This new article is going to cause a lot of dissent, because nobody really likes hearing that their favorite games in the world are “overrated” or flawed. So take this article for what it is: what I personally feel are the five most overrated games of all time. The games do not necessarily have to be bad, just overrated. What counts as overrated? Either games that sold more than I think they should have, or games that got obscenely high reviews I felt they didn’t deserve, or a combination of both. Keep in mind that these are all opinion based, so you’re welcome to strongly agree or disagree, or even agree to disagree altogether.
Okay, I know this is not a popular sentiment, and I know I’m already going to be roasted alive for the jabs I’m going to make in the rest of this article. But I always felt that Metroid Prime was painfully, and I do mean painfully, overrated. The game rips the controller scheme almost verbatim from Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark, which would have been fine except that Halo had already implemented a much superior controller scheme. I don’t completely blame Retro for this blunder, because the blame falls to the fact that the Gamecube controller lacks a proper second analog stick. Yet, it would have been nice if Retro had at least given us the option. But no.What’s worse is how slow the game is, and how painfully lacking her movements are. Samus moves like a tank with broken wheels trying to cross a pit of quicksand. This would be alright if it wasn’t for the fact that the game is full of unnecessary backtracking. Don’t get me wrong, all Metroids have backtracking (even the much more linear Other M does), but what made that bearable in other Metroids was the speed at which Samus could move across the world map. This also hinders the enjoyability of the environments, which although beautifully made, eventually start to wear thin the third time you pass through them at the speed at which molasses goes uphill during January…with crutches (if you get the reference, you are now my new best friend!)!
Alright, alright, I’m being a little unfair: the game can move quickly/be finished quickly if you do sequence breaks, but seeing as how that was not an intended effect, I don’t think it should count.
Story wise, the game is lacking as well. I understand that Metroid isn’t primarily (i c wut u did thar!) about the story, but there is no reason that it can’t include a good one. The idea that a good story and the gameplay of Metroid are at odds is not true, even with Other M doing its best to prove otherwise. I understand they wanted to go for in-game story telling in Prime, but truth be told, the game just doesn’t do it right. Scanning and reading is not exactly fun, especially when you’re being forced to do it in order to get 100% in the game. Just because a game tells stories without using cutscenes, it doesn’t mean they can’t be interesting and exciting moments. The audio diaries in Bioshock are an example of how it’s done well (mostly).
Metroid Prime is not only a semi-decent game with some serious flaws, but it lacks in comparison to the third game in the series: Corruption. Corruption (which is absolutely spectacular) goes out of its way to fix almost every single complaint I ever had against the original Metroid Prime, and which fell on the deaf ears of my Metroid-loving friends. Even Retro recognized the first game was kind of botched and that the series needed a proper re-haul.
My boyfriend and I had a discussion about this. He is a huge Metroid Fan: he’s beaten Super Metroid so many times that can he do it in a few hours, tops. He knows all the sequence breaks and all the secrets. He loved Metroid Prime when it came out, but hadn’t touched it in years. He asked me why I dislike the game so much and I proceeded to explain it to him in detail. He replied to my allegations with complete puzzlement. Wanting to prove me wrong, he promised to beat the game while I watched (I got very, very far in it but never actually beat it; couldn’t stomach it anymore). He set the Gamecube up, started playing, and three hours later he simply stopped. It was unplayable to him after all the years that had passed. He looked at me and told me that he had never noticed how flawed the game was, but now that I had mentioned all my gripes, he could see them clearly. The first words out of his mouth as he started replaying the game were: “why the hell does she move like a tank?” So at least, I’m not alone in my thoughts.
Superior Alternative(s): Metroid: Other M (Oh, yes! I just went there!) and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption.
This game was received with near universal acclaim, and to this day I don’t understand why. People like to think that Sonic has slowly been deteriorating as a 3D gaming series, but the truth is that the problems of 3D Sonic stem from the hedgehog’s very first foray into the 3D realm. Sonic Adventure is quite possibly one of the worst platformers ever made, with terrible pacing, a bad camera system, and just ridiculous design choices that made absolutely no sense. The Sonic levels themselves weren’t too awful, although at times you would fall into a random pit because the game was so fast it didn’t allow you time to make your jumps properly. But see, I can forgive that because that’s been a general problem of the Sonic series since its inception: speeding the game up made precision platforming nearly impossible, and sometimes it even feels like Sonic games play themselves, but the point is that even with these gripes, the 2D games were fun. Sonic Adventure completely misses that concept, instead opting for giving you the fun bits involving Sonic and then snatching them away from you so you can play as Sonic’s less interesting friends, where you get to enjoy such ingenious moments as fishing with Big the Cat and then presumably watch him consume what little is left of your pride as a video gamer. The biggest problem with Sonic Adventure is that it doesn’t know what kind of game it wants to be. It’s an amalgamation of Sonic and Mario and Banjo-Kazooie, but the worst parts of each. There is no reason this game should have ever scored so highly or sold so ridiculously well.
Superior Alternative(s): Sonic Colors if you really want a good 3D Sonic game. If you don’t care about the blue hedgehog, then just about any other 3D platformer is infinitely better.
Okay, maybe I just don’t get the Half-Life craze because I never played the original, but I don’t understand why this game gets so much love. The game controls were fine, but it was all pretty standard and nothing radical, and the world bores me to tears. I understand it’s supposed to be a dystopian setting and it’s supposed to be barren and gritty, but the lack of enemies and dead environments rendered the game boring as absolute hell. I don’t mind if a shooter takes things slowly, but it’s only worth it if I get a great world to explore, like Rapture in Bioshock (factually the greatest single-player FPS ever made). The world of Half-Life 2 is not really that interesting, the story is painfully slow to get rolling, and the pace is often broken up by “puzzles” that are about as fun as smashing your testicles between two bricks. Look, VALVe, I get it! Your physics engine is amazingly well made! I don’t need to be forced to stop every twenty minutes or so to put a cinder block on a makeshift see-saw just to go up a platform because you want to show it off. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little: the puzzles differ, but they’re all painfully mundane anyway. Either way, it’s called pacing, and as much as I love you for your Portals, and your Left 4 Deads, and your Team Fortresses, your pacing in Half-Life 2 is absolutely atrocious. Don’t even get me started on those awful vehicle sections. Honestly, why? Halo did vehicles in 2001 and did them really, really well. If you were to copy anything from the Halo series, this should have been it. Vehicle missions were painful in this game: a pulsing morass of long stretches of nothing with bad controls.
And yes, the gravity gun is cool, and blah, blah, blah…but it’s not enough to redeem the game. Frankly, I found the gravity gun to be a fun addition to the game, but not a crucial one. Sure, you could throw saw blades and watch as enemies were cut in half, and that was very satisfying and cool in its own right, but you could have just as easily gotten rid of them with a couple of well placed bullets. It’s like that really badass spell in JRPGs that cause all this flash and destruction, but that is not necessary when you can kill enemies with another spell that last about twenty seconds less to cast. The gravity gun is also nowhere near as cool as the portal gun: that is an ingenious “weapon” with a brilliant implementation of physics into core gameplay mechanics. Remove the gravity gun from Half-Life 2 and the game is still perfectly playable (mostly). Remove the portal gun from Portal and you pretty much don’t have a game to play anymore.
With all of that said, I can’t help but laugh a little when rabid HL2 fans complain that Master Chief in Halo lacks personality (which is entirely true) and then in the next sentence praise Gordon Freeman, who seems to me as much of a blank as Bella Swan from Twilight.
Superior Alternative(s): Bioshock and Bioshock 2.
It doesn’t get the number one spot because it at least took risks to change the series and bring it forth to 3D. But truth be told, the game only sold on violence alone. There is absolutely nothing Grand Theft Auto III does that wasn’t already done before and done much better, and the gameplay elements are wonky at best. The world is also poor, full of cookie-cutter NPCs and laughably bad/lazy design choices. There is no excuse for this game to carry such high scores or to have sold so well. In a perfect world, this game would have gotten the solid sevens and eights it truly deserved.
Superior Alternative(s): Shenmue and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.
This game is easily the most overrated title in video game history. It scored well above the 9.5’s, with some reviewers even giving it perfect 10’s, and to this day I cannot begin to fathom the reason why. While I think Grand Theft Auto as a series is overrated in general, I feel that GTA IV is the most overrated of the bunch. At least III changed the series, and Vice City and San Andreas added their own mix of flavors with different settings and tweaked gameplay mechanics. Grand Theft Auto IV adds absolutely nothing to the formula, even going as far as taking the series back to the same place that III took place in (sort of). It’s so mind-boggling that this game sold so well and got so much high praise when it didn’t even fix the sh!t shooting system the series is notorious for. It’s also mind-boggling that this game cost a whopping $100 million to create and yet the characters still animate like they’re all related to the f****n’ Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. I swear that Rockstar blew at least half of that budget on hookers and coke, because there is no other explanation for this.
This game just kind of sits there and bathes in the stagnant waters of its predecessors and then has the nerve to still ride the wave of undeserved attention the series has gotten over the years.
Superior Alternative(s): Red Dead Redemption and L.A. Noire.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go under protective custody. I know a lot of rabid fanboys are just itching to stab me in the eye after reading this list.