In last week’s feature, Sam made a passing assertion that the Shenmue games no longer hold up. That made Rob angry and the rest of us think on the critically acclaimed and/or commercially beloved games that we struggle to see the good in today.
Chris | Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTA: San Andreas has everything; a massive open world, memorable characters, a deep story with unexpected twists, numerous side activities, plenty of secrets, terrible audio balance, and probably the jankiest controls I've ever battled against.
Playing today, there’s always an underlying feeling that the stick sensitivity is either too high or too low. Driving, which was perfectly smooth a decade and a half ago, now feels clunky and underdeveloped, as if vehicle handling was somehow a secondary concern when developing a game that largely revolves around driving.
Careening around Los Santos as Big Smoke launched into a diatribe against whoever last wronged him was once an enjoyable part of the whole; now gunfire, engine noise and music compete with (and sometimes overpower) dialogue, yet no amount of tinkering with the audio options can fix this. Everything’s just a little off.
All of its flaws are technical ones and such offences should be forgivable, given the game's seniority, but, after almost 15 years, technology has advanced in leaps and bounds and I frankly don't hesitate to say that San Andreas is a mess.
James | Altered Beast
The yesteryear of gaming might be where it all started but I'm not one to stay stuck in the past, dragging my feet and dreaming of "the good old days".
The few times I have specifically looked back to a time when games had pixels you could count and soundtracks not out of place on the first generation of mobile phones, it's been dipping into the likes of the Virtual Console on Wii and Xbox Live Arcade on Xbox 360.
One notable example which wasn't up to scratch for me was Altered Beast, SEGA’s very own Mega Drive “classic” that’s managed to keep the phrase "Rise from your grave!" stuck in my head for years.
While controlling the powerful, titular beast makes for fun action-platforming fare, I'd forgotten how weak and useless your character's standard form was. Compared to the games which classmates were enjoying on their SNES consoles at the time, or even to my beloved Sonic 2, it's easy to see why Altered Beast isn't as alluring looking back now.
Rob | GoldenEye 007
Another week, another conundrum, comrades. This topic has been perhaps the hardest to nail down, as one’s been forced to consider one’s own mortality while gazing fondly backwards, sepia goggles on. Sonic Adventure was my initial prime suspect, until one of my personal favourites loomed into view.
Much like a young Whitney Houston to a mulleted Kevin Costner, I will always love GoldenEye 007, but there’s no denying it’s aged horrendously. Modern shooter mechanics have left early console FPS games in the dust - admittedly for the better - not only with their controls, but their framerates, range of motion and depth of field.
I have so many fond memories of marathon multiplayer sessions with friends in my youth, staying up late and teaming up on whoever choose Jaws or Oddjob. Regardless, revisiting GoldenEye now (or especially picking it up for the first time) will leave many scratching their noggins.
What the deuce is up with the controls? How was the multiplayer so popular when it often moves at three frames per year? Why is the dude from Sharpe flat, YA BASTARD? These are all great questions, and examples of why it’s often best to leave joyous childhood memories where they belong: in the past.
Which "classics" do you struggle to get on with today? Let us know in the comments below.