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Most Overrated Game Franchises of All Time

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The Most Overrated Franchises of All Time

A story, by Steve Sawyer

Everyone has their favorite anything. Favorite food, favorite music, favorite method of hiding contraband for border excursions into other countries, etc, etc. And games are no exception. Everyone has a favorite game, or a favorite franchise. Some of these franchises are the favorites of so many that they become declarations of greatness unto themselves with every subsequent release that follows. But are these games really all that and a double stack animal style?


Grand Theft Auto Franchise

San Andreas was the last hurrah for this franchise in my mind, and even that was pushing it. These games have always been a collection of smaller versions of other games crammed into a gritty urban, free roaming landscape. Want to play basketball in San Andreas? Well you can! Just not very well, or in a way that resembles actual basketball. Want to go bowling in Liberty City? Well you can, but it won't feel very much like bowling, and is incredibly frustrating and sensitive to pull off! Hell it got to the point that in Grand Theft Auto 4 they spent so much time creating all the stupid little distractions of the game world that they forgot the game was about driving and shooting, or that's what I assumed, because both of those were made absolutely useless by the time we got to GTA 4. On the upside, if you ever wanted to know what it would be like to change your tires from rubber to soap, and change all the asphalt roads to “wet bathtub” roads, well then Grand Theft Auto IV is the game for you!

(It's Vegeta from DragonBall Z, driving the Batmobile in Grand Theft Auto. And this is the least absurd thing I've seen on the internet today.)

The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania

“Hello friend, do you see that wonderful power up, just out of reach? Well guess what? You can have it! Yeah totally! All you need to do is go and complete a series of completely arbitrary and arduous tasks that will lead to you getting some stupid ability, or item that you didn't even know you needed, and it will enable you to come back and grab this floating ball of mystery!”

(Picard shortly after seeing a 98% complete at the end of Metroid Prime 2.)

And when you finally grab that stupid mystery object? It's a goddamn orb that increases your health by one bar. One stupid bar. Or if you're playing Castlevania, a skull or something spooky like that. You'd be better off playing scavenger hunt with an Al Qaeda footsoldier. Even though you know it will end with you getting blown up, at least it'll be prompt efficient, and not coated in lies that promise fun.

The Call of Duty Franchise

It's not that Call of Duty has created an entire generation of obnoxious jackasses on every platform known to man... no, it's not even that every Call of Duty has a notoriously retarded plot, and unbalanced multiplayer... nope. It's simply because I've played Operation Flashpoint 1, and 2, and ARMA 1, and 2. I know there is something better. More believable.

“I found myself shot in the arm, unable to pull the trigger of my assault carbine. I had to lay prone in the grass until our field medic could get to me, because I was pinned by enemy fire. There were bullets wizzing by my head the whole time, and no one could get to me until those gunners got taken out. But I just laid there bleeding out the whole time, wondering if my friends would make it to me in time. I had only been shot the one time, and that was it.”

That's not an excerpt from a war journal. That's my friends experience playing ARMA 2 online with his buddies. Suck on that Call of Duty!

(You are the grey cat. The other cat is Activision's profits from the upcoming Call of Duty: Elmo's Revenge.)

Any BioWare made RPG

I know how many people are ready to punch me in the face right now, but I've got to be honest with you... I don't care. Mass Effect promised me an intergalactic romp that would give me the ability to explore planets and interact with people on an unprecedented level. Instead I got an overblown series of fetch quests, and a black and white morality system that saw you taking on issues like “would you like to help my daughter find her missing teddy bear, or would you like to MURDER MY FAMILY?!?” I kid, but the sad thing is... only a little bit. And not to chomp at the bit here, but what in the hell Jade Empire? Seriously, what in the hell? I say this on the behalf of every single person that played that game. I want my five bucks.

(An actual screenshot from Jade Empire.)

Their consistently black and white approach to “morality” in their games, combat that always just barely verges on being cool, and the complete lack of diversity in quests aside from “fetch these things for me please”, has made BioWare RPGs earn a place on my list of ire.


This is the big one, and a hard one for me. I used to love Madden, and sports games in general. But then EA kicked everyone else out of the football game making business, and it's been downhill since then. Madden has now become an overblown roster update that really, always seems to show up a little too early, and then somehow manages to become outdated much too soon. It's also played the same for so long, that I can't even make a relevant reference to how outdated the mechanics of the game are. But hot damn, they are really outdated. Now I know what you must be thinking to yourself... why hasn't John Madden marched down to the EA compound in California, and just kicked everyone's ass straight to the curb?

(Yeah, pretty much.)

I don't know. I just don't know. So John, if you are reading this, please hear the call of the millions (give or take) of readers of this site, and deliver us from the evil your games have become. Please?

This list was short, because reliving these horrible nightmares is an experience that I wanted to end as quickly as possible.

Steve Sawyer
Editor in Chief

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Updated 10-11-10 at 01:55 by SteveSawyer

Sony , Microsoft , PC , Industry , Editorial


  1. GameGavel's Avatar
    Nice Tags
  2. Dhalamar's Avatar
    You forgot Halo.
  3. GameGavel's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dhalamar
    You forgot Halo.
    HALO 2 was really well done in my mind. It was my first "real" hardcore online multiplayer experience and it was GREAT! But haven't played HALO since so can't really say what the franchise is like now.
  4. darksol's Avatar
    A little embellished and hyperbole, but it does make some good points.
  5. Dhalamar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by GameGavel
    HALO 2 was really well done in my mind. It was my first "real" hardcore online multiplayer experience and it was GREAT! But haven't played HALO since so can't really say what the franchise is like now.
    Halo honestly hasn't changed all that much in it's overall gameplay. It's still got the boring, sloppy, slow paced feel it's always had.

    You want a "real" hardcore shooter? Play anything in the Unreal Tournament series, then you'll realize just how slow paced and Saturday Morning Cartoonish Halo is. :P You can snag them for the PC through Steam cheap, or (if you're suicidal going in with a controller since there's keyboard/mouse support) it's, like, $8.99 at Gamestop for the PS3 version. heh

    Oh, and the Skulltag engine for Doom/Heretic/Hexen is pretty friggin' awesome too. It basically does (for online multiplayer anyway) what Planet M.U.L.E. does for the original game.
  6. SteveSawyer's Avatar
    I could always do a part 2.

    And I hate Halo, but I feel like the games are hit and miss, where the franchise itself is incredible. I say this with a healthy dose of humility but, the Halo universe is really well written, and maintained. Just watch Halo Legends to remove any lingering doubt. And let me reiterate. Play ARMA 2. Seriously. It's the hardest shooter I have ever played in my life, bar none.

    I'm already working on part 2... lol. Any suggestions? Post them here!
  7. Dhalamar's Avatar
    Nah, the entire franchise is a miss. I've seen SyFy channel specials with better stories and characters.
  8. SteveSawyer's Avatar
    I feel that same way about every single japanese game ever made. I refuse to capitalize that on the grounds that japan sucks.

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