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The Anti-Awards 2010

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WINNER: Fable III’s pocket-universe menu

The mercenaries have blocked your path and are threatening to roast you alive in your chicken suit! Realizing their anger can be quickly diffused by a costume change, you hit Start to bring up your inventory menu – er, well-furnished portal named the Sanctuary?

When you first fire up Fable III the idea of not having an menu system is charming. Upon entering the Sanctuary you’re greeted by your John Cleese-voiced butler Jasper who will not only suggest weapons, but will chime in with witty or polite, but snide remarks on your attire. Charming soon turns into quaint as you realize that having the Sanctuary means that determining how much money you have requires going to the room where a literal pile of gold sits. However, all positive thoughts regarding your personal traveling portal soon fly out the window when you find that just utilizing the map requires entirely too many actions and that sometimes all you really want to do is find out how many carrots you’re carrying, not physically walk to the item room. While the game is very much an immersive and compelling experience, the exclusion of a tried-but-true menu system was an “improvement” that was far from it.

Mass Effect 2

You know what a soaring space opera needs? The gaming equivalent of scooping through a cat’s litter box. Mining unexplored worlds for ship resources isn’t a horrible idea, but when you have to do it for every… single… planet, well, we guess the galaxy can wait while you dick around looking for element zero.

 


WINNER: Kane & Lynch 2’s naked run through Shanghai

You know, we never really liked Kane and Lynch that much to begin with. We certainly weren’t ready to take our relationship to the level where we got to see them naked, but then Dog Days went and made the decision for us. Right in its opening moments, no less, and, later, during the course of an entire level.

Now, granted, seeing the two deliberately unlikable “heroes” stripped naked and sliced up with a box cutter is one of the game’s more memorable moments, and it fits in well with Dog Days’ overtly raw, unsettling tone. However, knowing that doesn’t really make it any more enjoyable to stare at the bare asses of two pudgy, blood-covered, middle-aged grumblefucks as they hoof it through the back alleys of Shanghai in search of clothing and guns.

Dante’s Inferno

For a dead person, Queen Cleopatra - the towering boss of the ring of lust - has rather lovely boobs. They're perfectly formed and move with a seductively hypnotic bounce. It's almost beautiful. But then her nipples - which are actually mouths - spit out demented babies with scythes for arms in a shower of what looks like breast milk and vomit. No.

 


WINNER: Hydrophobia devs call out negative reviews

Hydrophobia, not to put too fine a point on it, was fucking terrible. After nearly four years in development and a lengthy period of hype as a result of its “big game” approach to XBLA development and supposedly pioneering water physics, it turned out to be a load of crappy design held together with shaky game mechanics and layered over with cheap-looking visuals and hateful voice-acting. Hydrophobia was a very bad game. That is not up for debate.

Unless you work for Dark Energy, that is. The devs thought it was OK to accuse Edge Magazine of not playing Hydrophobia before writing its 3/10 review. They thought it was OK to call Destructoid after their reviewer (and occasional GR features writer) made a derogatory personal tweet about the game. They essentially thought it was fine to call into question the professionalism of established and respected games journalists as a shield for their own professional failings.

And worst of all? They then thought it was OK, after denying the legitimacy of all criticism, to pull a 180 and use said criticism as a publicity springboard for its reworked and improved build of the game, Hydrophobia Pure. You used the lame-ass “you’re doing it wrong” excuse and then fixed the game you said wasn’t broken? WTF?

Gran Turismo 5

Prior to the release of GT5, Yamauchi said: "With each new PlayStation, the vessel has become bigger, but it's still not enough. With GT5 we've made it as clean and beautiful as possible within the confines of the space we're given - but of course there's a lot more that we want to put in." You know what they say about a workman and his tools.

 


WINNER: Activision barely acknowledging Singularity

Letting a decent game die is a big mistake. Letting one of the best FPSes of the year die is foolhardy. Outright killing said FPS when it’s made by one of the most dependable devs in gaming and could do a great deal to benefit both their and your fortunes? That’s just unforgivable.

But that’s what Activision did to Singularity. A shameless grab-bag of ideas from the best shooters of the last ten years, it transcended its magpie roots by blending and reworking its influences into a new and exciting configuration of imaginative, inventive and satisfying good-times. Following the misfiring Wolfenstein, long-time id collaborator Raven Software worked its collective balls off to make Singularity awesome, and the love lavished upon it drips off the screen during every minute of its brilliantly-paced duration.

But the game has one major failing. It doesn’t have the words “Call” “of” or “Duty” in its title, and so it was sent out to die without a bit of publicity. Even we had no idea how good it was until we finally got to give it a proper play after it was released. We’ve been doing our best to retroactively promote it ever since then, but there’s only so much you can do when you’re playing catch-up.

The Sly Cooper Collection

A $40 collection with three of the PS2’s best and cleverest games? Remastered and presented in widescreen 720p? Sounds like a day-one purchase for us. For whatever reason though, Sony barely made a peep about it, focusing instead on launching Move. Bet we don’t see a Sports Champions remix in five years…

 


WINNER: Alan Wake’s incessant Verizon plugs

The Energizer brand batteries, Thermos brand thermoses and Verizon brand billboards were obnoxious, distracting, unnecessary… but made the bare minimum of sense within Alan Wake's world for us to (sort of) forgive their inclusion. We didn't understand why a massive phone corporation would waste so much money winning over a tiny town full of technologically backwards hicks, or why so many of those hicks would forget their coffee in the middle of the woods each night, but we were willing to suspend our disbelief.

The illusion-shattering TV commercial that doubled as an Achievement and was required viewing for a second Achievement, however? Or the DLC moment when Alan marvels at Verizon's GPS coverage, then receives a ghostly call asking "Can you hear me? Can you hear me now?" That is where we draw our line of disgust.

MGS: Peace Walker

To be fair, Peace Walker’s outrageous, era-inappropriate product placement – which consisted of things like Mountain Dew t-shirts and in-game Doritos – was almost entirely restricted to the Japanese version of the game. (The US lost most of the shirts, and replaced branded power-ups with generic versions.) But really? That doesn’t make it any less hilarious.

 

While there were a fair few boss battles in 2010 that whooped all kinds of keester, there have also been a boatload of shitty ones… a boat marooned in shark-infested waters that’s got every dictator on the world on board, has several holes in its hull and constantly blasts Abba songs 24/7. More than the sheer amount of them, though, is the plutonium-powered awfulness of a select few that warrant their own special category of hate. Really, some were so offensive to our digits, we still get nervous twitches whenever someone mentions MGS: Peace Walker.

Soul-destroying wars of attrition against giant nuclear robots aside, Dead Rising 2 also has some horrendous encounters. A stroke-baiting throwback to archaic game design, most of the psychopath battles in Capcom’s zombie ‘em up are approximately as fun as sticking Scotch Bonnet chili seeds in your eyes. Just Cause 2 also had a few cheap stinkers. But the hate-filled cake simply must go to the Darth Vader fight at the end of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. We say this with nary a hint of hyperbole: we’d genuinely rather have a rectal examine conducted with a lightsaber than endure the tortuously repetitive slog against Johnny Bin Head again.

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98 comments

  • xSpeedyMonkeyx - January 16, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    I dont understand this... This whole article is based on their opinions and yet you all get worked up. Just because they have an article doesnt mean they know what theyre talking about. Especially if they just ruined a few games I wanted to play without a warning. Failures. Garbage article.
  • Zeb364 - January 10, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    Agreed for most of them and had a pretty good laugh at the Black Ops glitch video.
  • Yeager1122 - January 9, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    Cant beleive people got that worked up over halo reach getting an 8 although it was hilarious to listen to you guys read some of what people said.
  • coolip - January 9, 2011 4:08 a.m.

    Lol, that talkradar vid was hilarious. I remember the ApocalyPS3 of '2010 like it was last year, I lost my trophies (but I got em back in the end)
  • Reaperman64 - January 9, 2011 2:10 a.m.

    @zonic505 The charecters are on the disc, otherwise online theyd be confined to being used against players who already have the dlc. and special edition owners get them immediately, although the limited aint comming out over in the uk... Same thing with SSF4 costumes, the first set can be seen by all, as there on the disc, but not everybody can see the second lot, as they are dlc. Mvc3 is a shameless, and potentially balance ruining cash grab
  • RazielArcanum - January 8, 2011 10:08 p.m.

    I honestly don't understand the structure of this article. I'm going to have to pass.
  • JetpackJesus - January 8, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Paying for Jill in MvC3? Me no likee. Paying for Shuma Gorath, on the other hand? I can livee withoutee.
  • CodeR - January 8, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    LOL WUT - yes many people would like the Devil May Cry reboot to be Bayonetta with less boobs, but since when do the narcissistic dumbasses at Ninja Theory have the competency to do that? So they are good at characterisation, perhaps they should stick at writing and not developing games then? Strangely many people would love Platinum Games to have been brought back by Capcom, not another cringe worthy attempt at "westernisation" like Bionic Commando. The knee jerk reaction to that trailer was pretty stupid but there are real issues underlying it that have nothing to do with aesthetics of the new Dante.
  • Sukharevskaya - January 8, 2011 6:30 a.m.

    HaHAHAHA! Your guy's humor seriously tops anything I've read before on a game website.
  • quincytheodore - January 8, 2011 3:27 a.m.

    I agree with FF13, it takes too long to start up, you can't even level-up in the first 2 hours. I have plenty tolerance for story driven game and played many FF before, but FF13 is like a lonely experience with epic setting. I can see how many gamers feel alienate by it. I haven't finish Enslaved yet, but it convinced me that Dante make-over might actually be good. DMC is good but not in GoW or Bayonetta level, they need something fresh. Dante-in-blue, oh I meant Nero with his klepto hand is not the answer. And the stone award... I have to apologize before, I don't mean to troll or mock you in anyway, but I thought bronze, Cereza I think, was the worst. I got it when playing one of the early levels, I swear there was a voice in the background saying I played like a little girl, I was already down on the floor OTL. "Pat in the back"
  • texasgoldrush - January 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

    @ GamesRadarCharlieBarratt Giving Pyramid a larger role would in fact hurt the game's pacing and take the focus of the characters and their relationship with eachother. While narratives like Red Dead Redemption (or any Rockstar game in general) and FFXIII have no concept of pacing, Enslaved stands out for its excellent sense of pace. Pyramid's role is small because the protagonists do not know his true motives until they get to his base. Its easily understandable. Trying to force his motives into the plot earlier would derail the pacing and cause the narrative to lose focus. Trips enslavement of Monkey is far more important to the plot than Pyramids motives. There was closure to Trip's relationship with Monkey, it was a sense of support, from when he tells her to turn the handband back on until when she kills Pyramid, telling her its over and supporting her(a decision he may not have agrred with as he was wearing the mask and enthralled by the images). It was a morally ambigious ending to a morally ambigious game with morally ambigious characters (all three characters can be considered anti-heroes).
  • Spybreak8 - January 8, 2011 1:32 a.m.

    I love the category "Cheap grab for a boner" lol. It's too bad APB was crap and like Tdar said it's just odd that APB and Crackdown 2 come out the same time and both are less than decent.
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 7, 2011 7:53 p.m.

    @Kwalaboy Since you're clearly biased against a particular side of the GR staff, and since you couldn't even bother to spell my name correctly when trying to provoke with words like "disgraceful" and "disgusting" (nice way to start a conversation), I won't waste too much time on my response: I did think that Reach was an improvement over the previous Halo, ODST. That's why I scored Reach an 8 and ODST a 7. 8 > 7
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - January 7, 2011 7:38 p.m.

    @texasgoldrush I love your interpretation of Enslaved, and you've given me some extra appreciation for the story - which I already appreciated quite a bit - but I'm not going to follow you down this rabbit hole of TV tropes and English lit definitions for who's a protagonist and who isn't. That's not what's important to my original argument. Again, my problems with the ending are: 1) That the relationship between Trip and Monkey isn't resolved or even developed any further. Regardless of whether it's romantic or just emotional, as you say, I believe there should have been some kind of closure. We get no details on what they might do next, what kind of life they might lead or whether they'll stick together. Instead, we get a sudden onslaught of details on... 2) Pyramid, which until this point, has been depicted as a vague and generic army of robots. We know they imprisoned Trip and Monkey at the beginning, and we hear the occasional line of dialogue about them being "slavers," but if the true nature of Pyramid is so crucial to the ending - and to Trip's arc - then the game should have given Pyramid more of a narrative impact and presence throughout. I felt the ending did a lot more to explain Enslaved's collectibles than satisfyingly wrap up Enslaved's story. Thanks for responding so eloquently, though... this has been a fun and thought-provoking discussion.
  • iDEALfury - January 7, 2011 7:09 p.m.

    that kinect launch lineup nearly made me throw up... seriously, 4 fitness games??!?!
  • Pruman - January 7, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    @ZukotaIsoba: It is impossible for Other M to be an origin story. Did you notice that the opening cutscene is a flashback from Super Metroid, the seventh game in the series chronologically? If Other M was a prequel to the original, I would agree with you wholeheartedly. But at this point, Samus had fought Ridley five times already (the original, Prime 1 and 3, and twice in Super Metroid). To break down scared and crying, and wait for a man to save her, is not becoming of someone who had already blown up multiple space pirate strongholds, killed countless numbers of their soldiers and leaders, and committed genocide against three different species of dangerous parasites (the Ing and Phazon being the other two) and was about to commit genocide against a fourth (the X parasites).
  • bedelicious - January 7, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    I agree with pretty much everything. Also glad to see someone acknowledge at least some of the stupidity in Heavy Rain, I couldn't believe it got so many nominations for best new character and story and stuff around the Internet. PS: I knew I should have thrown a bigger fit about DmC's trailer, now I feel outdone XD Say whatever you want though, but it would take a lot to make me believe this game could be good. On the other hand, I thought the reaction to Halo Reach's score was adorable XD seriously, who didn't see that a million miles away? I'm sure anything less than perfect 10 would have led to a similar result XD
  • ChuckB - January 7, 2011 12:19 p.m.

    I liked Enslaved's ending...
  • Kwalaboy - January 7, 2011 2:11 a.m.

    @texasgoldrush beautifully put. It was all about Trip's Trip. Monkeys awareness of self-being was only to show the humanity and innocents of Trip can heal the most corrupt of people. @TRUS This is probably the third article that's been posted in the last few months including the inception/halo reach video and to be honest, as bad as the reaction was from the 'halo' community, the way you have handled it has been disgraceful. Your critical opinion is perfectly valid and the reputation you uphold means it carries a lot of weight. But to publicly take another persons comment and respond by sarcastically repeating it with the pure intention of insulting the writer is disgusting. A few weeks ago Justin Towell decided to give GT5 a 7. Many who had been anticipating the game took offense to this and questioned why he had chosen his score. In the following podcast he responded and tried to answer many question put to him. He didn't respond 'with his mates' insulting anyone who bad mouthed his review. He looked at it subjectively (which he is paid to do as a JOURNALIST) One of the points raised in you video was a reader who had commented why you felt the game was an improvement of the previous halo and then decided to score it lower, that sounds like a valid point, I know because I read the review thinking the same thing, yet all you did was insult him. Since the video response (not so much the review, to be honest I couldn't care less about the review) the only GR US member who I ever read the article of is Matthew Keast. So Charlie Barrett and Co. How you gonna treat this comment, you gonna make a smarmy youtube video, or do you fancy answering me seriously? Also Meiks, Keast, Towell, Cundy, Irvine and Houghton (yes i've finally bought singularity after your recommendation) keep up the good work.
  • texasgoldrush - January 7, 2011 1:38 a.m.

    To add http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SupportingProtagonist Thats what Monkey really is. In fact, Trip's Journey To The West counterpart, the monk Xuanzang (who is also refered to as Tripitaka), is the protagonist and main character of the classic novel. The cental character isn't the one with the "clearest story arc", its the character that the story revolves around. The reason why Trip isn't the protagonist is that she would not be fun to play as in a video game. The story is very small picture and the picture is Trip. In fact, the big picture is way too shallow to be anything other than about the small picture.

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