So this is somewhat of a tricky challenge Casper had me doing. It is not that it is an uncommon thing to happen necessarily, but within the realms of Video Games, it is for me. I do not buy physical copies unless I have to, and even then, I do not mind second-hand copies from retro-stores. This means that I usually do not pre-order games either for special editions, odd statues or the likes. Frankly, I would rather use quality sites like Fangamer for that. Another reason for why this was a difficult task, is that I do not regret buying poor titles, as they can make for a fun reviews and I rarely pay much for them. I also just love owning stupid things. I even have Elf Bowling 1&2 for the GBA because of that.
For this list, I decided that I would exclude contributions to Kickstarter-projects since I do not regret supporting their ideas. Even if I backed disasters like Mighty no. 9, I simply hope that developers can learn from their experiences and try again. The only qualification for this list is that the entries have something to do with video games, be they games themselves or representing a franchise. With that in mind, here are the worst stains on my collection.
#12: Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary
This is not too bad to start off with, as it is just a port of Super Mario All-Stars for the SNES. While it does not include Super Mario World, it still has all the other four NES Super Mario titles in their 16-bit enhancement. So what is the issue here? Well, the fact that this is just a port. Nothing is enhanced, no interesting additions were implemented, and they did not even update the controls to showcase the button-layout for the Wii-classic controller or the Wii-mote.
But let us look at the entire title: this is the 25th Anniversary edition. So more had to be done and the developers did the bare minimum. With this collection, you get a small history-book and a soundtrack CD. Sounds great, right? Sadly, both were lazy compilations, with the book even failing at mentioning the Game Boy entries and Yoshi’s Island, and the CD held 10 songs at best, with the remaining 10 being 5-7 second jingles. In all due respect, this was a compilation for only those that had no possibility of getting the SNES-version. Not awful, but definitely disappointing.
This is somewhat of a moot point as I was excited to have a small collection of solid statues of some of my favourite Nintendo-characters and be able to use them for multiple titles. Their designs are well made, can withstand a fall down stairs and were neat for games like Super Smash Brothers 4. So what is the problem? Besides the fact that not all Amiibo-compatible games can use all Amiibo’s, they do not even do much for the compatible titles in the long run.
Hyrule Warriors adds some extra ingredients or maybe a weapon, Smash Bros AI- created fighter is quickly forgotten when friends want to play, and while it gives neat costumes in Mario Kart 8, I think this is the only game doing the concept of statue-paywall decently. “But Stian, you have nice figurines to display, do you not?” Yes, but I hate having to use my big shelves for minor statues to awkwardly take space, when I could have an art-book or other tall objects to actually fill them up. That is why I now go for plushies, exclusively.
#10: New 3DS XL: Zelda Majoras Mask edition
I do not like Majora’s Mask. I think it has tons of problems and due to the uninteresting concept of the masks that can be one-time events, as well as the two of the four temples in the game being tedious, I had no real reason to get this. Except that I am a fan of the Zelda-series and wanted a “New 3DS”. With how much was going to change for this iteration of the game, I figured: why not, maybe I would enjoy it this time and at least I would get an upgraded 3DS!
This already comes with plenty of issues though. First, I did not buy this because I necessarily wanted a golden Majora’s Mask 3DS. Rather, I wanted the Monster Hunter 4 edition, but it was sold out. But that is fine as the Majora’s Mask-version looked alright. However, the gold-plate started to flake, and while the remade game was better than the original, I realised that many of the issues stemmed from its core design. Sometimes you hope for the better when you already know you should have waited. Monster Hunter 4 is still one of my favourite games of all time, and it stings to this day that I did not wait for that version. At least I do have a “New 3DS” to play it on.
#9: Animal Crossing: City Folk/Let’s Go to the City
For a while, there were not many exciting games coming out for the Wii. It was my main console in its era and I was actively collecting titles for it, be it they fantastic like Super Mario Galaxy 2, unique like Red Steel 2, bizarre like Boom Blox, or just terrible like Escape from Bug Island. However, Animal Crossing: City Folk was not just a game to add to my Wii-collection, but a hope that it would return to the more GameCube style of the series. While I still find the DS-iteration good, it took steps forward and back in comparison to the original. In other words, I hoped City Folk could replace those two by being a love-child of sorts. Short and to the point; it was not.
I do not hate this game, but going back to revisit it, I found it to just be a home-console version of the DS-title with a separated town that was just there. It felt like a sudden addition that I, to this day, do not know what to make of, especially since they got it right in New Leaf. Then there are the little things, like not being able to ready your net, the chat-device being poor, and the sudden realisation that I had no one to play this game with. I ended up actually playing the GC-version instead until New Leaf came out, which was the proper evolution I hoped for. I suppose City Folk is a reminder that even the most endearing franchises can have missteps. At least they learned from their mistakes, but for a game I was to sink hundreds of hours in, I do not even think I reached the double-digit. It is just a forgettable title, and that can be worse than interestingly bad.
#8:Nintendo Switch (at launch)
I think I should specify that I am happy with my Switch nowadays. It is my main indie-console similar to what the PS-Vita used to be, and I do enjoy some of the exclusive titles like Super Mario Party, Animal Crossing: New Horizon and Golf Story. Besides, having titles like Stardew Valley, Rayman Legends and Aggelos on the go is lovely. However, this was not the case when the console was new. As the old saying goes: never buy a console at launch.
I have never done this before, except for the Wii-U, and even then, I knew what to expect. The Switch was twice the price of a PS4 slim, came with a terrible stand that I have as of now replaced, and why it has an exposed screen by design, is beyond me. All of this feel like problems that should have been ironed out. I cannot say that the exclusive titles held any interest for me either as Super Mario Odyssey was a bore, and while Breath of the Wild was an important step for the Zelda-series, it felt rather empty and bare. The old ports should have been cheaper as well, making it feel like Nintendo was greedy with their popular console. Now, I am happy I have the Switch, but it took a while before I got there.
#7: Silent Hill: HD collection
I do not have this one anymore. Silent Hill 2 and 3 are among the most important horror-titles ever in my opinion, with both bringing their own form of horror to the interactive media. While I can say the HD-collection is functional, that is being kind to it. Just to get it out of the way; the changed voice-acting is more of a mixed bag and I personally do not mind it as the original was also hit and miss. Besides, there are tons of actual audio-issues to be bothered by. The sound-files in this collection were simply stretched out or incorrectly implemented due to the cutscenes being hardcoded into the original game and difficult to work with, creating awkward scenes overall.
The visuals in this collection are terrible. The fog was implemented poorly to create an uninviting atmosphere, ugly textures pops out thanks to the HD, and the frame rate dropped on strange areas. This is all again a functional collection of two games, but clearly a rushed product with even the 360 version lacking an important patch. It is impressive that Konami was at one point worse than EA. Thank God this did not destroy the Castlevania Anniversary Collection thanks to M2, and Climax made an interesting reimagining of the original. As for Silent Hill, I still dream of what P.T. showed. In a good way, I should say.
#6: Hyrule Historia
It might be redundant to have another Zelda-item and while I wanted to try to limit this list to one entry per franchise, it is hard to do so when my physical copies are limited. It is also difficult when a lot of my collectable merchandises are Zelda-related, to the point of having it proudly inked on my body. That being said, Hyrule Historia was something I had high hopes for. A history-book including the important events of Zelda‘s timeline? FANTASTIC! Shame it was made to mainly promote Skyward Sword.
I do like Skyward Sword a lot. It has some of my favourite temples and areas to explore in any Zelda-game, I enjoy the new items and the beautiful hubworld. I am not going to deny that it has big issues with its linearity, reused bosses and retreading old areas, but it is still a title I look fondly upon. However, when I bought Hyrule Historia, I hoped I would get a deep and unique look inside the history of the Zelda-universe. Instead, it made me realise how much I appreciated ZeldaUniverse and why people use the internet over an actual encyclopedia. 90 pages were dedicated to Skyward Sword alone, and only some neat concept-art and summaries to the other entries. This made me avoid the other books in this trilogy, with Hyrule Historia functioning now as an awkward bookend.
#5: Darkened Skye
I often buy games just to review them and nothing else. While I sadly might struggle to get footage out of them because I want to go as authentic as possible, it makes it easier to criticise a game and not blaming the emulation. I got Darkened Skye for the GameCube as I was not going through the trouble of running it on a PC, since that could easily spell disaster. This is where the idiotic me did not remember that this was going to be a disaster either way.
Darkened Skye is one of the most unpleasant experiences I have ever gotten through. Even the audio was so crushed, I wondered if my speakers got broken or if I was going deaf. There is a complete review of it to show how much I despise this game, but it is more that I was thinking maybe I could do something to make it functional. Maybe the PC-version could counteract me getting a headache, maybe I could glitch the game better, but would that be a fair review? I have no idea, but I regret ever finishing this bloody title. If there is anything that I can say that made this purchase lighter, was that the seller package the game with some candy. It is a shame though when the extra material is way better than the game itself.
#4: Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3
Compared to when I have reasons to hope, there are times I just let dumb nostalgia get the better of me. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 1 and 2 are not spectacular games by any stretch, but are made with a clear passion for Marvel-fans and are simply fun four-player beat’em ups. However, I did not just buy the third instalment. I also got the season pass, as I could not buy the DLCs individually. Just to clarify how nostalgic I am for the two older titles, I absolutely hate season passes as you are never sure on what to expect in terms of quality content.
There should have been a red flags everywhere, as even the trailer for this game showed the terrible frame rate, awkward camera-angle, and the odd mix of movie-universe with the original comic. This should have been simple entertainment. There had to be a reason for why it was only on the Switch. It was to sell to those who wanted a new MUA or just bought things because it featured Marvel. Myself included. The game got worse with odd upgrades, forced grinding, and a story that made the previous Marvel-titles feel like Oscar Wilde. Nostalgia and easy marketing be damned.
#3: Borderlands 3 (mainly on ps4)
While I can at least say the previous title delivered on what they promised for better or worse, I have so many issues with Borderlands 3, that I cannot wait to finish the full review (and publish it). There is a solid game here with fun guns and co-operative play, but the game have big problems. I bought Borderlands 3 on the Playstation 4 because I love couch-gaming and with all honesty: Borderlands 3 is not breaking any grounds with its visuals, despite them being good. Yet it chugs all the time on the PS4, with terrible menu-loading, awkward shooting, and overall unpleasant pace. For a game celebrating co-operative gaming, it should have worked with a split-screen setup.
Fine, what about the PC-version? Well, it has tons of glitches and oddities, such as falling through the world or hit-detection that felt too lenient. It is also here I realised that the game’s design has huge problems with forced missions that are uneventful, tedious world-sizes with vehicles that are dull to drive, and a story that is the worst in the series. That might be saying a lot, but this makes YouTube drama look like Hamlet. Oh, and after you played through this game, there is just tons of tedious grinding for post-game content. It has got to the point where I have finished every other Borderlands title, but have yet with this because I just cannot get myself to do it. When I do not want to finish a review for a series’ last game to get done with it, that is hurtful on every level possible. This is why I regret buying Borderlands 3. Please patch it better as DLCs are not going to fix this.
#2: Gabriel Knight 3 (for the third time)
Playing old PC games can be an absolute nightmare, and this game always come back to haunt me. Originally, I meant to beat this game through the version on GOG as it is my go-to service, and having already played both the first and the second Gabriel Knight-title in this series there. However, after a while, the game would simply neglect loading certain areas. Fine, let us figure out how to make this work. After consulting the internet, getting patches and checking input commands, it still would not work. Oh well, it is not too expensive on Steam. Let us get it there then.
It was even worse with frame rate issues and bugged out graphics. Another five hours of tinkering, I figured I should find my old PC and try out Gabriel Knight 3 with both services. It kinda worked, but then loading the map or the next CD could crash the system. Bloody fine, I went on eBay, found a physical copy, borrowed a CD compatible tray and played it, and it still had technical issues. The fact that finishing this title was somehow a worse experience than trying to make it work, made me question what in the world I was doing and why I cannot leave things unresolved. I have no idea where the CD is anymore and frankly: I do not wanna know. PC master race is a bloody joke!
#1: Loot Crate
This is an entry that has to do with more than just games, but thankfully it counts in some regards. I tried Loot Crate once, as I do love being introduced to new elements, be it games, series or books or other franchises or titles. And while that has made my bucket list over 1 terabyte big, I do appreciate the idea behind Loot Crate. However, this is the service’s biggest downfall: trying to appeal to a broad audience with a vague theme.
This was a mess. I can only recall a couple of included items I cared for in any Loot Crate as the rest was just for pre-existing fans of series, or something I had no interest in. Sadly, Loot Crate felt more like a service for those who wanted to get into geek-culture or act like they were because of popularity. NOT for someone who was invested in games, movies or series. This made every month I got a crate a disaster, and I hated myself for ever subscribing to it. It is a fine way to be introduced to new things through, but when you either throw stuff in because of popularity or an because it just looks cool, then we have a big problem. Just go to conventions.
This was a challenging list, but a fun one to make. I asked Casper whether he wanted a positive list or a negative one just to give him the illusion of choice. Originally, I was thinking about asking him to talk about the best remakes, as in those that did more than just upgrade their visuals. However, since he wanted a more “sad” list, I would like Casper to indulge in what the worst transitions from 2D to 3D are in his humble opinion.