You know that game you play for hours every single night, and dream about playing throughout every single day? We can’t stand the damn thing. You remember that game you treasured as a child, the one you still get warm and fuzzy and misty-eyed just thinking about? Seriously, it sucks.
Sorry, but as you may have noticed by now, gamers are a diverse and extremely opinionated bunch. If you love something with all your heart and soul, we guarantee you that someone else hates it with an equal amount of passion. Chances are good, in fact, that the person who despises your precious favorite is a person you know, like or even trust.
Your favorite GamesRadar editor, for example…
What follows are the “classics” our individual staffers consider crap. The overrated gems we just don’t understand. You may not agree with us, but that's okay - in most of these cases, we don't even agree with each other.
Silent Hill 2 fails miserably, and oh-so-painfully, at attempting to reach that middle ground. Actually, scratch that - Silent Hill 2 doesn't even try to reach that middle ground.
Above: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most overrated of them all?
It's all build-up and no payoff. You spend at least an hour in the beginning just walking. Walking through a drab, sepia-toned soup that is not only supposed to pass for fog, but is also supposed to be this franchise's defining quality. Later, waste ten minutes of your life descending, on foot, into the underwater prison and your reward is... another endless series of dank hallways and rusty doors that look no different than the last two buildings you rummaged through like a bored vagrant.
Above: The entirety of Silent Hill 2
Know what else, Konami? You can concoct as many bizarre-looking freaks as you want. You can even put them in nurse outfits and make them have dirty bathroom sex with Pyramid Head. But unless you give them some kind of psychologically frightening reason for existing, it's... just... not... scary. (See how you like it when I drag everything out?) "It's all in the character's mind" doesn't count. In fact, that's a total copout. So is making me play through this mess multiple times to get a real, mildly comprehensible ending.
If this is the best the genre has to offer, the genre is broken. Survival horror games can and should be better than Silent Hill 2.
You see, I really rate Super Mario Bros on NES. It is, quite simply, a masterpiece. It's still as enjoyable today as it ever was and ever will be. And though my knowledge of Super Mario Bros 3 is limited, I was amazed at the cleverness of the level design when I watched my girlfriend demonstrate its secrets in a comprehensive play-through the other day. These are fantastic games.
But Super Mario World is not. You've got one of the most competent 2D consoles ever made in the SNES, yet this looks incredibly basic. Its tiny character sprites (Bullet Bills notwithstanding), detail-starved backgrounds and limited animation frames are not a patch on other platformers of the time.
The sound is annoying, the music featuring twee little instrument sounds that seem to mimic SNES Mario's stupid little feet as he runs. The level design does not seem as intricate as Super Mario Bros 3 nor as simple and enjoyable as SMB1. Sure, it's peppered with variety, such as riding Yoshi (which I do like) and being able to fly with your cape (again, I like). But then you get some annoying, slow levels like the Ghost House or the scrolling screen sections.
The bosses are weak, both in stamina and design, and feel a bit like an apology to me. The world is also too big to play through in one sitting and the save option dulls the challenge, as lives have no real meaning. The experience feels diluted from the challenge of SMB1.
Perhaps the problem is that Mario is not my childhood friend as he was for a lot of other people, so I don't have that automatic love for him. I have finished Galaxy with 120 stars, finished New Super Mario Bros on DS, completed Mario Land 1 and 2 on GB… I even enjoyed Mario Sunshine. But I don't like this. Deal with it.
Heading up the pity-party cast is Squall, a pissy anti-hero who's allegedly falling in love with the delicate Rinoa Heartilly. I say “allegedly” because you see next to zero acts of passion from Squall. His dialogue boxes usually go something like this:
How long must you wait to finally see the happy couple united? Dozens of hours. Four discs of complaining and abandonment issues. Antisocial Squall won't even crack a smile until the ending, yet he's surrounded by supportive (but still whiny) friends the whole time. Hell, the entire cast of FFVIII is a manifestation of Squall's emotional desert: insecurity (Quistis), overconfidence (Zell), naivety (Selphie), compassion (Rinoa)... it's a list of stereotypical, contrasting personalities. This isn’t Fight Club and Laguna isn’t Tyler Durden. Troubled characters are one thing, but this cast is just plain down in the dumps. Plus, for a game centered around the idea of love (as evidenced by the logo artwork, Squall and Rinoa embracing), it's home to a forced, uninteresting romance rivaling of Attack of the Clones.
As for the battles... could they be any more obnoxious? No magic points, just sucking spells out of enemies? Yeah, that's fun. Makes perfect sense too, yanking healing spells out of butterflies and fire attacks from robots. And how about the unskippable, cutscene-length summon attacks? If we wanted to see monsters beat the crap out of each other, we'd watch Destroy All Monsters, not spend hours pretending to play a game.
Above: Look cool? Imagine watching it for the 10th time in one day
In high school, everyone steers clear of the known jerks. Just because there’s a good heart underneath Squall’s off-putting demeanor doesn’t mean anyone’s going to stick around to find out. I sure as hell didn’t.
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