Super Mario Galaxy (1 and 2)
Yeah, I know. It’s not a popular opinion. Both of the super Mario galaxy games received overwhelming critical acclaim so I may just be in the wrong here. I’ve never been a fan of the mainstream Mario games. That may just be my propensity for RPGs. However, I’ve always found them to be colorful and full of stuff but strangely empty. Sure there are tons of enemies to kill and things to collect but ultimately your reward for doing so is largely the same as if you skipped it altogether: a star or shine at the end of the level.
So yes, I’m basically complaining that Mario Galaxy is not an RPG. There’s so much content, but none of it really changes the game and I don’t find the gameplay compelling enough to continue anyway.
This is 100% because I’m terrible at the game. I played the first dark souls, and legitimately thought that the first boss encounter was one you were supposed to fail. Then I remembered what I was playing. I get that the Souls series is supposed to be crushingly hard. I don’t mind hard games per se. What does bother me about the series is that it tries to be a huge open-world exploration experience. When so much of my energy is devoted to staying alive, I don’t also want to explore. Part of the joy of exploring an open-world environment is it being remotely doable. And I’m just bad at the game. So I don’t enjoy it.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
I hate smash bros Melee. It’s my least favorite version of the game. Eat your heart out, denizens of Melee hell. I didn’t grow up with it like a lot of people did, so I don’t have the nostalgia factor working for me. All I see is a far-too-fast game with slippery characters who have no sense of weight. I’ll take any other version of the game at any point.
Now, all of that being said, I went to a competitive smash tournament once with a friend of mine who plays competitively. Having been introduced to that world, I 100% get why competitors prefer melee. The number of additional moves and exploits that can be used to gain a competitive edge in Melee (that don’t exist in other editions of the game) is ridiculous. I had a newfound respect for the game after that day.
I still don’t like it, but I get why it’s popular.
I grew up with Mega Man X being one of my favorite game series as a kid. I loved the fast-paced run-and-gun gameplay and wondered if the same would be found in the original Mega Man series. I didn’t find that to be the case. Mega Man original is significantly slower and more platform-y than the X series, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
That being said, my main gripe with Mega Man vs. Mega man X is the control level. X gives you tight controls and a variety of athletic moves to get around your environment. The original allows you to run and jump. More often than not, the original seems like it is full of jumps you can just barely make and attacks you can just barely dodge (assuming you are moving the right direction when the attack is launched). X, on the other hand, is not necessarily easier. But when you mess up, it feels more like your fault as opposed to not having the proper means to get around someone.
Batman: Arkham Asylum
Another unpopular opinion here, but I just didn’t get the hype surrounding Arkham Asylum and the Arkham series as a whole. I played Asylum remembering the media buzz that the game generated. You would think the game was the second coming by the number of game journalists that bowed before its glory. I was expecting no less than one of the finest gaming experiences I had ever had.
What I got was a game that was quite good, and nothing more than that. It was genuinely good. The setting was cool, the puzzles were interesting, the combat was fun, and the bonus challenges were a nice bit of additional content. Sure the final encounter was thoroughly weird. But as a whole, the game was good. It just never got to the level of great that all the media hype had me expecting. Maybe it was because mostly every other batman game sucked?
Realistically, a lot of fighting games fall into the tropes I’m about to describe. However, none of them make it more painfully obvious than Street Fighter. Quite simply, the controls are twitch reflex based and the animations in-game reflect that. The amount of precision required to input the combo commands in Street Fighter is incomprehensible. I’m convinced you need to have the twitch reflexes of a caffeinated shrew to hit these combos properly. And then when you do (or don’t), you’re treated to some janky combat animations that look like the characters are having uncontrollable muscle spasms. Give me a more fluid and responsive fighter like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, or SoulCalibur any day.
The Competitive Pokemon Circuit
Everything about the competitive Pokemon circuit screams wrong to me. Let’s start with the training needed to field a proper team. Before the introduction of super training in gen 6 it required utilizing a hidden metric to grind to a level which I simply cannot comprehend. Then, if you picked the wrong team, oh well. You were done. Nothing encompasses the competitive circuit more than a battle I had in high school. My opponent trotted out his EV trained Latios and swept my team without my landing a single hit. Oh boy. So much fun. And that in a nutshell is why I will never support competitive battling. A skilled player should be able to overcome the limitations of the equipment, but it seems like every match in competitive is decided before it begins by the team composition.
This one comes from having been raised on Harvest Moon. I enjoy the relaxed and wholesome gameplay as the virtual days melt together in crop-raising animal-rearing goodness. As a result, I found animal crossing to be lacking in a certain overarching goal. It was full of fun little distractions like fishing, bug catching, interacting with villagers, and decorating one’s home, but they were just that—distractions. Sure, you could say that paying off your mortgage was an overarching goal but it was still a reason to do the other activities—not an activity in and of itself. Harvest moon seems more complete to me with raising your crops and animals taking the lion’s share of your day, and the other things are something to unwind with after a hard day’s work.