Editorial: Games I Liked that Everyone Else Hated, and Vice Versa

Readers, I was thinking about some of the games that I liked and did not like, and realized that there are some oddities in my game tastes. So, I decided to share with you some of the commonly loved games that I do not like and some of the often-reviled titles that I enjoyed. So, without further ado, I would like to start with games that are or were very popular but that I did not enjoy.

Secret of Mana

I cannot for the life of me understand why people like Secret of Mana. The game is awkward, clunky, slow, and boring. It could be argued that for its time, Secret of Mana was a good game, but the SNES and even the NES had action-RPGs that were far better than the clunky Squaresoft game. Crystalis and even Soul Blazer were far better than Secret of Mana, but for some reason SoM was a much more popular game. The menus are bad, the combat is bad, the story is bland; Secret of Mana is just all around a mediocre title.

Slow, clunky, boring, bleh.
16-Meg? Wowee!

LittleBigPlanet

The only thing I really liked about LBP was the potential for user-created content. The level design in the main game is okay but not particularly great, and I did not enjoy the gameplay at all. The weird, floaty controls and the game’s extremely annoying tendency to automatically adjust the player’s location depth-wise led to an experience that I simply did not like. I can understand why people liked LittleBigPlanet, but I really did not enjoy the game at all.

The Sega Genesis

Sega does what Nintendon’t…which is apparently bore the hell out of me. I bought the forty-game Sega Genesis Collection on Steam…and wound up hating every single game I played. While I admittedly did not try every single game in the collection, the many games that I did try soured my perception enough that I lost interest not only in the collection but in the Genesis as a whole. The only Genesis games I remember fondly are the Sonic games, and even they were not really exceptionally good. I definitely am a SNES person rather than a Genesis person.

Enough negativity! Now, I would like to discuss some games that are unpopular that I liked or at least did not hate.

Final Fantasy X-2

Now, I have talked quite a lot about this game in the past, but I really like FFX-2. Sure, the story is…a complete and utter mess, and the music is forgettable, but the gameplay is a blast; X-2 definitely has my favorite take on the Final Fantasy job system. I have always put gameplay above story when I consider a game’s qualities, and Final Fantasy X-2 is a game that I feel gets a lot more hate than it deserves. Sure, the game is cheesy and campy, but the gameplay is solid and I personally love the campy atmosphere. Many people love to hate FFX-2, but I found the game as a whole to be uplifting.

Disasterrific.
Also, Final Fantasy X-2 gave us this picture. J! G! L! In position!

Shadow the Hedgehog

Wait, what? This one is more of a “the game is entertainingly bad” kind of enjoyment than an actual thinking it is good kind of enjoyment. I do feel that the gameplay is solid enough to be decent, and the story is so hilariously poorly written that I could not help but enjoy myself while playing. There is something to be said for entertainment that is so bad it is hilarious, and Shadow the Hedgehog is in my opinion the only bad 3D Sonic game to reach that level of entertainingly bad gaming. I certainly will not defend Shadow, because it is definitely not a good game, but I did still enjoy myself while playing it.

There are other games which I liked that get a fair bit of hate, but I will only casually mention them because they are games that also get a fair bit of love. These games include Final Fantasy VIII, Legend of Legaia, and The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. All three of these are titles for which I have seen both a great deal of hate and a good amount of love from the gamers I have spoken to, and all three are games that I enjoyed.

What of your tastes, readers? Are there any unpopular games that you loved? Or perhaps big hits that you thought were just big shits? Am I crazy for liking Final Fantasy X-2? What do you think, readers? Comment on and let me know how crazy (or right) I am!

14 comments

  1. I enjoy Secret of Mana quite a lot and even played the iPhone version to completion recently. I can’t really defend the combat, story, or menus, but you definitely neglected to mention the excellent soundtrack. Hiroki Kikuta definitely comes up short when compared to the likes of legendary Square composers (Mitsuda, Uematsu), but his SoM soundtrack is still a gem. I’d be happy to recommend some tracks to anyone who disagrees.

  2. Secret of Mana was probably popular because even as the Playstation or Dreamcast (I’m so sorry) was nearing or upon us you could buy a copy of it, or if you own a time machine in the present Earthbound, for about $30 at Toys R Us. SoM has a clunkiness to the gameplay that I admit is a little hard to get into. It’s sort of like the King’s Field games in that respect. But being beautiful, vastly to King’s Field in comparison, it still kind of works. The game kind of fuses FFVI with fan-translated Star Ocean in how the game’s world works. You’ve got the walk everywhere thing with the canon and Flammy (right name?) airship-style travel.

    My biggest problem with Secret of Mana was that I’ve lost several hours worth of playtime because one of the characters would get glitched into a wall and I’d lose all the grinding I did. The second biggest would be that the weapon upgrade system was retarded broken like the leveling a magic spell in Final Fantasy II.

    Probably the best thing about FFX was the battle system and that’s probably true about FFX-2. The thing about FFX-2’s battle system (which was stolen from Grandia wholesale) was that timing mattered. If you struck enemies as they were about to attack your party member it interrupted them. Which is something I hadn’t seen before in RPGs. I never finished the game because I was on level ~80 of the Via Infinito optional bonus dungeon having my ass handed to me over and over by the mega boss and gave up. But despite the, in retrospect, extremely creepy story I did enjoy my time with it. And if you tell anyone I said that I’ll call you a filthy, filthy, filthy, filthy liar.

    Majora’s Mask has the honor of tying Kingdom Hearts 2 for most Pooptactically Shittacular Prologue in the History of All Fiction. If you have preternatural patience enough to weather that torrential onslaught of terrible it actually ends up being one of the better 3D Zelda games. The three day mechanic is interesting. Pretty much all of the boss fights I ended up completing with mere minutes to spare. I recommend playing it with a Zelda Wiki open alongside, though. I don’t think Nintendo hit their stride in 3D Zelda until Windwaker. Which is a great game that people hated the hell out of because of it’s art style. Which, ironically, is one of the best-looking last gen games as it turns out.

  3. @Brettsuo: We shall fight with knives, sir!!! Mitsuda did the sound effects in Secret of Mana which clearly is what makes it the great, venerable video game that it is!

  4. I think the last thing to call FFX-2’s music is “forgettable”. I think it has a very distinct sound. Whether or not it’s a GOOD soundtrack is another debate.

  5. You were close. It’s spelled Flammie.
    I’m ashamed that I failed to mention the sound effects in SoM. There’s something really satisfying about the thwack of the sword cutting into a Mushboom or the sickening thunk of an arrow sinking into a Buzz Bee. That, along with the music always made combat and the ridiculous amount of grinding required to level up your weapons and magic throughout the game a lot more bearable. It’s cool to know that Mitsuda’s got his start with Square doing sound effects with Kenji Ito.

    I happen to think that the combat is actually pretty good in SoM. The game can actually be fairly difficult in the beginning (Tiger boss at the witch’s palace, anyone?) but gets very easy once you gain access to some of the more broken spells (the guaranteed critical hit and hp absorb weapon spells the girl receives from Luna essentially remove all challenge from the game if you choose to abuse them). Alas, my opinion of the game is certainly tainted by nostalgia because it was my first action RPG experience. I got the game when I was 8 and my brother and I played the crap out of it until FFVI came out, which unsurprisingly became my favorite RPG of all time.

  6. For most of the games I play now, I already know others’ opinions on them before I start. On the rare occasion that I do day 1 a game, afterward I can look online for articles or talk to people to see if they had the same thoughts as me.

    We couldn’t do that in the SNES days due to it existing in The Time Before Internet. Years later in college my new JRPG gaming friends and I bonded over our favorite games. Final Fantasy II? Check. Chrono Trigger? Of course. Then someone mentioned Secret of Mana, which I hated. Loathed. It was the buggiest SNES game I owned, the graphics were ugly goofy-looking rainbow-vomit, the leveling system was broken and required grinding by casted the same spell on the same enemy 100 times, hit detection was a joke making it fail as a realtime game, it was the only RPG I ever sequence-broke (in more than one place, because the game was that buggy), and the music was so irritating it was the only SNES game I played muted. Also, everything else negative that’s been said about the game in the article and comments are all true. Secret of Mana is the worst JRPG on the SNES, and I thought this was a universal truth for 7 years until Asians in college told me I was alone in this opinion.

    I still cannot understand how anyone could not hate Secret of Mana. As an action adventure game it was worse than Link to the Past in every way possible. As an RPG it was worse than every other JRPG on the system in every way possible. You get to use a chakram like Xena. That’s the only positive thing I can think to say about the game.

  7. Shadow the Hedgehog is one of the few Sonic games, of which I actually liked. It is, as well, one of the few Sonic games in which I quite enjoyed the soundtrack, I often find my sell singing “All Hail Shadow” and other songs from the sound track, whenever I play games such as Sonic Adventure 2 Battle or anything else that you could play as Shadow in. Though, I agree the Storyline was medathorical crap, they controls I enjoyed for a Nintendo Gamecube game, and the gameplay was decent. (Though I still followed Sonic law and did my best not to use guns unless it was required.)

  8. I played SoM just because I wanted to play Seiken Densetsu 3 (which is truly excellent) and I’m OCD about skipping games in a series. I don’t remember much of it apart from being surprised at how barebones the story was and how shallow the characters were. After hearing about it so much I expected a classic. I don’t remember the bugs too much (save states save a lot of trouble) but I do remember grinding a lot for weapons. The music is excellent, but I found that out after listening to the OST years later, it didn’t do anything for me while I was playing the game. It was not bad just mediocre and didn’t understand where all the love came from.

    FFX-2 has a FANTASTIC battle system… and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

    I loved Majora’s Mask. After playing OoT so many times, playing something new with more or less the same graphics felt exciting. Wind Waker is awesome and anyone that disagrees must play the game again and again and again until they like it.

    I played Legend of Legaia during my “Play ALL the PSX RPGs” phase. The battle system was fun and the story was ok. I don’t have any particularly strong feelings about it. It does strike me as odd that everyone I talk to about this game says it’s really hard.

    You didn’t like any Genesis game? Did you try Phantasy Star IV?

  9. The more time passes, the more I consider Majora’s Mask to be my favourite Zelda. Although I will agree that its opening (after the great intro) is very slow and painful. The worst part of the game, I’d say.

  10. Secret of Mana wasn’t as good as it could have been…. Secret of Evermore took everything that was good from that game though and made it awesome. SD3 wasn’t as good as Secret of Evermore I think but…. I’m probably Biased. Mostly because it was another 4 years before I could play SD3. (Which SD3 was not only touching but well planned and paced.)

    As for Sega while I agree the GREAT games were few and far between- most of the great ones are available now for other consoles including Phantasy Star 4. While I didn’t like the first three in the series – this was my first taste of manga/anime storytelling. It was a good story and a sci-fi feel. If you haven’t played it then you should at least give it a shot if you like RPGs. (plus you don’t need to play parts 1-3 to appreciate 4.)

    As for FFX-2 I really liked it. Then again I enjoy pretty pretty Dress up and the combat was amazing. I wanted all FF games to follow that flow. They didn’t….

    As for Shadow…. Take him or leave him honestly. I love the Sonic series but only until recently have they returned the love I gave them in my childhood by releasing two new pretty good games. I mean Sonic Generations and Sonic Colors of course. I really couldn’t be bothered for the others because they felt so untrue.

  11. I thought I read someone on here saying they liked “Shadow the Hedgehog”.

    But that would be insanity. I must have been mistaken.

  12. Not necassarily the game, but more the sound track. The controlls were still jenky, the story was crap, and the whole idea of the game blew. Soundtrack, nice.

  13. Admittedly, I have only played through the first couple of hours of the game, but the soundtrack – while cheerful enough – wasn’t anything special by Squaresoft standards. Definitely the high point of the game though.

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