The recent release of Redfall has been a sour affair, at a time Xbox really needed a hit, they released what both critics and gamers have perceived as a misfire. I have not played the game yet (though thanks to gamepass, I will), but it got me thinking of the games I’ve played over the years and what I’ve realised is, sometimes I prefer games that are “imperfect” or “mediocre”.
Though I don’t believe the “perfect” games exists, but there are games that come strikingly close to that. Anything by Naughty Dog (The Last of Us Part 1 PC port being an outlier) has been perfectly paced, brilliantly written and polished within an inch of its life. The Forza Horizon series is always stellar, most Mario games absolutely nail everything. And don’t get me wrong, I love these games, but there’s something about them can leave me feeling cold. They feel clinical, riskless, dare I say… boring.
But I have a great fondness for games that maybe score 6’s and 7’s, not the disasters like Life of Black Tiger, but games that took a few swings and had a few misses, but for the most part created an endearing experience in its own right.
Recore is semi-openworld platformer/shooter, it’s really difficult for me to put this game in a category or even compare it to another game, as I can’t think of a game that’s anything like it. It tows the line between realism and cartoon, making it a strange hybrid with weirdly satisfying colour co-ordinated combat and challenging but fair platforming. Plus the robots are dead cute and fun to use.
I really liked this game, the lead character was really endearing, the story was decent and kept me engaged to the end. Its drawbacks were middling graphics, samey open world areas and technical issues that plagued the initial release, insanely long loading times being the biggest bug bear. But the Definitive Edition of the game addressed the majority of these problems and expanded the games story and altered the exploration in an interesting way. This game is worth your time and was totally slept on due to middling reviews.
The Order: 1886
The Order: 1886 had a lot going for it pre-release, it had that sexy PlayStation AAA sheen, the graphics were fantastic and still look top notch 8 years later. What many put this game down for, I think makes it so good. It was short, but sweet. The one issue I have with a lot of games these days, is they are arbitrarily padded with fluff to increase the playtime *cough* God of War Ragnorok. But I actually appreciated the length and linearity of The Order: 1886, I didn’t need this world to be open and I didn’t need filler levels. It was concise and I appreciated it.
My biggest gripe was the the game not using the werewolves to their fullest potential. But I liked this game and absolutely adored the Steampunk style, shame we never got a sequel.
Croc: Legend of the Gobbos
Often maligned for being a lesser game than Crash Bandicoot, Croc was a fun little adventure than had way more in common with Spyro than Crash. But herein lies the games issue, Spyro was much more refined and was the better game. This was detrimental to Croc, as it was massively overshadowed by other family friendly platformers that dominated the space at the time. Croc did have some issues with controls, with the character feeling a little bit weighty and unwieldly when performing an attack.
Croc did get a sequel so it wasn’t all doom and gloom, but this sort of dark but cute platformer had a lot to like and yet little Croc may never be seen again!
I have 2 big issues with this game, for starters, the protagonist is so dull and dreary, I have have to wonder what on earth they were thinking, especially when Granny Zina is RIGHT there and would have made for a far more compelling character (as well as more interesting, having an elderly woman as the main protagonist). My second issue is the controls to me don’t always flow the way I want them to and can make some of the combat encounters a bit of chore.
But by God this games atmosphere and world design are fabulous and despite the story sometimes chugging from time to time, it’s still pretty fun to play, warts and all.
High on Life
High on Life truly divided critics, but audiences seemed to be far more receptive to the game and it looks like it did very well on Gamepass. What I liked about High on Life, was that though the combat and parkour weren’t the most engaging things in the world, it was all uplifted by a crazy and unique world. Comedy games are few and far between, so it was refreshing to me to play something that really didn’t take itself seriously. A lot of your enjoyment on High on Life would depend on whether the humour landed or not, luckily for me, it landed more often than it didn’t.
I had an absolute blast playing High on Life and dare I say, despite some short comings it might have been the most fun I had with a game last year. Sorry Elden Ring.
These games have been maligned and are often touted online as being “trash” or “mediocre”, but do you know what, sometimes I like it when a game doesn’t get it all right, sometimes I like the annoying quirks, you can feel a certain passion seeping through when a game isn’t as polished. I will play Redfall at some point and I will make my own choices about what I like and don’t like about the game, but if it’s anything like the above maybe it’ll be more special to me than the Game of the Year… maybe.