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The Overrated and Underrated Games of E3 (Op-Ed)

All the major E3 awards are out and the upper crust of the gaming journalists have announced their opinions. What qualifies my opinion as worthy of written retort? Channel it into the comments, gaming fans!


Civilization 5: Civilization 1 was a genuine great when it was originally released. But Civ 2, 3, 4, and Civ Revolutions were complete rehashes: with the same game structure, the same game progression, an instantly recognizable tech tree, and identical style of city/empire building. The series has really delivered surprisingly minimal evolution over its lifespan and today’s game critics simply don’t play these games enough to notice. This series is coasting on a reputation that has long passed its prime.

Ghost of Sparta: This is amazing for what it is, but realistically, anyone who has convenient access to a PS3 or 360, and has experienced games like the home GoW3 will be underwhelmed. There is a real niche that doesn’t have regular access to a home gaming setup, and this is perfect for that crowd, but there are simply better picks for best PSP game.

Dance Central: DDR and Guitar Hero worked as genuine twitch games with mechanics that encouraged repeat solo play and serious multiplayer competitions. Karaoke titles worked more as affordable home karaoke machines rather than twitch games. Dance Central doesn’t look like it fits either group. It’s not a twitch competitive game and I don’t think people want an elaborate instructional dance video. Many top critics are naming this game of the show and predicting a runaway fad. I’m not an expert on dance culture and I’d love to be proven wrong, but I am betting against the new pop culture fad.

Portal 2: Portal 1 was unique, simple, fun, and overall a great game. Nevertheless, the accolades got a little carried away. The sequel swept the awards shows, but is it really that good?


Rock Band 3: The music game fad has passed, but wow, the Pro features are mind blowing. PC edutainment titles have long promised the fun of a game mixed with real instruments and never delivered. This game looks like the real deal. This will give families a social license to play real instruments together and will give practicing musicians a new way to play music. Wow!

LittleBigPlanet 2: LBP 1 sure didn’t invent user created content, but it found a new sweet spot between diverse user content and manageable complexity. And on top of that, it was a phenomenal co-op platformer. This is easily in the top three games of this console cycle. And LBP2 looks like it is taking the concept forward in every way.

Patapon 3: This is the *only* PSP game that I would buy a PSP for. I played God of War and Loco Roco and SRPGs and puzzlers and Killzone and all the GTA games, and there is some good stuff there, but if you are looking for a PSP game to supplement your home gaming hobby rather than as a low-tech substitute, this is your game. It’s grindy, it’s repetitive, but it’s great.

Hydrophobia: I’m surprised that something this good can slip through all the major show coverage without mention. PS3/PC owners will have to wait for the 360 timed exclusive to expire, but this looks like a fun and original concept.

Close Range: GOTY.