Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Video Games
A semi-shameful yet willing disclosure of 10 gaming guilty pleasures.
There was a time when gaming itself was potentially an embarrassing thing to do. Those days of hiding in your bedroom, pulling those curtains shut and firing up your copy of Baldurs gate II or, if youre old enough, Desert Strike, then gaming into the hourly hours before waking up spring stepping to your mates and mentioning nothing. It felt bizarrely wrong. Okay maybe it wasn't that bad, but youve got to admit it gaming was kind of cult like back then, now though its a different story - everyone plays games. However, that doesnt rid guilt from gaming; it just means theres more obscure content, and Kinect, to be guilty of experiencing. So, now that theres a few more of us in the club and we live in a more revealing world Ive managed to find the courage and share a few of my favourite with you, and all I expect back is mercy. Well here it goes; here are 10 of my guilty gaming pleasures.
Too Human (Xbox 360)Hype! That was the big killer of this game. Too Human was by no means a bad game, it just wasnt the result of the extensive marketing, exclusivity and the continued delays that followed the release of it. And thats not even mentioning its aftermath, the apparent sequel that was meant to follow it, 2008 the original game was released and were still meant to be getting another one? Thankfully I managed to snap the cord of hype attachment and jump into it with, pretty much, no pre-existing knowledge.
Too Human was a repetitive, cheesy and slightly outdated Diablo inspiration that made welded the highly interesting idea of science fiction and Norse and made it boring, but man did it have loot. Any true dungeon crawler fan loves finding chests and killing dudes to have them crack open like a piñata and spray with colourful goodies, its RPG gaming tradition. Too Human understood that need and offered it in bucket loads, too much if anything. And like its Diablo ancestor, they had their coloured indicators for rare, set and common type items, which was just the cherry on the cake for us loot lovers. The combat introduced a good idea and was fun too, for a while. It worked on a juggling mechanic making you fight several enemies at once instead of just focusing on individual. Youd use the left analogue stick to skid around the battlefield and then the right stick to use your weapon. And the faster youd do this, the bigger the combo and the quicker youd take out your enemies. It was satisfying, just a shame that was all you really did. The variety of loot was impressive and how it looked on each character type, as there were different class types to choose from, had an extravagant metallic quality that looked completely over-the-top yet pretty cool at the same time. Too Human was just one of those games that I just wanted to love, but instead tolerated the cringe worthy and dull story and environments to just smash stuff with my epic Thor like hammer, yea, Im not too embarrassed to admit that.
SWAT Global Strike Team (Xbox & PlayStation 2)I will be surprised if anyone knows this awfully flawed gem. Actually, it was a more of a tarnished topaz if anything, basically put; this was a very mediocre game. SWAT Global Strike Team is by no means a game you should buy. Its a bad Rainbow 6 rip-off that is way too cartoon like for its own good with one unique gameplay feature, being able to force your enemies to surrender via the power of shouting. Yes, continuously pressing the SWAT, drop your weapons! order button you can make your highly persuasive enemies fall to their knees dropping their weapons. Then you could go up to them and slap hand-cuffs on, brilliant! There was even a little bar above their heads to see how close to giving up they were.
Dynasty Warriors Gundam 2 (PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360)This guilty pleasure award could have gone to any of the Dynasty Warriors games after the third, thats when for me they started to become exploitative and deceiving of their iterative number next to their title. However, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2 happened to be the game I played a lot of for coverage purposes and had been a spark of nostalgia from my good old Dynasty Warriors 3 days. The days of jumping on an elephant and rampaging through mindless circling spearmen pretending to rescue my co-op partner, theyll never be replaced. That and also Dynasty Warriors: Gundam is such a detached spinoff thematically its hilarious, yet theyve managed to create a game that plays almost identically to its Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors brethren. Actually, thats an exaggeration some levels do take place in space, on an invisible square, single plane grid.
This series has gone past the point of absurdity that its actually funny another can be made and still generate substantial sales for then another to be created, the core fans are committed and Koei are respecting that commitment. Non fans who were fooled once again should be guilty - my hands are red.
Singularity (PC, PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360)
Some games rip-off others in an exploitive way that makes it completely wrong, others do it in such a blatant way that its somehow forgotten about. Singularity is the latter type. BioShock has been such a highly respected game its odd that not too many other games have tried the semi-puzzle oriented, atmospherically driven, customisable super power type FPS hasnt been done to death yet. To be fair BioShock did take a few creative inspirations from System Shock 2, probably part of the reason why Singularity gets let off the hook. Singularity is an atmospherically driven FPS that also deals with what if cold war scenarios and time travel, yet it pulls this otherwise very common premise with such style that I found this game enjoyable from start to completion. Singularity is so like BioShock it contains single handed biotic upgrades in the form of a time manipulating wrist device and has randomly placed cassette players dotted about for you to catch up on back plot. But this is fine as Singularitys weapons are far crazier, like the ability to zap enemies and make them move in slow mo and guns that allow you to manoeuvre bullets as theyre fired. I wouldnt recommend this game as a purchase, but to rent to see what a BioShock total conversion mod might look like Id totally understand.
Titan Quest (PC)If someone had said to me after the release of Divine Divinity that it was just a Diablo clone I might have responded with there can never be enough Diablo clones, I dont think I could say that now. Titan Quest was the breaking point for me and many others. This game is a 3rd person, birds eye view, hack & slash loot driven RPG. It played almost exactly like Diablo except it featured ancient Egypt, Asian & Greek settings and all sorts of related mythical monsters. Its essentially Age of Mythology meets Diablo II, which sounds amazing and it did look good, visually, it just lacked... character.
This is a very guilty pleasure as it came to me at a time when there were very few RPGs and a hideously average dungeon crawler just had to do. It had loot, character progression - boring and uncreative progression, but progression nonetheless - and plenty of cannon fodder to test my newly found weapons out on. I admit it; it sufficed the disgusting item hoarder in me. Thankfully we now have decent dungeon crawlers like Torchlight available and Diablo 3 sometime this year so there can be no excuse.
Spider-Man: Friend or Foe (PC, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii & Xbox 360)Spider-man has to be one of the worlds most favourite superheros, if not its definitely Activisions and its my 2nd favourite hero so I had to pick up at least one of the 10 million Spider-man games existing, it just happened to be the very lifeless and pointless one of the 10 million. Spider-man: Friend or Foe takes its name from its paper thin story; a mysterious enemy is mind controlling all of Spider-mans usual villains, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, Sandman and Venom. As you defeat each one you rescue them from the mind control earning their aid to reveal and defeat this undisclosed villain and its army of Perpetual Holographic Avatar Nano-Tech Offensive Monsters (or PHANTOMs). Otherwise its a Streets of Rage like beat-m-up. The guilty pleasure lies in its simplistic brawl like nature, and the fact that it was mindless button mashing with split-screen co-op and Spider-man. Its not a proud inclusion to my list of played games, but if you have a partner who finds a controller cumbersome then its perfect.
Battlefield 2: Modern Combat (Playstation 2, Xbox & Xbox 360)
Virtua Tennis 2009 (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, iOS)Virtua Tennis is one of the many sports series that rely on annual iterations and improve fairly rudimentary inclusions. Virtua Tennis 2009 is a prime example here boasting minor features like a weather system with moving clouds and a redesigned menu style. To give it its due there isnt really much you can creatively do to a working game of tennis, I think thats why mini games were included.
Not introduced to 2009, although it did boast improvements, the mini-games are so out of place and random you can see theyve really tried here to turn Virtua Tennis into something more than just hitting a ball back and forth. How about hitting a ball against a Tetris block of shapes for high points? Or dodging giant tennis balls being poured from a back of a dumpster truck? Or even hitting fake cannon balls back at pop-up pirate ships? These are the kinds of mini games you will find in Virtua Tennis 2009, theyre really dumb, almost cringe worthy to play, but at the same time funny as anything making it an easy addition to the guilty pleasure list.