With the arrival of the next-gen consoles almost upon us, we thought it would be a good time to look back at some games from launches gone by. Or in other words, to have a laugh at some old rubbish. So here's Eurogamers guide to five terrible games from platform launches past.
But of course, they weren't all bad - coming soon, look out for our video of Five Amazing Launch Titles, plus Five Launch Titles You've Forgotten About That Were Quite Good Actually Come To Think Of It. We're also planning to do a six-hour video of Ken Kutaragi playing Fantavision while talking about the Emotion Engine and crying, but he won't return our texts.
The delayed European launch has left the PlayStation 3 with something of a problem - a sizeable proportion of its debut games are already available on the Xbox 360. Indeed, the likes of Fight Night Round 3 have been maturing on the shelves for over a year, while many of the others debuted on the 360 over four months ago. Internet gossip and many online reviews also point to several of these PS3 conversions suffering in comparison to the 360 'originals', an astonishing state of affairs considering that Sony's hardware is newer technology with a price tag that dwarfs that of Microsoft's console.
Of course, it's early days for the PlayStation 3 and any new piece of gaming technology takes time for game developers to get to grips with. That said, many studios (off the record of course) are not entirely happy with the SDK that Sony provides for PlayStation 3 development. The word is that Microsoft's programming environment gives better results more quickly. There's also the question of memory - Xbox 360 gives developers a full 512MB to do with as they will. PlayStation 3 on the other hand divides its internal RAM into two 256MB portions, with one section dedicated entirely to the NVIDIA-derived graphics technology. Up until recently, 64MB of the PS3's system memory was also sectioned off for OS use only, meaning that memory becomes far more of a precious commodity when developing on the Sony platform.
Clearly the PS3 is far from technically deficient up against the 360. While the 360's triple-core PowerPC CPU is an extreme piece of technology, Cell is no slouch in itself. It may only have a single core, but its satellite SPU processors are astonishingly powerful - just one of them can decode 300 MP3s simultaneously in real-time, and there are six of them available to be used in concert while the main CPU runs the core game logic.
If, like us, you were looking forward to this latest Def Jam title on the strength of its predecessors, you might be a little put out to discover that ICON bears but a passing resemblance to Vendetta and the excellent Fight For New York. Yes, they all feature rappers fighting but that's pretty much where similarities end. With Aki no longer at the reins, the Fight Night crew have been called in to further the franchise with this third title and while that sounds like it should be a workable substitution, something has definitely gone awry here.
For starters, the larger-than-life approach to the series has been laid to rest, and if you're hoping to see high speed grappling, huge Blazin' moves and mass environmental carnage then you've come to the wrong place. ICON cuts the action back to one-on-one bouts and slows it right down to a crawl, meaning that as close as a fight may get, things are never particularly interesting - not that you'll know how close the fight is, with a lack of status bars leaving you to rely on visual indicators like the odd bruise.
It's also jarring to discover the meagre arsenal of striking attacks per characters. A couple more are assigned to the right stick (a la Fight Night), but the real star move is the grab. This can lead to one of several chronically underwhelming grapple attacks you won't have seen since your playground days or, far more usefully, a directional toss that can put your opponent more or less anywhere in the arena. And why exactly is that so handy? Read on, oh impatient one.
Remember that Def Jam: Icon demo for Xbox 360? Probably not, since despite EA claiming it would be out recently, it wasn't. Not to worry though, because it may have come up hard but we are assured it will be appearing on Xbox Live Marketplace tomorrow.
If you're looking forward to EA's next "stab" at capturing the grislier elements of hip hop culture, then look out for an Xbox 360 demo of Def Jam: Icon later this week.
Electronic Arts has announced that the next Def Jam game will be called Def Jam: Icon, and it's due out on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next March in the US and Europe.