Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Unpopular Opinion 7: Games SPC Liked That Many Did Not

There are some things that a lot of us can agree on. For instance, "Tom Hanks is a national treasure." (Love you, Tom!) Some opinions, though, are less popular, less prominent, and ones that we might find ourselves in the minority on. That's how "The Unpopular Opinion" series of articles came to fruition on SuperPhillip Central--talking about the games that the site championed or enjoyed while others trashed and disparaged them. From a popular series where players are encouraged to "catch 'em all", to a certain franchise featuring a familiar blue hedgehog, these six games are the ones that SPC found treats to play while others screamed with fright.

After you've read SPC's most recent picks, which poorly (or relatively poorly) received games did you end up enjoying?

All past installments of The Unpopular Opinion are available for view here:

The Unpopular Opinion
The Unpopular Opinion 2
The Unpopular Opinion 3
The Unpopular Opinion 4
The Unpopular Opinion 5
The Unpopular Opinion 6

Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! / Let's Go, Eevee! (NSW)

At least among the Pokemon fan community, and the most ardent of those at that, a sizable portion of folks simply loathed the simplified mechanics of Pokemon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokemon: Let's Go, Eevee! Bringing in a much more streamlined and much more basic Pokemon catching mechanic as a means to entice Pokemon GO players, the motion-controlled means to capture Pokemon was considered a blight to the series. My enjoyment of the capturing mechanic notwithstanding, both Pokemon: Let's Go games brought more than their fair share of welcomed additions to the series that I wish were featured in the upcoming Pokemon Sword and Shield. For instance, the ability to avoid wild Pokemon entirely instead of contending with dealing with random encounters in tall grass and in "dungeon" areas. It makes me a bit forlorn and disappointed that there are currently no plans to continue the Let's Go series of Pokemon games, but someday, I hope that decision is overturned.

Team Sonic Racing (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

While Team Sonic Racing doesn't hit the same highs as past Sumo Digital racers, particularly the Sonic and Sega-related ones, this all-Sonic character racing game definitely delighted this reviewer. The absence of Sega's all-stars and the impending release of the more polished and content-rich Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled certainly put plenty of potential players off from playing the game. That said, I found the titular team mechanic used in Team Sonic Racing to be a creative and smart addition to this type of racer--if not a bit imperfectly implemented. Regardless, between the terrifically designed tracks, fair but challenging difficulty, the stellar soundtrack and bright, vivid cartoon visuals, Team Sonic Racing delivered a high-octane arcade racer worthy of Sumo Digital's name and worthy of a play by more of an audience than it received.

Yooka-Laylee (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

While I won't even utter a semblance of dispute to the idea that the recently released Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair is the far better product to come out of Playtonic Games (heck, my review found me infatuated with the game), the original Yooka-Laylee was a worthwhile effort all the same, just affected by "biting off more than the developer could chew" syndrome. Yes, the Banjo-Kazooie-inspired game had worlds that were way too big for their own good, the mechanic to expand worlds to become larger was pointless (as players had no real reason to keep levels small), and the arcade games were less than desirable. However, despite that relatively lengthy list of problems with the game, Yooka-Laylee, for me, captured a similar level of charm and wonder that I experienced with the original Banjo-Kazooie. While it didn't reach the same highs (but unfortunately hit completely different new lows), Yooka-Laylee remains an enjoyable platformer that I find myself wanting to come back to someday.

Knack 2 (PS4)

So many gamers make fun of the character of Knack and the game itself. That's fine and dandy, but the sequel to the game, appropriately titled Knack 2, managed to bring forth a compelling and engaging game that I not only enjoyed playing from beginning to end, but achieving the Platinum trophy for, which is something I could not believe. Perhaps my amazement stems from my expecting Knack 2 to be a terrible game--a joke--something only meme-worthy and nothing more. To put it simply, my expectations may have been so low that anything resembling competence was met with delight. Nay! Nay, I say! I will argue to the death (or at least until I get bored of the debate) that Knack 2 is a great game without any asterisks needed, and one that I feel got an incredibly raw deal by being judged by the gaming populace for the sins its predecessor made when the original Knack launched with the PlayStation 4. Go ahead--give Knack 2 a try and you'll see an adventure that is action-packed and remarkably solid.

The Crew 2 (PS4, XB1, PC)

Part of my excitement and enjoyment of Ubisoft's The Crew 2 was that I had never played an open world racer before this one. Perhaps that's all the explanation you need to understand why I liked the game so much, but another factor that contributed to my love of The Crew 2 was exploring the abridged version of the continental United States that developer Ivory Towers created. The way that roads weaved through mountainsides, cities lit up with their gigantic skyscrapers, and discoveries were sprinkled all throughout the game world. The ability to switch between my favorite vehicles on the fly--whether by land, air, or sea--was a terrific quality of life idea that worked wonderfully, making my virtual trip through the United States a glorious one. Of course, when I wasn't venturing my way across the map, having my curiosity piqued at various sights and sounds in the environment, I was engaging in some heart-pounding, adrenaline-boosting races. The Crew 2 kept my need for speed going, my thirst for exploration flowing, and my desire to get more cred continuing.

Trials Rising (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)

It says something about a game where it can be immensely entertaining to me despite not being the most technically competent or capable game out there. Trials Rising still suffers from various glitches and issues, such as having a player's custom gear become reset or having loot boxes gained after reaching certain experience levels suddenly stop appearing. However, that didn't stop my enjoyment of Trials Rising, coming equipped with the series's best arsenal of tracks--platforming playgrounds of both peril and pleasure for both my bike and its rider to enjoy racing on. Like any Trials game worth checking out, Trials Rising is incredibly challenging, and will have your butt bailing across every inch of its more difficult tracks. That said, the constant improvement that I personally got from the game from improving my course completion times, crashing less and less, having to restart less and less, and going from barely achieving bronze medals to easily clearing platinum, gave me a sense of accomplishment that I haven't felt in a game in a long time.

No comments: