2004: A Look Back on Another Shitty Year in Gaming
The new physics engine in Half Life 2 allows Barney to seamlessly enjoy his meal. (Thanks to jhnrksn for the screenshot).
Another year come and nearly gone and nary a good game in sight. Gather round young 'uns, it's time to sit down with cranky old grandpa Zack so he can tell you about just why this was another shitty year in gaming. He expects to get plenty of angry email about this one!
Half Life 2
Delayed multiple times, Half Life 2 still managed to further delay its release by including a tedious installation, validation, and patching process. Scripted to the point of nearly becoming a rail shooter, Half Life 2 had stunning graphics tucked somewhere between terrible load times and frequent crate and barrel shuffling puzzles. When you weren't throwing crates at the blabbermouth NPCs or tooling around in awkward vehicles the game approximated something fun. For that I award it the coveted Least Shitty Game of the Year Award.
Jokes about Doom 3's darkness are too clichéd to make at this point. Needless to say the game was a pedestrian romp through zombie filled shadows that managed to be so uninspired id actually stuck baby heads on the inevitable swarms of spiders to try to juice them up. Every character in the game looked like it was made out of laminated stucco and the hellmonster storyline was more than run into the ground by "Doom II" almost a decade ago.
Call of Duty
Another World War II FPS with heavy scripting, rat maze freedom, and terrifically shitty AI? Sign me up, lieutenant. No game had me wanting to murder the developers faster than Call of Duty and its "defend the building" Russian mission. The AI was so terrible on this mission that it would sit and watch the enemy walk up to it and then beat it to death with a rifle. With AI that bad you can bet that it was a fucking blockbuster destined to have a smash-hit sequel!
Frequent and repeated texture buffering not pictured.
Here's an idea, let's add bump mapping so that the real time cut scenes load like a 386 doing a high detail render in POV Ray. Maybe by the time Master Chief gets done strutting around he'll have a head!
Star Wars: Battlefront
Nope, this isn't Battlefield 1942. We totally came up with this idea on our own! Here, have some X-wings that you can't fly more than 50 feet into the air. Why? Because it's fucking Star Wars, man. Star Wars! Oh, by the way, here's a bunch of droid army shit that dumbass servers will put in the rotation in case you were trying to forget about the two abysmal prequel movies.
A soul seeking redemption by fighting his way through demons or a game getting uninstalled before level three? You be the judge!
CryTek is one of only two developers capable of creating a richly realized tropical island environment, giving you a good deal of freedom, and then methodically stripping out everything fun. The other developer is responsible for Tropico. At least Tropico didn't have stealth baboons that shoot rockets.
Hot on the heels of the critical success and box office smash hit movie "Catwoman", the "Catwoman" game perfectly lives up to the greatness of its source material.
The only game where you escape from prison 50 times.
The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
This surprise hit managed to show up Doom 3 by being shadowy, bump mapped, and dull well before Doom 3 appeared on shelves. Though I am loathe to admit it, Vin Diesel's game was better than John Carmack's. All the same, puking on your shirt is better than shitting your pants and I would not recommend either.
Dragonball Z: Buu's Fury and Dragonball Z: Supersonic Warriors
The people buying and playing these games are the reason they put warning labels on buckets telling you not to eat them.
This poor man's version of Grand Theft Auto spent years in development and came out looking like a million bucks and playing like a three dollar bill. If you consider picking it up any time soon, even in the bargain bin, consider needless root canal surgery as a more enjoyable alternative.
Dynasty Warriors 4
Hello, we're Koei. When we release patches on a console we call them new games and sell them for 50 dollars. Bon appetite, sucker!
The EyeToy and Related "Games"
Save money by placing stickers on your bathroom mirror and swatting at them.
Yes! Finally, I can combine the precision control I demand from my laptop's glide pad with all my favorite Mario games released yet again at premium price. Thanks Nintendo, you are the best.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
My favorite part in "Boyz n the Hood" was when Tré parachuted out of a plane and then blew up a dam. While this game may be playable on the PC or Xbox, on the PS2 it looks like everything is covered with mud and compression artifacts. The decision to use black streets and dark blue mission markers on the mini-map is also an award-winning move.
Revolver Ocelot is a double-agent using Metal Gear Jake for the Patriots who are actually part of the Lee-La-Loo-La-Li-Lee-Loo-Lay, which are sort of like aliens only they're people who live forever and they are tired of- FISSION MAILED!
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Hideo Kojima needs to take at least one creative writing class before making another game. Short stories, novels, screenplays, it doesn't matter. He just needs to get a rough idea of how to tell a story that doesn't descend into a ridiculous mess of confusing conspiracy theories. His games are like a tinfoil Geocities site with more parts where you hide in a cardboard box.
Metroid Prime 2
Scanning…shitty sequel found. Hey, I got 100%! I got to see the good ending where Samus takes off her helmet and then returns the game to EB for store credit claiming a magnet went haywire. And the clerk believes it!
Another phoned-in installment of a marketing franchise consumed mostly these days by troubled teens and idiot man-children. Will they finally release the console RPG that these failed abortions have been clamoring for or will the franchise finally take its well-deserved place amid the mothballed relics of a past age? I think you know which one I'm hoping for.
Every Major MMORPG Release This Year
Initial excitement over a new MMORPG quickly fades as you realize it's the exact same shit - same mechanics, same concept, and same gameplay patterns - as every other MMORPG that you quit playing because it felt like work. Except Star Wars: Galaxies. It really stood out from the pack as the worst major MMORPG released this year.
River City Ransom EX
At long last, a new River City Ransom game! But wait, let's change just enough to ruin it. That will be a great joke on all of the people looking forward to it!
Silent Hill 4: The Room
Looking more like a bad Tool video with each iteration.
Silent Hill 4: The End of the Franchise. Three was boring, four was a colossal mistake. I guess Konami decided that retelling the same fucking vague story over and over again was getting old and decided to replace that with one of the worst gimmicks in the history of gaming.
Star Ocean: Till the End of Time
If you only play one horrible Japanese RPG this year, make it this one, because it's so bad it will condense all of the others into one bad acid trip.
Terminator 3: The Redemption
Redemption? Hardly. Skynet has been sending a series of dazzlingly awful Terminator games back in time to ruin human civilization. Skynet is fucking winning, although it has some competition from the equally terrible Robocop games that mysteriously came out in 2004. Luckily for Dick Jones, Robocop can't make an OCP employee play one of his games.
Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines
Troika: Releases Another Unfinished Game: Surprise! My favorite part of the game was the unavoidable five minute long in-engine intro that was so poorly done and buggy I actually turned off my monitor because I felt embarrassed. If you made the mistake of buying this be sure to laugh at the most hilarious representations of prostitutes seen in gaming to date.
Peter Molyneux's baby that he was tied to, then not tied to, then tied to again, then…who knows? It still has Peter Molyneux written all over it, and as usual it aimed for the sky and delivered the gutter. Hey Pete, how about a new fucking Syndicate game? Oh, Black and White 2 you say? Fascinating!
Deus Ex 2: Invisible War
Warren Spector is unapologetic about releasing this piece of absolute and total shit onto the market. Another industry giant fallen into the deadly vortex of his own ego exaggerating the worth of his contribution to gaming as a whole. Deus Ex wasn't bad, so everything else I release must be solid gold! Warren, you'll be seeing Peter Molyneux in the special arrogant game developer portion of hell when you die. Stevie Case will be around with drinks shortly. Cliffy B is doing a juggling act in the lounge. Enjoy!
Before you email me wondering why your favorite game didn't make the list, you should probably assume the following:
Your favorite game was worse than anything on the list with the possible exception of Star Wars: Galaxies.
Your favorite game was way too "niche" to ever get any real following. Katamari Damacy, I'm looking at you.
Even the mouth-breathing hype-sucking fanboys for your favorite game know that it turned out to be a horrible debacle and have since disowned it.
Your inability to comprehend the flow of time has confused you and your favorite game actually came out in 2003.
I'll see you again next year when I tell you just how bad Duke Nukem Forever really is. Haha, just a little parting joke.