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Veteran Member - Level 13
What makes a bad game? Is it the main concept, the way it was handled during development, how much time it was given, the controls? It could be anyone of these I mentioned or even ones I forgot to mention. What happens when a rare choice to pick a game out of pure sporadic curiosity turns into an experience you won't forget because you threw review numbers out the window & decided on fun as your over all priority? I can tell you from my own experience that it was the way to go & how we should choose to pick our games more often then not. I think we all can safely say we all have fallen into the net of relying on review ratings then taking the chance ourselves. Now it's not a negative habit to practice because we all can't afford every game that hits the shelves, gaming isn't cheap so shopping smart is wise to do but stepping out of our comfort zone every once awhile can bring unexpected surprises. I took a lot of chances this generation, some were bad made me just shake my head & some were games I won't ever forget. Out of all the game choices I made 2 games stick out to me strongly. The first one being the cruelly underrated game in the Earth Defense Series called Earth Defense Force 2017 & the other being a hilariously brilliant indie game called Shark Attack Deathmatch.
Now some people will call Earth Defense Force 2017 a bad game but I think the simplicity of it alone makes it a winner in my book. Yes the game's frame rate tanks when too many bugs are on screen, when your character jumps his knees don't even bend, the script & voice acting come straight out of B movies, the outdated look of the overall game, lack of picking a class of soldier to fight the invasion off with, etc. I could go on more but I think you get the point. For me the lack of polish & how hard it smacks you with all of it always makes me laugh when I play. They don't try to hide what it is. It's a rough draft of a pure death match survival run you & a buddy can take on until you can't take it anymore. You are giving nothing except a bad cut scene, narrative bad enough it sounds like they are reading straight from a script & an assault rifle that is laughable but what comes next makes it all worth it to me. Wave after wave of oversized bugs come crawling over city buildings like a waterfall & the only instruction you're given is to kill every last one & survive. It's an open world in the plainest of terms, you can't enter a single building but every single tree, car & skyscraper you see can be leveled. The city you're ordered to protect can be wiped off the planet given you have enough fire power. The map size seems limitless as you can find yourself running & rolling for your life trying not to get bitten in half by the jaws of tour bus sized ants. The game starts with a bang & never lets up for 53+levels. The catch is with every ant you kill they may drop an item such as a new weapon, health packs to keep you alive or armor to boost your overall health bar that carries over to your next level. If you want the perks you have to turn yourself around & head directly into the monster wave you were just running away from, Rambo style. The range of difficulties you are given are great for anybody who wants to play. Each difficulty you are still treated the same with pick ups, you still get new weapons & armor but the harder the difficulty you choose the better gear you're given. This game thrives off of taking big risks in order to get big rewards. Throughout the entire game you can get collect up to 200+ different weapons ranging from assault rifles, missile launchers to experimental goofy weapons that with each shot clear entire city blocks with each pull of the trigger. Not to mention every weapon comes with infinite ammo, you only worry about each weapon reload time. Inferno being the last difficulty you may choose from may have you spending an entire hour trying to defeat a single level of your choosing. As you may be able to tell I'm completely obsessed with this "bad game". The graphics may not be the greatest, the way the frame rate tanks to nearly being in what feels like bullet time for a quick minute or 2, how stiff your character moves is worth every single laughable overwhelming second of being able to play as a Starship Trooper you've wanted to be since you watched the movie yourself.
The game is flawed in many ways but the things it does right beat those flaws every single time. Given so many weapons & many varied levels gives you a surprising large amount of options for strategy. The game is simply laid out but littered with potential. I myself have spent nearly 200+ hours in the game mixing & matching, clearing different difficulties & playing couch co op with my cousin. Enough of EDF 2017, time to talk/ rant about another favorite "bad game" of mine.
Occasionally I find myself in the Indie section of XBL just looking for fun stupid new games to play. They're a nice break from all the serious AAA titles we play. One day I stumbled upon a game called Shark Attack Deathmatch. It's a simple take on the FPS games we love playing but this one takes place underwater as you play as a nameless scuba diver. There is no story laid out to you, only the options of Survival & Deathmatch. Survival is exactly how it sounds. You are given 10 minutes, a spear gun with unlimited ammo & a knife for close quarter kills and the objective to kill as many man eating sharks or zombie sharks (not kidding) in that time limit. The air supply you have runs out so must go search for floating air tanks to refuel your air supply. Health works the same way, if you're hurt it won't regenerate you must go find floating health packs. The levels are simple & decent sized. The ocean you're in is scattered with sea turtles, sting rays, coral, fish, boat wrecks, plane crashes & sunken ancient ruins. The next game option is an exactly copy of survival called deathmatch, the only change is that now you & 3 friends or anybody online is now out to kill you. If you can forgive the floaty (no pun intended) & sometimes delayed controls it becomes a stupidly laughable intense free for all. Say you wound another diver with a spear you shot at em, they now start bleeding pools of blood into the blue ocean that once was a rare shark siting area. That clear blue map now slowly becomes a hangout for sharks & they are hungry. The sharks smell the blood & now start trying to attack the wounded player. Not only is the player trying to survive the other divers but now they have to defend themselves from a shark that is trying to eat them for a snack. It all becomes hilariously intense when each player is bleeding & you now are all swimming to find health packs & air to keep you from drowning, bettering your chances of surviving the entire scenario you've thrown yourself into. You may try to hide in the wreckage left on the map only to be eaten & startled because another player or shark found a big enough hole to fit through & finish you off even before you know what hit you. The whole concept behind this game is brilliant to me. It may have been handled in the simplest ways & may not have been given the love it deserves but that doesn't mean it simply shouldn't be looked over by the numerical score it was given.
Sadly enough I see that both of those great "bad game" titles have been overlooked by many. To close out this love letter to 2 of my personal favorite surprise games this generation I will say this. I think we all need "bad games" to play to help balance out all the great games we play. They make us appreciate more of the amazing AAA titles we spend so much time loving & see a brand new way of creative thinking. Hell they may even turn out to be some of our favorite games we continue to play again & again like I have with my 2 favorite "bad games" I mentioned above.
No matter the score or what you think may be a bad game have fun & enjoy.