Is this franchise so popular that the titles of individual entries don’t even matter anymore? Is the franchise so commercially invincible now that any incomprehensible string of letters and numbers will do, just as long as developer Bungie remembers to type out the word “Halo” beforehand?
Must be. We can’t think of another logical or rational explanation for switching Halo 3: Recon, the next and supposedly last game in the series, to Halo 3: ODST.
Above: OMG ODST
Seriously, why? The first title may have been a bit on the generic side, but it was also simple to pronounce, easy to remember and, most importantly, ever-so-slightly intriguing. For those bored by Halo’s trigger-happy gameplay, the word “Recon” promised a fresh approach. “ODST,” on the other hand, is intriguing only to Halopedia writers and promises nothing but a higher Google ranking for the search term “ODST.”
If the acronym stands for “Orbital Drop Shock Trooper,” which honestly sounds pretty cool, why not call it Halo 3: Orbital Shock? Or Halo 3: Drop Trooper? Or how about these soldiers’ nickname, Helljumpers? Or, you know, something that doesn’t sound like a sexually transmitted disease? Please.
In the space of little more than a year, the current-gen Silent Hill sequel went from being a numbered entry with a big, menacing “V” in its title to being named after a dreaded high-school dance. Much like the game itself, that’s just sad.
While the concept was a good strong dose of “WTF?” in itself, it was the timing that really screwed MK vs. DC. It was a headline-grabbing fighting game/comic book crossover that spectacularly failed to grab headlines on account of Capcom having already done it 10 years earlier with the exceptional Marvel vs. Capcom. After a years-long dearth of noticeable sequels, MK’s big return kicked off just as Street Fighter decided to make one of the most epic comebacks in gaming history.
Above: Mortal Kombat’s back, baby!
It ended up launching not long before the much better – and cheaper - Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, and by that point the hype for February’s Street Fighter IV had built so much inertia that no respectable fighting fan was paying attention to anything else whatsoever. It all adds up to a launch destined to stand helplessly weeping as the bigger kids mercilessly snatched its thunder, so much so that we haven’t given the game a single thought since its release.
Well that’s not strictly true. We have. But the thought has always been something along the lines of “Oh dear.”
Unreal Tournament 3. Crysis. Call of Duty 4. Metroid Prime 3. Halo 3. Quake Wars. BioShock. The goddamn Orange Box. All were excellent FPSes that came out within a six-month lead up to Turok’s deeply shaky attempt to wake up a series that hasn’t not sucked since 1998. Was there any reason to care when it was eventually farted out in January ’08? No. No there was not.
Forget The Matrix Revolutions (Lord knows we've tried). Forget Neon Genesis Evangelion. If ever there was an ending to a great story we wish we could re-write, it would be that of Free Radical and the last game it ever made – the chronically overhyped Haze.
Of course the game was hyped – this was to be a first-person shooter from the ridiculously talented people who brought us TimeSplitters and its astonishing sequel, not to mention playing a huge part in creating GoldenEye at Rare. Sure, TimeSplitters: Future Perfect wasn’t too hot, but we were all expecting a masterpiece return to form for their first new IP for PS3. So how did it shape up?
"Mature and compelling storyline," claimed Ubisoft. That'll be what we described in our review as "boiling down to a predictable twist and an unfulfilling climax." Oops.
Above: Doesn’t exactly scream “compelling storyline,” does it?
"Cutting edge gaming technology featuring the Disparity Rendering System." Ah yes, the disparity between this and other PS3 games, no? Double-oops.
Yep, instead of the expected masterpiece, Haze is a glitchy, poorly-paced game with sub-standard graphics and a poor plot. And then the developer went into administration and everyone lost their jobs. Like we said, if we could re-write the ending to any story…
Anyone else pleased with waiting a decade for a game currently nursing a 65/100 average on Metacritic? By the time Too Human arrived the only person still shouting about it was its creator, Denis Dyack, who we’ll bring up later on. Oh what the hell, we’ll bring him up now.
Mr. Dyack’s inane ramblings over his ten-years-in-the-making Too Human endeared himself to no one. Despite an unsettling appearance on a 1up podcast in early 2007 asking for reforms of how critical previews are written, he continued to bait the flame-loving posters at NeoGAF - the popular industry forum.
"I think it is time to draw the digital line,” he wrote. “Too Human will be out in August and I think there is going to be a lot of trolls crying here. Either way when the game comes out this forum will likely be on fire. So in order to try to put it out some gasoline on this fire I will ask those interested to stand up and be counted.”
Whatever you say, Crazy-Pants! Of course, Dyack was ridiculed beyond belief for this proposed revolution over a mediocre game. Another appearance on 1up did nothing for his credibility and by the time Too Human came out, everyone shrugged and moved on.
Warner CEO wants the music industry to be paid more royalties for music games. Activision CEO says music industry should be grateful for their audience-expanding games. Did you guys miss the part where you’re rich assholes who shouldn’t piss and moan about not being bigger rich assholes?