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Crumbling Under Pressure (Part 1)

The Games that Failed to Live Up to Hype.

It hit me the other day that games are put under immense pressure to perform, whether it be from the games industry itself hyping up something so big it then is dead cert to not even tickle those standards or the whether it is a sequel to a highly acclaimed title and falls short of the greatness its predecessor had. Either way, these were the games that crumbled, big time, in recent memory.

  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect

Reason for Crumble: Highly acclaimed and beloved predecessor.

TimeSplitters 2 is perhaps the greatest arcade FPS this decade, but as soon as EA smeared their corporate blandness over what was essentially going to better its sequel, Future Perfect suffered from blander looking characters and a sense that the characters you once loved are now really dead inside.

  • Killzone

Reason for Crumble: Massive hype that it failed, in many respects, to live up to.

It was nobodys fault that Killzone couldn't live up to its unhealthy pre-launch hype, as recently discovered Guerilla had always envisioned it to be more graphically empowering and though it was a definate looker, the story lack and the shooting was basic at its best. Killzone 2 rectified most of these problems and envisioned the game how Guerilla perhaps had first planned.

  • Haze

Reason for Crumble: Highly talented developer produces a blank.

TimeSplitter: Future Perfect wasn't a bad game, it simply didn't live up to the royalty of TimeSplitters 2. However, when Free Radical eventually churned out Haze after a sucession of publishers and realease dates and delays, this PS3 was definately a very average shooter with good mechanics and a complex story that never really began to involve the player. Blamed for the downfall of Free Radical, which could be true but I strongly doubt it.

GDC 09 Predictions

  • Ratchet & Clank: Future 2, Syphon Filter, Jak and Daxter 4 will all be announced for Playstation 3. (Likely)
  • LittleBigPlanet will be fully revealed and unvieled, whilst new PS3 content will be demonstrated. (Likely)
  • More info will arise for God of War 3, Uncharted 2, Demon Soul andQuantum Theory. (Likely)
  • Gran Turismo 5 and a new Wipeout will see the light of day. (Less than Likely)
  • The newest incarnation of Star Wars: Battlefront 3 will be demoed. (Less than Likely)
  • Rock Band for PSP wil be demonstrated alongside the unvieling of Daxter 2. (Likely)
  • The new PSP-4000 will be announced, and looks more like a PSP2. (Likely)
  • A new Playstation 3 SKU will be announced alongside a new 80bg package. (Likely)
  • A Playstation 3 and PSP-3000 price drop will be placed into effect. (Less than Likely)
  • TimeSplitters 4 will have found a publisher and be unvieled. (Unlikely)
  • Kingdom Hearts for PS3 will be announced but will be a multiplatform release. (Less than Likely)
  • Metal Gear Solid 5 will be hinted at. (Likely) Playstation 3 exclusive? (Likely)

Updates:

Max Payne 3 announced.

Ratchet & Clank: A Crack In Time announced. (Bit of a crap subtitle if I'm totally honest)

God of war II gameplay Footage demonstrated.

Playstation Predictions 2009

1. LittleBigPlanet Downloadable Content

LBP will continue to flourish in it's exciting DLC after the great reception of the Metal Gear Solid 4 game pack and numerous costumes, in particular I reckon for every major PS3 exclusive released there will be a new costume on store. We saw Motorstorm and Resistance this year, next year, Helghast with Killzone, Nathan Drake with Uncharted, Ratchet & Clank with Ratchet & Clank, Patapon and perhaps maybe Jak & Daxter.

2. New "Secret" Games to be Announced

Particularly Jak & Daxter, Naughty Dog have had an entire year off and that's enough time to concoct a new game in the sci-fi platform series and the new Uncharted that is due out next year. It may not be in 2009 but I expect something to be mentioned. Motorstorm and LittleBigPlanet will come to PSP and the GTA IV "exclusive DLC" will make its way onto PS3. A return from Viewtiful Joe is also in order.

3. Delays

It wouldn't be a Sony year without them and I think the best bets would be Gran Turismo 5 and Final Fantasy Versus XIII which will be delayed until 2010. GT: Portable won't see the light of day until atleast 2011 and God of War 3 will follow those other PS3 titles and turn up down the back end of 2010.

4. Killzone 2, Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2

The big three next year will be Killzone 2, Heavy Rain and Uncharted 2 which will all recieve critically acclaimed scores. Ratchet & Clank Future 2 will follow closely behind after the critical success of Quest For Booty. Several new Singstar titles will be released aswell as a new Buzz! expansion, as there has been a slow trickle of DLC for the game since its launch. Eyetoy will make a strong comeback with EyePet and perhaps new a Eyetoy Play game to rival Wii Play/Sport.

5. There Will Be Disappointments. Big Time.

If Quantum Theory is released in 2009, it won't live up to it's expectations - if there are any and I think it will be an average Devil May Cry brawl. Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 will fall greatly as FIFA once and for all takes its lead with players and critics. The new Tony Hawk's game will feature some impressive new features and control scheme but will fail to topple the staggering realism of Skate 2 and the secret James Bond game will be as disappointing as this years Quantum of Solace.

6. 2009 will be the year PSN almost matches Xbox Live

The content on PSN will better that found on XBL excelling in most fields. The most interesting thing will come packaged as DLC for your games and indie games not found on 360, Fat Princess and Flower being the front runners here.

Gaming Disappointments of 2008

10. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith

To keep it short, it was a blatent cash in, a crap cash in and a cash in that is unlike any Guitar Hero I have ever played - boring, repetitive and disloyal to the GH fans. (6.5)

9. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed

The game that crumbled under expectation, being a super Jedi/Sith should have been the highlight of the year, unfortunately it was mildly entertaining. The physics were awesome but not properly utilised. The story was good but the cutscene were wonky. Everything about it didn't make sense after all this time waiting for an excellent Jedi game. (7.5)

8. Home

For everything I found cool about Home, there were three things I didn't like. I love the interaction between people and the customisation, but I hate the micro transactions, the lack of content bearing in mind how long its been to eventually come out, and the uninteresting look of the character models. They lack the pizazz of 360 avatars and have no style whatsoever. (7.0)

7. Call of Duty: World at War

It was World War 2, not Modern day and that's basically shooting yourself in the foot. Last year's number three was COD4: Modern Warfare because it was brilliant game but Treyarch failed to evolve the series into WW2 and create a game they could successfully call theirs. (7.0)

6. Quantum of Solace

Being Bond should be another highlight of 08, but it wasn't. Just an anemic cash in like evry other cash in that ever existed, and it did look quite good, for a while but even with the COD4 engine it didn't work properly and everything was fudged. (6.0)

5. Bioshock

Last year saw this game claim multiple Game of the Year awards, so why is it in my bottom 5 games of the past year? It's story was engaging and the graphics were superb but I felt by the time I actually got round to playing it the dust had settled and I couldn't see what the fuss was all about. There are plenty of other games I'd rather be playing. (8.5)

4. Play TV

This was a big disappointment for me, purely because I was expecting something along the lines of Sky+ but cheaper. In reality it just didn't work the way I first intended it to and it hogged up far too much space on my hardrive with an unjustifyable proce tag. (5.0)

3. Gran Turismo 5: Prologue

Purely because it was just like GT4 and a glorified demo. Yes the racing was good, but Burnout Paradise and GRID (which narrowly missed my Top 10) did everything better, and Prologue ended up look old school and trailing behind. (7.5)

2. Mercenaries 2

Scrappy, messy, fun but incredibly glitchy and annoying. Mercenaries 2 was not a true next generation title and lack the spectacular set pieces its rivals GTAIV and even Saints Row 2 had. The reason it was so disappointing was because the first title was excellent and this failed to live up to those high expectations. (7.0)

1. Haze

The unbelievable hype surrounding this game was insane, it was going to be the best shooter since Killzone, Halo or even Gears of War. It was in the hands of a team of highly skilled veterans of the genre, who gave birth to the igneous TimeSplitters 2, whcih is my all time favourite game. However, in reality, the drugs didn't work and Haze was an absolute shambles. Grubby textures and grubbier shooting with graphics and environments reminscent of a PS2 game. Horrible and totally unplayable. (5.0)

Game of the Year 2008

10. Grand Theft Auto IV

In many ways I feel this never truly lived up to its hype, but then again what does these days? This will perhaps be an unpopular choice also, if you consider what is above this in the list, but quite frankly I didn't find it as enjoyable as everyone made it out to be. The reasons it got #10 include its brilliant storyline, Four Leafed Clover, Brucie (perhaps the greatest character in videogames this year.) and of course its fantastic online play. (8.5)

9. Mirror's Edge

Visually stunning and brilliantly executed, I had no idea this game would be so intense yet so simple to control. Everything looks staggeringly fluid and the sensation of movement is teriffic. Yes, it did lack an engaging story and yes, it was very short, but for what was on offer, it is a once in a lifetime experience. (8.0)

8. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of Patriots

A theatrical epic of visual and digital entertainment, this is something that has to be played by veterans and virgins of the series alike. The game is truly monumental with staggering boss fights and memorable set pieces. It is one of the best action game son the market visually and tactically, and despite the over cooking on some cutscene and a mess of story line ties, it is truly spectacular. (9.0)

7. Loco Roco 2

If you thought Loco Roco was fun then Loco Roco 2 will fun your pants off. It is insanely hysterical and utterly bonkers and is definately the most charming game I have ever played. It is the game that brought me back to my PSP and is truly laugh out loud. (9.5)

6. Burnout Paradise

I didn't think this would be as high as I'm currently placing it, but thinking back on it, Burnout Paradise is a game I keep going back to and is one of the most enjoyable games I have this year. Online is silky smooth and highly accessible, with heaps of players to thrash and for me, this is the main attraction of the game. The online is better than GTA IV and more competitive than Buzz! or Wipeout HD. The single player is also great but lacks the shine of previous games and a split screen mode. However, still near perfect. (9.0)

5. Guitar Hero: World Tour

Bigger, better and more recogniseable than Rock Band, the two games are debatably similar but Guitar Hero's instant familiarality wins it the gold medal. Despite the brain crunching studio for custom songs, everything about the game is solid and great for the parties, perhaps never reaching the heights of Legends of Rock but near enough. (8.5)

4. Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty

Biggest surprise of the year. I firstly didn't expect a downloadable Ratchet, secondly I didn't expect it to be this good, following on from my game of the year last year. For four hours extra play it is a steal with crisper graphics and stunnign loactions also the platforming is broaught back to basics and it is better than ever. Hope this is clear indications of a gem next year. (9.0)

3. Resistance 2

The best multiplayer game this year and an equally great sequel to what was the best launch title. Arguably it wasn't Insomniac's best, but I disagree. Its bigger and better, with ace weaponary and a totally unique online experience matching that found only in Team Fortress 2. (8.5)

2. Wipeout HD

Best download this year. It captures everything Wipeout used to be and everything the PSP games reminded us of. It looks fantastically gorgeous and evern more so at it's eye watering speeds. Weaponry effects are some of the most dazzling I have ever seen. The online is highly competitive and for only eleven quid is an absolute bargain. (9.5)

1. LittleBigPlanet

Surprised? You shouldn't be really. Nothing explains how addictive and instantly enjoyable this game is and you will have never have played anything like this. The tools are accessible and easy to use and some of the user create dlevels on offer are showing early signs of genius. Don't forget the fantastic single player levels and the multitude of unlockables, and LBP is a game that starts by you picking up the pad and never putting it down. (10)

There's your Top 10 Games of 2008 but what does 2009 hold? What will be in the Top 10 next year? Street Fighter IV, Tekken 6, Bayonetta, Fat Princess, God of War 3, Ratchet & Clank Future 2, Uncharted 2, Brutal Legend, Gran Turismo 5? Who knows?

Top 10 Playstation Moments 2008 (#9)

9. Pulling Highway Wheelies with Burnout Paradise

Burnout Paradise was definately as much a highlight for racing games as it was for downloadable content in 2008. Criterion provided garage fulls of free extra entertainment which included the Burnout Paradise Motorcycles. An odd and questionable addition and curiously the drivers do disappear when hit on collision, but, there is nothing more exhilerating than bombing down the highway in one of these babies, and was more enjoyable purely because I was getting to this for free. There's something to learn here, fun can be had for the price of nothing.

Top 10 Playstation Moments 2008 (#10)

10. Having Disco Fever in Home

Home eventually game a few days ago and I have to say, what a bunch of freaks one can create in the avatar create mode. It's very detailed and verging upon Tiger Woods uber freak showism, but disappointingly, the results are no where as near as exciting and enjoyable to look at as 360's new avatars. However, ignoring the fact that you have to pay for any extra hair do's and Sony give you nowt items to start your Home experience off with, Home is still fantastically enjoyable purely because of the amount of total morons who have an obsession with the dance options. Robot, body popping, slasa, everything, but why do these people have to come up to me and give me continuous virtual lap dances. It is irritating but when you see a group of around ten people all body popping or mexican waving in time with one another, it's a sight worth exploring Home for.