Opinions are wonderful, aren’t they? We all have our personal likes and dislikes, and whether we know it or not, some are just downright moronic. So, what better way is there to illustrate that point than to flaunt our own idiocy? Let’s start with some games I’m convinced are good, and then I’ll tell you why that game you love is terrible. Shall we proceed?
Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts
So, why is this one hated again…? It may not have been the sequel most (or any) fans expected, but taken on its own merits, Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts was a lot of fun. Remember that badass moment in The Dark Knight when Batman’s Tumbler exploded, ejecting a freakin’ motorcycle from its depths? I was able to replicate that moment — except my motorcycle could also fly! The Lego-esque vehicle creator was a joy to play around with, as was traversing the environments with every new creation.
Banjo Kazooie / Banjo Tooie
I just never got the appeal for these first two — but not for a lack of trying. I played Banjo Kazooie and Banjo Tooie briefly during the Nintendo 64 days, and later gave the original another try when it released on Xbox LIVE arcade. They both just seem so bland and overly reliant on chasing collectibles, and unlike the stars and coins in Super Mario 64, I never felt like there was a good enough reason to bother.
Captain America: Super Soldier
People throw praise at Rocksteady’s Batman games, and for good reason. However, when Sega and Next Level Games saw fit to give Captain America that same care and attention, no one cared. Thus, Captain America: Super Soldier went ignored by the masses. As for me? I’m flushing my reputation down the drain already, so I’ll be honest — I enjoyed it more than any of Batman’s AAA games. I previously reviewed this one, so give that a look.
Taking place in Baron Strucker’s isolated castle, you drop in unexpectedly on a ghastly plot going down within its halls and dungeons. Following Rocksteady’s example, Next Level Games infused their game with truck loads of easter eggs and (with no exaggeration) a metric butt-ton of collectibles. Using Rocksteady’s free-flow combat mechanics as a starting point, Captain America received an impressive repertoire of abilities. My personal favorite is the Weaponize tactic, which allows you to grab an armed enemy and use their weapons to fire upon his comrades.
God of War
I file this series under the “how is this popular?” category. Kratos is a terribly boring protagonist, which plenty of diehard God of War fans will attest to. However, the gameplay itself never struck a chord with me either, feeling a bit bland. Quick Time Events (QTE’s) have also been highly irritating outside of the Dreamcast’s Shenmue, so its reliance on such moments just exacerbated things.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Undoubtedly seen as the red-headed stepchild of the Arkham series, Batman: Arkham Origins proved a worthy prequel — unless you ask the internet. It featured Batman’s earlier struggles against the monstrous Bane, teased a leading role for Black Mask, and also provided a grand entrance and origin for the Joker. Unfortunately, gamers wrote it off as soon as they knew WB Games Montréal developed it instead of Rocksteady.
This game did have a few bugs in the beginning, like occasional freezing (which happened to me twice) and moments where Batman fell through the ground (something I experienced once), but these were patched pretty quickly. Other people hated the slower pace of its combat, which was intentional since the story featured a younger, less experienced Batman at the start of his career. Arkham Origins is my favorite Batman game to date, but the reason goes far beyond my appreciation for its story.
Splash Damage created a fantastic multiplayer mode for additional replayability, featuring two gangs — Joker’s and Bane’s — battling each other with weapons and gadgets. Meanwhile, two additional players assume the role of Batman and Robin, stalking the shadows to fight both sides. This mode quickly became my favorite multiplayer game of all time, something my older brother (and pretty much no one else) agrees with.
Would you kindly quit praising the original BioShock? I can’t speak of the sequels, as I avoided them like the plague. The first, however, remains one of my most disappointing experiences from the last console generation.
Rapture was an amazing setting with a dark, haunting atmosphere and a horror vibe which pulled me in immediately. Likewise, the enemies brought a great intensity in the beginning — with the standouts being the Spider Slicers and, of course, the Big Daddies. Unfortunately, the first-person gameplay felt dull with lackluster shooter mechanics and half-baked superpowers (known as plasmids).
And while I’ll tip my hipster hat to the clever plot twist, that left me infuriated the moment it happened. It meant the game was only halfway done, whereas I had been hopeful that my disappointing tour through Rapture was nearly at its end. Ultimately I had it in me to complete the game, but it steered me away from the series forever. That’s what we call a “minority opinion,” folks!
This, quite simply, is the Rocketeer game I always wanted. Okay, okay, so the Nazis were replaced by aliens… but that doesn’t change how fun Dark Void is. Featuring third-person shooter gameplay with unique moments of verticality, the game truly takes off when you receive the free-flying jetpack. This allows you to take part in thrilling dogfights with otherworldly spacecrafts… but also escort missions, and I refuse to defend those.
It isn’t an especially pretty game — and can be downright ugly at times — but come on! Any game that lets me utilize a jetpack to do battle with a giant, mechanized dragon is A-OK in my book.
Dragon Age II
This still just bums me out, man. Dragon Age: Origins is cemented as one of my top 10 favorite games of all time, due mostly to its thick lore, rich world, extremely memorable characters, and strategic gameplay.
So, obviously all of that needed to be thrown out the window for a sequel! Dragon Age II became a stylized hack n’ slash title, almost entirely unrecognizable from what was introduced in the original. That in itself wouldn’t be so bad, even in spite of the abandonment of the Grey Warden, the protagonist of Origins. Those changes probably could’ve been forgiven entirely… if only the new cast of characters received proper care and attention. The gutsy dwarf, Varric, is the standout by far — but the fact that I just had to skim a wiki to remember his name is a bad sign. This is a far cry from the original cast of great characters like Morrigan, Leliana, Shale, etc.
There was also less attention to detail overall, as environments were re-used too frequently, and the variety of enemies shrank considerably. There were pointless alterations to the lore as well, such as the alien-esque redesign of the Elves, and the more demonic Qunari.
Lastly, most unforgivable of all is the total character assassination of Anders, a Mage first introduced in the original game’s expansion, Dragon Age: Awakening. He was a favorite of mine due to his chipper nature and wisecracking ways, while Dragon Age II turned him into the High Fantasy equivalent of a terrorist. To this day I haven’t played its sequel, Dragon Age: Inquisition, because this one soured me on the series overall.
Gears of War: Judgment
Yeah, that’s right — the Gears of War game people unanimously hated when it released? Gears of War: Judgment is my favorite of the series, precisely because it doesn’t follow Marcus and Dom, the usual protagonists. Instead, it features Baird and Coletrain, two side characters from previous games. This more quippy, light-hearted pair lean more toward my personal preferences. It also brought some much-needed levity to the series.
More than that, it also contained a second, unlockable campaign story featuring the unseen segments from Gears of War 3 that I actually wanted to play.
Resident Evil 4
Yeah, I’ma take a big hit for this one. Much like how Resident Evil 4 (RE4) hit me like a freight train back in 2005, in fact. Resident Evil had already been my favorite series for a handful of years, and this was highly anticipated — BUT IT ISN’T RESIDENT EVIL! Everything was different, from the camera, the aiming, the focus on action over puzzles, and even the villainous Umbrella Corporation was tossed out a window during the intro!
“Hey bonehead,” you may be shouting, “at least Leon was in it!”
…WAS HE? I’m pretty sure you play as Devil May Cry’s Dante during this game, ‘cause this one-liner spewing, bad-pun-hurling, long-distance-jumping, Macaulay-Culkin-lookin’ buffoon isn’t the same endearing everyman from Resident Evil 2. Regardless, my hatred eased slightly once the Wii edition of RE4 released with some fantastic motion controls. Mercenaries mode is pretty great, at least.