I like a good list article and I think people enjoy reading them too.
The Video Game Music article seemed to go down pretty well, so I reckon there’s some mileage in discussing some other game related matters.
To start off with, I’m going to highlight games that I consider to be Overrated, critically and/or by the masses.
Let me preface this by saying that certain game genres hold no appeal to me anyway. For example, I just don’t like stealth games, so the likes of Hitman, Thief and Splinter Cell and choose to avoid playing them. That’s more to do with my lack of patience with the genre, so I won’t include them.
No, I’d rather focus on the games from genres I do enjoy that other people seem to rate highly.
Some may be controversial, and you might passionately disagree. If you do, let me know.
1. Sensible World of Soccer
Ratings: 8/10 on Eurogamer, 7.9 on IGN, 81% on MetaCritic
I’ve never understood the appeal of Sensible Soccer. Even now, people will talk down modern games like FIFA 13 and say “Aye, but it’s not as good as Sensi!”.
What am I missing?
Even back in the early 90s, there were better football games on the market. Games like Super Soccer, Striker, Microprose Soccer and International Superstar Soccer were far higher in quality.
And yet people talk of it like it was the easiest game to play. Even the Xbox 360 version is fawned over, with quotes like “All sports games should be as easy to pick up and play”.
But what’s bizarre about it is that it’s not easy to play. Unless you plan on moving purely in a straight line, the dribbling system is atrocious, the passing is pathetic and shooting appears to be a game of pot luck.
What Sensible Soccer did that its competitors didn’t do back in the day was introduce club teams to the video game market. I think that’s where this bizarre retro appeal comes from.
It just can’t be from the game play.
Ratings: 10/10 on Eurogamer, 9.5 on Gamespot, 93% approval rating on MetaCritic
Braid is pretentious.
It’s a game loved by people who want gaming to be a form of art rather than a source of fun.
Reading reviews of Braid puts me in mind of wine or fragrance critics who try to find “notes” within the taste or smell of the product.
“Sipping this wine reminds me of dropping a cantaloupe melon from a hot air baloon on a September’s day in Romania. It has a hint of sufferage combined with the gritty texture of an abusive uncle” – that sort of thing.
No, it tastes like wine.
And Braid is just a platform/puzzle game with an arty look to it.
And do you know what? It’s not even a particularly good one at that.
10/10 my arse.
3. Forza Motorsport
Ratings: 9.4 on IGN, 10/10 on Trusted Reviews, 9/10 on Eurogamer
I bought Forza Motorsport 3 back in 2009, but this really applies to all of the Forza series.
If I want to experience driving at its more realistic level, I’ll go out in my own car.
Forza just doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. It’s not fun to play, it’s not particularly easy to play either, but it is realistic.
Well sorry, but I’d sooner play Project Gotham Racing, Dirt, Rallisport Challenge or any of the Karting games ahead of this.
When it came to Forza Motorsport, I took the hit and traded it in within a week.
And when I did, the guy in the shop looked at me like I’d pissed in his cornflakes. He just couldn’t understand.
Ratings: 9/10 on Eurogamer, 8.2 on IGN, 9/10 on Gamespot
To paraphrase Lucille Bluth, “I don’t understand the point of the game, and I refuse to play it any further”.
Bayonetta to me felt like an exercise in random button mashing with a plot that just flew over my head.
I tried to enjoy it, I really did, but I had no idea what was going on, and the sheer repetitiveness of it meant that a couple of hours in I couldn’t be arsed with it anymore.
But it’s just that, it felt technically flawed as well, with ropey camera angling and unintuitive controls.
How it can be rated as highly as it is is a mystery to me.
5. Ninja Gaiden
Ratings: 9.4 on IGN, 9/10 on Eurogamer
I’ve only played the Xbox version of this game, which came out near on 10 years ago, but at the time people were raving about it.
And again, I just didn’t see the hype.
Ninja Gaiden was devoid of any character, the graphics were pretty but lifeless, the game-play involved running along walls (cos that’s better than running along the ground you see) and hitting people and the camera angles made the experience
an awkward one overall.
What’s interesting is that subsequently, reviewers began to wake up to this and say “Actually, Ninja Gaiden wasn’t really up to much, was it?” and the most recent one gets reviews that range in the 50-60% bracket. I don’t believe for a moment the game-play has become so much worse than the original.
But back in the day, the writers loved it. The IGN review is 5 pages long.
And if you’re mug enough to read that you deserve a poor gaming experience.
6. The Gears of War series
Ratings: 9.4 on IGN, 94% approval rating on Meta Critic, 8/10 on Eurogamer
It’s the perspective that left me cold.
You either play from the first person perspective or let the game’s character roam free like in God or War or Drake’s Fortune.
But to have the main character of Gears of War continually stuck slightly off centre on your screen just didn’t sit well with me. As a result I’ve deliberately avoided similar games like Dead Space.
Beyond that I just don’t like the look of the game at all, with its murky drab colours and dirty feel.
And further, the game play wasn’t up to much either.
I just didn’t get the hype.
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