By Charlie Barratt, GamesRadar US
Like petty school children bickering in a playground fight, gamers are obsessed with choosing sides. Never content to rate a game as simply “above average” or “slightly disappointing,” we allow internet hearsay, magazine previews, fanboy feuds and console preferences to push our views to ridiculous extremes.
We can’t just like something… we have to deem it BEST EVER.
We can’t just dislike something… we have to declare it EPIC FAIL.
The following seven games have divided players more than any other in recent memory. Middle ground exists for all of them, of course, and the majority of us reside there. Unfortunately, the lovers and the haters are so loud, we often forget to listen to anyone else.
What lovers see: A visually stunning, thematically sweeping epic that offers something for everyone. History and science fiction? Check. Stealth, assassination and blood-soaked, action-packed swordplay? Yes. A hero capable of free climbing cathedrals, swan diving off rooftops, stealing horses, interrogating suspects, pick-pocketing strangers and looking ridiculously stylish? Altair, and Assassin’s Creed, can do it all.
What haters see: A repetitive, mind- and thumb-numbing chore. A glorified and artificially expanded tech demo that is far more fun to watch than to actually play. A sense of freedom that is only surface deep, as every city is a xerox of the last, every assassination plays out the same way and every action is controlled by simply holding down the “run / climb / jump / ride / blend / play game” button.
Assassin’s Creed: As Good As We Imagined (GamePro)
Assassin’s Creed: “more wholly bland than Holy Land?” (IGN UK)
Assassin’s Creed: Perfect 10/10 (GamesRadar)
Why Assassin’s Creed fails (Game | Life)
Criticism of Assassin’s Creed criticism (Penny Arcade)
What lovers see: Escapism so thrilling, you can’t stop with just one song or even just one tour. Make-believe so visceral, you forget you’re holding nothing but a custom controller. Wish fulfillment so convincing, you might actually decide to take music lessons, form a band and give the real thing a try. Guitar Hero and Rock Band transport you and transform you like no other games.
What haters see: A flimsy plastic gimmick that fools people into thinking they can create music when all they’re really producing is a cacophony of irritating clicks and clacks. A lazy and dangerous substitute for the real thing, one that reduces true art into a timed button-mashing exercise for clumsy parents and hyperactive children. Basically, the “rock god” version of Mario Teaches Typing.
Guitar Hero “A” review (The Onion)
Why Guitar Hero Sucks (music, etc.)
Rock Band: The Greatest Game of All Time (College Candy)
Guitar Hero and Other Anti-Music Video Games (Piano World forums)
People I Hate: “Why don’t you play a real instrument?” (Game | Life)
Guitar Hero is Evil / Rock Band is of the Devil (Jesus-is-Savior.com)
What lovers see: The killer app that finally, definitively proves the power of the PS3. A gritty and gory powerhouse, with eye-popping graphics unsurpassed on any console and spectacular battles which would seem at home on any movie screen. Gears of War 2 has cover? Killzone 2 has better cover, keeping you immersed in first-person the entire time. Halo 3 has multiplayer? Killzone 2 has better multiplayer, supporting up to 32 players in frenzied yet surprisingly organized carnage.
This was a make-or-break title for Sony’s superior console and, without a doubt, it made it.
What haters see: The “killer” app that finally, definitively deflates the hype of the PS3. Processing and technology may be on this exclusive’s side, but inspiration and originality are in short supply. What’s the point of fancy graphics if they’re wasted on dull hallways, musty warehouses, interchangeable enemies and forgettable heroes? Why copy Gears of War if you can’t get the cover system right and you don’t bother including co-op? Who cares about 32 people if the multiplayer doesn’t give them anything new or interesting to do?
This was a make-or-break title for Sony’s struggling console and, without a doubt, it broke it.
Absolute Gamer and POM Australia reviews (via Metacritic)
Killzone 2: The “1000/10” Score (Eegra)
Killzone 2: The “7/10” Verdict (Edge Online)
Edge Review: A Disservice to Game Consumers (PSXExtreme)
How Killzone 2 is blatantly better than Halo 3 (Destructoid)
Killzone 2 vs. 2008’s best shooters (GamesRadar)
What lovers see: The most perfect formula for a videogame ever. First, zombies. Not just a handful of zombies to blast away with a shotgun, but never-ending armies of zombies to dispatch with a seemingly infinite supply of weapons. Second, the suburban mall setting that, while fulfilling every horror movie buff’s dream, also provides a wide open sandbox and mind-boggling replay value. Third, zombies. You can chop their heads off with a lawnmower inside the food court, for God’s sake!
What haters see: The biggest missed opportunity for a videogame ever. “Zombies in a mall” should be automatic fun, but Dead Rising practically bends over backwards to ruin that experience. The weapons are temporary. The save system is unforgiving. The boss battles are unfair and the human survivors (ahem, Otis) are exasperating. Shooting a gun is almost impossible; reading text on a standard def television is impossible. Worst of all? The game is needlessly structured in 72 hour cycles, forcing you start over just as you’re getting used to the broken crap above.
Dead Rising reviews (via Metacritic)
Dead Rising: Best Zombie Video Game Ever? (Associated Content)
Dead Rising is dead to me (buttommashing.com)
Why I Love and Hate Dead Rising (Kotaku)
Otis Rising (Something Awful)
What lovers see: 493 unique reasons to never stop playing, and playing, and playing. Depending on your age, Pokemon represents either the coolest and cutest collectibles in history… or a matchlessly deep, hardcore RPG. In fact, most players enjoy it as both, hunting the super powered critters for their distinctive adorability as well as their distinctive strategic elements. Trading and special events merely add to the series’ everlasting appeal.
What haters see: 493 unique reasons to never stop paying, and paying, and paying. Pokemon represents nothing but a giant blank check for Nintendo… a check that the corporation greedily cashes in over and over again. The gameplay has yet to evolve even once and the super marketed critters are designed merely to push as much merchandise off store shelves as possible. Ignore the silly religious controversies and this series is still evil.
Five-star reviews for Leaf Green Version (Amazon)
Is Pokemon dangerous? (Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry)
The Greatest RPGs Ever (Associated Content)
Why does everyone I talk to hate Pokemon? (Yahoo! Answers)
Harmless Entertainment, or Addiction? (Concerned Women for America)
What lovers see: The ultimate evolution of the arcade shooter, from the brilliantly twisted mind of the ultimate indie game designer. Mind-melting visuals and uncompromisingly complex gameplay may turn off the casual first comer, but those with a patience and will to learn are rewarded repeatedly for their mastery. Retro and progressive at once, Space Giraffe challenges both your perception and your complacency.
What haters see: A poorly disguised Tempest clone that’s few innovations include an obnoxiously steep learning curve, a woefully inept tutorial and an endless series of cheap deaths that can be avoided only through luck or memorization. Throw in the aspirin-selling excuse for a soundtrack, as well as the nauseating screen saver graphics, and Space Giraffe becomes more punishment than entertainment.
OXM’s Dan Amrich scores Space Giraffe 2/10
Space Giraffe creator Jeff Minter (and legion) respond
OXM’s Dan Amrich responds
Braid creator Jonathan Blow responds
Everyone gets a crappy t-shirt
What lovers see: PlayStation fanboys will heap undeserved criticism on this franchise no matter what the evidence, won’t they? Any rational observer can appreciate the painstaking labor of love that developer Bungie presents to its loyal community every few years. Halo is the entire package.
The settings, characters and weapons are instantly iconic. The story is epic and expansive, spreading into novels, comics and short films. The graphics are bright and bold. The soundtrack is a modern classic. The multiplayer is addictive, robust, accessible and, for these reasons, the most popular on the planet. Even the game’s core combat and control mechanics have been honed to a pure and almost instinctual science.
The Halo shooters are “made for the masses,” but we mean that in the
best possible way.
What haters see: Xbots will heap undeserved praise on this franchise no matter what the evidence, won’t they? Any rational observer can recognize the cheap and shameless cash-in that developer Bungie tries to pass off as new content to its brainwashed community every few years. Halo is a derivative joke.
The settings are unimaginative recyclables, the characters are animated cardboard cutouts and the weapons look like Happy Meal kids’ toys. In a remarkable feat, the story manages to be both sophomorically simple and hopelessly convoluted at the same time. The graphics are cartoony. The soundtrack is repetitive. The multiplayer is too full of potty-mouthed children and perverted frat boys to enjoy. The game’s combat and controls are no better, and often much worse, than its competition.
The Halo shooters are “made for the masses,” and we mean that in the worst possible way.
why does halo suck / oh man halo sucks (random forums)
Most Influential Video Game in History (GameFAQS)
Most Overrated Game of All Time (GameLemon)
37 reasons to hate Halo 3 (GamesRadar)
Halo 3: Better than everything? (GamesRadar)
The Blue Grenades Stick (VG Cats)
Well everyone have their own preferences. As for me all this game are awesome except for Space Giraffe though. Never heard of the game.