Hated by: PlayStation Editor Mikel Reparaz
What do you get when you cross the gameplay of Panzer Dragoon with pedestrian electronica and wireframe graphics from 1982? Apparently, you get spank material for hordes of pseudointellectual game reviewers eager to mistake novelty for art, and art for fun.
Rez wasn't a bad game, necessarily. In fact, if you liked your games short, easy, pretentious and boring, it was friggin' awesome. An on-rails shooter about an evolving stick-man, Rez cast players as a hacker flying through a computer network, which was really just a thinly veiled excuse to substitute wire models, bright colors and cool effects for actual graphics.
Above: This is more fun because it looks weird. Wait, it isn't!
It did have a unique hook, though; as players shot stuff (done by locking onto multiple targets with a cursor and letting fly with a few heat-seeking missiles, or whatever their virtual equivalent would be), each sound effect was a beat or note in the level's throbbing music, which grew increasingly more complex the further you got into the game. Unfortunately, "complex" doesn't necessarily equal "good," and the trippy techno tracks were all pretty unmemorable regardless of your input.
To be fair, Rez was a bold experiment in clever game design, and its visuals, while minimalist, were hypnotic. But was it a genuinely fun, enjoyable game? Not so much - at best, Rez was mildly entertaining while it lasted, and that wasn't long. To hear every other reviewer in the industry gush about it, though, you'd think it was some sort of unparalleled masterpiece. Instead of, you know, a music-driven version of a game they'd already played a thousand times before.
"Games can be art, but that doesn't mean they have to be this boring." - Mikel