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Beloved games we hate

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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145 comments

  • Awesomeitude1523 - March 25, 2009 7:21 p.m.

    Thank you God! I now realize that I am not the only person who hates Final Fantasy, Halo, and World of Warcraft. Great article, and I totally agree with the Halo "hype" diagram. Oh yeah, as is custom, FIRST. ......Sorry. I had to.
  • Morning Ninja - March 25, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    Yes, Rock Band and Guitar Hero is over-rated, and apperently I'm not the only one that thinks so!
  • deathrebellion - March 25, 2009 8:24 p.m.

    Top Gear anyday lolz gr6 work guys
  • schmeidenkamp - March 25, 2009 8:38 p.m.

    i love gran turismo, but I completely agree with pretty much everything that was said about it. lol "coming 2007, 2008, 2009. screw it, wanna watch top gear?" LOL Completely agree with GTA: San Andreas. I live in southern california and I'm surrounded by this 'faux gangster' bullshit. reenacting it in that game wasnt fun to me. micro managing your health and 'hood' was annoying as shit. I respectfully disagree with Silent Hill 2 though. That game was so fun and scary. Its all about immersion. re captcha: 28 playthings
  • heartskuppy - March 25, 2009 8:40 p.m.

    CLEAN YOUR GUITAR MATTHEW KEAST.
  • KillDrone - March 25, 2009 8:44 p.m.

    Personally I think Matthew Keast needs to stfu. I play Rock Band all the time and utterly love it. It's why I got into drumming, because I wanted to do that for REAL. Just because some jackass thinks he's cool because he can 5-star "Through the Fire and the Flames" doesn't mean that we all act or feel that way. Yes real musical instruments take a hell of a lot of talent and patience to learn, but Guitar Hero and Rock Band also have a learning curve. Musicians who complain about Rock Band and Guitar Hero making their profession/hobby look like a child's sport are MORONS. These games should be embraced for what they are really doing, and that is enlightening today's youth with the classic genres that were left behind in the Hip-Hop/Rap uprising.
  • Bazookatier - March 25, 2009 9:18 p.m.

    This was pretty cool, but some of the arguments are pretty weak. For example, the attempted thrashing of COD4 was pretty bad. Let me sum up 6 paragraphs: 1. I am angered by 15-year-olds talking smack. 2. I hate dead bodies that disappear. I think that's almost every game dude.
  • Danomeon - March 25, 2009 9:19 p.m.

    Games that I love on my list, and my reason for loving them... Halo 3- yeah, the single player does suck. But online, the game turns into a bit of a party game, the kind when a large group of people are all drunkenly laughing as their ghost crashes into someone, crumpling them to the floor. By myself, the game is a complete mess. But add friends into the mixture, and the game becomes an explosion of joy. Call of Duty 4: I loved seeing all of the cinematic moments, not for the plot, but just for the sheer eye candy of being able to open up a can of pop and watch as explosions fly around me. The multiplayer's online matchmaking system also gave me an incentive to keep playing, and made each kill feel like a joyous, progressive step forward in the rank. World of warcraft- Yes, it is a little too obsessive, but when I reach the top tiers, the joy of teaming up with 25 friends to take down some completely massive and awesome badass while utilizing my character's special abilites makes for a great joy on the weekends, and like call of duty 4, that incentive to continue getting better gear breathes longevity into the game. Braid- What? You thought it was difficult? My 11 year old sister completed the game without any assistance! Anyways, I guess since this is the week of hate I will pitch in my two cents about a popular game I despise... Gears of war (Both.) The controls feel very narrow and sluggish, and I hate the feel of the weapons. Besides the brutal chainsaw kills, none of the weapons feel like they are making a connection with the enemies, and my kills never get that entertaining zing like in halo or call of duty that makes you think, "I OBLITERATED THAT GUY!" I also hate the look of the characters. I can't relate to massively beefy men, as not only are they unrealistic, but they also take up most of the dang screen while I'm playing! And don't get me started about the level design. How do you people find constantly black, dark levels fun? Take gears 2 for example. Level one? A destroyed city. That was in the first gears, so what else can you cough up? An underground cavern. Great, what else? A dark labratory. O...k? Anything more??? What? More underground caverns? What now? AN UNDERGROUND CASTLE? And then, what else? ANOTHER DESTROYED CITY?!?!??! All of the environments seem dark and lifeless, and they just drag on forever and ever. I also hate the fact that truskill matchmaking can't get me into a single multiplayer match. Really. I've even left the console on for an hour while it was searching, just to see if it would drum up some results, and it never did. Go figure. Fallout 3- I dont' care how large your game is, if you can't populate its "massive" world with anything interesting, don't bother making it in the first place. Really, the game has the equivilent of two environments. Dark, deserted buildings with trash everywhere, and a massive, boring wasteland with trash everywhere. I'm constantly getting deja vu from the subway trains, and I think that there aren't enough weapons. throw in terribly abrupt and boring ending, and a giant bucketload of glitches, and you've got yourself a game I hate! Oblivion- Basically, take my explanation of fallout 3, and change the 2 environments from "Dark buildings with trash everywhere and a large wasteland with trash everywhere" to "Dark maze-like caves and boring wilderness that all looks the same."
  • flare149 - March 25, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    I think my pick for this would definitely be Half-Life. It's the most overated piece of garbage I've ever played, and it makes no since to me why people think it's "the greatest FPS ever". In my book it scores about level with Time Shift...screw that, in Time Shift you could mess with time and there was an explosive crossbow, so it scores LOWER than Time Shift.
  • skelt - March 25, 2009 10:01 p.m.

    I can understand how you could hate any of those except for ico.
  • ian edgar - March 25, 2009 10:16 p.m.

    I thought Super Mario World was a really good game. Super Mario Bros. 3, however, is the biggest classic that I hate.
  • Shadowhatchi - March 25, 2009 10:26 p.m.

    Also it's good to know I'm not the only one that hates CoD. People always harass me at school for not liking it the ask me why and I tell them the truth. Cause it is awful
  • FadedLineVigil - March 25, 2009 10:31 p.m.

    Wow, for once I agree almost completely with this 'article'. The only game on here I disagree with is Silent Hill 2. It still stands as the scariest, most disturbing, tense game ever for me. All the others- Halo, CoD, WoW, Sims, etc, I COMPLETELY agree with. Especially Halo, maybe I'm too old, but I DO NOT understand the fanfare over that game, especially considering the competition.
  • game-thugsta - March 25, 2009 10:47 p.m.

    gta: san andreas is one of my favorite games of all time... suppperr duper saddd face
  • Sabtos - March 25, 2009 10:53 p.m.

    lmao love the rock band video
  • superninja - March 25, 2009 11:01 p.m.

    HATERS!!!
  • The_Zanger - March 25, 2009 11:28 p.m.

    My neighbor is so incredibly obsessed with World of Warcraft. he lives 20 steps away and considers me one of his best friends, yet he ant stop playing for five minutes to help me with Zelda or something. I kind of agree with Mario Kart Wii. Theres just something about it that didnt reel me in. But Mario Kart DS is the best, thats for sure.
  • GoldenMe - March 25, 2009 11:41 p.m.

    I only see one thing in this. All of the haters in the article are british........ Makes sense. Makes more sense if they were french. US all the way, bitches.
  • reyalejandro13 - March 26, 2009 12:25 a.m.

    I like most of these games, and see where most people are coming from when hating them I can honestly say that I am a gamer who can like just about any game for one reason or another. However, I must say to the person who hates Halo-I have been hearing the hate from all my PS2/3 loving friends, and i've staved them all off every time. this one proves a challenge. Well, for starters, let me say that i see where you're comig from, and some things do require fine tuning. let me also say that i prefer Halo 2 in some ways. But I believe that Halo 3 is one of the best shooters i've played. The story was a little lacking, true, but I still get a feeling of thrill when i take down the Scarab on legendary mode with my friends when we get bored. The multiplayer is so much more fun though. The range of weapons is a good deviation from games where it's just various types of machine guns, with rocket launcher, shotgun, and sniper variants thrown in. True, in some ways the same could be said about Halo, but The Brute Shot? the Spartan Laser? the Energy Sword? the amount of customization? very large when compared to other shooters. I mean, what other shooter lets you play around with the map? and when done right, it can be very fun. One of my favorites is called Godzilla, and it's a Standoff map with a bunch of scenery pieces put together to make a Giant Godzilla looking creature, that is flled to the brim with weapons. Also, racetrack maps are so much fun as well. game types are great in Halo 3. Most only have basic Deathmatch, CTF, and King-of-the-hill style games. But Halo, well, that has Oddball, Juggernaut, Infection, VIP, and more that just add to the fun. and when you can customize those as well? Even better! My favorite variant is Fat Kid, where one player is a Zombie, who has 4x overshield and is very slow and has high gravity, but is near invincible, and takes little to no damage from conventional weapons. his little minions have incredibly low healh, but are fast and have high gravity. when combined with a good fortress map, the game is very fun, and very intense. Vehicles are another thing I like. Sure, some games have them, but most FPS's don't. Cod 4 Doesn't. Cod 5's aren't as fun. The Ghost and Warthog are great vehicles, and the Banshee and Hornet are amazing, if a bit unbalanced. but a good missile pod should take those down, balancing it again. and last but not least, if you have a good connection, you can always find a game that's on or close to being full. There are always a lot of people on, and if you can't fill up, then you can get pretty close. anyway, that's my argument.
  • super-saint - March 26, 2009 12:33 a.m.

    Phh, everyone knows that every bad guy in CoD4 is infected with a mutigen that instantailosly dsinagrates their body so you cant prove how meany kills you actualy got, thereby nerfing your pay... ohh and chris they are makeing "the sims: veitnam" its roumored to have compleatly broken gameplay forceing you to go through deep menus to find the option to shoot people! it evan comes with cute camo fatuigs!!!

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