Friday, October 2, 2015

5 of the worst rebooted franchise games

Let’s take a look at 5 of the worst of them.

Alone In the Dark (2008)
Alone-in-the-Dark

I could’ve gone put Alone in the Dark: Illumination on this list, because it is unbelievably bad. However, let me it put it this way: if I were shooting pigeons, Illumination would be a one-winged, blind, senile bird that would be inspecting the barrel of my rifle – there would be no sport in shooting it. Also, it was not touted as the big return of the franchise that the 2008 game was. The 2008 game is the low-flying target gliding across with its eye on the horizon, towards great things; only it fails to notice that the branches are actually lot closer than it thought, and it smacks straight into the biggest branch of the failure tree, falls, and gets riddled with bullets on the way down.

The original Alone in the Dark, released in 1992, is the only game on this list with a Guinness world record: the “First Ever 3D Survival Horror Game.” Yes, the graphics looks horrific now, but it was ground-breaking back then. The game was considered an instant classic, and was a huge influence on beloved titles like Resident Evil and Silent Hill.

Ah! The terror! The 3D terror!

Ah! The terror! The 3D terror!
In the build-up to its 2008 revival, Alone in the Dark boasted all sorts of features that sounded interesting: realistic physics, a crafting system, episodic gameplay that allowed you to skip parts that you were stuck on (that shows confidence in your game, doesn’t it?). It all sounded nice but it just never fit together; fighting an enemy with a chair looked like swinging an impractical handbag; you would skip the parts that were too annoying i.e. most of the game; the crafting system had a limited number of possibilities so it was just time-wasting. Also, the game had no idea what it wanted to be; Alone in the Dark’s first hour has monsters hunting you in dark hallways, a building collapsing, a car chase through New York outrunning an earthquake, and a sandbox shooter in Central Park – and they all play badly. The clue to what this game should’ve been is IN THE TITLE- you’re meant to be alone in the dark! Alone in the Dark had some good ideas, but it all fell apart in the execution and it fell apart hard. That’s more than can be said for…

Bomberman: Act Zero

BombermanActZero

It’s hard to believe this game exists. The Bomberman series has always relied on cute and cuddly looks, probably to counteract the dark subtext of the players being trapped in an area and forced to blow each other up. Nonetheless it was a hugely popular game and enjoyed 20 years of success through multiple generations of consoles, mainly because of how much fun it was to play with friends. Then, some bright spark at Hudson Soft decided that this old classic needed to look differently if it was going to play with the cool kids on the Xbox 360. So in 2006 it went through a drastic overhaul in style and a new story- it was now a dark and gritty game set in a dystopian future about super soldiers fighting each other in the combat arena in order to prove their superiority.

If you didn’t grimace or cringe or feel stupid while reading that sentence, then congratulations: you are the person that this game is aimed at. In fact, you are the only person that this game is aimed at. No one liked this game. The change in look might’ve been easier to swallow if the game played well, but it didn’t. You’d think after 20 years of making it, Hudson would be able to make a Bomberman game, but horrible music, rubbish AI, and repetitive stages make this game easily the worst Bomberman game ever.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider
beast rider

The original Golden Axe was one of the first games that I loved playing on my Sega Mega Drive (or Sega Genesis, for you lot across the pond). Released in 1989, it was a challenging side-scroller that was great to play with a friend, with multiple characters each with their different strengths and abilities, and with a great fantasy aesthetic that felt a lot like Conan the Barbarian. It received multiple ports, but none of them held a candle to the original.

Cut to 2008 – Golden Axe: Beast Rider is released on Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. It is immediately slated by critics and players. The combat is uninspired and lifeless, the graphics made the game look like it belonged on the PS2, and the core mechanic of beast riding was nothing new nor even done particularly well.

Here’s the kicker: there was no multiplayer and no different characters. Here is where we see the game’s true colours; it was never trying to recreate the original, or even acknowledge what made the original popular. It was a cheap attempt at cashing in on the nostalgia of fans, and it was condemned to gamer hell for pretending to have the good intention of remaking a classic, but making a generic disgrace instead. It’s just a few circles below developers making false promise about their games, over which Peter Molyneux resides.

Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
sonic 06

Oh boy, this game is something else. Simply going by Sonic the Hedgehog, like the game that kicked off the franchise back in 1991, this was hyped up to be the reinvention of the hedgehog’s adventures and a second wind for Sega. Everybody’s favourite blue blur first attempt on the Xbox 360 was so bad that it would take a while for it all to sink in. It wasn’t immediately bad; the opening cut scene was quite pretty. It looked something out of a Final Fantasy game. Then, the game started… eventually, because the load times are ridiculous.

Why does Sega insist on bringing realistic looking people into Sonic games? It only serves to make us realise that Sonic & co look like they’re suffering from some cartoonish form of gigantism. This only is jarring enough when it’s forced upon the player, but then they have to put up with the horrible gameplay, which might be better off as a means to torture people than serve as a playable game. It was so broken, stank of unfinished business, and successfully made us doubt if Sonic the Hedgehog was ever actually good. People enjoyed Sonic Adventure 2 and that was 3D, so why was Sonic ’06 so horrible to play?

Also, if anyone asks about Sonic Boom, I would say that it is marginally more enjoyable than Sonic 06 because its story doesn’t do that weird thing of bringing normal people into it, and Sonic Boom wasn’t made by Sonic Team; this game was, and that’s inexcusable. Still, I think Sega should be investigated for extortion for have sold both of these game at the retail price of £50 – and also for first degree murder of one blue hedgehog.

Duke Nukem Forever
duke nukem

The granddaddy of disappointment; the poster boy for outdated characters. Ladies & gentleman, it’s the leader of lost causes himself: Duke Nukem!

Duke Nukem Forvever, presumably named after the amount of time it took to make, has a legacy of development so riddled with problems that if it were a person it would be quarantined for its own safety. It took 15 years to make this game; for comparison, it took China 7 years to build Shanghai Tower, a skyscraper over 2000ft tall. Let that sink in for a second. They could’ve built it TWICE in the time it took to make Duke Nukem Forever. In fact, it started as a sequel to Duke Nukem 3D in 1996 but because it was intended to be “ground-breaking”, it took a bit longer than anticipated to make.

It went through multiple engines, from Quake to Unreal to Doom 3, and continued to cause speculation as to whether it would be released at all. Speculation turned to superstition, as the name became associated with anything that might be doomed never to see the light of day. After all of these, Duke Nukem Forever was released in 2011. By this time, it was more of a reboot than a sequel, since no one could remember a time when this was intended to be a sequel.

Everyone likes a triumph story; after years of doubt, it would’ve been great for Duke to prove the naysayers wrong and be an amazing game. Unfortunately, Duke Nukem Forever proved to be what everyone feared it would be: not worth the wait. The shooting was nothing new, whilst Duke seemed out of date and too cheesy to be taken seriously, even if he always was a bit aloof, and what seemed like “cool” behaviour in the 90s was now crude and slightly offensive. The references that the game made through its playtime seemed like the game was hopelessly trying to keep up with the changing world of games.


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