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Biggest Letdowns of 2008
It's the same thing every year - the industry spews out a handful of big-budget games, while the enormous amount of hype generated by publishers and the media increases our expectations. Naturally, we get disheartened when those games turn out to be mediocre at best. Last year wasn't much of an exception.
2008 didn't bring any significant contributions to the evolution of video games, nor have we seen any major surprises or breakthroughs in terms of game design. Projects are targeting mainstream audiences and game designers are oversimplifying their work in order to please casual gamers, thus befitting the publisher's business plan.
That said, let's have a look at last year's assortment of letdowns.
Worst Game, Period
Why it sucks?
Each year delivers a choice of second-rate movie tie-ins, although it's safe to say the year 2008 will be remembered for the gaming hazard that is Iron Man. Personally, I've really enjoyed the movie. It's funny and laidback and features fabulous special effects (ILM's stuff blows your mind, as it did in The Transformers). The video game adaptation is -- to put it as delicately as possible -- a colossal pile shit. Apart from being technically underdeveloped, the game features serious design flaws. Overall, it's boring as hell. What a way to spoil a perfectly decent summer blockbuster. If you've liked the movie do not play the game for the love of God.
Need for Speed: Undercover, Mercs 2, Too Human
Worst Action Game
MERCENARIES 2: WORLD IN FLAMES
Why it sucks?
Pandemic Studios' Mercenaries 2: World in Flames is crammed with drawbacks in nearly every aspect of the game. Throughout the entire ride, it feels as though the developers spent more time creating cool-looking explosions rather than tweaking and improving the gameplay. The story is tedious, the characterization is weak, the AI is dense and the single-player campaign has about as much depth and appeal as Pong in solo play. The crucial blunder with Mercs 2 was that it turned a solid shooter (the original Mercs, I mean) into a below-average current-gen action game.
Fracture, Golden Axe: Beast Rider, Iron Man, The Club, Turok
Worst Most Disappointing Strategy Game
Why it sucks?
Just so there's no confusion, Spore (as you should know) isn't a classic strategy, even if it does involve plenty of strategy style gameplay, especially in later stages. So, yeah, it's a life creation sim with heavy emphasis on strategy. Also, I know, this one got an 8.1 from us, so don't bother pointing that out, please. Anyhow, this is not a bad game per se. However, considering all the promises made by EA, as well as the annoyingly intense pre-release marketing campaign, Spore is, in fact, a great disappointment and certainly not the game it could've been. What's more, it certainly did not achieve the reputation and critical acclaim of games like The Sims and SimCity.
Why it sucks?
Yeah, we've put it in the RPG category, because the game relies heavily on its RPG elements. Without much doubt, this is one of the worst releases in 2008. It took nearly 10 years for this game to come to life and when it was finally near completion we decided to await its arrival with suitably low expectations - most of the builds we witness before release were awful. Our fears were realized and upon release Too Human miraculously transmogrified itself into a venomous pile of steamy dog poo. Chalk it up to sloppy programming, dreary levels, unimaginative monster designs, unappealing characters and... do you really need to know more?
GRAND THEFT AUTO IV
Why it sucks?
Reviewing GTA IV (PC) swiftly became a great nuisance; which is why we gave up on the task completely. Still, we felt we should say something on the subject and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to do so. At first, reports players reported many problems with the game, from missing textures to crashes. Some even complained about two separate, nondescript error codes that kept the game from loading at all. Potential fixes and workarounds appeared, though the complaints just kept pouring in. The game also restricted some players from changing their graphical settings (we can vouch for that). The game's DRM was another cause for alarm, on top of the cumbersome install/update routine for Rockstar's much-touted Social Club. An official patch was released; the problems persisted, while new ones came into view. New NVIDIA graphics drivers were issued, though according to a great number of users, it didn't do much to solve the problem. This is one of the greatest mistakes Rockstar ever made and quite a step down after an excellent console version.
Mercs 2, Far Cry 2, Iron Man, Too Human
Why she sucks?
God knows why. Errr... define "suck" if you please. She's not bad actually. She likes to wear blue coats and she prefers red roses. Who can argue with a woman like that? Also, I can bet my manly parts that none of you would object to seeing her under the sheets and without that blue coat of hers.
That is all, people. We left out awards in two categories - Worst MMORPG and Greatest Ad Fest - for simple reasons. We couldn't find any potential candidates for these categories, especially candidates that could top last year's disasters such as Fury (MMOG) and NFS: Pro Street.
We look towards the year 2009, in the hope of witnessing more GotY material and a bit less WotY material.
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