Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Top Ten Most Disappointing Games (I Have Played)

Love it or hate it, this is a list of the 10 games that most disappointed me. The list is in no particular order and this is by no means a list of the worst games I have ever played (we'll save that one for another day).
1. Fable 3
 Recently reviewed, this game was not even close to the worst title I have ever played but after my immense enjoyment with the first two games in the series I had high hopes for Fable 3, hopes that Lionhead then sat on.

2. Final Fantasy 13
Garbage, absolute garbage. From cheesy lines to narrow corridors and terrible combat FF13 probably stands as the biggest let down I have ever experienced in the world of gaming.   

3. Halo 2
Halo 2 had big shoes to fill and unfortunately had very small feet. I played the first Halo on PC to death, after the release of Halo 2 I forever turned my back to Bungie.  

4. Rainbow Six: Vegas 2
Not the biggest of disappointments but I had high hopes that this game would be as revolutionary as its predecessor. Vegas 2 failed to push the boundaries of  the FPS genre and therefore got trampled by other great releases.

5. Perfect Dark Zero 
There are few people that will speak ill of the original Perfect Dark. I believe I put more time into Perfect Dark than I did Goldeneye. I think most would agree that Perfect Dark Zero is a stain on the gaming industry.

6. Far Cry 2
Countless hours had been spent exploring the hostile jungle of Far Cry. I consider it to be one of Ubisoft's greats, which does not happen often. I have to throw out there that I really enjoyed the idiot proof map making system implemented in the sequel and wish other shooters would use something similar, but map making aside this game was agonizing to finish.  

7. Fallout: New Vegas
Only Bethesda should have the right...

8. Dead Rising
Killing zombies with a lawnmower was great for the first couple of hours, after extended periods of time this game became harder and harder to digest. I found it much more entertaining to run around braining zombies and eventually gave up on the story all together.

9. LA Noir

10. Phantasy Star Universe
This one nearly tore my heart out. If you ever played Phantasy Star Online then i'm sure you know how great of a game it was for it's time. Phantasy Star Universe is right up there with Final Fantasy 13... a better frisbee than a game.

I Think It's Bad... Maybe It's Good? (Fable 3 Review)

Playing Fable 3 from a reviewer's standpoint has been a very confusing experience. You see when Lionhead Studios released the first installment of the series in 2004 I was very pleased with the result and spent many hours killing traveling vendors, kicking chickens, and mooning innocent civilians. You may be surprised to hear that I was even more pleased when Lionhead released Fable 2 in 2008. In my book Lionhead had really stepped it up with the second installment, elaborating on many of the things that made Fable a great game and eliminating some of the things that took you out of the experience and obstructed the overall flow of the adventure.

In 2010 Fable 3 hit shelves and of course I was very excited to get my hands on it. I searched around for some trailers and initially was fairly turned off by it's industrial age feel, though this was certainly not a deal breaker. But as time went on it was hard to not notice the bombardment of slander that kept arising on the web and it quickly became very obvious that people were very displeased with what Lionhead had done with the latest Fable release. Unfortunately this did turn me off to the idea of picking the game up and I decided to patiently wait for the game to reach bargain bin prices before giving it a try... it did not take long.
The Wallmart cowboy LOVES the bargain bin

In the beginning I was fairly disappointed with Fable 3. An obvious beginning to an all too familiar tale told millions of times before and it was apparent that Lionhead had not revamped a whole lot this time around. Combat still feels smooth in Fable 3 but little has been done to make it more exciting, and let's face it, the combat in Fable has never been all that exciting to begin with. There are some slightly amusing killing blow animations in the game, but these happen all too often and some are a bit long, greatly disrupting the flow of combat. Lionhead clearly failed at an attempt to make the magic system more intricate by allowing the player to combine spells for different effects, the problem is this new system only allows you to use one spell effect at a time, thus making casting even more bland than before. One of the most annoying aspects of combat is the fact that dying has no real impact on your character, there are no revive consumables in Fable 3, instead when your health runs out you will be knocked to the floor only to quickly stand up again losing an insignificant amount of "XP" which you will never even bat an eye at. I literally do not use health potions in Fable 3, there is simply no point to it at all. Needless to say combat is very easy, the only slight frustration you will encounter is your enemies blocking FAR too often, dragging out the yawn inspiring combat and aggravating you to no end. 

Yet another problem that greatly disappointed me was the way Lionhead tried to mask some of the traditional RPG elements the series offered. There is no menu in the game (or so it seems). Instead you can transport to the guild hall at anytime, a place that serves as an interactive (you guessed it!) menu. I must admit this is a very refreshing and innovative idea and the ability to fast travel through this room at your leisure is a great way to avoid those boring pointless fights you will grow to dread. The traditional leveling system has been replaced by an aggravating road that you can transport to at any time. Reaching certain points in the story unlock more of the road and along this road are chests you can spend your experience to open and learn new skills. I cannot fully express how bad of an idea this was in words. You would have to experience it to understand. Enemies in Fable 3 only drop experience which makes fighting them absolutely pointless once you have unlocked all the chests along the "road to rule" (oh no, what a shame...) so once you have reached the point where everything is unlocked you are left wondering why you would want to further explore what the game has to offer. I rather liked the more traditional RPG feel of the former titles and really hope that if Lionhead decides to make a Fable 4 they will undo all the damage that has been done to the series. People usually play Fable because they enjoy RPG's, not because they enjoy playing an RPG pretending to be an action / adventure game. Visually Fable 3 stands middle of the road. The environments are pretty as well as the character models  but I never found myself taken a back by any of the games visuals. I also had expected more to be done with the presence of the hero's faithful companion but little attention was given to the heroic pooch this time around. Having a pet was a fun idea in Fable 2 but there is a lot of room for growth and I'm sure most would like to see Lionhead branch out with this idea.

Please fix the buggy quest tracker...

Now that I have addressed most of the bad, it's time for the good. And fear not, though there are a lot of less than favorable aspect of Fable 3 there is also a decent amount of good here. One of the first things I picked up on while adventuring yet again through Albion was that it is a lot more funny this time around. I found myself laughing out loud (also known to some as"lawling") on countless occasion at the games abrupt British potty humor and this really made the experience a lot more enjoyable. The map system has also seen a huge overhaul making exploration easier and allowing you to fast travel even during combat! I am not all that into collectables myself, but if you are than you will be pleased to know that Fable 3 has plenty of them. Hunting Albion for evil lawn gnomes, silver keys, gold keys, demon doors and more will keep you busy for many hours and will probably induce a good laugh here and there. I had heard that Fable 3 is seriously lacking in content but did not really find this to be true. There is an abundant amount of side quests to explore and working to collect and purchase everything in the game would take you a very long time without the help of a walkthrough if you can stand the games faults long enough to do so. 

All in all Fable 3 is not an amazing game, but it is certainly not trash either. Lionhead is pushing a lot of new idea's here and some of them are really interesting, unfortunately the serious improvements made on this game are not in areas that really count. The experience felt a little thrown together and at times hard to digest but there were also moments when I found myself very entertained by what the game has to offer. If you like collectables, great environments to explore and a good laugh you wont regret  buying Fable 3 at a price range of 15$-20$ which is likely what you will see it at when visiting your local game retailer.

RATING: 7.1 / 10