Top 10 - Biggest Disappointments in Video Games 2009
Another year has come and gone, and while overall this was a great year to be a gamer there are a few nits I'd like to pick. Here's my Top Ten gaming blunders of the past year, enjoy!
10-Duke Nukem Forever finally dies
I'm not disappointed that we'll never play this game (that may or may not have ever existed in a playable form anyway), I'm disappointed that we can no longer make jokes about it. DNF slowly transformed into an urban legend over a decade in the making. Young children would be sat down and told Duke's legacy. How he was always looking for some alien toilet to park his bricks in, how it was always a good idea to bet on him, and how he was a beloved video game character of yesteryear said to be in a game that has been in development since before they were born. While occasionally some crazed forum poster tries to rekindle the flame that a release date for the game still exists or someone who worked on the project gives a nod and wink when questioned about it's ultimate fate, it is safe to say now that this is one game we will never play.
9-Turtles in Time Re-Shelled
Oh what the hell. You cut out entire levels? You cut out the Technodrome boss fight where you throw enemies at the screen? YOU CHANGED SOME OF THE MUSIC TRACKS?! And you still sold pretty well... Turtles in Time Re-Shelled was a 3Dmake of the classic SNES title Turtles IV. There's not many gamers around who are not familiar with this game in some way or another. As far as old school beat em ups go it still stands today as one of the best. Ubisoft took this classic and simply dumbed down the experience. It's case and point why certain games should be left well enough alone, if you don't have the heart or brains to do the property justice then walk away. Re-releasing the SNES classic in all it's glory unchanged may have earned a thumbs up from me, or at least a thumbs at 9 and 3.
8-Turning Revolution into the Mundane, Bionic Commando and Wolfenstein
I won't speak much about these two games. Both titles were fairly hyped and based on franchises that had been buried and fondly remembered for decades. The problem with 3D re-imaginings is you don't have a lot of subject material to work with, meaning you substitute your own and inevitably screw it up. While both games are decent and worth a play-through you're constantly comparing them to their forefathers (Because the title insinuates you should!), and they quite simply don't stand up to what those older games accomplished with less story, simple controls, and graphics definable by bits. Much like Hollywood, the video game industry is slowly running out of new ideas, here's one, combine these two experiences. A Bionic Secret Agent beating the shit out of Hitler... hold on I have to write this down.
7-Resident Evil 5, I love everything about you, except...
I had a lot of fun with RE5, it was RE4 with multiplayer and beautiful graphics. But where the game loses major points is in it's characters and story. While the story of Resident Evil has never been Oscar worthy (See: Any title in the series) it at least consisted of interesting characters with clear objectives and ZOMBIES! Not only do they introduce a new main character this late in the story arch, they expect us to give a shit, and go further to expect us to hate villains with no clear motives. Ask someone right now if they played RE5, and then ask them to explain what the villains were trying to do, hell get them to name a villain other than Wesker for that matter (Recently Army of Two 2 challenged RE5 for the inability to tell a coherent story award, and won). Sure, Resident Evil is supposed to be campy and stupid, but after shooting my hundredth HUMAN BEING, I started realizing something was different. Not only were the series mainstays the undead absent, I truly believe the series forgot what it was and where it was going somewhere around Code Veronica. The games became an action based third person shooter with tank controls instead of a survival horror faux-mystery adventure. Someone bump Resident Evil up the reboot ladder, please?
6-Expansion Packs at full game prices
Is your game under 6 hours long? Did you literally include the same multiplayer from the last game you released unchanged. Sorry what's that? Oh, my mistake you added a Horde mode ripoff you call Fire Fight to justify the $60+ price tag? Sorry, Halo:ODST I can't give you a pass. On your way out can you tell Modern Warfare 2 to step in please?
5-The Rhythm Game Cluster F***
If there's any game franchise that was fucked to death this year it was Guitar Hero. The game installments literally got worse and worse. The set-lists were abysmal, and on top of that Activision's halfassed attempt at compiling all your songs on one disc turned out to be more frustrating than swapping games every time someone wants to sing "Free Bird". Those familiar with the Rock Band series understand that the first games tracks can be transferred to the second game nearly in their entirety. In Guitar Hero tracks from World Tour, Smash Hits, Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero can all be combined into one of the two games I last mentioned, HOWEVER, which tracks actually transfer seems completely random. Not only do you have to pay for the song transfer, you also need an unused redeem code on the back of the transferring games manual. Meaning no renting or buying used. When you actually finish transferring the tracks you'll notice that over half are missing, because quite simply, Activision didn't have time to clear the rights across the game title copyrights, BECAUSE they're releasing a game every god damn month. In addition, games like GH Metallica and Van Halen are not transferable at all!
As a minor side note any characters you create can't transcend titles either, even though all the accessories are exactly the same you have to build your character each and every time you pop a new Guitar Hero into your console. What it comes down in these games now, is you're paying for the songs, which are for lack of a better term, fucking horrendous. I can choose maybe 15 songs from the past 4 games I might actually even want to hear, and each of those games are $59.99+. Aren't we a bunch of suckers?
4-The Great Game Delay of 2009
There was no doubt that Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 was going to be the biggest game of November. This was such a sure thing that many video game producers delayed choice titles till after the holiday season (ie Bioshock 2, most everything Capcom was planning to release). While this makes sense from a business point of view it left a lot of gamers upset. Yeah CoD is fun for a little while, but unless you're a multiplayer addict chances are you were done with the game a week after release and were now left waiting literally months for other titles you may have had any interest in.
3-The PSPGo's lack of UMD support.
There's a lot bad to be said about Sony's PSPGo. For starters, with it's feeble plastic frame the portable can be destroyed by a fall from over 4 feet on to a hard surface, you know... like a tumble out of your pocket! The PSPGo also features, or lacks the feature of a UMD slot which is the medium PSP Games are bought and played on. How then do you play games? Well you see the PSPGo is completely digital download based. While first time buyers of the system will benefit (?) from not having to leave their house to purchase games, gamers whom already owned a system and a stack of games are left high and dry. To date there is no way to transfer your UMD games into a ROM format for play on your PSPGo. You either have to buy them again (at their NEW cost) or keep your old PSP handy which defeats the point of an upgrade. Furthermore the price of downloading new titles is the same as buying them in store. Shouldn't I save money by downloading it right from the source with no plastic, paper, or retailer middlemen? Although the PSPGo also deals a potential blow to used game sales the meat of the disappointment still resides in Sony's inability to accommodate their return consumers.
2-Game of the Year Results
While everyone is entitled to an opinion, that doesn't mean that their opinion will be accepted, as the understanding of the term opinion was lost somewhere in the 1940's. While what entitles a game to be GOTY is subjective, what I don't tolerate is contradiction in said choices. I was utterly surprised to see titles like Left 4 Dead 2 and Assassin's Creed 2 on so many lists. Not only were those games both mediocre at best, they were literally released a week before voting (There's a term for this now, it's called Avatar syndrome). GameTrailers.com ranted at the beginning of each of their videos about innovation and breaking away from the norm only to then name Modern Warfare 2 not only the 360, PS3 and PC GOTY but to also name it OVERALL GOTY. That I will not stand for. Ok you really liked the game, but according to your own definition of the best game of the year Modern Warfare 2 should not even be nominated. Then there's the spike VGA awards, which, if you're watching for any other reason than for exclusive new game trailers I pity you. What was more surreal? Mike Tyson and a bunch of nobody Guidos reading poorly from a teleprompter? Or Snoop Dogg presenting the RPG of the year award? No sorry, it was the legend himself, Stevie Wonder accidentally wandering on stage to present. Thank God he can't see what he was a part of (pun always intended). My Game of the Year remains Batman Arkham Asylum, and I have a bucket full of reasons why. Allow me to drench you sometime.
1-Nintendo Fails to Deliver to the Hardcore... Again.
Another year has come and gone with nothing for the hardcore gamer to play on the Wii. Aside from the fanboy and nostalgia goggle wearing Wii owners who boosted New Super Mario Brothers Wii sales to well over 4 million in the United States. With games like Final Fantasy Crystal Bearers and Silent Hill Shattered Memories failing to pull gamers away from gripping titles elsewhere, hardcore gamers were left either letting the Wii gather dust or blindly regurgitating Miyamoto's promise that another Zelda is coming and Pikmin 3 has in fact started development. Yet the Nintendo Wii continues to be impossible to find around the holiday season, and sales of shovel-ware continue to sore well into the spring months. My question is who's buying it? While overall the Nintendo DS gets more play by me due to some well done remakes and Pokemon this by no means is enough to carry that console either. Nintendo seems content making money instead of genuinely incredible titles like they so effortlessly did in the past. It's so hard to believe the genius of Shigeru Miyamoto converged on a god damn vitality sensor.
Should old acquaintances be forgotten, And never brought to mind?,
Written February 12, 2010
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