No game is perfect. No matter how many 10/10 scores, Game of the Year Awards, or greatest hits sales a certain title might achieve, there’s no guarantee it’ll please everyone. Every game has some issues or bugs, and every player has completely subjective tastes.
While there’s no game that can be considered objectively good, there are titles that are highly regarded by those in the gaming industry. These games, like many others, have problems that hold them back. However, because the rest of the product is so impressive, it makes these dubious design choices stand out like a sore thumb.
10 Shadow Of The Colossus Has Some Clunky Movement
There wasn’t a single game on the market quite like Shadow of the Colossus. Every colossi in the game is an exhilarating mixture of puzzle-solving and platforming, where players are tasked with discovering hidden weaknesses and scaling these intimidating behemoths. Jumping off a horse or hanging on for dear life to a flying creature is a gaming experience unlike any other.
Unfortunately, players have to overlook some clunky movement and physics to enjoy their experience. Thankfully, later versions on the PS3 and PS4 made helpful adjustments to the controls.
9 Troubled Waters Await In The Legend Of Zelda Wind Waker
The world of The Great Sea is expansive and filled to the brim with hidden secrets and surprises. It’s just a shame that changing the direction of Link’s boat is needlessly cumbersome. Much like the eponymous ocarina in Ocarina of Time, the baton in Wind Waker is a magical instrument that’s used for puzzles and obstacles.
One of its main functions is to change the direction of the wind, which is essential for navigating The Great Sea. Thankfully, Nintendo added an upgradable sail in the HD remaster that automatically changes the wind direction.
8 EarthBound’s Inventory System Is Needlessly Cumbersome
EarthBound is one of the most charming and heartfelt JRPGs of all time. However, its inventory system is all kinds of garbage. Unlike most JRPGs, EarthBound’s plot-important items take up space in the player’s inventory, which leads to needless frustration. It’s disheartening when a player is forced to leave potentially useful items behind after a fight because there isn’t any room in the inventory. Players can call a delivery service that hangs onto items taking up space. However, this alleviates but doesn’t quite fix the cumbersome inventory system.
7 With Spider-Man’s Great Power Comes Awful Stealth Sections
It’s fun to swing around New York doing whatever a spider can. What isn’t fun is controlling some non-powered shmuck who’s as good as dead when confronted by bad guys. The stealth sections fail players instantly once they’re spotted, and they are the absolute worst part of Insomniac’s Spider-Man.
The Pipe Dream style minigames aren’t much better, but at least players can skip them if they want. It’s just a shame they can’t do the same for the stealth sections. Thankfully, Spider-Man Miles Morales learned from the mistakes of its predecessor and got rid of these sections entirely.
6 Fallout New Vegas’ Sheer Size And Ambition Lead To Many Bugs
To its credit, Fallout New Vegas is better designed and written than Fallout 3. The binary good and evil cast of 3 are replaced with a more diverse collection of morally grey and complex characters. However, what hasn’t been addressed is the multitude of game-breaking bugs. With a world as big as the wasteland, bugs are something fans have come to accept from the series. However, the fact that they can break the immersion or even undo progress makes the game harder to recommend to the uninitiated.
5 Super Mario Galaxy’s Lives System Feels Arbitrary
Games like Super Meat Boy and Rayman Origins demonstrated that platformers didn’t need a lives system to remain challenging. However, it took until Super Mario Odyssey for Nintendo to jettison it. Whenever a player loses all their lives, they’re dumped in the Observatory and forced to trek all the way back to the level and try again. The lives system in Super Mario Galaxy is by no means a deal-breaker, but it’s a blemish in what’s widely considered the definitive 3D Mario platfomer.
4 Bioshock’s Moral Choices Lead To An Underwhelming Final Act
If Bioshock had simply ended at Ryan’s office, it would’ve been a satisfying conclusion. Instead, players are tasked with undergoing a tedious fetch-quest to create a Big Daddy disguise, go through an annoying series of escort missions with the little sisters, engage in a pathetically easy final boss fight, and sit through one of three equally underwhelming moral choice-based endings. What’s particularly annoying about this final act is that it comes after the plot’s lingering questions have been answered. All the moral ambiguity and intrigue are excised for a big fight with a cartoon super-villain.
3 Grim Fandango’s Tank Controls Make Navigation Difficult
Tim Schafer’s goal for 3D adventures such as Grim Fandango was to put players in a world they could lose themselves in. With a lesser emphasis on HUDs, subtle design choices became necessary. For example, if Manny is close to a plot-important item, his head will turn around to face it.
By eschewing the traditional point and click interface, Grim Fandango adopts tank controls to give players a different means to interact with the world. While they were passable back in 1998, they’re a little harder to stomach now. Fortunately, the remaster features an optional point and click interface for those so inclined.
2 Prince of Persia The Sands of Time’s Combat Was For The Birds
Prince of Persia The Sands of Time provided a much-needed shot in the arm for realistic platformers. Gone were the stiff movements and tank controls of the Tomb Raider series, and gone were the frustrating trial and error deaths from Prince of Persia 3D. With buttery smooth controls, slick moves, and the ability to rewind time, the Prince’s parkour was unmatched by any other platformer. However, he lacked the same finesse when it came to combat. What was particularly annoying was the game’s tendency to spawn a flock of hostile birds while the Prince was walking on tightropes or shimmying along ledges.
1 Xen Exacerbates Half-Life’s Platforming Woes
While many will sing the praises of Half-Life‘s narrative, weaponry, and technical prowess, few will be as glowing in regards to its platforming. Even fewer will have anything nice to say about the final section of the game in the extraterrestrial world of Xen. With its weird physics and limited pickups, trail, and error platforming sections, Xen is the most maligned aspect of what is otherwise a landmark title. Like the Bioshock example: Xen shows up after most of the lingering plot threads have concluded and when players are ready to wrap it up.
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