Perfect Dark Zero (360)
By far a disappointment when you compare it to its near perfect Nintendo 64 predecessor, Perfect Dark Zero took a lot of liberties with the franchise, introducing an Americanized Joanna Dark, an origin story full of hammy characters and events that completely pushed the retcon button on the entire lore of the franchise. That said, we prefer the type of structure of Perfect Dark that Zero had, one where you had objectives to follow that could be completed in any order. This is a great contrast to the wealth of corridor shooters like Call of Duty that are so popular these days. The multiplayer of PDZ was fantastic as well, allowing a large room of people to slay one another across large scale maps with inventive weapons and vehicles. Perfect Dark Zero still stands as one of SPC's favorite Xbox 360 multiplayer games. After all, all of the racist bigoted kids have moved onto Call of Duty!
Metroid: Other M (Wii)
Despite the more linear structure of the game, Samus Aran coming off as fragile instead of strong, and being forced to acquire upgrades when Adam said so, we actually enjoyed Metroid: Other M more than most. While the story (full of unskippable cutscenes-- one of our biggest no-nos) was not really that entertaining or engrossing, the enhanced combat capabilities of Ms. Aran were. By the end of the game, Samus was a walking weapon, armed to the teeth with incredible abilities and power. You also had much more freedom at the end of the game to revisit past areas to pick up those last missile expansions and energy tanks. It's by no means our favorite Metroid game-- no, not even close-- but it's not the sacrilege to the series that so many claim.
Resistance 2 (PS3)
Often called the weakest of the Resistance trilogy on PlayStation 3, Resistance 2 is actually our favorite of the four Resistance games. That sounds really weird, doesn't it? Perhaps it's because it was our first taste of the dystopia the Chimera race had created. Perhaps it was the single-player campaign that impressed us. No, it must have definitely been the absolutely awesome multiplayer, allowing dozens upon dozens of participants in a given match at a given time. Then there was the co-op mode, which could be played offline or on, giving a squadron of anonymous souls the chance to take down Chimera both large and small. To this day the cooperative experience in Resistance 2 has not been passed on the PlayStation 3 by any developer. That's a strong statement, but we absolutely stand behind it.
LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3)
United Front Games had developed a similar kart racing title for Sony in the form of ModNation Racers. That's another game we liked, but considering all of the customization, whether it be tracks, karts or characters, many wondered why it simply wasn't a spin-off of the LittleBigPlanet series. Apparently, Sony and United Front Games got the note and developed LittleBigPlanet Karting, offering the most creation opportunities available in a kart racer on consoles. Many didn't care for the actual racing involved in the game (rubber-band AI was a problem), but we loved it enough to play through and create track after track. We might not have been the Dale Earnhardt Jr. of LittleBigPlanet Karting, but we still had fun.
Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts (360)
When the original teaser trailer showing off a brand-new look for Banjo and Kazooie, we were really excited. The trailer had Jiggies, musical notes and verdant green hills. We, like everyone else, were expecting Banjo-Threeie, a pure 3D platformer for the Xbox 360, something the system pretty much lacked. What we got was a vehicle-based game with little actual platforming. Many were heartbroken with this news. We sure as Jinjo were. Then we actually played the game, and while it didn't scratch our itch for a brand-new 3D platformer from Rare, we received a well put together game where customizing vehicles to suit the given challenge was the order of the day. Exploring Showdown Town harked back memories of Banjo's platforming past, while the expansive levels allowed us to boast our great creativity in completing each challenge through skill in controlling and creating each vehicle. We came away from Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts with smiles on our faces, not really minding the change of genre the bear and bird had.
Wii Music (Wii)
A game that a vocal minority (or is it moronity?) claimed was Nintendo turning their backs on their fans, Wii Music was a title that didn't follow the Guitar Heroes and Rock Bands of the industry. No, it set its own path by having little in the way of goals, offering players multiple instruments to wail on, a collection of songs to play alongside, and the ability to play notes whenever they felt like it. Wii Music was more of a tool for expressing oneself rather than a video game with objectives and goals. We enjoyed it, and we definitely weren't in the camp thinking that Nintendo had betrayed us (you need to be really emotionally invested in games to think that), especially when they released the game of the generation, Super Mario Galaxy 2, two years later.
Metroid Prime Hunters (DS)
Nintendo tasked NST, an underrated developer for the big N, with porting the Metroid Prime first-person adventure experience to the Nintendo DS. Thus, Metroid Prime Hunters came to be, though it had a much more shooter-centric approach to it than past Metroid games. The solo experience was okay, but it recycled the bosses too many times. Still, it gave us some entertainment. What gave us even more entertainment was the multiplayer mode, the main selling point of the game. It could be played offline (with bots, no less. Awesome!) or online for up to four hunters. The arenas were taken from the single player campaign, and offered plenty of hiding spots, vantage points and pathways for some intergalactic bounty hunter hunting goodness. The controls tripped some reviewers and gamers up, but we flew to it like a bee to honey. We'd love to see another multiplayer-centric approach to the Metroid series, but we understand that this would ruffle the feathers of many fans. We could always use a new IP in that case.
Star Fox: Assault (GCN)
After the absolutely stunning Star Fox 64, Shigeru Miyamoto asked of Rare to transplant Fox McCloud and the characters of the Star Fox universe into their project, Dinosaur Planet. The end result was Star Fox Adventures, a game that has criticism ranging from great to awful. Showcasing Nintendo's flippant attitude towards the Star Fox franchise again, Nintendo allowed Namco to create a GameCube entry of the series. This would become Star Fox: Assault. It was a much more linear affair than the multi-path structure of Star Fox 64. The game also had on-foot ground missions, which many disliked. However, we had no problem pulling off large combos, and loved switching between the Landmaster tank and the Arwing on the fly. Then there was the incredible multiplayer, which offered so many good times with friends. It's not better than Star Fox 64, and it doesn't come close. However, Star Fox: Assault is a fun and different kind of experience featuring Fox and friends.
Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast (Wii)
Originally planned for the Nintendo GameCube and to use the bongo controller peripheral, Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was a racer that featured a cast of Kongs and Kremlings alike. By shaking the Wii Remote and nunchuk, you moved left and right several feet above a track, collecting bananas, taking shortcuts, and dodging obstacles that would slow you down. Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast was an inventive racer that wasn't the most masterful game on the planet, but it gave us plenty of enjoyable racing Kong-frontations with our friends and family. It was easy to pick up, but it was hard to master. No doubt the excessive shaking turned off a lot of people. No worries, our gym memberships have been put to good use! Our arms were strong enough to take the punishment!
What games do you like that you believe a lot of folks scorn or dislike? Let the SPC community know in the comments section below.