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Which company had the best E3 showing?

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Ubisoft


Game Profile
 Written by Chris Reiter  on October 28, 2005

Specials: See, I was going to get you Shadow of the Colossus for a present. However, as I understand it you already have like thousands and thousands of copies being played by you already, PlayStation 2.


10 Worst PlayStation 2 Games of All-Time

10. DRIV3R
Publisher:
Atari
Developer: Reflections Interactive
Release: June 21, 2004

What "Worst PlayStation 2 Games of All-Time" list would be complete without probably the biggest gaming catastrophe of last year? Certainly not mine. Always two there are: a master and a screw up. Grand Theft Auto and the Driver games have been running against each other ever since the late days of PlayStation. Both series openly mock one other with secret throw-ins only fans of both games will probably catch onto. But because Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series went from good to amazingly phenomenal with both Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and another on the way with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, it was time for Atari and Reflections to change the way their Driver series played. Normally Driver was a straightforward mission-to-mission driving/shooting game. Fewer out of car gunning and more driving was done with scripted moments. The bizarrely titled DRIV3R instead tried for placing itself in the shoes of the previous two PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Auto games by opening up the world more into expansive city locales. Still, if the shoe doesn't fit, neither will the game that's trying them on. Atari's DRIV3R came up with a number of problems. The game had lousy steering controls, dopy enemies that you would freeze in place by doorways so you could blast them without damaging yourself, flavorless graphics, and yes irritating sounds too. The funny thing is, there were a few gaming literary publications willing to accept Atari's bribe for scoring the game a high-ranking 9 out of 10. For shame.

9. TimeSplitters
Publisher:
Eidos Interactive
Developer: Free Radical Design
Release: October 26, 2000

If you remember that Rare was behind the overrated GoldenEye [Ed. Note: Overrated!] for the Nintendo 64, then you might also recall that several of Rare's key members who put together that First Person Shooter in 1997 split ways and started on a new project for the PlayStation 2 launch. Their act of "splitting" is the perfect way to describe what the team has consistently done since almost exclusively. Under their new banner Free Radical Design, this development studio went on to become the company known for making TimeSplitters. I don't know why, but like was the case with Goldeneye, most people had positive feelings toward this PlayStation 2 launch title. I, on the other, thought it sucked. Not as bad as Goldeneye, but nowhere being near at least a decent title, TimeSplitters sold itself as a goofy time traveling First Person Shooter escapade. Playing the game as either an English gentleman or lady led to tough cartoony enemies that surround your character and awkward controls. Corny-looking characters and cheesy sounds also helped to dismember TimeSplitters from ever being a quality gaming favorite. You can kiss my TimeSplitters-loathing ass if you think otherwise.

8. 18-Wheeler: American Pro Trucker
Publisher:
Acclaim
Developer: Sega-AM2
Release: November 13, 2001

Sega had just quit the hardware business earlier in the year. Beginning their spree of porting Dreamcast titles to various systems, 18-Wheeler: American Pro Trucker was the arcade racing title to land on the PlayStation 2. Redneck system owners couldn't be happier. The deal with this racing game is it's all about truckin'. Doggoned! Slow as snail moving trucks are what you'd control in this rig racing title. Across five stages in all, the objective was to weave through traffic like tar whilst also vying against an AI controlled black rig that is for some reason scripted to be faster and smarter than you are. In a cheaply made game like this one, it's nothing you want to actually play unless driving big heavy trucks is some kind of sick passion of yours.

7. Spyro: A Hero's Tail
Publisher:
Vivendi Universal Games
Developer: Eurocom
Release: November 2, 2004

I realize I rated A Hero's Tail a smidgen lower than its previous Spyro counterpart, Enter the Dragonfly. But, it was mainly because the only noticeable improvement over the prior game was that new characters were added in to mix up the one-sided Spyro gameplay. But, did these character inclusions make the game that much better, or did they simply deter the sinister evil that is the game all together? In some cases, it's the latter. The truth of the matter is that both A Hero's Tail and Enter the Dragonfly are about as equally abominable. I only chose A Hero's Tail for the number 7 spot because of its assortment of characters that you could now complete tasks with. The rest of Spyro: A Hero's Tail is composed of ear-wrenching vocal work, blandly flamboyant visuals, and some of the most incompetent enemies you'll ever meet. Playing either Spyro game is like having a nightmare while you're still awake.

6. Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Publisher:
Universal Interactive
Developer: Check Six Games
Release: November 5, 2002

The story is simple. When Sony upgraded to the PlayStation 2, Universal Interactive (now known as Vivendi) acquired the rights to publish games based on Sony's two most popular platforming stars from the PlayStation days. Those two were Crash Bandicoot and Spyro. What they didn't get in this transfer of scraps was the original development teams who made the games to begin with. So, what did they do? They had someone else entirely do the work. Now, look at video game history for a second and think of all the times when a different company other than the creators develops a game and it becomes better than the progenitor's craft? Twisted Metal, originally a Single Trac series, went way downhill after 989 Studios handled the crummy third and fourth entries. A couple of titles from The Legend of Zelda series appeared on the CD-i (a non-Nintendo console) not even having been made by its birth-givers. Why? Who knows. But, Zelda fans have for years dissociated these games from ever being a part of the popular franchise. Even Goldeneye is considered a classic on the Nintendo 64 (well, not by me). Whatever games' Electronic Arts followed up with afterward, never were able to live up to the expectations of fans from the way Rare designed their game. And so, what that leaves for the later Spyro games then was the destined ruin of it all, from moronic and simplistic enemies, frightfully colorful worlds, and possibly the worst assembly of voice acting in any gaming experience.

5. BASS Strike
Publisher:
THQ
Developer: Pai, Inc.
Release: October 4, 2001

Fishing games are always awful. They're not meant to be epic or really anything innovative. They're just fishing games is all, with the basic essentials to build a game that allows you to catch fish if you so happen to dig the sport of this age-old hobby. That means bad graphics, bad sounds, and most likely bad gameplay. For THQ's BASS Strike, the game's stinky fish bucket contained each one. Catching fish is not easy when you have to perfectly reel each one in on an awkward strength meter. Go too fast or too slow, and you'd be out of luck. The dullness of waiting and attempting to trap your underwater prey was made more uninspiring by the terrible visual and sound design. Plain tasting as water itself made the graphics impossible to thirst for. Spicy uptempo music made having to listen to the game horrifying. It's just not possible to love any fishing game, as game companies know few people really care enough to buy them. BASS Strike proves this fact well.

4. Rune: Viking Warlord
Publisher:
Take-Two Interactive
Developer: Human Head Studios
Release: July 30, 2001

It was the summer for PlayStation 2 love. Stunning releases ranging from Dark Cloud, to Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec, and naturally Resident Evil Code: Veronica X (bundled with the jaw-dropping Devil May Cry demo) all made a big impact on the system. Then there were the lesser titles like Sony's mediocre Metal Gear Solid-like action/horror element in Extermination. But even more utterly disappointing was Take-Two Interactive's interesting premise turned awry. I'm talking about Rune: Viking Warlord. Other than The Lost Vikings action game on the Super NES, can you think of any or many Viking-based games on the market? That's what made Rune's proposal so intriguing, as this was to be a game about a Viking who dies and becomes reincarnated to fight against demonic enemies in a stale world. Graphics? Plain and miserable. Sounds? Not particularly the game's weakest point, but nothing much to write home about either. Gameplay? Some awkward control problems here and there, primitive hacking-and-slashing over there, jumping and lever-pulling stuff elsewhere. Rune: Viking Warlord is one of those games I wanted to like when I first bought it, but then after popping it in my PlayStation 2 for the first time, it left a bland taste in my mouth. I was throwing up for weeks. Not really, but just pretend I was.

3. Shifters
Publisher:
3DO
Developer: 3DO
Release: June 18, 2002

I'm betting you've forgotten all about 3DO by now. Remember the overly mocked company who made all those crappy Army Men games? If you haven't heard, they were canned. Cut off. Shut down. Given the boot. Of course, this was really of no big surprise, since their legacy for the most part was a bad company with bad games to sell. When they weren't doing the only thing they ever did, which would be coming up with another Army Men game (or so it seemed like), on the rare occasion they made a different game. In this case, it was called Shifters. Shifters didn't do itself harm by setting itself up as a run-of-the-mill hack-and-slash adventure game. Okay, actually it did. Shifters wasn't intent on disappointing gamers with an awful camera operation, or remedial enemies, or a host of plumb awful visuals and sounds. Okay, yes it did. Shifters was an obnoxious game through and through. Turning your generic warrior into animal-like beasts to defeat animal-like beasts could be a cool concept if done right. In Shifters however, everything was done wrongly. From the ineffectively so-called "sneak system" that saw enemies inattentive to players unless they were within a few inches, to the general stupidity in how simple-minded the enemies would finish themselves off for you. Blah, I say!

2. Bad Boys: Miami Takedown
Publisher:
Crave Entertainment
Developer: Empire Interactive/Blitz Games
Release: September 21, 2004

You want to hear a joke? Bad Boys: Miami Takedown. What? Didn't you get the joke? I said Bad Boys: Miami Takedown. That's the joke. I remember cracking up at the thought of having to review this $15 reject. Why on Earth would you want to base a game on the Bad Boys movie franchise more than a year after its sequel was released in theaters? And why do Bad Boys anyway? Sure, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence make for a decent buddy cop action romp. But...I mean, is anyone really that much of a fan to want to play a game based around their misadventures on the anti-drug unit? Lethal Weapon and Die Hard, now those two movie gems have a way bigger fan base. Make a game around Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson. Die Hard 3's a much bigger timeless classic than Bad Boys is. What the game does that its movie counterparts don't do (at least not the first one), is suck a whole lot. Room from room, Will's and Martin's characters would tiptoe to marked rings to pop out from behind objects and kill the evil gang members from safety positions. The action: pretty lame. What is worse though, was the low-grade PlayStation-quality visuals and especially the awful voice actors that barely resembled Will or Martin. They may ride together, but Bad Boys: Miami Takedown dies alone.

1. Evergrace
Publisher:
Agetec
Developer: From Software
Release: October 26, 2000

Launch day. When that day arrived, turmoil hit the PlayStation 2 stride with the eclipsing launch that would anger 50,000 people who would be cut off from owning the much imminent PlayStation sequel. What was even worse about Sony's decision to cut hardware supplies in half was that the majority of the launch games initially promised wouldn't see the light of day until the next year. And so, there were several dry months up ahead for system owners and a bunch of just plain bad games to pick from in the beginning. Of the worst, of the worst, of the worst that this gamer's played from the now massive pile would have to be Agetec's Evergrace. You'd think that the people who brought us the exceptionally decent mech franchise Armored Core that you'd get the same results for any other game. Not so. Evergrace started out okay with probably one of the most impressively artistic FMV sequences at the time. Then it all went downhill when the game begins in a horribly degraded action-RPG world that's so dull and uninspired, you just want to cut off a finger to distract yourself from the pain of playing the game. Between two different character perspectives (a man named Darius and a woman named Sharline), simplistic hacking and magical combat was conveyed through the switching of these two characters. But since the game was so poorly designed in basically every aspect, Evergrace takes its place at the bottom of the stink pile for the worst PlayStation 2 game ever.

Celebration's over...
Happy Birthday to you! You live in a room! Next to the TV and the Xbox, and the GameCube console too! You've given me games...and many moooooooore! But that's not the end of it. This may be the PlayStation 2's big five, but the PlayStation never went away after that kind of status. In fact, it's lived on through the magic of backwards compatibility (and some companies willing enough to sell products for profit after the majority of system owners have moved up in their game). We PlayStation 2 owners still have what's looking to be another big year ahead of us (though, still smaller in comparison). Games such as Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Lost King, Tomb Raider: Legends, Okami, and yes the big one, Final Fantasy XII, have all yet to arrive. You'll get them. You'll play them. You'll love them. See you next year, PlayStation 2.

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