Attack and Defense: Five Polarizing Games
Yesterday's big release, Beyond: Two Souls, received a mixed reception from critics and everyday gamers. When it comes to divisive games, no one is right or wrong; different elements just have varying importance to individual players. The industry sees a handful of these polarizing titles each year, and we've picked five from this console generation and presented the two extreme arguments for and against each one.
Defense: Flower is a gorgeous, peaceful game that lulls gamers into a near-meditative state as they gather petals and swoop across the landscape. A theme emerges as you progress, but the game is more about the moment-to-moment experience.
Attack: Flower is more of a screensaver than a game, placating players with pretty visuals while offering no substance and an unnecessary message. What's the point? If you want to learn something about the environment, watch FernGully.
Far Cry 2
Defense: Far Cry 2's open world keeps you constantly on edge, and danger lurks with every step. The setting is immersive and rich, with plenty of rewards hidden in the world to reward your exploration. You need to be handy with a gun to survive the attacks from warring factions, and if the perils of the African wilderness don't kill you, the malaria will.
Attack: You're supposed to be hunting down the Jackal, but you find far more unsavory things in Far Cry 2. Constantly respawning enemies, an awful save system, and an array of technical problems bring the experience to the brink of playability. The only impressive thing about Far Cry 2 is that it actually made it to store shelves.
Defense: Refusing to hold players' hands, Demon's Souls recaptures the old-school thrill of triumphing through blood, sweat, and tears. The level of challenge may be high, but that just makes victory that much more rewarding.
Attack: Fooling gamers by masquerading as a hardcore RPG, Demon's Souls uses its goal of high difficulty to excuse its archaic controls, obtuse design, and sheer tedium. Like hipsters gushing over some underground band, gamers only say they like this to one-up each other.
Defense: A zombie apocalypse should be harrowing, and the brutal encounters in ZombiU more than deliver. Surrounded by the undead with a cricket bat and scant ammunition, you learn the importance of survival as you fight for your life and revel in the innovation provided by the Wii U Gamepad.
Attack: Zombies should make you scared, not bored. Scanning areas with the Gamepad is just a gimmick, and the scarcity of resources leaves you to defeat most enemies using clunky melee mechanics, which stops being entertaining after about 100 times. Wii U owners were desperate for a good launch game to justify their purchase, but they got ZombiU instead.
Mass Effect 3
Defense: The perfect culmination of the trilogy. All of your big decisions from the previous two games resurface throughout Shepard's journey to end the war against the Reapers, and all of your favorite characters get their moments in the spotlight. And all of that is in addition to a host of gameplay improvements.
Attack: The ending retroactively kills every joy you have ever known in your life.