Op-Ed

Op-Ed
Discord and Rhyme: Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough

Matt Turano | 10 Sep 2008 21:00
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Resistance: Fall of Man - It seems like you can't be an exclusive PlayStation 3 release unless you've got colon in your title, a hypothesis supported by the aforementioned Uncharted, along with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and the launch-day brownfest more commonly known as Resistance: Fall of Man. While a first-person shooter set in the long alternate-history aftermath of World War I is an intriguing premise, the appeal quickly wears off once you experience the generic nature of the worldbuilding and the repetitive, single-path gameplay. In fiction, masters of the alternate history genre (such as Harry Turtledove) unfailingly provide specific, compelling human details of their worlds, but Insomniac - whose work I've admired since Spyro - missed the mark with Resistance. Good storytelling doesn't care which medium tells it, but ultimately a story has to be about something greater than the vague generalities espoused in Resistance.

Mass Effect - I can't say that I specifically disliked Mass Effect, but the damn thing wouldn't sit still long enough for me to get to know it. Is it an RPG, an action game, or a conversation simulator? Maybe it's just my tachyon attention span talking, but if I wanted to watch people walk and talk, I'd go to the mall and stake out the food court. In addition to its Jimmy Hoffa action sequences (where'd they go?!), the game seemed to overtax the 360's hardware, causing it to access the disc with a zealous fervor that would make the Heaven's Gate cult seem positively Unitarian by comparison. On a platform whose reliability rivals that of a thirty-year-old Alfa Romeo, this is not a good thing; I acknowledge that Mass Effect is a polished game by a respected developer, but I was more than occasionally bored off my ass.

Super Mario Galaxy - Let me just get it right out into the open, my little plumber pal; Super Mario 64 was fun in 1996, but if I ever enjoy another one of your games, I'll personally purchase a ticket on Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic mesosphere hopper and jettison myself into space. First of all, shaking the controller to perform an action which is better handled by pressing a button is going to lose me, no matter what your name is or how many games you've been in. Gratuitous control schemes are responsible for more deaths every year than cancer, drunk driving, and politicians combined, so don't expect me to guzzle your Power Star Kool-Aid this time, paisan. I've been keeping my eye on you, so I know that the Freezeflame Galaxy wasn't such a unique experience; you changed your name, got a new girl, and you've been skating for twenty-three years now. You cad.

It's impossible for me to consider any of these games empirically bad, but they all contain elements that severely hampered or entirely prevented my enjoyment of them. Come back in two weeks for the opposite side of the collector's coin; examples of truly horrible games that completely and illogically consumed my life in spite of their reeking ineptitude.

Matt Turano is part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor.

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