While commemorating the best of 2008, it's impossible not to note the low points of the year as well. When it comes to game trailers and conventions, the gaming world seems aglow with hundreds of possible smash hits. It's not hard to dazzle a crowd with a video game trailer. Some flashy visuals, a cool voiceover, two seconds of actual gameplay footage and you're set. Add in some past well-known franchise or get one or two critics proclaiming it as the future game of the year and you'll have nerds around the block on your release date creaming their jeans just to get your game. But you also have to remember to deliver on the game itself. It's true that 2008 had an array of solid titles but we were promised so much more! Here are five games that not only sucked, but we were told would be awesome by critics and companies alike.
I feel like I remember hearing about this game and seeing screenshots for it since the Wii was first unveiled to the public. Though many of us weren't waiting for this title with baited breath, it was still a disappointment when it finally arrived. Nintendo's attempt at making us all little conductors ended up being downright boring. The games lame music selection and disappointing gameplay mechanics have less to do with conducting an orchestra and more to do with being frustratingly pissed off. I mean what happened to that smiling old grandpa from the commercial Nintendo? He was having so much fun conducting his little Mii orchestra. Remake the commercial and instead have him sitting in a chair playing solitaire next to a dusty Wiimote.
Here's a game many of us had good reason to be excited about. Free Radical Design is the studio of former Rare employees that created the hilarious and addicting Time Splitter series. Given the company's track record, I think we were expecting a little bit more. The mundane shooting aspect of the game is spiced up by the drug "nectar" which sort of brings you into a bullet time akin to F.E.A.R's. Thanks to weak visuals and a ridiculous story line, it just so happens that these nectar doses you can take are the only interesting aspect of the game. Unfortunately, that's ripped away from you only after a few levels and the game reverts to becoming a standard shooter. Even a four-player coop story mode couldn't save this less than average shooter.
3. Alone In The Dark
So here's a sucky game I especially have it out for. I remember playing the original AIND when I was but a lad and though there have been plenty of failed attempts at sequels since that original release, Atari promised us that they were ready to reinvent the series and give it the overhaul it deserved. After all, the original Alone in the Dark basically started the survival horror genre in gaming. It deserved better than the muddled, boring, episodic format that we were treated to. Fighting the demonic enemies (or "humanz" as they're called in the game) becomes an annoying chore as you can only actually defeat them with fire. You'll constantly scrounge for burning furniture to kill them with. In order to add more pressure, the developers seemed to think that it would be edgy to make their menu system in real-time. This means that as you're being clawed to death, you have to find a way to combine your items into molotov cocktails and so forth. At least Atari delivered on one front: the fire effects were really good.
2. Devil May Cry 4
Alright I realize that many out there may have liked this game and feel that it's unjustly on this list, but I would guess you're diehard fans of the series. Changing the main character does not make it a different game than any of the others. It's barely even a characterr change - we went from controlling a white haired, girlfish man who hates the world to controlling another white haired, girlish - well you get the idea. The combat is repetitive, really repetitive, and though the visuals are beautiful the erratic camera can ruin them. DMC4 is probably not the worst game or the last game in this demon-killing franchise, but it definitely heralds the fall of it. If it were a television show, we would be saying it "jumped the shark." I guess that by the fourth installment of DMC, I expected an update.
1. Too Human
Here's a game that was shoved in my face so much I nearly bought it in a zombified stupor. After all, it certainly had the recipe for success. Let's see: You're a techno-demi-god-thing from the future? Check. Action title with rpg elements? Check, Sweet customizable weapons and gear? Check. So why doesn't this game work? Well for one thing, in an RPG game you expect to grow more powerful but also be met with more powerful enemies. This doesn't seem to matter in Too Human though considering that there's no real drawback for dying. You simply respawn with slight armor damage, which you can easily fix in town. The level design is extremely lame. There are four levels and romping through them is so straightforward and easy that you won't need a trail of breadcrumbs. And while you explore these overly simplistic levels you'll get in various tiffs that are solved by pointing the left joystick towards your enemies. Your character will do the rest just point the analog stick. The good news is you'll only have to suffer the lame game play for a short amount of time as Too Human ends after about 10 hours of RPG roaming. In fact if you're not really into customizing your equipment there's not really anything for you in this game.
When you're done complaining about my picks, check out the rest of Cinema Blend's Best of 2008 features.