The Warriors (2005)
developer: Rockstar Toronto
system: PlayStation 2
GameRankings score: 83%
Like Manhunt and Bully, The Warriors uses the PS2-era Grand Theft Auto engine. However, the gameplay is totally different. Warriors is basically a linear, story-driven beat-em-up, supplemented with tedious graphitti assignments. I didn’t hate this game but, like 90% of beat-em-ups, the fighting mechanics are too simple. The characters are all totally unlikeable and mindless rampaging is actually difficult given the closed nature of this release.
Resident Evil 5 (2009)
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 86%
This was a really big disappointment, especially since the dipshit critics gave it such a relatively strong score. I swear that there is industry bias for and against certain series and I think Resident Evil is on the better end of that deal. Going into this game, it appears to be a continuation/extension of the game mechanics introduced in the excellent Resident Evil 4. Well, looks can be deceiving. Yes, there’s an over the shoulder view but almost every other element from RE4 has been trashed. The controls, everything from running to fighting to simply restoring your fucking health has been totally clunked up. The old Resident Evils were clunky due to design/technology limitations. In this game the clunkiness seems to be based on stupid, intentional decisions.
You may have heard of the controversy surrounding this game, which involves a great white hero gunning down armies of black zombies in Africa and how Capcom attempted to address this problem by adding a “black” sidekick character. The sidekick is a complete failure. She gets in the way, she holds you back, she’s annoying and she appears to be at most half-black, with very caucasian facial features. This game was a real letdown.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2006)
GameRankings score: 96%
I don’t hate this game but 5.5 hours in I don’t feel like playing it any more, which in my mind is a pretty big indictment for a Zelda game. Naturally, the critics loved it but why? Remember the first Zelda game? A dude gives you a sword and bam! you’re off on an adventure. Within an hour you’ve found the first dungeon. This fucking game spends the first couple of hours on linear fetch quests that take place entirely within some dump of a village. You can’t enter the main overworld until you’ve found someone’s cat, found someone else’s favorite baby basket, rounded up some goats, ugh. Everyone sits in their exact spot in the village saying their exact same thing like we’re still in the Super NES days. Link is saddled with an annoying sidekick elf/monster/whatever thing and he sometimes turns into a wolf.
The game has a great look to it but just seems to come up very short in the category of personality. Its predecessor, The Wind Waker, had a lot of issues but it was bursting with great personality and it looks great.
Left 4 Dead (2008)
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 89%
I bought this game because I really liked Valve’s The Orange Box compilation for Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and Portal. I did not give a flying fuck about the online-only multiplayer-only Team Fortress 2. Left 4 Dead looks a lot like Half-Life but it’s about as deep as Team Fortress 2. In other words, it’s basically designed for you to go online, turn off your brain, and play through its rather short missions over and over. I can’t think of any other game with so little content that was given such a high score by the critics.
Prince of Persia (2008)
developer: Ubisoft Montreal
system: Xbox 360
GameRankings score: 80%
All of the games on this list have pretty good visuals but this game definitely takes the cake in this regard. I love the look of this particular PoP game, much more than its PS2/GameCube/Xbox predecessors. Unfortunately, the gameplay took some really stupid steps backwards. There are a lot of little changes that mostly feel like they were made for the sake of changing something, anything. In the Sands of Time trilogy games, the trigger buttons were used to dash along walls in a very reliable and tightly controlled manner. Now, you kind of jump at a wall and hope the game understands that you want to run along the wall and not jump off of it. The fighting has been completely retooled, completely for the worse. The one thing that very obviously improved in each Sands of Time trilogy game was the fighting, but that’s been abandoned for a hilariously stupid, slow-motion, scripted battle mechanic. It’s too bad the action in this game sucks because the Prince seems pretty likeable, as opposed to the sad cunt found in Warrior Within and The Two Thrones.