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

Castlevania: Judgment
Is it a 3D action game? Is it a one on one fighter? The truth is, it's both ... and neither. To call Castlevania: Judgment a fighting game would be to use the term "fighting" in the loosest way possible. Yes two people enter the arena, but what happens after that doesn't look
like any kind of fighting game I've seen before. It's also not much of an action game, since you aren't really doing anything. In fact, Castlevania: Judgment isn't much of a game at all. You can have just as much fun putting the control down and doing chores. Hell, I actually had more fun doing chores than playing this waste of time.

On the surface Castlevania: Judgment has a lot of things that seem necessary for the Nintendo Wii. For one thing it's a classic franchise born again for Nintendo's motion controller. It's also a 3D fighter, a genre the Wii is in desperate need of. And the idea of using your Wii remote as a whip definitely sounds intriguing. But this is not the kind of game Nintendo needs; this is the kind of game they should be avoiding at all costs. You control the game by flailing your arms around in wild movements, none of which seem to work. You'll spend half the time running around the arena, because at least that's something to do. You'll hate the fact that every character is impossible to control and, worse yet, they all seem to have the same weapons. Yes the Wii needs a solid 3D fighting game, but this is like buying a gourmet dinner and getting a half-eaten Big Mac. Konami managed to set Castlevania back a good decade with the release of this game, a move that was 100% unnecessary.

Wii Music
When famed game developer Shigeru Miyamoto unveiled his newest game I didn't know what to think. On one hand I should give him the benefit of the doubt; after all, he has created many of my favorite video game characters over the last thirty years. But then, he's
showing me a game where all I'm supposed to do is wave my hands around ... how can this not be one of the most disastrous games of the year? Sadly, my initial gut reaction was right. Wii Music proved to be nothing more than Rock Band for babies. It's advertised as the music game the whole family can enjoy, but I'm not sure I have ever met anybody that would actually "enjoy" playing this thing. This is a terrible game that seems lost and can't find its audience. My hope is that there isn't an audience for this game, because it's both bad and completely unnecessary.

Contrary to the title, you don't actually make music in Wii Music. Instead you move your hands in a way that is supposed to mimic playing a real instrument. It's not hard to imagine people playing Wii Music, just imagine using your Wii remote as a flute or drum sticks or a violin bow or any of the other 40 instruments in the game. Now accept that you don't actually control the game's music, instead you're just playing along. Sound like fun? Well, it isn't. This is the kind of thing you could be doing for free. There's no reason you need to buy Wii Music to get the full experience. Why not just put on your favorite CD (or MP3 or whatever the kids are listening to these days) and incorporate your Wii remote into your air guitar or air drums or whatever. Heck, you don't even need a Wii remote, just playing air guitar is exactly the same thrill you'll get out of Wii Music. Actually, air guitar may be more of a thrill.

Guitar Hero: On Tour
Was there somebody out there asking for a portable version of Guitar Hero? I'm serious. I doubt there was even one gamer who was hoping Activision would come through with Guitar Hero for the Nintendo DS. But even though we didn't ask for it, we got a portable Guitar Hero game. Actually, we got TWO portable Guitar
Hero games, all within five months. Guitar Hero is the type of game that requires you to pump up the volume and grab your fake plastic guitar, all that rock isn't meant to be shrunk down to portable size. Especially when the accessory doesn't look anything like a guitar and the volume has to be low by design. Who asked for this?

But the biggest problem with the Guitar Hero: On Tour franchise is the way it makes you feel when you're done playing a song. That feeling you have isn't sadness or regret ... it's a huge cramp that is making it impossible for you to do anything with your left hand. Nothing is worth the amount of pain your hand goes through; it's the worst feeling I have had while playing a video game. Couple this problem with the fact that you never actually feel like you're playing guitar and you have a recipe that creates one of the worst handheld experiences of the year. But again I have to ask, was there really people asking for a portable Guitar Hero? If not, then isn't that the very definition of unnecessary?

Homie Rollerz
16 years after the release of Super Mario Kart, how can a company mess up the kart racing formula? Yet that's exactly what happened to this Destineer published racing game. It's one thing to be frustrating, but Homie Rollerz is the kind of game that feels like it's developed just to make you destroy your Nintendo DS. No matter how good you are at racing
games, you won't win any of the races in this game. The computer opponents are always faster than you and rarely make mistakes, so getting past them is an exercise in futility. Worse yet, just when you think you're starting to make progress; one of your opponents will throw some sort of item and destroy your chances of a respectable finish. This is, without a doubt, the worst playing game of 2008, a game so bad that it may turn you off of video games all together.

But being bad alone is not enough to make it unnecessary, there needs to be something else that is wrong with this racer before it can even be considered unnecessary. Thankfully Homie Rollerz has an ace up its sleeve, something so bad that it will leave a bad taste in your mouth that you'll never get out. That special ingredient? Racism! That's right, Homie Rollerz is not just a terrible racing game, it's also racist. Using awful Hispanic stereotypes, annoying street slang and power-ups that are borderline offensive, Homie Rollerz takes the cake for being the single most racist game developed this year (or any year, for that matter). And if racism isn't unnecessary, then I don't know what is. But as bad as the racism is, the most offensive part of Homie Rollerz is how badly they were able to mess up the Super Mario Kart formula. How does that even happen in this day and age?

Rock Revolution
Apparently it was the yea of unnecessary music games this year. The truth is, I could have made up an entire list of just terrible music games, but there's more to life than comparing everything to Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero World Tour. Unfortunately I won't be able to escape making that comparison with this game, the single worst game of 2008. Rock Revolution is as perplexing as a music game can get. The truth is, there's no reason that this game should exist. It wants to be Rock Band, yet it's made by people who either didn't have the money
or time to make a competent music game. The hardware is atrocious, the actual game is a joke and every single song is a cover. Couple this with the fact that it's not much cheaper than the far superior Rock Band and Guitar Hero World Tour and you have a game that was destined to be the most unnecessary game of the year.

So what's wrong with it? For starters, the drum kit has way too many pads that are completely out of order. The game's note accuracy is the worst thing seen. All 40 of the songs are covers and all of the songs are performed by people that don't know what they are doing. The game's single player mode is so stripped down that I have a hard time calling it a single player mode. The game features two different guitar parts, yet in Konami's infinite wisdom they decided against packaging in a guitar peripheral. Nearly all 40 of the songs are in Rock Band, and most are using the original master track. And that's just the start of the problems. All told, Rock Revolution is the most half-assed attempt at a music game I have ever seen. The game is almost comical at how poorly designed it is, it's as if Konami had only heard of music games and decided that they needed a piece of that money. But that's the perplexing thing; Konami has been doing music games longer than just about anybody. So if anybody is going to make the next great music game, shouldn't it be them? You would think so, but the result is a game so bad that it's offensive to anybody that has played Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Nobody is going to buy this game over the competition, and even if you own every other music game (including Disney's Ultimate Band) you still should think hard about investing in this piece of garbage. For all these reasons (and a few I'm probably forgetting), Rock Revolution is the single worst and most unnecessary game of 2008. It's so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if it has a starring role in my list of the 10 most unnecessary games of 2009, too.



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