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Disappointing Sequels in Great Series

Games, I'm afraid, don't always age like red wine. Sometimes, if overlooked enough, they can age like milk. These are the games that make me wish I never had to use that overused simile the most, games in a Great Series that ended up getting Disappointing Sequels (also keep in mind that these are mostly games that I personally played or have seen gameplay of, so don't get iffy if I didn't mention something that needs a good hankering) (I might also update this list with more entries if I find any more sequels that I don't like) (yes, I changed the title so this article looks a little less confusing) (and finally, to add more unnecessary parentheses, this list is MY OPINION ONLY. I'm sorry if you think I'm an idiot or an asshole if I diss on a game you hold dearly beloved to your heart, but I'm also not sorry. Take my opinion with a grain of salt and maturity, please)

List items

  • Games do not have to be bad for them to be massive disappointments, and Nuts and Bolts is the prime candidate to back up that statement. I waited SO LONG for a third sequel to Banjo-Tooie, which was hands-down my favorite platformer of all time, and instead of being rewarded for my loyalty, I was presented with a fucking vehicle-based puzzle game. Of all the things in the world they could have done to Banjo-Kazooie, they decided to flip it on its head and switch genres entirely, the ultimate crime towards my childhood and the childhoods of many others out there.

    And, like I said, Nuts and Bolts is a genuinely interesting game. It has a very unique mechanic in being able to build vehicles and use them to complete a wide variety of missions, utilizing different pieces and vehicle types to your advantage. That sounds just grand, actually, but in turn, they had to sacrifice what was arguable the best platformer game anyone had ever known. The trade-off is so severely unbalanced, I'm surprised the world hasn't fallen out of orbit yet from the fallout of this... this heathen of a successor.

  • Not that Cooking Mama was the pinnacle of gaming excellence to begin with, this continuation in the Mama franchise has you tasked with caring for a young infant this time around... only with much more overly-sensitive controls and aggravating minigames. While it is commonly accepted that baby-shaking is a terrible thing to do, the game will almost constantly remind you if you are even slightly unstable with the controller. It wouldn't be so bad if it was just a reminder, but shaking the baby too much causes the WHOLE MINIGAME to reset, regardless of how many people are playing and regardless of how much progress you made.

    I guess it's no surprise that a game about babysitting wasn't so well received, but if you're going to go the extra mile and gamble on such a weird concept, at least do it right.

  • Talk about a shift in quality - if there was ever still a shred of doubt that EA isn't a soulless corporate black hole, this game is definitive proof for the contrary. Completely revamped yet still generic RPG combat, a mentally deficient main character completely oblivious to the most basic of RPG concepts ('what's a paladin'... Jesus Christ...) and so many bugs and glitches galore and a metric fuckton of altruistic gangbanging of continuity... it's just pure garbage. To think such a beloved series could be murdered so carelessly... it's flatly despicable.

  • Sanctum of Slime is the video game equivalent of crossing the streams. They had a very well-done product on their hands with the sleeper hit Ghostbusters: The Video Game, a respectable third-person action game that lived up to the expectations of the franchise, but rather than reusing the same mechanics, they decided to change the scope of the game entirely to a top-down shooter a-la Freedom Force. To further drive the nail in the coffin, none of the voice actors of its predecessor returned to help with this outing, which meant every cutscene went unvoiced and the charming protagonists everyone knew and loved were axed in favor of four nobodies. Worse still, the enemy AI isn't even particularly good, often getting stuck on stationary objects in the level and removing any challenge this game could throw at you.

    I don't know if ghosts do or don't exist, but I know one thing for sure - I wish this game didn't.

  • Is Prototype 2 a bad game? Fundamentally, no; if you liked Prototype 1 and didn't pay attention to the story, hey, it's more of the same, what's not to love?

    But if you're like me, a grouchy Gus who can't stop nitpicking, you probably won't enjoy it just because of the stupifying amount of idiocy in the game's plot. The fact that this game is attempting to make you sympathize with a flesh-consuming cannibal is quite hilarious, but the heavy-handed audio recordings you pick up in the game try their hardest to make the Blackwatch seem worse than the Nazis, to the point where they make one shoot an autistic child in the face for no goddamn reason because 'HURR DURR WE'RE BAD PEOPLE.' And no, I doubt people enjoy this game for its story, but if it's going to take itself so seriously like this, it has to at least try, and it tried with all the effort of a 13-year-old's first draft of a script.

    Besides that, a lot of areas and missions in the game are incredibly repetitive - there are several instances where the same underground lab environment shows up completely unchanged from the previous time you explored one - and it's altogether kind of a mediocre experience for a game whose premise is you being the embodiment of the Black Plague. If you're willing to forgive this game's dumbfounding writing, then by all means play it, but if you were looking for a different experience from the first game or a decent script, look elsewhere.

  • With EA'S Skate franchise nipping away at its heels, the Tony Hawk franchise was in hot water in recent years. In an effort to sell us more useless plastic peripherals, the developers made Tony Hawk: RIDE, a game played exclusively with a skateboard controller that you're supposed to ride on, like the title suggests.

    Pfft, good luck with that. The board is flimsy and light, and leaning the board left and right to turn is a humongous balancing act in itself. Grab tricks are performed by jumping and grabbing the side of the peripheral, which again, is practically impossible without inevitably faceplanting onto your living room carpet. This is the only way to play RIDE, and even if you somehow manage to get the controls to cooperate, the rest of the game is bare-bones and confined to small areas with little to do in them. On easy mode, you don't even have to do the steering - the game does it for you.

    This game, alongside its crummy sequel, SHRED, pooped on the franchise and left it sitting to rot as one of Activision's abandoned IPs next to Guitar Hero. It took until just recently for a reboot of the franchise to see the light of day, and even that was immensely polarizing in its own aspect, but it was nothing compared to Robomodo's latest outing in the franchise, detailed down below.

  • The Turok games for the Nintendo 64 and PC were quite fondly remembered for their excellent locales, soundtracks, and multitudes of secrets to unlock. Then came Turok Evolution - also on this list - which, as the misleading title doesn't suggest, actually took a step backwards in terms of quality, especially in the graphical compartment. As a follow-up, we were promised this reboot, which only served to dig the franchise further into a deep pit it would never rise up from again.

    Gone was any mention of the original time-travelling Native American warrior and in came the generic space marine plot with terrible exposition and mediocre characters to back it up. The only resemblance this game has to any of the prior Turok titles is the fact that it has dinosaurs in it - and there are no evil anthropomorphic dinosaurs, either, just a rag-tag group of evil space mercenaries.

    This game is almost more suited to be a James Cameron's Avatar tie-in than it is a Turok game, and in a similar vein to Nuts and Bolts, it honestly wouldn't have gotten such a bad rap if it was anything BUT Turok. But alas, here we are, wallowing in the fact that our favorite mythical dinosaur hunter will probably never see the light of day again.

  • It's no secret that Duke Nukem Forever was condemned to a long history of being in development hell, but after its resurrection and subsequent release for the 360, PS3 and PC, it was evident that it should have stayed in lingo for eternity.

    Not only was most of the humor quite forced and incredibly dated, the mechanics of the original games weren't carried over, either. Duke can only carry two guns at a time and had regenerating health, which made the game look hypocritical whenever it poked fun at other famous franchises that did the same thing. The controls were solid enough but movement felt very stiff and static - a humongous crime for a game whose origins dealt with fast-paced combat. Worse still, the game looked terrible, and the textures often had trouble KEEPING UP WITH ME as I played the game.

    I realize that this game has been through a lot, but it changes nothing. Shit is still shit, whether it's fresh or left to sit and decompose, and if this game is any indication, Duke's balls of steel have definitely rusted up.

  • Was Bubsy ever good to begin with? I keep seeing so much negative reception on the internet everywhere I look, and it almost makes it hard to keep this game on this list since there were hardly any expectations to begin with.

    But, I guess from a comparative standpoint, at least the 2D Bubsy platformers were slightly functional if not fundamentally broken. This game, however, is fucked. Completely fucked. I'm convinced the developers of Bubsy 3D blindfolded themselves throughout the entirety of its production because it just does not play like a traditional platformer should at all. Hell, it looks worse than most early-access titles do today. The environments are literally just wireframe backgrounds, for crying out loud. Bubsy does not go in all cardinal directions with the press of the control stick, either - he only moves forward, backward, or ever so slightly turns left and right while doing so. It's tank controls in a platformer. Programming something like this is committing the equivalent of a gaming felony. It's outlandish that something so piss-poor, so unfinished, so barely-past-the-artwork in quality could exist, let alone be sold on store shelves. This is why quality control is always important, everyone.

  • Acclaim is an infamous name in the industry, because while it did provide us with a few decent franchises, it also left us with some real stinkers like BMX XXX, the game which ended up killing their production studio for good (but wasn't a sequel, unfortunately, so can't really be mentioned on this list). One of those decent franchises, however, was Turok, a game based off of a series of old comics about a Native American survivalist trapped in the prehistoric era with a few of his friends. The N64 and PC titles are commonly cited as classics, but Evolution, ironically, is where the series started to flatline.

    For being a GameCube-era game, for starters, it looks like complete ass. The character models and environments look like something you would expect from a late PS1 title. Evolution's problems lie within the same realms of Duke Nukem Forever's - navigation is marred by awkward platforming sections and shoddy movement controls - but the flying stages are the true horror of this game. Brush up against any wall or obstacle and you explode in a shower of gore, and the flight controls are also inverted by default, not to mention very sensitive.

    Evolution took the series a bit backwards on the food chain, only further compounded by its in-name-only reboot that was also mentioned above.

  • Sonic had a reputation for giving out diminishing returns in the later half of the series' 3D gameplay shift, and the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality is most definitely the 2006 reboot.

    If bugs are considered features, Sonic 06 is the most innovative game I can think of. It's a miracle if the game's physics don't manage to completely bug out on the average playthrough, which often results in you clipping through many environmental objects and WALKING UP WALLS as if you were glued to them. The voice acting is ear-bleedingly insufferable, the plot is jumbled around like a tossed salad, the character designs are flat out fugly and the environments are ridiculously drab and lifeless, even during the post-apocalyptic burning city level, for goodness sake. The game's three playable main characters all control horribly, with special mention going to Silver and his ridiculous physics-based gameplay that gives the Havok physics engine a bad reputation. The only thing remotely complete about Sonic 06 is the game's surprisingly fantastic musical score, but it is far from enough to save Sonic 06 from the depths of awfulness.

    To say it was a disappointment is selling it short; the game was featured on the front covers of many gaming magazines back in the day and was constantly gaining hype from its fanbase. Unfortunately, a rushed development cycle to get the game on store shelves in time for Christmas ended up squandering any chance of the game being any good at all. With the blue blur's most recent addition to the franchise, Sonic Boom, getting similar lashings, it's hard to imagine that he'll make a big comeback any time soon.

  • When gaming went 3D, a lot of game series had to change their core gameplay they were well-associated with had to be revamped to abide with the times. Unfortunately, plenty of them absolutely flopped, not the least of which being the atrocious Bubsy 3D game (also mentioned on this list). Earthworm Jim 3D isn't quite as far up on the awful scale as Bubsy is, but it still smacked right into the polygon ceiling. Simply moving forward is an extreme exercise in itself, as the camera has a hard time not swaying in every direction, and the jump physics make you fall so fast that it's seems like a miracle if Jim can make it across a crack in a side walk. To make matters worse, the game is FILLED, to the ABSOLUTE BRIM, with deceptively difficult platforming and shooting sections that are absolute HELL on your hands, and this is all during the first ten minutes of the game.

    The only positive reinforcement this game has going for it is its slapstick humor; it has you collecting golden cow udders and traversing through Jim's own psyche for the entirety of the game. Jim's trademark wackiness, however, didn't save him from dooming his third entry from mediocrity.

  • Most of the Army Men games are love-it-or-hate-it affairs. Sarge's War, on the other hand, is just a hate-it affair.

    All the characters you may have come to know and love from the previous titles are killed off for seemingly no reason at the very start of the game to kick off the plot, removing any kind of diversity and ingenuity from the cast. The graphics look disgusting, the levels are monochromatic and dull as well as repetitive, the AI is rather stupid and the controls are very slippery and confusing. Top it off with a weak plot and a complete recharacterization and voice-actor change for Sergeant Hawk, and you have a fine contributor to the decline of 3DO and their most prevalent franchise. If war is hell, Sarge's War must be in the ninth circle.

  • Armageddon holds the title of being the Mortal Kombat game with the largest amount of kharacters on the roster, with a whopping 62 playable kharacters. Unfortunately, size doesn't matter in komparison to the dumbfounding changes made to the series' staple formula. Gone were klassic fatalities for each kharacter, replaced by a krappy 'Kustom Fatality' mechanic that barely invokes any sort of kustomization. You input kommands and watch as your fighter does several stilted, lazily-animated attacks rather than simply watching a gruesome kutscene. Other modes are rather silly additions as well - there is a Mario Kart klone, a single-player kampaign focusing on a newcomer named Taven that hardly anyone kares about, and other silly minigames such as Chess Kombat. What a rather unexciting amount of kontent for an otherwise promising sequel.

    Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe shortly followed, which was pretty much the polar opposite of Armageddon... yet it sucked as well, since the violence was meddled with due to the DC Heroes' 'Thou shalt not kill' rule, and the gore of the previous games was nearly non-existent. Thankfully, Warner Brothers and Netherrealm Studios managed to clean house with the excellent Mortal Kombat 9, and with Mortal Kombat X on the horizon, things are looking up for the world's most violent fighting game franchise.

  • Okay, when I did a review of this game, I'll admit, I was absolutely pent up with frustration and had to blow off steam by writing a long, angry play-by-play of Pokemon Channel. Yes, I'm pathetic, and I will admit, I was quite harsh on the game overall since I did have some fun with it as a kid, but it still doesn't hold a candle to Hey You Pikachu!, the game it was based off of. Hey You Pikachu! wasn't groundbreaking, but the activity variety and the voice commands drove it home. Here, going outside is hardly ever required, and the television takes up most of your time. While most of the channels are at least somewhat entertaining, some get old rather quick, and the only reward you get for playing through the game is a crummy Pichu Bros. short that, as I said before, could have easily been shoehorned in as a bonus feature on one of the millions of Pokemon films on the market. I expected so much more from Pokemon Channel (although, come to think of it, I don't know why) but it managed to remove a lot of what Hey You Pikachu! enjoyable, which I didn't think was possible.

  • Again, the quality of the original Flatout games can be argued about, but as a whole, they were relatively decent driving games with hilarious ragdoll physics-based side games. Then the series got picked up by Team 6 and we got this atrocity.

    If you haven't seen Simon and Lewis' video of the gameplay in this version, I'll summarize it for you - Flatout 3 is a shitstorm of unplayability. Cars constantly glitch, embed themselves in the ground or even fall out of the map entirely, with the worst cases leading to entire server resets, and the variety of minigames was utterly molested by an awful physics engine that barely works.

    I'm guessing all the chaos and destruction that this game gets its name from stems from the development cycle, because this series is flat-out dead in the water. Puns!

  • The original arcade classic Rampage got several home console adaptations that, quite honestly, could mostly be seen as decent at best. For Total Destruction, however, not even that much can be said.

    The massive roster is just about the only thing this reboot has over its predecessors - combat and movement are all criminally slow, the controls are difficult to comprehend (especially on the Wii port), and the levels somehow managed to appear even more drab than the Nintendo 64 iterations. Worse still, monster unlock conditions are seemingly random, and the game has frequent framerate stuttering issues, especially during firefights.

    Total Destruction is just about as apt a title can get, as far as this franchise is concerned. I don't think we'll have to worry about another monster attack from these guys any time soon.

  • Speaking of gimmicks, some geriatric fuckwit thought it would be a good idea to advertise the waggle-powered, blatant-Wii-Mote-ripoff Playstation Move controller by coding a ridiculously boring tie-in that should have been the best fucking thing ever. They seriously brought together the three powerhouses of Sony's platformer action-adventure titles and somehow managed to mess it up by handing it off to an untrustworthy, shovelware developer.

    There is no diversity to the gameplay - you're stuck, quite literally, on one hallway, usually with enemies in your way that you dispatch by waving your controller around like a dork. The only time the gameplay becomes anything unique is when you're playing minigames, which involve wretched controls and painfully-slow gameplay. That's all this game is, by the way, just boring, vapid minigames with no substance and no exploration to them.

    It's the video game equivalent of the third Expendables movie. They have an all-star cast with hardly anything else to back it up.

  • Before Skylanders came and resuscitated the franchise, Spyro had a nasty fall from grace since his reign on the Playstation One, and it all began with Enter the Dragonfly.

    It was a traditional Spyro game, all right... when it actually worked properly. My copy of the game, which was barely scratched, often had trouble loading large swathes of levels, resulting in giant voids popping up in the middle of play, not to mention the controls felt quite slippery, too, all while having to watch the game run at a quite miserable framerate. When I wasn't being agitated by the glitches, I was being agitated by terrible voice acting, confusing level design, and intrepid minigames bereft of any semblance of entertainment.

    Sadly, Enter the Dragonfly was but one of many games that contributed to what I like to call the 'Downward Spy-ral.' I would list them here, but I have yet to subject myself to their horrors, so that will have to wait for another day.

  • Destroy All Humans!, despite a few technical hiccups every now and then, was an extremely addicting sandbox game that placed you in control of Crypto, a mind-bending alien with a stash of devastating weaponry. Once the series hit the 3rd main entry, though (let's be honest, Big Willy Unleashed never happened, but at least that was kind of a spin-off), everything just felt... off.

    What little environments there were just looked way too similar to each other, the physics were screwed with even more, and the whole experience felt lackluster compared to that of DAH! 1 and 2.

    Poor sales pretty much spelled doom for the franchise, not to mention Pandemic's untimely demise. What a tragic end to such an underrated gem.

  • Deadlocked? Hah, more like Deadlocked-to-one-gimmick-that-isn't-even-particularly-satisfying-by-the-series-standards. I liked the gladiator game modes in the main series Ratchet and Clank games, but did we really need an entire game revolving around them? And where the hell is Clank's name in the title? Why does Ratchet look like a generic space marine now? Is this really the direction the series is heading in? I really hope not...

  • This was the first game I put on this list, and before everyone lashes out at me for jumping on the CoD-hate bandwagon, I have news for you - I actually enjoy most of the modern Call of Duty titles. The plots are still vapid and trite, of course, but you can't fault them for trying new things, especially with the recent installments focusing more on futuristic set pieces and environments. However, with that said, there are no redeeming qualities about Modern Warfare 3.

    While the franchise being guilty of a highly copy-paste business model was nothing new to the series, it was especially prevalent in MW3 - a majority of the guns were the same, a majority of the characters were the same, the 'plot' of this title was essentially Modern Warfare 2: The Director's Cut, and even the multiplayer was largely undisturbed, with the only remarkable new feature present being a new deathmatch game type that didn't particularly revolutionize the multiplayer scene. The game tried way too hard to one-up the 'No Russian' scenario of the second game by *SPOILERS* essentially blowing up half of Europe and showing a scene of a little girl being trapped in an exploding van, amongst killing off the protagonist of the first two titles, Soap MacTavish, which meant hardly anything to me considering I always just considered him another faceless expendable grunt.*SPOILER END*

    I was hoping Infinity Ward would be able to make me retain faith in the series, but after giving it a rent a while back, it made me pretty much swear on my grave not to buy into another Infinity Ward Call of Duty title, a creed I hold close to my heart to this day.

  • The old school Def Jam wrestling games were a diamond in the rough, a surprise turn-around for a relatively untouched genre. Who wouldn't want to piledrive someone onto the mat as DMX or Scarface? Fun haters, that's who.

    So let's just go ahead and remove all the good gameplay aspects of the previous two fighters and make the fights a sluggish, unpleasant mess of nonsense. Of course. Why not? And to add to the stupidity, we'll make the main characters less expressive than the backgrounds they're fighting in and cobble together a pointless romp of a storyline. That's sure to please all the fans, right?

    Goddamn EA. Maybe if they weren't morons and kept AKI at the helm of development, shit like this wouldn't happen so often.

  • Mario Party never gets old, right? It's an excellent pick-up-and-play game to throw on with a bunch of friends over and a bunch of spare controllers lying around, so it'll never go out of style, right? Apparently not, because the series tanked so hard after the 8th entry that Hudson Soft ended up going out of business. With no one but the first-party devs left to handle the franchise, the game was once again picked up and developed... with entirely different design decisions in mind.

    The minigames are all present as they ever were, and some of them are actually pretty neat, but the core gameplay of the series - you know, the BOARD GAME - was defaced and neutered. Instead of traversing around a traditional game board, the developers thought it would be a good idea to fasten everyone to the same space within the same vehicle and have them take turns operating the thing, collecting Mini-Stars along the way, which replace both the beloved Coins and Stars of the previous titles. While the other titles were no strangers to chance events that could screw you over, this game effectively doubles that chance, as there are way fewer opportunities to gain enough Mini-Stars to gain the lead, and there are no more item shops or fancy traps to use. The only items you get just changed the properties of the dice rolls, adding to the tediousness of the experience, and to top it off, every game board is a linear romp instead of a more open-ended board that repeats itself.

    If you just play Mario Party for the wacky minigames, you might find some enjoyment in the newer versions, but for those that yearn for the old games... just stick with the old games.

  • I bet a lot of you are already brandishing your pitchforks, and duly so - Saints Row The Third honestly isn't that bad. Hell, considering most of the games it shares this list with, it's considered a damn masterpiece, but from my perspective - yeah, it was a disappointment, all right.

    Let's start with the story. Previously having pretty much conquered Stilwater, your character - the head of the eponymous Third Street Saints - is robbing a bank with your most trusted crew members when your plan goes a little awry and you and your crewmates end up locked up, upon which you meet the bad guys, the Syndicate. They take you aboard their private jet and discuss business with you, you decline because they're assholes, and they unceremoniously gun down one of the series' most long-standing protagonists off-screen.

    Wait, what?

    But it only gets better from there. You know how in order to progress and level up your character in the first couple Saints Row games, you had to experiment and try out some of the side missions? This game just says 'fuck it' and throws them directly into the main game for no reason other than to pad out the story's length. That's not the only substantial change made to the game's story, either - you can no longer tackle each rival faction separately with their own sets of missions, as they are all one big superpower, so the missions play out in a boring, linear, and uninspired fashion, made even better by the eventual involvement of the cyber military. The game essentially turns from a thug drama to a ridiculous sci-fi/action comedy for no reason, and despite some really neat concepts like the level where you fight the Deckers inside cyberspace, most of it feels jumbled and incoherent with itself. It jumps from one idea to the next, throws the wackiness switch on overload, and completely loses the magic that Saints Row 2 had, because while the second outing had its spurts of comedy, it was mostly backed up by a serious, somewhat-believable plot. With The Third, however, silly shit is happening and in your face 24/7, and it turns old hat very fast.

    If I upset you for lashing out at this game, well, apologies, but you have to remember that I highly anticipated it, too. The fact that the payoff was quite underwhelming gives it good enough criteria for me to include it on this list. Remember what I said earlier - a game doesn't have to be bad for it to be a letdown.

  • Co-op Ratchet and Clank sounds like a good idea on pen and paper, right? Well, in practice, you end up with games like All 4 One, a painfully linear and disappointingly-dull action platformer.

    Again, it can be argued that All 4 One isn't really that 'bad' in the traditional sense, but of all the series I think would not meld well with co-op, Ratchet & Clank would be pretty high up on that list, and this game certainly accentuates why. Levels take eons to complete, as the gameplay is particularly slow and there is the odd arbitrary co-op puzzle every now and then. Pretty much everything in this game requires teamwork in some shape or form, and that's not such a bad thing when you're talking about simple puzzles, but even in combat with the game's most basic weapon, you generally won't be getting anywhere unless you and your cohorts focus your combined fire on one enemy to get a firing speed boost. The player characters spout irritating lines that repeat ad-nauseum, and the normally-massive arsenal of the main-series Ratchet and Clank games was gimped to about 15 in total for this installment, some of which can only be wielded by certain characters and almost ALL of which are essentially ineffective without some form of teamwork.

    It seems developers these days are in that odd mindset that every game on the planet has to have some kind of multiplayer co-operative functionality these days, even the ones that don't need it, and Ratchet and Clank certainly didn't. Even the painfully-short Quest for Booty or the above-mentioned Deadlocked are better alternatives to All 4 One solo - if you were to play through All 4 One, make sure you at least have a full party with you.

  • You read what I had to say about Sonic 06 up above, didn't you? Well, congratulations, now you also know why Rise of Lyric sucks, too.

    Infamously not developed by Sonic Team - rather, by a studio called Big Red Button, as a tie-in for the mediocre television series of the same name - Rise of Lyric is a sad, pathetic excuse for a Sonic the Hedgehog title. Combat is mindless, but not so much as the characters, whose insipid voice-lines and cracks about bounce-pads will have you urging yourself to turn the volume down. Several cutscenes and scripted events have terrible animations and cameras attached to them, and even on the Wii U, the game still manages to run at an absolutely miserable framerate, especially during the running segments, which are the WORST POSSIBLE TIMES that the game could drop frames at. And that's not even scratching the surface of how truly broken Sonic Boom is - Knuckles has an infinite jump that can be exploited by simply PAUSING THE GAME MID-JUMP. How do you fuck that up?!

    To its credit, it at least seems to function the way it was intended most of the time - which is more than what could be said for Sonic 06 - but it hardly changes anything. If you think about it, Sonic Boom is an apt title, because this game seems to self-destruct itself at every opportunity it gets.

  • I had to throw this one up here just out of spite. Anyone who has even garnered a glimpse at this atrocious yet somewhat endearing entry into the Tony Hawk franchise would agree.

    It's widely speculated that the game was released just to capitalize on Tony Hawk's name before Activision lost the license, and the results show that all too clearly - the physical mechanics of the gameplay are dreadful and snappy, the game in its entirety is immensely unstable and prone to copious crashes, and you actively have to fight against the controls just to start a mission. You know your franchise has bought the farm when the best part the game has to offer stems from the buggy ragdoll effects, where it is not uncommon to see your skateboarder slowly launch into space or clip through solid concrete.

    Needless to say, looks like the Hawk Man's future in the virtual world of gaming is all but history. That's probably an oxymoron, but that argument is better structured than this game, at any rate.

  • Yeah, how dare me for putting the almighty, infallible Halo franchise on this list, right? Well, in all honesty, this one had a long time coming, and again, it would be wrong to consider Halo 4 a less-than-decent title. There's plenty of fun to be had with it still, but behind the black, it's all too evident that this series has become a shell of its former self, repeatedly resurrected by Microsoft as their own metaphorical fountain of youth which, in my opinion, has just about run dry.

    My biggest gripe with Halo 4 is its overall scope just does not match the caliber of its predecessors in terms of, well, just about everything. The graphics are nicer, I guess, but firefights, whether it's multiplayer or the campaign, are relegated to cramped maps and combat zones that are smaller and less varied than ever before. Iconic mechanics and game modes from other games were mysteriously missing, such as dual-wielding and the horde-like Firefight game type that debuted in ODST, and several unwelcome mechanics from OTHER triple-A titles were shoehorned in, such as the custom loadout system in multiplayer, a system that Halo was known for NOT conforming to, sans cosmetics.

    Then there are the story elements, which attempted to humanize Master Chief and build upon his character... which failed miserably, as his backstory was intentionally shrouded in mystery in the Bungie trilogy, leaving the new development team with not a lot to go off of. One other point - as a pop quiz of sorts, I'd like for you to name off at least 3 memorable, plot-crucial characters in Halo 4 that aren't Master Chief, Cortana, or the main villain. Go on, I dare you. I'll give you about a minute to think about it.

    Come up with anything? I sure didn't. This game's supporting cast is more forgettable than the bog-standard infantry you spend half of the game fighting, and coming from a series that gave us charismatic badasses such as Sergeant Johnson and Captain Keyes, you'd think that would have been an element the development team would excel at, but nope, we're stuck with faceless soldiers with no distinct personality. This isn't even going into the flimsy excuse as to why you're suddenly fighting the Covenant again, or the ham-fisted inclusion of the Forerunners, or the obfuscating stupidity of the Ur-Didact, and the list goes on and on...

    Yet, while the game was praised to high heaven and heralded as a worthy successor to the franchise, I bottled up my complaints and kept them hidden away. I've thought many times about adding this one to the list over the years, but I could never find the words to describe my disappointment, and now that I've let the broth sit for a while, I can finally vent my frustrations. I have yet to play the fifth entry, nor do I really plan on it, as from the gameplay I've seen, I'd imagine most of my complaints would match up with those of this outing. So there's that.

  • I couldn't believe my eyes when I looked at the review scores for the newest iteration of Star Fox. There certainly was no shortage of criticisms and disdain for this outing, and once I saw gameplay footage and listened in on what everyone had to say, it became all too evident why.

    You would think being one of Nintendo's most beloved and cherished properties that hasn't had a proper sequel in almost a decade that Star Fox's core formula wouldn't be tampered with too heavily, but in their never-ending quest to reinvent the wheel, Nintendo made the bold (and moronic) decision to shoehorn motion-based gamepad functionality into the experience. Basically, they separated the interfaces for piloting your Arwing and aiming weapon systems between the two screens, which absolutely spells disaster, as concentrating on both proves to be very problematic and non-intuitive. Even when you do manage to grasp the aiming mechanics, the crosshair is non-indicative of where your shots actually travel, throwing off the experience even further. Add to it that the game can be completed within the span of mere hours, and the game just crashes and burns up on arrival.

    The E3 trailers and the vignettes shown in Nintendo Directs in the past truly made this game look like an astounding venture back into the nostalgic cockpit of the space animal squadron, but as is often the case when flying a real space shuttle, if you don't absolutely know which buttons to press and how to operate the craft, you won't have a great time, and unfortunately, Nintendo just did not make it easy enough for most of us. It's not rocket science... or at least it shouldn't be, anyways...

  • Time for another polarizing entry, methinks. I never had much experience with the second game as a kid. I only rented it a couple of times from the local movie theater and played demos from other PS2 games. I adored the first and third ones, however. The Precursor Legacy, while mostly considered the bog-standard 3D collect-a-thon at the time, left a lasting impression on me with its awe-inspiring set design, fluid control scheme, and light-hearted humor, while Wastelander took the mature themes of the second title and refined them into a more presentable, palatable, open-world experience with a fleshed-out story and bearable vehicle sections, which was honestly a series first.

    What did Jak II: Renegade have? Um... oh, that's right, a cheesy, brooding edgelord personality and design makeover for the protagonist, supporting cast and story that has aged HORRIBLY with time, several growing industry trends borrowed shamelessly in order to 'freshen up' the experience - such as a pointless open hub world with little to nothing in it and shooty shooty Call o' Dooty gun weapons - the same dreadful vehicle controls from the first game taking a much more prominent role in advancing the main story, barely anything in the vein of sidequests or optional objectives, levels that have to be revisited multiple times over, sparse checkpoints which make completing levels and missions a much bigger ordeal than they need to be, and hoverboards.

    Remind me, why do people like this game again? I mean, come on, it's the Shadow the Hedgehog of the main Playstation platformer lineup. It's not awful by any stretch of the word, but if you ask me, it doesn't hold a candle to its predecessor or its successor, and the way Naughty Dog so heavily borrowed from the industry trends at the time just reeks of laziness and lack of inspiration. I hope the next numbered sequel, bar The Lost Frontier, doesn't fall to the wayside, if we ever get it.

  • Okay, okay, hold on a minute there. You probably saw this one and are already jumping the gun towards the comments section to rip my asshole apart, so let me explain - the core game? Absolutely fine. It's enjoyable, good-old Monkey Ball goodness with the ability to jump as a new feature. The motion controls are a bit ersatz in comparison to previous titles, but they're mostly inoffensive.

    Nay, the reason why Banana Blitz occupies a spot on this list is because SEGA went absolutely goddamn berserk and messed up all of the side games that were half of the fun of the previous core titles. In comparison to the 12 or so mini game modes you could choose from in the second title, Banana Blitz has FIFTY. You know what happened the last time a game promised us at least fifty games in one package? We got Action fucking 52, for God's sake.

    And true to the esteemed legacy of that hunk of hot garbage, barely any of the mini games you can play in this version even FUNCTION. Just about all of them utilize complex motion controls that fail to adequately register almost all the time. The only remotely serviceable party game I saw myself enjoying was the Monkey Golf minigame, which was a carry-over from the previous two iterations and in and of itself is inferior to them in almost every conceivable way.

    Anyone who ever tells me quantity is more important than quality clearly has never taken the extra time to experience these goddamn things for themselves. I would have rather accepted shitty Tiger Electronics mini game ports instead of all this clunky nonsense.

  • Again, arguably, Crash Twinsanity stands on its own as a decent, if not directionless, 3D platformer. However, it had to follow up what is arguably one of the most iconic, timeless sagas in gaming history, that put Sony on the map as a major player against the industry giant known as Nintendo. You could also argue Wrath of Cortex was the catalyst - it was the first of the core Crash games with Traveller's Tales at the helm, with Twinsanity being the second, but surprisingly, I still have yet to play Wrath of Cortex, and until I do, Twinsanity will have to take the brunt of the punishment for the purposes of this list.

    So, where to start with this one... It certainly isn't a secret that Twinsanity has not had the smoothest development cycle. The explanation given for the team-up of Crash and his nemesis Dr. Cortex is hardly explained and rather flimsy, most bosses from games prior (who, mind you, are supposed to be allied WITH Dr. Cortex) seemingly ignore their own alliances to fight you, and the main villains of the story line aren't even revealed until about 3/4 through the main game, which is also incredibly short. The gameplay is responsive enough, but jumps around through gameplay styles so erroneously that it hardly feels like a proper platformer half the time. At least two levels that were essentially finished in the beta build of the game were cut, most likely due to time constraints, and the game is also excessively glitchy and rough around the edges compared to all of its predecessors, even Wrath of Cortex.

    Since this underwhelming entry into the series, Crash has yet to make a proper return to his roots. Crash of the Titans and Mind Over Mutant, while decent if not polarizing games in their own right, switched up the game tremendously and hardly feel familiar at all to those who enjoyed the Playstation originals. Fortunately, however, Sony announced during their E3 conference this year that the first three Crash games are being remastered from the ground up on PS4 and are set to arrive very soon. One can only hope this means breathing new life into Sony's power-player platforming franchise.

  • Well now, don't I look stupid.

    I originally put this game on my list of titles that most people didn't enjoy, but I did... retroactively, out of nostalgia's sake. Let's be honest, though, any one of you who took the time to gloss over my retrospective series concerning DK64 will quickly start to realize that my initial enjoyment with the game sizzled and soured to all but nonexistence by the time the credits rolled. There's so much just fundamentally wrong with this game that it overwhelms even its most shining achievements.

    I can't knock the musical score, no sir. The atmospheric sounds and audio are top notch (although the repetition of track rhythms does get somewhat aggravating after a smidgen of playtime). And heck, for it's time, the player models and the graphics are some of the best looking things I could have expected out of the era. The controls are straightforward and, for the most part, easy to learn and pick up even for inexperienced beginners.

    That's where all my praise begins and ends, however. The gamut of the game is a large, jumbled and inconsistent mess of terrible, broken mini-games, archaic and confounding passageways and corridors that consist of the majority of the game's level design - which makes every level, even the outdoor ones, feel like a large museum exhibit, travelling between boring halls that connect several points of interest - unnecessary and tedious tasks that require you to backtrack to fully-explored areas as other Kongs to get items you need to continue the game, several repeated bosses and game mechanics that feel stale and unwelcome, a hellish camera that you have to contest with to see where you're going, a horrible sense of direction and player agency due to the tutorial not being fleshed out enough for newer players...

    The list goes on and on and on. As much as I want this game to be anything BUT a disappointment, it still largely is. There's a reason the collect-a-thon genre died when this game hit the shelves, and why companies like Microsoft are so anxious towards greenlighting a proper Banjo-Kazooie sequel.

  • However, the downfall of the Donkey Kong series was not entirely DK64's fault. If you ask me, the seeds were sown when its predecessor hit the shelves a few years prior.

    Now, I consider Donkey Kong Country 2 to be one of, if not THE greatest platforming video game of all time, so yeah, DKC3 definitely had some big shoes to fill. But it wasn't just disappointing by proxy of not being DKC2, because if you ask me, it's worse than even the first Country title.

    A far cry from the twisted and cruel thematic elements of the second title, Donkey Kong Country 3 was ostensibly dumbed down for a younger audience. The graphics, character designs, and audio tracks were bowdlerized to a softer and sickeningly saccharine palette. Animations were lazily and hastily put together and virtually NO effort was put in towards matching them up with their respective sound bytes, something that wasn't even a problem with the first DKC that came before two years prior. Sure, it still PLAYS like Donkey Kong Country, but it exists as a Baby's First equivalent, with even the overall difficult sans the bonus stages taking a large hit. As an extra kick in the teeth, the introduction of Kiddy Kong as Dixie's sidekick character was not only met with ire from fans due to his design but also from his similar play style to Donkey Kong in the first game.

    I grinned like a maniac when I replayed DKC2 for the second time in recent years, but ground my teeth trying to finish this one. It's just so uninspired and uninviting. We as gamers like to whip Activision and EA for being guilty of this today with Battlefield and Call of Duty, but back when platformers were big, this shit was happening too, and DKC3 is a large example of that.

  • When people comment on the fact that Dead Rising is now a zombie franchise, they're not talking about the content, oh no. Dead Rising is now a metaphysical zombie franchise as well, milked alongside Halo and Gears of War in Microsoft's exclusive launch window deal, with ports often coming later. Honestly, Capcom honestly shouldn't have bothered and just stayed on the Xbox One for all I care - the newest entry in the Dead Rising series is a sleazy, by-the-book open-world snooze fest that has the gall to be associated with a cult classic.

    Is it horrible? Not really. It certainly controls well enough in most instances and you still get to hack away at zombies with all kinds of wacky and gruesome weapons. No, the devil here is definitely in the details, with a cliche storm of a story, uninteresting characters, poor texturework and lighting, questionable design choices that make the game way too easy, a generic and unappealing replacement for the voice of Frank West, borderline horrific model work in-game, and the removal of the timer system that provided half of the challenge and fun of the previous Dead Rising games being just a sampler platter of the myriad of Dead Rising 4's issues.

    Some may not agree with this inclusion, as some of the elements of this game are more palatable than the ones included within the first few, such as the lack of a strict timer between missions leaving you less pressed for time. What Capcom fails to realize, however, are the unconventional elements that made the previous Dead Rising games stand out amongst its competition. With all of that gone, much like the modern-day Saints Row titles, it has no identity, leaving it as just another stick-in-the-mud Far Cry clone with zombies in it.

  • Memes killed the Trials games. That's not to say Trials was down the rabbit hole in this regard prior, what with the incoherent rap song in Evolution and the annoying attempt at a plot in Fusion, but it has never been so bad up until today.

    So why is Trials of the Blood Dragon, um, a thing, that exists, that you have to pay for? Seriously, I'm asking you, because I honestly do not know why Far Cry elements needed to be mashed up into an adaptation of a goddamn motorbike flash game. If anyone has the answer, I'd love to hear it.

    Again, the Trials parts are still there, and while they are empty husks of the levels you would normally find in a game like Fusion, they're still enjoyable. But good God almighty, does the game go from 8 to 0 in an instant. A couple levels in, and you're forced to infiltrate a base on foot, and the controls are ABYSMALLY bad. Half of the levels in the game involve doing this, and the campaign is pitifully short, clocking in at just about 3 hours max.

    The original Blood Dragon worked with its outlandish setting because the core gameplay complemented its retro-futuristic neon style. Trials already has a futuristic gimmick in place with Fusion that works just fine, so not only does this adaptation fail, it also has no reason to be there in the first place. Just make some tie-in levels for Fusion based on Blood Dragon, release it as DLC and call it a day. That's literally all they had to do, but noooooooo, this absolutely had to happen, and we haven't seen any activity on the Trials front since. I hope this stupid game didn't kill the franchise for good.

  • If I spent as many hours in my life doing something meaningful and productive as I did during my average session with the first Mercenaries title, I would be a completely different man. Playground of Destruction took so many hours off of my life - I would often have to delete my save in this game to make room for other save files and I honestly did not mind because I loved starting fresh with the first game so much.

    This game should have been the absolute tits. It was marketed as such, had a great advertising campaign focused on the humor and over-the-top exploits of World in Flames, and it took the destruction aspect of the first game to ludicrous levels by allowing you to, well, literally LEVEL every building in sight with a smorgasbord of new tools in your arsenal. How could this game NOT be good?

    It's unfortunate to proclaim it as such, but it just was not as mechanically solid as Mercenaries 1. This game was more bugged than most mainline Bethesda titles - I remember experiencing lighting issues, polygons stretching miles apart and blinding me from seeing anything, AI bugs that made them as dumb as blind mice, physics glitches that could cause clipping issues and key items to fall out of the map... this game was so ambitious that it seems Pandemic felt like they didn't need to hire any beta testers. Even some aspects of the game when it works just feel slightly off when compared to its predecessor, particularly with the driving and the removal of the unique 'Deck of 52' system that gave the first game so much replay value.

    It is a shame that this is the follow-up we got to Playground of Destruction, but its legacy wasn't entirely lost to time. The Just Cause series, particularly Just Cause 2, carried on a lot of the game's staple traditions while also ramping up the chaos and destruction aspect in a large open sandbox world, with more movement options and locales to explore (and demolish). We may not get another Mercenaries game, but the truth is Mercenaries set the precedent so well for the genre that we may not even need another one.

  • ...well, okay, I change my mind, maybe Mercenaries SHOULD come back, if only to remind the guys who made Just Cause 3 what makes a good open-world destructive sandbox shooter.

    Just Cause 3 is not bad, but it's merely passable. Just Cause 2 took the corny, tongue-in-cheek B-movie action flick cliches and ran with them to the moon, and while it didn't result in a compelling narrative or even half-decent voice acting, it DID result in tight controls, a satisfyingly-cathartic gameplay loop of wanton destruction and mayhem, alongside several optional side quests, collectibles, and objectives to complete to save up for a fine and varied selection of guns, automotives and services. Just Cause 3 is much of the same formula, but made with a couple missing ingredients. Gunplay is slightly worse, which is not helped by the lack of weapon variety early on. The driving controls feel a bit more stiff. The open world, while still large, somehow feels less mystical and enthralling as some of Panau's premiere locations - it's largely missing that 'Mile High Club,' that 'giant air compressor cannon,' those 'fight with ninjas and dictators atop cruise missile' moments that give the second game its luster, not to mention how the story leans a bit too heavy on the humor aspect which only serves to highlight its bland and somehow even weaker voice casting choices.

    It's still a serviceable action sandbox third-person shooter, absolutely, but in comparison to the previous outing, it's more expensive, offers little in the way of variety beyond the new (admittedly pretty fun) wingsuit tool and doesn't take nearly as many risks that paid off so well with the second iteration.