Not only did Infinity Ward inadvertently reward the elite of the online battlefields with Pave low perks and game-breaking nukes, they accidentally left a whole bunch of nasty cheats in for folk to exploit too. From scenery glitches that allow you to shoot at people but not be killed inside a rock to loadout combos that turned you into a suicide bomber, MW2 was riddled with these flaws until the developers finally patched things up.
Above: That sure was a fun week of multiplayer
But where will it stop? Just as Infinity Ward removes one problem, the great unwashed of the online gaming find another way to spoil things for other people. Boosting sessions where a bunch of idiots agree not to kill each other are all the rage at the moment. This involves using the G18 pistols and a riot shield – shoot the shield of another patsy and you’ll unbelievably gain XP up to 5000 and beyond. No wonder there are far more people online with Prestige rankings.
We understand that even the most careful QA sessions will inevitably throw up some problems that slip through the net, but Modern Warfare 2 EASILY contained the most in 2009.
Runner-up – Ghostbusters: The Video Game (PS3)
The dialogue was out of synch, the game would occasionally freeze for no reason and a certain ghoul was missing from the game entirely, meaning you couldn’t collect a Trophy for recapturing them all.
But then Terminal Reality released a patch for PS3 and it fixed everything that was broken. Except – and this is a big one – upscaling the visuals to 720p, which means it’s not actually an HD version of the game. Oh, and - at the time of writing - that missing ghost is still missing. Oops.
Come now, Capcom. Off-screen decapitations when Chris and Sheva get too close to bag-wearing chainsaw dudes? That just isn’t going to cut any sort of mustard. Where are Resi 4’s gruesome and painfully slow death animations? The ones where you can feel every sinew, muscle and piece of flesh writhing in agony as Leon gets his head sawed off, impaled by hundreds of spikes courtesy of an Iron Maiden or his faced melted right the hell off.
Above: Censored for your SANITY
OK, so technically there’s still quite a lot of blood and guts in Resi 5. But compared to its predecessor, the toned down deaths are a bloodless slap in the face to the little gore hound in all of us. Not only do they look laughably tame next to Dead Space, they also rob the game the sickening shock value that used to come with getting butchered by a baddie in Leon’s Spanish adventure.
Runner-up – Ninja Gaiden Sigma 2
2008’s Ninja Gaiden 2 was a hyper-violent, 360-only action title that continued the series’ trend of flashy, stylized gore. The PS3 remake, released in 2009, replaced most of the red spray with just plain lovely purple swooshes for no compelling reason. Um, it’s already an M-rated game, guys. You might as well leave its trademark limb-severing goo intact.
Above: 360/PS3 comparison – where’d the blood go?
At one point called “the worst-kept secret of E3,” the PSPgo presented a radical redesign of the PSP that somehow managed to completely ignore the one improvement fans had spent years asking for: a second analog nub (and no, the ability to use PS3 controllers with it doesn’t really make up for that). In its place, we got a slightly smaller screen, a compact slide-open design, 16 GB of built-in memory and no UMD drive. And while that latter omission means faster load times and longer battery life, it also means there’s no way to play any UMD games you may already have bought.
Above: It can, however, access the PlayStation Store… but so can regular PSPs
In essence, what was teased as a brand-new machine turned out to be five-year-old hardware in a smaller package, with some of the functionality removed. There’s nothing wrong with that by itself – after all, Apple and Nintendo do similar things all the time – but what makes it outrageous is the $250 price tag. That’s about $80 more than the original-flavor PSP-3000, and only $50 cheaper than a new PS3. If it were less expensive than the existing model, or even the same price, we could get behind it – but paying new-technology prices for an overdue redesign that offers little new functionality, and effectively renders your existing game collection useless, simply doesn’t make sense.
Runner-up – Twitter on Xbox 360
Social media is about spontaneity and immediacy… we want to know what our friends are doing right this very minute. If getting us that information involves a torturous ten-minute process of twitchy analog sticks, useless controller buttons and constant mistake correction, we’d rather they just – you know – call.
Despite its flaws, Brutal Legend was damn loveable. When the heart and soul of a designer so clearly seeps through every second of a game, it’s hard to criticize it. On the other hand, some of us felt cheated by a devious switcheroo – we expected a hack-and-slash action game, and we got that, but with significant RTS portions sneaked in. We’re fans of the genre, but not so much on consoles, and Brutal Legend further confirms why RTS games simply cannot work well within the limits of a controller.
Without the speedy, precise control of a mouse, commanding multiple troops while trying to manage resources is like trying to herd screaming 4-year-olds through hip-deep mud. To make matters even more finger-breaking, you weren’t some ghostly god surveying the battlefield, but instead still controlled Jack Black, so you had to build units and command them to move around while also playing a third-person hack-and-slash game. For no reason other than to be annoying, the game also only let you command troops within earshot unless you used special guitar solos. Then there were the Grim Reaper horse-riding guys that seemed able to kill your whole army single-handedly. On Normal difficulty. And finally, there were special attacks you could perform that the game never even told you about or didn’t properly explain, which you’d only know about if you read the manual.
Really, we did love Brutal Legend. But in the sequel, please Tim Schafer, no more RTS sections. They were so NOT metal.
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