The Top 7... trendy game-design crutches

5. Parkour

Why do they love it? We suspect that, at some point during the development of Assassin's Creed, the developers at Ubisoft decided they needed some way to make things a bit more X-TREME. And since Altair with a BMX bike would have been a little silly, they had to find another extreme sport that fit more readily within the context of brutal-yet-subtle-murder. Thus, parkour suddenly became THE way to get around in games, and apparently it's never going to go away, no matter how little sense it makes.

Case in Point: inFAMOUS

Seriously, why did having electric superpowers make Cole really good at climbing things in inFAMOUS? Couldn't they have at least come up with some kind of silly lore-driven workaround, like those micro-fibers on Spider-Man's fingertips?

4. Unreal Engine 3

Why do they love it? Unreal Engine 3 has become so synonymous with big-budget Western games that simply announcing you'll be using it gets your game headlines. Developers don't use it because they necessarily want to, but rather because using Unreal Engine 3 automatically guarantees the game will be considered "graphically superb" by a gaming world which dubs that which is shiniest, best.

Case in Point: Damnation

When Gears of War pioneered the “Unreal Engine 3 look” on consoles, it inspired years of wannabes to come chasing after its coveted aesthetic of “dirty and gritty, with a thick coat of saliva.” Damnation is a prime example, aping the weathered look of the Gears games, but none of their playability or charm. It’s also proof that “Unreal Engine 3” doesn’t necessarily mean “good-looking,” as anyone who’s seen it running for more than five minutes can attest.

3. Genre-Mashing

Why do they love it? A game developer who mashes two genres together reeks of the same desperation as a starving gamer running to the fridge at 2 a.m. only to find it barren. A developer who exclaims, "platforming-first-person-shooter-adventure-... MMO!" is just like that starving gamer, who in our example goes on to craft the curious culinary concoction of stale spaghetti with mustard and a Powerbar on a sesame seed bun. We can all agree that it was... interesting, but most of the time we end up swearing we'll never try it again.

Case in Point: MAG

OK, so, wait: Each game is like an RTS, but only for one person on each team? And that person gives orders to a bunch of sergeants, who are playing an RTS/FPS hybrid? And those sergeants then relay commands to 230 other soldiers, who are playing a pure FPS? And it's sort of like an MMO too?



Top 7


  • macbad - February 24, 2011 8:52 p.m.

    btw the way Cole clings to buildings IS explained, he uses static electricity. -.-
  • AVATARMAN - February 22, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    With inFAMOUS, it explains in 2 that he trained in New Marais, and perhaps the lore thing of it is that it made him partially magnetic so he could climb with ease and such
  • FanofSaiyan - December 7, 2009 3:19 a.m.

    Parkour, how the hell did they miss Mirrors Edge on that one!?
  • FanofSaiyan - December 7, 2009 3:18 a.m.

    Last great mine cart level I played was LittleBigPlanet, and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. Although half the level took place in a mine, but no carts.
  • Defguru7777 - August 30, 2009 10:45 p.m.

    I respectively disagree with 1 and 5.
  • PS3FANBOYKID - August 28, 2009 9:31 a.m.

    WAY TOO MANY SEQUELS!!! Think about all of the games you are playing or want to play... most of them are sequels like god of war 3, modern warfare 2, and ff 13!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • AHolyMonk - August 28, 2009 1:12 a.m.

    I agree on all points. The only problem is that it obviously isnt going to stop any of us from buying games for these exact reasons. We know what we want as gamers, but noone is showing us anything new and exciting, so we stick with what we know, and so do devs.
  • RickyV300 - August 27, 2009 3:44 a.m.

    you guys bash emos to hard
  • MGS4SolidSnake - August 27, 2009 3:13 a.m.

    what about a character like snake..he is an example of that grizzled chain smoking sounding 40 year old(even though technically he is or whatever)..but would u count him i mean he did it before it was coool
  • secretsearcher - August 26, 2009 7:17 p.m.

    @nadrewod999 DAMN man that's a long comment. @xboxrulez Looks like adadadad got another username. And I don't like the Xbox personally. OK now for my comment. This was a great article, though not one of the best top 7 list you guys have done. And some sequels are good (Sly Cooper 2 anyone?)
  • gameman67 - August 25, 2009 11:51 p.m.

    The Gravelly Voice for Alex Mercer is for a good reason. You shouldbeat the game, and you will find out why. If anything, he should be in the hood category over Altair, as an assasin should have concealing clothing.
  • theschwartzb - August 25, 2009 3:17 p.m.

    I would probably say that Altair wears a hood because he is an assassin. Honestly, you used a bad example for number 6. The fact that he is wearing a white robe and wears his throwing knives right on his belt, and doesn't even cover them up is a moot point. He wears the hood so that people are less likely to recognize him, just like any good assassin would.
  • Bobidge - August 25, 2009 2:57 p.m.

    I'll tell you who is still buying Dynasty Warriors..... My mate Dan! I only ever bought DW 3
  • bschroth - August 25, 2009 2:02 p.m.

    While I agree with the number one point that too many devs/publishers rely on sequels to line their pockets I think it's the gamers fault. When you buy a game you're voting with your wallet and we all know how shitty everyone is at voting. Stop voting for the george bush of videogames and start buying only the games you wish to see more of. Consider it an investment in good games.
  • Seabread - August 25, 2009 11 a.m.

    Oops, forgot to mention UnrealEngine3. lighting is too garish and blue. reflective surfaces actually look like they're glowing. Source is a much better engine. Dev's should use Source!
  • thomashalpenny - August 25, 2009 10:57 a.m.

    what does ODST even stand for? ReCaptcha: LAWRENCE linking...sounds like a gay dating website only for people called lawrence
  • Seabread - August 25, 2009 10:54 a.m.

    ah, the big mouthed boss. dont they all write cheques that our arses are required to cash? the Halo series got boring after CombatEvolved. Was there even a story in there? my money is on Halo:reach being exactly the same - or maybe a mashup between FPS and RTS (like MAG)
  • Felixthecat - August 25, 2009 10:50 a.m.

    I never noticed before.
  • Cool - August 25, 2009 10:20 a.m.

    another game cliche i think is the grey color palette.
  • Revanofsith - August 25, 2009 8:22 a.m.

    Majora's Mask for one. OoT was perfect without it. Electricity plus water equals PEOPLE DIE! reCaptcha: 2,300,000 rejoins

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