Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was a revelation of sorts. Never before had the skateboarding genre been captured and represented so faithfully in a videogame. The sights, sounds, and bails were all the perfect reminder of just how good (and bad) skateboarding can be. Fans of the series are split over exactly when the series piqued, some saying that THPS 3 is the greatest entry and other siding with Tony Hawk's Underground 2. Wherever you stand on that debate it's abundantly clear that whatever intentions the creators initially held for the series has been lost.
Skating through the last few Tony Hawk games feels like a cross between a Tim Burton nightmare and a Judy Garland film. The gameplay itself had become based on the kind of button mashing we're used to in a beat 'em up, which the developers acknowledged. In an attempt to simplify the gameplay and capitalize on the mentality that led people to purchase countless versions of Guitar Hero, another offender on this list, Activision funded the development of a skateboard peripheral for the development of Tony Hawk: Ride. It promptly bombed. It's especially disheartening to fans when games like Skate come along and clean house, using a much more streamlined control scheme.
We're not exactly saying there shouldn't have been any sequels at all, just that they should have stopped or drastically improved by now. Your real friends will tell you when you've gone too far. Tony, you've gone too far.
It's probably safe to say that the deck is stacked against any game featuring the Man of Steel right off the bat. Plagued by the same problems that modern-day filmmakers have recently struggled to confront, Superman seems to be a difficult character to render convincingly. That hasn't stopped an endless stream of developers from trying, though.
Everyone from EA-Tiburon (Superman Returns, 2006) to Infogrames (Superman: Shadow of Apokalips, 2002) to Titus ('Superman 64', 1999) has made an attempt at presenting what is arguably the most iconic comic book character ever created. Nearly all attempts at avoiding bad game design, mediocrity, and good old-fashioned embarrassment have failed, which is why we'd like to put and end to CK's suffering.
Every year football fans line up in droves to purchase the latest version of Madden NFL, and there's something not quite right about that. We understand the point of having the latest roster information. It's always fun to live vicariously through your favorite team. Imagine the Chicago Bears winning the Super Bowl. You don't have to. You can make it happen.
What we don't understand is that gamers are willing to pay full price for a game that essentially hasn't changed much for the past few years. It isn't as bad as, say, Halo (for giggles, of course) or maybe Call of Duty. But the amount that actually changes between some iterations is negligible. If we're going to buy an 'all-new' game every single year for the duration of the series, at least offer up a convincing reason to part with our hard-earned $59.99. As far as I'm concerned that could very well be the price of the collector's edition. With signed players' cards. And Super Bowl tickets.
We've lumped these two together for the sake of simplicity but they almost warrant an article of their own. During the time since its initial release in the fall of 2005 Guitar Hero has seen twenty one releases (including mobile), not counting the other games under the 'Hero' banner. Major console releases account for ten of those. Is that much shredding really necessary? Mercifully Bobby Kotick and the crew at Activision have deemed it necessary to take five on the franchise at least for this year. Rock Band is no different. That series has also seen ten major releases counting three mobile games.
We could make a landfill with the amount of plastic crap Activision and Harmonix have sold over the last six years, which begs the question, 'Why not release one game for each series and continue to support it with downloadable content and software updates?' Have a major update at retail every five years instead of seventy-eight in one year, and you've got a winner. This is a solution we think could also work for the previous game on our list. People have already proved their willing to clutter up their living rooms with fake instruments; there's no need to seem so desperate.
By Patriel Manning
CCC Freelance Writer
*The views expressed within this article are solely the opinion of the author and do not express the views held by Cheat Code Central.*