Difference of opinion is a good thing. Art is subjective and there's simply no way to please everyone. As such, there's no real need to try. Create what feels right and people will respond to it however they see fit.
This absolutely applies to video game levels. You can have all the good intentions in the world and try to create something that ticks all the boxes for mass appeal but ultimately doing so usually produces lifeless creations that lack heart. Shoot for the moon and get people talking.
Whilst very few video game stages and sections are loved or hated without exception, it's just as rare to find something that completely divides opinion. Stages that, to some players, are not only necessary additions but worthy of being in the conversation for the best in the game.
Meanwhile, others come out of them feeling let down and swearing to never play them again.
Debates have raged about all of the stages in this list. Are they great? Are they terrible? There is no general consensus and it depends entirely on who you ask.
10. Cortana - Halo 3
On a first playthrough, Halo 3’s Cortana mission is a combination of enrapturing story and exciting gameplay.
It, more than any other, may well be the most pivotal moment in the original Halo trilogy. sees through Master Chief’s goal of reuniting with AI buddy Cortana even as the universe draws close to an end around them. As the player gets closer to her, they repeatedly see flashes of Cortana’s decaying mind.
The Covenant ship High Charity has been completely overtaken by the parasitic Flood and waves of enemies come at the Chief thick at fast. Thankfully, whilst the level is not short on alien scum, it also doesn’t skimp on power weapons like flamethrowers and energy swords to cleave through them.
The real divide with the stage comes on repeated playthroughs however. Now that you’ve seen the full extent of the story, being slowed down by constant interruptions from a distraught AI is pretty tiresome to say the least. When you just want to focus on action, these are irritating. Moreover, without the narrative really driving you, it becomes apparent that the growth-covered bulkheads of the ship make for a confusing and disorientating map.
It’s not universally hated like The Library, but does anyone really love Flood-focused levels?