Games I Was Wrong About: Part Two

Last week, in the wake of MGSV opening my eyes to a series I’d long disdained, I shared a quartet of games I now feel I either dismissed out of hand or unreasonably feted. Here’s the rest of that list, though I suspect if I sat down and went through every review I ever wrote over the last 15 years, I’d find quite a few more. I’m not going to do that, because making me read 15 years of my own writing is pretty much the worst thing anyone could ever do to me).

Far Cry 2

I’ve already written about my initial intolerance for Ubisoft’s brutal, unheroic open world shooter sequel and how that changed, but it bears repeating as a demonstration of the dissonance between young me’s flighty preference for instant thrills and old me’s preference to sink into something strange slowly. In 2008, I couldn’t see past the gabbled dialogue and artificial respawning, or at least that’s what I outwardly claimed. What I truly couldn’t come to terms with was how ignoble it made me feel. I wanted to be Heroman, a superhuman foiling evil. Being a human performing amoral mercenary contracts felt so wrong. Now, of course, it feels so right. And more honest. It’s a journey into the heart of darkness, and a disorientating plunge into a life of bitter war where the end goal doesn’t matter: this is, simply, your existence. I can see a fairly direct line between Far Cry 2 and Metal Gear Solid V, and it’s the garish preening of Far Cry 3 and 4 which now seem like the odd games out.

Daikatana

Yeah, they got me. I was one of the many teenage boys who totally bought into the preposterously testosteronal marketing of John Romero’s years in the making, much-ballyhooed post-Quake project. Truth be told I didn’t entirely know exactly who John Romero was (other than the disembodied head in Doom 2), and I definitely didn’t want to be his bitch, but I had felt Quake and especially Quake II were a bit dull compared to the speed and colour of Doom. This was also a time of tall tales at school, when boys’ imaginations far out-stretched what games were capable of, let alone actually included, and the many ridiculous promises of Daikatana’s long marketing campaign fit right into that. This was, surely, going to be The One True Game, the one which lives up to all our grisly hopes and prayers. Fortunately (for me) I shipped off to university during the long wait, and totally lost interest as my mind temporarily switched to preoccupation with booze and girls who would never want me instead of games. When I finally got around to Daikatana, it was with morbid curiosity, and a faint regret that the dreams of youth would come to this.

BioShock 2

I couldn’t entirely see past my disappointment that BioShock’s first sequel was more of a remix than anything else, so desperate was I to see a pre-fall Rapture and for dangling plot threads to be resolved. My expectations got the better of me, and I felt BioShock 2 was capable enough but broadly a let-down. With time, I was less admiring of BioShock 1, a game which hits great heights but which is a deeply uneven experience both in combat and plotting. BioShock 2 mightn’t ever soar in the same way, but as a start-to-finish shooter it’s far better maintained and sustained, as well as complete-feeling. It doesn’t try to raise its eyes out of its own central tale or wrap itself in too many mysteries, and succeeds for it. It even manages to be moving, giving humanity, purpose and loss to its protagonist in a way the first game didn’t really attempt until too late, and in such a twist-heavy way. It has heart. Bioshock 2 is the best of the BioShock series so far, even if it is entirely dependent on BioShock 1.

Every game I’ve ever given a score to

I don’t object to making it clear if a game is good or bad. I could almost deal with a star rating if I really, really had to. But the more granular ratings systems, those which pretend there is real maths rather than gut feeling which goes into the ranking of one game against another, those are the very devil. As well as being inherently unhelpful – is this game worth paying money for or not? – they’re just fuel to the undying flames of fanboys and partisans, paralysing writers who have to endlessly compare similar sequels to each other, creating a false sense that there is some great hierarchy of games, that some are born to greatness and others must be put in their place, that platforms matter, that publishers matter, that ‘respect’ outweighs opinion, that the ‘wrong’ number is unethical. Is the game any good or not? I hereby apologise to any game I have given a score to during my first decade in this job.

104 Comments

  1. Wulfram says:

    I give this article 7/10. Sorry, 3.5 stars out of 5.

    Review scores are useful. And they might lessen those cryptic occasions when some RPS WIT spends its time listing a ton of things that are wrong with it, then the author gets annoyed because the comments somehow read that as a negative review.

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      heretic says:

      That’s because people expect scores though?

      I think RPS should use the RPS recommended tag more often instead, a buy / do not buy system. A score out of 10 or 5 doesn’t help, that Adam or Alec or someone on the RPS team tells you they recommend it or they don’t is a much stronger indication.

      Then you can assess whether your tastes align with the reviewer and make a decision based on that.

      • aleander says:

        Actually, one of the things I love about RPS is that it uses the recommend/not recommend thing sparingly. It’s very clear that WIT is a description of one persons experience — as is every review ever done, but RPS actually makes it clear, instead of not-entirely-letting-go of the pretence of objectivity that seems to fuel the egos of almost (thankfully, only almost, and thing seem to be getting better) everyone else.

        There are occasional calls “do not buy this this is broken” and occasional “this is kinda the thing this period of time is going to be dominated by, so better get this or you won’t know what everyone and your dog are talking about” that still keep a veneer of recommendation, and that’s fine, but I do believe those are best used only in very strong cases.

        • Zelos says:

          A review is typically meant to serve as an objective analysis. Such a thing is difficult to do, but that is ultimately the goal of any review. Whether a game is good or bad is not at all a matter of opinion, though whether an individual likes or dislikes it certainly is.

          However, one can defer the responsibility of objectivity by stating that you are not reviewing a game, but rather providing impressions.

          • Nevard says:

            The idea that a review is supposed to only include “objective facts” and no impressions is an extremely recent and to be honest completely useless invention.
            This is now how we evaluate any other media, it is not how we should evaluate games.

          • Shadow says:

            Regarding quality, pretty much the only “objective fact” you can state about any game is whether it has major bugs or not. The rest has varying degrees of subjectivity.

          • Kala says:

            Firmly disagree, and you can read RPS’ general statement on objectivity in reviews here, if you like: link to rockpapershotgun.com

            Beyond “does it work”, good/bad game is a value judgement.

            There can be consensus on what qualifies (e.g what’s generally enjoyable and sought-after) but that still doesn’t make whether a game is good or bad objective fact.

            (Though I think applying a quantitative score to a qualitative subject can lead people to think otherwise. Score aggregates are useful indicators of consensus, but consensus is a still a popular/generally accepted opinion…).

            …Though what you’re arguing seems more like detachment/neutrality – an objective tone – is a desirable writing style for analysis. And sure, that’s often appropriate (largely demanded in academia). But any claim that a game is objectively good or bad seems like dressing their opinion up as fact to me, though.

            (Thus concludes my review: [x] is a GOOD GAME which is a non-debatable OBJECTIVE FACT proven by science. When measured, it conclusively scored elevently billion on the Objective Game Scoring System. Nothing to do with me folks, my personal preferences are irrelevant here, it’s just how the numbers came out)

          • Josh W says:

            This is one of those things that interests me, but that I don’t try to keep a solid position on, so I’m sure I’ve said the opposite to this in the past, probably for good reasons, but I would say that it is possible to do an objective review.

            Famously, you can determine what the creator of the work seeks to achieve, and hold it up to that measure, and through this, help many other games creators to think about how well or badly they can achieve their own objectives.

            Next, you can run it through a series of other possible critical evaluation tools, such as
            “how does this stack up technically to the state of the art”,
            “how does this reflect society?”,
            “what messages does this game emphasise, and are those messages intelligent ones?”,
            “how consistent are the different elements of the game with each other(clashing music and action, clashing story and mechanics)?”,
            “does this game offer replay value?”,
            “does this game elaborate on it’s own themes and mechanics or just repeat them?”,
            “does this game do the same relative to previous games?”,
            “does this game explore unfamiliar emotional territory for games?”,
            “does it explore unfamiliar mechanics?”,
            “how about setting, or character types?”,
            and so on.

            This of the same order as asking how good the graphics are, and doesn’t require you to know the extent to which you share or do not share the reviewer’s taste in order to make use of them.

            The attempt at objectivity is not grounded in the non-existence of personal feeling, but the assumption that these things have a grounding independent of human feeling, trying to determine socially by a combination of reviews, and a discourse surrounding them, the extent to which these personal experiences come from inherent properties of the medium, and this or that game in particular.

            Objectivity in reviewing means building vocabulary that is not simply a reference to your own past, but allows people playing games to construct their own shared understanding of what it means to play or make a good game.

            The first step of objectivity is being able to say “I was ill when playing this game, so I probably judged it more harshly than most”, because subjectivity is recognised and an attempt is made to compartmentalise it, and reach beyond the particulars of your immediate experience to the experience that others might have.

            This doesn’t have to be done within the article, merely within the process of writing it, but the fact that the process of seeking objectivity inherently includes reference to subjectivity means that it is possible to do both. It is possible to include subjective feeling without damaging the objectivity of a review, if the person reviewing it is able to represent themselves and their own attitude to it in a way that allows the reader to contextualise it themselves without strong familiarity with the reviewer.

            If this is done, and the writing is obviously focused largely on the writer’s own preoccupations, we generally say that the review is self absorbed. But when it is done in a way that still manages to say something more substantial about a piece of work, then I would say that they have reached a certain degree of objectivity, being able to put aside their own pre-occupations to expand their sphere of experience to include the particular details of the work, the assumptions and interests of their audience, and the possible criticisms that could be made by a generic reviewer etc. This is a point where professionalism and objectivity overlap.

          • Kala says:

            @JoshW – I enjoy this topic too (witness:text wall) but think we have different emphasis on definitions, as a lot of what you’re classifying as objective (most of the critical evaluations – esp how games reflect society!) I’d see as inherently subjective, as it’s up for debate rather than being a concrete fact.

            I think where we largely differ is you emphasise personal feelings and tastes in subjective def., and objective as intentional distance from those/ rational argument when presenting a point of view (?) I emphasize subjective as a debateable opinion and objective as a conclusive fact.

            So for me, a point of view, however detached the manner it’s presented, is subjective.

            Sure, your pov should contain facts to back up an argument, but an informed well-argued opinion is still not fact – the two are interrelated, I agree, but its interpretive overall. Someone could take those same examples and interpret them differently (and be equally valid).

            …But I take something of a hard line, as outside of using tools to measure verifiable facts, e.g physical phenomenon, I don’t think its really possible for humans to be genuinely objective. (And especially not when it comes to rating and interpreting art and media :-) ) We have a subject position by default; ourselves.

            Likewise, when you talk about disclaiming your own subject position (eg beyond the things that make your view already subjective – personality, cognitive biases, idiosyncrasies, experiences, culture, education… ) that might’ve contributed to forming your opinion, eg being ill, this seems more like self-awareness, rather than the first step to objectivity*. (And self-awareness would be to their credit, but still makes their point of view no closer to becoming fact).

            (Also, when you cite consideration of readers needs beyond your own, I’d agree that’s an attempt to project outside of the self, but that’s maybe more empathy than objectivity?)

            I do very much agree with you with regards to shared vocabluary and contextualizing for the reader without needing familiarity of reviewers tastes. But. I can’t concede the link between objectivity with professionalism the way you do, given our philosophical understanding of those concepts differ (which might well be semantics).

            *for me the first step to objectivity would probably be cybernetic neural implants to override the self :-P

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      phuzz says:

      I only find reviews scores useful when I already know that I share the same tastes as the reviewer, and even then it’s not a guaranteed thing that I will agree on a particular game.

      So I’d give review scores 3/10 most of the time and 8/10 for certain reviewers.

    • Viral Frog says:

      I like that they are very conservative with their use of the recommended/not recommended labeling. I’m not sure if this is true at all, but the reason they use it so conservatively seems to be that the entire staff (or majority) has to agree to recommend or not recommend the title, rather than just the author of the game. But then again, that’s what the RPS verdict is for, so I’m probably wrong.

      A numbered score or star rating is rather arbitrary and pointless. There are games with outstanding reviews, such as Half-Life and Half-Life 2, that I absolutely do not think are anywhere near the level of praise they receive. I think the praise for those games is completely wasted, and the number scores attributed to them are largely misleading. That’s because in the end, no matter what, that score is completely subjective. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach to reviewing games, and adds nothing of value to the review itself.

      • Viral Frog says:

        I meant to say “… rather than just the author of the article.” Dang lack of an edit button.

    • C0llic says:

      I don’t think the scores were that useful really. I’ve loved plenty of workman-like 70 percenters. Likewise, some high scoring games have left me cold. The score at best is a reflection of how good is thing as an example of its genre, or compared to x?

      It’s just a subjective measure dependent on the review if its to make any sense. And if you don’t want to read the whole thing, skip to the summing up paragraph at the end, and that will tell you as much as a percentage ever did.

      • Paul B says:

        And if you’re a fan of the genre a game given 70 or 80% can feel like a 90% one. I’m looking at you Spiderweb Software RPGs, which receive good, but not outstanding, scores but because they’re examples of my favourite genre, I can forgive them their dated graphics and clumsy UIs.

        • Haldurson says:

          I agree, which is why scores can be unfairly damaging or rewarding. Let’s face it, sometimes we don’t want to actually read a review, and just skip to the numbers. Unfortunately, if you don’t read the review, you will not find out WHY the reviewer gave a particular score. And WHY is always more important than the score itself.

          For example, I don’t like shooters (for the most part). And let’s say I’ve been tasked with writing a review of one (something which I actually used to do for a small board game magazine). Invariably, that numeric score is going to be fairly low EVEN IF the game is one which might be loved by fans of shooters. One person’s 10 is another’s 6.

          Leaving out the number rating would force people to actually read the article if they are interested in the game. Insead of skipping down and seeing a 6 and thinking that ‘this game sucks, I should avoid it’, you’d find out that ‘hey, he’s not liking features in a game that I actually prefer’, and ‘hey, he loves this feature, I don’t’, or ‘ok, now the reviewer is just nitpicking something which doesn’t matter to me’.

          Roger Ebert, probably the best and smartest, and fairest reviewer of anything that I’ve encountered, used to lament the fact that he had to give star ratings for movies, because they didn’t actually represent his true feelings about a film. One movie could be incredibly fun, and yet poorly crafted. Another could have great acting, but be a bore. When he did his shows with Gene Siskel, they managed a compromise, which was the thumbs up or down rating.

          BTW, I used to write reviews for a small gaming magazine. We did mostly board games and war games and miniatures, with the occasional computer game, and articles about historical battles, and so on. A small computer war game publisher sent us a review copy of a really hardcore WWII strategic-level wargame, and my editor wanted me to right a review of it. My limits on wargame complexity (and I knew this because I had dabbled with some in college) was “Axis and Allies”. If anyone is familiar with that board game, you know it’s only a couple of levels more complex than Risk, which is a way of saying that it’s not very complex at all, as wargames go. The game I was asked to review was probably the MOST hardcore game I’ve ever tried to read a rulebook for.

          If I had gone ahead and written a review for that game, it would have been the most uninformative and unfair review that I’d ever written. And that was because I was not the target audience for that game. We had people who wrote for the magazine who LOVED wargames — so I found someone who actually WANTED to try the game, and got him to take over for me. And sure enough, he wrote a decent review, and gave it a good rating (surely a fairer one than I would have given it). And anyone reading the review would still understand that it was such a hardcore game, that the casual board gamer should stay away from it.

    • Hyena Grin says:

      As if that makes a difference, really. I remember well before RPS, people would throw a fit over a review that ‘sounded negative but gave a good score.’

      It’s the same thing, just without the superficial veneer of authority in a discreet, numeric ‘worth quantity.’

      It can be difficult to convey true feelings about something when you are invested in it, I find. Just today I was describing to a friend how disappointed I was in some design choices in a game that I actually quite like, and I had a really hard time balancing out the good and the bad. The reality is that – barring absolute messes – people tend to complain more about the things they invest themselves in, the things that are just shy of perfect, than the things that aren’t worth their time. Because that is when the specific flaws, the ones we can really dig at, stand out the most to us.

      Reading between the lines of a review to determine whether negative feedback is a pushing the game down, or actually a symptom of that just-shy-of-perfection effect, is tricky. There’s a certain nuance of disappointment that is different from a good game and a bad game. At least, there is with a good author, or more specifically, a good author whose writing style you are passingly familiar with.

    • gwathdring says:

      I can’t speak for every author, but what you perceive as annoyance that people thought a review with lots of negativity was supposed to be implying the game is an overall negative experience is perhaps the author getting annoyed at folks who substitute tally marks for critical comprehension.

      • gwathdring says:

        More often than not, those same reviews that receive such comments make explicit statements about the author’s overall feelings toward the game which, one would think, are to be trusted a lot more than a reader’s tally marking of how many Good Things were said as opposed to Bad Things.

        One would think, further, than in trying to derive your own opinion of the game from the reviewers you would nonetheless find all of those itemized criticisms quite useful, as you can adjust their positivity, negativity, and importance to taste regardless of the author’s overall feeling toward the game.

  2. Wowbagger says:

    I still don’t see the appeal with FarCry 2 It was just brown and irritating, and the afore mentioned rubbish enemy respawning/god like cognisance just ruined any immersion I should of been feeling.

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      heretic says:

      FarCry2 at least attempted immersion, felt FarCry3 was a massive let down in this regard.

      It was an okay game as a playground I guess, but FarCry2 was much better at simulating the mercenary experience, despite many flaws.

    • Vandelay says:

      Yeah, I enjoyed FC2 initially and played it up until the second map, but the respawning camps just became too much of a nuisance to be forgiven. What was most infuriating was that they could be so easily fixed. Just have a jeep or two spawn at the other side of the map and have them travel to the guard post.

      Still, Far Cry 2 is one I regular think I should revisit. I don’t think my gaming tastes were mature enough to appreciate some of its finer points when I originally played.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Respawning / instant respawning after a minute (like FC2 and MMOs) is pretty immersion killing for me.
      I’d still like a game where you clear an area of monsters and it becomes settled by peaceful people who build villages or whatever.
      Kinda like in Fallout 4 settlements or Terraria settlements or like placing torches in Minecraft stops spawning.

      • anHorse says:

        That’s in Witcher 3

        You clear out stuff like “abandoned logging camp” and then it gets resettled

        • Betamax says:

          Yeah I found Witcher 3 struck a decent enough balance with this. Interestingly enough it’s not only those places marked as ‘abandoned’ which can be liberated – sometimes soldiers or villages take over other places you clear too. However you also have areas that monsters re-appear in over time, and that makes sense in the world of the game. These areas tend to be easily avoidable as well, be it by fast travel, navigating around, or simply giving Roach a workout.

          On the whole this worked well in preventing the world from ever feeling empty, or lacking in threat, whilst not breaking immersion with ever re-spawning trash mobs. Although I do think they went a bit overboard (ba-dum-tssh) with the Drowners and Sirens.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      I’m unsure how you can call Far Cry 2 brown? It was positively vibrant and had the best sunsets of any game.

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        SeanybabeS says:

        Far Cry 2 sunsets were lovely but I think Witcher 3 sunsets are prettier. The pinks, reds and oranges are utterly gorgeous.

    • Dinger says:

      FarCry2 is the curse of the Xbox360 on games. No HDD = No meaningful save state = a world where you are absolutely insignificant. Brutality? Banality?
      Look, the game aims at Heart of Darkness, which points out the Banality of Brutality, where, removed from the attention of the world, some people can commit the worst atrocities in the name of effective management. Kurtz was based on a real person, and millions died in the Belgian Congo without any accounting.
      How does Far Cry 2 stack up? It sure as Hell ain’t the Banality of Brutality. No, the only thing going on here is the Brutality of Banality. Certainly, a videogame that found a meaningful way to communicate that could be cool: you might argue that Hotline Miami aimed precisely at this form of BoB. But Far Cry 2? It’s like working in an office, only instead of going through the formalities of saying hello and stroking each other’s ego, you shoot them. Don’t worry, they’ll still be back in the same place, at the same time tomorrow. So don’t bother shooting them or saying hello unless you really find them bothersome.
      (finger).

      • gwathdring says:

        So you’re saying Far Cry 2 doesn’t capture the banality of violence because it’s too much like a mundane office job that happens to involve killing people, if you feel like it?

        I suppose I don’t follow.

    • C0llic says:

      Like a lot of people the respawning did kill that game for me. It wasn’t just that it broke immersion (jarring because the rest of the game did such a good job of drawing you in), it also added massive amounts of joyless grind. I was just too fatigued to keep playing after a certain point.

      In every other regard though, setting, immersion, the nasty plot and shady morality, it was a great game. Just one that I couldn’t see through in the end. I still think its a real shame, and would love to play the game with that problem mitigated somehow.

      Its amazing how much one misstep can compromise a game.

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      alison says:

      I don’t get the complaints about respawning enemies in Far Cry 2. Sure, it’s unfortunate that the world is only persistent for about 500m around you, but what are you guys doing that you keep killing the same guys anyway? I’m a few missions into the second map and i think i’ve attacked a grand total of three checkpoints. I stay on foot the majority of the time. When i do drive it’s off-road, and i ditch my vehicle before getting anywhere near a checkpoint. If i’m spotted i try get to terrain where vehicles can’t follow, stay in cover and run like hell. The last thing i want to do is get in a fight. Why waste bullets on two-bit militia? The economy of the game actively discourages you from picking fights. In fact, even the main missions don’t provide you with the usual meta-reward of significant plot advancement. That’s its bleak charm. It pulls off Spec Ops: The Line even better than Spec Ops: The Line.

      I will say that although the malaria gimmick is a pain in the ass, at least it gives you a real in-game motivation to do arbitrary side missions. The irony is that your prize is simply the opportunity to briefly prolong your agony. Oh, and saving the only two guys in the country who don’t want to kill you. Bleak as fuck. Even the traditional reward missions are depressing – after taking out a ton of convoys just to get your hands on a silenced weapon, turns out it’s a freakin SMG that’s barely more useful than a pistol. It’s not a fun game. It’s not a Skinner box. Every time you shoot a bullet at someone you lose. That’s what makes it so much more interesting than other shooters. And the stealth experience is exceptional.

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        Oh, so you have to play the game in an incredibly specific way that is in no way encouraged by it? Sorry, but that’s just bad design. I played it on hardcore, and there is zero reason to avoid fights, because guns, ammo and health are easy to come by. There is no bleak charm. You’re a practically invincible super-soldier, who apparently can only use rubber bullets, so the whole thing is a massive grind. And that’s on hardcore, by the way. I realized when I started optimizing my playstyle to use the least amount of time possible, that I should quit.

        Also, the stealth is fucking horrible. There’s no feedback, and everyone knows exactly where you are the instant you miss one shot. And, of course, enemies can literally see you though bushes and walls once you are detected.

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          alison says:

          I have to admit, i have never played the vanilla game. All the Steam reviewers recommended installing Dylan’s Mod, so i did that straight off the bat and have never played it any different. Perhaps vanilla is not the same, but with Dylan’s Mod, you are literally dead in one or two shots. Stealth is paramount, because the moment you are spotted, you are dead or running like hell.

          I can understand fans of other stealth games not liking Far Cry 2, because it’s actually realistic. There is no “cool-down time”. If the baddies spot you once, they aren’t going to give up their search. They will keep on alert, looking for you forever. Your only two options are to stay completely still in long grass (not moving, or even turning, since a disturbed blade of grass will immediately attract covering fire) or immediately run out of their line-of-sight and move to a different and unexpected location. It’s like Hitman in this regard. The baddies will probably not find you if you re-stealth somewhere else after your missed shot, but they will never stop searching, and their search path increases every time they do not find you. I mean, they saw you already, why would they quit searching?

          To me, this is extremely realistic, and makes every other stealth game seem like a hokey turn-based puzzler by comparison. It is ridiculously tense, wondering if the bad guys saw your movement to your new hiding place or not, and wondering if they will extend their search pattern to cover that spot. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Different strokes, i guess.

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    heretic says:

    Oh and hurray for supporter posts being part of the RSS feed! :D

  4. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Now we need to find who wrote PC Gamer’s 79% review of Homeworld and string them up! BY THE OPTIC NERVES!

    Ahem. Revisiting is a good thing, and what is unforgivable at full price with the shininess of “new” can be enjoyed on its own merits at a discount years later.

  5. drewski says:

    I give this article a Recommended.

    I still think Bioshock 2’s rather by the numbers and pretty overrated. Sure, it’s got the best level in the series and yes, it debuted the double handed combat but otherwise it didn’t wow me. Didn’t have the conceptual chops, the storytelling panache or the wow of the first, and it didn’t have the heart or the tightness of Infinite.

    Still better than most shooters mind.

    • geisler says:

      Overrated? Surely you mean only on RPS? Go on any other site or forums to mention Bioshock 2 and all you will hear is a resonant “meh” from most people, even fans of the franchise. I for one would call the entire series “meh” (especially when compared to Irrational’s or Looking Glass’s earlier games), but that’s just me.

      • Pulstar says:

        Bioshock itself was overrated all the way to hell and back.
        Then again, is anything ever not over or under-rated? :P

      • drewski says:

        Nah, “Bioshock 2 is the best one in the series” is a pretty common meme with hipster videogamers.

        • gwathdring says:

          Which pretty much by definition does not represent the mainstream of gaming. Your proposition brings us right back to “overrated among a minority of people who I hear from a lot by choice or by force.”

          Which doesn’t lead us to “generally speaking, overrated.”

    • kwyjibo says:

      I played through BioShock 2 for the first time last week. It was pretty good, the open levels are much more interesting to explore than typical modern corridor shooters. And it’s Rapture, so even the corridors are more interesting.

      But it brings nothing new. The story lacks the hooks of the original and is even more stupid – going libertarian power crazy is easy to understand, going communist and then using your daughter and magic to create the ultimate communist despite having catastrophically failed once already is not.

      The gameplay is the same solid Bioshock core, but playing a big daddy should have been different. It takes way too long to get the drill charge and the health to really ever tank stuff.

      It was the least ambitious of the Bioshocks and that’s probably why I value it less too.

      • drewski says:

        I’d agree with both those criticisms, although the ability to dual wield magic/weapon is enough to lift the combat significantly over the first, which I find to be frustratingly restrictive combat wise now.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Jesus, the idea anyone can believe Bioshock Infinite had any “heart” whatsoever just hurts my brain. I don’t just say these things to get a rise out of people, I seriously mean it feels so completely wrong to me to attribute any kind of human emotion to that game that it gives me a headache. Soulless, garbled murder-fest shot full of plot holes that’s not even remotely as clever as it thinks it is.

      B2 had me in tears at the end – one of the few games ever that’s had me weeping openly (for the right reasons, olololo). Yes, yes, without the first game it wouldn’t exist, but it knocks the first game into a cocked hat in pretty much every respect – shooting, level design, storytelling, themes, subtext, everything. One of my favorite games of all time to this day, whereas I can’t express my distaste for Infinite any further without being very rude indeed.

      • Viral Frog says:

        I see a lot of people ’round here that really disliked Infinite. I played through all three over the course of a couple weeks, and of the three, Infinite was the one that I felt had the best gameplay, writing, and setting. The only thing I disliked about Infinite is that the powers you earned (I forget what they were called) were boring and basically useless compared to the first two games. I think I used two of the powers the entire way through Infinite. I still think the first and second are amazing (the first more than the second), but I can’t understand how anyone liked them more than Infinite.

        • kwyjibo says:

          Infinite had the most varied combat, and had very good walking simulator bits. The story was the fucking worst though, willfully stupid as opposed to just incompetent.

          • Viral Frog says:

            To each their own. I thought the writing was brilliant in all three games, and wish more AAA developers would put at least a third of that effort into their own games’ stories. Of course, I have basically given up on AAA games at this point. I’m still curious as to why they’re even considered AAA developers anymore when the final product is a C at best.

          • sebmojo says:

            It became terribly trendy to hate BInfinite shortly after release, I suspect at least partly for obscure social justice reasons. It had a fairly well done twisty turny time travel plot, I thought, and elizabeth was a good character.

          • Geebs says:

            @sebmojo – nope, the backlash for Binfinite was a result of pre-release hype, rather breathless early critical opinions, and the plot being pointless butterfly-effect gibberish. There’s nothing inherent about going back in time in order to kidnap your own daughter through a dimensional rift that a well adjusted family shouldn’t be able to sort out with access to a sufficiently qualified therapist, so I can hardly credit the game’s suggestion that becoming a stratospheric racist before/after drowning yourself is an appropriate coping strategy. There is always a girl and a lighthouse? Not inland, there isn’t.

            See? No agenda required.

          • baozi says:

            Regarding walking simulator bits, I thought the NPCs in BI were horribly static and lifeless, so Rapture was a much more believable place to me.

        • Zekiel says:

          I’m personally in the “Bioshock 2’s the best” camp, but I like the other two games too. I think the reason there’s such disagreement about the games is that it depends what you’re looking for, and what you value. It’s not even as simple as “if you put a premium on gameplay you’ll prefer X and if you put a premium on story you’ll prefer Y” because it depends what kind of gameplay or story you’re looking for.

          Want something original? Then you won’t think Bioshock 2 is the best because its easily the most derivative.

          Want interesting gameplay where you control the environment and set up enemies to fight each other? Bioshock 2 has that in spades (improving on the possibility in the original game). BInfinite has almost none of this.

          In the mood for more simplistic gameplay? (Not a criticsm!) Then you might well find Bioshock/Bioshock 2 too slow-paced and prefer Infinite’s gameplay.

          Want a story with twists and shock reveals? You’ll probably prefer Bioshock or BInfinite.

          Want a story with well-written characters that tug on your heartstrings? Then you’ll probably prefer 2 or Infinite.

          Personally I find Bioshock 2’s gameplay the best (love setting up splicers to fight each other or get killed by security systems) and I like the more heartfelt story. I thought the ending of the game was by far the best (and I liked BInfinite’s ending, at least at the time). But I can very easily see why others disagree with that assessment.

      • drewski says:

        I pretty much disagree with everything there except for the argument that the combat is better in B2, but hey, opinions eh?

      • Lord Byte says:

        I agree with your sentiment wholeheartedly, Infinite was awful, and Bioshock 2 was much better than 1 both storywise as well as gameplaywise with better levels, combat and more interesting NPCs.

    • malkav11 says:

      I really need to revisit Bioshock 2 and actually play all the way through at some point because so many people seem to love it, and hell, I dug Bioshock enough that even reheated Bioshock would be entertaining, but what I did play was so slavish in its retreading of key moments in Bioshock with only minor tweaks that it certainly seemed like the weakest entry in the franchise. For much the reasons you present.

  6. Razumen says:

    Once you get past the awful first episode, and the bug, Daikatana actual gets pretty decent. Not ‘recommend to a friend’ decent, or even close, but the music was quite good, the later hubs and enemies were varied and interesting, and the weapons were pretty satisfying too.

    Of course, compared to everything else it was forgettable, but I think it mostly gets a lot of undeserved flak for Romero’s ridiculous boasting attitude.

    • Yglorba says:

      Something you have to remember was that Daikatana was released in 2000, but looks like it was released in 1996 or thereabouts. To someone playing it nowadays this isn’t a big deal (it’s an old game either way), but at the time, this was a huge factor in the hate for it. It was hyped as the next big thing, but beyond that, it just looked embarrassingly old.

      • Razumen says:

        Oh, I understand exactly why it was hated, I remember the drama around it (Though I was more into other games at the time). I saw it at EBGames once for like $5 and thought, what the hell, I’ll see what the big fuss was-went home, installed the latest patch, and actually had a decent experience. One part of that is I’m a big fan of the Heretic/Hexen series, and the differently themed hubs and enemies resonated with me, as well as the music. Of course, the companion AI was shite, but by that time they had at least fixed it enough to be bearable.

        Overall it IS a rather mediocre title, though I don’t think it deserves the “worst game ever” title which is often applied to it, which is why I’ll defend it from time to time.

  7. oceanclub says:

    Gothic 3. Though technically I wasn’t wrong about it per-se, it was just horribly buggy and optimized on release and the demo was completely broken. Years later it was on sale cheap and I decided to give it a go and loved it, despite the still remaining flaws (ropey animations and dialog, abysmal gender representations etc). In fact, I lost my saves after many hours of playing yet went back, started again and finished it – something I’ve never done.

    • Conundrummer says:

      Gothic 3 was such a mixed bag, and I hate to love it. Or love to hate it. Whichever. They made a seamless continent with multiple biomes and styles spread across it, and plenty of nooks and crannies around every corner. Unfortunately, the combat was atrocious, even after years of community patches. The story/dialogue was NOTHING compared to Gothic 1 and 2, the delivery was stilted and without conviction. Finally, a third of the game world, the desert, was extremely flat and ridiculously boring, and I usually love desert areas.

      Two World II felt a lot like Gothic 3 in many good ways, until they pulled a bait and switch and ended the game after 12 hours. I’ve never been so disappointed. Someday RPS should do an article on the loss of potential in that title… an entire continent on the world map ended up being unreachable, except by boat, manually, and when you finally got there, it was entirely empty but for grass and plants. The developer’s excuse was that it was where the multiplayer content would go. Embarrassing.

      Ultimately, though, the game was satisfying (especially the middle bit) if not as memorable as the earlier Gothic games, or Risen, which appeared a few years later. It blew the socks off “Gothic 4” or whatever they tried to pass as the next sequel.

      • Conundrummer says:

        To clarify, Gothic 3 was satisfying. Two Worlds 2 was in no way satisfying.

        • Yglorba says:

          Two Worlds 2 was satisfying in exactly one way:

          It had a really cool magic system. If you played it as a spellcaster, it was a great game. If you played it as anything else it was terrible.

      • geisler says:

        In my opinion anything after Gothic 2 isn’t worth playing (except maybe for the first Risen), when it comes to Piranha bytes games. Why anyone with a sane mind would even attempt to play the Two World games is beyond me…

        • Darth Gangrel says:

          After I played Risen 1 and started looking for other games like it I downloaded the demo for Two Worlds 1 and was severely disappointed. The combat is no good at all, the dialogue/story/voice acting is generic an dull and riding a horse is like driving a car without a steering wheel on an ice plain, where you’re only able to accelerate and get caught in a tree. This was so not the game I was looking for.

          • Conundrummer says:

            To further clarify:

            Two Worlds 1 is a derivative piece of drek that’s only true boon is a magic system that you can manipulate to be entirely overpowered. The size of the world and the attempt at making it is impressive, but everything else reeks of budget limitations and there’s no heart to go around.

            Two Worlds 2 was hyped as having fixed all that, and indeed, the game isn’t bad at all, having quite a bit in common with the gameplay of Gothic/Risen. You had horses to ride across the overworld, and a small boat that you actually had to sail by catching the wind at the right angle.

            To elaborate on the bait-n-switch:
            The world map is extremely large, made up of several islands. You start on the smallest, with the archnemesis’s evil palace of lurking evil set up on the largest. A few hours in, you make your way to the middle island, where the story begins to gear up. You get your horse and boat, and the world is about to be your oyster. The game then teleports you to an unmarked section of the third island, where you are trapped in a small swamp until the chapter is complete. After that nonsense, the game teleports you to the big palace of evil, and the endgame begins.

            At no point do you get to use your boat to do anything other than go to a quest marker. The game is fully open, so if you have 25 minutes of free time, you can catch the wind and sail over to the third island, but there’s only randomly generated grass and trees on the heightmapped hills. The evil palace of evil, the only structure of note on the island, is surrounded by an invisible barrier. I’m pretty sure the game literally ends up being ~12 hours… for an openworld RPG with vehicle travel.

            It had a lot going for it: The cities had personality, the mechanics were fun, and the graphics were pretty damn good if I remember correctly. They just forgot to put any goddamn content in it. As stated in my earlier comment, the developer’s justification was that the empty sections of the continent is where the multiplayer zones lived… only, nobody ever played the multiplayer of a budget-limited sequel to a shovelware title, so I guess the joke was on me?

            Either way, steer clear of Two Worlds unless you’re into potential with no payoff. It would’ve done great as an early access title.

  8. Sin Vega says:

    Having only seen it when my cousin was demonstrating some kind of cheat that then made him seem like some kind of wizard, I had no idea who the head on a stick was in Doom 2, so my infant brain declared it to be Marti Pellow.

    I think it’s better that way, honestly.

    • Geebs says:

      “Er, guys? I can’t feel my fingers, or my toes….guys?”

  9. Distec says:

    I’m perfectly happy with a star rating system. We use them for music and film, so I see no reason we can’t apply them to games. You could argue that it still has the same inherent limitations as any other scoring system going by metrics, but I’m comfortable with a star rating conveying an overall judgment or assessment. If I want further details, I’ll read the review.

    It’s the really granular ones I dislike. The difference between a two-star review and a three-star review feels clear to me; one can be safely passed on while the other is flawed but enjoyable. But what’s the difference between a 6 and a 7 out of 10? What’s the difference between 68% and a 71%? Suddenly you have all these shades of scores which are arbitrary and seemingly pulled out of the author’s ass depending on their feelings. And if that’s what it comes down to, then why use metrics like that in the first place?

    A smaller scale for review scores just prevents a lot of that bullshit from cropping up in the first place. You can still provide a rating that judges a game’s “worth”, but you can also drop the pretension of being able to objectively evaluate every detail or nuance of a title and churn it into a highly specific number.

    So yeah, a 5-star rating system is my sweet spot. I’m even fine with “Recommended/Not Recommended/Ambivalent” or something similar, as long as there’s some kind of verdict. Long-form essays that eschew scores do have their place for me, but let’s face it: There are more games than I could ever play in my lifetime, each of which may summon wildly varying levels of interest from me, and I don’t have all the time in the world. Review aggregators like Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes may have flaws, but I still find them useful if only for the sake of my time and sanity.

    • Wulfram says:

      Well, the standard computer game 10 point scale isn’t really any more granular than the 5 star one, since the bottom 5 scores are barely used and in any case are basically equivalent to 0 stars out of 5.

    • Merlin the tuna says:

      Totally agree. I actually really like Netflix’s system, which is just 1-5 stars (no halves) with short descriptors of what each represents. It’s still blurry, but at least I can translate that pretty closely to my overall experience.
      – 1 = “Hated it” -> I disliked it enough to quit early.
      – 2 = “Disliked it” -> Finished it but was generally unsatisfied.
      – 3 = “Liked it” -> I had an okay time, no regrets.
      – 4 = “Really liked it” -> I would suggest someone else try it.
      – 5 = “Loved it” -> I would suggest someone else try it RIGHT NOW. (PS play Undertale)

      Long form writing is wonderful and I’m glad to have that nuance, but there’s something to be said for a quick, coherent summary. The only time I’ve run into trouble with this kind of rubric is for interesting, experimental failures that aren’t necessarily good but are weird enough to seek out every now and again.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        You pretty much described the system Tom Chick uses.

        It makes for hilarious comments when all the idiots from meta critic swarm in to say that 60/100 for whatever game is worse than Hitler when it means he likes the game.

        <3 Tom Chick!

    • gwathdring says:

      It depends on the reviewer. With any review system, you need to define your terms. Jim Sterling has a pretty coherent list that ALMOST covers all ten numbers (his bottom two are a bit indistinguishable) and Board Game Geek has a coherent system that isn’t straightforwardly Worst-to-best but that nonetheless makes each number a rough shorthand for something distinct.

      If you, personally, only make 5 real distinctions? Don’t use a 10 point system. If you only make 5 real distinctions but you want to give a sense of ordering within each of the 5 categories? Sure, use a 100 point system.

      Declaring a given scoring system useless because you can’t think of how to use it comes off as a little weird.

      • Distec says:

        Eh. I’d wager that Sterling, despite whatever veneer of comprehensive analysis he may be purporting to offer, is probably basing his numbers off of his feelings and then retroactively justifying them. I think this is what a lot of reviewers who use such systems – despite their best intents and efforts – ultimately do. I’m sure there are people who use it better than others, but its usage is so widespread that I can generally comment on what I perceive to be its shortcomings.

        I agree that if you’re going to use a larger scale that you need to make your terms clear. This also requires your audience’s understanding. But I maintain that you could adjust a score from a 73 to a 78 and there would be no worthwhile distinction for the most part.

        It’s also not so much a problem with individual reviewers using such a system, but that reviews in general seem enslaved to its inevitable usage. Somewhere along the way all these reviews get tallied up to a specific number on an aggregator. And it becomes confusing when everybody basically has different rubrics for the same scale. Technically star reviews aren’t inherently different from this, but as I said in the previous post: You’re at least dropping the pretension that you can math this shit out. At the very least, I think it can preempt a bit of the drama when the next Zelda game ONLY GOT AN 83?!?!?!?! This isn’t a huge deal for me personally. I buy games I know I want and I’m comfortable navigating this wilderness to find opinions I value. But it seems needless.

        At least Alec is weirder than me, though.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      “We use them for music and film, so I see no reason we can’t apply them to games.”

      Not everyone does. The New York Times doesn’t use star or number ratings for films.

  10. LacSlyer says:

    I think the primary reasoning behind ratings systems is our desire as a society for quick information. In this age where we can google literally anything in seconds wherever we are with our phones, we’ve become overly reliant on having that accessibility available to us at times and it pushes over into other aspects of society. It exists not just in games but films and music, and even in the most meaningless things that can come to mind (i.e. Amazon’s rating of literally every item they sell).

    Obviously though, these systems have their flaws. For one, it’s incredibly easy to have your review end up being tainted by noticing review scores of a game before you review it. As well, the click baiting that comes with sites that purposely display their review scores on the front page is another issue. On a side note, something I find interesting are sites like Metacritic where you can actually compare reviewers to each other and see which ones are the more obvious perpetrators.

    I don’t mind a number/star system, as I can understand the appeal of it, however I personally only use it as a vague interpretation of the review to see if I would have any interest in reading the review if it’s a reviewer I’m typically not interested in reading – which is most reviewers honestly. I do highly prefer sites like this one that put the information you desire into an article rather than an arbitrary number with a few words added for the appearance of detail. However, I do realize that in order to be successful at game reviews of this type that requires writing skills that the majority of gaming journalists can’t even comprehend.

    • gwathdring says:

      Giving things arbitrary rankings, awards, and numbers goes back further than the Internet.

      If nothing else, Hollywood calls your bluff.

  11. Stellar Duck says:

    Welcome to the Far Cry 2 appreciation club. We sometimes have cookies but mostly it’s just malaria.

    It is by far the best of the Far Cry games and it remains a very interesting branch on the tree of gaming evolution. One that was sadly never really explored.

    The setting is also the best of the Far Cry games. Some of the places seem almost alien to this pasty Scandinavian and the game world is bleak and oppressive, never giving the player an inch. Contrast that to the collectathons and frippery of Far Cry 3 and I know what I want. Far Cry 3 demands nothing of me and what it gives, is basically the gaming equivalent of a BigMac and Coke. It tastes alright but I’ll be sad when I’ve eaten it.

    On the other hand, years later I still on occasion think about Far Cry 2 and when I recently returned to it I fell in love all over.

    Also, Far Cry 3 is a very solitary power trip whereas Far Cry 2 felt more like a struggle where you had the occasional ally. While it was all just my buddy AI, I didn’t actually feel so alone in Far Cry 2.

    And then a grenade rolled down a hill.

    • Razumen says:

      Nothing will beat Far Cry 1 for me, Far Cry 3 was fun, but mostly passable, while 2 went too far into the modern military shooter/moral dilemna route that I think the series has no business going.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Huh?

        I found Far Cry 2 to be the antithesis of the unreflected nonsense that is modern shooters. It brings across some of the same themes as Spec Ops The Line while being less obvious about it. Hardly a piece of ground breaking philosophy but an interesting examination of some dark themes. Especially for a video game where the expected level of complexity and nuance is generally out performed by Paddington Bear.

        Far Cry 1 was sort of decent-ish, but it was ultimately boring and bland. And then the monsters happened.

        • Razumen says:

          Boring? Were you playing the same game? The gameplay in 1 was pretty much the same. I don’t see how 1 could be boring but not 2 or 3.

          The monsters were one of the best parts of the game imho, they added a interesting and adventurous twist to the formula, something that most games are afraid to do these days, instead they play it safe, and consequently, predicatble.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            Oh, 3 is even more boring.

            Honestly, the only Far Cry game I like is the second one.

            The first is very ambitious and I did enjoy it in parts, but I didn’t like the ways the guns handled and I found the human enemies to be… I don’t know. Not engaging. I guess I just didn’t care why I was fighting them because I found the story largely dross.

            I take your points on the monsters but I think I was just way burned out on the game at that point so they became an annoyance instead of a change of pace. I just wanted the game to be over.

            The island was well realised though, if a bit samey.

      • headless97 says:

        The amazing thing about the farcry games is how polarizing they are. Some love the first, others love the second, and others prefer 3 or 4. They really are three totally different games (bundling 3 and 4 in my mind) that happen to share the same name. Personally, I like the first one the best and I rather enjoy the way it evolved in Crysis. Similarly, Crysis 2 is a very different game from 1, and 3 is some sort of blend of the two.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      One thing that doesn’t get discussed much is Far Cry 2’s approach to stealth. One complaint at the time was that if one guard spotted you, that was it, they’d all just beeline for you. But actually guards would lose track of you pretty easily, they’d just keep searching relentlessly, rather than returning to normal. This meant stealth was all about popping up somewhere, causing havoc, then legging it before popping up somewhere else. Sort of hit and run, guerilla-style stealth. I loved it. Once you got it, it worked so well. It was all about movement.

      • gwathdring says:

        Indeed. :)

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Yes, you are on the money here.

        It’s such thrill to play at times. Last time I was playing I was in a jungle, the enemies looking for me after I’d ambushed them. I was hiding behind a tree and I could hear them talking while getting closer and then they went in a different direction and the voices grew fainter. At that point I quietly relocated and shot them them from cover.

  12. stoner says:

    I hated Far Cry 2 and was happy to be done with it.
    1. Boring missions. Each starts out the same and ends the same.

    2. Mandatory missions to get get medicine for malaria.

    3. Instant respawning of bad guys at the outposts.

    I much, MUCH prefer FC3 (haven’t played FC4. Reviews indicate it’s pretty much FC3 Redux)
    1. No mandatory missions. You can advance along the main plot, or take all the time you want to explore, which I did.

    2. Fun side missions. Clearing the communications towers. Searching for Relics and Letters. Other ad hoc missions as well. Bounty missions and hunting missions at captured outposts.

    3. Clearing outposts of bad guys.

    4. Story line that propelled me forward.

    5. I cared about the characters

    I’m just now finishing Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, and I’m hating to see it end. Ubisoft included many of the best elements from FC3’s concepts. When some of the characters in AS4:BF die, I feel like crap. Good Job!!

    Sidebar: I buy FC4 during some Steam sell for about ten bucks. I can wait.

    • JonWood says:

      That’s fair enough, you clearly have very different tastes to the people who enjoy Far Cry 2. Personally I found the characters and storyline in Far Cry 3 to be utter nonsense that I couldn’t bring myself to care about, but I enjoyed the mindlessness of clearing icons off the map for a while.

      Far Cry 2 I bounced off the first time due to the respawning checkpoints, but I do occasionally think I should go back and give it another chance.

    • gwathdring says:

      Personally I will never understand why the whole clearing radio towers shtick from vairous Ubisoft games is particularly more enjoyable than clearing outposts that don’t let you throw up a little personal flag and clear a little space on the map.

      If I’m playing an area control game, I’d like area-control opposition rather than opposition that waits and lets me take more and more stuff without any but heat-of-the-moment resistance. If I’m not playing an area control game, I’m still enjoying the same mechanics in Far Cry 2. I don’t get given cleared-out safe zones and a little tower to climb, but I don’t see much point in that.

  13. Turkey says:

    It’s hard to hate Daikatana when it’s the main reason why Deus Ex and Anachronox got made.

  14. dethtoll says:

    Quake 2. I spent a long time being mad at it for not being Quake 1. Now I like it just as much.

  15. Anthile says:

    Bioshock 2 is the Empire Strikes Back of the Bioshock trilogy.

    • dethtoll says:

      That is a surprisingly apt comparison. It’s certainly my favorite of the three, a big part of that being KEN LEVINE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

  16. thedosbox says:

    I’m glad RPS does not have ratings. However, in my (admittedly intoxicated) head, all reviews should end with Horace’s head or his butt. Let the reader decide whether that’s approval or disapproval.

    • Paul B says:

      You do realise that Horace is infinite and therefore has no butt – I forgot – you’re inebriated – have a lovely, gin-sizzled, alcohol-induced sleep :)

  17. Unruly says:

    Any time anyone mentions Daikatana, I’m immediately reminded of this – <a href="link to youtube.com; title="Superfly's Johnson"

  18. Unsheep says:

    I’ve been gaming long enough to know what kind of games I like. Watching a lengthy quicklook, or portions of a walkthrough, tells me infinitely more about a game than any review I have ever come across.

    So “walkthrough gamers” are more useful and important to me, when buying a new game, than people doing reviews or giving critique.

  19. Unsheep says:

    Its funny how the “macho hero” has managed to loose so much favour and credibility with our gaming media and our gaming culture, instead we get politically-correct pseudo-intellectual hipsters with guns.

    FPS used to be about the action…about awesome weapons, glorious carnage and destruction…with cheesy but memorable one-liners.
    You know…cool stuff. Something media folk and critics seem to have forgotten all about in their efforts to gain popularity.

    Now its all about drama, depth and story. It has to meaningful to blast someone’s head of with a shotgun, being ‘fun’ is clearly not enough anymore.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I think the popularity of the Just Cause Series, Broforce, Nuclear Throne, Blood Dragon etc. shows that there’s still a taste for brainless action heroes. Admittedly these are mostly knowing throwback types (and only one is an FPS), but that’s the price of the medium becoming more self-aware. Personally, I like the increasing diversity of action game protagonists and hope the trend continues.

    • gwathdring says:

      Er … powerful macho heroes have NEVER been the only face of herosim in gaming. Many of gaming’s most iconic retro heroes were not super-masculine wonders. It has always been a mix.

  20. HumpX says:

    Daikatana’s multiplayer was great fun. Can’t speak so highly about the campaign but it certainly wasn’t as horrendous as its made out to be.

  21. Uhuru N'Uru says:

    We’ll said on scores, pretty much the entire article, too many look back with blinkers firmly in place.
    Take 8-bit revival games, I was about when 8-bit was the cutting edge, some great games, but when I got a 16-bit Amiga and most content was still 8-bit, it wasn’t good enough anymore. After Elite’s 3D stick Graphics, the improvements I expected never arrived, my young teenage self found the same distractions as you.
    After 15 years of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll debauchery.
    I saw Tomb Raider 4 on a PS2, I was hooked on gaming once more. £D was now a thing.
    I moved to PC in 2005, but made a poor choice, I had no internet then. My latest CPU PC a Pentium 4 640 was obsolete in 6 months, Dual Core arrived. It was also OEM and virtually un upgradable, with some components soldered instead of socketed. But it was still my first PC and many older games ran. I spent more time catching up.
    Things had changed My C64/Amiga Assembly Language/Basic knowledge was long out of date. Amiga was powerful for that time, but I never had it that long, m=ostly C64, Arcade Machines before the “Home Cumputer” era started, Pong/Space Invaders/Asteroids/Defender all ate many coins.

    That OEM PC was 64-bit even then, in May 2013, I bought MY dream PC setup, saved for 8 years to buy it.
    It’s getting older now but not past it, though the parts list i8sn’t as impressive as then.
    It’s a 3 monitor 2560×1440 rig, 11 million pixels, 4K is only 8 milliom.
    The entire setup cost £5,000 @ UK component prices.
    About $5,000 @ US price.

    So I’m an Oldest Skool gamer and yet noob also.
    Now that consoles have moved to 64-bit, over 10 years after I did, Steam is full of 8-bit games and that’s somehow Good.

    If those original 8-bit coders, had 64-machines to code for, do you think they’ed make 8-bit games. I don’t
    I won’t even buy new 32-bit games now. I’ve waited long enough for 64-bit, I’ll wait no more.
    8-bit is my past, I’m not going Back to the Past

    Going back to Scores
    My Game of the Year, is also my Game of the Decade (2005-2015)
    No real surprise it’s Witcher 3
    Runner-up may surprise you though, it took a Game of the Decade to beat it.
    XCOM: Long War Mod was runner-up

    If I say
    Witcher 3=10 Long War=10 it’s meaningless, 10 what.
    Are both Perfect, of course not, neither are they equal.
    Games can’t be defined numerically and anyone who thinks they can be, knows little about them.

    Don’t just say Good or Bad either.

    Tell me what you liked and what you didn’t, especially if your opinion changed while playing.
    NOw I’m not doing full reviews, but I’ve got to write something, after saying that.
    So this is a sammple, an extract of an imaginary review.

    Witcher 3
    No Player Stash, I have a Skyrim modding backround and I hated no Stash, before playing.
    By the time CDPR gave in to our demands, I’d changed my mind. They were right in the first place, I ended up hating the added stash most of all.
    Having to carefully choose what I carried, made looting more fun, not less.
    Fallourt 4 proved this to me once again, that’s the most boring lOot mechanic I’ve ever played, I stopped looting and consoled what I needed.

    XCOM: Long War. What can I say about this mod? this.
    No one plays vanilla XCOM (I know exceptions exist)
    No one mods Vanilla XCOM
    All mods are made for Long War
    The biggest praise for all XCOM modders, is for their mod to become part of Long War.
    My XCOM Vanilla hours are 0
    Steam tells me I’ve logged 1,286 hours in Long War

    I spent 438 modding Skyrim for 18 months solid.
    This is in game time I’ve invested much more time helping others for Skyrim.

    It took the Game of the Decade to beat my Greatest mod of All Time, nothing except Long War came close.
    These were almost a dead heat, I can give this mod no higher praise.

    • gwathdring says:

      That you can’t see past the aesthetic doesn’t do you much charity.

      The whole “8-bit” revival game first is pretty much never actually 8-bit and second is no more likely to retread old ground creatively speaking than big AAA glamour fests.

      It would be just as silly to look at 2D animation in films and proclaim it universally old school and “from the past.”

      That’s nonsense.

  22. waltC says:

    What I remember about Daikatana, even more than Romero’s very gross “suck it down” lunacy, was the frogs. It rained Frogs, literally. Small, little frogs–lethal little frogs. I still cannot quite believe that happened…;) Yes, it was horrible.

    • Razumen says:

      Yeah, the idea that a giant mega corp would use mechanized frogs and mosquitoes as guards is laughable at best. The sad thing is, that really was the worst of it, it got better after the first episode, but the damage was done.

  23. enkidoodler says:

    Curiously enough I just started replaying Bioshock 2. In many ways an under-rated game. I bought B1&B2 on mac well after their release. Playing them back to back was interesting. In many ways B2 is a better game, but the originality, crazy depth and detail (perhaps slightly less obsessively awesome in B2?) is still open for debate. You can’t have the B1 twist twice, because it is expected, anticipated. B2 had more refined combat, and with Minerva’s Den a comparable and poignant story arc, not to say that B2 didn’t have some heart strings plucked as well.

    I’ll play Infinite next for the third and probably final time, I’ll try totally different tactics if possible, use different pew pew etc. Just in time for Bioshock 4?