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The Anti-Awards 2010


WINNER: Halo Reach review reaction

We knew that scoring Halo: Reach an 8 out of 10 would create controversy. No matter how clear we made our love for the majority of the game, and no matter how often we explained that the Number Which Must Not Be Named is actually (going by both our review scale and by any child's basic understanding of mathematics) a "great" score, some of you were bound to get upset. You've been conditioned by school and by other websites (and okay, this website, too) that less than perfection is close to failure.

What we didn't expect was that the 8 out of 10 would transform into a meme so enduring that poor Charlie Barratt still receives flak about the decision, and that all our subsequent reviews would receive at least one comment along the lines of "Then you're saying that this is better than / as good as Halo: Reach?!?"

DmC: Devil May Cry trailer

Assuming you wanted a new Devil May Cry to be a little more than Bayonetta with fewer boobs, you should be thanking every god you know that Dante’s reimagining is being handled by Ninja Theory, a developer known for the most remarkable characterizations in our medium. Throwing fits about a teaser trailer just makes you look like a moron.

 


WINNER: Shank

It takes a lot to ruin the enjoyment of titties and gore, but somehow, Shank manages. Everything about Shank feels like a bunch of uptight middle-aged parents all sat down in a room together and tried to make a game based on their worst fears about what the "kids today" are into. Of course, that means sex and violence, at the same time, all the time. It's not an inherently bad formula for a game, but Shank utterly fails to pull it off – the writing is embarrassingly tone-deaf.

If you're going to make a rape joke, it better be a goddamn riot – you can't half-ass it. When one of the bad guys holds a girl down to try to rape her and says "Daddy likes it when you fight back," (har har!!) it just feels dumb, like it's trying too hard to be edgy. (By the way, anyone who thinks it's cool to use the word "daddy" in a sexual context is just stupid.) It doesn't even work in a characterization capacity, because the whole story is steeped in the misogyny-as-humor vibe, so it does nothing to differentiate the bad guy from the rest of the equally distasteful cast. Shank's beat-em-up gameplay is actually quite decent too, so it's a shame that it comes in such a pathetically crass package.


Splatterhouse

Splatterhouse features an immature, trash-talking sentient mask. It has topless pictures of the main character’s girlfriend as collectibles. But most importantly, it features the bloodiest kills possibly ever put into a game, including one where you repeatedly punch your entire arm up a monster’s anus and then forcibly remove the creature’s colon. Crass barely scratches the blood-flecked surface.

 


WINNER: Dark Void

Fans of the underrated OG Xbox classic Crimson Skies were practically drowning in celebratory champagne after Capcom announced that dev team was reassembling to bring us another game set in altered timeline of giant zeppelins, Nazis, and fast talking dames. Only this time… you’d have a jet pack! Hell, Rocketeer fans were practically in tears, and almost two years’ worth of public demos of Dark Void’s high-flying acrobatics hinted at a profound level of next-gen promise on the horizon.

What Capcom and Airtight Games neglected to tell us was that the much touted, gravity defying rocket-packery would take a back seat to what Dark Void truly was: a Gears of War clone. Those glimpses of open-skied action comprised only a pithy fraction of a brief and boring corridor shooter of the blandest caliber. So, while you could argue that shooting up to three kinds of robots and Dark Void’s decent cover system may’ve pleased fans of repetitive quicktime events and the color brown, the rest of the gaming populace had every right to feel nothing short of lied to.

APB

Instead of a colossal car-crime MMO, APB ended up an object lesson in how not to make an online shooter. The missions were poorly designed, the shooting was outdated and the cars handled like sluggish afterthoughts. APB ignored nearly every advance to hit sandbox games since GTA III, and adding more players didn’t really make that any more fun.

 


WINNER: PlayStation Move

While this should arguably go to Move and Kinect – two motion-control peripherals released a whopping four years after the Wii tore the market a new asshole – Kinect at least did something sort of new, instead of giving the impression that it was an overt imitation of the Wii. Move, by contrast, not only featured an all-too-familiar remote-and-Nunchuk (sorry, “navigation controller”) combo, but at its press conferences, Sony had the audacity to act like Move was a revolutionary device we’d never seen before, even though the thing practically had “me too!” written all over it.

True, Move is probably the most accurate and responsive of the three motion-control options, and it has a few cool features that the Wii doesn’t. In practice, though, the experience isn’t terribly different, especially not when playing shooters (by pointing the wand at the TV to aim, in case you were curious). Add the questionable new accessories for it (plastic guns, clip-on bows and racquets, etc.), and our sense of déjà vu deepens. Move may have the potential to be more than a souped-up imitation of the Wii, but so far, we haven’t seen it try to be anything but.

Power Gig

Like we said in the review: three years ago, its licensed soundtrack and creative guitar and drum controllers might have made it a player. But its timing is awful and it’s here now, far too late to become legendary. Throw in busted peripherals and no online play at all and you’ve got a tour destined for failure.

 


WINNER: The ApocalyPS3

March 1, 2010, is a day that will live in infamy – for owners of older-model “fat” PS3 systems, at least. At 12:00 GMT (or 4 p.m. PST on Sunday, Feb. 28), PS3s around the world began to fail, all displaying the same, now-infamous message: “An error occurred during the start operation. (8001050F).”

Long story short, an internal-clock bug caused affected PS3s to think 2010 was a leap year, and the resulting error shut down most of their functionality. For the next 24 hours, no fat-PS3 owner was able to go online or play any game that included Trophies. Worse, many players (including a few at GR) found their most recent Trophies – and, in some cases, saved games – had been corrupted and obliterated, wiping out hours of hard-won progress. It was horrifying. We can laugh about it now, but for those of us who just wanted to play our damn games, those 24 hours were some of the most aggravating we experienced all year.

Kinect’s crimes against Zumanity

In June 2010 hundreds of writers and games journalists lined up for the first full reveal of Project Natal, which would be named Kinect later that night. Microsoft never told us we’d be unpaid (and unwilling) participants in their opulent celebratory act starring Cirque de Soleil, which stretched the event well into the three hour mark.

    Above: Then they had the balls to edit a 30 minute version together for Xbox Live

 


WINNER: The cast of Halo: Reach

Master Chief? Cool. Master Chief multiplied by six? Confusing, and nowhere near as cool as you'd expect. See, the masked mystery trick only works when a) the mask is iconic, and b) the mystery is compelling. Give what is more or less the exact same helmet to a whole team of Spartans, who have more or less the exact same personality, and you can't possibly expect us to care. Or to remember which is which.
 
Here's the extent of the character development in Halo: Reach… Jorge is big. Jun is Asian. Emile has a skull painted on his visor. Carter is blue and he is the leader. Kat is also blue and she is the woman. You're the "new guy," who like every other "new guy" in videogame history, somehow outlives all of the presumably experienced members of the team. We'd shed a tear over each of these noble self-sacrifices, but when the only thing distinguishing one of these generic metal objects from the other is a color, a number and possibly a vague accent, that'd be like crying over lost paperclips.


Runner Up: The cast of Call of Duty: Black Ops 

Unlike Halo: Reach, we can easily tell these characters apart. There's the black dude. And the bearded dude. And the Ed Harris dude. And the dude with the eye patch. And the evil dudes, who are usually Russian, but other times Vietnamese and sometimes even Cuban! And there's the main dude, who has a buzzcut. Yup, unlike Halo: Reach, the cast of Call of Duty: Black Ops is truly memorable.

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98 comments

  • xSpeedyMonkeyx - January 16, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    I dont understand this... This whole article is based on their opinions and yet you all get worked up. Just because they have an article doesnt mean they know what theyre talking about. Especially if they just ruined a few games I wanted to play without a warning. Failures. Garbage article.
  • Zeb364 - January 10, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    Agreed for most of them and had a pretty good laugh at the Black Ops glitch video.
  • Yeager1122 - January 9, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    Cant beleive people got that worked up over halo reach getting an 8 although it was hilarious to listen to you guys read some of what people said.
  • coolip - January 9, 2011 4:08 a.m.

    Lol, that talkradar vid was hilarious. I remember the ApocalyPS3 of '2010 like it was last year, I lost my trophies (but I got em back in the end)
  • Reaperman64 - January 9, 2011 2:10 a.m.

    @zonic505 The charecters are on the disc, otherwise online theyd be confined to being used against players who already have the dlc. and special edition owners get them immediately, although the limited aint comming out over in the uk... Same thing with SSF4 costumes, the first set can be seen by all, as there on the disc, but not everybody can see the second lot, as they are dlc. Mvc3 is a shameless, and potentially balance ruining cash grab
  • RazielArcanum - January 8, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    I honestly don't understand the structure of this article. I'm going to have to pass.
  • JetpackJesus - January 8, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Paying for Jill in MvC3? Me no likee. Paying for Shuma Gorath, on the other hand? I can livee withoutee.
  • CodeR - January 8, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    LOL WUT - yes many people would like the Devil May Cry reboot to be Bayonetta with less boobs, but since when do the narcissistic dumbasses at Ninja Theory have the competency to do that? So they are good at characterisation, perhaps they should stick at writing and not developing games then? Strangely many people would love Platinum Games to have been brought back by Capcom, not another cringe worthy attempt at "westernisation" like Bionic Commando. The knee jerk reaction to that trailer was pretty stupid but there are real issues underlying it that have nothing to do with aesthetics of the new Dante.
  • Sukharevskaya - January 8, 2011 6:30 a.m.

    HaHAHAHA! Your guy's humor seriously tops anything I've read before on a game website.
  • quincytheodore - January 8, 2011 3:27 a.m.

    I agree with FF13, it takes too long to start up, you can't even level-up in the first 2 hours. I have plenty tolerance for story driven game and played many FF before, but FF13 is like a lonely experience with epic setting. I can see how many gamers feel alienate by it. I haven't finish Enslaved yet, but it convinced me that Dante make-over might actually be good. DMC is good but not in GoW or Bayonetta level, they need something fresh. Dante-in-blue, oh I meant Nero with his klepto hand is not the answer. And the stone award... I have to apologize before, I don't mean to troll or mock you in anyway, but I thought bronze, Cereza I think, was the worst. I got it when playing one of the early levels, I swear there was a voice in the background saying I played like a little girl, I was already down on the floor OTL. "Pat in the back"
  • texasgoldrush - January 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    @ GamesRadarCharlieBarratt Giving Pyramid a larger role would in fact hurt the game's pacing and take the focus of the characters and their relationship with eachother. While narratives like Red Dead Redemption (or any Rockstar game in general) and FFXIII have no concept of pacing, Enslaved stands out for its excellent sense of pace. Pyramid's role is small because the protagonists do not know his true motives until they get to his base. Its easily understandable. Trying to force his motives into the plot earlier would derail the pacing and cause the narrative to lose focus. Trips enslavement of Monkey is far more important to the plot than Pyramids motives. There was closure to Trip's relationship with Monkey, it was a sense of support, from when he tells her to turn the handband back on until when she kills Pyramid, telling her its over and supporting her(a decision he may not have agrred with as he was wearing the mask and enthralled by the images). It was a morally ambigious ending to a morally ambigious game with morally ambigious characters (all three characters can be considered anti-heroes).
  • Spybreak8 - January 8, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    I love the category "Cheap grab for a boner" lol. It's too bad APB was crap and like Tdar said it's just odd that APB and Crackdown 2 come out the same time and both are less than decent.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 7, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    @Kwalaboy Since you're clearly biased against a particular side of the GR staff, and since you couldn't even bother to spell my name correctly when trying to provoke with words like "disgraceful" and "disgusting" (nice way to start a conversation), I won't waste too much time on my response: I did think that Reach was an improvement over the previous Halo, ODST. That's why I scored Reach an 8 and ODST a 7. 8 > 7
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 7, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    @texasgoldrush I love your interpretation of Enslaved, and you've given me some extra appreciation for the story - which I already appreciated quite a bit - but I'm not going to follow you down this rabbit hole of TV tropes and English lit definitions for who's a protagonist and who isn't. That's not what's important to my original argument. Again, my problems with the ending are: 1) That the relationship between Trip and Monkey isn't resolved or even developed any further. Regardless of whether it's romantic or just emotional, as you say, I believe there should have been some kind of closure. We get no details on what they might do next, what kind of life they might lead or whether they'll stick together. Instead, we get a sudden onslaught of details on... 2) Pyramid, which until this point, has been depicted as a vague and generic army of robots. We know they imprisoned Trip and Monkey at the beginning, and we hear the occasional line of dialogue about them being "slavers," but if the true nature of Pyramid is so crucial to the ending - and to Trip's arc - then the game should have given Pyramid more of a narrative impact and presence throughout. I felt the ending did a lot more to explain Enslaved's collectibles than satisfyingly wrap up Enslaved's story. Thanks for responding so eloquently, though... this has been a fun and thought-provoking discussion.
  • iDEALfury - January 7, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    that kinect launch lineup nearly made me throw up... seriously, 4 fitness games??!?!
  • Pruman - January 7, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    @ZukotaIsoba: It is impossible for Other M to be an origin story. Did you notice that the opening cutscene is a flashback from Super Metroid, the seventh game in the series chronologically? If Other M was a prequel to the original, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. But at this point, Samus had fought Ridley five times already (the original, Prime 1 and 3, and twice in Super Metroid). To break down scared and crying, and wait for a man to save her, is not becoming of someone who had already blown up multiple space pirate strongholds, killed countless numbers of their soldiers and leaders, and committed genocide against three different species of dangerous parasites (the Ing and Phazon being the other two) and was about to commit genocide against a fourth (the X parasites).
  • bedelicious - January 7, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    I agree with pretty much everything. Also glad to see someone acknowledge at least some of the stupidity in Heavy Rain, I couldn't believe it got so many nominations for best new character and story and stuff around the Internet. PS: I knew I should have thrown a bigger fit about DmC's trailer, now I feel outdone XD Say whatever you want though, but it would take a lot to make me believe this game could be good. On the other hand, I thought the reaction to Halo Reach's score was adorable XD seriously, who didn't see that a million miles away? I'm sure anything less than perfect 10 would have led to a similar result XD
  • ChuckB - January 7, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    I liked Enslaved's ending...
  • Kwalaboy - January 7, 2011 2:11 a.m.

    @texasgoldrush beautifully put. It was all about Trip's Trip. Monkeys awareness of self-being was only to show the humanity and innocents of Trip can heal the most corrupt of people. @TRUS This is probably the third article that's been posted in the last few months including the inception/halo reach video and to be honest, as bad as the reaction was from the 'halo' community, the way you have handled it has been disgraceful. Your critical opinion is perfectly valid and the reputation you uphold means it carries a lot of weight. But to publicly take another persons comment and respond by sarcastically repeating it with the pure intention of insulting the writer is disgusting. A few weeks ago Justin Towell decided to give GT5 a 7. Many who had been anticipating the game took offense to this and questioned why he had chosen his score. In the following podcast he responded and tried to answer many question put to him. He didn't respond 'with his mates' insulting anyone who bad mouthed his review. He looked at it subjectively (which he is paid to do as a JOURNALIST) One of the points raised in you video was a reader who had commented why you felt the game was an improvement of the previous halo and then decided to score it lower, that sounds like a valid point, I know because I read the review thinking the same thing, yet all you did was insult him. Since the video response (not so much the review, to be honest I couldn't care less about the review) the only GR US member who I ever read the article of is Matthew Keast. So Charlie Barrett and Co. How you gonna treat this comment, you gonna make a smarmy youtube video, or do you fancy answering me seriously? Also Meiks, Keast, Towell, Cundy, Irvine and Houghton (yes i've finally bought singularity after your recommendation) keep up the good work.
  • texasgoldrush - January 7, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    To add http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SupportingProtagonist Thats what Monkey really is. In fact, Trip's Journey To The West counterpart, the monk Xuanzang (who is also refered to as Tripitaka), is the protagonist and main character of the classic novel. The cental character isn't the one with the "clearest story arc", its the character that the story revolves around. The reason why Trip isn't the protagonist is that she would not be fun to play as in a video game. The story is very small picture and the picture is Trip. In fact, the big picture is way too shallow to be anything other than about the small picture.

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