Time is the gaming industry’s biggest enemy as it is its biggest asset. Developers can flourish under the constant evolution of new technology and ideas, or they can fail to do so (look no further than Duke Nukem Forever). We’ve seen franchises such as Mario, Zelda and Metal Gear Solid continually produce innovative, yet brilliant titles generation after generation – here’s a look at some of the franchises that haven’t aged so well.
Call of Duty
It’s been nearly nine years since the very first title in the Call of Duty series, and surely no one could have foreseen the mainstream mammoth it would become. It has single-handedly reached out to the masses and slowly removed the once-“nerdy” stigma that was associated with video games, breaking sales record after record effortlessly with each annual release. However, since its popularity skyrocketed shortly after the release of Call of Duty 4 in 2007, its overall quality went the other way. Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty 4 are still extremely relevant on PC, especially in terms of competitive play, and there’s no doubting that this is due to their simple, yet deep and engaging gameplay.
Since the release of Modern Warfare 2 in 2009 gamers have been subjected to an overly-complicated and frustrating system. Map design has been extremely poor, especially in Modern Warfare 3 (or Modern Warfare 2.5 as I like to call it) where you’ll constantly find yourself being shot in the back by an enemy who has just spawned. I couldn’t even name half of the killstreaks on offer in recent titles, let alone the constantly increasing amount of aiming reticules and perks. Let’s hope Treyarch take it back to basics with Black Ops 2 (which they won’t) – less is more.
Whilst still armed with a legion of loyal fans around the world, you can’t argue that the current generation of games has been a forgettable one for Square Enix and its Final Fantasy
franchise. I say forgettable because that’s exactly what the franchise has become – a far cry from the mesmerising tales of Terra, Cloud and Tidus. That’s what should be the most important part about a series like Final Fantasy
; forming an attachment to the characters and immersing yourself in the story.
The formula has become tired and each game more of a cash-in. We know that Square will be remastering Final Fantasy VII and FFX, but until Square conjure up a fresh, innovative and memorable new entry to the series, we won’t be holding our breath.
The one that got away..from Naughty Dog. The original Crash Bandicoot trilogy on the PS1 defined the console for many, with Naughty Dog unable to do no wrong with our beloved, box-breaking protagonist. Whilst truly an icon that will never be forgotten, 1999’s Crash Team Racing would be the final Crash title that would be remembered for the right reasons. Since development of the series went to Traveller’s Tales and Radical Entertainment, the Crash legacy has only been butchered.
This generation’s installments such as Crash of the Titans and Crash: Mind over Mutant have been extremely mediocre and unappealing entries to the series. Once arguably the most popular and most beloved character worldwide, you’ll find most of the recent Crash games in your game retailer’s bargain bin. The series isn’t officially “dead”, but it’s hard to see Crash ever returning to his former glory.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Another platforming classic who’s journey into the 3D world didn’t pan out too well. Nothing will beat those childhood memories of speeding through levels and beating Doctor Eggman, yet Sonic, like Crash has lost relevance in more recent generations due to mediocre games. Sonic the Hedgehog was Sonic’s first venture onto the Xbox 360 and PS3, and was a complete mess.
Since then, we’ve seen Sega return to its roots with the Sonic the Hedgehod: 4 episodes, yet our blue friend is certainly no stranger to whoring himself out – appearing in titles such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing and even Super Smash Bros. Brawl (is it mandatory for Sonic to appear in games with annoyingly long names as well?) The question has to be posed – are the spin-offs and guest appearances a direct result of Sega being unable to capture their old winning formula?
It’s no surprise that the original Fable was the Xbox’s fastest-selling game a short time after its release. It had a great amount of depth, a solid story and morality – consequences for your actions is something many developers don’t place enough, if any, emphasis on. Fast forward to the current generation’s titles Fable II and Fable III, and the series becomes extremely stagnant. Where Fable II was far too short and simple, Fable III did almost nothing to improve on it.
The gameplay again was far too easy, causing quick playthroughs of the game, the plot was all over the place and human interaction was mind-numbing. I don’t think many have high hopes for upcoming kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey.
Do you agree with the series' listed? Which franchises should be further included or removed?
By Jake Galouzis