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The 10 Most Unnecessary Games of 2008
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 29, 2008   |   Episode 71 (Show Archive)  

   

Fallout 3 is one of the best games of the year, which is probably why you won't find it on this list!
I don't think anybody is going to argue that 2008 was a rock solid year for video gaming. Between Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Fallout 3, Grand Theft Auto IV and Braid, 2008 was full of great games and fun surprises. I could fill five pages with all of the great games you should have already bought, but that's not what I'm going to do. Right now every other magazine and online publication is telling you what the best games are, and we think that topic is a little passe. So instead of boring you with the best games of the year, we're going to count down the ten most unnecessary games of 2008.

Fans of the site will no doubt recognize our unnecessary list. Last year I composed a full list of The 25 Most Unnecessary Games of All Time, including such classics as Street Fighter - The Movie: The Game, The Guy Game and Bomerman: Act Zero. This is a slightly less ambitious list, but it's clear that some of these games would feel right at home next to Shaq Fu and Razor Freestyle Scooter. Keep in mind; this is not a list of the worst games of 2008. Oh sure, some of these games are truly bad, but most are simply unnecessary for one reason or another. See if you agree with my reasoning when you help me count down the The 10 Most Unnecessary Games of 2008!

Rocketmen: Axis of Evil
When you look back at 2008 it's clear that Capcom had a great year on the various download channels (Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and WiiWare). Bionic Commando Rearmed (Capcom's brilliant remake of the 1988 NES classic) broke all kinds of records when it was released in August. And then only a few months later that record was beat by another Capcom remake,
Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, which now holds the record as the fastest selling Xbox Live Arcade game. Beyond remakes, Capcom offered compelling sequels to old school classics, such as 1942: Joint Strike and Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3. There's no doubt about it, Capcom had a fantastic year.

But there's one game that sticks out like Kratos cosplay at a Microsoft event, and that's Rocketman: Axis of Evil. This poorly designed action game mimics the dual stick shooter so popular on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. In fact, the game is so generic that half the time you'll swear you're playing another game. But it's not the cavalcade of bad that makes this game unnecessary, it's the fact that almost immediately after Rocketmen came out, Capcom decided to release the infinitely better Wolf of the Battlefield: Commando 3. At a glance these two games are virtually identical. Upon closer inspection you'll find that Commando 3 is the cohesive action game that Rocketmen should have been. Throw in all of Capcom's other games this year and there's absolutely no reason why you should buy their one big turd. Equally unnecessary was the game's expansion pack.

Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack (Tie)
Our ninth slot proves the point that not every unnecessary game is bad. In truth, both AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith were solid games. They weren't going to blow you away with their innovation to the music genre, but they are good games that garnered fine
reviews. In fact, when I reviewed the games I gave AC/DC Live an 80% and Guitar Hero: Aerosmith a 70%. These are fine games that I can understand people buying, especially if those people are fans of the band. The problem is that neither of these games should exist.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying AC/DC shouldn't be in Rock Band and Aerosmith should get away from Guitar Hero. I'm fine with these bands (and any other band, except for Nickelback) making their way into these top selling music franchises. But did these games really need to their own games? Of course not, both Guitar Hero and Rock Band have their own download services. In fact, Harmonix just sent out a bunch of press releases a few weeks ago crowing about how they had sold over 13 million songs on their virtual music store. This is an impressive feat, which is why it's so confusing to see a standalone AC/DC game. Even more puzzling is the fact that none of these live songs are actually available for download. I'm sure both of these discs came about because of licensing restrictions associated with the band, but I still say that there's no reason for band-specific versions of your favorite music game.

Animal Crossing: City Folk
Your girlfriend will argue with me until she's blue in the face, but when it comes right down to it Animal Crossing is completely unnecessary. At least, it's unnecessary in its current state. I can understand the need for a Wii Animal
Crossing game, but when it comes down to it I think most fans were hoping that Nintendo would add a substantial amount of new content and changes to the game. But that's not what happened. Instead we got a game that is a little too similar to the titles that came before it. The graphics are the practically identical to those on the 2002 GameCube title. What's worse, outside of the new city locations and some limited online modes, there really isn't a lot to do that would be classified as new.

The reason this game is so unnecessary is because the Wii plays GameCube discs, which means that you can just load up the far superior 2002 model. Oh sure, you can't use the Wii Speak attachment, but I'm sure you have a phone, why not just give your best friend a call. Best of all, the GameCube version allows you to dig for original NES games, which is the single best thing about Animal Crossing. The other reason this game is so unnecessary is because most fans of the series already have the hugely popular Nintendo DS version, which allows you to do just about everything you can do in this Wii game. The sad truth is that practically everything good about the Wii version was done first on the Nintendo DS, so there's really no reason to buy this game. I'm certainly not saying that Animal Crossing: City Folk is a bad game, it's just wholly unnecessary.

Legendary
So far on this list we've talked about a bunch of good, but unnecessary games. Now we're about to talk about game that is both terrible AND unnecessary. This is Legendary, the game that used to be called Legendary: The Box. You play a burglar that unwittingly gets involved in a war for Pandora's
Box. Unfortunately he accidentally opens the box, unleashes all sorts of hellish creatures and is forced to undo all of the damage he has caused the world. Sounds like a promising premise? That's what I thought, too ... and then I played the game. This product has some of the worst first-person shooting I have ever seen, abysmal graphics, voice acting from people who don't want to be there, a convoluted story that makes no sense and a penchant for overusing werewolves. And that's not even the bad part of the game.

The problem is that every year companies release at least three dozen first-person shooters. I don't know how many were released this year, but I can guarantee that there are more FPS games this year than you can afford. With so many triple-A shooters on the market it's hard to have enough time or money for even the good (but not great) games, so you can imagine how desperate you have to be to pick up a game that can't even aspire to bad. Legendary is horrible, one of the worst video game experiences of the year. It's the kind of game where you can tell the developers gave up half way through. And if the developers don't care, then why should you? With so many amazing shooters already on store shelves, you definitely don't have time for Legendary. It's a terrible game with no redeeming qualities, which may explain why we have it on the list of the most unnecessary games of 2008.

Portal: Still Alive
Last year Valve's inventive puzzle game took the industry by storm. And for good reason, it was easily one of the most creative games of the year and had what had to be the single best ending of 2007. But here we are a year later and things are a bit different. This year we got Portal: Still Alive, a downloadable
version available on the Xbox Live Arcade. Outside of having 14 (brief) new levels and a few new challenges, this game is identical to what you can get in the Orange Box. The new levels, while short, are a lot of fun and the game's original story is as good as you remember it.

So why is this game so unnecessary? Because most of you already own this game in the Orange Box. And if you don't, then why not just pick up the disc-based version for $30 new (or considerably less used)? At most the new content is around two hours, which is awfully low considering the game's $15 asking price. You heard me, they are charging a whopping $15 for this thing. Portal is still a great game (and will always remain a great game), but those hoping that Still Alive would be a clever sequel or have a bunch of new content were severely disappointed. Those that never played the game in the first place are better off just buying the Orange Box, it's a better value and comes with four other games that are worth owning. Portal: Still Alive is the furthest thing from a bad game, but it's definitely unnecessary.
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