You know the old saying, “Something is better than nothing?” Like all adages, it’s not always true. In the case of Modern Warfare Reflex, a two-year-old port of the groundbreaking PS3/360 title, nothing at all would have been preferable to this poorly envisioned port. While some reviews will tell you “it’s good for Wii” and “compared to other Wii shooters it’s fine,” we can’t in good conscience say the same. It’s been a semi-divisive topic here, but the majority believes this is a nearly unplayable mess that lacks all of the spark and tension found in the original.
This isn’t an anti-Wii stance. We could rattle off 20 amazing Wii-only games that you absolutely must play, third parties included. But Reflex is awful. The default motion controls are shoddy as hell, and there are so many options for tweaking that the typical Wii owner will never in a million years know if they’ve configured them to their optimum setting. Sure the graphics suffer from 360 to Wii, but that’s the least the problems here.
It feels like a mercy lay from Activision, who instead of putting the money behind a Wii version of Modern Warfare 2, decided “something” would be better than “nothing” for you, and lazily converted a game that was outdated the moment it hit stores. If World at War sold well enough to justify another Wii Call of Duty, they should have made Modern Warfare 2 instead of slopping this out two years late and charging $50. Don’t accept what they give you just because there’s no better option – demand quality from your games.
Runner-up – Dead Rising: Chop ‘til You Drop
Nothing says “We Care” like a scaled-down port of a nearly three-year-old Xbox 360 game. The entire point of this goofy survival story was the mass of undead roaming the mall, and once that’s been stripped to Wii-level it’s simply not worth playing. Looks bad, sounds bad, plays bad.
2009 was the year of delays. BioShock 2, Bayonetta, Splinter Cell Conviction… give us a second here, we need a glass of water. Right, that’s better. Heavy Rain, Dante’s Inferno, Red Steel 2; loads of games we were eagerly anticipating got the kibosh put on them until 2010. And you know what? We blame Modern Warfare 2. While we might love lining up men between our P90 sights and drilling bullets into their brows, Infinity Ward’s megaton shooter has a lot to answer for. Namely scaring almost every other big game penciled for a Q4 2009 release into turning tail and running into the relative safety of 2010.
Above: Sam might be hard enough to crack men’s skulls open in bathrooms, but he’s still not man enough to go up against Captain Price
Many developers and publishers seemed so worried at the prospect of getting buried in Modern Warfare’s sales avalanche that even established franchises headed for the hills and delayed their releases. And that’s without even mentioning the likes of the perennially delayed Alan Wake and GT5 making us release promises they can never stick to. Ah well, at least the story of our old pal Duke Nukem Forever had a happy ending… oh. Shit, stay strong <sob>. Stay strong.
If there was one lesson to be learned from 2009, it’s that consumers will not buy five different peripheral bundles in a three month period. Shelling out $200+ for a Rock Band 2 or Guitar Hero: World Tour package was questionable enough in 2008, but last year we saw, from September to November, hugely expensive bundles for The Beatles: Rock Band, Guitar Hero 5, DJ Hero, Band Hero and Tony Hawk Ride. This has quite naturally led to piles and piles of unsold plastic.
Above: An entire corner of retail space dominated by bundles
Above: Put ‘em wherever there’s room, guys
Above: $10,440 worth of EXTREME
There’s so much of this crap lying around we started a thread based around snapshots of said bundles, and this doesn’t even include the DS Band Hero, Guitar Hero Van Halen or July’s Rock Band Unplugged. How much time and money do these people think we have?
It’s no secret that several franchises are produced on an annual basis. Activision, EA, Nintendo and plenty others milk their properties for reliable, yearly results, and that’s just what we’ve come to expect. However, a strange side effect of such predictable scheduling is that certain franchises are locked into bi-annual editions alongside each other. For example, 2009 was a year of sequels to games released in 2007.
Above: We’ll go ahead and predict 2011 looks a lot like this
Coincidence, you say? How about 2008 compared to 2006?
Above: A really long image that stretches the page
We don’t hate sequels. We’re not even totally down on bi-annual release schedules. It’s just fun to point out how unbelievably unimaginative the industry has become when the holiday season rolls around. Already this year we can expect Dead Space 2, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Yakuza 3 and some kind of World at War sequel, plus the usual bouts of Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Madden, Dynasty Warriors and so on that laced 2008. The trend continues.
But, at least these games are generally good. On the next page we finally reveal the Anti-Game of 2009, and if you’ve been paying attention to the award itself the winner will come as no surprise.