (if you’re good) he gets fat and blonde after forty hours. Who wants a fat blonde dog?
Cozwyn: Grand Theft Auto IV
it braek my haert : (
Abanana: Professor Layton and The Curious Village
Fable II captured my girlfriend’s attention, not mine. No More Heroes looked great and played poorly. GTA IV could’ve been retitled ‘Arduous FetchQuest 08’ for all the pointless running around it forced me to do. Mirror’s Edge left me cold from the demo. L4D requires gamer friends on your schedule. There were various and sundry disappointments on game systems for me this year, but nothing was so completely ‘ennnhhhh’ as the much anticipated and greatly depressing Spore. I wanted the ultimate god game and instead got to run around collecting whiskers and earlobes on a beach while avoiding giant gorillas… and that’s not even as fun as it sounds! When the best part of the game is your character creator, something’s gone wrong in Wrightland.
Mitch Krpata: Mirror’s Edge
Rarely have I played a game that seemed so self-contradictory, especially one with such capacity for greatness. But it almost forced you to play it in a sub-optimal way in order to progress. I hated every second I spent with this game and it’s like a six-hour game. There weren’t all that many seconds to hate. Intellectually, I appreciated what Mirror’s Edge was doing, and that’s why I kept booting it up with a sense of optimism — optimism that was destroyed within minutes of beginning any new play session. On a gut level, I just couldn’t stand the game. I swore at it. I stared in disbelief. I came close to re-enacting the control pad stress test on more than one occasion. And lest you think it’s just because I was bad at it — and I was very bad it — the game was designed in such a way that I couldn’t help but blunder my way through it without ever having to master it. It was the worst of both worlds.
Nhex: Advance Wars: Days of Ruin
Sad because it’s still the same great core game as the other excellent AW games but Nintendo went with a more serious and dark tone, removing so much of the charm and personality of the series. I can totally understand why: they did three critically acclaimed, great games that the general public didn’t seem to care about, so they made an earnest attempt to broaden their reach (ironically by narrowing it to appeal to the “core” gamer, with a dystopian setting), but it doesn’t quite work. It’s a shame this series hasn’t really been a massive, popular breakout hit – it’s still very accessible.
EZSnappin: Little Big Planet
I love the idea of LBP and its community creations but the platforming is a floaty, imprecise mess. An absolutely stunning and charming and magical game that I only wish was fun to play.
Iroquois Pliskin: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots
Not only was it barely a game in the latter half, it simply lacked so much of the inspired and imaginative gameplay that made the previous games in the series such classics.
John Justen: Fable II
Where do I start? Simply put, Fable II is a good-looking, ambitious game with frustrating mechanical flaws and nearly irredeemable gameplay due to its terrible core design flaws. There is enough to like about this game that I still put it in last place on my top ten but the myriad problems make it infuriating. The “vault” mechanic is just straight up broken. If I can leap 100 feet down from a cliff, I should be able to jump off any fucking ledge I come across where I can see the ground. The last time I remember this many “find-the-sweet- spot-and-move-until-you-can-do-what-you-want” difficulties was with the old LucasArts games. Having a game built on social interaction with NPCs and then making those NPCs idiots is bullshit. Making the logos for the expressions in the quick menu incomprehensible and indistinguishable is no good. Having your character’s reactions change at the last minute so that instead of giving a thumbs up you do a bloodthirsty roar for no reason – not okay. The fact that I made more money on the first level of woodcutting than I did in the first fifty treasure chests I found is insane. Implementing a sale mechanic for the shops that makes it possible for you to sell the items you just bought back to that exact same place for a considerable profit the very next day is not an “exploit”. It is bad game design and it makes any actual hard work unrewarding and pointless. The shitty control issues and moronic terrain issues are counterbalanced by the fact that the game looks great and that the dog is adorable and actually offers a lot of great mechanical elements (the dig spots, training, etc.) but the damnable, inescapable problem with this game is that there seems to have been no effort to make the basic structure of the in-game world make any sense.
Jamescobo: Resistance 2
PROTIP: I hear this game has invisible enemies.
There’s been so many games that haven’t been as good as I expected but none of the ones I was REALLY hyped for were shit. I was looking forward to Fallout, which was better than I expected, I was eager for Mother3 which delivered in abundance. I guess one game that I really hoped would be better – not so much that the game is flawed, but that it didn’t “grab” me in the way I’d hoped, was Super Mario Galaxy and that’s an ’07 release. Still, I kept hoping for a 3D Mario that gets me like Mario 64 did when it came out and I actually do think SMG is better than Mario 64. So I suppose my biggest disappointment is… myself, really. I don’t understand why I don’t love Galaxy more than I do. :’(
Lamp: Persona 4
Not because of the game, but because it got stolen from the lobby of my building the last week of December, presumably by one of my neighbors. Who else would be able to get into my building and the area where the post office dude leaves Amazon packages? Sure, Fable II fucking sucked but this is some next level bullshit. IMO richass brokers stealing my Aliens boxset and Xbox games is a sign of the times 4 real.