The 2011 Grimmys: Not Entertained Award

The Grimmys

You once had promise, but ended up failing in more ways than one. We only mention you one last time so that others can avoid wasting their time with you.

The Nominees

Dragon Age II – When you’re BioWare, you’re held to a pretty high standard in turning out action RPGs, especially when it comes to your sequels. (It’s a rough job, turning out awesome first games). And… when the first game in the series was Dragon: Age Origins, beloved for its well developed story and plenty of dungeon crawling, you’ve got to be as careful following it up as you were following up Mass Effect. Unfortunately, what resulted has been described  as, “a lazy sequel,” “a money grab,” and “rushed and unfinished,” and has a main character named Hawke. (Hawke? That’s one step up on Nathan Radd.) With mediocre dialog, shallow character development and surprisingly weak level design (again, BioWare is victim to its own success), Dragon Age II failed to measure up to DA:O and its fans have let BioWare know.

Grimmy WinnerHomefront – There are few things worse than pinning your hopes on a game to be your flagship shooter in a shooter-saturated world only to have it flop. One of them is being GiffTor, anxiously awaiting his pre-ordered copy of Homefront, only to find out that, instead of a realistic FPS with a deep story line written by the minds behind Red Dawn involving the near-future invasion of the United States by North Korea, Homefront is a broken, boring suckfest. Fortunately, the review embargo was lifted before GiffTor’s disappointment could be fully realized, THQ’s stock took a dive in concert with its plummeting Metacritic scores and everyone learned a valuable lesson. Apparently.

Brink – Bethesda Softworks. A futuristic, semi-dystopian setting. Lots of weapons and a seamless parkour-type movement system called S.M.A.R.T. – what could go wrong? When it came to Brink, it turns out the answer is: lots. The weapon load-out varieties are pointless, since the sub-machine gun easily trumps everything else with its quick target acquisition and medium range. The single player game includes innovations like hysterically dumb AI bots and discordant cut-scenes  and a multiplayer setup that prevents higher-level players from matching with lower level ones, which is a fine idea…if you have a good enough game to attract the kind of numbers you need to split your gaming population like that. Brink didn’t.

Alice: Madness Returns – There are few settings that are as video game friendly as Wonderland. Any place that takes place inside the imagination/delusions of the main character should be able to blow the minds of any gamer willing to on the journey. The worst offense Alice makes on her return psychotic trip is that her adventure is boring. Unlike the original, the visuals aren’t good enough to cover up the mediocre gameplay. Maybe American McGee knew something we didn’t when he didn’t publicly make a big deal about his name being in the title this time.

Jurassic Park: The Game – What can we tell you? There are just some developers we like to see pull off the win, even if they haven’t done anything to knock our socks off lately and to be honest, Telltale Games is one of them. (It’s probably because of Tales of Monkey Island and Sam and Max). But even a really cool jeep at PAX couldn’t save Jurassic Park from quick-time game overload. Beyond a series of quick-time events, there was no game to speak of, just a 4-episode push-Y-at-the-right-time story following the events of the original Jurassic Park movie with none of its redeeming qualities (e.g., a good script, strong acting, Jeff Goldblum…) As much as we wanted Telltale Games to pull off this big-name license revival, all we got was a game making us wish for an extinction level event.

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