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.
Inspiring fear through entertainment is an art. It takes a delicate and masterful storyteller to know when to ratchet tension and when to release it... when to go for unsettling vagueness and when to go for full-on shock value. To truly terrify an audience, you need to strike a careful balance.
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.
Someone, please. Please explain to me why you think Halo 3 is such a big deal. Because every time I touch it, I find myself painfully aware that I'm playing a game that just doesn't really do anything.
Let's compare it to the competition. Where Bioshock, Call of Duty 4 and Half-Life 2 have densely-textured, original environments, intelligent, layered stories, and multi-faceted, believably-realized personalities, Halo 3's much-vaunted "epic" plot pretty much consists of, "Here are the bad guys. Kill 'em, barely-characterised hero man!"
Where Gears of War and Counter-Strike facilitate rewarding, tactical play, Halo 3's meat-and-potatoes, run-and-gun simplicity is a basic, late '90s blandathon with less imagination than a dead cow. Where Quake 3 (and Quake Live) are lightning fast, heart-pounding tests of nerve and precision, Halo 3's sluggish pace and floaty physics make it feel like a "My first FPS" starter kit - the videogame equivalent of training pants for those wishing to play a proper shooter when they grow up.
The graphics? In a genre which drives - and is driven by - technology like no other, they're functional at best, as long as you can ignore the fact that the production design makes everything in this pseudo-dramatic tosh look like a Tonka toy. The enemies? Find me but one that looks threatening or behaves in a genuinely interesting way and you sir (or madam) get a shiny gold star and my eternal respect for achieving the impossible.
Halo 3 is a bog-basic, personality-deprived FPS-by-numbers, a flairless inspiration-void with absolutely nothing of its own to bring to the table bar a glorified level editor. It's the McDonald’s of FPS, and if the original Xbox's first-year line-up hadn't been so largely unexciting, it wouldn't have half the profile it has now.
Alright, here's the thing. When I grew up, I was into Sega. Like the Beatles and the Stones, you either liked one or the other, not both. Mario was 'the enemy" and I used to have a mental list of bullet points ready that I could recite to argue my case against a Nintendo fanboy, just like PS3 and 360 fans do to everyone's annoyance today. But I have changed.
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.
The entire catalog of Final Fantasy games is untouchable. I’m a huge fan, having played every single one of them because they're all special and unique in their own way. But that can't keep Final Fantasy VIII from being an overwrought bitchfest packed with a whiny cast of teenagers and an insanely tedious battle system.
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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