Beyond Good and Bad

Things aren’t always good. 2016, for example, wasn’t good by any stretch of the imagination. Hence, you can’t always talk about good things.I’ll agree that it helps people feel better: “oh, this thing that happened last year was great, totally worth it”. But sometimes you need to take a look at some things that didn’t go as planned. Which leads me to…

Most “Ok Well, That Was A Disappointment” Game of 2016:
The Mansion of Hidden Souls (Saturn, 1994)

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Never forget.

After all, what else do you call a bad sequel to a fairly good adventure, if not disappointing? The original Mansion of Hidden Souls was the very last game I played in 2015, and a surprisingly good one. I had heard about the sequel, so I didn’t have much hope it was good – but it ended up even worse than I expected. I can’t describe its crappiness in words (because it’s too much), or it’s plot (because it’s beyond description), so why don’t you give it a try?

But after the rain, the sun comes up. And we can’t just focus on the negative. That’s not good for your health. We need some good in life, and the best kind of nice things come from unexpected places.

Most “Wait, This Isn’t As Bad As I Remembered” Game of 2016
Serious Sam 2 (PC, 2005)

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Wait, what happened to all the sand and pyramids? I distinctly remember something that looked like a sphynx at some point.

No, hear me out. I know you thought I hated Serious Sam 2. To be fair, my dislike of the game was based on the first couple levels – which were so bad (and admittedly, so different from the original series) that they put me off playing entirely. Flash forward several years later, and I decide to give it a better chance. And what do you know? After the crappy beginning, it gets actually good. Sure, it’s still my least favorite in the series, and some sections are still downright annoying. But at least it’s a fun pick-up-and-play title, whoch lets you have fun blasting those damn Kleers with ease, unlike the older games. And some of the cutscenes are genuinely funny. Which reminds me, after the bleakness of SS3, I hope SS4 is a return to form.

There are even things that aren’t quite good or bad. More specifically, they might be the best you could have done within certain limitations. That doesn’t make them necessarily good, but you gotta at least admire the effort, and at least they weren’t as bad as they could have been.

Most “It Should Have Been Crap But It Wasn’t” Game of 2016
Fable: The Journey (Xbox 360, 2012)

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It was a bit like travelling around in Oblivion, if Bethesda suddenly decided to make an on-rail adventure and actually added some charm to its game.

Kinect, in the end, was only good for a few things: music games and on-rail shooters. Fable Journey did have some of the latter, but it sure didn’t have any of the former. And the rest of the story is filled with horse sections. But hey, at least they make you care about the horse. The story might be utterly predictable, but it’s well told. And while you’ll spend half your time fighting the controls, it’s almost worth it in the end. I can’t say it was a game I’d play again, but it was something I always wanted to play for some reason, and it’s already impressive enough that it didn’t disappoint.

As I said before, good and bad is not all there is in the world. In some cases though, you outright don’t care. Perhaps you are bound by a previous decision, an oath if you will. Maybe it’s simply a case of collectionism. It might even be a gift for someone, who died before you could give it to them, hence you are now stuck with it (oh wow, that turned sour pretty fast). Either way, you have to live with it. With some luck, you won’t care.

Most “I Said I Would Buy It So There Was No Choice” Game of 2016
Lego Jurassic World (PC, 2015)

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Now, eventually you do plan to have Lego enviroments in your Lego game series, right?

Me in 2014: okay, I’m not a big fan of Lego games, but if they made one based on Jurassic Park, I’d totally bite
TT Games in 2015: Lego Jurassic World is so coming!
Me in 2015: crap, at least let me wait for a sale…

Ok well. See, it wasn’t bad. Lego games rarely are bad to begin with. But they are pretty much all the same. I’ve played a few, and I didn’t really want to play any more of them. But in the end, I’m glad I did, because I was able to see what kind of progress the series has made since the earlier efforts. To be fair, not even all that much progress… but that’s better than nothing. Let me also go on record and say that, if they make a Lego game based on Predator, I’m buying that too (pretty sure I’m safe this time).

Finally, sometimes… nothing at all matters. Good, bad, promises, expectations… nothing. You play something short just because you need to finish the 52 games in a year challenge.

Most “I Can’t Believe I Played This” Game of 2016
Teddy Floppy-Ear: Mountain Adventure (PC, 2015)

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I regret nothing.

Don’t ask. At least it was fun, okay?

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