« Hellbilly Deluxe 2 - Rob Zombie's Return to Form... Mostly | Main | Best of 2009 - Honorable Mentions, Part Two »

The 2009 List of Shame

The games below are not necessarily the outright worst games of the year. In fact, two of the three certainly are not. Frankly, I don't have the time, money, or incentive as a lone blogger to play what are actually the worst games put on shelves. Instead, these are the games that, for various reasons, made me very sad. And being a sad gamer isn't a fun thing to be.

Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (DLC)

The Lost and Damned wasn’t a bad game. From all accounts it was a well-constructed addition to the GTA IV universe, with an interesting storyline, new gameplay, and all that other jazz.

None of that is why the add-on made the List of Shame.

It was through playing The Lost and Damned that I realized I don’t have any desire whatsoever to play GTA IV anymore, and this made me sad.

Never before have I seen a game that has aged so poorly so quickly. I had gotten almost to the end of the game in the main storyline and gotten stuck on one of the final missions. Unfortunately this caused me to put down the game for many months. 

Until The Lost and Damned came out.

When I loaded up the DLC to see what awaited me, what I found was a game with an annoying movement system, useless cover mechanics, clunky controls, quickly aging graphics, stiff animation, and repetitive gameplay.

Sure all this stuff was there before, but loading up this DLC pack so long after putting the game down shined a bright, harsh light on the flaws I was able to overlook before.

Part of me still wants to like this game, but I know now in my heart that it is not to be. I’m done with it. I no longer find it fun.

This sad revelation I blame on The Lost and Damned. Accordingly, it makes my 2009 List of Shame.

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits

Guitar Hero: Smash Hits has relevance to only two groups of people. The first group consists of those who came to the rhythm gaming scene recently and may have missed some of the great tunes that were available for play in the early days of the genre, but who have never heard of the Internet before because a great number of these songs (as well as many, many much better ones) have been re-released in modern games via DLC.

The other group consists of those people who did play the Guitar Hero games of old and who are looking to relive their fond memories of several generations of plastic guitars ago. I am a part of this group. 

Considering how big the Guitar Hero series was even in its infancy, I’d be willing to bet that the latter of these two groups is larger. This makes it all the stranger that Activision decided take any hint of pleasant nostalgia that could have come along with playing these old songs again, beat it with a large, ugly stick until it was bleeding from the eye sockets, and then take a nice long piss on top of its confused corpse.

The song selection leaves out the best picks from the games it pulls its tracks from. The note charts are consistently less fun to play than the originals. The occasionally maddening challenge of the original games has been dumbed down to oblivion until there’s nothing so much as even resembling challenge left. The stages are forgettable, bland, and lacking any ties whatsoever to those venues I spent so much time on in the original games. The appealing, cartoony art style of the old Guitar Heros has morphed into a hideously ugly abomination that makes me cry a little inside every time I see what the evil “artists” at Neversoft have done to my once beloved Guitar Hero characters. 

Basically, the whole package is a lazy, designed-by-committee cash-in made to rope in those that don’t know any better on Activision’s continuous quest to whore out their franchise until it has nothing left to give. If they were going to make the decision to put this little effort into the game’s presentation, it should have instead been a pack of downloadable songs for an existing Guitar Hero game. Maybe then it would have been at least an acceptable idea, but it still wouldn’t have helped the crappy song selection. But no, that wasn’t enough for Activision. They knew they could squeeze a full $60 out of some poor saps with this thrown-together piece of junk, so they rushed it out the door like the vultures they are.

For stomping all over my fond memories of once fun songs, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits makes my 2009 List of Shame.

Left 4 Dead 2

Yes, Left 4 Dead 2 made both my best and worst lists of the year. 

How could that possibly be?

Simply put, as awesome as the game actually was, the endless bickering it produced, both among my own circle of friends and on the Internet in general, nearly ruined my ability to enjoy it. My first hours with the game were spent constantly arguing over whether certain things were good or bad, debating what should have been different and what wasn’t different enough.

It’s all well and good to talk about games with friends, but this one was discussed in such depth and for so long that I got sick of talking about it. It takes a hell of a lot to make me sick of talking about a video game.

The last straw was when the discussion started to impact my enjoyment of the game. When I finally had a copy of the game in my hands, I just wanted to sit down and enjoy it. I wanted to shoot zombies in blissful cooperative fun just like I did in the first game. For a number of heated hours, however, the bickering over the title wouldn’t let me do that.

For creating discussion that actually impacted my ability to enjoy the game, Left 4 Dead 2 gets on my 2009 List of Shame.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>