Friday, September 12, 2008

Facebreaker = Hopebreaker

Do you remember Ready 2 Rumble Boxing? It was a fun, cartoony Midway title that struck a decent balance between simplicity and depth. I remember playing it and thinking, This game is cool but I REALLY wish it had a Create-A-Character mode.

(I pretty much wish every game had such a mode, but some games seem to beg for it a little harder than others.)

With that in mind, I was psyched about the recent EA Sports boxing title, Facebreaker. It appeared to be everything I had hoped for: A stylized party game with a sense of humor, some celebrity appearances and the ability to create new characters (and even load a player's photo into the game to make a creation that was truly one's own).

But then Facebreaker came out and received some poor reviews. In fact, it did pretty badly overall. Critics cited an overly simplistic fighting system and ridiculous AI difficulty that make the game a lot less fun than it could have been. Disappointment became by new middle name, as a game I'd been anticipating revealed itself as a game that everyone hated.

And it wasn't the first time. Other games that have let me down over the course of history include:

  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (PS2) - because it traded the badass Snake for the annoying Raiden as protagonist for a large portion of the game
  • Red Faction (PS2) - because being able to destroy the game's environments sounded a lot more fun than it turned out to be
  • Soulcalibur Legends (Wii) - because it generally felt like it was rushed through production just for the sake of extending the franchise's presence to the Wii
  • Tenchu: Shinobi Taizen (PSP) - because shouldn't ninjas be able to see more than just a few meters ahead of themselves?

Obviously, oodles of crappy games are released every year. It's a fact of the industry. But when a game that should so closely match my personal criteria for greatness turns out to be garbage, it's hard not to be disappointed.

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