Welcome back to this trawl through a barren land of bitter disappointment and dashed dreams.
Last time out I ran through numbers ten to eight (found here) due to the waffling nature of my writing quickly putting any thoughts of a full top ten countdown to bed…as you can see I’m at it again already.
But this time let’s just get on with it. Here we go…
- The Mass Effect Trilogy
Let me start by clarifying one key point in regards to the Mass Effect collection of games, the second one, you know, Mass Effect 2, is an absolute masterpiece. It is a game that delivered one of the most engrossing and magical experiences I’ve ever encountered within a video game. But, if viewed as part of the trilogy, as an overall collection and story thread, then the second outing becomes weighed down by the other two.
You see, for myself, neither Mass Effect nor Mass Effect 3 were bad games. In fact, if anything, they are pretty solid. Both boast well rounded characters dropped into fantastic worlds faced with difficult choices and high adventure. Why then, you might ask, are they on this list?
I think my reasons are that both drowned under the wave of expectation.
The first Mass Effect game held such great promise of a genuine, living, breathing, sci-fi world which would hold endless adventures for those treading the terrain of these distant planets. In truth, I found it dull, boring and slow. Everything worked as it should, it’s just that it dragged its feet through drawn out scenes of dialogue that waffled like myself writing a top ten list. I tried on a few occasions to restart and plough through the game to its conclusion, but every time I just ended up thinking about the fun I could be having on other games.
As for the third game, well, it’s a good game. But, after the magnificence of the second in the Mass Effect series, it always felt lacklustre by comparison. A little like my take on the Uncharted games actually, the second of those was so damned good, that the third felt like a real disappointment. I will go back and play Mass Effect 3 at some point in the future, and perhaps I’ll be able to appreciate it for what it is, without constantly thinking how Mass Effect 2 was so much more exciting, but at this moment in time, 1 and 3 are holding fast on my top ten disappointments list.
- Going Retro
I don’t want to go on too much here, my previous thoughts on retro gaming can be found here , and in all honesty, nothing much has changed.
I suppose I’m very much a now gamer. I like to live in the present with only fleeting visits to games and eras from the dusty past. I loved every one of the games I played as a kid, they shaped my love for video games, but going back has always left me disappointed.
I was an avid Spectrum player. I loved titles such as Sabre Wulf, Jet Set Willy and Ghostbusters, but go back and play them now, well I tried, and it was absolutely rubbish. There’s an initial glow of nostalgia, followed by slow minutes of crappy gameplay and waning attention. The same rules apply for a lot of the games gone by. Every generation has its gems, but around them are a thousand gaming turds of the most hideous type and the only way to approach them is in the hazy rose-tinted minds view, and not, God forbid, with a controller in hand ready to relive the glorious past. Believe me, it isn’t there anymore.
- The Decline of Call of Duty
I won’t lie. I hope Battlefield 1 hammers the nail that finally closes the lid on the Call of Duty franchise. It won’t of course, but I can dream.
I used to love Call of Duty. I still play Call of Duty 3 online now and would probably rank it as my all-time favourite game based on the amount of joy I’ve had playing it. But bloody hell, the franchise has gone off in a direction that has just killed it.
Cod 4 was a shift in direction, but it was one that worked. The game felt like video warfare. It was exciting, tense and beautiful. I believe that this was the last great Call of Duty game, and although there have been high points since, the decline has been in effect. And now we currently have Black Ops III, a game that feels like playing paintball rather than combat, and is some weird bastard son of Halo and CoD that has none of the qualities of either but all the flaws and irritations.
It disappoints me that Call of Duty has become what it has. Things look set to stay the same with CoD: Infinite warfare, and so whilst I’m sure millions will embrace that battlefield, I’ll be off on the only Battlefield worth my time.
- The Death of the Dreamcast
The Dreamcast was a console that felt like it held on to the true traditions of gaming. It was home to some truly wonderful games, it was small and perfectly formed and it was the last gasp of the one-time gaming colossus, Sega. I’ve never encountered an owner of the machine that didn’t adore it. Sega had something very special with the Dreamcast, and if business success was measured by the smiles of customers they would have won the console wars long ago, sadly it’s measured in cold, hard, cash, and in that department Sega simply couldn’t compete.
Sega’s machine was innovative and bold, the games looked great, it had online capabilities and it was stylish as hell. When I bought mine it was a choice between the Dreamcast and the Playstation 2. As it turned out it could be argued that I made the wrong choice, backed the wrong horse in a two-horse race, much as I did years later with my sure-thing HD-DVD player, but I enjoyed every moment with the little Dreamcast and it remains as one of my most loved consoles.
Its demise came as a bitter blow. It signalled the end of Sega as a mover and shaker of the console world, something that only a few years earlier seemed laughable, and signalled my renewed search for the next console that could satisfy my ongoing gaming needs.
The Dreamcast will always hold a special place in my gamer’s heart, even though its death broke it.