Have you ever had that moment where you’re blissfully mowing down Necromorphs with your plasma cutter or literally mowing down zombies in Dead Rising, only to come across that part of the game that almost ruins everything? Pretty much every game has it, but that doesn’t lessen the blow when you finally find it. It’s like when someone violently shakes you while you’re sleeping, ruining the amazing dream you were having about that saucy minx who works at the Starbucks near your work. You go there every day–even if you don’t want a coffee–just to see their face. If you’re feeling extra brave you might pretend to forget your usual order, just to see if they remember you. Then when they aren’t there or they don’t remember you, you’re struck by a wave of sadness that only a Mountain Dew Pitch Black and a hug from TJ can soothe. Oh, and you should definitely check out the ten games that came close to ruining everything after the break.
10. The Time Limit (Dead Rising)
Obviously, this is a matter of personal taste. Some people hate the time limit, then there are the freaks who love it. Despite falling into the former group, a very small part of me can understand the appeal of the time limit. It’s a staple of the Dead Rising series, so it probably won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I can live with that, but for me, the penalties for failing to stay on schedule are way too harsh. I don’t think I should be punished for straying from my objective so I can use this bitchin’ new electric lawnmower I just crafted with some tape and my firm, calloused man hands.
9. Too Ambitious (Alone in the Dark reboot)
Alone in the Dark burned me pretty bad, but hidden under that thick, nearly impenetrable layer of awful were some exceptionally well-made environments, a haunting soundtrack and some fucking incredible fire effects. Unfortunately, its ambition proved too heavy a burden and it eventually crumbled under the weight of its lofty aspirations. The manual healing, inventory and use of its awe-inspiring fire effects were grand ideas, but either they were too much for the developer to handle or they were left unfinished thanks to budget and/or time constraints. The end result was a buggy, unpolished game with a lot of unmet potential.
8. Not Ambitious Enough (The Suffering: Ties That Bind)
“Too ambitious” isn’t the worst thing a game can be. In fact, as we continue to get sequel after sequel, my desire for more unusual games only gets stronger. All The Suffering: Ties That Bind had to do was take what its predecessor did well and build off that. Instead, it squandered its potential by playing it safe and offering much the same experience the first game did, essentially killing the promising new series.
7. The Controls (Rise of Nightmares)
Hyped as the first real horror experience for the Xbox 360’s Kinect, Rise of Nightmares had the exciting opportunity to give us an experience we hadn’t had before, and one that couldn’t be offered on any other console. It was a little cheesy, though it never quite reached a House of the Dead level of delicious cheesiness, and the gore was delightfully over-the-top. Sounds great, right? Sadly, no. The controls were a hot mess, almost completely ruining an otherwise solid piece of B horror entertainment. At the very least, Rise of Nightmares did manage the impressive feat of dethroning Resident Evil as the reigning king of tank-like controls. When getting your character to walk in the right direction is the most frustrating thing about your game, you have issues.
6. Hot Boner Sniping (Shadows of the Damned)
First off, I think we should all agree that the above line is the best thing you’ve ever read. Shadows of the Damned certainly didn’t reinvent the horror genre, as I would’ve liked it to, but it did offer a damn enjoyable chunk of horror comedy gold. It was sexy, raunchy, bizarre, and had enough gore to make Eli Roth uncomfortable. In other words, it was incredible. I can only hope it will get the sequel it so badly deserves and that its developer has learned how painful it is having to sit atop a rooftop sniping demons with your smoking hot boner. That level sucked so much scaly demonic ass that I still have a bitter taste lingering in my mouth a year later.
5. Where My Scares At? (F.E.A.R. 3)
F.E.A.R. 3 had the greatest chance of being the scariest game in the fairly terrifying F.E.A.R. series. Sure, the series tends to rely a little too heavily on jump scares, but the atmosphere has always been very unsettling, almost as if Alma’s eyes were on you at all times. Even with John Carpenter (Halloween, The Thing) and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) lending a hand F.E.A.R. 3 was still about as scary as a coloring book. Other than a total lack of scares and a bland cast of enemies, F.E.A.R. 3 was good fun and its multiplayer was easily the best of the series.
4. The Ending (Condemned 2: Bloodshot)
Condemned is an incredible series. It’s brutal, consistently terrifying and up until Bloodshot’s conclusion came along and left us all in stunned silence with our jaws agape, it was somewhat based in reality. Overall, the sequel improved on many of the things that went wrong in the original and the more in-depth crime scene investigations were welcome additions. Unfortunately, while Criminal Origins was somewhat believable, the head-explosion-shout-blast ability, government conspiracies and ancient cults threw the series deeply into the realm of what-the-fuck?
3. Shoot The Asteroids! (Dead Space)
If you thought Shadows of the Damned’s god-awful stationary shooting level was awful, Dead Space had two and there weren’t any penile puns to make them at least a little amusing. I can’t tell you how many times I watched with tear-filled eyes as an asteroid floated gracefully toward me, my fingers mashing every goddamned button on the controller as my turret slowly reloaded until I saw the explosion in my peripheral and my turret’s health reached zero. It was traumatizing, and what made it worse was how scrotum-pinchingly great the rest of the game was that surrounded those two levels. It’s a good thing developer Visceral Games decided to exclude turret sections from Dead Space 2, because I don’t think my fragile mind could’ve taken it.
2. Wesker Showdown (Resident Evil 5)
All I should really have to mention here is there’s a point where Chris has to punch a boulder the size of a Volkswagen to clear the way for Sheva. Look, Chris could almost definitely break me in half and I realize that not ten minutes prior to that moment Wesker was throwing fucking missiles at you, but punching boulders that very obviously weigh a couple tons is even a little too much for my heavily jaded suspension of disbelief. As if that wasn’t ridiculous enough, the actual fight with Wesker felt more like tag, only in this version you’re immediately killed and have to watch as your body plummets into the surrounding lake of lava if Wesker manages to get anywhere near you. Dear developers, in no game are instant deaths anything but annoying. Not ever.
1. The Enemies (Silent Hill: Downpour)
In an ever-expanding sea of disappointing Silent Hill sequels, Downpour was like seeing a lighthouse off in the distant fog. A lighthouse made of pizza and Mountain Dew, beckoning you with its come hither eyes. It was a symbol that there’s still hope left for the series and for a major survival horror release in a post-Dead Space/Resident Evil 4 world. I’ve already touched on this in my review, but Downpour’s one near-fatal flaw is the black hole of originality that is its arsenal of monsters. The music, atmosphere, puzzles and story are all there, but the only disturbing thing about the creatures you fight is how utterly bland they are.