Mike Grimm: Based on the novel of the same name, Metro 2033 is a post-apocalyptic FPS where humans have been forced underground by the "Dark Ones" and live in the tattered remains of the metro system. Metro 2033 actually has a lot going for it: good characters and mood, some creepy set-pieces, and a genuine feel that humanity has been reduced to tunnel-dwelling refugees. Unfortunately it’s bogged down by terrible “stealth” sections and dull, linear levels that all run together into a big brown and black mess.
Above: There's a metaphor for something in here
While thematically it owes a lot to the equally flawed STALKER series, Metro 2033’s dilapidated paranormal Russian setting is engrossing even if the game around it isn’t. It’s not bad, but it’s certainly disappointing knowing that with a little more effort Metro 2033 could have been great.
Charlie Barratt: "Technically, that game was released at the end of 2009, so…" Fuck you! Angry Birds' inexplicable popularity – and my nearly inexpressible rage at said inexplicable popularity – was suffered during 2010, so if mainstream media like TIME and Entertainment Weekly can include it on their best-of-year lists, I get to include it here. Angry Birds fails as a puzzle game. Passing a level usually requires either frustrating trial-and-error or dumb luck, but rarely any logic or strategy.
Angry Birds fails as a physics toy. Catapulting soft, squishy ammunition into hard, resistant obstacles has the same unsatisfying, unrewarding impact you'd expect in the real world – in other words, it's about as much fun as watching a confused bird accidentally bounce off my office window. Angry Birds even fails as a casual time-waster I can pass on to my wife or parents, as the obnoxious sound effects ("WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!") and repetitive music can drive one insane from miles away, let alone from across the living room.
Above: Isn't it just HILARIOUS how unimpressed that bird looks?
To be honest, though, what I hate most about Angry Birds is how much everyone else insists on loving the damn thing, and how this vast chasm of opinion makes me feel. I've wasted hours searching through the app store reviews, searching for at least one other person who shares my pain, but the worshipping adoration is nearly universal. Which forces me to wonder… Am I alone? Or worse… Am I wrong? Thanks for the existential crisis, Angry Birds. Thanks a lot.
CSI: Fatal Conspiracy
Lizzie Cuevas: I think the real fatal conspiracy here is how this game was even released. Okay, you know that crime you're trying to solve right now? The girl didn't die from a fire - she died of EXTREME BOREDOM. I have nothing against point-and-click crime-solving games. I’ve played other CSI games and had my share of used condom examinations. However, Fatal Conspiracy felt like the devs just shat it out in a hurry and forgot to wipe.
Above: Bringing new meaning to the term "shitfaced"
Aside from forgetting to print the serial key in retail packages of the PC version (those who bought it had to contact Ubisoft for a key), the game is seriously flawed. There was one mission where I had some guy’s DNA and the game kept saying I needed to get this guy’s DNA. The interface is also severely limited in looking around for clues. And of course, I must mention the hideous CG renditions of the television show’s cast.
Matthew Keast: I had a mild interest in Bayonetta leading up to its release: it looked like an imaginative action game, but I was in wait-and-see mode. Then all the reviews dropped, and I couldn’t believe all the 10/10s it received. I decided if everyone was going ga-ga over the hair-suited girl, there must be something to her. I remember starting off the game and being more immediately put off than possibly any game beginning ever: it throws you into a jumbled, confusing scenario with no instructions (not that I demand a tutorial) and it felt like the most aimless, impossible-to-discern first battle that could be achieved.
Above: Stay classy, Bayo
Then the cutscenes started. My god, it was like the game was grabbing me by the collar and screaming in my face “HATE ME!” The horrible, repetitive, tacky music. The obnoxious, too-cool-for-school swagger of the main character. The sad, sad attempts at humor. A ray of light shined, though: once the game explained how the action worked, I said, “Hey, that sounds pretty nifty!” And it was nifty, briefly. That is, until the battles dragged on and on, and every level was just empty corridors between arbitrary magic gates that lock you in a cage with more and more enemies that take forever to kill. The whole thing just felt like an endless slog, like running uphill in high-heels through a river of syrup. I managed a good six hours into Bayonetta, but it was through no desire other than to force myself to try to get some worth out of the sixty dollars I felt like I’d thrown out the window. The sad part is, I know that it's technically a good game - it's just soooo not the game for me.