Most Overrated Games

By Shamus Posted Monday Nov 19, 2007

Filed under: Video Games 139 comments

Time for some controversy!

Here is a short list of games which I have played that were sold as the greatest thing, like, EVER and which not only failed to ascend the Ziggurat of Excellence, but just barely managed to reach the top of the Staircase of Mundane and Pedestrian.

5. Fable

I don’t have much to add to what I’ve already said about the game. It’s a very modest, linear, by-the-numbers RPG with a lot of visual polish, but the hype on the box makes it sound like this is some sort of revolution in freeform roleplaying. Not even close.

4. Oblivion

For a long time I thought the problem with Oblivion was that it was just unfinished, and that if they had bothered to kill the bugs and make the graphics engine work as advertised the game would have been great. Looking back, I see that the game was broken at a more fundamental level. It’s just that the bugs and graphical problems masked the deep, underlying design flaws.

Auto-leveling loot and monsters neutered the level-building aspects of the game. The voice acting (instead of text-based interactions) limited the depth of dialog, and made sure you heard the same handful of voices no matter were you went or who you spoke to. The main plot was so bland someone actually introduced a mod to get rid of it. The one strong point of the game – a huge, sprawling sandbox world – was glossed over by letting the player teleport around the map via the auto-travel.

Bugs aside, this game was not awful, but it also wasn’t the ground-breaking Game of the Year everyone made it out to be. If it hadn’t been a descendant of the beloved Morrowwind and a benefactor of a good bit of hype, I think it would have gotten the treatment it deserved: A nice effort that failed to meet the standards set by earlier titles.

3. Black & White

Mix some ingenious pet AI with a “Real-Time Strategy” game with no strategy and a glacial pace. The result? A terrible RTS game with an amusing minigame. Certainly not a revolution.

2. Far Cry

Take a game with “realistic” damage (meaning the player can be killed by a single well-placed shot) and unrealistic enemy numbers (the Lone Player vs. an entire camp of edgy mercenaries) and you have a recipe for some really punishing gameplay. As icing on the cake, give it a checkpoint-based save system instead of letting the player save when they want. Thanks Ubisoft, but couldn’t you have just shot me once, for real, rather than make me suffer through the eight or nine thousand virtual deaths required to get to the end of this ridiculous pageant of clichés and abominable voice acting?

It’s about as sophisticated as Serious Sam, with the key difference that Serious Sam is played for laughs, while Far Cry takes itself too… uh, seriously. It makes Resident Evil look like a Tom Clancy technothriller in comparison.

Yes, it was pretty. But those mountains aren’t going to be nearly as enthralling the tenth time you scale them and get sniped a few feet from the top. I’ll take “fun” over “pretty” any day.

“Maybe you just suck”, says the fanboi.

Yeah. Maybe this game is just too awesome for me to know how to enjoy it. That must be it.

1. Halo

The ultimate in overhyped mediocrity. Here we have a story-driven shooter with a threadbare story. (Actually, I’ve read that the lore of Halo is quite deep and fulfilling, but you have to read the novels if you want to see it.) The story as presented within the game was predictable and boring. The characters were two-dimensional. Their dialog was used as a crude expositional device that depended on the player’s inability to ask obvious questions to deliver its “dramatic” payload.

The ability to carry just two weapons limited the tactical choices the player could make in any given firefight. It also meant that players could only make sound choices on what weapons to carry once they had played through the game and knew what was ahead. Finally, the limited weapon selection negated the ability to stockpile the “good stuff” for big fights. The weapon balance was absurd and counter-intuitive, with the pistol being a better sniping weapon than the actual sniper rifle. And finally, the other type of resource management – the supply of health & armor – was removed from the game with the addition of the auto-recharging shield.

The gameworld was made up of uninteresting, generic scenery. The interior spaces said nothing about the culture that built them. The locations are just miles of corridors with no discernable details or purpose. What kind of aliens are these? Don’t they have to eat? Sleep? Use computers? Sit down? Don’t they have something to do when they aren’t standing in barren rooms guarding crates?

This is “combat evolved”? Who are they kidding? This is Wolfenstein, but with less variety.

Yes, the outdoor areas were very pretty, and I’ve heard online play was a blast, but this game didn’t deserve a fraction of the hype it received. This was a lackluster shooter with a huge advertising budget and delusions of adequacy.

(I’m sure I’ll get many people who disagree with the above list. That’s fine. Do be polite about it though. Whenever I slam Halo I always get a few subliterate ankle-biters who defend their chosen game with personal insults and verbal ineptitude. Those comments have a lifespan measured in minutes, so if you feel the white-hot surge of rage prompting you to call me a “totel fag” then you should probably not waste the copious time it will require to compose your rejoinder.)

So what did I miss? What other games scored high reviews and failed to live up to the hype once you brought them home?


From The Archives:

139 thoughts on “Most Overrated Games

  1. Sharpe says:

    Sim City is my #1. You draw rectangles on the screen. Spectacular.

  2. Maia says:

    I really liked Oblivion for the reasons you thought it was bad. Maybe it’s just more fun when one generally doesn’t like computer/video games? I dug the campy feel.

  3. Dan says:

    Halo? Are you kidding? You get a rifle or something…and SHOOT it! Then you shoot stuff and sometimes stuff shoots back. It has shooting in it!

    Halo is a brilliant combination of Defender and Asteroids.

  4. I rather enjoyed Halo. This may owe to the fact that I’m not really an FPS fan, and hate the whole concept of “resource management” as it applies to weapons. I’m making my way through Half Life2 right now, and I simply _hate_ the fact that I can’t seem to find enough bullets/sawblades to go around. Halo always kept me supplied and let me have fun killing things…

    Also: It let me know why I was killing people and getting killed. HL2 doesn’t do a great job of that.

    As to the rest of your list: I totally agree.

  5. SiliconScout says:

    Never Winter Nights 2.

    We are a year + and it’s still not the game it should have been when it was released.

    Lots of eye candy bling but no substance.

  6. yd says:

    What I loved about Halo wasn’t its single player (amusing, but not ground breaking – it also was obviously rushed out the door), but the cooperative multi-player. It’s so rare to be able to take on a mission / objective with friends, and Halo delivered that quite well. I enjoy that sort of multi-player so much more than shooting at my friends. Too bad it’s pretty rare.

  7. Nathan says:

    I realize that its a bit outside your preferred area of FPS, but for my money, the single most disappointing episode in computer gaming history has to be Masters of Orion III. Especially galling since it 1) built on a tradition of excellence (MOO and MOO II) and 2) actually had the potential to be ground-breaking. The idea was there; the execution was not.

    By the way, I agree with you on Oblivion (for all of the same reasons) and I agree with each of the points you made about Halo, but for some reason that didn’t ruin the game for me. Funny how that works.

  8. supermank17 says:

    I second yd’s opinion. Halo was not a spectacular game for me; perhaps the best console shooter at the time, but not special, and rather boring in many ways. The reason it holds such fond memories for me is solely due to its co-op ability. Prior to Halo I’d never had the ability to play alongside a friend, cursing fate together when we were on the receiving end of a rocket, or working out together how to best handle the next area. I’m sure other games had co-op before, and perhaps others did it better. But Halo was the first for me and my friends.

  9. nilus says:

    I never owned a Halo game till Halo 3 came out and I sadly bought into the hype. I had just moved into a new bigger house and finally got the basement man room I always wanted(new big HD TV, new surrond sound system, etc) and was looking for a game to really test out everything, so I bought Halo 3. I think I have played it three times. Its looks pretty but the single player game is as bland as 99% of all First person shooters(it seems that very few FPS have any real depth anymore, I probably should just rent and play through Bioshock again). The story is terrible, instead of any back story to get those who havent played the other halo games up to speed they just throw you in. Finally apparently to play Online multiplayer I need X-Box Live gold. Now I have played other online games in the past and didn’t need gold(Gears of Wars come to mind). I understand that gold members get perks but to allow no online play unless you pay is stupid.

    Oh well at least Assassins Creed came out last week, its giving my new system the work out it demands. Sure its a bit repetive but its still a hundred times more interesting then most of the games out there now. Of course I am not sure what I am going to do when Mass Effect comes out tomorrow, to many games to little time it seems. That game is getting a lot of hype but the reviews are saying despite some flaws its really solid, so I hope it does not disappoint.

  10. nilus says:

    Nathan, Totally agree with you about MOO3. It could have been so great but was so awful. It was the last game I can think of that I took back to the store and demanded my money back.

    This might start to be a list of disappointing sequels but does anyone remember Star Control 3. Star Control 2 was an amazing game but three was such a disappointment.

  11. Ryan says:

    I’d have to put Empire Earth on my list. It’s a game I always want to love – about once a year I’ll get the hankering to reinstall. “This time it will be different.” But then it never is – incredibly slow build time from one era to the next, and horrible AI (they all build/level at the same time, and all decide to attack you at the same time).

    I know it was considered pretty groudbreaking at the time. Perhaps it just hasn’t aged well?

  12. Woot Spitum says:

    Daikatana was not mentioned. Neither were Geist nor Starcraft:Ghost. Ghost may never have come out, but it was definately hyped a great deal before they started pushing back the release date and finally canceled entirely.

  13. AngiePen says:

    I’m with you on Oblivion. I stopped playing when (different) bugs stalled me on my second attempt through, but even after the bug-fix patch came out, I never bothered to download it. I suppose I will some day, and get back to it, although it’s been so long I’ll probably have to start over from the beginning.

    But yeah, the fact that the monsters level with you, that you can go anywhere and do just about anything at any level, takes away a large sense of accomplishment. I’ll admit that I’ve given up on other games in frustration because I hit a point where I couldn’t get through any of the roadblocks and all the monsters my level had already been killed, so there were no experience opportunities which would have let me improve. I’ve never been an intense min-maxer or a stat analyst or whatever; I like going through a game casually, and fairly cautiously, and having fun. Oblivion certainly solves that problem [cough] but it takes the solution way too far in the opposite direction.

    And yes, the fast travel made the game feel much smaller than it was. (The fact that you could go anywhere right out of the sewers, and pretty much had to if you wanted to join the mage’s guild, also contributed to that early-game been-there-done-that feeling.)

    I liked the dialogue, but then I’ll listen to Sean Bean read his grocery list. [cough] Maybe you have to have the right hormones to appreciate it. ;)

    And there were smaller annoyances as well. I found the horses to be horribly annoying and awkward. I like gathering herbs as I travel, which means a lot of dismounting and mounting. And I like exploring cross-country rather than following the roads, but horses are awkward going cross-country, especially over uneven ground. And I don’t take any pride in how few game-days it takes me to complete the game, so getting from Point A to Point B in half the game hours doesn’t impress me, and that seems to be pretty much the only advantage a horse gives you. Yuck. I tried a horse once and then ignored them all with my second character.

    And why did they cut back on the number of available skills? I like having a wide variety of skills to train in.

    And why did they limit how many skill ranks you could learn from a trainer each level? If they thought it was unbalanced then they could’ve adjusted the prices, but having a trainer say “Sorry, I can’t teach you anymore just… because,” is ridiculous and annoying. :/

    I definitely prefer Morrowind, and agree that Oblivion was over-hyped all out of proportion to its actual merits, even ignoring the bugs and broken bits.


  14. onosson says:

    I’ve got to disagree about Far Cry (which I am playing through right now). I’m really enjoying most aspects of it, and I actually like the save points. Maybe I’m masochistic, but I actually like having to replay sections of the game to figure out the right strategy to get through to the next save.

    What I DON’T like about the game, and I know I’m not alone, are the Trigens. I would really have preferred all the enemies to be of the human variety…

    Oblivion, yeah I’m with you. I got pretty bored after a while, it was just more and more of the same, really. Regarding Morrowind – I think if the bar hadn’t been set so high, Oblivion might have actually seemed better by lack of comparison!

  15. Hal says:

    Well, if we’re going to talk about games that never came, why isn’t Duke Nukem Forever on the list?

    Shamus, you and I will just have to agree to disagree about Oblivion. I never had problems with the bugs or graphics issues you had. The gameplay aspects you disliked . . . I just didn’t mind. The main storyline? Not completely original, but it was fun all the same.

    As for games I found to be overrated . . . Command and Conquer: Renegade. The game was fun, but . . . it was pretty clunky as far as FPS games go. The multiplayer was ridiculous, although my experience is colored by the fact that I had no online capabilities at the time it was released, so I couldn’t appreciate it. Still, it was not the non-stop thrill ride I was promised.

  16. Dev Null says:

    The original Neverwinter Nights – I never played the sequel, so I can’t speak for that one.

    At least in my neck of the woods this was hyped up to be the greatest thing to happen to RPGs since dice. Not just a worthy successor to, but actually an order of magnitude beyond Baldurs Gate II. I was singing “Butt-kicking for goodness!” on the way home from the store. Opened the box to find Diablo II, with a new coat of paint and less plot. I never bothered to finish it.

  17. I read only the first paragraph on the feed reader, and immediately started compiling my top candidates while I clicked on the page. Amusingly enough, my list was almost identical to yours.

    (Having not played Far Cry, I had no idea whether or not it should be there. All I know is that whenever I read someone talking about it, it just gushes about eye-candy. I have no clue what playing the game is like… nobody stops talking about the pretty pictures long enough to bring that part up…)

  18. Gahaz says:

    Poor Halo, getting smashed by so many. I remember when I had but an xbox and you kept me warm. Then your sequel came out, and I played against others, oh the fun I and my friends had. Then I found out that people had written books about you, and so much closer I was to your characters and story-lines. I had to go back and replay you again to fully experience the stories I know understood. Then I left my consoles for awhile, my new computer and WoW and Half-life were calling. But I would not be gone for too long. My wife and her new high paying job that I put her through college to get would allow me to get the consoles again, because I just cant stay away. And here came your final chapter, and oh the fun we had! You were looking prettier than ever, all dolled up in “next-gen”, and swinging some new firepower. But alas, it was not meant to last. I had enjoyed and discovered a new world of shooters on other platforms that simply did not allow me to keep of this front for long. I loved you Halo, and we had some great times. But theres someone else, I hate to do this to you, but Gordon’s waiting in the car. So please, remember the good times, when you were my only shooter and only shared time with my RPGs. After I finished your story theres was nothing else, I’m sorry, there are just better multi-play out there.

  19. Corvus says:

    Fable: Nowhere near as good as Molyneux claimed it would be, but a bit better than the backlash indicated it actually was. And for those of us who realized what it meant when Microsoft became the game’s publisher… well, it was quite a bit better than it had any right to be.

  20. Curaidh says:

    Overrated Games?

    Well… One Title: Two Worlds.
    Hyped so hard here in germany that I was tricked into actually buying it. Shame on me. It actually started to be playable with patch 3 or 4. But it still was mediochre and just plain boring. Balancing issues throughout the whole game wherever you looked.

    Then another one comes to mind: Dark Messiah of Might & Magic. Blazed through the game in 12 hours, finishing it in all “four” possible ways, never had a single tough fight. Fun for one single saturday afternoon/evening for 45€?

    Oblivion… well. I liked that game, but I’m a Bethesda “Fanboi”. You make valid points about it, but I prefer a game that entertains me for weeks/months over some “bug-free” game that lasts for 3 or 4 hours.
    Can’t say anything about the rest on your list. Except for Black & White I never played them. I’m a Battlefield series player, when someone blabs about Halo we just nod and yawn. ;)

  21. John says:

    Certainly Black & White and Fable are on my list, as is NWN-2. For many of the same reasons listed above.

    How about Spore? (ducks the fanboi response). Forgive me for my skepticism but I’m not expecting much.

    I haven’t played Oblivion, but I was underwhelmed by Morrowind. In no particular order:
    1. Crafting was too much of a chore (now what type of mushroom do I need to find now?)
    2. Plot was a little too light. (you might view this as a good thing, no rails
    3. Cliffracers. ’nuff said.
    4. Feedback on where you’re supposed to be going a little weak. Is this dungeon intended for higher level characters, or do I just suck? Mixing high/low level content in the same area breaks the near universal CRPG rules.

    Halflife-2. Quite enjoyable, but didn’t seem worth the hype. I felt like a hamster in a habittrail for most of the game.

  22. Actually, the thing in Halo where you only carry two weapons increased the bloody realism of the game just for the part that it always gnawed on my that various characters in all of those FPS games were loaded down with nine weapons, the firearms for the six through nine keys were reasonably massive and the three key was a shotgun probably, and all visuals of my dude was a slim, stripped down dude with sidearm strapped on.

    Star Trek: Voyager solved this by having the Elite Force carry “Transporter buffers” on them, where their weapons were stored away as disassembled particles.

    Frankly, if you were playing Halo for the very first time but had developed a preference for a certain type of weapon, the limited types of ammo and limited choice of weapons actually made you more prone to choose your shots carefully. I was always more likely to go hog wild with an alien weapon then go back and grab the human weapons I discarded carefully. Only two guns allowed me to craft strategy through guesswork.

    The co-op also rocked.

    One other bit that was awesome is that while most FPS will give you shields, armor, or health paremeters that made no sense from any meta-perspective or in-game universe perspective, the “SHIELD” made sense here.

    I have some problems with the game, of course, but I get back to them in December.

  23. Rob says:

    I love your list. I liked Oblivions side-quests but cheated my way through the campaign because I kept insisting that it would have to get better soon. Just because the had Picard didn’t mean they could just bugger off.

    My biggest letdown is …. Civilization (in all it’s crappy incarnations). Yes, I enjoyed the first one in highschool. It was fun and wasted alot of time. Then along came Alpha Centarii and Call to Power (I think that’s what it was called) which raised the bar for me (I still replay Alpha Centarii). Then they released the new Civ and I thought for sure it’d be awesome but it was the same crap I hated about the previous series all over again. That’s my 2cents. :)

  24. Strangeite says:

    I never enjoyed Halo, but then I haven’t enjoyed a FPS since GoldenEye.

    Sharpe: While SimCity wasn’t for everyone, for me it was one the greatest games of all time. Yes, by today’s standards it sucks, but it was that game that started me on my love of simulation games.

    Spore may be a disappointment, but only because my expectations are too high.

  25. Froody says:

    Somehow, I loved Black & White. Then, I was pretty young when I played it.

    Oblivion: Just be lucky you’re not German, really… it had the most HORRIBLE translation ever. EVER. Even KotOR or JE would have been utter crap with a translation like that.

  26. Davesnot says:

    Hey, DevNel.. can you send me your CD key for NWN.. the original campaign sucked.. I think.. I don’t really know ’cause I didn’t finish.. but the Multi-player, DM-client and ability to build .. and the community content.. definately groundbreaking.. load it up.. update to 1.68.. or give it to a friend.. NWN1 lives.. and it is far better than it was in it’s first two years.. there are even those playing Modern d20 stuff with it.. but hey.. you all can stay on the hype wagon and continue to buy the new stuff that never pans out.. NWN1 has over 5 years of community content.. modules.. Permanent worlds…

    I know.. deaf ears…



  27. Tom says:

    I respectfully disagree with your inclusion of Halo. There have surely been more over-hyped games. Carrying just two weapons at a time, for instance, seemed rather more realistic to me than many games out there.

    However, I must admit that my enjoyment may have stemmed from two relatively incidental features Halo. First, the scenery: the ring world is not only an interesting device in itself, but the interior spaces hearken back to such science fiction classics as Forbidden Planet. For this geek, running around in such environments is fun all by itself. The second feature is Halo’s similarities to Marathon, which IMHO was the best of the early FPSs.

    They brought Marathon back with better graphics and a new story, *and* they put it on one of Niven’s ring worlds. Who can complain?

  28. DKellis says:

    I loved Halo because I loved the story. It was only after Penny Arcade pointed it out that I realized how little of the backstory was actually in the game, and how much was in the supplementals like the novels. So I suppose I like the Halo storyverse, but I can give the actual games a pass.

    Especially since I view the actual combat sequences as an irritating buffer between the juicy story bits.

    Neverwinter Nights (the first game; haven’t gotten the second) irritated me for being supposedly the “best role-playing experience around”, when it turned out that the basic campaign was pretty much Diablo 2, and if I actually wanted something to last more than six hours, I had to get the user-made content. I kind of expected a full game out of the box, not a toolkit plus an included example.

    Number one for me, though, has to be World of Warcraft. It’s not a bad game, but it’s not the be-all and end-all of MMORPGs which I’ve been told a great many times.

  29. RibbitRibbit says:

    I’m with you on Halo. I got bored on the second level. Comparing it with, say, Quake II for the richness of scenery and the “mood” leaves Halo far far behind.

    NWN also gets my vote. Maybe the online play is teh roxxors, but I stared dumbfounded at the first scenario. You know, you can (I played a female paladin) flirt with a fellow student and make a date for later this evening; which immediately got me thinking “Romantic Subplot Yay!”… and then the school is raided and everybody dies. Oh Jolly.

    Fable… oh Fable. I think I fell asleep during the training phase. Something about losing the running contest for the 20th time got me thinking that maybe this is not the greatest RPG the world had ever seen.

    One of the Prince of Persia titles… I forget which. Warrior Within perhaps? Maybe not over-hyped, but definitely bored me to death.

  30. Gabriel Mobius says:

    I have to disagree on the Oblivion front, but that’s because I still really enjoy the game. Though those things should detract from the fun, I really don’t find them doing it that much.

    As for the most over-hyped game I actually went out and bought, it has to be Neverwinter Nights 2. I’m sure it would have played well, but much of the touted ‘newness’ was detracted from by the absolute bollocks that was the engine. The bloody thing was choppy even on my behemoth of a machine, and the visuals weren’t even that improved over NWN 1. Not to mention that even though you could have a full party, each and every one of the sods had A.I. with subroutines resembling that of a lemming. The sorceror would gleefully run to her death, whilst the fighter pushed his face into a small corner and did nothing for the whole fight. And don’t get me started on the near TPK fireballs.

  31. Ryan says:

    I agree that all those games had hype the preceded the games actual play value. Halo especially. Halo is just another first person shooter. Nothing more or less. I think the biggest hyped game on your list though is Fable, maybe it should have been one since it’s disappointment was larger than any other game on your list.

  32. Ben says:

    Halo: I read the novels, and the plot is definitely much, much thicker and better done in them. Good even without the game to back them up.

    Oblivion: I’m gonna push this one mod here:
    Francesco’s Level Mod. Kills the scaling, and fixes every area in the game to a specific level range like 5-8. There’s scaling in the range, but that’s it. Also does a lot of minor fixes, and pretty much solves every problem I’ve had with it. I suggest you at least try it out.

    Fable: I actually did not hear any of the hype, oddly enough. I thought it was a pretty good game myself, but now that I know about the hype: definitely did not live up to all that. Simple, basic action RPG fun, but not a revolution.

    Black and White: I really didn’t like the game, because everything was either piddly (build a wall and wait for everyone to join you) or insanely difficult (actually try to fight).

  33. Aelyn says:

    I’ve got to agree on Oblivion and Black & White. I was particularly disappointed in B&W. I had bought into the hype and couldn’t muster up the drive to play more than a couple hours on the game.

    As for new candidates, I’d also mention any of Age of Empires II successors. I tried Age of Kings, but it lacked that certain something that AoE and AoEII had so much of.

  34. Carra says:

    I agree that Halo wasn’t all that good but it didn’t get that good reviews on PC. I still thought it was a good shooter but nothing great. A great story? Can’t remember anything about it so can’t be! And certainly not the mega game that got such raving reviews for X-box. PC gamers were used to more. I think Call of Duty came out around then.

    Didn’t manage to finish Far Cry but what I played sure was great though. Wouldn’t call this game a disappointment at all.

    Can’t think of a game that was hyped a lot but which I really hated though. Games who get great reviews are usually great. Or at least good. And as I mentioned, it’s not because it gets a huge score on one platform that it does on another. Resident Evil 4 got amazing reviews on Nintendo and bad ones for PC…

  35. The Gneech says:

    I’ll give a hearty “Hear, hear!” to the nomination of Neverwinter Nights 2. Rating that as anything other than “a fetid, stinking pile of #*$&@!!!” is over-rating it.

    -The Gneech

  36. Shamus says:

    I didn’t even include NWN2 on the list because I wasn’t sure what sort of reviews it got at the time. If it got decent reviews, then it really should be #1 in my list.

    I’ve savaged it in the past, so I’m not going to belabor it here.

  37. Carra says:


    Age of Kings = Age of Empires 2 (still a great game!)

  38. Ian says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with entries 2-5 on the list. Especially Far Cry. Ugh, that was probably the least fun game that I played in a long time. It just stunk of DIAS in a lot of ways.

    I have to respectably disagree about Halo, though. It did bring a few features to the table (strict weapon limits in a sci-fi FPS, the “shield” health system that numerous FPSs use now) and is an enjoyable game, especially in co-op. Well, correction: Halo and Halo 3 are enjoyable, Halo 2 is considerably less enjoyable. :P

  39. Lord ZYRK says:

    Halo single player I’ve never played, but it doesn’t seem that it wold be that great. Co-op,on the other hand, I think is pretty entertaining, but I don’t think I could play the game by myself without getting bored.

  40. Dev Null says:

    Davesnot: Its true, I’ve heard some good things about the player-made content for NWN1, and one day maybe I’ll even work out what I did with the disk and give it a spin. But thats not the game I paid for, thats something clever someone else made that runs on their engine. The engine may be cool, and I totally applaud their decision to make authoring tools available to the fan base, but the actual game they sold me? Sucked.

  41. chiefnewo says:

    Dungeon Siege. I made the mistake of listening to the hype and bought it as soon as it came out. Big mistake, as apparently “streamlining the rpg gameplay” actually means “screensaver with stats”. Not to mention the editor was a horrible clunky thing (not as big a problem really, but it could have saved the game for me a little).

    I found Far Cry to be fun right up until you first encounter the trigens. People tell me that they are only in there for a little while, but the possibility of being insta-killed when you open a door was no fun. The real fun in Far Cry was going off the beaten path in the jungle, marking everyone’s location with the binoculars then picking them off one by one.

  42. scragar says:

    My vote goes for “Trixie goes to the hairdressers” on SNES, best game ever, and certainly deserved the five or six full page adverts I saw about it at the time.

  43. rflrob says:

    I think Halo had the chance to be great… Originally, it was debuted at Macworld, and had a totally different feel from what it turned out to be. Then, bungie got bought out by M$oft, who decided that it would be the killer-app for the XBox, and they completely changed the direction it was going.

  44. Corsair says:

    Overrated does not = Bad. Well, it does, sort of. Shamus didn’t mention games like Daikatana because those games got the ratings they deserved.

    By the way, Rflrob, the whole “M$” joke went dead about six years ago. Everyone knows Microsoft loves money, and so does every other corporation.

  45. Cineris says:

    Looks like my post got eaten. Anyway, I guess I’ll make a short list of points:

    -Halo had excellent vehicles and CoOp. These were big things the game did right.
    -Unlike many shooters, you could pick up (and were expected to) all of the alien weapons aside from the sword and the fuel rod gun.
    -The original Halo had a dual “lifebar” so to speak, consisting of both Health and Shields. Different weapons affected them differently, and only Shields recharged. The resource management was there, but its importance was downplayed. I think this was a good move.
    -A lot of people say that carrying only two weapons is better because it’s more “realistic” – Which is silly in a game about a cyborg supersoldier fighting off aliens on a giant ring world. It did force you to make choices about what weapons you wanted to take with you, though, and given that every enemy dropped weapons it was necessary to prevent you from becoming an unstoppable juggernaut with stockpiles of weapons loaded up.

    That said, it was a pretty average game in most respects. My main dislike is the story. I just can’t get over the plot twist that the rings are designed to wipe out all intelligent life in the universe just to prevent the Flood from taking over. It’s just too absurd, no matter how many novels come out trying to explain away that bungle.

  46. ngthagg says:

    FFXII: The male lead has all the maturity of a 10 year old jock. The female lead has less spine than a dissected tapeworm. The antagonist is so clearly evil he may as well have a Hitler mustache. And worst of all, the airship is a flying monument to gay pride.

    Morrowind: After spending an hour collecting herbs and slaughtering the various little bugs that can be found by wandering around the desolate gray landscape, I decide to go after bigger game and starting bandits. After half a dozen attempts at killing the first magic user I find, I give up in frustration. Even old school RPGs like Wizardry and Bard’s Tale were more forgiving than this. At least with those passing a level made your character significantly better, especially at the start.

    Halo 2: I played this once. Trying to aim a gun using the analog sticks is like trying to aim a gun by tapping the barrel with a hammer. Trying to do the same while moving . . . forget it.

    Shamus, this is an awesome thread. Thanks for giving me space to purge my bitterness.

  47. ngthagg says:

    Ooh, I almost forgot. I played the demo for Bioshock. It really pulled me in with the atmosphere and story and such. Until one point, when you enter a glass tunnel and part of your plane comes crashing in. The tunnel starts filling up with water, and I start thinking, “If I don’t get out of here, I’m going to die!” So I turn right around to go back out of the tunnel.

    The door has been blocked.

    I actually stand in front of the door for a minute trying to figure out if there is some “door open” key that I should be pressing, but nothing works. It slowly dawns on me that they want me to walk past the hole in the glass where the water is rushing in and go through the door on the other side. I can imagine a city created underwater, but I cannot imagine a city created underwater where a large leak isn’t catastrophic.

    The game lost me after that.

  48. Phlux says:

    Metal Gear Solid 2. I am admittedly not a huge MGS fan, but I bought into the hype, and endured the ridicule heaped upon me as my friends watched me play it…or rather watch me watching the cutscenes that lasted the entire last 45 minutes of the game.

    I wanted to like that game, but it has to be the talkiest of all stealth games ever. The plot was unintelligible at best, you didn’t get to play as the character that you actually WANTED to play. The gameplay itself was really stupid too. All you had to do to get through 90% of the game was stay in a shadow or behind a wall and walk slowly.

    I think the worst part was when the game “broke the fourth wall” and basically started issuing metagame commands to the in-game avatar. The avatar’s handlers would literally say to him at times “push the action button”.

    And people still worship Kojima like he’s some kind of gaming god.

  49. Zack says:

    Ack… Someone mentioned Daikatana. That game still makes my eyes bleed. The most deadly enemy in the game was the bulkhead/elevator door. I deleted it after several hours and I still think I completed more than any of my friends.

    Halo 3 deserves to be on the list. How much publicity did it get? I got bored while playing the game! Even after turning down difficulty to easy I just got sick of shooting things in the head there was no suspense nor drama. It was Gears of War without the tactics, Bioshock without the story. Really it was just lots and lots of things to shoot at. Makes me sad because I used to love Bungie back when they made Marathon.

    To get an idea of how far Bungie has fallen download the movie “Et tu Brute”. It was made by Bungie and it covers the design process around the main race the player interacts with. It is shocking how little story went into the game. Halo 3 was coming out and the design team realized, ‘Wait, we know nothing about who the Brutes are! We have never thought of a backstory nor reason why they are fighting. Maybe we should flesh them out a little.’

    Oh, my god! It takes 3 games before they realize they should add a plot. Listening to some of the developers in the video you hear timeless gems like “Until now our focus was on making the enemy fun to shoot.”

    That is my idea of engrossing story!

    I am still shocked how many people found the Halo series engrossing. There was decent coop in Perfect Dark back on Nintendo 64 in 2000 a full year before Halo came out. The Xbox was just the first platform marketed directly towards sports fans and frat boys too cool to play with computers or “game systems”. As a result Halo was the first shooter for many Americans.

  50. McNutcase says:

    Unreal Tournament 2003 and Unreal Tournament 2004.

    I loved UT99. Still do. I made maps for it. Still would if I could get the editor to run on Linux. Sadly, the hypercube I made (WarpZones. Man, those things were GREAT; pseudo-portal capabilities, allowing you to fold space into horrendous pretzel shapes) is now lost in the Great Bit Bucket In The Sky. I still play it, against bots. I doubt it’ll ever be off my “great games” list.

    UT2k3 came along. I bought it. Very shiny, but the gameplay wasn’t quite right. The weapons were suddenly nerf, the maps were a lot less fun (Plunge was obviously meant to be 2k3’s Morpheus; it was Too Damned Big, and I couldn’t do my lovely swooping minigun move like I used to, with the ramp-up from slow main fire to fast altfire as I landed; very few people survived that), and they’d made water broken. Plus, the sheer joy that was the Ripper was gone. I loved those flying hubcaps full of C4. There was little more satisfying than slicing an opponent’s head clean off at long range with that beauty.

    I carried on playing UT99.

    Then UT2k4 came along. Promised some fixes, and vehicles. I’d enjoyed vehicles in Halo (which I quite liked, but I can see why plenty don’t like it; up to you guys), so I was willing to give it a go. If anything, it was worse. I hadn’t mentioned that the editing was an order of magnitude harder, had I? Not to mention that you could only ever make cookie-cutter maps unless you were a seriously high-end modeller as well as a mapper. The only thing that made UT2k4 fun to play was the Clone Bandits mod, which is great fun, but not the price of UT2k4’s worth of fun.

    I still play UT99. I’m not intending to buy UT3.

    Also, Unreal 2, I seem to recall, got good reviews. It wasn’t a patch on the original Unreal, in feel, look or gameplay. I’m just glad I only tried it used, rather than dropping good money on it new.

  51. SiliconScout says:

    I agree with NWN1 sucking. Then again I bought it for the MP aspect and the building DM client interface so I loved it. It was under hyped and OVER delivered on that aspect of the game.

    I know that a lot of the complaints (only having 1 henchman and the like) of the SP campaign were fixed with subsequent patches and what not but as I said I never bought it for the SP.

    I only played about 3 hours of SP in NWN1 and that was more to get an idea of how to build a good area and that was about it.

    NWN2 has a horrible SP campaign (more railroaded than DMoTR, in fact their DM could take lessons), more toolset and scripting issues than I care to name AND it’s MP is far more limited and a lot more cumbersome.

    I still play NWN1, when the NWN2 video bling urge comes upon me I play DnD online instead it looks just as good and has far better execution.

  52. ngthagg says:

    I’m a big fan of the MGS games, but yeah, MGS2 was pretty bad. I must admit, however, that I do still worship Kojima as a gaming god. The MGS was one of the most original games I have ever played, and MGS3 was pure genius, with a great story to boot. I will buy a PS3 just for the chance to play MGS4.

    Battling a Hind with a rocket launcher, or dueling a sniper in a jungle have earned Kojima that kind of loyalty.

    On the flip side, make sure and read for some awesome skewering.

  53. McNutcase says:

    All that mass of brain dump, and I forgot to mention that I also hated Far Cry. All the reasons mentioned, plus the fact that the AI blatantly cheated (somehow, the enemies ALWAYS knew how their next shot was going to go off-target, and adjusted accordingly; the AI is always going to cheat at current tech level, but at least TRY to hide it!) and the supposedly accurate weapons couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in my hands… I never even finished the tutorial level, and I still hate it.

    It was a lovely engine, though.

  54. Deoxy says:

    I stopped reading after #7 – MoO 3. TOTALLY agree :-(

  55. OM3G4 says:

    Personally I have to disagree with your comment on the bland scenery. While at times the landscape is repetitive I don’t really think that matters as often I’m focusing on the actual game play, as for the lack of restaurants and housing on Halo, a reason is given in game for that (The Halos are simply containment units for the flood). as for the actual storyline, perhaps it does sound like every other sci-fi movie that airs on television today, but I like its’ execution of it (much like how one can prefer one power rangers series to another to give a mediocre example).

    As for the issue with weapons, personally I love that aspect of the game: you only have two weapons, this means you can’t just cary a rocket launcher, sniper rifle, several different types of other rifles, a pistol, and a tennis ball like some sort of combat oriented cub scouts troupe.

    The actual balance of the weapons though, I have to agree with you on that aspect. However, I personally see a much better balance in Halo 2 (this coming from someone who likes the carbine over the battle rifle)and then an even better balance in Halo 3.

    So yes, Halo has it’s problems, just like any other game, but personally I feel that for the most part these are pretty insignificant really, but as always, thats just my opinion.

  56. OM3G4 says:

    In response to Zack (post 50)

    Although your example is et tu brute (which specifically is about Brutes, a enemy introduced in Halo 2 not Halo) I understand where your coming from, but I would have to agree with the idea of making enemies fun to shoot first, otherwise what’s the point of playing the game? DMotR was a perfect example of this (not bashing DMotR of course): The DM wanted to get his story through and to do this required railroading, and more time wasted telling a story that the players were disintrested in because they wanted to go “kill stuff”. So while Story is indeed important (and the Halo Series does lack it in some places) I would rather have a fun game to play than a fun movie to play (what the heck does that mean?)

  57. RibbitRibbit says:

    @chiefnewo: Thank you for reminding me about that steaming pile of dung called Dungeon Siege. I remember at some point I rushed through the levels just to see the “snow” effect. I must say it was really pretty. I then proceeded to delete the game.

  58. “A lot of people say that carrying only two weapons is better because it's more ‘realistic’ – Which is silly in a game about a cyborg supersoldier fighting off aliens on a giant ring world.”

    Fine. If my character is carrying eight goshdam weapons, I want to see those weapons hanging off the avatar in all the cinematics.

    “As for the issue with weapons, personally I love that aspect of the game: you only have two weapons, this means you can't just cary a rocket launcher, sniper rifle, several different types of other rifles, a pistol, and a tennis ball like some sort of combat oriented cub scouts troupe.”

    I love this line.

    Although I hate it when Halo 2 abandoned some in-game continuity for the sake of weapons balance, which is what happens when a weapon has less capabilities in the sequel than it did in the original game. The shotgun was less awesome and the sniper handgun was less powerful and less useful.
    That and I loved the assault rifle. I hate the Battle Rifle. I’m not good enough to use it so it is a waste for me. A huuuge waste.

  59. Vegedus says:

    I have to agree with all of the list, except Far Cry, but only because I never played it. I’ll insert NWN2 in it’s place.

    Fable need no explanation. About everyone agrees it was a hype cow.

    Oblivion, to many fundamental design errors. Most of them was fixed with patches, but at one point I just gave up.

    Black & White… SO GOD DAMN SLOW.

    NWN2: I liked the characters immensely. I liked the plot. It had great roleplaying. But the game part? I can’t describe the gameplay with any other word than “bad”. In the end, I decided I’d be better off reading a book than playing a game solely for it’s story and characters.

    Halo. Well, I haven’t played it that much, but everything about it seems average, and with the hype it got, it was almost impossible to live up to it.

  60. Duffy says:

    For the most part I agree with your list, I personally enjoyed Far Cry up until the mutant part, but the points you mentioned did irritate me throughout, just not to the same degree.

    And I to continue beating a dead horse, I’m gonna add to the Halo debate. I kinda enjoyed the 2 weapons thing and recharging health (I’m a big fan of the Call of Duty series)but what I found boring was the overall gameplay. There was no variation really. Scripted events were generally pretty bland, and usually were just an introduction of more bad guys to shoot at. It wasn’t downright horrible, just not that spectacular. I kept thinking to myself I should go play Quake 2 instead.

    As for adding to the list: Force Commander. ‘Nuff said.

  61. Uninverted says:

    I just can’t agree with you on oblivion. The PC version was probably different, but the Xbox version wasn’t that bad, bug-wise. Sure, after you spend a significant amount of time with it, you run out of stuff to do, but for that first month or so, it feels like an entire world.

  62. Ian says:

    @Uninverted: A friend of mine stopped playing Oblivion after a serious bug (namely, an item not spawning) in the Fighter’s Guild (I think) quests prevented him from moving any further along. He was playing on the Xbox 360 version.

    I was frankly put off by the abysmal performance of the PC version. Despite the fact that my PC is a fair amount above the minimum specifications the game runs terribly — under 20fps most of the time — and Oldblivion doesn’t work on the latest patch.

  63. ArchU says:

    #10 nilus: Yes, SC3 was rather disappointing.

    I remember a lot of fans of the Ultima series of games anticipating Ultima IX: Ascension but it was sorely lacking in…well, everything. Making it 3D was a nice touch but the plot lagged, the humour was gone, the action slow, controls and combat clunky, party and party-based strategy completely missing, the graphics buggy, and the world much too small. The regulated spell advancement was equally irritating – players want to fling around meteorites right from the get-go, not after beating the fifth or sixth boss fight, dammit!

    Other disappointments: a remake of The Last Ninja was released about 3 years ago for Xbox only. Gah! TLN was one of the best games of its time and a modern update would have been super but I wouldn’t get an Xbox for it…

  64. gyfrmabrd says:

    Hmmm, I guess I agree with that list on all accounts.
    I think you could add Freelancer, if there still would be anyone to remember that game.
    About 400 years of dev-time, promises of a vast, living universe and what we finally got was a shiny Elite minus the depth plus stupendous story on extra straight rails that had absolutely nothing to do with the intro-sequence, half of the stuff in the game you could not use because you did not meet the asinine level-requirements (in addition, leveling up was also fruitless, as that triggered new plot-points, which then automatically suspended your XP-meter, a design-choice that simply radiates pure, unfiltered brilliancy) and after you finally “beat” the game, the “vast, living universe” turns out to be a static, oblivious void that offers you about a zillion planets to do exactly two-and-a-half kinds of mission over and over.
    The worst part? I did all of the above.
    On the plus side, the space-shooting game was kinda ok-ish, the interface was lean and some of the voice-acting was quite good. IIRC, John Rhys-Davies and Goerge Takei both had major roles, and there were some other nerd-celebs as well. Where was this supposed to go? Ah yeah, Freelancer. Overhyped, underwhelming, largely forgotten.
    /incoherent rambling

  65. Teddust says:

    Halo has way too much hype to live up to, but I think the game actually did do some things that are very important for FPS.

    First, as mentioned before it had Coop campaign mode which made the single player much more fun. I thought the level design was also excellent at first, however it is clear that about 1/2 way through the game they ran out of time or ideas because it gets incredibly repetitive. The AI of the enemies also is not to shabby. I don’t think there were too many console shooters at the time that had enemies that actually react to grenades and take cover.

    Also, having separate buttons for melee and grenades, instead of having to switch weapons was first done in Halo as far as I know. I think this increases your tactical choices a lot because unlike many other shooters your melee attack is not useless and throwing a grenade doesn’t leave you defenseless for half a second as you switch weapons.

    Finally, the biggest thing about Halo, though, was that you could hook up 4 xboxes together and play 16 player multiplayer. Now to a computer gamer, that seems quaint, but you have to realize that computer gamers are the minority and that the vast majority of people do their gaming on consoles (note, by computer gamers I mean hardcore gamers, not someone who plays solitaire or flash games on their computer). For a lot of people Halo was the first FPS that they played with a large group of people. Also, since you actually had to physically connect the xboxes chances were these people were your friends, not random douche bags that will call you gay and teabag you after they kill you (well ok, that probably happens anyways but it’s different when a friend does it, you know?).

  66. Craig says:

    I’m gonna go ahead and say that ANY hyped game is overrated. There is next to nothing original being made right now, so if you say that any game is the next best thing, it is far too easy to put it down as just another crappy copy of some crappy game. Sure, some do it well. Halo is one of the best multiplayer games out there, but it isn’t because it’s special. People just enjoy playing it, so there’s a good multiplayer community to draw from. As far as I’m concerned, if it is new, different, and interesting, THEN it is worth hype, but maybe praise, but never this idol worship so many video game players are taking up.

  67. Nick Pitino says:

    I was never really bothered by only being able to carry two weapons in Halo, then again this is more than likely due to me having a sense of how much guns actually weigh. Saying for example I have my 12 gauge in my hands, a carbine on my back with a sling, a pistol on my hip and then the ammo for all of the above seems pretty reasonable. You’d get overburdened fairly quickly carrying more than that and this doesn’t even the mention the non-trivial issue of WHERE you’d be storing the extra firearms, hammmerspace?

  68. Jeff says:

    I agree with everything except Farcry and Halo, in that Halo seems to be primarily a multiplayer game with a crappy single player campaign tacked on as a matter of necessity.

    Farcry however, I get the feeling you’re going in guns blazing, whereas a more cautious ‘realistic’ approach makes everything fine.

  69. Jeff says:

    The problem is that Morrowind was Excellence defined, whereas Oblivion was (or at least felt like) a very poorly ported console-port riding on Morrowind/Elder Scroll’s good name. Practically a slap in the face to the previously existing Elder Scroll fan-base.

  70. eponymous47 says:

    oooh! Agree with all of the above, most especially Fable and Black & White. Peter Molyneux may be a genius, but if he can’t deliver on what he promises in his games, then really… I just spent $50 on a game that has a few nifty quirks that aren’t found in other games but just borrows the rest of its gameplay elements from other c-list games of the same genre and I try to make myself believe that it was worth it. When it wasn’t.

    P.S. you should do an ‘underrated games’ list! or have you already, and I missed it?

  71. josh says:

    I think the Halo haters are going to have to come to grips with the fact that most people don’t play their games on PCs. Sure, with a big budget you can get a crisp display, massive multiplay, and avoid trying to aim with your thumb – but most people would rather just plunk down $300 and play in front of the TV. And let’s be honest, by console standards, Halo was really a leap forward. Maybe not as much as the hype, but still.

  72. Ian says:

    @Nick Pitino: The weight of the weaponry wouldn’t really be a problem for the Master Chief or the Arbiter (or any other Elite, for that matter) — both have strength far surpassing that of any human. The fatigue issue would be a moot point for them.

    The issue of where to actually put the weapon is a very valid one, though. Halo is one of those rare FPS games where you can actually see each and every weapon that the character has, so it would be a wee bit awkward if you could carry more than a couple of weapons. :P

  73. neminem says:

    I didn’t even care about Halo’s co-op, as I’ve seen apparently everyone else did. I cared about it for its multiplayer versus modes. I never actually played the single-player game through, but I spent many dozen of hours with friends, shooting each other, and sometimes then stealing their flag, over the lan, and in my opinion, it really is one of the greatest (simple) multiplayer FPSes out there. Furthermore, it’s because of exactly those two features you point out that I think that: you can only hold two weapons, thus [i]increasing[/i] strategic thinking, as opposed to just hoarding everything, and shields regenerate, so you can actually come back from a duel, instead of just getting killed immediately, the next time someone sees you.

  74. neminem says:

    And this is why bbcode sucks – you always end up using it when you meant to use htmll, or vice versa. Sorry about that.

  75. Sungazer says:

    My $.02.

    Interestingly enough, my little brother and I just got finished with Halo. Neither of us had played it before and we had a good time. It was while playing it that I realized why it’s so popular. As TedDust mentioned, it was the first time console players really got to sink their teeth into the FPS experience with their friends.

    Back in the day, my friends and I co-oped and deathmatched in Doom. Some of the best nights we head back then were playing through the Aliens mod. (You know, the one with less ammo than there were aliens to kill.) So when Halo came out, none of us cared, we’d been there and were still doing that every weekend over LAN.

    Now Fable…I liked Fable, for all of it flaws. I bought it on the cheap and kept my expectations low.

    Morrowind, on the other hand, I played for about half an hour before I quit. I couldn’t believe that my beefy half orc could only swing his axe once, thereby hitting the ground and letting whatever weak monster I encountered just outside of town chew on his face until he died.

    As Public Enemy says, “Don’t Believe the Hype.”

  76. Hammerspace!

    That’s right! That’s where Kyle Katarn stores all that shite.

    What was the name of the dude in Outlaws? and how can I get past level 4 without a cheat code skipping. I kept getting lost! dangit.

    Anyway… how did the (human) cowboy lug all that stuff around.

  77. tussock says:

    Anything on a console that calls itself an FPS, RPG, racer, or strategy of any kind. Every beat-em-up on the PC. Any arcade game on anything other than a proper arcade box, excepting the arcade-like FPS games on the PC, mouse aim FTW.

    And, of course, sequels. Notable exceptions Dune 2, Starcon 2, Doom II, SC2k, MoO2, Civ2; but nothing with a 3 or more on the end, ever, not even Q3A, which wasn’t half bad.

    BTW, some of the community addons for NWN are great games, get yourself the Shadowlords-Dreamcatcher-Demon series and A Dance with Rogues if you have the game lying around.

  78. jpetoh says:

    Yeah! And then there’s Pong.

    Here I am in 1979 expecting two high-resolution Chinese ping-pong players to three-dimensionally leap from the 11″ black-and-white TV we owned, and all I got was a couple of one-dimensional sticks fighting over a square.

    Stupid Pong.

  79. Chris says:

    I agree that Dungeon Siege should definitely be on the list (if it got good reviews, at least.) It, and it’ expansion pack, came as a free bonus with my computer, so I thought I’d give it a try… I got part way through and gave up. It wasn’t hard, just repetetive and stupid. If I want a diablo-type RPG, I’ll play Diablo II!

  80. Alden says:

    My problem with Black and White was it wanted me to do RTS and combat and crap, when what I really wanted to do was fly around peacefully looking at the pretty scenery and playing with the little humans. Maybe I’m just weird. :)

  81. nehumanuscrede says:

    I would put Battlefield 2142 on the list. I enjoyed the
    original 1942. Put many hours into it. But!

    It’s annoying as hell to play, only to find out you HAVE
    to play it online in order to ‘ unlock ‘ gear. :| I’m
    all for online play, just not forced online play in order
    to obtain gear necessary to survive more than two minutes.

    I watched the CD die a horrific death in the Microwave.

    Flight Simulator X would be next on this list.

    Even with a dual core processor, 3GB of Ram and an Nvidia
    7950GT video board ( absolutely crushed the requirements )
    the frame rates were comparable to PowerPoint if you started
    turning too much eyecandy on. Well, yeah I WOULD like to
    play it at something other than 800 x 600 thanks. . . :|

    It’s a scenery based game for !@#$!@# sake. Can’t imagine
    why anyone would want to actually SEE some. . .

    Microwave for that one as well. . . .then put it through
    the shredder just to be sure.

  82. supermank17 says:

    @nilus, waaay up at the top. I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this, but ALL xbox games require a Gold Live account for Live multiplayer. If you’re playing over the internets, you need Gold. I own both Gears and Halo 3, and both refuse to let you connect if you’re not Gold. Gears is if anything more obnoxious than Halo about it; its darn near impossible to find a way to let a guest play with you on Live.
    Anyway, just wanted to point out that the Gold thing is a general failing of the xbox, not a Halo specific one. As for why you could play with Gears and not Halo, were you by any chance playing it shortly after getting your xbox? 360’s come with a month of free Gold access.

  83. Snook says:

    2 notes on games mentioned:

    Freelancer. The single-player game is fun, until you beat it. Then you get bored, fast. Bug there is a vibrant online and modding community for it, and it’s still going strong. I still play it every day.

    Dungeon Siege. It’s repetitive, yes, but get a good group of people together for a good ‘ol adventure, and you’ll have a grand time. I have had a lot of good fun with it.

    I’ll agree with everyone on the rest, though. Battlefield 1942 is the best online shooter, hands down, EVER, and Perfect Dark for the N64 perfected the FPS genre, in my eyes.

  84. Gothmog says:

    Star Control 3?!? WHAT Star Control 3? There WAS NO STAR CONTROL 3

    Never happened. Nuh-uh. Just move along. Nothing to see here.

  85. Arkmagius says:

    I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Killzone. I, personally, liked it(it actually took some skill and tactical thinking, whereas Legendary Halo was just more enemies with massive amounts of health, making it suited for teenagers with lightning reflexes), but everyone I’ve talked to seems to hate it. And since it was hyped as the ‘Halo Killer for the PS2’, I suppose it really deserves to be here as it failed financially in comparison, despite the fact that, in my opinion, Killzone was magnitudes better. (though still not worth the $50 I spent on it)

    Oh, and one thing that makes me laugh at the sheer irony is old-school gamers who don’t like Halo 1’s virtually identical rooms. Does this sound familiar? ‘You are in a maze of […] passages, all alike.’

  86. Anonymooo says:

    u r a total n00b

    In all honesty, I can see where you’re coming from on a lot of these. Halo’s a lot of fun (especially Halo 3’s FORGE), but it isn’t the end-all be-all FPS that its fans claim it to be. It IS, however, a game that pretty much perfected console FPS controls, and showed that less is more in a lot of instances with its gameplay. Good Halo play does require a lot of strategy, and it also requires you to suck it up and fight your way out with skill and tactics instead of bulldozing your way through with the strongest weapons available sometimes.

    I also really enjoyed Far Cry being as psychotically hard as it was–it reminds me of games like Contra 4 and Ninja Gaiden: Black (to use modern examples), in that the game feels like an accomplishment when you take a few steps forward in it without dying.

    Fable? Heh. Hehehehehe. “Freeform role-playing game” my ass. I did really like the combat system, though.

  87. Daemian_Lucifer says:

    A lot of games from my list were mentioned,so I wont repeat them.Let me just add sequels to call of duty(whats the point of playing a realistic war shooter if you cant die…ever),icewind dale(its not baldurs gate,its not diablo,its something in the crappy between) and all of the C&C games after red alert(the original,not that crappy RAII).

  88. No mention of Bioshock?

    What was an interesting concept was fundamentally flawed by linear level design, copious amounts of health and ammo, and a poor climax. Not saying it was a crap game, but its imperfections were certainly overlooked in a majority of media reviews.

  89. Aiken Drum says:

    By and large that list reflects my own views, except for B&W which I never bothered playing. I wish I’d never bothered with Fable, Oblivion or Halo.

    However like a few others I have to say I wouldn’t have put Far Cry there myself. It may be unforgiving but unlike many games, it isn’t dishonest about it. The mercs shout, make noise, chatter about little red wagons. If I take it slowly and carefully, even without seeing them I can get a fair idea of their presence. It’s not an all-action FPS, it’s a measured, stealthy exercise in tension and visceral release. Until the Trigens arrive, then it turns to poop.

    Back on topic though, I’d replace it with NwN 2… umm KotOR 2 … Dammit. I’ll replace Far Cry with the travesty that is Obsidian. Planescape and Baldur’s Gate, ahhh back in the day Black Isle were gods of the genre, Bioware their nurturing helper. But then it all went wrong. And though they reformed under the banner of Obsidian that spark is gone. The writing flaws in the two sequels they have been responsible for have been glaring, cliched, staid and predictable.

    To compare, the twist in KotOR was foreshadowed, not too great a surprise. But elegantly characterised. The twist in the sequel was obvious, hokum and unconvincing in execution. Not to mention BLOODY WELL UNFINISHED! … ahem … sorry. How can they have missed the mark so widely? The writing was clunky, the dialogue stilted and the plots/subplots? At least I know where the writers of V the Series ended up. Then they did NwN2. Where do I start? Why bother? It has the same feel as KotOR2. Railroaded, narrow, cliche, awkwardly scripted and my pet hate. Actually no, less a pet hate as a deep and abiding loathing. NPCs who do insanely stupid things like put an artifact of obvious destructive power and importance in a swamp and then not check on it for 20 years. And then expect you to fetch it for them. And then expect you to take it away and fix it. Because even though they are incredibly hard and experienced and know exactly where to go, they like have to … well … you know … do stuff. Important stuff. Like clean their fingernails.

    Bollocks. If you’re going to give me an epic start to a game, give me one that doesn’t revolve around deus ex machinae. Don’t give me a reject plotline from Diablo2 and fob me off with another “OMG ur teh Chossen 1!!!!”. Or if it does, don’t bloody well tell me.

    So yeah. My nomination for Most Overrated Games has to go to Obsidian. Not a game I know. But the gap between their best and their worst surely warrants their inclusion.

  90. Squash says:

    Sungazer has hit it on the head about Halo. Playing PC FPSs wrecks the experience. After I had played Quake 2 CTF and UT at LANs, Halo was just lame. My younger brother was introduced to FPS by his friends playing Halo on Xbox, and thought it was the best thing ever.

    The worst part for me was getting into a tank in multiplayer and getting sniped out of the cockpit by a pistol from across the map. Puhleeese.

  91. Mr. Son says:

    I, personally, found Fable to be highly entertaining and fun. But perhaps that’s because I discovered it some time after it had been released, and hadn’t been exposed to the hype about it.

    That can really be one of the most harmful blows to enjoyment of a game, having high expectations going into it. Makes me nervous about when Spore will come out…

  92. Zaghadka says:

    If the calculus for “overrated” is the space between actual game quality and the level of hype, Bioshock is the worst one ever, but only because the hype machine has gotten so huge, and such hype excesses like this and Halo 3 where not possible previously.

    It is a good solid game, and beautiful. It’s even interesting if you never played System Shock 2.

    But it is not the holy grail, nor literature, nor any more intellectual than a ride through a fun house with a gun.

    Just because people are talking like Ayn Rand writes doesn’t mean the artistic depth is there. If the Nazi’s really played Ricard Wagner to stir nationalism, it didn’t make them opera fans when they did so. Good art is often used to just sell things, and this is the case with Bioshock. If intellect is used just for shallow atmosphere, it isn’t intellect, it’s window dressing.

    Just because you are given a choice not to murder the little girls doesn’t make this an ethical game, because you are encouraged to wantonly murder everything else. This game is about murder, and the “kill the little girl?” thing almost feels like an apology for it, not a deep moral choice.

    This is a psuedo-intellectual, fun shooter with beautiful graphics. It is not an example of “games as art,” in any form other than the visual tone, a lot of which was blatant ripped off from the Fallout series.

    That is what overrated is. When you say a really high quality sow’s ear is a poor silk purse.

  93. Ravs says:

    I’d love to see you write a review for ‘Mass Wffect’ which claims to address many of the problems you mention. It claims to have an excellent story (something seriously lacking in all but very few computer RPG games). There is an irony here – while paper and dice RPG games are all about the story (or should be), computer RPG games are all about levelling and combat with the story acting only as a thin adhesive to string together puzzles and combat.

    The other claim that mass effect (or at least those who have reviewed it) make is that a lot of thought has gone into the world building so that alien cultures appear to be coherent and evolved.

    One site mentioned a moment where the player (the captain of a starship is the character avatar) used his avatar to reprimanded a crew member whose response was to burst into tears thus making the player feel quite awful about what he had done. Now if mass effect has that level of emotional immersion, I’m definitely interested. I hope it’s not hype, but if that is what happens in game (which btw may or may not be true – it appeared on a message board as ‘a friend of a friend told me’ comment) it’s enough to make me want to buy it and play it.

    Other highlights (besides gorgeous graphics) are supposed to be stellar voice acting and decision trees that create varying results.

    Hope you review it too!

  94. Viktor says:

    Halo was great, I don’t care what you say. Every weapon had a specific purpose, and certain enemies who it was more effective against, though with any weapon and enough skill you could kill almost anything, having the wrong weaponset makes things considerably harder. One of the interesting features was that enemies often carried the very weapons they were most veunerable against, meaning that if a level had a large number of Flood, you got a large number of solid-ammo weapons to kill them with. The story was…odd…but by now, every idea that is any good has been done 10 times over, so you are left with cliche or stupid, and I rarely see games with good stories. The 2-weapons added strategy, something I would have thought you would appreciate. You were forced to ask yourself if it was really worth it to give up a weapon slot on the off-chance you encounter hunters later on, or if the sniper rifle was a better choice. But, even if you chose poorly, as long as what you chose was fairly useful, you could make it through, just with more work. The sequels didn’t live up to the hype, but then, nothing could. The game was the best at what it did, which, at the time, was far more than anything else.

  95. bigandscary says:

    Black and White has been mentioned several times, and here is my two cents: Black and White is a fantastic innovative game, brimming with creativity and interesting detail. Sadly after playing for a while you will suddenly realise how incredibly bored you are. I have reinstalled and played Black and White 4 times, each time hoping that it will be better, but it happens each time; I fall in love again and then I realize my boredom. I should be so good, but there is something missing, something vital…exitement.

  96. ngthagg says:

    Although I agree with the poster who said that any hyped game is an overhyped game, there is one exception that proved the rule for me: Katamari Damacy. That one lived up to all the hype.

  97. Nick Pitino says:

    @Ian: Good point, Master Chief isn’t what one could call a normal person. I guess I’m just really saying that I find the concept of limited weapons to be completely valid and, if handled properly, an interesting addition to a game.

    Sheesh, could you imagine Master Chief walking around with a bundle of guns under his arm like a bunch of kindling?

    “Hold on a second guys, I need to get the sniper rifle out of the bundle!”

  98. Viktor says:

    Could you imagine if that was an option? Each weapon you carried decreased movement speed and lengthened the time required to switch. It would be very tough to balance, but it would give you a new layer to the “do I want this gun” debate that always happens when you see the sniper rifle lying there and know, instinctively, that you will only have flood for the next 3 rooms.

  99. Miako says:

    Having never played BioShock, that kill the little girl bit sounds an awful lot like ANOTHER in-joke. Robbing the Cradle (Shalebridge Cradle as shamus loves to call it).

    They both reference the same thing: for a long time having children in FPS games was considered off-limits because you might kill them.

  100. Miako says:

    Oblivion Sucked.
    Morrowind was pretty, but still sucked (not as bad as the one before that In the elder scrolls, and I think everyone prefers to ignore at least one or two of the other ones).

    But bugwise? King of Bugs has to go to Master of Magic — where you developed entire STRATEGIES to deal with bugs. The bugs were game-crashers, and there were a lot of them.
    Oh, and one of the opposing wizards liked to stop time (giving himself nigh infinite number of turns, where he would move one troll into your garrison, where you would kill him). So you killed him first.

  101. Kyrion says:

    I found the best way to play Oblivion was to NEVER USE FAST TRAVEL. Never! Not once! It made it a lot more interesting traveling from place to place (and occasionally just running from “random encounters” on the road due to being a high level with rubbish equipment). I had a horse for a while and then left it somewhere and forgot about it because it stopped me collecting interesting herbs and the like.

    Also, I completely ignored the main storyline… Kvatch? Where? Nah, I don’t want to walk that far!

    I’m also completely insane. ;)

  102. DiscountNinja says:

    Odd, ’cause I enjoyed Halo – well, number 1 anywyas. Halo 2 was a huge disappointment for me, and Halo 3 was what Halo 2 should have been back in ’05.

    I’m not saying Halo was an awesome game and deserves all the priase it gets – it’s not at all ground breaking, interesting, nor does it tell a story well.

    But I find that it does play well – I enjoy it, despite the lack of story and innovation. It won’t feature in my favourite shooters, but it’s fun. The multiplayer is also pretty amusing.

  103. Zack says:

    In response to adam alexander: (Bioshock flawed by copious amounts of health and ammo)

    On casual there were copious amount, but on medium and higher I was often short on ammo or kits. I know I was often using wrench because I only had a few rounds left and I needed them to blow up air tanks. I just replayed with a friend and we found difficulty level drastically affected the amount of resources we had available.

    When you need to empty all your armor-piercing and electric ammo into a big daddy you have a lot less money/ammo for other things. On casual I was taking them just for fun without any precautions. Only took a few shots.

    Bioshock was super hyped. I was disappointed with the human models, enemies spawning in rooms where you were blocking the only entrance, etc. But they managed to get a incredible sense of the 50s combined with the rampant capitalism and greed of Atlas Shrugged. I think the game atmosphere make it almost hype worthy though. It does a great job of delivering something other than a brainless shooter. As a shooter Bioshock is unimpressive, but the art and atmosphere are fabulous.

    The dialog in the game still makes shivers run down my spine. Meanwhile I have trouble recalling the plot in any of the Halo games as they blur with most other shooters I played. (Granted many of them were modeled after Marathon which was another Bungie product)

  104. Zack says:

    I felt Bioshock’s handling of the little sisters was pretty good. My friends and I could not harvest them as we were just too squeamish about it. Watching her sit there crying over the body of her protector we *felt* bad.

    But at the same time in God of War I laughed maniacally as I burnt a soldier alive to open the gates to hell. Go figure…

    Some of it is the character, some of it is the handling. Kratos has no compassion. He even killed his own family. Meanwhile the character in Bioshock is portrayed more as a family man.

  105. Ran Kailie says:

    I never play hyped games, I’m picky enough as it is for something to really get my attention, hell when I did finally get around to playing Halo (Halo 2 was long out), I enjoyed it for a month, got the 10 bucks worth I paid for it then shelved it.

    Most of the other games I’d put on this list are MMOs would should probably get their own including WoW, LoTR Online and SWG to name just a few. I’m a HUGE star wars fan and SWG was just, yeah I won’t go there. I tried WoW, but seriously if I want to collect 10 eyeballs or whatever I’ll play Guild Wars, at least they aren’t making me pay for the fun experience of camping and farming. The graphics in WoW suck, and from what I’ve heard the game play is tedious and lame.

    Never played LoTR Online but heard its basically the Fantasy MMO formula rerolled as LoTR, and I don’t like LoTR to begin with so no thanks.

    Really wish there were more online games with the City of Villains/Heroes style of play.

  106. Oleyo says:

    *blink* Was there a Power Rangers reference in #56? *rubs eyes*

    I agree with the Oblivion comments, my only fun in that game was stealing EVERYTHING. I didn’t even get to the point where I found out that the characters auto-adjusted to your level. As soon as Shamus told me that I lost interest. Whats the point of leveling at all then?

    My other “only” :) thing I enjoyed was traveling around the beautiful landscape, but as has already been stated, the auto travel destroyed that portion of the game, along with its sense of scope. (I guess I dont have the discipline to ignore a feature if it is there)

    Oh yeah, and Sean Bean is the man, and was fun to listen to. He even made Boromir an awesome character with depth. He was the only thing better in the LOTR movies than the books. (Did anyone like book-Boromir??) I digress.

  107. Vayne Nomin says:

    Sigh, and I remember being disappointed when Ultima 4 came out, I feel old. Haha okay I wasn’t disappointed, me and my Apple II Plus were as happy as pie. Recent disappointments I would have to agree with Masters of Orion III, actually two of my best friends would have to agree with that. Half-Life 2 was cool for a bit but I’m not so sure it was worth the wait. NWN 2 I would love to be disappointed in but my stupid computer won’t play it – its been sitting in the cabinet next to my computer for months, guess I’m not buying the expansion any time soon…

    And inbetween these games there was Dark Ages of Camelot, Star Wars Galaxies, and WoW…I still miss Dark Ages of Camelot.

    Ah the glory days of Doom, Quake, Unreal, and the original Half-life, and now I’m having a brain fart, my favorite shooter I can’t remember haha, old age I guess. Ah a mod’s life.

  108. SoulBeaver says:

    What about….Spellforce 2? I’m not sure too many of you heard about it, but it was pretty marketed in the German economy. I thought the first game was great. There were many cracks in the system and design, but not bad overall.

    The second was supposed to be godlike. The magazines over here praised the graphics and said it looked awesome. I thought to myself, “Sweet, another one!” Oof, what a letdown. The graphic glitches were pretty severe, and the storyline was god awful. It starts out with a cursed race ruled by a dragon that needs to let the rest of the world know of an impending doom by the forces of evil.

    If that wasn’t horrible enough, the entire game was simply a remake of the old one with a different customization of skills. They just changed the interfaces and slapped a 2 on the front along with a skimpy lady.

    Otherwise, the list looks pretty solid. While I love Oblivion, the first halo, thought Far Cry was cool, and simply hate Black and White I do think they were overhyped. Some make great games to play, but not groundbreaking as games like…I dunno, Doom? xD

  109. Ian says:

    @Nick Pitino: Oh man, that would be hilarious! XD

    Could you imagine if all of the weapons you had in a game like, say, Unreal Tournament, showed up on your model? I would break tradition and use a chasecam mod just to see it.

  110. McNutcase says:

    And another thing I forgot… or rather, blocked out.

    Deus Ex: Invisible War. To my shame, I played it. I got all the endings (note: doing that required precisely one save at the last level, and varying actions thereafter; hardly my preferred method of getting a different ending. I want to have to WORK to change things, I want to feel that my actions way back when I was level shortbus actually affected something.). It was crud. All the good elements of Deus Ex were gone. Reconfigurable augs? Ugh. Unified ammo? Double ugh. Whoever was responsible for THAT little gem deserves all the pain in the Universe and then some. The physics engine was much-touted, but when a barrel you can’t pick up because it’s “too heavy” goes shooting off at ninety bajillion miles an hour when you throw a body at it, something is WRONG. About the only thing I found even vaguely commendable was making one of the early sidequests have a gay romance angle if you played a male character.

    I prefer to believe that it was going to be cool, but that Warren Spector was tragically killed in an accident with a Barenaked Ladies CD, a Sharpie and a bowl of Jell-o, and they cancelled it, leaving us with nothing but the music. Which isn’t as good as the original, either…

  111. Ian says:

    @McNutcase: Yeeech…I’ve been trying to block Invisible War out of my mind for years now, then you had to go and bring it up…jerk. :( You forgot to even mention the horrible, dumbed down inventory system.

    It’s sad, too, considering I regard the original Deus Ex as one of the three best first person shooters that I’ve played.

  112. WWWebb says:

    The problem with making a list like this is that it’s too easy to fill with sequels. Seriously, you include Oblivion but leave off Doom 3 and Neverwinter Nights 2? Maybe we need separate category for sequels and “originals” (hmm, where would Bioshock go?)

    While we’re making categories, there should probably be one for MMOs too. Pretty much every MMO in space (EVE, Star Wars, etc.) would fit right in.

    PS- Just to be clear, I only agree with including Halo if you’re explicitly making a list of overrated PC games. For a console game…with all the limitations on controls, hardware, and storage…it did a hell of a lot with not much. As for the story? It’s a first person SHOOTER, not a first person ROLE PLAYER/PUZZLER. For all the Half-Life franchise’s virtues, all that climbing ladders and jumping around makes it feel like I’m playing Mario.

  113. Andy says:

    BioShock, overrated? Wow, I don’t agree with that at all. I think most of the reasons people are giving here are incredibly nitpicky. The game lost you because it didn’t kill you in the glass tunnel at the beginning? K…

    I do however agree with Halo and Oblivion.

  114. guy says:

    black and white 2. i liked the first one (especially when i got to launch and endless rain of megablasts on an enemy temple by eating the worshipers)but the second one sucked, as military force was immpossible to employ without using a creature who’s “specialness” earns him a place on the sjort bus, or using epic miracles.

    AoEII is called age of kings, BTW.

  115. Civilis says:

    I’d recently been looking for a good PC FPS, and based on a recommendation from a friend, I picked up Call of Duty 4. Big mistake. While it’s pretty, and the plot’s well done, the gameplay is a messy console ripoff. When the lousy controls are coupled by the insane number of enemies spawning everywhere and the halo-like health system (in a supposedly realistic game) it’s almost impossible after the first few levels.

  116. Ben says:

    As far as I’m concerned CoD:UO was the last decent entry in the series, but maybe the brand of arcade shooter just got old for me. These days I tend to play mostly Garry’s Mod for HL2, Project Reality for BF2, and IL2: 1946, all of which are fan-dabby-babulous.

  117. Daemian_Lucifer says:


    True,it is bad,but it was not overhyped.At least not here.In fact,I remember I didnt play it when it came out because it was rated bad in a gaming magazine I read.And I never did play it after that because a few friends of mine said it was horrible.So,at least there are games that are reviewed correctly.

  118. Noumenon says:

    I don’t have an X-box at all. I hardly ever update my gaming system. But my friend invited me over to play Halo 3. It seemed so much like Doom II, the last FPS I played. A little guy, shoot shoot, dodge dodge. When I was at my friend’s house playing hotseat Civ IV, I played some Gears of War. Now that was the kind of quantum leap I was expecting after years of gaming advances. Your guy is huge and things are just awesome. Makes me want to buy an X-box. Halo isn’t cool at all. The multiplayer is like, you fight for four seconds and then one of you is dead. Repeat.

  119. Poet says:

    Shamus, you forgot 90% of the games based on Lord of the Rings.

  120. DKellis says:

    @106 Ran Kailie: Hah, I’d actually consider City of Heroes/Villains to be both overhyped and underhyped, possibly because I’m biased (coming up to my 36th month in-game).

    On the one hand, there’s barely any advertising about it, and I’ve looked quite hard. On the other hand, some of the hyped-up features (Items of Power) have yet to be implemented in-game, with no date on when they’ll be put in.

    It’s a very fun game, but I think the devs were hyping up the wrong parts of it.

  121. Smileyfax says:

    I don’t understand why everybody hates the Trigens in Far Cry. I loved it! Added a bit of survival horror into my FPS. In fact, the last level was one of the only times I didn’t mind having all my guns taken away.

    As for my most overrated game, Star Control 2, hands down.

    When I first started playing it, I was having awesome fun just exploring the universe and mapping out all the planets and stars and such.

    That is, until the Ur-Quan’s evil twins started stomping everything to pieces. Invisible time limit in a game which is ostensibly a space exploration sim? Haha no.

  122. McNutcase says:

    @ Daemian_Lucifer

    Deus Ex 2 might have got bad reviews where you are.

    Over here, it’s on reissue in a series that only includes games which scored a “90%” or higher review in the standard PC games magazine.

    Admittedly, a BAD review in that magazine is a 60 (their worst panning I’ve ever seen was still a 28; I had played that game, and would have given it “unrateably bad”) but a 90% is still rare.

  123. LemmingLord says:

    Thought that I was the only person on Earth who hate Far Cry. Thank goodness that someone agrees with me.

  124. Shapeshifter says:

    “And worst of all, the airship is a flying monument to gay pride.”

    I thought that was the best part, though!

    Although it wasn’t really “gay pride”, it was more like “transgender pride”. (Balthier has to be secretly female-to-male… no man has an ass like that… >.>)

    The rest of the game was pretty bleh (FFXII International Zodiac Job System… Story… Thing… Whatever may have fixed that–they at least tried to fix it–but we’ll never know since it’s not being released here) but that part was not a bad part :P

    I also have to disagree on Halo. I know arguing that you really liked your Halo experience on the internet is sort of like arguing you really liked your herpes experience at an orgy, but i still think it was superior. I know the story was a bit anemic (especially compared to their previous offerings) and the aesthetics were a bit bland, but as far as i’m concerned the gameplay itself was SOLID. I thought (and still think) two two-weapon limit was brilliant, the various modes of combat (vehicle/solo/with squad) were all solid, and the AI was the best i’ve ever seen in a game.

    That last point is, for me, a SERIOUS bonus. I really love good AI.

    Also, the 2 weapon system works a lot better when you’re not all by yourself. (I tried to push it as a kind of “Team Fortress” variant for Challenge ProMode, but they decided to go with something along the lines of weapons = weight (with weight = slowness), although the server custom-designs the weapon layout.)

  125. Shapeshifter says:

    Sorry, that would be:

    “I thought (and still think) THE two-weapon limit was brilliant…”


    “I thought (and still think) TWO two-weapon limit was brilliant…”

  126. Anonymooo says:

    I loved Final Fantasy XII mainly for the fact that whenever seemingly-irritating SquareEnix corporate insert Vaan opens his mouth, somebody else tells him to shut up/butt out/come up with a better idea, instead of ZOMG THIS BOY HAS ALL THE ANSWERS, like, well… most other FF games.

  127. Space Ace says:

    I don’t like this list. As far as I’m concerned, Halo, Oblivion and Far Cry are all great games for a variety of reasons.

    One could even say Halo is the Half Life of the X-Box. A solid game following the core concepts of its genre, but adding enough of its own to be genuinely refreshing and original. Nevermind the droves of people it got into gaming.

    Oblivion’s strength is in the beautiful world it offers. It’s not often developers boast on such things and deliver (look at Fable, for instance). Add to that that Oblivion’s combat system is one of the best in the RPG genre. And given that in the average RPG, you kill upwards of a thousand critters in the course of finishing the story, that’s a definitive boon. Oblivion’s quests and characterisation might be weak, but the world itself sucks one in like no other (except maybe Morrowind’s, the game’s prequel).

    And then there is Far Cry. When it was released, Far Cry was *the* argument for PC gaming. Here was a game that both looked pretty and played well. I admit the Trigen monster-critters were an unlucky addition, but the game up until them was tits. Have you ever considered the “fanboi” might be *right*? Far Cry wasn’t the kind of game you could play in the same, old bullet-sponge style. You had to hide in the shadows and bushes, sneak up on enemies, toss small rocks to distract them and go for headshots. If you can’t or won’t do that, that doesn’t immediately make the game overrated.

    If you ask me, the game that should be at the top of that list is Half Life 2. It’s a corridor shooter in the exact same mold as it’s predecesor that adds little to the genre. Mute, packrat (where does he keep all those guns?) protagonist fights Evil. Oh, but now he has the Gravity Gun! Now it’s the best action game ever! And then there was the lofty Episodes crap. Turns out that in the end, surprise surprise, they take as long to make as expansion packs and have roughly the same content.

    Yet everyone continues to fellate Valve like there’s no tomorrow.

  128. kamagurka says:

    Viewtiful Joe gave me about a tenth of the enjoyment the reviews were promising. Very meh.

  129. Cymond says:

    What was Halo? It was a shooter that was enjoyable for people who don’t normally play shooters.

    I have trouble accureately placing shots in most shooting games, but Aiming was easy in Halo. (I have since heard that Halo has a partial auto-aim device that pulls your crosshairs onto the target when you get close. It is more noticeable in Halo 2).

    I actually liked the 2 weapon limit because it kept you from carrying 7 rifles, 2 pistols, 3 machineguns, and a rocket launcher. Carrying fewer weapons also made switching between them faster.

    A third praise: Ranking the weapons from best to worst is difficult and different players will disagree on what is the ‘best’ because all of the weapons were similarly effective.

    The recharging shield was an interesting innovation. It helped new players survive while forcing the veterans to slow down and wait.

    I could probably go on if I sat and thought about it long enough. In short. Halo was a shooter for people who don’t play shooters.

  130. Anonymooo says:

    We can never be friends, kamagurka.

    I like games that kick my ass, like Viewtiful Joe, which forces you to fight as badass/cool as possible in order to survive, rather than the age-old video game tradition of using the best attack for the situation. I like create-your-own action games like that.

  131. Cthulhu says:

    I suppose not too many people outside the fanbase hear about this, but Myst V was hugely hyped as the stunning conclusion of the series, and is in fact a very boring game which does NOT compare to the previous Myst titles. The ending, in which you supposedly decide the fate of a civilization, in fact consists of deciding whether to give a magic rock to a psychotic, ranting madman… or not. In a surprising twist, the correct answer is… not. Also, you never find out what the magic rock actually does. Yippee.
    By the way, congrats on not being afraid to call Halo what it really is.

  132. Arkmagius says:

    After rereading the page and all the comments, I have to respectfully disagree on one of those mentioned: Black & White. While it fails as an RTS, it did succeed in making one feel like a god (Or, at least, the way I think it would feel). I usually just ignored the story and stuck on the early maps to mess around. (Seriously, is there anything more satisfying than tossing people into your tiny sacrificial altar from blocks away? It’s like basketball, Huitzilopochtli style!)
    Also, though they weren’t made by Lionhead, the availability of fan-made sandbox maps to build practice cities (and then torment the citizens of), and to play with the incredibly fun miracles in itself was several hours of entertainment. Although I must admit #96 was right, this does go through multiple install-uninstalls as I temporarily get bored and switch to another game. But, it is one of the few games that I always come back to (losing only to the Baldur’s Gate series in sheer addictiveness).
    As to the glacial pace and stupid AI: the expansion pack Creature Isle transformed it into the genre this game was obviously meant for: a puzzle minigame collection. Think about it: the overhead view, the ability to throw things and interact with the environment, it’s just perfect for things like bowling and guide-the-sheep-through-the-maze. Although the puzzles do sometimes get a bit tedious, and you still have to build cities to extend your influence to their starting points, it’s still a massive improvement over the original. And much better than the sequel.
    (As a sidenote, I personally don’t mind the slow pace that plaques the series, but as that’s coming from someone who plays Freeciv single player with no bots, take it with a grain of salt. My only problem was caring for the damnable Creature)
    Wow, that was… quite a bit longer than I intended. Bah. Sorry to bore you. And happy holidays :)

  133. Pharren says:

    Halo is only good for it’s story line, which you only understand through the books, Halo 3 has the forge, which is really fun.

    Far Cry is only good because of the map editor.

    Oblivion was a huge dissapointment for me. I was a huge fan of Morrowind and was looking forward to another one with better graphics. Instead I got that pile of junk they call a game.

    I never played black and white.

    Fable was good, not great, just good.

    Over all I agree with your list.

  134. Chris says:

    Overall, I agree with your list. I’ve never played Fable or Far Cry, but I have played the three others, and the only one I disagree on is Oblivion. I just started playing it last week, so I haven’t progressed very far yet (and it could be some of the problems you mention become obvious the more I play the game), but so far it has been a blast and I am really enjoying it. Overall though, good list.

  135. Raaka Arska says:

    Have you tried the expansion for NWN2? Just to point out, it’s probably the best cRPG since Planescape: Torment. The only thing that may tick some people off is the “Nuclear Launch Detected” style of gameplay that occurs at ridicilously high levels.

    But hey, in a game without evil to defeat or a world to save, not to mention big juicy dialogues (fights are just interludes between delicious dialogues, even the biggest piles of xp and loot await those who talk most). Oh, and for a change being evil, good, etc. is executed well.

  136. Relayer says:

    Bit late but I agree with Oblivion.

    Not so much the bugs that err, bugged me but the stupid level scaling….which I MAY have learned to live with had the game been really immersive like Morrowind.

    Don’t get me wrong, those MW NPCs that stood in the same spot 24 hours a day were no better than Oblivion’s “Radiant-AI” injected NPCs but MW had a very interesting world, much better story with it’s political/social/religious intrigues, and original art design. The one thing that irked me the most about Oblivion was the 4 or 5 voices being recycled not JUST for many different NPCs but most often for the SAME NPC. Talk about completely killing the mood! (not to mention the pop up “help” windows, and general hand holding).

  137. Chris says:

    I disagree heatedly on the count of Halo.

    If however, you were to stick Halo 2 on the list, I would agree with you. Halo 2 was broken in too many ways to count. Halo 3 is a passable shooter but not a great shooter. Halo 3 is an attempt to succeed on the execution Halo 2’s vision which is in-turn a broken interpretation of Halo 1.

    And no, Halo 2 did not have better weapon balance than Halo 1. Don’t even go there. Given how often you dual-wield in that game and how utterly broken the auto-aim and lock-on features of the rocket/swords were, there’s no way you can make this case with a straight face.

    Halo 1 gets a special pass in my book though because I actually liked the idea of carrying only two weapons and “hoarding the good stuff” wasn’t strictly a necessity in online play or weapon balance. What’s more, you didn’t have to toggle through a dozen-or-so weapons, half-of-which are probably useless anyway. Just hit “Y” and you went straight into you other weapon. This cut down significantly on the frustration and streamlined gameplay. Grenades got their own button, which was nice because you didn’t have to toggle into a menu item in the middle of a fray. Timing frag grenades could be wicked fun as well, as you could overturn vehicles or greatly weaken and shock other players, leaving you room to deliver a killing blow.

    It was also one of the few games at the time where vehicles were integrated into play without being overly awkward. Combined with the fact that you could actually control the game pretty fluidly with the X-Box controller and it was actually a pretty fun game. The utter sense of fluidity in gameplay was partly why Halo was such a success.

    Yes, people lambast the pistol for being overpowered, but really it was actually the core rifle-type weapon. It allowed you to bridge the power gap against somebody wielding a sniper rifle, shotgun, rockets or whatever. You spawned with it and it had a reasonably high skill curve to learn how to use effectively. The simple reality is that a number of the other weapons were usually superfluous and under-utilized (needler, AR, plasma rifle, plasma pistol). If anything, the pistol enforced an accidental balance between the “power weapons.”

    The health meter was still there in Halo 1, as were healthpacks, so I have no idea what the complaint is about that, although the later games took a step backwards and went along with this fancy-schmancy “regenerative health” system. Shields or no, your health can evaporate alarmingly quickly under the weight of explosives or accurate fire from pistols.

    Since then Bungie doesn’t seem to have discovered what made Halo 1 such an accidental success and have only been able to poorly emulate or improve upon their formula, which is a disappointment because I feel that, with improvement, there are the makings of a potentially great FPS formula.

  138. Nick R says:

    OK, I’m going to be one of those people who rises to the bait of your Halo comments several years after you made them. :)

    I think Halo 1 is a superb FPS – my favourite ever, in fact – because while it obviously doesn’t match up with what you want in a videogame, it appeals precisely to what I like in mine.

    First, have a read of this comment by CrashTranslation on a blog post about FPS design – it’s one of the most insightful online comments I’ve ever read about why Halo is a brilliantly fun FPS.

    In addition to what I’ve written below, I should also note that one of the big reasons Halo 1 is fun is because its mechanics and exaggerated low-grav physics lead to more spectacular “did you see that?” moments than pretty much anything this side of Grand Theft Auto.

    The ability to carry just two weapons limited the tactical choices the player could make in any given firefight.

    I disagree. I think it makes shootouts more interesting by adding an extra element to stay aware of: the location of dead bodies on the battlefield (because alien plasma weapons can’t be reloaded). Also, the one-two combinations the weapons fall into match up well to the general system of the game’s arsenal, that human weapons are good against flesh and alien weapons are good against shields.

    It also meant that players could only make sound choices on what weapons to carry once they had played through the game and knew what was ahead.

    Perhaps, but that isn’t really an issue on one’s first playthrough on Normal, on which you can get through any encounter in the game with pretty much any gun.

    And on the subject of subsequent playthroughs: much of the appeal of the game is that it’s one of relatively few FPSs which is actually worth replaying on its higher difficulties. This is a slightly clichéd phrase, but it’s true: “You have to play it on Legendary to see how good it really is.” Solo (or co-op) play against a squad of a couple of Elites and numerous underlings on Legendary is possibly the most thrilling videogame experience I’ve ever had. It’s the FPS equivalent of Ninja Gaiden Black – an ever-changing pendulum swing between of advantage and disadvantage, instinctive reactions to audio cues, strategic grenade throwing to make enemies dive out of the way to give you time to retreat behind cover, firefights ending with you the last man standing and a sliver of health left… and it’s always, always fair.

    The combat system also plays to the strengths of the console control pad (and my own personal preferences about what I like in an FPS), because success is based more on tactical movement rather than pixel-perfect headshotting. (Though you definitely still have to be quick and accurate.)

    Finally, the limited weapon selection negated the ability to stockpile the “good stuff” for big fights. The weapon balance was absurd and counter-intuitive, with the pistol being a better sniping weapon than the actual sniper rifle.

    I much prefer Halo’s approach – making every weapon useful throughout the game in certain situations – to that of Half-Life, in which (other than perhaps ammo conservation) there’s hardly any reason to return to the standard pistol once you get something better.

    The pistol’s power and zoom is indeed unintuitive, but it really isn’t a better sniping weapon than the sniper rifle. The rifle, unlike the pistol is (generally) a one-hit kill for a hit on any part of an enemy’s body: try doing the long-range sequences of the levels “Truth and Reconciliation” and “Halo” on Legendary sticking primarily to the pistol rather than the rifle, and see how much harder it is.

    And finally, the other type of resource management ““ the supply of health & armor ““ was removed from the game with the addition of the auto-recharging shield.

    The auto-recharging shield means that the player is free to choose between risky gung-ho charges, and more conservative chipping away from behind cover. It also balances out the challenge between encounters, because in some FPSs you might come out of one shootout with almost all your health and armour used up, so you restart in order to try and do it better so you can be better-prepared for the next gunfight. The fact that Halo’s shield resets to square one after each gunfight means you can just continue onwards, safe in the knowledge that you’ll be fine.

    Also vital is that the Elites have exactly the same recharging shield as you, which means that when you take their shield down, then if they retreat you have to press your advantage before they can recover, even if your own low-shield alarm is beeping madly.

    The gameworld was made up of uninteresting, generic scenery.

    Doesn’t bother me – I care about the combat that goes on within those environments. Once you’ve played the game quite a bit, almost every encounter in the game has its own character, despite the similarity of the rooms in which they take place. From that point of view, even though “Two Betrayals” is (mostly) just a reverse trek through “Assault on the Control Room”, but it plays completely differently due to its addition of the Flood, Sentinels and flying vehicles (plus it climaxes in that massive battle at the end).

    Also, I much prefer Halo 1’s clean, geometric levels to the more convoluted and realistic environments of Halo 2, which are prettier but less practical for making out enemies’ silhouettes.

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