1. Dragons age origins
The beginning should have been a warning sign. Think of all of the great beginnings of recent games; Mass effects stunning ship crash, Bioshock’s plane crash, God of Wars horse-crab fight. For me, Dragons age started in an ugly, clichéd underground dwarf city with a tale of a slutty sister and a drunken mum. I’m some bouncer type working for a crappy crimeboss. How can I be a hero if I’ve fucked my life up so badly already, and why is this beginning so sucky and devoid of underwater cities and bosses the size of small countries.
Even for RPG’s, think how awesome it was when you stepped out of the dungeon in Oblivion, or off the boat in Morrowind or out of the Vault in Fallout. All three of those games offered a similar premise, you escaped a small confined space and the whole world opened up with possibilities. Dragons age keeps you in the same shitty locale for another 15 hours. Of course there are problems other than the beginning of the game. The insane difficulty, the rubbish combat and especially the stupidly drawn out ending which is repetitive beyond belief and may be some kind of joke by the designers.
You know that flash game where you keep clicking a button and it taunts you saying little pop up messages thousands of times? It’s like that only less entertaining. It’s the beginning that should have tipped me off though. What great RPG opens not with a fantastical world to escape to, but with a depressing prison to stagnate in?
2. Killzone 2
Where to start? Hyped like a PS3 Halo, reviewed well everywhere with the weasilly proviso that “it’s not for everyone” which often means “it’s not as good as the score we give it”. It wasn’t all awful, about half way through it got good during a section on a crashing ship, but on the whole it was the brownest game since Gears of War. I can remember thinking that the original Killzone video was real gameplay. That’s because I was an idiot. Bonus points to anyone who said it was bullshit at the time.
As well as being ugly it played like a cover game with the cover mechanic removed, like Rainbow 6 levels of realism, player movement and difficulty but without the ability to use the techniques like leaning and popping out from behind barricades that all your enemies have. Parts of the game were also so difficult you had to run past the enemies to have any chance of getting past the hordes of respawning baddies. Nonsense!
3. Resistance Fall of Man(and resistance 2)
From the brownest game of all time to the greyest. This was just straight-up dull. I think I would rather play an old and technologically crippled game like Turok Dinosar Hunter than this. It had tons of imagination and better weapons. Actually, even better would be the original Doom. It has almost identical gameplay to resistance 1 and 2, the same environments (corridors) and much better level design. Its aged better too, I played it on xboxlive a little while ago and it’s still great. In a post MW, Bioshock and Fallout world though, no one could play Resistance without thinking “God, this is dull”. It also had the worst end boss ever: a pillar.
4. Kane and Lynch
I think someone bought this for me. It was famed for its “gritty and grownup” story. Unfortunately, it was inspired by stuff like Reservoir Dogs, which isn’t exactly grown up, and even then they misunderstood what made that movie good and copied only the swearing. It was like what a fifteen year old would consider to be a grown up storyline.
The actual gameplay was a very simplistic cover shooter where the cover mechanic was broken. It had its moments, but the end section of the game, where it turned into MW and sent you to the middle east to fight in a war was a terrible idea and destroyed the whole atmosphere and pace of the game. It felt like they ran out of art assets for cities and buildings but had lots left over from another game set in Iraq. This was also the game the Jeff Gerstmann refused to give a good review for on the corrupt gamespot website and got fired for. He set up Giant Bomb afterwards though so something good came of it.
5. Dead Space
I was so into this game before I played it. A ruined space ship with monsters on it, Event Horizon style! If it was like Resident Evil with awesome weapons and a cool space atmosphere it could be one of my favourite games. It fell short though.
You never really felt isolated, people were always talking to you or giving you jobs to do. The enemies were rubbish, very generic and no fun to fight with lots of scuttling little guys whittling at your health and not enough big tough enemies exploding in goo. The weapons were average and ammo was stupidly scarce. It did have good moments and the parts in space were cleverly executed but it was all very by-the-numbers. This one is not nearly as bad as the other four, but it was lavished with praise for its terrifying atmosphere when all it did was the same set pieces Doom 3 had, enemies jumping out of closets or climbing over rails. Doom 3 was slated for these things and Dead Space was lauded, even though Doom 3 did them first and better!
Honourable mentions: Resident Evil 5 (felt like the inferior prequel to Resi 4), Bad Company 2 (shit politics, shit ending, copies MW so much I don’t know how they sleep at night), Half Life including all the episodes (hyped to insanse levels despite being very average most of the time).