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Are your favourite franchises better or worse this generation?

Street Fighter

What this generation brought:

2.5D graphics, Ultra Combo finishes, focus cancels

How the overall package compares:

Last generation, you were either revelling in Street Fighter or you were mourning the series’ passing. As the fighting game scene - and thus Street Fighter III - had become an ultra-hardcore arena for frame-counting, pixel-perfect parry-merchants, the accessible jubilance of Street Fighter II’s joyful depths was lost to many who had loved it in the early ‘90s.

 

With Street Fighter IV, Capcom sorted that right out. The latest game is arguably the follow-up to SFII we all imagined at the time. Deadly simple to grasp, almost anyone can become a respectable player within a week or two, and the learning curve towards its lofty elite play is a friendly slope rather than an unassailable cliff-face of complexity.

 

Every character’s design, move-set and animation distils the essence of what we’ve always loved about each one of them, and the visual blend of polygons and paint means that Street Fighter has never been more spectacular. There are dissenting voices of course, mainly those who wanted SFIV to be an even more complicated affair than its predecessor, but surely a bit of streamlining is a small price to pay for a world in which everyone can fight together once more?

When the Awesometer says Street Fighter is best: 

 


Ratchet & Clank

What this generation brought:

Open-universe exploration, an epic, three-game storyline, time-bending causality puzzles, Mario Galaxy-style planetoid platforming

How the overall package compares:

Ratchet & Clank sequels have long been a case of “more of the same but better”, and given that each has generally come packed with enough fun to inflict an over-dosed physical intolerance to the stuff, we’ve had no problems with that at all.

 

But this time around, things got even better. Tools of Destruction exploded onto the PS3 in a slick tornado (gun) of gorgeous looks and raucous action, immediately becoming perhaps the definitive R&C game. Quest for Booty was a resoundingly successful experiment in the direction of episodic content, progressing the overall story arc very nicely indeed despite its brief length. And then came A Crack in Time, and with it the biggest revolution the series has yet seen.

 

ACiT’s freely-explorable, non-linear universe made one of gaming’s most vibrant worlds feel exponentially more real, and by filling said universe with hardcore, Super Mario Galaxy-style mini-levels and sumptuously satisfying Braid-like time manipulation puzzles, Insomniac created one of the most complete and rewarding games ever to bear the celebrated R&C logo. 

When the Awesometer says Ratchet & Clank is best:

 


Burnout

What this generation brought:

Stunning crash modelling, an open-world city, ECTO-1 and the Back to the Future DeLorean

How the overall package compares:

Like many of gaming’s best franchises, last-gen Burnout had a tight focus on honing a particular experience to perfection. It might eventually have suffered from the tiredness of yearly update syndrome at the hands of EA, but as games about rocketing down the road obliterating everything in your path go, it was pretty much tweaked to perfection by the end of the generation.

 

So what next? Was Burnout to become another SSX; a series so perfected that it had nowhere else to go? No. Open-world Paradise City is where it went, and despite the radical format change, it worked. Eventually.

Although brilliantly ambitious, Burnout Paradise’s new approach nearly killed the fun to begin with. With a vast area to explore freely and no way to re-try events once you’d found and failed them – aside from driving around for another half hour trying to locate the start again -  the focus was lost, and Burnout’s key appeal was buried beneath reams of blubbery padding. Mercifully though, the inclusion of a simple restart option in a later patch dug it back out, and Paradise finally became a proper Burnout game, only with more depth and things to do than ever before. And with the whale-sized DLC expansions, it’s almost become a whole new game all over again. 

When the Awesometer says Burnout is best: 

 

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38 comments

  • venomman01 - January 10, 2010 9:11 p.m.

    ODST was a freaking waste of 60 bucks
  • TheTrooper424 - January 9, 2010 9:35 p.m.

    Ive been coming to this site weekly for the past three years to read your new articles but you guys have been slicking horrible and it goes to show with this article. GTA was way better back in the day and I highly disagree with a lot of your statements. Youve done it once again...thanks
  • AuthorityFigure - January 8, 2010 10:48 a.m.

    @The_Tingler @Nin10DOH @SausageLozenge Zelda is not HD - it doesn't qualify. You might as well be asking "Where's Double Dragon?"
  • AuthorityFigure - January 8, 2010 10:45 a.m.

    This personality crisis that people accuse Resident Evil 5 of is laughable. This accusation only represents the players' unwillingness to move with the series. RE5 is an Opus of action gaming. Get your heads out of the past - it's unprofessional and short-sighted.
  • GoldenMe - January 7, 2010 2:01 a.m.

    Why, Sega, WHY!!!
  • Xeacons - January 6, 2010 6:17 p.m.

    It's always tough when a predecessor redefines a genre or series. If the sequel doesn't make every improvement the prequel does, it's "awful." Even if the sequel is every bit the former was, and little more, if it doesn't make the leaps and bounds its predecessor did, it's "terrible." I don't care. I still love it as long as it doesn't totally back slide.
  • Ninja-KiLLR - January 6, 2010 4:15 p.m.

    i wholefully disagree with GR saying that gta4 is better then the past gta's. i dont even understand it. san andreas and vice city were just so much more fun then 4 in everyway.
  • CAPST3R - January 6, 2010 1:39 p.m.

    I preferred the old ratchet and clank games. I've always loved the weapon upgrading. TOD spoilt this, so I haven't bought a R&C since. I want a downloadable bundle of R&C 1, 2, 3 and gladiator, with improved graphics. My first game was R&C, and what a bloody great game that was. By the way, did they ever make a sequel to that cartoon shooter for the PS2? It's name was a number, I think it was 13. That game was my first FPS.
  • The_Tingler - January 6, 2010 5:54 a.m.

    Sonic Rush was brilliant, a perfect Sonic game. I'm disappointed that you talked about Silent Hill and only mentioned Homecoming. What about Origins and, more importantly, Shattered Memories? And yes, where's Zelda? We've had three games so far this generation.
  • aion7 - January 6, 2010 5:48 a.m.

    Third Strike is superior to SF4 in every way. The music and graphics are better. The characters are more varied and interesting (my favorite characters in the Street Fighter universe are both only in SF3: Dudley and Q). There is no reward for doing badly in Third Strike (but there are still comebacks). Selectable supers adds variety and depth. Multiple super bars adds emphasis on strategic meter management and building. Universal overheads and teching make all characters playable at a high level. A smaller reversal window and no autocorrect make for a more offensive flow than SF4's Turtlefest of reversal dp FADC ultra. Despite how it may seem in this post, I still like SF4. In fact, I was just playing it at a tournament three days ago. It's a solid game, and I hope they fix it's unfortunately numerous problems in Super. I don't mean to sound like a snob here, but by focusing too much on making it accessible, they've made it into a worse game autocorrect, ultras and dp shortcuts are all present to even the odds between players that know what they are doing and players that don't. The fun with fighting games is being able to learn the game and improve. To know that what governs who wins are execution, reactions, knowledge and yomi.
  • JustTheBoBreaker - January 6, 2010 5:31 a.m.

    I had never played a Resident Evil game before 5 and I really didn't enjoy it. I agree with the author that it seems to employ many older gameplay elements with newer elements found in other next-gen games. I'm sure Resident Evil 4 was as good as everyone says, but 5 dissapointed me as a newcomer to the series
  • GameManiac - January 6, 2010 2:28 a.m.

    I can't agree more with Mario. Super Mario Galaxy is gaming gold. I find it very odd at how the needle for sonic was balanced between "then" and "now". I honestly wanted to see the needle pointing BOTTOM-left (considering how much better Sonic games were a few generations ago).
  • Defguru7777 - January 6, 2010 2:21 a.m.

    I agree with most on this list. And I hate to be the obligatory Halo fanboy, but Halo Wars really wasn't that bad.
  • DriveShaft - January 6, 2010 2:10 a.m.

    I think Mario's and Ratchet and Clank were better before, but at least finalyl a mention of RE5 being RE4 clone. Really, if you gave Leon steroids and gave him a vacation you have Resident Evil 5, both are still overrated.
  • spacemonkey086 - January 6, 2010 1:42 a.m.

    I like old school GTA and Metal Gear Solid
  • SausageLozenge - January 6, 2010 1:15 a.m.

    Where is Zelda? I LOVED Wind Waker. Twilight Princess was cool, but I miss toon Link.
  • Nin10DOH - January 5, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    um, i dont see Zelda. Shame on you guys otherwise pretty good article
  • Romination - January 5, 2010 11:48 p.m.

    this article is the biggest damn cop-out i may have ever read and seems to be fueled by saying 'well i guess its good still and people like it even though the old ones were good...'. Only ONE game was completely better, apparently. Glad you had the balls to do A franchise. Bah. I was hoping for a "games that don't deserve nostalgia" feel...
  • JosefMotley - January 5, 2010 11:36 p.m.

    TOTALLY agree about mario kart wii. it's so badly designed it's almost broken. just to check it wasn't my imagination i played the DS one again and was so shocked that an entire lap in first place wasn't constantly interrupted by like ten blue shells a minute. all they could have done is add an item switch like in smash bros so everyone can immediatley turn the blue shells and lightning off... but then again the only good tracks in mario kart wii are in the retro cups, so i'd still rather play it on DS or even gamecube. i have to say though that mario kart 64 is still easily the worst of the series.

Showing 1-20 of 38 comments

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