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Platforms: 360 / PS3
Average Review Score: 38.5%
What the press release promised: “Feel the surging power of a mythological superhero as you devastate multiple enemies with melee combo attacks and hammer throws.”
What the game actually delivered: God of War, stripped down to the parts you hate most about God of War. Quick-time events? Of course, only with less room for error and more punishment for failing. Repetitive button-mashing combat? Sure, though at least Kratos’s moves were brutally and bloodily satisfying – Thor’s hammer has the impact of an inflatable toy and his lightning powers fizzle sadly on the screen. Occasionally clunky platforming? This game removes the “occasionally” and adds an unreliable last-gen camera. Absurdly angry protagonist? Yes, but the Norse god of war is also rendered in ugly textures and weighed down by a stiffly animated, constantly glitching cape. Bonus!
The nicest thing anyone had to say: “As a cure for long-term insomnia, it can't be highly enough recommended.” – MS Xbox World
The most scathing review quote: “The game is a slap in the face, to people who like videogames, to people who like comic books, to people who like Germanic paganism.” – ActionTrip
Average Review Score: 38%
What the press release promised: "Combines exciting colorful action and hilarious monkey humor with a host of new features for PS3 – including full compatibility with the PlayStation Move motion controller. Quit monkeying around and prepare to go utterly ape in a fun adventure for everyone.”
What the game actually delivered: Ugh! Can I justify this game’s appearance on the countdown simply because of the horrifying simian puns above? If not, the fact that Sony diluted what was always a big, varied and open-ended collectathon into a short and monotonous on-rails shooter ought to be enough. This isn’t Ape Escape, and the tragedy is that classic Ape Escape gameplay really would work well with motion controls – imagine sneaking up on your prey with real tiptoes, then catching the creature with a real swing of the arm. Maybe Ape Escape 4?
On the bright side, Sony does listen to critics. After European reviews ravaged the game, the publisher chose to release PlayStation Move Ape Escape in the US as a PSN download only. The price, however, is still a wishfully high $20.
The nicest thing anyone had to say: "If you haven’t used Move in a while it gives you a chance to charge it.” – TheSixthAxis
The most scathing review quote: "A paper-thin exercise in frustration and under-achievement that would struggle to pass muster as a Wii launch title.” – Eurogamer
Average Review Score: 36%
What the press release promised: "Different conditions call for different talents: in many situations, the nail biting choice whether to go in, with guns blazing or to deploy stealth tactics is up to you!”
What the game actually delivered: No. No, that choice is not up to you. The drearily titled Shadow Harvest: Phantom Ops does allow players to switch between two soldiers with two distinct styles – the generic beefy buzz cut dude is all about shooting and covering, while the generic sexy cat-suit lady is an expert in stealth – but the missions are so rigidly, unimaginatively structured that the developers have already made the choice for you. Besides, when the graphics are this muddy, the AI this dumb, the checkpoints this unfair, the difficulty this uneven, the voice acting this cheap and the story this poorly written, neither gameplay style is worth your time or trouble anyway.
The nicest thing anyone had to say: "Menus and load screens are highly polished.” – IGN
The most scathing review quote: “Would have been bad even in 2004.” – Game Over Online
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