Yes, everyone’s beloved The Last of Us is on my least favorite list. I didn’t like it, a lot. Like, a whole lot. By the end it was the setting alone that kept me going; the art and environments. Not story, not characters, not the deft tugging of heartstrings. Naughty Dog realized a splendid, post-humanity, “reclaimed” world (albeit a narrow one) but they filled it with all the worst parts of Uncharted and found room to cram in even more garbage.
I wanted to play the game how I imagined Joel would behave but that resulted in countless restarts and endless fits. The tactic that got me through the game, on hard no less, was to simply run as fast as possible from checkpoint to checkpoint. And once I realized Ellie was invisible to the game’s A.I. it really deflated the tension that the cutscenes establish so well.
It was a slog to play through and the payoff was the absolute worst ending I could’ve imagined. I don’t know what I was expecting after the sloppy Uncharted 3 but I won’t be blindly putting my faith in Naughty Dog any more.
A friend gifted me a copy of Monaco: What’s Yours is Mine over the summer, otherwise I’d have never touched it. The game looked fabulous as it developed over the preceding years but after its final visual redesign I lost interest. Playing the final product turned out to be uninteresting and dull.
Ridge Racer Driftopia is free to play and, boy, does it show. It’s a retooled version of 2012’s Unbounded and “augmented” with things like daily energy limits, temporary booster packs, and upgrades that cost real money. It’s mildly entertaining when you’re racing but it’s a Ridge Racer in name alone and not worth a single penny.
I don’t really like touchscreen games but when people were piling on the praise for Ridiculous Fishing I figured I’d see what it was all about when I caught it on sale. Wow, they crammed two types of “endless moving” games in one! In the first you jiggle back and forth to not catch fish on purpose, then jiggle back and forth to catch fish on purpose. In the second you tap on the screen like a spastic baby… thrilling.
Most despicable of all though; the real tack-on-my-seat surprise was Plants vs Zombies Adventures. The in-app purchase bonanza of Plants vs Zombies 2 got more attention in 2013 but Adventures is 100% a Facebook game. A game that immediately asks you to buy in-game currency and start bugging all your friends to click things for you. I loved the new look and was smitten by the great new soundtrack but I could only grind so far for free before reeling away disgusted. Also, all the characters sound like Crazy Dave and that is NOT ok! Only Crazy Dave talks like that!