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GameCritics.com Podcast Episode 91: Most Overhyped/Underappreciated Games

It's the end of a generation, and the GC crew takes a look back at the era that was. We throw out our Most Overrated and Underappreciated games of the past gen, and somehow we were all still on speaking terms afterwards. Also, some bonus talk on the magic of Pokémon. With Sinan Kubba, Chi Kong Lui, Brad Gallaway, Mike "I Hate You All" Bracken, and Richard Naik.

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Yes! Grand Theft Auto IV!!!

Yes! Grand Theft Auto IV!!! That game bored me to tears. I got about five hours into the campaign, played a couple rounds of multiplayer, regretted my purchase and traded in that garbage.

My list

Here's my list of overrated games. Strap yourselves in.

Any GTA
Any Metal Gear
Any Driving Game
Oblivion and Skyrim
All Modern Warfares from 2 onwards
EVERY SINGLE Final Fantasy
Bioshock 1 and Bioshock infinite are possibly the Most overrated ( especially Infinite )
No wait, I take that back, any Mario and Zelda game. Super especially 2D Mario games. Enough all f#cken ready. Also Mario Galaxy. Same 2D shit, but now shitness in 3D. And yeah I finished it.
Dragon Age Origins

I could go on for longer but too many games suck for me to list.

I like Uncharted 2 a whole lot, but must admit it's overrated. All critics of Uncharted 2 never, ever mention that Nathan Drake is by far the most likeable and believable Video game character that currently exists. Drake is so far above in that regard that It shames the rest of the industry. No, It's not the story or good writing and it's not even that he has depth to his character, but it's the first time that performance, acting, personality and animation came together to give us something even close to giving the audience a movie level likeable character. Uncharted 2 is a landmark in gaming in many respects, but boy it has some problems in other area's.

Gamecritics official underhyped Game of the generation: NieR

So if I counted correctly Nier is Gamecritics official underhyped Game of the generation! That's so great that this game gets more recognition.

I think the fishing video was irresponsible for sure, but SE marketing/PR was also at fault. Nier came out 1 month after FFXIII, was not presented as an RPG, honestly I thought it was an action game, it was even compared to God of War by the PR. The "we made a burly character version for the West" was also a big turn off among the niche jrpg crowd (although the father storyline was more compelling than the brother one).

Had it been presented as what it was, a japanese action RPG with a heavy emphasis on story, it would have at least got the attention of this crowd. For the record, the game was sold out week one in japan, so SE expectations for it were much lower that what it did there.

Thank you again for talking about it!

Great show once again ! Too

Great show once again !
Too bad the poll wasn't conducted with the official GameCritics twitter account (no offense Brad, but you do tweet a lot ^^), but the results were satisfying anyway.

Some thoughts on Pokemon : yes it is really easy to get into, and the late game is surely very deep (not that I would know), but as Brad said, the core single player experience isn't really great, and requires more grinding than strategy, with no story to keep you invested.

My two cents on some of the games mentioned, even if I fully understand why they were brought up :
GTA IV : I definitely agree that the missions are too scripted and the combat isn't on par with the industry standard (even if it was a huge step up for the franchise), but replaying it recently, the scenario is quite nice. Niko is much less averse to violence than Marston claims he is, so the ludonarrative dissonance is really not that bad. And Liberty City is still a marvel.

Heavy Rain : story is rubbish, but the storytelling is quite interesting. Choices are more interesting in Walking Dead, but HR deals much better with dynamic situations

Uncharted : yes the plot isn't great by any means, but the cutscenes never outstay their welcome and the characters can be endearing. I still find the gameplay quite dynamic.

My most overrated game would have to be Limbo. Cheap traps, shady background desperately trying to hint at deep and mysterious story but failing to hide its shallowness. But the Assassin's Creed games were also a good choice.

As for underappreciated games, my vote would go to Kane & Lynch Dead Men, which got completely buried under the Gerstmann scandal. I think the characters are interesting in that they are straight up horrible guys (fitting for people who kill as many men as they do), the script is full of memorable situations that you get to play (night club, bank robbery, etc). Admittedly the controls were not very smooth and the endgame sucked, but it was an ambitious shooter story wise, with a bleak ending.

Glad you picked Nier as the

Glad you picked Nier as the most underhyped game. I always have an itch to go back into the game, but then the white flower reminds me that i have already beaten it to the fullest extent (which is a good thing -- i guess?). Actually i disagree with you on the side-quest stuff. Sure, they bag on the player for doing them, however if you follow the side-quests long enough (both the fishing and the lighthouse quests) you will get "closure" which i thought was pretty fitting -- as Nier explains to the book it's not about getting any reward or being particularly entertained, it's just about doing what needs to be done and helping people -- and that's enough for me, it's what i want to do in a JRPG -- forge connections with the characters, everything else is secondary. Perhaps I'm suffering from the Stockholm syndrome though, trying to justify the time i "wasted". I did do the pink flower quest by setting the Playstation clock though, as my patience was wearing very thin.

My personal overlooked games were:
Atelier Meruru: If you like JRPGs that don't take itself seriously while still portraying a satisfying "coming of age"- story, you will love this one.
Demon's souls: Was greatly underhyped, but due to Dark Souls' success i bought it and consider it to be in parts a better game (apart form the flaky and inconsequential narrative -- even though some pieces were brilliant like the end of the swamp). Too bad i didn't give it a chance when it came out; I watched Zero Punctuation's review of it and that totally put me off -- big mistake on my part.

I've been racking my brain trying to find any more games which have had an effect like the ones above (maybe Etrian Odyssey -- are DS games considered this generation?), but i came up with nothing. I'm totally bored with this generation of games. Sometimes i wonder though if the games are actually really good and if I'm just a jaded old fart cursing that damn rock n roll music of those young'uns.
However this reasoning broke down for me as i recently watched a LP of Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete and was completely enthralled. Sure, the game is nothing special, but it has everything i want: Evil guy captures your girlfriend and you have to set things right by kicking his ass. It has a good, humorous supporting cast, you fight dragons, find erotica strewn about the world and you get to be a Dragonmaster, commanding the forces of nature by your very will. There are highs and lows in the narrative, some (expected) twists and turns, and even some character development, along with good music to boot. How is it that i like this game from 2 generations ago so much, which is, when it is all said and done, pretty cookie-cutter -- and I didn't even play it!?
I think my disconnect with a lot of the AAA titles, which you have mentioned in the podcast, stem from video games growing up, and i didn't. Too bad, it was a nice hobby while it lasted... I guess I'll have to look for escapism somewhere else.

axe-wielding vikings

Nice to see a bit of good humoured conflict on the show and I can now state definitively I am 100% Team Bracken. I played Dragon Age: Origins at the height of my interest in RPGs - couldn't get enough of them - and DA:O killed that interest stone dead. Possibly the only other game at the same mark on the sheer boredom scale for me was Ass Creed 1.

I don't think we need worry about Demon's Souls - it's at the pinnacle of current-gen games after all. It's good that Dark was released to a wider audience and now the team is getting the widespread recognition they deserve.

My own nominations for criminally underrated are the Mount & Blade games - what other game lets you command the siege of a castle from a safe strategic position, *and* stand in the line with a bunch of sweaty, axe-wielding vikings facing down a cavalry charge? It's a piece of pure gameplay genius.

You people are heretics. I

You people are heretics. I agree with Brad and Richard that Bracken was probably insane to suggest Dragon Age: Origins.

For me, an undervalued game would probably be Vanquish. I loved that game, and I hope we will see a Vanquish 2 or at least other games in the similar vein.

An overhyped game for me would be the Witcher games. They were okay, not great. I never got into them, but people kept hailing Witcher and it's sequel as "the most awesome RPGs ever".

Thanks for the great podcast.

I like that we've reached a

I like that we've reached a point where people are getting on Team Bracken. Soon I will take us all to a South American jungle -- where we'll build a utopia around the idea of playing only good games. So anyone who likes Skyrim and Dragon Age will be barred entrance.

Dragon Age: Origins sucks -- it sucks almost as much as Skyrim, which is pretty fucking impressive when you stop to think about it. I probably liked it better the first two times I played it -- back when it was called Knights of the Old Republic or Jade Empire as opposed to "Generic Western Fantasy Bullshit with Endless Dialogue Trees." That's just me, though. Bioware -- recycling the same fucking game since Baldur's Gate. Huzzah.

GTA 4

Thanks for mentioning GTA 4 in the podcast. This game is overhyped to such a ridiculous degree (98% -- ninety-eight! -- on Metacritic for the console versions with zero "mixed" or "negative" reviews), that I always use it as indicator for the integrity of review sites. That is, whenever I find a new game review site or journal, I always check their opinion on GTA 4 first. The integrity can then be deduced from how far they are away from a realistic score (which would perhaps be 5 or 6 out of 10 if you're into such numbers; it's basically a nice city simulator with a mediocre, highly repetitive shooter included).

The third opinion to GTA 4 on this site and Yahtzee's video are the only two good (and realistic) reviews for the game that I know of.

...

I'll add to my heresy by saying I don't have the first fucking clue why people gushed over Vanquish. Played that game and found it completely underwhelming.

It's a generic third person action game at best. Not sure what people see in that one.

I'm glad you enjoyed the show, though. :-)

I wanted to join the Bracken

I wanted to join the Bracken army too, but I found out that he liked Jason Statham whom is my pick for the most overhyped actor of this generation. To hell with his boring action movies. Jason Stathman is to action what Adam Sandler is to comedy.

Vanquish sucks. I agree. Not only for the generic interminable cover shooting but also for the atrocious story, voice acting and dialogue.

My overhyped games would be Final Fantasy XIII. If Tobi uses GTA4 as measure of a gaming site's integrity, I use FF13. It's lucky that I've been reading GC for years because had the main review been my first impression of GC I probably wouldn't engage in its community (not that I regret it!) Good thing the podcast crew unanimously hated it. That game sucks. Worst game I've ever finished, unhyperbolic whatsoever.

Other candidates for overhyped games would be the Uncharted series the FF13 of third person shooters, in that the player is basically led through a tunnel for omg spectacles. Marvel vs Capcom 3 is 100% unbalanced bland air-combo-abusing fighting game garbage (and I hated its art direction too). Call of Duty post-Modern Warfare are all super generic. Bayonetta too. I will never understand why this was championed as a feminist icon. Plus the story is garbage. Also, New Super Mario Bros any iteration. They're 2d platformer Mario minus inspired level and art design, and the music is too kitchen-channel for my taste. Also, every Tales games. They're the Fast and Furious of JRPGs -- all of them samey, beyond shallow, and kinda really sucky.

My underhyped games would be Rhythm Thief (3DS), essentially Professor Layton with rhythm games instead of puzzles and with a far more engaging cast (the demo doesn't quite reflect the story). Trauma Team (Wii) is another. One of the rare games that uses Wii-mote well, and I'm still bummed that it hasn't a sequel announcement yet. All the Etrian Odyssey games, which gets exponentially better each sequel. Mighty Switch Force, which should have been one of the eShop giants like Pushmo. Corpse Party is a good PSP horror that proves that one can make a game scary without requiring next-gen presentation. Good call on Lost Odyssey, Nier, and Valkyria Chronicles too, even if I have yet to beat them.

down with this sort of thing!

I agree with the notion that Dragon Age: Origins is/was overhyped to the point of nausea. People treated it like the second coming, all I could see was a rather generic RPG with really bad pacing and a NPC who'd try to sell me DLC in game. The only party member I liked was the dog. The others were tolerable at best and mostly just annoying. I finished the game and pretty much all dlc and the expansion, since I bought the ultimate edition and was looking for that great RPG everyone was going on about. What a waste of time that was. Funny enough, I quite liked Dragon Age 2, which everyone who loved the first seems to hate. Most of the party members were still tools and the enemies teleporting into battle were stupid, but it had much better pacing. Not just endless dialogues after dialogues until I was sick of it, just to be followed by endless seeming dungeons where I reached the point that I wanted the endless seeming dialogue back.

I'm not signing up with Team Bracken though, since Vanquish is awesome and in my view the best third person shooter money can buy :-P

My nomination for underrated game of this Generation clearly goes to Mount & Blade, the entire series and especially Warband. It's a bit rough around the edges and as friendly to newcomers as a rabid doberman. But once you get past the rocky start, the game is amazing. I consider M&B one of the best open world games available. My own adventures are well documented in the gamecritics forums:

http://www.gamecritics.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19440

... where I went from playing a downtrodden peasant woman to gladiator to a revolutionary leader, liberating the good people of the Khergit Khanate in epic battles with hundreds of soldiers on each side. Later the sudden Queen of what was once the Khanate became participant in a game of thrones, leading to wars raging across Caladria (not that easy to find a suitable husband btw). The game that started out with a peasant armed with not much more than a wooden stick and foul language, became a game of a Queen managing cities, castles and armies. If that doesn't sound like an awesome game to you I don't know how else I can help :)

My only issue with the game is that it could have a bit more dialogue options and more variety for side quests and banter in the villages. Big hopes for Mount & Blade 2!

my list

Overhyped:
Gears of War
Demons/Dark Souls
Bioshock (+Infinite)
Metal Gear Solid 4
GTA IV
Braid
Vanquish (by the PG Fanboys)
Live (the "far better" MP service)

Underappreciated:
Brutal Legend
World in Conflict
Crysis 1, Warhead & 2
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men
Wipeout HD Fury / 2048
ClickR
PB Winterbottom
Dead Nation
Vanquish (by the market)
PS+ (seems like there are still a ton of people who have no idea what great value it delivers)

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