Just like Project Pat said, “You gotta take the good with the bad, the smile with the sad.” That quote never rang truer than in 2008, which, as I hope yesterday’s runner-ups list demonstrated, was littered with quality gaming. The downside to the plentiful goodness is that the junk appears to be even more scuffed and splintered.
The upside is I didn’t really have to play a lot of bad games this year. The ones that fell in my lap either did so out of curiosity or promotional means. Therefore, there are only a couple worth mentioning, and I won’t list games that are well-made but simply didn’t mesh with my own personal preferences. I’ll also avoid the obvious, like all the shovelware that hit Wii and whatever other games I have no business playing. The stuff below had real potential.
The Last Remnant / Infinite Undiscovery
This is a tie because both of these games are equally pungent. Actually, they’re not even good targets for vitriolic hyperbole, because they’re so underwhelming, so archaic in their design, that their forgettableness can be measured in minutes. The main hurdles that Square Enix need to overcome are technological and narrative, areas in which their struggles are most transparent. I can understand how crushing this must be for them, because they were once considered on the cutting edge, at least visually speaking, but now their hamfisted stories are tripping at every turn over graphical engines they just don’t understand. The result is ugly, and not even fun in a trainwreck sense.
Lego Indiana Jones
One could say this game isn’t for me, and maybe they’d be right, but I really enjoyed the Lego Star Wars games, and was looking for the same out of this quick rental. What I got instead was a developer that’s going through the motions and not tailoring its expanding franchise to each individual IP. Where the concept was once fun and quirky, it’s now tedious and boring, and cooperative play seemed like more of a chore than ever. Maybe these Lego games should stick to blasters and lightsabers exclusively or die off entirely.
Too Human is everything that’s wrong with videogames. It’s a horribly designed, bland, soulless grinder whose oft-delayed release was fueled by some kind of bizarre megalomaniacal hubris streaming from the mouth of a very delusional man. I can’t possibly be harsh enough on this one. The level design is almost nonexistent, as are any interesting characterizations, and it does nothing in its multiplayer that wasn’t done more competently by Phantasy Star Online in 2001.