Jet Force Gemini (1999)
What is he holding?

First you watch a bunch of great-looking cutscenes, then create a save slot (press one button, looks really cool), then sit back for some more cutscenes. Then walk for about 15 seconds, then talk to a guy who offers to show you a long cutscene (psychically). Then your character walks across a large field. Then, after nearly an hour invested, the gameplay finally starts and it is awful.

There's not much going on in terms of level design or game mechanics, so they just made the controls difficult - hyper sensitive and your aim is constantly dragging - to disguise the fact. This is what happens when you spend all your budget on cutscenes.



Super Mario RPG (1996)

I've not liked video games before, but this gave me a special kind of profound disappointment, not commensurate with the ~$5 I payed for it on the Wii Store (RIP).

I spent roughly twenty years hearing about how great this is and hearing it called a classic. It's the same boring Mario look and the same boring Mario plot (Bowser kidnaps the Princess... with a twist). It's the most tedious gameplay a JRPG has ever had, and in a genre that's driven by story, you can't do much with characters whose personalities are one word or less.



Half Life 2: Episode 2 (2007)

Maybe it was too good. Valve kept one upping themselves until they gave up on single player entirely. The industry, already moving towards multiplayer at that point, has never even tried to top this, which makes it seem as fresh and exciting as when it came out 12 years ago (!). Can you imagine a game from 1995 looking and feeling as good in 2007 as this does now?



18-12-09 Weekly Links


Fallout 2 (1998)
Roughly the point where I lost interest in the game.

When I was about 15, a friend of mine strongly encouraged me to play this. It's too bad, because I probably would have liked it if I'd played it back then. Now a complicated RPG feels like doing chores, and what teenage me would have thought was dark and edgy seems bland and drab.



Mass Effect 2 (2010)

It was fun and all, but it lacked some of that sweet RPGness from the first game. And the rawness of the first game. And the sense of exploration and place (the hubs are scaled back and a lot of the missions feel almost like rail shooters). And it doesn't have the story telling or atmosphere of I or III. And the main villain is a pointless non-entity who keeps repeating the stupidest lines. And the ending is some dumb heavy metal thing. But it's fun and has fun characters so why not have some wacky filler in the middle?



Cool Frog And Dolphin


Doom (1993)

It was revolutionary when it came out, but a million better (and less monochrome) shooters have come out in the meantime, making this feel drab and boring.



18-10-07 Weekly Links