5 Games Every Self-Respecting Gamer Should Avoid

Kane & Lynch 2 Screenshot

Video games. They are perfect pixelated products that only the best imagineers could have invented. Words, thoughts, images and dreams of an interactive, game-playing future, all collated into a cluster of levels and missions, digitally processed onto shiny plastic discs that are barely thicker than your fingernails.

They never fail to entertain, enthral and conjure up feelings that we didn’t even know we could feel.

Except, that is, for those times when they fall flat on their binary coded rumps. For each of those hidden gems and mega-rated blockbusters, there’s a small gaggle of games that has to sour the bunch and you must keep your wits about you if you want to be able to dodge the foul-tasting punches that these games are pulling, which is why I’ve put together a list of a few games that you will want to avoid.

1. (Sid Meier’s)Civilization Revolution

Sid Meier’s PC to console port of the very successful, very fun, turn-based strategy ‘Civilization’ game series. You get to fill the musty, ancient boots of such leaders as England’s Queen Victoria the First, Ancient Egypt’s Hatshepsut or the man responsible for the delicious cheesy salad and the infamous Vegas hotspot (his palace), Rome’s Julius Caesar, proceeding to carry their empires to victory by getting rich, developing tech or being the first person to send humans into space or nuke an opponent into obliteration.

Meier himself was quoted as saying that Civ Rev is “the game [he] always wanted to make”, which leads me to believe that the game he wanted to make was a sloppy iteration of such a brilliant franchise, ruined by his own thirst for the money that would come from selling a game for next-gen consoles.

If you’re intrigued by the little summary of gameplay that I provided for you above, invest in the PC version of Civ 4 because Civilization Revolution is a prime example why ports should be illegal.

2. Call of Duty : Modern Warfare 3

To begin my explanation of exactly why the latest addition to the ‘biggest selling video game franchise of all time’ made the list, I would first like to share a back of the box quote from Modern Warfare 3.

The DEFINITIVE MULTIPLAYER experience returns bigger than ever.

So upon purchasing the game and flipping the packaging over to find out what marvellous explosive gameplay devices are in store for you, you’re automatically informed that what you’re getting is actually just an online mode, sandwiched between a single player experience that is as weak and limp as the lettuce you’d find in a petrol (gas) station sandwich.

I most certainly did not pay £40 notes for a game that is essentially team deathmatch with an offline mode tacked on as an afterthought.

The only emotionally fuelled sentence that this will illicit out of you is ‘oh, this is balls.’

3. Assassin’s Creed (1)

Aaah, the original Assassin’s Creed, the one that started it all and began the franchise that eventually introduced us to Ezio Auditore (AKA, one of JSX’s top 5 moustachioed video game characters). However, it wasn’t always the great series that we all know and love – it actually started off as an incredibly repetitive rather tedious depiction of life as a 12th Century assassin .

Missions followed the same pattern, as follows
Speak to Al Mualim –> receive task to kill some Templar or other –> eavesdrop on 6 conversations –> pickpocket six people –> beat up six small-time menaces until they reveal priceless, highly useful information.

Rinse, repeat until you complete the game and are (thankfully) able to move on to Assassin’s Creed 2, Brotherhood and Revelations ; Assassin’s Creed 1’s better evolved brothers.

4. Brink

If you’ve read my previous post on how Bethesda bullshitted their way through an interview on Skyrim, you may have come to the conclusion that it’s not possible for them to have pulled the wool over our eyes on any other occasion, right?
I regret to inform you that you are incorrect, and that in the run-up to the release of Brink, readers of previews and little snippets of what the game would be like were grossly misinformed that the game would actually be a fun FPS that encourages team play and will allow you you to clamber around the world like a deranged monkey with an AK. Oh, how we were fooled into buying something that actually just played out (similarly to MW3) like team deathmatch stuck on repeat…

I digress, this may not have been Bethesda’s (the publisher of the game, who are in charge of the game’s marketing) fault of course, but what we can blame on them (and Splash Damage, Brink’s developer) is how shoddy this game is.

Again like Modern Warfare 3, its strongest component is its multiplayer. Both games suffer from some serious issues in the single player department, with the Brink devs trying to pie us off by repeating the same levels multiple times. For example, if you are a rebel, you may be tasked with stealing a passcode to a safe, the objective for their opposition would then be to stop them from stealing said passcode. The multiplayer follows the exact same template and the only thing that differs from the single player is that your AI team-mates are replaced by real-life ones.

Disappointment.

5. Kane & Lynch 2

Much in the same way that Duke Nukem Forever (which didn’t get a mention in this list because I haven’t played it) is the butt of all the ‘longest wait in history’ jokes, IO Interactive’s (who are in charge of the stellar Hitman games) Kane & Lynch 2 is the punchline to those about terrible games.

Now, after the severe backlash that Kane & Lynch 1 received, the developer rightly went back to the drawing board to correct the mistakes that they made first time round, though unlike the massive success that Ubisoft were able to produce with their vast improvements of the Assassin’s Creed series, IO Interactive bowled a gutterball for the second time in this franchise.

Trying to take the game in a completely different direction, they opted for a peculiar ‘handycam’ viewpoint which resembled that of amateur videos of cats, replacing felines in favour of geriatric men who occasionally get their kit off for those playing through it. As if the nudity of the least likeable characters in video game history wasn’t bad enough, the gameplay as a whole (no pun intended) just couldn’t support the big promises of a better game that IO had told us.

Instead of making games that cut the cheese, they should stick to making the Hitman games where the only cutting in that game is necks. With cheesewire.

I understand that you may be ready to rip me to shreds because you probably don’t agree with some of the things I’ve said, so if I’ve offended you to the point of you wanting to set my house on fire and call my mother a lady of the night, read this first.

Disagree with me? – Leave a comment.

Comments

  1. Vandalworks says

    Civilization Revolution on the XBOX at least is an utter joy of a game. While not as good as the PC version and slightly dumbed down, I’ve still spent many hours lost building my empire and utterly destroying others, or simply going into space. Whether you’ve played it on PS3 and its a bad port from there I don’t know, but I can vouch on the 360 its a very good play.

    And what did you expect from MW3? Its probably the best single player campaign since MW, and while only lasting a shade under 5 hours any more and I’d be bored. Multi player has been superbly crafted, as slick as ever especially when compared to the rough BF3, which I found unplayable after suffering glitch after glitch. I can;t help but think MW series gets a raw deal simply because theres so many players that are arseholes.

    • says

      Oh yeah, Civ Rev is a great deal of fun, I just don’t think it works as well as the PC version, which is a shame, it’s made shorter by the fact that it has been dumbed down which for me, strips away one of the most fun parts of the game which is spending an entire evening trying to take over the world, though the console version is a great deal shorter than that of the desktop version.

      I haven’t really enjoyed any of the stories since the original Modern Warfare but I felt that a deeper story was traded in for gameplay, both can work together successfully, I just don’t think that Activision are prepared to let them get that balance right. The multiplayer is incredible, I would never write it off based on the players.

  2. Kamanashi says

    So, I’m an idiot because I enjoyed MW3 and Assassin’s Creed? Just because someone enjoys something you don’t like doesn’t mean they aren’t smart, it just means their opinion differs. My favorite game of all time is Super Metroid, but for you it may be different. Do I think you are stupid? Nope, not at all.

    • says

      I’m sorry that you felt that I was insulting your intelligence with this post, I just amended it with a clarification. If you respect yourself and enjoy those games, then so be it, I’m not judging you for that, at no point did I say that you’re an idiot for having a differing opinion, in fact, I welcome opposition, it makes discussion interesting.

      For the record, I did enjoy both of those games, and still do, though do I love them as a whole? I don’t because they leave a lot to be desired.

  3. D... says

    You can’t tell people to avoid the original Assassins Creed now after newer games have come out. It’s obvious (with the success of the series) that the games have evolved and improved. The game at time of release was inspirational pushing other developers to do better with their games.
    Kane and Lynch 2 was a bitter disappointment, I would say though it was more the storyline and length which were the problem, I can’t remember having a problem with the gameplay (only played co-op so not sure about partner AI) and i found the gimmick camera view a refreshing change from the 3rd person norm.
    I would also say, try to avoid any new FPS game. There’s not much difference between them anymore so just go for the one(s) regarded as classics and be happy. Then broaden your mind. Today it almost seems that every other game is an FPS, which i find it doesn’t matter how any different ones you play the single player story always suffers at the hands of the online mode which is only ever enjoyable when you play with just your own friends as too many people seem to have no life and spend all their time trying to become #1, and improving their gamerscore (which i find the bigger your gamerscore/acheivement list/trophies list the bigger jackass you are)

    • says

      Even if you didn’t complete the first Assassin’s Creed game, you can still jump into the other games (well, from 2 onwards anyway) and have a good time, and understand everything that’s going on. But you are right, I don’t deny for a second that it pushed other devs to branch out a little.

      Indeed, it was a bitter disappointment. It could have been great, it had all of the right ideas but they ended up being incredibly flawed which of course, let the game down as a whole. Alas, it the camera was refreshing but looking back at it, I just don’t think it was right for that game – I’m sure it would fit plenty of other titles perfectly.

      That’s brilliant advice actually but unfortunately, FPS’ have so much appeal that it’s virtually impossible to escape them, as you said, “it almost seems that every other game is an FPS” – there are a few stellar gems with great storylines – see : Modern Warfare 1 and Mirror’s Edge (which was, technically an FPS), even the new Syndicate is slightly ‘out-there’ compared to most genero-shooters.

  4. Alex Harris says

    I must congratulate the author on producing what can only be described as perhaps the most moronic piece of bilge I’ve read so far in 2012. Any “self-respecting” gamer would use their own mind and experience to decide for themselves which games they are interested in playing, and which they wish to avoid, and certainly do not need the laughable “advice” of anyone who thinks Civ Rev was a “port”.

    • says

      If you want to use your own mind and experience to decide which games you want to play or indeed avoid then that’s fine by me though as much as I welcome your comment, surely if you didn’t want to use my thoughts as a basis for what you play, you wouldn’t read this article at all?

    • says

      I was just stating my opinion on a few games, I wasn’t meaning to be petty, it’s just my views.
      Feel free to disagree, it would be preferred if you actually stated why you thought this was “petty bullshit”, I’d be happy to hash it out with you.

  5. Awaiken says

    I loved Kane and Lynch 2. As a co op experience with the difficulty settings ramped all the way up, you will undoubtedly have a blast.with a friend .

    The visual style was unique, it’s hard to root for assholes but they’re not the first anti heroes in games. My only complaint is the some of dialogue induced some cringing

    • says

      Of course, there are a bunch of unlovable characters in games and I think the visual style was definitely unique, had it been in any other game that wasn’t let down by the gameplay, I think I would have appreciated that more.

      And do you know what, thanks for the recommendation, when I get a chance I’ll test out the co-op and amend the post.

      Thanks for the comment!

  6. Mickey says

    I really was expecting to see a list of games that are actually bad to the point of no redemption. Games such as Wartech Senke No Ronde, Vampire Rain or Hour of Victory.

    Instead you’ve written a list of games that are halfway decent from the resentful perspective of a gamer who perceived them differently to what they actually were.

    Civilization Revolution for consoles was actually critically quite well received. It was released in the era of this console generation when publishers were still testing the waters for a potential Real Time Strategy, Turn Based Strategy and Management Simulator market. Although the sales proved that the market wasn’t really there, some of the resulting games were still decent ones and Civ Rev was one such games. Gamers looking for that kind of fix were treated to a game that had a thoughtful control scheme as well as a decent game. Most PC gamers, coming from a platform where the strategy genre has been perfected, were far too skeptical going into console strategy games to avoid spoiling any fun they might have. Still, what if you don’t have a PC? What if your platform is a console and you’re interested in the genre? In that case Civ Rev is a decent enough game and, unfortunately for your list, the reviews out for it don’t reflect your opinion.

    Then you’ve got Modern Warfare 3 on the list, even though it’s a stunning game. And your criticism is against it’s single player. If you’re standing in a video game store, looking for a sick single player game and the back of the box reads DEFINITIVE MULTIPLAYER doesn’t than make you the douche for picking it up anyway? The publishers spend the majority of the development time working on the multiplayer because that’s where the majority of their market spends the most of their time. People don’t buy FIFA to play buy themselves as they shouldn’t buy COD to either but even if they do make that decision, the amount of offline content is substantial enough to scratch any twitchy trigger finger. Survival, Spec Ops and split screen on consoles. How is that lacking in solo content? The same goes for Brink, a game DEVELOPED by SPLASH DAMAGE and PUBLISHED by Bethesda (in case you forgot that Bethesda is not just a dev studio anymore). Brink was marketed as a class based multiplayer FPS. Anyone who is resentful of it’s lack of any gripping single player narrative just has the air of a person who made the incorrect assumption about a game that was very clearly aimed at a specific market.

    It’s only old school, I played Half Life and never looked back again PC gamers who come from the age where FPS games were either developed primarily from a single player perspective with multiplayer added in as a novelty to expand on the game or solely as a multiplayer experience. Times have changed, publishers and developers alike recognize there is a massive market for people who want to play online more than off and they design games from the ground up for them. If you wanted extensive singleplayer action game with a deep world to explore and a rich narrative then you should’ve been playing Deus Ex Human Revolution, Batman, Rage or even Saint’s Row (Mary, I’ve HAD IT!).

    Finally I’d just like to say that although Assassins Creed wasn’t Arkham Asylum, at it’s time, it was stunningly unique and presented many gamers with an interesting new world to explore and such a fun way to explore it in. I don’t know how well its aging for a lot of gamers but when it released there really wasn’t much that could be compared to it. I haven’t played Kane & Lynch 2 but I have read reviews.

    My final word is that you’re entitled to your opinion, it’s what makes you an individual and your ability to express is something I don’t resent. However, this is a list advising gamers against trying out games that you, for the most part, had a bad experience with for reasons that other gamers may not share. Someone who may not have a PC may read this and be turned off one of the few decent Strategy games out there. Someone who may prefer co-op or multiplayer shooters may read as incorrectly into your criticisms on MW3 and Brink as you evidently read into those games.

    I’m sorry if you read this as some hateful ranting post. I just think perception is mostly the problem you’re having with these games. I think you can have a better gaming experience in general when your perspective is open enough that you understand what it is that you’re buying.

    • says

      @Mickey

      While I respect your opinion, I don’t think it’s fair that you’re criticising me for having an opinion that’s different form the norm – how the games are generally ‘perceived’.

      For me, Civ Rev could have been the perfect game, to satisfy both PC gamers who love the series and console gamers who’ve never had the chance to play, it wouldn’t have taken much for it to be a far better, well-rounded experience. However, it’s those flaws that lets it down, in my opinion, and lets down tremendously.

      If these games- Brink, Modern Warfare 3 (and I’ll give a heads up to FIFA, as you mentioned it) want to be seen as having fantastic multiplayer components and the developer is even putting more resources and more of their time and effort into developing the online side of the game, than their products should reflect this – they should drop the single player altogether and market the game as such instead of trying to pull the wool over our eyes by suggesting, even for a second, that this is a game that can be enjoyed both online and off. This is consistent gripe of mine and a rant for another time, I know, though it’s a contributing factor for why those games were on the list.
      -I am aware that Brink was developed by Splash Damage but it’s my understanding that the Bethesda dev team contributed to Brink’s development, and I stated that it was a Bethesda made game because to readers, they identify as a studio who makes games, typically well=-made games, as opposed to Splash Damage who readers may not have heard of – though if it bothers you, I’ll definitely keep that in mind in the future.

      Of course, Assassin’s Creed was innovative and creative for an open-world stab-em-up in a time when such open-worlds weren’t seen outside of dragon related dungeon explorers – that being said, AC doesn’t fare particularly well in the current gaming climate where the open-worlds are more varied, more refined and most importantly – the gameplay isn’t as stunted as that of the original Assassin’s Creed.

      Thank you, and you are entitled to yours, whether I agree or disagree is another matter but I really do appreciate what you have to say, I’d be a very close-minded individual if I didn’t take on board what other people had to say.

      Again, thank you for the comment, much appreciated :)

  7. Henrik says

    I seriously have to disagree with your Civ: Rev opinion here.

    Yes, the gameplay was simplified; it was marketed as a pick-up-and-play title, but is that really such a bad thing? They’ve managed to create a solid, fast-paced and fun game that is easily accessible to a wide audience, and on the hole succeeds where other console-based strategy games fail. I’d much rather they build Civ from the ground up for a new platform, rather than try and port a title that would be otherwise unwieldy and clunky on consoles.

    • says

      Okay, granted.

      I agree with you in this case that this is how they succeeded but I feel that you’d be getting a much better, richer gameplay experience buying the PC version as my experience with the console version felt thoroughly watered down, though you’re right in this respect I must say – Civ Rev, for what it was was relatively mediocre but I guess it could be considered as a ‘win’, depending on how you look at it…

  8. Jays says

    There are literally dozens of current gen games any “self-respecting” gamer can list from the the top of their head that suck harder than the ones listed above.

    Sure, they all have their issues, but to say that we should avoid them at all costs is beguiling to me.

    • says

      Well do feel free to suggest which games ‘suck harder’ than the ones I listed.

      I only listed these ones because they are some of the ones that I have played, telling you not to play a game that I haven’t even played through would be silly.

      And surely if a game was bad, you’d want to avoid it, no?

  9. BurritoIdol says

    So, including MW3 in there wasn’t a wise choice because a huge portion of the gamer population considers that game and its predecessors to be their sole link to being a gamer. I don’t know what you believe to be a self-respecting video gamer, but your choices and arguments are just based on your uptight views of games that are boring or don’t offer what you are looking for. You say ” self-respect is how you feel about yourself. Do you value your opinions, thoughts and choices as highly as you would say, the President or the Prime Minister’s? That’s self-respect and it is not defined by what other people think about you and comes from within, therefore if you like those games and respect yourself, kudos to you, I shan’t challenge your opinion.” Your opinions don’t even target any of this, but on how some games are over rated I would say. Why don’t you just title the article ” Overrated games which I spent my precious pounds on?

    • says

      Well first I’d like to thank you for the comment and second, actually, that’s a good idea, perhaps if I ever choose to make a sequel to this post, I will call it that instead, thanks!

  10. fignugent says

    I love how the author of this article is trying to amend for his condescending tone of voice to all people. You’ve already spilled the milk with your ramblings about the aforementioned game titles for not being your cup of tea. Well guess what, good for you that you don’t like them, but with a bold title for your article, you unabashedly exposed your patronizing thoughts about gamers, and to make matters worse, you did so by claiming that if someone liked a particularly game, it was a reflection of their intelligence.

    I, for one, absolutely loved Civilization Revolution. I feel in love with the series after Civilization 2 and have bought every single title afterwards. So when Civilization Revolution came out for the consoles, I was excited because of the fact that I could get my Civilization “fix” without sacrificing so many hours in a day. After all, the series is notorious for sucking up all your time. Oh, but I guess I am stupid for liking it, aren’t I?

    By the way, I hate Call of Duty and find its multiplayer boring and cheap; but you don’t see me claiming that the millions of players who get great satisfaction from it losers. They love it and I don’t – so what. We’re at an impasse.

    You’re not a gamer, you’re a troll.

    • says

      @fignugent

      I love how you, the commenter hasn’t even taken the time to address the gender of the person you’re insulting (I’m a her, fyi), nonetheless, I shall respond…

      I understand that you may feel personally offended by me, as if I somehow think you’re less of a person for having a different opinion to mine and for that I sincerely apologise. I assure you that that isn’t the case, I’ve even amended the post with a follow up on what I meant if you want to read that for clarification.

      I’m not saying that you’re stupid at all! Play the games you want, at the end of the day, you make your own decisions about which games to avoid so of course, don’t take this post as if it’s the be all and end all.

      For the record, at some point, I have played and gotten satisfaction from the Call of Duty series, I don’t think that anyone is a ‘loser’ for playing it, the game is fundamentally designed to be enjoyable so if there’s anyone who is foolish after having played it, then perhaps it is me and I should not be so critical of a game that is meant to be ‘fun’ on the lowest level. But I can’t help it, I am, by profession, a critic, it’s in my nature.

  11. Ryan says

    “Civ Rev is a great deal of fun”

    So why are you telling ‘self-respecting gamers’ to avoid it? You’re disappointed by CivRev compared to what the series was but you still admit that it’s a great deal of fun. So that makes it one of THE five games to avoid?

    Sigh. Still, well done on getting this horseshit click-bait article to the top of N4G.

    • says

      Yes, compared to a poke in the eye, Civ Rev is a lot of fun.
      There is no game, in my opinion, that you can’t make fun, no matter how bad it is.

      And if you have a game that you think should be avoided instead, then please, do tell me what it is. As I stated in the follow up post, these are 5 of the games in my collection that I would advise people to avoid, I can’t speak about the games that I haven’t played.

  12. Moebius says

    Vandalworks – I am sorry that you had a bad glitchy experience with BF3. Not sure what glitches you experience besides the normal player abilities like be able to ride an MAV to the top of a very tall building. But I find that MW3 deserves a bad rap when one can spawn camp literally in the opponents spawn to rack up 140+ kills in a single match. And when most of the game is just a repeat of the last game, that disc you have is a $50 DLC package essentially. That would piss me off enough to light my game on fire and leave it at Activision’s door. MW3 is severely broken and that’s not to say that BF3 isn’t broken as well. BF3 offers better graphics and a more intense “battlefield” experience with the large assortment of vehicles and destructible environments I personally feel that MW3 is a waste of my money.

    • says

      I would add something in reply, but you’ve summed up exactly how I feel, more or less.

      Unfortunately, a well-rounded FPS with a great multiplayer and a captivating story seems to be the stuff of legend.

  13. mrpinkeye says

    i actually like brink. the bots when offline are great, makes me feel like my internet is still working!

    toatally agree with the rest. although i completed AC1 i didnt enjoy it for the very reason you mentioned. did noone on that design team think how how annoyed we’d get!? i skipped 2 and 3 because of that and when i played 4 lately it blew my mind how complex it had got!! back to 2 i think for me

    • says

      Oh yeah, Brink’s AI is probably its best asset and is actually one of the only things I think Bethesda could salvage from it.

      I promise you – Assassin’s Creed 2 and Brotherhood are incredible, to say that they’re an improvement on AC1 would be an understatement!

  14. Vandalworks says

    To be fair if you get a Call of Duty game for its single player campaign you’re missing the point. People overlook the fact that the vast majority of people buy COD simply for its multiplayer, which has been refined and is now very smooth, even if the maps are lacking in imagination and variety. If its acceptable for an MMO, why not for a genre that has captured a multiplayer generation? I think its more the traditionalists inside us that want more. I’ve come to accept the fact however that certain games are purpose built. If I want MP, I’ll play COD. If I want an engrossing single player experience, I’ll play Skyrim.

    Yeah I can see what you’re saying about CivRev, but its hardly a reason to avoid it if you’re a self respecting gamer. When working in game I met a man who had it for the 360. I asked if he’d tried other versions and then, surprisingly told me that he had them ‘all’. He enjoyed the 360 version as it was a little less demanding and better to play in tighter time constraints, the PC version for an all dayer, and even the DS version for trips. He may be a bit of a lunatic but much kudos to him.

    As for the other choices, I agree with AC as I couldnt get on with it, and as a result haven’t bothered with the series at all. But I’d say its worth playing from a journalistic perspective just to see how a sequel can be a much needed thing in a games development.

    Brink, I’ve never bothered with apart from a terrible demo, and K&L I’ve avoided. I know some of the MadGearSolid crew absolutely loved it despite its flaws for its fun mp modes, but you’ll have to ask them about that!

    • says

      To be honest with you, that’s why I have an issue with it. Yes the Call of Duty multiplayer is exceptionally refined, to a standard that all other games with multiplayer should be held to but if it is developed in such a way, where there is little or no regard for the single player experience, than I have to critique it as such. If they’re so intent on making a stellar online mode, why have a single player mode at all – if only to let us down?
      Maybe it’s just me who plays Civ on PC differently to most then, I can put a solid hour into it and move onto something else, as I can with most games, but with CivRev on PC, I feel that it is a much more fulfilling experience on a desktop than a console.
      I would seriously recommend all of the Assassin’s Creed games to you – journalist perspective or not, they’re an improvement on the first almost in the same way that table football is to playing the real thing.
      Perhaps they’re just those sorts of games that are so bad that you *have* to play them, eh?

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  1. [...] 5 Games Every Self-Respecting Gamer Should Avoid (JStationX) While there are some stretches on this list that you certainly wouldn't have expected to find there, the case for each is at least well-made and explained. And since things like deeming a video game a bad one is largely one dictated by personal opinion, it's still an entertaining, well-written piece. Hence, why it's included in this week's edition of the Weekly Link Review Roundup! [...]

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