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Weekend Hot Topic, part 1: Video gaming’s most overrated classic
Halo: Combat Evolved – does it deserve its reputation?

GameCentral readers name the most over-hyped video games in history, from Half-Life 2 to Metal Gear Solid.

The subject for this week’s Hot Topic was suggested by reader Gannet, but didn’t have to be a game you think is actively bad – just not as good as its reputation suggests. We wanted to know why it didn’t live up to your expectations and what you feel it got wrong.

Despite the infinite possibilities a number of names did come up more than once, including Halo, The Witcher 3, and Bayonetta. But it was the work of Naughty Dog which seemed to have the edge, with both Uncharted and The Last Of Us accused of being good, but not that good.

Single-player only

Halo is overrated. The first game came bundled with my Xbox and I have tried all of the numbered sequels in the hope that I would eventually understand why the series is held in such high regard.

After countless second chances I still think that Halo is a boring and highly generic-looking shooter. Halo’s guns aren’t satisfying to use, the game’s multicoloured squeaky voiced enemies carry no sense of threat whatsoever.

The Warthog controls are terrible, Master Chief is the most nondescript character in any game. Why do people make such a fuss over a big guy in a crash helmet who has less charisma than a block of wood?

OK, credit where credit’s due, the Flood were an interesting enemy and Cortana is appealing but apart from that Microsoft’s killer app has not held my interest at all.

Perhaps my Halo indifference is due to the fact that I’ve only ever dabbled with the multiplayer.
Thinking back I probably enjoyed Marathon more (Halo’s forebear) when it came out on the Apple Macintosh.
msv858 (Twitter)

Sneaky hater

As someone who generally doesn’t get on with stealth games, and is bored of the cookie cutter third person AAA titles these days, I have always found the Assassin’s Creed series a complete bore. The last one I tried was Assassin’s Creed III, which was a buggy glitchy mess. I fail to see how creeping around buildings, staying close but not too close to two people having a conversation while constantly getting stick on scenery, failing to duck in time or slipping off a ledge and failing is any way fun. The fighting is dull and the controls are too janky and imprecise, with non-player characters having super senses. Having a large open world is impressive but if I have to creep around it all day, count me out (that’s one’s for you Metal Gear).

Any game that asks me to sit under a box, crouch behind a wall, lay prone, generally camp with a sniper rifle for minutes on end gets chipped off ASAP. Life is too short to stay still and watch guards patrol. I’m always disappointed when a game crowbars in a stealth section when it’s completely at odds with the pacing and gameplay. Zelda: Breath Of The Wild is guilty of this and there are at least a dozen AAA titles that add it for no reason other than to tick a box. Imagine if Platinum thought it was a good idea to add a stealth section to Bayonetta 3! No, no, no, no, no!

In fact while I’m on my high horse there is a special place in hell for games that celebrate sniper camping or make sniper rifles extra powerful (especially if online) to encourage their use.

Far cry from perfection

The first game that springs to mind for me is Far Cry 3. I appreciate it does some things well, such as the freedom it gives you in taking down enemy camps, but my overriding feelings while playing it were of boredom and frustration, and I eventually gave up after about 10 to 15 hours. The island all looked quite samey, the map-mopping quickly became repetitive, and I got annoyed being mauled by a wild animal every few steps. After playing this, and Assassin’s Creed II before that (which I admittedly enjoyed more as it at least felt fresh at the time), I’ve not bothered with any more Ubisoft open world games. They just seemed too formulaic.

The other highly acclaimed game I didn’t get on with is Batman: Arkham City. I really enjoyed Arkham Asylum, despite not being a huge Batman fan, but found its sequel to be a bit of a chore and lacking any momentum. I stuck with this one to the end, but can barely remember anything else about it.

I’m so glad Zelda: Breath Of The Wild came along as it really did revitalise the open world formula. So I look forward to seeing how other developers take note.
jameSomtam (PSN ID)

E-mail your comments to: [email protected]

The shadow is half cast

I have to say my most overrated game is Bayonetta 1 and 2. I tried the first game on PlayStation 3 but didn’t find it very accessible at all in terms of combat. I am not usually very good at these kind of games anyway, but I found it very difficult to pull off the combos and ended up button-mashing which didn’t feel very satisfying. My experience put me off the genre as a whole and just thought it was my own fault.

That was until I played the Devil May Cry reboot which I adored, I found the combat to be challenging but also accessible. So when I got a Wii U I tried Bayonetta 2 but just encountered the same problems again. I also thought there was too much happening on screen for me to keep track of Bayonetta and her actions, so I would end up button-mashing again.

I really want to love the game as I think it looks very stylish and the boss battles look tremendous. Just this past week, with the Switch version being released, a friend recommended I try it on the easiest difficulty and then work my way up from there, so it might not be lost on me yet.
Trukkurt (Steam ID)/Angry_Kurt (Twitter)
Now playing: Wolfenstein II (PS4) and Super Mario Odyssey (Switch)

Nice story, shame about the game

Most overrated video game has to go to The Last Of Us (and Naughty Dog in general really).

Having just seen a poll that GAME ran on Facebook, which asked what voters preferred out of story and gameplay, I seemed to be in the minority when I voted gameplay. If a game doesn’t play well I don’t see the point in trying no matter how good a story is, if I want a good yarn I’ll read a book or watch a movie. That’s their domain.

And so this leads me to my main issue with The Last of Us; it’s gameplay. Or rather lack thereof. It is so clunky and robotic. As compelling as the story might be (if I’m honest I found it quite tedious), I still haven’t finished it to this day because I just got sick of battling the controls. Naughty Dog seem to excel at this because I find all their games to be just as difficult to play; Crash Bandicoot, Jak & Daxter, Uncharted. They really need to tweak their game engines.

I get the ‘grieving father meets directionless youth and together they form an unbreakable bond in a hostile world’ story is compulsion enough for some people but I only played as far as I did because I was wondering when the hook that seemed to have grabbed other people was going to dangle itself for me but it just didn’t.

When other third person titles that were already around at the time such as Red Dead Redemption, the Tomb Raider reboot, or any 3D Mario/Zelda you care pick are already giving far superior, more fluid gameplay experiences there really is no excuse to be that janky.

I know this will get me a lot of vitriol, but you asked!
Phil Spearpoint

GC: You were in the minority when voting for gameplay? What?!

Get on with it

I don’t get all the acclaim the Metal Gear Solid games get. While some of the gameplay is great and some elements are utter genius (e.g. the sniper duel with The End in Snake Eater) I get frustrated with them due to the fact that Kojima seems to often forget that they are games – I want to play them, not watch!

The amount of annoying, badly-scripted Codec calls and ridiculously long cut scenes means that for long periods of time you find yourself sat, controller out of hand, waiting impatiently for the next opportunity to actually play!

Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here

Limited window

I’d have to say The Witcher 3. I’ll happily admit part of it is just down to me: sometimes I start a game while I’m waiting for another that I’m more interested in – XCOM 2 in this case – and I just feel like I want to get the game I’ve started out of the way. That’s definitely not the best condition under which to play The Witcher 3. If you don’t actively want it to draw you in, it’s never going to.

But it was just the last straw for games where you open up maps and can barely see through all the icons. Surely it’s textbook game design to avoid just dumping mountains of content on the player up front and risk completely draining their motivation, but that’s how I felt after about 15 minutes in the opening area.

I can’t agree with arguments that problems with the combat don’t matter for a game where fighting accounts for so much of the content. It certainly didn’t help that I’d just finished Bloodborne before starting the game and comparisons in terms of action are about as unfavourable as you can get. So my one tip for those yet to try it is don’t sandwich this in between From Software games and other games you’re keen to move on to.

I thought the controls were lacking in general. When I find myself swearing at the game after simply trying to get on my horse, it makes me feel some more polish (with a small ‘p’) is needed. The menus also feel unintuitive and convoluted, to the point where I’d wince at the prospect of opening them every time I levelled up or collected something I had to learn more about.

Even the visuals hardly knocked me out, on PlayStation 4 at least. The detail and scope was all there but a lot of the time, I thought the lack of dynamic lighting and uninteresting style made it all look a bit flat. For a game whose scale is regularly celebrated, I don’t remember once stopping and admiring any views.

My understanding is it gets better after about 20 hours but in a market where you can barely move for games that instantly feel good to play, that’s not a reasonable amount of time to ask someone to dedicate. After 15 to 20 hours and having abandoned and returned to it three times over several months, I just got fed up with being expected to compromise so much to get to the apparent good stuff.

The fact this is the best game ever for so many gamers really underlines that people come to gaming for a range of different reasons. For some, the story and characters make it. I never came close to finishing the game but what I did experience never met the standards of a top quality film, novel, or TV show and few of those required quite so much commitment in return.

Ultimately, the conditions definitely had to be just right for me personally. I only wish I’d tried it at a time where there was absolutely nothing else on the menu, then I’d have been much more forgiving. But in today’s climate, I’m not sure I can ever see that happening again.

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