Digital Spy

Search Digital Spy

Gaming News

Feature: Divisive Games

By
The world would be a boring place if we all agreed about everything. Heated discussions, internet forums and drunken debates would cease to exist, leaving friends and strangers with nothing to say to each other, but "yes, yes, I agree".

The gaming industry is just like any other, with different creative influences combining to make something that can be loved by one person and loathed by another. Digital Spy takes a look at some of the titles that have divided gamers over the years, with games that have been critical flops, but commercial forces; the games that have been critically praised, but commercially shunned; and the games that have simply divided public and critics' opinions in one way or another.




Dynasty Warriors

Dynasty Warriors is a massive franchise, and possibly the best example of a gaming series that has divided critics and the consumers so drastically. Generally speaking, the review scores for Dynasty Warriors range from average to poor, while the sales of the game, and its numerous spinoffs, which includes DS's favourite game Dynasty Warriors: Gundam 2, tend to pass the million mark without any trouble whatsoever - especially in Japan.

The reason for its failure to wow the critics comes from the repetitive gameplay, poor voice acting and its inability to offer anything new as the series progresses. However, the rather straightforward hack-and-slash gameplay and mystical spells, which sees players lay waste to entire armies of the three kingdoms, has clearly struck a chord with gamers, and the voice acting, hammy as it is, has gained a strong cult following (and of course, players can always change the audio settings if they wish).

Until the franchise truly re-invents itself, one feels as though it will continue to move backwards in the eyes of the critics, but as long as the public continues to share the romantic view of the three kingdoms, the series will continue to dominate the charts in the same way Lu Bu dominates armies.




God Hand

God Hand is a title that didn't sell particularly well, but really managed to divide critics. The majority of reviews were average; some were exceptionally poor, while other reviewers couldn't say enough good things about the unashamedly old-school roaming beat-em-up. From a personal point of view, the game would score five out of five; however, IGN scored the game a measly three out of ten, which just goes to show how diverse tastes can be.

God Hand's good bits were found in its humour, voice acting, combo system and difficulty level, while its bad bits were described as its humour, voice acting, combo system and difficulty level. In the end it didn't really matter anyway, because nobody bought it - go figure.




The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker

While The Wind Waker may not have had any problem in the sales department or from a critical point of view, for a time, especially before it was released, it was a hugely divisive game. The reason, ironically, was due to the use of extremely bright and colourful cel-shaded graphics, which were such a huge departure from the often moody palettes used in N64 titles Ocarina Of Time and Majora's Mask.

However, once the game was released and available for all to see, the graphics, from the brilliant bright blue sky and sea to the sublime animation, managed to win over even the hardest of gamers.

Funnily enough, its sequel, Twilight Princess, would return the series to a more "mature" art style, and was greeted with huge anticipation; however, from Nintendo's point of view it was a bit of a commercial flop, considering the Wii's huge userbase.




Metal Gear Solid 2

The Metal Gear franchise itself could be included, due to the fact that, while some would label Hideo Kojima a creative genius, others would say he rattles on a bit, with his use of 45-minute cutscenes etc.

However, assuming you like Metal Gear Solid, it's undoubtedly the second title that divides fans and critics. The main reason for this division is that, while you're happily playing as Snake, suddenly the game veers off in a different direction and leaves you playing as the much-maligned Raiden.

While Raiden is enough for some fans to dismiss the title, the themes, and the story-telling techniques used to explore them, received huge praise by some and were extremely well implemented, leaving the player potentially questioning the world they live in and the leaders who run it.

The same philosophical themes used in Metal Gear Solid 2 were also the basis for the game's criticism, with some arguing that the plot, script, and storytelling techniques were too ambitious, and in typical Kojima fashion, became convoluted and incomprehensible.

It will continue to be the Marmite game of the series, until perhaps Metal Gear Solid: Rising comes along, with Raiden once again resuming his role as the main protagonist.




Far Cry 2

When Digital Spy reviewed Far Cry 2, we scored the game a very respectable four out of five. However, fast forward a few days after it was released and the forums were full of gamers who had traded the game out of boredom thanks to the tedious travelling between objectives.

While we noted this criticism, it was surprising just how many people were turned off by this feature and decided to try something else, especially considering just how beautiful a journey it was across the fictional African province.

It's a shame that the issue divided gamers so much, because it would be simply remedied by the use of instant travel between objectives, which just goes to show that a quick fix gameplay feature can be the difference between a game that pleases all of its fans, or a game that divides them.




FIFA/Pro Evolution Soccer

The annual war of the footie games nearly always sees Pro Evo win the critical battle, while FIFA destroys it in the sales stakes.

Every year we're promised a FIFA game that will fix the problems of the past, but never quite manages it, while Pro Evo seems to add a new licence or two but never has the full set of teams and players that we crave.

One would assume that the authentic player names, leagues and stadia is what the public wants, which is why FIFA always outshines its rival on the sales front. However, this year it could be different, with FIFA making a convincing case for its yearly promise of radical improvements, while Pro Evo has started to look like its run out of ideas since its move to the next gen.

Ask most gamers who enjoy football games which one they prefer and you'll get a different answer from each, with a whole host of reasons as to why their choice is better than the other. It's a strange scenario having one sport represented by two colossal games, and picking your game is akin to supporting your team - minus the chants, songs and scarves.

2009 will once again see the old rivalry resume, and both games will no doubt continue to divide gamers and critics for years to come.

You May Like