Moving right along, we come to a game that was so horrific that it actually resulted in the closing of an otherwise remarkable game studio. These were the same guys who had brought us the wonderful TimeSplitters series, many of whom had worked on Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Eye for the N64. Free Radical had the talent – again, what could possibly go wrong?
For starters, the game is ugly. Early concept art and screens were promising, but seeing the game in motion was nauseating. The story is extremely short and predictable, and the multiplayer was lacking. Most importantly, the game just wasn’t fun at all to play. The game was built around Nectar, a drug that helped your character perform better, but what was the point when the AI was so bad anyway?
A few months later, Free Radical had shut its doors after going into administration, the UK equivalent of going into bankruptcy. Early last year, they were scoped up by Crytek and are currently working on the multiplayer for Crysis 2. Here’s hoping that this chapter of their story is a little sunnier.
NBA Elite 11
This failed to deliver because, well, it got delayed. This is unprecedented in the sports game realm as games usually come out a month before that sport’s season kicks off, but if the demo was anything to go by then the game was far from ready for commercial release. If EA Sports announces a new release date that spills into 2011 – well after the NBA season starts this Tuesday – then they’re better off forgetting Elite 11 and start working on next year’s game.
Good thing for NBA Jam!
Halo 3: ODST
This wasn’t a terrible game by any stretch – for the most part it still played like Halo, Firefight was a fun addition, and the soundtrack was totally different from any Halo before while still being really good.
But it was just so boring. The story was lackluster and even playing with a friend in co-op mode could barely contain the boredom. Maybe we had been spoiled after spending so much time with Master Chief, but playing as the totally mute Rookie was a drag. Then again, Halo: Reach faced the same challenge of giving you a nameless character, but ended up faring rather well. Maybe we just couldn’t shake the fact that this had originally been planned as a $40 expansion to Halo 3 before being stretched into a full $60 release, but it just didn’t have the same mojo that the three main games had before it.
Like I said, Reach made up for ODST and is a solid game overall. Let’s just hope that Bungie can channel some of the magic from the original Halo trilogy and can put make something worthwhile with the folks at Activision.