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Are your favourite franchises better or worse this generation?

Silent Hill

What this generation brought:

American dev teams, better combat

How the overall package compares:

Frustrating one, this. Because while Silent Hill has fared far better than expected since being thrust into the hands of non-Konami developers, the once revolutionary survival horror series is now treading water rather than new ground.

 

It seems churlish to criticise one of the best horror franchises in gaming for delivering more of the same, but given that Homecoming is Silent Hill 5 and the series’ best entry is still number 2, the criticism is more than justified. Silent Hill’s particular balance of strengths (dense atmosphere, nightmare surrealism, psychological storytelling) make its formula tricky to develop without killing, but overly familiar retreads are just as dangerous, particularly given that the series’ current treatment lacks the finesse and purism it once enjoyed.

 

Silent Hill’s horrible sense of oppression has only been helped by current gen graphics and sound, but the series needs a lot more than enemy lock-on and a controllable camera if it’s going to stay relevant.

When the Awesometer says Silent Hill is best: 

 


Mario Kart

What this generation has brought:

Motion-controlled steering, online play

How the overall package compares:

As much as we love it, we have to admit that Mario Kart has one heck of a chequered history, all things considered. The original Super Mario Kart is frantic but pure. The N64 game isn’t as tight, but got a massive boost in graphics and scope. On the Gamecube, Mario Kart is fun, but far too gimmick-laden to stand up to the previous games. Mario Kart DS is the best of both worlds, blending the driving purity of the first game with the track design of the later ones. Mario Kart on the Wii? It’s everything that’s great and terrible about its host console.

 

The motion-controlled steering is excellent, providing the precision of an analogue stick with an immediate and instinctive interface. It’s exactly what the Wii was sold to do. But in terms of game design, Mario Kart Wii is another victim of Nintendo’s current philosophy of removing any quantifiable framework for serious competition so that we can all grin just inanely while sharing the fun of being rubbish together.

 

Think of all the little niggles you hate about Mario Kart. All that cheaty, rubber-banding AI and all those skill-less blue shell wins. All those times that various versions of the game have done you out of a well-earned win by screwing you over on the last corner. Mario Kart Wii is less a game, and more an interactive museum exhibit dedicated to explaining those occurrences to a new generation. It can be fun, yeah, but don’t expect to ever be able to play it as an actual racing game.

When the Awesometer says Mario Kart is best: 

 


Sonic the Hedgehog

What this generation brought:

The return of 2D bits, were-hogs, probably his worst game ever

How the overall package compares:

Given that Sonic has been crap for the last three generations it may seem moot to quantify his comparable quality this time around, but we’re going to do it anyway. Given how well this crap sells, it obviously still matters to someone.

 

Sonic the Hedgehog started this generation horribly with 2006’s self-titled exercise in self-abuse; a flaming bestial ambulance crash of a game that should have been impossible to recover from. But Sonic kept going. The Wii’s Secret Rings was a fun diversion at first, but was ultimately dull, shallow and a bit messy. Ditto for Sonic and the Black Knight.

 

Things perked up for Sonic Unleashed, at least initially, as the promise of 2D gameplay got us all excited. But Sega didn’t tell us that on-rails 3D was still plentiful, and made sure to shut the hell right up about the abominable combat sections. The DS has fared better with the likes of the Sonic Rush series and the Dark Brotherhood RPG, but neither was exactly a franchise-saver.

So, better now than in the days of Sonic Adventure, Heroes, et al? Probably not, but whether strictly worse or not is a matter we’ll leave to the poor broken minds of those who still care.

When the Awesometer says Sonic the Hedgehog 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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