Biggest Letdown 2010 – Riddles

Final Fantasy XIII

Like this is a fucking surprise. I realize that, in spite of my utter and complete hatred for the game, I’ve never had the opportunity to simply ramble about it. The majority of the shit I’ve written for the game, I wrote during its first week of release – when I was desperately clinging to the feeble notion that the game was, somehow, good.

I knew the game was crap thirty minutes after booting it up.

And now, I’m going to fucking tear the shit out of it.

Final Fantasy XIII is that girlfriend who you spend copious amounts of money on for Valentine’s Day, only to have her ditch you five days later.

Final Fantasy XIII is that stepdad who seems cool, and takes you out to bars with him, except you end up just watching him get super-drunk and cheat on your mom.

Final Fantasy XIII is that dog your parents’ bought you as a kid, only to be taken away a few weeks later because your crotchety neighbors kept complaining, and your parents’ decided that their social status in the neighborhood was more important than your vulnerable, eight-year-old emotions.

Final Fantasy XIII is that drug dealer who tells you he’ll be good the day before your big party, only to have him cop out and get arrested at the last possible second.

Final Fantasy XIII is a liar and a cheat. Final Fantasy XIII is the textbook slut who slipped past your carefully-built defenses. Final Fantasy XIII is a dirty dirty whore.

But seriously, though, Final Fantasy XIII was more than just a letdown, it was a calculated slap in the dick to gamers of all kinds. In place of a rich, immersive gameworld we were given a series of linear tunnels littered with battles. In place of an in-depth, strategic combat system we were given a stripped-down, automated jumble of nonsubstantial flash. Instead of memorable characters and storylines, Final Fantasy XIII’s narrative unfolded with all the grace and prose of a second-tier anime program.

Suffice to say, I hate the game a lot. Sure, I may not have ever even reached Gran Pulse, but I doubt it would magically change my opinion. Given the number of rich, epic RPGs that have been released this generation (Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Fallout and Lost Odyssey to name a few) it’s painful – and comical – to see Final Fantasy, the former king, descend into such a pit of shallow, style-obsessed mediocrity.

Runner Up: Alan Wake

I wish I could have loved Alan Wake as much as many people did. But, while I enjoyed the game a fair bit, as my review indicates, I just couldn’t help feeling disappointed. I certainly didn’t have the same elated expectations that I had for XIII, but I still was looking for just a little more than the game ended up delivering: gameplay that was fun, but ultimately repetitive and far too easy, and a storyline that was far too unfocused and loosely written to truly be effective (or scary). Don’t get me wrong, it was good; but it should have been much better.

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