We’re living in a Golden Age of gaming, there is no denying that. In the last few years I’ve seen projects come out that I never thought we’d get. Whether it’s the re-emergence of Space Games, the amazing open worlds, or the unique visions of Indie developers, there has never been a better time to be a gamer.
However, for every glittering metropolis there is always a seedy underbelly and sometimes one wrong turn can leave you in the bad part of town. Here are three games that mugged me and left me bleeding in the backstreets of gaming culture.
Gather round children and I shall tell you of a game series from the very dawn of modern gaming. That series is MechWarrior, which feature games that let you smash around a digital landscape in a 100 ton robotic killing machine. These were games that helped to popularize the joystick on gaming PCs and introduced a generation of unsupervised children to the glory of trading lasers and missiles with other enormous war machines.
You would think with a pedigree like that, hell with a premise like that it would be near impossible to make a bad mech game.
Still, when it came time to introduce the Mechwarrior universe to consoles some bright spark decided that what the game series about giant walking tanks needed was for the player to–exit their mech. Yes, frequently in the course of MechAssault you find yourself having to exit your awesome robot to walk around the place as a normal squishy human. The nadir of this is when you have to go and set some explosive charges on a tower instead of just blowing it up!
Combined with a badly implemented power up and ‘repair kit’ system this game put me off consoles so much that I never bought an original Xbox, and only rejoined the fold a few years after the 360 was released.
2) Aliens: Colonial Marines
This is another travesty committed against a noble gaming heritage. Aliens vs. Predator 2 (the game, not the weird movie) was one of the best FPS titles that was ever made. The Marine campaign in particular was equal parts terrifying and awesome.
Yet despite this great starting point the reboot a few years ago removed all of the tension and atmosphere from these games and replaced it with a close combat button, some ridiculous AI and a showdown in a Space-Colony nightclub. After that, I didn’t think things could get much worse.
For a while I even thought things were getting better as the early trailers for Aliens: Colonial Marines seemed to show a return to all that tense, atmospheric gameplay that I had been missing.
Then we got, well…this…
I rest my case, but if you need more proof check out a former episode of our Beasts of the Week in Geek Vlog to see just how poorly designed this game truly is.
1) Half-Life 2
Come at me, bro.
Ok, I admit that this one probably takes a little bit of an explanation, because this game is considered to be tip top by many gamers.
Half-Life 2 came out at a point in my life where I didn’t have alot of funds for games or for updating my rapidly aging PC. That means I missed it during the initial run and even missed the original re-issue with the Orange Box. During all of that time I kept hearing about how amazing this game was, how people rediscovered their love of gaming through it and how a suprisingly large number of people want to harm Gabe Newell over the ever-delayed Episode Three.
Eventually, I finally picked up the Orange Box, loaded the game aaannnddd–it was alright, I guess.
Don’t get me wrong, Half-Life 2 is definitely not a bad game for the time it was made. However, it is a game that has not aged well. There are loading pauses almost every few minutes, the set up to missions are pretty standard and most of them are really cool gimmicks (the gravity gun, immersive storytelling) are now pretty ubiquitous even in lower quality games.
My experience with Half-Life 2 was so jarringly different to what I’d been told to expect that I genuinely wondered if I just shouldn’t be a gamer anymore.
So, that’s my list; feel free to tell me how wrong I am!
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