Friday, July 18, 2014

The Most Overrated Games of the Recent Years Part II


   Released in 2007 and way ahead of its time, Crysis is a sandbox (at times) shooter that destroyed the video cards of its generation and looks good even today (way better than all these console ports we are getting…).
   But while physics, sound and graphics are extremely important in an FPS game and Crysis became a classic for these things, I can’t say the game really deserved this honor.
   The story was predictable and laughable at the same time, fighting North Koreans and a race of aliens (that was hiding inside the earth) on a fictional island in the American way (hell yeah!!). The story is not the only thing that bleeds in Crysis, the gameplay is trying too hard to be interesting and to create a mysterious atmosphere but it fails to do so. The game lacks feeling of real combat most of the time and after going through the aliens base it can’t even be taken serious anymore (I fought Mickey Mouse!)
   I admit that Crysis was a technological masterpiece, something that the PC audience will probably not see again anytime soon (come on Star Citizen!), but gameplay and story are important factors in a video game, even if it is an FPS, and the guys at Crytek ignored these and continued to do it throughout the series (seriously hire some real writers).

Beautiful graphics...

Dark Souls

   Back in 2009 when Demon’s Souls was released everyone was craving for a hard game, the market was saturated with games that hold your hands from the beginning to the end of the campaign, and Demon’s Souls was exactly what many players were looking for.
   Dark Souls is a spiritual successor of Demon’s Souls and was released on PC as well. But despite being praised by fans and journalists, the game lacks a lot of things and tricks the player into a false sense of difficulty.
   Dark Souls is a terrible PC port with horrible graphics that make the game look like it was made in 2004-2005. The control system makes it almost unplayable with a mouse and keyboard and on top of everything it's locked at 30 FPS. The irony in all this is that a modder managed to unlock the FPS of the game and improve its visuals in a couple of hours, while the studio itself released a game in a horrible state for PC and expected the money to flow while using the excuse that they don’t have experience in working with the PC platform (why hire experienced people if the gamers buy anyway…).
   The most important thing to discuss about is the difficulty. While in the first game it's not so artificially implemented as it was in Dark Souls 2, the difficulty of the game is still based on the high amount of damage the players take if they are hit. Another equally important factor is the patience of the player and how long they can evade hits, waiting for an opportunity attack on the enemy.
 The combat animations are horrible, stationary and can’t be interrupted if started and when you combine this with bad controls you really have a hard game.
   I’m not denying that Dark Souls is a hardcore game, I’m saying that it's praised for being a hard game while the difficulty is artificially increased in many places. The game doesn’t have a good AI to put players in hard situations and surprise them, but rather forces them to repeat somewhat scripted fights in order to learn them and execute them properly.
While these mechanics can make a game very challenging, these kinds of tricks have been used since the beginning of gaming and are not something special.
   It is sad to see that lately the games became so easy forcing gamers to embrace and make a true culture out of those few titles that provide them a sense of challenge.
You look like you came from 2002.

Is this a .jpg building?

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King

   While World of Warcraft is considered one of the most innovative MMORPGs ever created and is used as a benchmark for the rest of the MMOs, few people know (or care to admit) that in reality World of Warcraft was inspired heavily from the games of that time like Dark Age of Camelot or Everquest and continued to be "inspired" by other MMOs that were released after it. It's undeniable that WoW had a huge impact on the MMOs market and it was a great game (at start), but people should always remember about this before naming other games “WoW clones”.
   Despite all its shortcomings, The Burning Crusade is considered by the community the best expansion of the game (and it really was). Some say that they are just nostalgic, but TBC did push the game features and improved its mechanics and created a solid base for expansions to come (sadly, none as good).
   Wrath of the Lich King was the second expansion of WoW and the one that should conclude the Lich King story (it's in the title!) and because of this many people were excited about it (including myself). But from the very beginning what WotLK delivered was at a lower standard than someone would expect from a game with over 8 million subscribers (at that time).
   While fixing some of the leveling problems, the start of the raiding experience was a reskin (something that Blizzard started to do a lot) of a raid that was the end game of vanilla WoW, Naxxaramas, and this was just the beginning. The tiers of raids to come were not properly tested, full of bugs and exploits, the quality of the end game content dropped a lot.
In an attempt to make the game more accessible to the casual player, the raiding content suffered a lot and hardcore players ended up doing the same raids multiple times just so they could be able to access the higher difficulty.  A new mechanic was added to the end game content, raid with limited number of attempts and rewards based on the attempts left, but this was more to cover up for the fact that the content of that raid zone was poor. Many bosses got reused (poor Anub’arak) together with many other things which lowered the overall production value and feeling of the game.
   The PvP was an unbalanced mess for months and the balancing was in a loop, what was overpowered in the previous season got nerfed for next one and what is underpowered got buffed, ending up with new overpowered classes and team combinations every new season.
   The story of the expansion was a total let down, the Lich King’s greatness was destroyed in dungeons where the story looked like a joke and despite his boss encounter in the end raid of the expansion being insanely hard, his image as a true power could not be restored.
   There were good moments in WotLK, like the Ulduar raid or Wintergrasp chaotic fun, but overall the experience of this expansion was like a warning for the quality of the next one.
Icecrown Citadel, the downfall of Warcraft story...

To be continued...


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