GameFront 2010: Longest Haul Games of 2010
Taking a page from the best and worst without being too harsh, some games just don’t know when to fade away. Our staff lives games, so while some titles might just drive the average gamer batty, there are some titles that we see so often we’re more than a little tired of hearing about them.
This list covers just those sorts of games. Those that outstayed their welcome, be they an unneeded sequel or a game that just plain showed up to the gaming party and never decided to leave. Now games that stay around too long don’t necessarily have to be bad, they’re just overexposed or generally played out titles. Below are some game titles our writers feel meet these criteria and why they feel that way.
Call of Duty
I realize I’m about to commit a sin among the modern gamer community but frankly I think Call of Duty has outlived it’s usefulness. It started as a great attempt to “out-real” EA’s Medal of Honor – a battle it won hands down – but once it became the industry leader for WWII and Modern Combat settings I think it’s begun to just flail around.
World at War and the latest, Black Ops are examples of this. Sure, everything is better with zombies, but why did a game like this need zombies if it was still in its prime? Oh look! More neutral brown and grey maps full of rocks and cliffs.
Cranking out a Call of Duty cash-in every year may work for Activision but it’s fast approaching Madden in the unneeded yearly $60 installment race. Why do players keep encouraging this behavior? The three-year old Modern Warfare itself is not a huge change from Black Ops, couldn’t we just handle this stuff with map packs and DLC and let Activision rape us of more money over a longer period using a bit more subtlety?
Final Fantasy XIII
It’s a new, legit Final Fantasy game, and it’s multi-platform, so, naturally, folks got themselves into a tizzy over it years before it actually came out. And then it came out, and it sold a very large number of copies, and people wouldn’t shut up about it.
And then I played it. Seventy-five hours later, I was extremely depressed. I stuck with it to the end because it’s Final Fantasy, man, and because it was a game people talked about. I wasted several weeks of my life dealing with this horrible and stunningly boring and completely nonsensical game, and I got all the way to the end only to have my ass kicked by the final boss because it slapped me with a death countdown after I had been fighting it for an hour. Did I mention I had spent 75 hours playing this to that point? Yeah, after I lost that fight, I said, “F–k this s–t,” and moved on with my life.
And yet people kept wanting to talk to me about it. Really? It felt as if [really, really distasteful and inappropriate analogy here], and everybody just wanted to remind me of it for weeks afterward.
Making it worse was that FFXIII was the third JRPG I played this year. Before it came out, I also played Star Ocean 4 and White Knight Chronicles (both of which, while not good games, were far better than FFXIII), and I had sad times with those, too. With those, at least, I could pretend nothing happened, because nobody cared about them outside the time they spent playing them. Final Fantasy XIII, however, ruined an entire month of my life.
Red Dead Redemption
I enjoyed Red Dead Redemption thoroughly, but it wasn’t exactly a short game. I had a good time with the story, and the open-world approach gave it a lot of scope — but that was a whole helluva lot of desert to ride a horse through.
I ended up putting in almost 100 hours into the game, and never even touched the downloadable content because by the time it rolled around, I was kind of over Redemption. And not because I disliked the play, or the story, or the multiplayer features, or anything else about the game. But I gave up Redemption because I sank 100 hours into the game and 50 of those, at least, were occupied by riding a horse from Point A to Point B, looking for something (like a f—ing skunk) and never finding it.
In the end, Redemption got a little on my nerves with all that useless travel and land-scouring for minor treasure. It was a good time for the most part, but looking back, did that really need to be a 100-hour experience? No, not really — in fact, I feel like Rockstar didn’t really respect my time as it made me watch Marston slowly get on and off horses and do the same menial animal skinning animations. Redemption is the definition of a game that overstays its welcome: it’s fun and captivating pretty often. Then you find yourself wandering the prairies for four hours looking for that one last buffalo to shoot.
I played this game in order to review it, and it just would not end fast enough. (Well I guess it left such an impression on Ben he purged why from his head afterward.. )
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow
I reviewed Lords of Shadow, and I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the game. However, it did have a few things that made it almost unbearable, especially further along in the game.
First off, the repetitive puzzles. It’s all well and good if you want to include puzzles in your game, and it’s even better if they’re challenging. However, you negate most of the challenge if you offer the option to look at the answer from the start. Furthermore, there’s no need to be reusing the same puzzles over again. If you can only think up a few puzzles, then only include a few.
The second issue is the ungodly amount of pointless backtracking built into the game. If you’re a completionist like me, prepare to be playing levels over and over, just because you couldn’t crash through a barrier due to not having . Of course, many people refer to this type of thing as “Replay Value.” I call it pointless and boring.