Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The "Worst" Things About SuperPhillip Central's Favorite Games VI

It's time for your pal Phil to take on some of his favorite games with this sixth volume of The "Worst" Things About SuperPhillip Central's Favorite Games! Emphasis on the quotations around "worst", as some of these picks for "worst" things might be stretching things a bit or seem petty. Though I'm of the opinion that the pettier the pick, the more impressive the game is, considering that would be my greatest grievance with a given game. Either way, I adore these games a ton, but I certainly am not putting my blinders on as to my biggest issues with them. 

If you want to see more possibly petty picks for "worst" parts of my favorite games, check out these previous volumes:

Volume One
Volume Two
Volume Three
Volume Four
Volume Five

Ghost of Tsushima (PS4)

We begin with a game that delighted me on the PlayStation 4 last year, coming in as one of the top ten games of 2020 as part of the SPC Best of 2020 Awards. In fact, four games on this list are part of that exclusive group! For the moment, however, I'm referring to the excellent Ghost of Tsushima from developer Sucker Punch, known previously for the studio's work on the Sly Cooper and InFamous series. 

Ghost of Tsushima is an utterly gorgeous game, even on the base PS4, so my particular problem with this samurai epic clashes with being able to thoroughly enjoy the scenery. More importantly, it concerns a mission variety problem, one that pops up quite often. 

I'm alluding to all of the tracking sections of missions in Ghost of Tsushima. On multiple occasions (see: A LOT) protagonist Jin Sakai needs to follow footprints or tracks left in the dirt or mud and follow them to a specific point. It happens so often that it gets pretty tedious, especially when lighting conditions aren't optimal for searching for and following dark, difficult-to-decipher tracks on the shadowy ground. Going back to my love of how beautiful Ghost of Tsushima as a game is, it's a shame that instead of getting to enjoy the wondrous, immaculate scenery, Sakai and the player are so often forced to have their face to the ground. Not to say the ground is ugly--far from truth--but it doesn't compare to picturesque and postcard-worthy landscapes featured on the island of Tsushima.

Final Fantasy VII Remake (PS4)

Focusing an entire game on just a small portion of Final Fantasy VII, a 40-hour or so epic of a game, and having to make a full-fledged $60 title out of it was no easy task. Understandably, there would be some added content, some stretching, some lengthening of activities and scenes to make the game more worthwhile and not just a 10-hour experience. Final Fantasy VII Remake's first part is set entirely within the boundaries of the cyberpunk-esque city of Midgar, whether it atop the city's plates or underneath where the slums and downtrodden call their home.

The problem with turning the approximately five hours that it took to get through the Midgar section of the original Final Fantasy VII and stretching it to a 30-40 hour experience is that there is a ton of padding and filler to be found. I don't just mean instances where Cloud must saunter slowly through corridor environments as he speaks to other characters, or squeeze through yet another tight gap. No, this includes entire chapters and sections of the game as well. The most notable of which is Cloud and company's return trip to the sewers. 

To make a long story--or in this case, chapter--short, the entire trip through the sewer is essentially for naught as the character you're trying to help already had in their possession what Cloud's party was seeking. Thus, it makes the entire excursion pointless other than to pad the length of the game further. Final Fantasy VII Remake is full of these moments and sections, which while I still very much love the game wholeheartedly, it does make return play-throughs occasionally challenging for me.

Marvel's Spider-Man (PS5, PS4)

There's no doubt in my mind that Insomniac Games's first take on making a game starring Marvel's iconic webhead was an amazing--nay, spectacular success. Web-slinging and soaring through the skies, streets, and expanses of New York City was an absolute blast, and the majority of Marvel's Spider-Man is top notch superhero action in video game form. Of course, there is a glaring piece of Insomniac's freshman offering that is highly criticized and notable for being less than amazing by comparison.

Feel free to just skim or skip this entirely if you know where I'm going and what I'm alluding to, as I'm really not going to make any original points here. Nonetheless, yes, for those in the know and those who guessed correctly, I'm talking about the mandatory stealth sections in Marvel's Spider-Man. These aren't horribly done, but they absolutely slow the pacing of the game to an absolute standstill. Some don't even make sense in the context of the game. I mean, is it really worth not being late for school to risk sneaking through a high security area where getting caught means serious repercussions to your health, Miles? I don't think so. On the subject of Miles Morales, Insomniac must have felt the same about the execution of the stealth sections in their original Spider-Man game (or at least caved in to the criticism), because their follow-up starring the awesome Miles Morales did not feature these types of stealth missions. While there was stealth in the sequel, getting caught did not fail the mission.

DOOM Eternal (Multi)

A game that seldom gives you time to catch your breath before throwing you into another intense firefight with Hell's demons, DOOM Eternal certainly turned up the dial to 11, and then proceeded to rip and tear that sucker off! The single-player campaign is a seriously exciting one, but that's not what I'm going to focus on for this particular "worst" thing about the game. Though, I could easily make an argument about that final boss. Oof.

No, instead I'm going to briefly delve into the all-new multiplayer mode introduced in DOOM Eternal. It pits two demons against the Slayer in a multi-round mode, where the objective is to eliminate the opposing side before they eliminate you. The demons have their own powers and special abilities, while the Slayer has their host of weapons available to them. However, this mode just didn't stick with me in the same way that DOOM's 2016 offering did. 

I definitely applaud the developers of the multiplayer component of DOOM Eternal for being as bold as to try something new instead of resting on their laurels. It's just that the execution is not to my personal liking, it was nowhere near as addictive or enjoyable, and I would have preferred a more iterative, improved version of the deathmatch multiplayer as seen in DOOM's 2016 showing.

Sackboy: A Big Adventure (PS5, PS4)

The runner-up for Game of the Year at last year's SuperPhillip Central Best of 2020 Awards, Sackboy: A Big Adventure enchanted me with excellent level design--which surprised and delighted me with every new level and concept introduced--tighter precision platforming than seen in the LittleBigPlanet series, and terrific multiplayer, which I enjoyed with my older brother.

There was so much to love about Sackboy's latest foray into platforming, but it wasn't entirely perfect. No, like past LittleBigPlanet games, there was some niggling issues that occasionally came up with regard to the collisions of the game. On some occasions, when Sackboy tries to grab onto an object, particularly when in midair, he won't do so. Instead, he'll bounce right off it. This sometimes happens on surfaces where Sackboy is launched feet-first on, meaning he can't realistically grab something with his hands and instead hits it with his feet. This resulted in some unfair deaths, but they happen so irregularly that it wasn't a severe issue for me. It is important to mention, nonetheless.

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