Before the world was allowed to try out the Wii's motion controls, Red Steel tried to promote the revolutionary gameplay, promising an authentic swordplay experience that would be as realistic as it gets. We saw screens and video clips prior to release with blades swiping across the screen, mixed with some heavy gunplay. It was by far the system's best launch title for the mature audience. However, the responsiveness was terrible, and many melee situations were made frustrating when you couldn't get your character to block and swing at the right moment. Red Steel showed that world the Wii's new-fandangled motion controls were far from flawless.
The LEGO spoofs get a free pass because they put a comical spin on the otherwise dark storyline throughout all seven years of the boy hero's tenure at Hogwarts. The straight movie tie-ins, however, do not. The books were great, the movies were great, and with Warner Bros. and Electronic Arts at the publishing helm, you'd expect the games to be great as well. There was a lot of potential to create a narrative that stretched beyond the boundaries of the written and Hollywood products, actually going through the daily life of a student at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. From potion-making to conjuration, the magical possibilities were endless. Instead, we got a handful of games that poorly represented the films, were tedious to follow, and had no level of polish whatsoever. The only saving grace for J.K. Rowling fans is that they were all very short.
I honestly still don't know why we thought, prior to launch, that Duke Nukem Forever was going to be successful. Maybe it had been simmering on the backburner for so long that our anticipation grew to a boiling point. Still, did we really expect Duke to evolve as a character? He'd actually gotten raunchier since we'd seen him last. I'll surmise that the fans of the original had since matured, and newcomers simply laughed at the outdated subject matter. And this isn't even mentioning the horrendous controls and boring gameplay.
Dragon Age: Origins still stands as one of my favorite games, so, like other fans, I was extremely psyched when BioWare made big claims about all the improvements they had planned for the sequel. To the contrary, the developer singlehandedly made "streamlined" a dirty word in the video game community. Trying to appeal to a broader, action-loving audience, the combat turned into a frantic mess, with any strategic elements almost completely wiped out. And while I do thank BioWare for giving our protagonist Hawke a voice and personality, no one in the cast was as memorable as Alistair, Morrigan, or anyone else from the Origins crew.
Date: July 11, 2012
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*