GamesRadar's Anti-Awards 2008

DontKnowMe

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Oct 19, 2006
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The Razzies of 2008.

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated the very best of 2008 with our Platinum Chalice Awards.Today though, we must temper our merriment with disdain and head-sagging shame, for these are the moments that truly made our stomachs turn.
From gaming turning into a haven for babysitting software to developers calling out forum users, it was a strange time for our favorite hobby. Won’t you join us as we collectively hate the all-around worst parts of 2008?

We probably should have seen this coming from the moment Will Wright brought a computer city to life in 1989. If not back then, perhaps we should have suspected something when a virtual puppy became the hottest selling item of 2005. Of course, by the time the Nintendo Wii made videogaming as casual as a Hometown Buffet, the end result was inevitable. Babies.

Above: Hope you’re proud, Nintendo
Yes, the simulation genre – home to some of our hobby’s finest designers and most beloved classics – would eventually devolve into crying, pooping infants. The genre that taught us how to build entire civilizations, colonize entire universes and breed entirely new species would eventually teach us how to change a diaper with our stylus and shake a rattle with our remote. The genre that put us in the glorious roles of gods and generals would eventually put us in the vomit-stained shoes of babysitters and housewives.

Above: The bane of our, your, and people we’ve never met’s existence
In 2009, that eventuality became an inescapable reality, with terrifying titles like My Baby Boy and Babysitting Mania crowding the shelves of your local game store. In fact, we’re so damn excited that we lived to experience this historic year, we went ahead and made the maraca-playing mutant from the cover of Imagine Party Babyz our official Anti-Award 2008 logo.

From baseball, football, basketball, hockey and golf... to choreographed gymnasium dancing in glitter and skirts. Quite the downward spiral, to be sure, but games like We Cheer and All Star Cheer Squad are spared the winning spot for two reasons. First, we’d still rather play these than any of those turkey hunting games. Second, we got all the real hatred out of our systems here.



Every year we betray our better judgment and buy into the “Return of Sonic!” hype like a battered housewife taking back an abusive spouse. “He’s hurt us so many times, but we know deep down Sonic loves us and he really seems to have turned over a new leaf.” But we had good reason this time!
Sega’s proprietary Hedgehog engine was cranking out blisteringly slick courses in a gorgeous new setting and it looked as if Unleashed was going to maintain everything we liked about The Secret Rings, ditching the waggle and backtracking for virtuous new moves like drifting, strafing and powerslides. The world had every reason to brace itself for Sega’s Rodent Renaissance... until we saw the Werehog.

Above: Guess what they didn’t show us right away?
What are werewolves most famous for? If you said stretchable arms, unintuitive combos and thoughtlessly elongated gameplay, this is the one and only time you’ll ever be correct. How in the name of Miles Prower could a company that built its reputation on Beast Alteration make playing as the Werehog feel this horrible?! (Additionally, “were” means “human,” so it translates to “Manhog”... filthy.)

Above: It’s like Sega’s never seen a Manhog before
To its credit, the Hedgehog portions of Sonic Unleashed met our expectations. Unfortunately, the platforming Werehog levels take 5x as long to complete and makes what should be the core of any Sonic game feel akin to a Chaos Emerald bonus zone from the Genesis days. It was like the game was designed by two different teams: One that learned from Sonic’s missteps and listened to fans, and one that could care less and hasn’t played a game since the N64.

Somewhere inside Alone in the Dark lurked a brilliant game packed with brilliant ideas, but it was bogged down at seemingly every turn by crappy controls, bugs, camera issues and some genuinely ****ty design decisions.



When it comes to “open-world” gameplay, few games can compete with Far Cry 2’s literal interpretation of the concept, with its 50 square kilometers of desert, savannah and jungle sprawling across a fictional African nation. Despite our infatuation with the game, we’re stuck at 73% complete (25-hours in) due to bizarre malfunctions. But wait – this is the fourth major issue we’ve encountered.
First we hit an unavoidable crash before even playing the game, and this is after installing the 1.01 patch. We found an obscure fix from resourceful gamers: go into the program files and delete our gamer profile. Wha? Yet it worked. Next, while playing, we noticed our depth-of-field felt funny. After more internet searching we found that there was no true support for widescreen in the PC version – the game just used 4:3 ratio and cut off the top and bottom of the screen.

Above: Metaphors running wild
Finally - and here’s the kicker – two main mission givers have become inaccessible (one vanished mid-mission, and the other is behind a door that won’t open). Other reports mention different disappearing, story-critical NPCs at different points in the game, and on different platforms. More problems include an impassable freeze and a corrupted save file on 360. Ubisoft has released a second PC patch (over two months since release), but it still hasn’t addressed any of the game-killing bugs that we’ve encountered.
But hey, other than that, pretty cool game.

Any owner of the console version can tell you how incredible the latest version of Liberty City is, but if you’re a PC gamer, be warned: the PC version has been called a buggy mess. It has also faced criticism for its use of SecuROM, its laborious install and login process, and its unrealistic system requirements. Rockstar has released a patch that should at least solve many of the bugs, but uh, we like our games to work the first time we pay for them.



It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that a PS2 game would be ugly to the eyes of modern gamers, jaded as they are by years of playing on next-gen consoles. But the PS2 port of Mercenaries 2 took half-assedness to a bold new level, producing a version of the free-roaming combat game that wasn’t just ugly by today’s standards, but somehow managed to be grossly inferior to its 2005 PS2 predecessor in every way. The combat was clunky, the textures were ugly, the cutscenes were grainy and the first game’s rolling North Korean fog was replaced with an indistinct blue haze. Worst of all, buildings and terrain features had a habit of not popping into existence until you were right on top of them, and sometimes not even then:

Above: Seriously, the worst pop-in ever
We all know the PS2 can do better than this. We’ve seen games like Shadow of the Colossus and God of War accomplish amazing things with the console’s supposedly limited capabilities. But with Mercenaries 2, we’re expected to shrug off the slapdashery because hey, it’s just a PS2 game, and the PS2 is crap, right? A half-baked abortion wheeled out to coincide with its current-gen brothers, Mercenaries 2 on PS2 should be viewed as nothing more or less than a cynical insult to those who still roll last-gen.

Take an already problematic, not-actually-scary horror game, strip down its visuals and gameplay for the PS2 and add a host of new bugs, and you’ve got an excellent reason to feel depressed about not having upgraded to a better console.


Love it or hate it, Mirror’s Edge effing tried, which is more than we can say for the sickening pile of “software” clogging up retailer shelves. Its first-person acrobatic gameplay and daring use of intense colors made it instantly recognizable, and the story hinted at– one of a squeaky clean city unjustly kept in check by overbearing protectors – hooked us right away.
Based off the first mission, we assumed we’d be guiding Faith through a series of super-cool errand missions, dodging The Man and trying to deliver precious cargo no matter the cost. Information must flow, right? Hm, well no, because all the ambiguous lines are wiped away and the story clumsily shifts to:
Faith’s sister is set up to take a fall and ends up in prison so you have to clear her nazzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Above: What’s with the creepy e-surance / Fear Effect cutscenes? What happened to the in-game style?
It goes from creative to cliché in the span of one cutscene. The developers obviously spent a lot of time coming up with this scenario, even created a backstory to get the first mission rolling, then dumps it all in favor of a rejected Law & Order script. Then, in a final moment of anti-brilliance, the game ends with practically no resolution whatsoever. It honestly seems like they forgot to add the final level, as if the day before shipping the lead programmer asks his assistant “oh hey did you finish Chapter 10?”
“There’s a Chapter 10?”

Underworld sets a spectacular new bar for epic-scale puzzles, but its story is a half-assed, cliché-ridden, confusing mess. Lowlights include: Lara’s mom appears as a zombie for about five seconds, and a purple-haired evil Lara clone is suggested to have some significance, and then ends up with zero explanation for her existence.



We sort of thought this was going to be a sequel. Yeah, we knew deep down that it was way too soon (for Valve), and that there was no way we’d get a 360 exclusive sequel, but we didn’t care, we were blinded by hope. And your ultra-vague announcement at E3 didn’t help, Microsoft.

Above: What the hell, this is the same game!
So give us a sequel, not a barely-remixed version with 200 more Achievement Points. Hell, know what? Give us a new engine, Valve. Don’t get us wrong, Source is awesome, but it has been over four years now… couldn’t you maybe make Half-Life 2: Episode 3 into Half-Life 3? That would surprise the hell out of everyone! It’d be great! And of course, Portal 2 would be there too. Pretty please? Yeah, it’s not likely. Oh well, thanks for Left 4 Dead though, it’s keeping us thoroughly distracted while we wait for a new Portal (and a new Half-Life 2 episode, but mostly Portal).

It’s clear Capcom wants Lost Planet to attain Resident Evil levels of fandom, but spitting out half-sequels with subtitles that suggest an entirely new game isn’t the best way to curry favor with an overly fickle audience.



Not content with making Guitar Hero an annual release like Tony Hawk (which is AWOL this year thanks to oversaturation and lack of ideas), Activision has engaged in shameless money-grubbing behavior that completely undermines the original idea behind the series – music is king, so shut up and play.

Above: Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.
After Activision acquired the brand, we saw Guitar Hero II (360), Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the ‘80s (PS2) and Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock all land in 2007. Three in one year is a lot, especially when Harmonix (the original brains behind Guitar Hero) trotted out Rock Band and actually added music-related gameplay, not boss battles, power-ups and songs included just to be near impossible. Somehow, last year was even worse…

Above: Cha-ching!
Guitar Hero: On Tour, Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: World Tour all came out within six months of each other, and we already know Guitar Hero: Metallica and another ****ty DS version (Modern Hits) are coming soon. Meanwhile, Harmonix has put out just two Rock Band games in two years, not counting track packs that collect songs Harmonix wisely puts out as cheap downloadable tracks instead of full-price discs. The comparison:


It’s not the frequency of releases or the band-themed games that pisses us off the most – it’s the mindset. The “Yeah Rock On Dude!” menus feel more like a parody of music culture than genuine fondness, the commercials are more about celebrity endorsements than the game and, as seen above, the KFC-slathered Guitar Hero box is about as far from rebellious spirit as one can get. Yes, Activision is a business and exists to make money, but plenty of savvy gamers will realize Harmonix, also interested in cash, does it without looking like a bunch of suits trying to milk a great idea for all it’s worth.

Repackaging years-old GameCube games in a white box and some motion controls is fiendishly genius. Now Nintendo can literally sell us the same game twice.



The Flying Tomato. His entourage probably thought that was a cute nickname, but that was before Shaun White could attach his name to a game that would cause audiences to react to it like a Fozzie Bear knock-knock joke. But we’re not harping on the botched performance... Mr. Tomato is guilty of something far more irritating.

In a highly publicized move infinitely more appealing to people who sell games than people who play them, Ubisoft inked a deal with capitalist behemoth Target to provide it, alone, with a fifth level... Target Mountain. We’re already uncomfortable with retail exclusives like modified weapons or character costumes, but a sizable chunk of gameplay reserved solely for a single retailer is another thing entirely.
Don’t live in America? Never heard of Target? Sorry bra! You’re basically getting screwed out of a substantial portion of the game. (There were reports of European instruction manuals promoting Target-centric features they could never play.) Mt. Target could eventually be released as DLC, but how much is a playing through an advertisement worth to anyone? Well, following Shaun White’s lukewarm reception, many retailers have dropped the price to $45, while the corporately enriched version is still sold at Target for $60.

Above: Is this worth $15?
Shaun White’s Snowboarding was the blandest looking powder bounce this side of Wii Ski, and it’s infuriating that in spite of being an ethical affront, Target Mountain has more character than any other area of the game. Still... perhaps every single millisecond devoted to reskinning the slopes with Bullseyes could’ve been better spent improving the awful camera, course navigation and repetitive collect-a-thons.

Remember back in March of ‘07 when you were actually excited about PlayStation’s microcosmic answer to Xbox Live’s interface? Months of delays gave way to a soft launch featuring little more than looping trailers and interactive adver-posters. And you know - you know! - Sony can’t wait to sell your fake avatar name-brand clothing for real money.


Is this franchise so popular that the titles of individual entries don’t even matter anymore? Is the franchise so commercially invincible now that any incomprehensible string of letters and numbers will do, just as long as developer Bungie remembers to type out the word “Halo” beforehand?
Must be. We can’t think of another logical or rational explanation for switching Halo 3: Recon, the next and supposedly last game in the series, to Halo 3: ODST.

Above: OMG ODST
Seriously, why? The first title may have been a bit on the generic side, but it was also simple to pronounce, easy to remember and, most importantly, ever-so-slightly intriguing. For those bored by Halo’s trigger-happy gameplay, the word “Recon” promised a fresh approach. “ODST,” on the other hand, is intriguing only to Halopedia writers and promises nothing but a higher Google ranking for the search term “ODST.”
If the acronym stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper,” which honestly sounds pretty cool, why not call it Halo 3: Orbital Shock? Or Halo 3: Drop Trooper? Or how about these soldiers’ nickname, Helljumpers? Or, you know, something that doesn’t sound like a sexually transmitted disease? Please.

In the space of little more than a year, the current-gen Silent Hill sequel went from being a numbered entry with a big, menacing “V” in its title to being named after a dreaded high-school dance. Much like the game itself, that’s just sad.



While the concept was a good strong dose of “WTF?” in itself, it was the timing that really screwed MK vs. DC. It was a headline-grabbing fighting game/comic book crossover that spectacularly failed to grab headlines on account of Capcom having already done it 10 years earlier with the exceptional Marvel vs. Capcom. After a years-long dearth of noticeable sequels, MK’s big return kicked off just as Street Fighter decided to make one of the most epic comebacks in gaming history.

Above: Mortal Kombat’s back, baby!

It ended up launching not long before the much better – and cheaper - Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and by that point the hype for February’s Street Fighter IV had built so much inertia that no respectable fighting fan was paying attention to anything else whatsoever. It all adds up to a launch destined to stand helplessly weeping as the bigger kids mercilessly snatched its thunder, so much so that we haven’t given the game a single thought since its release.
Well that’s not strictly true. We have. But the thought has always been something along the lines of “Oh dear.”


Unreal Tournament 3. Crysis. Call of Duty 4. Metroid Prime 3. Halo 3. Quake Wars. BioShock. The goddamn Orange Box. All were excellent FPSes that came out within a six-month lead up to Turok’s deeply shaky attempt to wake up a series that hasn’t not sucked since 1998. Was there any reason to care when it was eventually farted out in January ’08? No. No there was not.



Forget The Matrix Revelutions (lord knows we've tried). Forget Neon Genesis Evangelion. If ever there was an ending to a great story we wish we could re-write, it would be that of Free Radical and the last game they ever made – the chronically overhyped Haze.

Of course the game was hyped – this was to be a first-person shooter from the ridiculously talented people who brought us TimeSplitters and its astonishing sequel, not to mention playing a huge part in creating GoldenEye at Rare. Sure, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect wasn’t too hot, but we were all expecting a masterpiece return to form for their first new IP for PS3. So how did it shape up?
"Mature and compelling storyline," claimed Ubisoft. That'll be what we described in our review as "boiling down to a predictable twist and an unfulfilling climax." Oops.

Above: Doesn’t exactly scream “compelling storyline,” does it?
"Cutting edge gaming technology featuring the Disparity Rendering System." Ah yes, the disparity between this and other PS3 games, no? Double-oops.
Yep, instead of the expected masterpiece, Haze is a glitchy, poorly-paced game with sub-standard graphics and a poor plot. And then the developer went into administration and everyone lost their jobs. Like we said, if we could re-write the ending to any story…

Anyone else pleased with waiting a decade for a game currently nursing a 65/100 average on Metacritic? By the time Too Human arrived the only person still shouting about it was its creator, Denis Dyack, who we’ll bring up later on. Oh what the hell, we’ll bring him up now.



Mr. Dyack’s inane ramblings over his ten-years-in-the-making Too Human endeared himself to no one. Despite an unsettling appearance on a 1up podcast in early 2007 asking for reforms of how critical previews are written, he continued to bait the flame-loving posters at NeoGAF - the popular industry forum.

"I think it is time to draw the digital line,” he wrote. “Too Human will be out in August and I think there is going to be a lot of trolls crying here. Either way when the game comes out this forum will likely be on fire. So in order to try to put it out some gasoline on this fire I will ask those interested to stand up and be counted.”
Whatever you say, Crazy-Pants! Of course, Dyack was ridiculed beyond belief for this proposed revolution over a mediocre game. Another appearance on 1up did nothing for his credibility and by the time Too Human came out, everyone shrugged and moved on.

Warner CEO wants the music industry to be paid more royalties for music games. Activision CEO says music industry should be grateful for their audience-expanding games. Did you guys miss the part where you’re rich ******** who shouldn’t piss and moan about not being bigger rich ********?


The first time we saw a plastic steering wheel or gun that you could snap your Wii controller into, it was cute. “Okay,” we said, “we can see how that would be helpful.” But there are now more than 25 different forms of useless, random plastic crap littering store shelves. Just look at this non-comprehensive list of junky remote accessories that you can purchase to cling to your Wii remote like a dirty paper sack wrapped around a bottle of gin.
Tennis Rackets
Golf Clubs
Baseball Bats
Light sabers (sorry – glow sabers, light swords, bright sabers, and sometimes laser swords. They’re unlicensed, you see)
Fashion controller skins of every color, including every NFL, MLB, and NHL team

Above: Yes, Nintendo is number one again… but at what cost?
Fishing Poles with plastic fish
Cheerleader Pom-Poms
A Skillet, Spatula and Serving Fork
“Surgical Kit”, consisting of a fake magnifying glass and various cutouts of needles and blades.

Above: Handles. Just handles
Swords and Sabers, some with tiny shieldsSomething called a “Wonder Stick.” Don’t buy any of this crap. Please.



This trend of releasing lame-o side games on Wii in place of genuine sequels has got to stop. We’ve loved the past three DS Castlevania games for their hard-*** 2D trappings and gorgeous animation, and eagerly await another 3D interpretation of the series even if Curse of Darkness failed to impress us. Imagine our collective disgust when the first 3D-ish Castlevania in three years is a hysterically bad fighting game that pays no mind to the revered status the series has earned… and it’s a Wii exclusive.

Above: Castlevania!
From over-gothing already gothed-out characters to building a shallow, button mashy, uninteresting fighter, Judgment is a perfect example of what not to do with a venerable franchise. Only fans will bother checking it out, and if reaction ‘round these parts is any indication, even they’re going to be sickened by the state of Simon, Trevor and the bafflingly boob-obsessed Maria.

If you’re not going to make a good game, or even a conceptually interesting one, don’t make it at all. This isn’t Halo, it’s not going to sell a million copies on the name alone, and games like this merely continue Wii’s penchant for unwanted sorta-sequels that diminish the core brand – see Soulcalibur Legends and Dragon Quest Swords for more.

Once again another platform got the real sequel (360’s excellent Tales of Vesperia) and Wii had to make do with a cheesy, Pokemon-infused side story. Wouldn’t have minded so much if it weren’t also a direct sequel to GameCube’s best RPG. Is it too much to ask to put your A team on Wii projects?



Devil May Cry 4 was awful damn pretty, yes, and its demon-juggling slashy-shooty action was a lot of fun. But halfway through its fast-paced, pleasantly stupid narrative, something strange happened: you were forced to play through all the stages you’d just trekked through again, but backwards and as a different character. It made sense in the context of the story, but come on – it’s hard to explain it away as anything other than a way to pad out the game’s run time without having to design more levels, and the fact that you had to fight the same three bosses on the way back certainly didn’t help.

Above: Are we supposed to be so glad to play as Dante that we forgive such lazy design?
Then there was that goddamn board game. Twice, protagonist Nero enters a room and is confronted with a vast game board, on which he’s forced to smack a gigantic die in order to move a little statue of himself a few spaces forward. Then, depending whether the space his avatar lands on triggers monsters, powerups or nothing, he has to deal with the results before moving again. And hey, guess what? The second time you “play” this deliberate time-sink, you need to fight all the same bosses a third time in order to move through it. We know making a current-gen game is expensive, but DMC fans deserved better than this ********.

For every four minutes of sumptuous speed, you’ve got to spend 45 minutes chatting in a useless overworld populated by people with nothing to say, or pushing blocks and pulling levers in a fashion we thought died with the Dreamcast.

Above: Not seen in the commercials: Chattin’ with the Elderly!



Want to start an internet riot? Try bundling “intrusive DRM” with your game. PC gamers don’t want online activations, limited installs, or hidden programs on their kernel (even if some have no idea what that means). But most importantly, they don’t want to feel like they’re being treated like a pirate for purchasing a legitimate copy of a game.
Like fire to Frankenstein, news about Spore’s restrictive DRM caused much pain and anguish for many fans. Thousands of gamers made their way to Amazon.com, flooding the site with scathing one-out-of-five star reviews. The message was clear, “DRM baaaad!” “SecuROM, baaAAaad!”

Above: Many gamers passed on the opportunity to create well endowed creatures because of Spore’s heavy handed DRM
Since then, EA has relaxed its policy on limited installations for Spore. You can now download a de-authorization tool to free up an installation slot instead of contacting EA’s customer service team by phone. A SecuROM-free version of the game is also available on Steam.

It looks like EA is listening to what their customers are saying. That’s why we’re giving this year’s ‘Angry Mob’ award to the irate gamers who voiced their criticisms on Amazon.com. Plus, we like reading angry comments. Feel free to post yours here.

Blizzard Entertainment has the Midas touch. It seems like everything they create is destined for greatness. Fans don’t expect good games from Blizzard; they expect excellent ones and won’t settle for anything less. That’s why expectations for StarCraft II are so high - and that’s why many bitter Blizzard fans threw a fit when they found out that their long-awaited sequel would be split up and sold separately as a trilogy. The Terrans, Zerg, and Protoss will all be playable in multiplayer in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. But for the full singleplayer experience with the Zerg and Protoss campaigns, we’ll have to wait – and pay – for StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, which is why many are accusing Blizzard of milking their fans for all they’re worth.



This isn’t an Anti-Award as much as it is a notification to the industry: we’re on to you. A surprising number of major releases during the holiday season were direct sequels to games released precisely two years ago. We’re all familiar with EA and Activision’s annual release schedule, but could this mark the beginning of a wider bi-annual mindset?
Soak it in:

All those and we didn’t include the obvious, like Guitar Hero and the myriad sports titles that come out every single minute of every single day. The best part is Yakuza, which we received in 2006 when Yakuza 2 was hitting Japanese shelves. Guess we can look forward to Yakuza 3, Gears 3, Resistance 3 and another DS Castlevania in 2010, yes?
Don’t be surprised if our 2010 Platinum Chalice Awards mention quite a few of those games in great detail…


Publisher Konami actually created the whole “pretend to be a rock star by tapping plastic instruments” genre way back in 1999, when both Guitar Freaks and Drummania rocked into Japanese arcades. Yet, Konami never brought the games to consoles here in the states. Whoops.
Instead, Guitar Hero copied Guitar Freaks exactly, made microscopic improvements, and exploded onto store shelves in Nov. 2005. Since then, the series has sold roughly eleventy-billion-jillion copies and everyone who ever touched it is wearing solid gold underpants and wiping up kitchen spills with spare royalty checks instead of paper towels. And finally, in 2008, Konami re-entered the genre it invented … with a broken game that looks ten years old.

Above: Good… job?
Rock Revolution’s drum kit is a comedy of awkwardly arranged Playskool shapes. There is no guitar controller at all, though 360 and PS3 owners can use other games’ guitar controllers. And the upcoming (but AWOL at post time) Wii version doesn’t even support instruments of any kind – you’re air-whacking. The songs are cover versions, there aren’t many of them, there’s no DLC and the note paths are vertical and clumsy.

Above: Strangely enough, there’s no singing at all in Rock Revo
Simply put, every single improvement that has been made in the rhythm action genre since 1999 has been systematically ignored with Rock Revolution. Sales show it, too. According to October’s NPD sales data, the game sold fewer than 3000 copies across 360, PS3, and DS in October. And thus, with a single ironically titled disaster, the company that rocked out before any other becomes the out-of-touch adult who needs a 12 year-old to help them operate that newfangled iPod thingamajig.

The maraca-shaking party-on-a-disc Samba De Amigo was fantastic on the Dreamcast back in 2000. Eight years later, even a barely-enhanced port seemed like a sure thing on the family-friendly Wii. But that was assuming the Wii’s motion-sensitive controllers could be made to, you know, actually work … a goal that apparently proved impossible.



We hear there have been some economic troubles as of late. Something about impending doom that can only be fixed by heaping money at rich executives… we think. We’re not economists, but we do know what we’ve seen: Signs. Not the film by that washed up writer/director, the ones that tipped us off to this whole economic collapse thing.
Amongst those signs is the sale of Midway, yeah, the entire company, for $100,000. Here are some things equal to or more expensive than the combined worth of Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, Unreal Tournament and all of Midway’s other franchises:
-A BMW 760Li.
-The amount Brad Pitt donated to fight California’s Proposition 8.
-Sarah Palin’s pre-election makeover.
-The average price of a house in the US ($283,400).
-A smashed Kurt Cobain guitar.

Above: “Dude, stop, you’re getting dust all over my costume and I can’t afford to have it cleaned again. Which reminds me, you have a dollar?”
Of course, the purchase did come with $70,000,000 in debt. Eh, whatever, we say it was a good buy! With luck the new owner will use his majority stake to produce Mortal Kombat vs Killer Instinct vs NHL 2 On 2 Open Ice Challenge: The League 2.

They’re calling it a feature, but basically what they’re saying is, to make ends meet, your character now works while you’re logged out. Not like, works on beating up villains, but like, real jobs - intern, banker, mortician, fashion designer - who the hell ever heard of a super hero fashion designer? By day he accessorizes, by night he disguises, stitching up the seams of the city, busting criminals without a thread of pity!

Above: Dun duhduhduuuh!



Will we ever get past this ridiculous stereotype? Movie games are bad, comic book games are generally bad, so movie-comic games are a special kind of ****ty. The best way to illustrate the difference in quality between one of 2008’s most popular films and its jerky, busted, antiquated video game tie-in is to pit their pull quotes against each other:

Above: Sounds like a great movie

Above: Sounds like the first time you get laid
This is one of those ideas that should be impossible to foul up. A flying suit capable of fending off entire armies, not to mention most of the other superheroes and villains in the Marvel Universe, and absolutely no good ideas come to mind? How do you miss the one goal a game like this should achieve, which is to make the player feel like an unstoppable force of good?
Answer: Rushed deadlines and no time given to make it anything more than another throw away purchase for confused parents.

Fatalities are synonymous with Mortal Kombat, but in MKvDCU the DC heroes don’t kill – they relentlessly beat their fallen opponent with the oxymoronic “Heroic Brutalities.” That is just about the least heroic thing you can do to an incapacitated person. Can you imagine Superman beating the **** out of someone only to continue turning their face into hamburger just because he can?



When we first clapped eyes on these Eidos-approved photos of the new Lara Croft model Alison Carroll back in August, we literally had to stare at them for an extended period of time just to take it all in. They’re millimeters away from being a pictorial crash course in gynecology.



Every time you think you’ve seen it all, there’s something else that makes you seriously question if these are meant to be risque or if someone just plum forgot that airbrushing tan lines and wearing some kind of underwear is standard photography business.


This category isn’t reserved to the worst game of the year - that would be for one of the many baby/horse party games - but rather the game that brings out the worst in all of us. From the disgustingly lackluster re-unveiling at E3 in July, Wii Music’s unpopularity gripped most gamers almost immediately. Perpetuated by journalists and forum posts, these hard-feelings posed the question to the hardware giant: What the hell is this and why is this your biggest game of 2008?

Above: Never forget
Miyamoto’s insistence that Wii Music is a toy and shouldn’t be considered a full game in the traditional sense (even saying it’s “more interesting” than a game) only further alienated gamers. We all looked to Nintendo for reassurance that pleasing the “casual” audience wasn’t the company’s largest concern, which it turns it out it is, evidenced by the “hardcore” release of Animal Crossing: City Folk as the bone it threw our way so we’d stop *****ing about Wii Music. One GR editor described this year as, “I feel like Nintendo’s breaking up with me.”
And once it was released, there was nothing particularly innovative about it. There certainly wasn’t any risk involved, or even reward. Hell, for a play-thing there was hardly any longevity past a lazy afternoon. No, through and through, Wii Music is exactly what it was always projected to be: a toy burned to a disc that automatically played notes to songs no matter when you decided to flail your arms. Whether that destroys the barrier between casual and hardcore gaming is up for you to decide, however we feel you may already know the answer.

Above: The only coverage we gave Wii Music
And for such a big stink that was made, the reviews and player support have certainly been tepid. Even with continual justification, Nintendo can’t seem to grasp why the baby game they developed isn’t as popular as the baby games they publish. Maybe Nintendo used to mean something. But for now, all we see is cemented proof that the Wii is a non-gaming gaming system.

Again, not the worst game of the year, but certainly one of the most controversial. Producer Denis Dyack championed this 10-year-in-the-making Diablo clone by starting flame wars on NeoGAF and challenging games journalism to be more critical to games that weren’t made by him. But how does the game play?
Too Human is a slow, unrepentant bore that dares you to find it interesting. The storyline is dullsville, the graphics almost laughable and the characters completely uninteresting (naming people after mythological beings doesn’t make them compelling). So much effort went into development that we almost feel bad for saying Human plays like an uninspired mess. Repetitive enemies, a superfluous loot system, same-y character classes and dumb perks are just icing on top of a *****-flavored cake.
Not done hating? We’ve got crusty old Anti-Award articles from 2006 and 2007 that are chock full of games you’ve already forgotten or traded in.
Jan 7, 2009
 

DanGZ

Superior Member
Sep 5, 2007
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#2
haha, great article. LoL at the "Enough with the Peripherals" the amount of wii plastic cr*p they release is unbelieable, you would think "Green Peace" would be on there arses by now.
 

Nunalho

Tekken Elder
Nov 13, 2005
7,102
0
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#3
I agree 100% with the DMC4 comments.

Hilarious comments on Haze and Too Human, the game that took 10 years to come out and failed miserably and had his producer whining in forums...priceless.

Big lol on the Lara pics, kinda porny:p
 
B

Bakudannar

Guest
#5
DMC4 was spot on, while I liked the game overall, it could have been so much better.
 

Spider

Elite Sage
Jul 16, 2008
12,260
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#8
i hate how they talk about half life and portal like 360 games...
angers me, valve should have never gone console, they waste their time porting games, instead of making episodes quicker