The 2008 Bottom Ten
It has been a year of contrasts and no mistake. We've already had the ten best of the year (Grand Theft Auto IV a safe choice as 2008 number one; but kept on its toes all the way by a whole host of other top titles), so it is perhaps fitting that as the public recovers from a post-Christmas hangover, that we take a sombre look through the ten games which didn't do much for the good medium that is gaming. In fact, the titles that follow were shot down in a blaze of flame and, erm, effluence. Without further ado, the hall-of-shame begins with...
10. Turning Point: Fall of Liberty (35% Xbox 360)
We expected much more of Spark Unlimited and Codemasters, and it is with painful regret that this first-person shooter gone oh-so-wrong squeezes its way onto our list of 2008's worst games. But here it is, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty potentially arriving as one of the year's biggest let-downs. We didn't see it coming... indeed, the ideas behind the game sounded solid, but were near-destroyed by utterly flawed implementation.
This from our full review:
It's ugly, it's poorly executed, it's riddled with technical glitches, its A.I. is laughable, it's boring, unoriginal and thoroughly unrewarding. More than anything, despite its calamitous faults, Turning Point: Fall of Liberty is a stinging slap in the face to videogame creators working tirelessly to better the FPS genre, and also the ever-faithful consumers who are expected to pay the same price for this as they are for the likes of BioShock and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. And, by way of a warning to any FPS fans looking further into 2008 for a standout shooter to continue the recent resurgence, Spark are also the team behind the upcoming Legendary: The Box. Forewarned is forearmed.
9. Iron Man (30% 33% Xbox 360 PS3)
We must be gluttons for punishment, we really must. Not only did we review the Xbox 360 version of Iron Man's gaming tribute; adjudging it to be utter tripe, we then reviewed it again on the PS3 - with similar results. I can only assume it must have been a quiet month, or that certain reviewers needed a virtual spanking. Which they certainly got in playing this disastrous cash-in. Botched key gameplay elements and dire presentation combined here to graphic effect.
This from the 360 evaluation:
We've been here so many times now I have to wonder why I'm even in the slightest bit surprised that a comic book film tie-in has ended up being a rotten excuse for a game. I guess it's because somewhere in the future there's a superhero game that will actually deliver on the promise of characters that really, all things being equal, should be ideally suited for games what with their special powers and large rosters of existing well-realised enemies. Unfortunately Iron Man is defiantly not the game to usher in that brave new dawn, if its finger cramp you're after though knock your self out, you're onto a winner.
8. Dynasty Warriors: Gundam (32% Xbox 360)
The Gundam series has its fans, as does the long-running Dynasty Warriors IP, but the two really don't hit it off in this next-gen attempt, which sports super-repetitive gameplay that even ardent fans are unlikely to forgive. Occasional instances of visual flair fail to lift the title from the mire of misery, and an air of incompleteness is the final nail in the coffin.
This from the review:
I lost interest in this game so fast that it was a real slog to carry on going. However I tried another mode, this time a space battle hoping that it would offer something different to the mix that was so desperately needed. Instead I was faced with a flat battlefield that was even worse than the cave environment of earlier simply due to the fact that you could just 'fly' in a straight line anywhere hacking and slashing the whole way. The word boring doesn't even register with this game... more like 'Mind Numbing'.
7. NBA Live 09 All-Play (30% Wii)
EA want everyone to be able to enjoy their games, and even more they want a slice of the Wii console's illusive non-gaming audience. These aims aren't appalling in themselves - but sadly this first shot at it from the NBA series misses the mark by a huge margin. The Wii's disruptive controls are actually better avoided, and with them evapourates much of the point of this game, that just doesn't really work.
An extract from the final review for you:
If you hope to get any satisfaction at all out of NBA Live, your only real option is to give up on the motion controls, and hold the remote sideways. Removing your reliance on the game's poor motion detection and using button presses instead removes a significant number of its all too many problems. Yet when you find yourself playing an ugly and unsatisfying basketball game, using the same controls as Nintendo's first ever console, on a machine that announced itself to the world as a 'Revolution', you can only ever feel short changed. Compared to the great strides forward made by most of EA's other sports titles this year, NBA Live is an embarrassment.
6. Celebrity Sports Showdown (30% Wii)
The Wii has witnessed some terrible games in 2008, it really has, but few are so instantly dislikable in the way Celebrity Sports Showdown is. It could have tapped into the comic potential of MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch, but by making everything just far too 'nice', with some frankly bizarre celebrity choices, this game doesn't look like a laugh; it looks like a desperate attempt to "get" the Wii's non-hardcore gamers. Needless to say it fails.
Here's an extract born of pain:
Celebrity Sports Showdown is not the worst game on the Wii, but its not a long way off. Only the SouthPeak Interactive crime against humanity Pool Party stands out as much worse than this, but by a lot narrower margin than any game should. I have resolved to go back to the local games emporium and see if I can instead give them 3 GBP to take this disaster far, far away.