It's always quite painful for us game journos to see poor games riding high in the charts. At times we understand why these games sell well, but we're not happy about it. Seeing as MCV recently revealed the top 50 selling games of 2007 in the UK, we picked out the 10 that didn't deserve it. Read on for VideoGamer.com's Top 10: Games undeserving of their success.
10. Cooking Mama, (No. 12) 505 Games
We're not against cooking games, we're just against cooking games that are borderline broken. Cooking Mama asks you to prepare and cook dish after dish, yet teaches you nothing and isn't fun to play. To make it worse, members of the team have been known to wake during the night in a cold sweat after having nightmares about Mama's evil eyes. We can see why it sold so many copies (it's a kind of non-game with game elements) but games which offered so much more sold far less.
9. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, (No. 27) Disney Interactive Studios
This movie tie-in from Disney deceived so many on its release. A passer by could easily have thought that At World's end was in fact one of the best movie licensed releases of all time. It looked gorgeous and fairly faithfully followed the storyline of the second and third Pirates movies. The problem was that the game became dull and tiresome after about one level: the combat was weak, the enemy AI was shocking and there were far too many items to collect. We felt like walking off the plank.
8. The Simpsons Game, (No. 7) Electronic Arts
Again, it's obvious why The Simpsons Game sold well. It just wasn't good enough to warrant placing seventh in the top selling games of 2007. Presentation wise it was brilliant, with EA managing to recreate the cartoon world brilliantly. The storyline was also pretty good, making fun of video games and using many of the characters from the show. All well and good then, but what about the gameplay? One thing managed to almost single-handedly ruin our The Simpsons Game experience: the camera. At times it made the game completely unplayable and in split-screen co-op these problems were even worse.
7. WWE Smackdown Vs RAW 2008, (No. 10) THQ
In the past it's been relatively easy to forgive WWE games. Most kids (especially boys) grew up at least being aware of wrestling and wrestling with siblings was also good for a laugh (we don't condone performing suplexes on relatives). Playing the games then, running around a ring as the biggest wrestlers of the time was great, but we've been doing that for what seems like ages. The WWE games from THQ and Yuke's seemingly haven't moved on since the PlayStation days. Until the game engine is completely overhauled the game has no place in the top selling games of the year.
6. Need For Speed ProStreet, (No. 11) Electronic Arts
EA gets an unfairly harsh time from hardcore gamers and critics. The publisher is behind many of the most enjoyable games released, but I don't know what the powers that be were thinking when ProStreet was cooked up. Previous NFS games were highly entertaining and not entirely serious. Most Wanted delivered thrilling car chases and Carbon managed to make the most of the car modding scene it was based around. ProStreet dumped almost all the elements that fans loved and replaced them with a realistic driving model. It didn't work and that's probably why this managed to make No.11 on the list and not the top five.
5. Big Brain Academy Wii Degree, (No. 24) Nintendo
We haven't got a problem with the Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training games. We can understand their appeal, and they're quite fun in a weird way. But Big Brain Academy on the Wii is a woeful effort that feels like Nintendo is jumping on its own bandwagon. We can understand how it's sold so many - it's the closest thing to the DS Dr. Kawashima's Brain Training games the Wii has. But that's no excuse for a poor effort. It'll please you for a week and then you'll never play it again. We reckon there are a fair few copies gathering dust in homes across the UK right now, given the fact that it's the 24th highest selling game of 2007. Ouch.
4. Mario Party 8, (No. 31) Nintendo
Mario Party sells bucket loads, but we can't understand why. We know the Wii is all about appealing to a wider audience with fun, casual, easy to get into party-style games, but we can't see Mario Party 8 appealing to anyone, even the masochistic, rubbish game-loving among you. The core gameplay is dull, the mini-games are uninspired and the presentation is terrible. There must be a hell of a lot of die-hard Nintendo fans out there willing to put up with pap just to get a glimpse of Mario and co. That's the only thing we can think of that explains how Mario Party 8 has ended up the 31st highest selling game.
3. Transformers The Game, (No. 22) Activision
Say what you want about the movie (we enjoyed it actually) but the game is undeniably pants. Reinforcing the classic movie licensed game will be terrible mantra, Transformers the game is as close to a steaming pile of cow dung as any game we've played in the last few years. That it's ended up selling enough copies to make it into 2007's top 50 is not only a travesty for electronic entertainment, but a travesty for the human race (and a triumph for game marketing and promotional movie tie-ins).
2. Pro Evolution Soccer 2008, (No. 4) Konami
A controversial choice to be sure, but PES 2008 was a poor effort on Konami's part, something legendary PES producer Shingo 'Seabass' Takatsuka has admitted. The PS3 version of the game launched in an almost unplayable state due to technical problems. Patch after patch has been released, but Konami has still not sorted the terribly laggy online play on both versions of the game. Where does that leave those gamers who are not online and as a result do not have access to patches? Without a paddle as they say. We can only hope that PES 2008's indisputable commercial success does not result in a similarly disappointing follow-up.
1. Wii Play, (No. 8) Nintendo
I have Wii Play. And I'm sure you do too, if you own a Wii. And yet I've haven't even played it once. I've never even taken the disc out of the box. Why? Because it comes free with a Wii Remote. That's the only reason Wii Play is one of the top 50 selling games of 2007. And it's a complete cheat. We wouldn't mind if it was any good, but it isn't. It's a boring collection of by the numbers mini-games and not a patch on Wii Sports, the other game Wii owners are forced to own. And that's why Wii Play is our number one game that doesn't deserve to be in top 50 selling games of 2007 - because it didn't sell a single copy. The Wii Remote deserves all the credit.