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Games that were almost great

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So I had a thought (I know, very dangerous thing to do), and I was thinking about some games I love certain parts of, but ultimately they just don’t come together to make a truly great game.

This could be a game that you generally really enjoyed, but is let down by one critical flaw that ruins it for you.  Or a game which you don’t generally like as a whole, but really like certain parts of, or games that are almost really fantastic? But ultimately just don’t quite hit the mark for various reasons…

… and I’m gonna kick this thread off with one of the first examples that springs to mind for me…


What’s up motherfucker!!

I utterly adore the dialogue, characters and story in HOTD Overkill.  It’s a brilliant Grindhouse Comedy Horror that leaves me in stitches any time I watch its cutscenes.  But if you strip all of its presentation away and look at the gameplay alone as a HOTD game? Ehh…

Ultimately, once you look past the brilliant grindhouse presentation, it’s just not a very good HOTD game.  The pacing is completely off, it’s ridiculously slow, the enemies and set pieces just aren’t very interesting and are sparsely laid out across each level (which all just drag on and on), and the boss battles are utterly uninteresting from a mechanical standpoint.  Unlike all of the other HOTD games (which were all built for the arcades), this was designed from the ground up as a console game, and unfortunately it really shows in the final product; as it’s painfully obvious that the developers felt the inevitable need to drag out the game’s running time with tons of bloat in order to justify the full priced retail purchase.  What should be a snappy 30-45 minute roller coaster ride ends up being a 4-6 hour long slog.

And it’s a goddamned motherfucking shame, because I bloody LOVE the dialogue and characterisation in this game.  If you’ve never played it? I would still recommend playing it the once, or at least watching someone else play it, because it’s actually one of the most well written comedies that the video game industry has ever seen.  I’d totally watch the crap out of it if it were remade into a movie! But sadly, I can’t bring myself to ever play it again; the gameplay just isn’t good enough, and it has no replay value inherent to the gameplay.

So what other examples spring to mind for you? Post ‘em here! I might even agree with some of them if I’m feeling generous ;)

Edited by Dcubed
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Good idea for a thread! Here are a few off the top of my head:

Sonic Adventure 2 DX (GameCube)
That camera! Oh, that camera! Sega were still getting to grips with how to get Sonic to work in 3D (some would say they still are…) but this was a huge improvement over the first Sonic Adventure game. While the speed of the Sonic / Shadow levels were the better ones, the mix of gameplay types for the different characters added variety, but every good idea was completely ruined by a terrible, TERRIBLE camera and the frustration it caused.

Star Fox Adventures (GameCube)
I was excited when this was first shown as Dinosaur Planet on the N64. A Zelda-esque adventure from a games developer on great form sounded like a sure-fire win. When development moved to the GameCube and the Star Fox crew were swapped in, the game looked wonderful (the fur, look at the fur!). The linear gameplay though, was just so dull though. I didn’t mind the flying sections, which were short and broke things up. It was just the on-foot action, which had little flexibility and just had something missing.

Smash Bros 3DS (3DS)
Cramming everything onto the small 3DS was a monumental achievement! Before the Switch was a thing, being able to play Smash on the go was a marvel. I found it a real shame that they removed so many of the single player features from previous games in the series. Smash Run couldn’t fill the void left by the lack of other modes. Local multiplayer I’m sure would’ve been a blast, but sadly I didn’t have other friends with the game, so I was left with the lack of single player modes.

Settlers IV (PC / iOS)
I loved Settlers. I spent hours playing Settlers 2, and Settlers 4 seemed to play similarly, but improving the interface and ease of placing buildings. The Dark Tribe was where the game shifted down into mediocrity and frustration for me though. It was tough, very tough! Settlers was never an easy game, but the relentlessness and volume of Dark Tribe enemies obliterating any plans was soul destroying.

In a game where you had to trust the CPU pathfinding skills, the game created a element where if any characters came into close contact with bad terrain they were killed instantly, meaning you lost many of your characters when you simply had no control.

I feel I’ve used my reply to simply vent about some games I had such high hopes for, and ended up so disappointed with the experience I ended up having! Thanks!

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