Op-Ed
Best Of The Worst Of

Russ Pitts | 7 Jan 2008 21:00
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Worst Game (I Bothered Playing)
There were a lot of bad games released in 2007, several of which I picked up in the last two months. The worst game I bothered playing was probably Medal of Honor: Airborne.

The Simpsons sucked, but we had to expect that. And there was no shortage of bargain bin fodder, but you have to wonder how somebody could take a game where you shoot Nazis and parachute from the sky, two things that are impossible to screw up, mix them together and produce a game as boring as MOH:A.

We could dissect the game for days to try to figure out where, exactly, they went wrong. Are the Nazis too strange? The parachuting too uninspiring? All of the above? Who can say. And really, why bother. This series jumped the shark around the time EA rediscovered the Pacific campaign, and the gimmicky, clumsy parachuting won't save it.

Worst Game (I Didn't Bother Playing)
I wrote a play in 1999 that was a parody of '50s-style sci-fi horror films, the basic gist of which is usually that Science has created some aberration of nature that's seemingly unstoppable, until a painfully obvious solution presents itself and humanity is saved. In my play, the planet is attacked by alien zombies that are seemingly indestructible - until it rains. The end.

Imagine my surprise when I discover AQ Interactive and Artoon have stolen my stolen idea. Vampire Rain is a game for Xbox 360 starring you against an army of seemingly unstoppable vampires. You can't hurt them - until it rains. Then, they're like pussycats. And even here I've made it sound more interesting than it really is.

I like vampires and rain, but mixing the two is like making a marshmallow martini. I decided to pass, and you should, too.

Worst Disappointment (Game)
There were a number of games I was really looking forward to playing this year, and a few I didn't know I was looking forward to until I played them. Most of these exceeded my expectations, and the hours I spent playing them felt like coming home to the smell of hot apple pie and the sight of a beautiful woman wearing an apron and a smile, with a drink in one hand and the other free to … take my coat. The exception was Kane & Lynch.

I was looking forward to this game after I saw it at E3. It looked like the perfect blend of action and storytelling, and all the problems I have with games (load screens, mission briefings, clumsy "context sensitive" controls) looked to have been addressed. What I didn't know from seeing the game presented was the game that actually got these things right was Call of Duty 4, and the scenes I saw of Kane & Lynch had been carefully choreographed to hide its flaws.

The actual game is complete shit. The graphics are sub par, the gameplay is clunky and uninspired and the level design is pretty much brainless. The best part of the game is its story, which, I have to admit, is pretty neat. A deal goes bad and a ruthless mercenary has to set things right while being saddled with a psychopathic watchdog set on him by the folks he tried to screw over? Kidnapping the daughter of the guy you need to lay some heat on to get back what's yours following a high speed van chase followed by a bank heist gone completely wrong? On paper, this was the best game of 2007. On disc, it's a waste of $60.

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