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Franchise Original Sin / Video Games

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Most Video Games improve with each installment, but even those ones tend to leave themselves vulnerable to one crucial weakness.

Please place all new entries in alphabetical order.

Games with their own pages:

Other games:

  • Ace Attorney:
    • One recurring complaint about the third cases in most gamesnote  is that they're not only the weakest cases in their respective games in terms of story or writing, but largely irrelevant to the main storyline. Turnabout Samurai, the third case of the first game, mostly avoids this, though. It serves as a Breather Episode between the tragic second case, which involves Mia's death, and the climactic fourth case, in which Phoenix tries to save his old friend Edgeworth. It also involves some Character Development, as it helps establish the Phoenix-Maya partnership, and Edgeworth starts to become a better person after Phoenix broke his perfect win record. Other third trials don't have nearly as much significance to the narrative, making them come across as Filler that kills the pacing of the overall story arc; the most that can be said of Turnabout Big Top is that it hangs a few Chekhovs Guns and sets up a few character dynamics for the new cast members that play into the finale. Turnabout Storyteller can't even boast that!
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    • Since the second game, the franchise had an established tradition of tying new characters and plot points into the backstory of the established cast to add weight, depth, and drama to the game's story. This has largely been well-received (and Trials and Tribulations is seen as the height of the franchise despite doing so very extensively), even when it causes the odd minor writing inconsistency that needs to be politely overlooked. But many think Spirit of Justice revealing that Apollo is from Khura'in, and Dhurke's adopted son is a step too far, since in one fell swoop it begs the question of why such an important part of a character's life has never been brought up before and almost-totally reshapes everything we used to know about him.
    • One complaint leveled towards the series was that the witnesses and side characters introduced began to become harder to take seriously, most of whom had designs and personalities that were over the top and/or just seemed unrealistic and distracting. These types of characters were a thing in the first few games, with characters like the Berry Big Circus being silly and a bit out of place compared to the rest of the game, or the entire concept of Mask☆DeMasque. However, what made these fine for fans was the context around them usually justified it; most of the silly or over the top characters were in positions where that made sense like clowns, actors, or were based off common jokes or stereotypes, like Sal Manella in the first game being a Fat Idiot Otaku. The original trilogy also generally kept characters to a more realistic level in design or personality, which made characters like Matt Engarde and Shelly de Killer stand out because of how different they were. Starting with Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney though, characters began to become so over the top and hard to believe that it made it eye rolling for some, like the witnesses were some kind of spectacle rather than characters. This lead to things like robots, or characters like Aristotle Means looking like a living statue, which greatly distracted from the stories of each case.
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    • The franchise has long used Punny Names to convey hidden meanings in character names found in the original Japanese, and some puns translated less gracefully. For example, the main joke in Kaoru Ohba's namenote - that her surname, when pronounced, sounds like "Oba-san,"- is harder to convey in English, which is why she's called "Wendy Oldbag" in the localization. That said, most of the names in the earlier installments actually sounded semi-normal; when the sixth game took Phoenix to the fictional Kingdom of Khur'ain, the names stopped sounding like actual names, making some of them sound forced rather than clever. For example, the first case has a young tour guide called Ahlbi Urgaid (which at least sounds "foreign", but made up) and a monk called Pees'lubn Andistan'dhin (which doesn't even try to sound like a name).
    • Some people criticize the fourth through sixth games for juggling multiple playable characters, but Trials and Tribulations was the first time players could play as people besides Phoenix- the first and fourth cases had Mia as the player character, while Edgeworth became playable in the first investigation and trial days of the final trial. This was better received back then because Phoenix was still indisputably the protagonist, while playing as Mia helped flesh out events that took place before Phoenix became a lawyer and playing as Edgeworth was a fun bonus. Spirit of Justice makes Apollo the protagonist at the start of the final case despite only having been playable in the second case before then, causing people to conclude that he didn't get enough of a role in the story to justify making him the protagonist, while Athena's case is considered filler. Similarly, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney received criticism for having Phoenix be a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in Apollo's game, while Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies was criticized for not being able to decide whether Phoenix or Athena was the protagonist.
  • Angry Birds:
    • One of the most common complaints about modern Angry Birds is the series going free-to-play. Angry Birds is no strange to Microtransactions, with the earliest example being the Mighty Eagle in 2011. Some other early examples include Danger Zone in Angry Birds Space and the Power-Ups in Angry Birds Friends (although the latter can be purchased with in-game currency). The series went fully Freemium in 2013, when Power-Ups were added to the main games (Classic, Seasons and Rio), but fans didn't see it as a major issue. It wasn't until late 2014, when they were already many games that came out as free-to-play where this become a problem.
    • The series' main art style using The Angry Birds Movie character designs is another common complaint, especially among fans who dislike the movies. Rovio did the same thing with Angry Birds Toons back in the day, with Angry Birds Go! becoming the first game to completely abandon the Classic art style in favor of the Toons art style. The Toons art style slowly began to incorporate into the main games (most notably the Rio 2 update in Angry Birds Rio) and merchandise, and Angry Birds 2 become an Art-Shifted Sequel. The thing is that the Toons designs are not as divisive as the movie designs, in part because they mostly improved on the original characters, explaining why many fans didn't notice or didn't care about the change.
  • Animal Crossing:
    • Animal Crossing: New Leaf, like some other 3DS games, incorporates the system's Play Coins as currency for certain features. Among these is for the fortune cookies, which contain unique furniture if the player gets the corresponding fortune. As tedious as the process of grinding the Play Coins is (100 steps on the system's built-in pedometer gives one Play Coin, with a limit of 10 per day) and the fact that the items obtained are random (possibly duplicates), this is still considered fine for the fanbase, as there is nothing else that keeps the player from trying to get them all. And then comes Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp and its own take on fortune cookies. To match its elusiveness with the New Leaf ones, only two that can be bought with Bells appear on the shop per day, but the option of using premium currency is also available. This proceeds to annoy a lot of fans, as the fortune cookie mechanics (Random Drop, Rare Random Drop, possible duplicates) become more detrimental for players who want to complete the Catalog and unlock Memories. Why? The event fortune cookies appear only temporarily and show up very rarely at the shop, leaving only the premium currency as a way to purchase, which is considered by fans to be way too expensive (a dollar equals 20 Leaf Tickets) thanks to how stingy the game is when it comes to free Leaf Tickets.
    • Animal Crossing: New Horizons has a fair amount of controversial developments that originated from earlier titles:
      • Save-Game Limits have always been a staple in the series, and at times seen as a Scrappy Mechanic even in earlier games as save files had to share one town. However, in previous entries it was excusable by factors like Controller Paks/Memory Cards being cheap to collect, the DS/3DS being single-person handhelds, and the limitations of the Wii's save system. However, with New Horizons, save data is shared between Switch accounts, despite them normally having unique data attached to them. As a result, the only way to get a brand new Island for a friend or family member is to buy a new Switch altogether.
      • After the Save-Game Limits, the most controversial thing about New Horizons is the concept of the Resident Representative, which grants the very first player special privileges, including all main forms of progression. This started in New Leaf, where the first player would be elected mayor and be responsible for building up the town. Once again, New Leaf being on a traditional handheld meant that players were much more open to owning multiple systems and game copies per household.
      • Another common criticism of New Horizons, even among those who consider the game a step up from New Leaf, is that villager dialogue is noticeably limited and one-note, with characters feeling static and saccharine as a result of their small interaction pools (with more variable dialogue being locked behind the game's Relationship Values). The limited amount of possible interactions is actually a trend that stretches all the way back to the first game. However, in earlier cases it was excusable due to the technical limitations of the respective systems; while the Switch is also limited, it's considerably more powerful than previous systems.
  • Before Origins heavily shook up the formula, the Assassin's Creed series received a lot of complaints about the fact that the core gameplay of social stealth and combat had barely changed since the first game, with later games merely adding a bunch of features to pass things off as new.
    • Assassin's Creed III is cited as the point where this became a problem, as many felt that the game's main missions were basically scripted events, even the Assassination missions, which should be stealthy and open-ended. It was also seen as being overstuffed with side activities and additional features. However, this was an ongoing trend since the well-liked Assassin's Creed II, and its follow-ups Brotherhood and Revelations, which had moved away from the stealthy original and were filled with additional features and content. What made them acceptable was that Brotherhood and Revelations were Mission Pack Sequels, and as such, the additional features were condoned and seen as part of the appeal of the touristy cities with exotic architecture. The fact that the New World setting of ACIII lacked the tall buildings, fancy architecture, and recognizable landmarks in favor of forests and colonial outposts only brought these problems to the forefront.
    • III was also criticized for its Been There, Shaped History tendencies, with the hero interacting on a first-name basis with many of America's Founding Fathers and participating in several key events of The American Revolution, which to many beggared disbelief. Yet this was always part of the franchise's appeal. Altair in Assassin's Creed conversed on even terms with the very Christian King Richard the Lionheart and later fought Genghis Khan, Ezio counted Leonardo da Vinci and Machiavelli among his best friends and interacted with a "who's who" of the Renaissance, and the later Black Flag had the hero interact with every famous English pirate of that time. In the case of III, the American Founding Fathers and the events of the Revolution were perhaps too prominent, known to every schoolboy, with the setting seen by foreign gamers as Eagleland. The other historical figures and settings, while somewhat well-known, aren't held in nearly the same reverence, nor are their memories part of current political discourse.
    • Assassin's Creed: Unity is an inversion, an example of the franchise returning to its roots as a result of the divisive reaction to III — greater focus on stealth, less focus on side activities, more assassination missions, toning down the Been There, Shaped History aspect — and getting thoroughly trashed for essentially repeating its original sins. Assassin's Creed was criticized in its time for repetitive side activities, lack of additional interaction with the open world, and endless collectibles. Unity returned with repetitive Side Story quests and endless collectibles that dotted out the map, to the extent that people became nostalgic for the much-reviled flags of I. Where III was criticized for Connor being too central to the Revolution, Unity was criticized for the hero being too marginal to the events, with the game being highly criticized for its shallow representation of history. The game which followed, Syndicate, received praise for making more diverse side missions, a fairer look at the historical events, and having additional features missing in Unity.
    • Many of the recurring elements that have been critiqued for being out of place, such as a modern day framing story, the silhouette of the Assassin outfit, and the overt nature of the Assassin vs. Templar conflict, have been there from the beginning. The difference was, the framing story started out as a major reveal (and could not be said to have overstayed its welcome yet), the outfit was chosen for a reason (it highly resembled the monks of the region, allowing for social stealth), and the Assassin vs. Templar conflict was rooted in the actual history of those organizations. At some point, the developers began to treat these as too iconic of the franchise and kept them around even as they became divorced from their original contexts. The modern day framing story remains even after its original plot has long since been resolved, the Assassins continue to wear similar outfits despite how incredibly conspicuous a hooded outfit is in most contexts (plus the increasingly prominent logos), and the central conflict is increasingly overt and now predates the historical organizations (the fact that the Assassins and Templars secretly existed outside of the Crusades at all, let alone into the modern day, was the other big twist, and was part of the concept that this was the truth of our own history being revealed through Genetic Memory 20 Minutes into the Future).
    • Map synchronization is one that became a problem with Ubisoft's Wide-Open Sandbox games in general, to the point where even series creator Patrice Désilets apologized for popularizing the much-maligned "radio tower" gameplay structure. In the first Assassin's Creed game, synchronization serves an in-story purpose of allowing the protagonist to get the lay of the land from a high vantage point, and was necessary to figure out where your targets were and how to reach them. It also wasn't used to find collectibles (which only came in with the sequels); those remained genuinely hidden. In later games, however, mechanics like synchronization, radio towers (in the Far Cry sequels), ctOS towers (in Watch_Dogs), and the like were used to uncover hidden items, side missions, and other collectibles. Fans of open-world games often blame the "Ubisoft formula" for detracting from the exploration aspect of open worlds, making them feel less like places filled with secrets to discover and more like maps with a checklist of things to do.
    • Some people have commented being uncomfortable with Assassin's Creed: Valhalla glamorizing the Vikings, owing to their Rape, Pillage, and Burn activities in real life, which the game mostly justifies as "everyone was doing it back then", with the Saxons and Picts being portrayed as just as bad, and portraying Eivor and Raven Clan as exceptionally 'good' Vikings while putting more focus on their belief systems and honor culture. But the series is a franchise built on Historical Hero Upgrade, going back to the first game turning the Assassin Brotherhood into a group of heroic freedom fighters, while the arguably most popular installment in the franchise, Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag was about pirates, who are about as guilty of Rape, Pillage, and Burn as the Vikings were (in fact, the concept of pirate and viking are more-or-less the same thing, just different time periods). The argument that the game supports the Viking's brutal actions also brings to mind the "Whaling" controversy from Black Flag, where PETA argued that the ability to hunt whales in-game was supportive towards the nowadays-frowned-upon practice of whaling.
    • One of the most controversial issues seems to be the matter of Viking colonialism, something that isn't typically associated with pirates and is more of a hot-button political argument than the traditional Rape, Pillage, and Burn is. However, this too is somewhat reflective of earlier games as well, such as Assassin's Creed III where the settlement mechanic originates and does, essentially, amount to fundamentally the same thing (The Hero aids and supports an invasive colony), and the aforementioned Black Flag where a subplot during the game features the formation of the pirate colony Nassau, which basically amounted to seizing a port city and killing anyone who objected. Though the people they seize Nassau from are outside colonists themselves, so are the Saxons whom the Vikings are taking land from. However, while this does not necessarily justify such issues, in most previous games themes of colonialism are generally part of the historical background, limited to isolated incidents, or embodied in specific NPCs; in Valhalla, the raiding and subjugation of a foreign land is a central narrative and gameplay theme in which the player is required to engage throughout the game.
  • One of the biggest complaints about Balan Wonderworld is that the plot is very hard to understand due to lack of dialogue and a clear understanding of what is going on. This was not a problem in the two NiGHTS into Dreams… games, however. The first game had very little plot aside from the final stage, but even then it was clear what was happening, and what little plot there was could clearly be understood in the manual. Meanwhile, NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams had dialogue and voice acting, which allowed the plot to be clearly understood. Unfortunately, Balan Wonderworld has neither an easy to understand plot nor any dialogue during crucial plot moments (apart from the opening cutscene and ending, and even then the dialogue is entirely spoken in a fictional language), rendering the game very hard to comprehend.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • One of the biggest criticisms aimed toward Batman: Arkham Origins and Batman: Arkham Knight was present in Batman: Arkham City, where, despite Hugo Strange being marketed and presented as the main villain in the beginning of the game, you'll spent so much of it curing The Joker from his disease (all but one or two hours in the entire game) that the game needs to remind you that Strange exists from time to time. Making him the Big Bad of the first game was quite sensible because - well, it was the first game in the series, who else would you pick? The second game was intended to be Mark Hamill's swansong for the character, which nobody would have wanted pushed to a side mission. But Origins had Black Mask (a relatively unknown villain) presented as the Big Bad, only to get upstaged by Joker. By Knight, the promoted main villain Scarecrow (considered one of the most memorable villains in the original game, and who had only made a full appearance there) is overshadowed by the Joker hallucination, who ends up being the final encounter while Scarecrow is defeated in a cutscene, and certain other villains who hadn't been utilized very much (such as Two-Face) are either not present or encountered only in side missions.
    • The City PC port was decent but sub-optimized and came a month after the console versions, Origins' was filled with bugs and then the Knight port happened. It was forgiven for City because the port was still good enough to be playable, and Origins was tolerated because the game itself was seen as a quick cash-in rush job by WB and was still pretty terrible on consoles anyway.
    • It should also be noted that, while it become completely obvious in Arkham Knight (where there isn't a single Boss Battle outside of driving sections and Quick Time Events), the series always had a problem with boss fights. For example, in Asylum, the Final Boss (a Titan-ized Joker) isn't fought directly and instead you have to fight waves of Mooks between Quick Time Events to damage the boss. It was forgiven in Asylum because it was the first game of the series by then-relatively unknown Rocksteady, and City had the amazing Ra's al Ghul and Mr. Freeze boss battles to make up for it.
    • Riddler Trophies. Arkham Knight had people complaining that some of them were out in the open without needing to do anything special to get them. In truth, this was the case all the way back in Asylum. The difference is that Asylum was on a much smaller scale and the Riddler trophy collecting was new.
  • Battlefield 1 has a Politically Correct History approach that would later be panned far more harshly in Battlefield V. In 1, non-white soldiers are dramatically overrepresented in multiplayer among the American, British, French and German armies; the In the Name of the Tsar DLC depicts the Russian Women's Battalion of Death as an active combat unit instead of a ceremonial one; and Zara Ghufran, the female Bedouin warrior protagonist of the War Story "Nothing is Written", plays a larger and more direct part in the Arab Revolt than any real Arab women are known to have done. While these decisions caused some controversy, they weren't nearly as widely or deeply criticized as the liberties taken in V. The difference is that in 1, there was a greater historical basis for creative choices,note  which when combined with the smooth performance, authentic aesthetics and an in-game codex that provided historical context, creates a verisimilitude that made these particular characters feel organic to the setting. Moreover, the real actions of male historical figures were still generally credited to those people, such as the aforementioned "Nothing is Written" War Story heavily featuring Lawrence of Arabia as Zara's mentor and the Big Good. In contrast, V had wacky customizable uniforms and playable women in historically male-only factions like the Special Air Service, meaning that there isn't the historical facsimile that would prevent this revisionism from sticking out like a sore thumb (and the immersion-breaking bugs certainly didn't help). Also not helping matters is how the campaign of V falsely attributes the actions of historical figures to completely fictional women and minorities; most notably, the real-life sabotage of a heavy water plant in occupied Norway, historically carried out by an all-male team of SOE commandos, is performed in V by a mother-daughter duo, and the level itself doesn't even attempt to be historically accurate in terms of how the operation was handled.
  • BioShock was the game that birthed the term "ludonarrative dissonance" due to the contradictions between the narrative told through its story and the one told through its gameplay, especially after The Reveal. In a game ostensibly built around player freedom and choice, the big twist concerns the fact that you actually have none, since you had been brainwashed by Frank Fontaine the whole time. The problem really comes in when you're freed from Fontaine's brainwashing, yet you're still railroaded through the game, this time taking orders from Tenenbaum ostensibly under your own free will. However, the twist, when taken on its own, was a stunning deconstruction of tropes that were taken for granted in video games up to that point. Furthermore, not only did the game still have Multiple Endings that depended on decisions that players made throughout the game and (in the fashion of the immersive sims it was modeled after) afforded them multiple ways to approach every problem put in front of them, but the fact that it was in fact far more linear than it initially presented itself as was the entire point of the twist, such that even a Disappointing Last Level couldn't stop it from being acclaimed as one of the greatest video game stories of all time. BioShock Infinite was not only far more linear but had no such metanarrative justification, and as such it was often criticized for leading players through its story and world rather than letting them interact with such.
  • Borderlands
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! has been criticized by some reviews and fans of having tedious backtracking and tiresome quest design. While some of these problems have existed since the first entry in the franchise, Borderlands 2 did mitigate some of the excessive backtracking and offered vastly improved gameplay and writing that helped distract from some of the sluggish pacing problems. However, as noted in this IGN review, The Pre-Sequel did not correct the pacing problems despite being the 3rd main installment in the series, thus making it more difficult to ignore these issues.
    • Many complaints about the game's comedy have been around since the franchise's inception. Ever since the first Borderlands game, the humor was criticized for relying too much on shock value and shallow pop-culture references. However, at the same time, the game's humor wasn't too much a dealbreaker since the wacky tone helped differentiate the game from other more serious shooters. Borderlands 2 then added memorable characters like Tiny Tina and Handsome Jack, the latter of which was highly praised with his hilariously Bad Boss antics and cartoonishly genocidal plans making him a biting satire of neo-colonialist corporations. Telltale Games' spin-off Adventure Game, Tales from the Borderlands, was also praised for improving on the humor with improved pacing and introducing new likable characters. However, the humor of Borderlands 3 received a more mixed reception from fans because of how it recycled the writing style of the previous games without elevating it, saying anything meaningful or offering interesting characters. Not only was the humor beginning to lose its charm, but the game's characters also failed to impress with the villainous Calypso siblings being obnoxious shallow parodies of YouTubers and social media influencers whose comical For the Evulz moments come off as weak attempts to recreate the success of Handsome Jack.
  • Call of Duty:
    • Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare's Signature Scene was, by the opinions of just about every player and gaming outlet, the nuke from the level "Shock and Awe". It was about as big of a Downer Ending as could possibly happen for the American side of the campaign: shocking, visceral, and utterly tragic. It's very likely responsible for lifting the series from merely a well-rated set of games to a Cash Cow Franchise. Later games, however, would try to top the nuke scene over and over, with Ass Pull after Ass Pull, moments that existed seemingly solely for shock value (the airport massacre of "No Russian" in Modern Warfare 2, which at least had a story link to the rest of the game, and the death of a little girl and her family in a bombing in "Davis Family Vacation" in Modern Warfare 3, which... really did not), and a few sequences that just plain repeated the nuke sequence verbatim (respectively the EMP over Washington, D.C. in 2 and the gas attacks across Europe in 3). By Modern Warfare 3, the audience had come to expect these events, and they'd stopped being shocking and started feeling manufactured and trite.

      Furthermore, the nuke scene also foreshadowed the series' reliance on linear set-pieces that restricted the player's agency. This video pegs Modern Warfare 2 as the point where this problem got out of hand, arguing that it tried to create something like the nuke scene every forty-five minutes. It worked in the first Modern Warfare because it was an ending to that side of the campaign, and one explicitly designed to make the player feel powerless at that, but later games used similar highly-scripted moments as power fantasies instead, which went against legacy game mechanics that were designed to disempower the player back when the series was still focused on storming the beaches of Normandy as part of a team.
    • Call of Duty: Ghosts' multiplayer started the trend of nerfing kill/score/pointstreaks for future games. While the developers' intent was so that there would be less offensive streak-spamming and spawn-killing by offensive streaks, this had the unfortunate side-effect of making high offensive-streaks almost useless to go after. In Ghosts' case, most players just ran either the Support or Specialist Strike Packages instead of the Assault Strike Package due to many items in the Assault Package being too weak to run with (this also contributed to Ghosts' criticism for encouraging camping-style play in multiplayer).
    • One of the biggest complaints you will see about the series' multiplayer is that the time it takes to kill seems to get quicker with each installment, resulting in a devolution into Rocket-Tag Gameplay. This can be traced back to Modern Warfare, which had a few annoying One-Hit Kill weapons (primarily one sniper rifle that was bugged to deal slightly better damage with a specific sight attached), but were few in number and most players stuck with more Boring, but Practical weapons. The game also included the Stopping Power perk that gives a 40% damage boost to all ballistic weapons. When Black Ops came out, it removed Stopping Power but didn't adjust damage values to compensate. A common criticism of that game's multiplayer was that it now took too long to kill. From this point onwards, the damage of weapons were increasingly ramped up (by Black Ops II, even the pistols, at close range, rival the strongest of the assault rifles in damage) and many one-shot kill weapons became more prominent, leading to the oft-dreaded gameplay style used today.
    • One of the most derided parts of the series among critics and fans alike was the increasing shift to a futuristic sci-fi setting, beginning with Black Ops II and reaching a nadir with Infinite Warfare; the backlash from the latter leading to the series Revisiting the Roots with WWII. However, this trend can be found as far back as the first Modern Warfare, which took place Next Sunday A.D. and had multiple segments seemingly designed to show off cutting edge technology. This can be forgiven, however, as said technology was genuinely novel at the time (not many games let you fire the guns of an AC-130 gunship before CoD4 featured it). The aforementioned Black Ops II was the first to shift into 20 Minutes into the Future territory, but balanced things out with levels taking place in the 1980s, and having many of the futuristic elements be based on current emerging technologies to keep things plausible. But by the time Advanced Warfare gave us a Cyberpunk setting and Infinite Warfare sent the series into outer space, it was agreed that the series had completely lost its grip on the realism that it was originally renowned for.
    • The series gained a negative reputation as xenophobic and jingoistic following the breakout success of the Modern Warfare sub-series, to the point of inspiring several Deconstruction Games that specifically aimed to criticize it, the most famous of these being Spec Ops: The Line. However, many forget that the first two Modern Warfare games, which kickstarted the modern military shooter genre, are actually deconstructions of that kind of propaganda. In both entries, America doesn't save the day and the country's actions end in failure, whether it's a nuclear bomb that kills thousands of American soldiers looking for a warlord who turns out to not even be on the same continent, or a CIA agent participating in a civilian massacre that gives Russia the perfect justification to invade the US. However, the breakout success of Call of Duty with those titles led the franchise to embrace the militaristic Patriotic Fervor in hopes of escalating the series and capitalizing on its fame. Modern Warfare 3 deliberately indulged its blockbuster power fantasy with an America Saves the Day ending, and Call of Duty: Ghosts was criticized for showing its American heroes as uniformly righteous figures and the Latin American-based Federation as an Always Chaotic Evil horde in a plot that had discomforting parallels to real-world debates over immigration to the US. Not helping matters was that publisher Activision deliberately marketed the games as power fantasies and brought on US military advisers to endorse the series, including controversial figures like Oliver North (infamous for his role in the Iran-Contra affair). Subsequently, Call of Duty fell victim to its own success and became the military propaganda that it once sought to condemn.
  • Chris Avellone is well-known for consistently deconstructing whatever genre, medium, or world he's working with, often through the use of mouthpiece characters. In the case of Planescape: Torment, this led to a massively-acclaimed examination of Death Is a Slap on the Wrist, Order Versus Chaos, and other core tropes of Dungeons & Dragons. Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords was also well-liked, but his mouthpiece for that game, Kreia, is a major Base-Breaking Character because she provides him an opportunity to rant on everything he hates about Star Wars, and a lot of players considered Kreia to be almost as annoying as the buggy and unfinished state of the game. However, things finally collapsed in the DLC for Fallout: New Vegas, when his author avatar, Ulysses, became a Creator's Pet of unimaginable proportions; not only is he a mouthpiece for Avellone, everyone else who talks about him is constantly shilling him as an epic badass, he always knows exactly what to do or say to influence massive events, the DLC about him is portrayed as a fated confrontation, and it's spent fighting through an army of tough monsters while listening to him rant about how he hates the setting and wants to nuke everything again (because Avellone dislikes how Fallout has rebuilt itself from the post-apocalyptic setting of the first game).
  • Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex was roundly criticised on release for an over-saturation of vehicle-based levels; of thirty levels, only six are the classic on-foot Crash platforming levels that made the game popular to begin with, and the rest are either played with pre-Rescued from the Scrappy Heap Coco, or in a vehicle of some kind. Of course, vehicles aren't anything new to Crash; the very first game had the two hog levels, while Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back replaced the hog with Polar, and added in the jetboard and jetpack. Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped was where this started to shine through a lot more, with a Polar replacement in Pura, a jet ski, an airplane, scuba diving, a baby T. rex and a motorcycle (which had four levels dedicated to it), but even in that game, roughly half of the levels were still classic Crash platforming, while TWoC's platforming levels are only a fifth of the game.
  • Upon its release, Cyberpunk 2077 was heavily criticized for a laundry list of issues, regardless of whether it was the PC or PS4/Xbox One versions. In truth, many of the complaints can be traced back to the previous game CD Projekt RED put out, the acclaimed The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.
    • Much like 2077, Witcher 3 also launched in a rather buggy state, requiring several patches for it to become stable, alongside visuals that were noticeably downgraded from the trailers. However, with Witcher 3, it was far more excusable, as CDPR was still a relative unknown in the gaming industry, so some bugs were to be expected. By the time Cyberpunk launched though, CDPR had become renowed as one of the most beloved development houses in the entire industry thanks to the blockbuster success of their previous title, alongside having a much bigger budget and team, so it was much less forgivable.
    • A common complaint of 2077 is the lack of interactivity the player can have with the world, despite its immense size and detail, with some even noting that games released over a decade ago like the earlier 3D Grand Theft Auto titles featured more to do and interact with than this 2020 release. A similar case can be said for The Witcher 3. In that game, there is also a lack of much interactivity with the world in terms of physical dynamics, and the most one can find is enemy outposts and high-level monsters and gear. But despite that, Witcher 3 more than made up for this by including multiple story and lore-related elements that the player can in fact change, with the main areas noticeably changing throughout the main quest due to the player's actions (such as who rules over them and whatnot). Furthermore, the focus was mostly focused on the story of Geralt and Ciri's quests, so the world being effectively window dressing wasn't an issue. Not to mention that there was still mini-games such as the Gwent card game that one could conceivably spend hours playing. The same can't really be said for Cyberpunk, which not only has even less interactivity with the world, it also has far less in terms of narrative changes in the story, and no interesting mini-games to partake in. Night City is also a far more integral element to the game, both in terms of story and gameplay, not unlike the aforementioned Grand Theft Auto games, so the lack of interactive features is all the more jarring.
    • On the note of the quest design, Witcher 3 featured a rather samey formula for its side-quests. Nearly all of them involve talking to an NPC, accepting their task, following the "Witcher-sense" to the main target, killing the enemy, return to claim your reward, and repeat. However, it more than made up for this by making sure to give each quest-giver and mission its own storyline and characterization, thus making each of them still feel unique from one another regardless of the similar feeling gameplay they all shared. Furthermore, this formula is also justified by the character of Geralt, whose profession is specifically geared towards taking these sorts of jobs. By contrast, Cyberpunk 2077 not only has an even more formulaic design for its quests (most of them just involve killing enemies, with no real deviation beyond one's combat style), but even less in the amount of storyline variations, making the repetitive quest-design stand out even more. Not to mention, V is far more of a player avatar than Geralt is, making this lack of variety not mesh as well character wise.
    • Speaking of the main characters, some have also been critical of how in Cyberpunk, the main character, V, ultimately ends up taking a backseat to Johnny Silverhand in the latter half of the story, with several suggesting that it was due to CDPR wanting to take advantage of the popularity of actor Keanu Reeves. A similar case can also be made for The Witcher 3, where despite playing as Geralt, much of the story ultimately ends up revolving around Ciri's quest, with multiple sections where the player plays as her, and by the final fourth, she ends up arguably supplanting him in terms of importance (she is the one, not Geralt, who saves the world at the end). However, the key difference is that not only does Ciri have a personal connection to Geralt, being his surrogate daughter, but the player is still ultimately the one who decides her fate and overall connection to him, even determining whether or not she lives at the end. By contrast, V literally has Johnny thrust into his/her story without much build-up, and there is far less for the player to determine how the latter ends up aside from the very end. V being the player stand-in makes Johnny's increased importance also stand out much more negatively, as while Geralt and Ciri were established to have a relationship and characters entirely their own, with V and Johnny, it makes the player have far less stake in their personal narrative. Not helping matters is that while Ciri is shown as an overall Nice Girl, Johnny is characterized as a complete Jerkass, making it far less easy to stomach the latter's story hijacking.
  • David Cage has always had great moments in his games, but even back in Fahrenheit, it was noted that the overriding plotline was just weird, and didn't fit with the previous scenes. At the time, this could be forgiven due to Executive Meddling forcing the developers to rush the game out the door before they came up with a proper ending, leading to the Gainax Ending that it ultimately had. However, Heavy Rain had all manner of strange foreshadowing with no payoff, the plot of Beyond: Two Souls is in a chopped-up order and doesn't fit together at all, and Detroit: Become Human, an attempt at a sci-fi parable for American race relations, despite being widely considered better as a whole, was widely criticized as tone-deaf despite its good intentions. Cage plots by imagining cool, individual scenes, but doesn't seem to know how to put them together in a sensible fashion.
  • Many Dead Rising fans disliked how the fourth game felt "dumbed down" compared to past entries, scrubbing away many of the series' more unique touches in an effort to reach a wider audience, to the point where Capcom released a free patch to go with the Game of the Year Edition that made several changes in order to Win Back the Crowd. In truth, many of the most criticized elements of that game could be found in the second and third games.
    • The strict time limit placed on the player was always one of the most controversial gameplay mechanics in the series, with about half the fans calling it a Scrappy Mechanic that gravely restricted the player's freedom and the other half arguing that it was one of the best things about the series, as it forced players to memorize the map and think about their next move. As such, when the third game made the timer far more lenient, extending it to six days instead of three, the reaction was decidedly mixed, though even those who didn't like the change didn't mind too much. Plus, there was an optional difficulty to make it more like the previous games. Then the fourth game dropped the timer completely, and one of the most common complaints about the resulting game was that, without the timer, it had lost a key part of what made the series unique, turning into a cookie-cutter Wide-Open Sandbox game.
    • The second game, meanwhile, introduced combo weapons, letting the player MacGyver dozens of unique, powerful zombie-slaying tools out of the various other items around them. While the resulting game heavily emphasized the use of these combo weapons, they were treated very much as special items. The player had to visit workbenches in order to build them, meaning that the standard arsenal of "whatever isn't nailed down" was still very useful. The third game got rid of the workbenches and allowed players to build combo weapons anywhere provided that they had the two items required for it, which made them far easier to acquire — and the regular weapons far less useful as a result. The fourth game streamlined things even further, to the point where the only use for most of the various items lying around was to build special weapons. As such, one of the main concepts of the first two games, the creativity of being able to use anything you can get your hands on as a weapon, fell by the wayside. The reasoning behind doing so got weaker as well. While both Chuck Greene from the second game and Nick Ramos from the third had backstories as, respectively, motorcycle and auto mechanics to justify their creation abilities, and Off the Record was a silly What If? game that has no place in canon, Frank West could pull off all the same skills in the fourth game with nothing but a Hand Wave on how he took a shop class to meet girlsnote .
    • Speaking of weapons, there's the first game's gimmick of "anything and everything is a weapon", which was ultimately just that: a gimmick. Right from the first game, the majority of weapons were worthless, too hard to find to get continued use out of them, or just plain impractical. Out of the hundreds of potential weapons, most of them were ignored in favour of guns, the easy-to-find katana, the mini-chainsaws, and the Mega Buster or Laser Sword if you unlocked them. Exceptions were made for the western sword, battleaxe, machette, and mannequin torso, but for the most part, that's about it unless you were ignoring the listed weapons, either for fun or a challenge. While it's fun to put Servbot heads on everything, or beat zombies to death with a giant stuffed teddy bear, it wasn't practical to do so. And on that note...
    • A major point of contention in the fourth game is its heavy emphasis on humor, which fans not only felt was a jarring departure from previous entries, but also didn't fit the mood the game itself was going for. Humor had its place in the series from the start: the first game let you go wild with joke weapons and wear silly costumes that would carry over into cutscenes, and you could meet multiple survivors and psychopaths that were at least partially played for laughs. The key difference was that it knew the difference between pure comedy and levity: the game's main story is still a stone-faced drama that every character takes seriously, most of its item-based physical comedy remained either out-of-the-way or optional, and even the sillier characters often had a tragic side that justified their behaviour. (If anything, this gave the series more comedic appeal, since many enjoyed the natural absurdity of the plot and side content being played dead serious.) After the third game was criticised for being too dark, Dead Rising 4 course-corrected to an extreme. Frank has endless quips for everything, which bleeds into serious story moments and undermines some of its darker elements. Neither survivors nor maniacs are given enough development to balance out their quirks. Weapons that are joke-y or even just blatantly impossible are also given even greater prominence than before: the Laser Blade went from being an Infinity +1 Sword in the first game, to an oddball combo weapon in the second, to feeling downright tame in the fourth game when just about every combo weapon has some kind of elemental power. All these elements combine to make the fourth game feel like it cannot decide if it wants to fully commit to being a comedy or not, and the game's atmosphere suffers for it.
    • The fourth game's removal of the Psychopaths, people who had snapped and gone postal due to the stress of the zombie outbreak and served as boss battles, was widely criticized, with their replacement, the Maniacs, being broadly unpopular for lacking the distinctive personalities and introductory cutscenes that the Psychopaths had. (One of the big changes made in the aforementioned patch was to beef up the Maniacs, giving them more health, new attacks, and unique boss themes.) The third game had already begun toning down the Psychopaths, with most of the fights required to progress through the story being with conventionally evil military figures or gang leaders, and only six optional Psychopaths along the side. While the concept of having seven different Psychopaths based on the Seven Deadly Sins (the six optional Psychos, plus the story-critical Albert the sleazy surgeon, who represented Greed) was applauded by some fans for providing a theme to the boss fights, others found themselves wishing that there were more of them scattered throughout the game, especially in a setting that served as a pastiche of the ripe-for-satire Los Angeles. Dropping and replacing them altogether in the fourth game wasn't a big leap.
    • Finally, the Flanderization of Frank West into a snarky jerkass started with Off the Record, in which Frank became much more cocky and wise-cracking than he was back in the first game. It was forgivable in Off the Record, as it was intended to be a Denser and Wackier version of 2 that starred Frank as a way of Pandering to the Base, and what's more, it was a non-canon side-story that largely amounted to Frank imagining what he would've done if he were in Chuck Greene's shoes. It was less forgivable in the live-action film Dead Rising: Watchtower, which was a canon entry in the series, and it was a lot less forgivable in 4, which was meant to be a Revisiting the Roots entry that paid homage to the first game.
  • Dead Space 2 was an Actionized Sequel that set the Dead Space series on the road to abandoning the Survival Horror gameplay of the first game in favor of becoming a Third-Person Shooter. Dead Space 2's Sequel Escalation, however, saw it ramp up the horror set pieces in tandem with making the gameplay smoother and adding multiplayer, such that some fans hailed it as an Even Better Sequel. Then Dead Space 3, in response to the disappointing sales of the last game (four million units, a lot but not enough to cover its enormous budget), scrubbed away the horror almost entirely in order to play Follow the Leader with the shooter trends of the time (Co-Op Multiplayer, cover-based shooter gameplay, a weapon customization system that gave players overpowered weaponry very early on), a move that met with disastrous results.
  • Destiny 2 has the Power Level system. Essentially, in the first game, the "Light Level" mechanic from year one of the game was a major Scrappy Mechanic among players. How it worked was that you had a stat called "Light" on every piece of gear that would grant you extra levels above the normal Level Cap of 20. Players hated this system for a variety of reasons (the main reasons being how RNG-driven it was to hit Max Light Level and how being more than 1 or 2 levels below enemies left you at a significant disadvantage). When the first DLC, The Taken King, launched, the Light Level system received a major overhaul. Now, Light Level was a weighted average of the Attack and Defense stats of your gear. The new system was widely-praised for making the game substantially better and was added to the sequel essentially unchanged. However, as the years went on, the system became more and more criticized. Partially because of a lack of depth, but mostly due to how often the Power Level increased and by how much it increased. In Destiny 1, Max Light was 320 when The Taken King launched, and after six months, it was raised to 335. Then, Rise of Iron came out six months later, and the Light Level cap was raised to 385, and then was raised to 400 a short while later, and it stayed at 400 until Destiny 2 launched. Contrast that to Destiny 2, where Max Power level was 300 on launch, then 330 after the first expansion, then 380 (later 400) when the second expansion came out. Then it was raised to a whopping 600 when Forsaken launched, after which the max Light Level was raised by 50 every three months, resulting in a cap of 750 by the time Shadowkeep launched, at which point it was raised even further to 950 (960 with Pinnacle Power). Then it seemed to slow down a bit, with the next two expansions raising the cap to 960/970 and 970/980 respectively. But then Bungie returned to raising the cap by 50 every 3 months. At the time of this edit, the Power Cap is 1050. Compounding this issue is the shift to a focus on weekly rewards as the main way to power up your character. After reaching a certain Power Level, normal loot drops stop dropping at power levels above your character, and you're almost wholly dependent on weekly "Powerful Gear" milestones to raise your Power Level. This wasn't the case in the first game, which offered a variety of means to raise your Light Level that weren't on a weekly lockout.
  • The later DonPachi games are a bit controversial due to the introduction of protagonist characters who aren't just Featureless Protagonists (the Element Dolls in particular), and shmup fans often approach games with a Play the Game, Skip the Story mindset and as such don't care for the increased focus on cute character designs. However, DoDonPachi II: Bee Storm toyed with the concept of actual protagonist characters about a year before DoDonPachi dai ou jou introduced the Element Dolls. While it does have characters with Fanservice designs, fans tend not to complain due to the game not being as in-your-face about them as later games, and the characters are clearly adults and two of them are male, as opposed to the later CAVE trend of having sexualized female characters whose adult status are questionable. Although another part of it is that most series fans don't even acknowledge Bee Storm anyway, as it was outsourced to IGS for the purpose of testing out new arcade hardware).
  • Donkey Kong 64 is considered a decent, but still disappointing game that has many, many problems. Most of the issues are similar to problems from the previous year's Banjo-Kazooie and its sequel that came the next year, but was being developed at the time. The most frequent complaint is that DK64 has too many items to collect; Banjo had a high number of items, but DK64 cranked them Up to Eleven by having the same set of collectible items copied and pasted once for every individual playable character. Worse, DK64 is too segmented; the game offers you five characters but almost everything has to be done with a specific one, even collecting the items which are color coded by character, and you can only switch them at specific spots. Banjo had Mumbo Jumbo's transformations which often felt like a chore switching between, but DK64 makes it even worse, feeling like you're playing the same game five different times instead of once (at least the transformations in B-K were contained within the level and its surrounding Hub World area, and there were no separate sets of items required to obtain with them). The level design of DK64 is also criticized for being similar to Banjo, but with less inspiration. The original Donkey Kong Country trilogy for SNES also had a fair share of collectibles, but you didn't need to pick up every single one to beat the final boss, and in fact could skip a good percentage of them.
  • Duke Nukem Forever:
    • One of the biggest criticisms of the game was the character of Duke himself, who many reviewers described as a repulsively unlikable person. Back in the days of Duke Nukem 3D, though, Duke had still been a pretty unlikeable person, but he was lauded for the fact that he had a personality at all, compared to non-characters like the Doomguy or BJ Blazkowicz. Furthermore, Duke was intended as a parody of the Hollywood Action Hero archetype; his one-liners were taken from popular action films of The '80s, and his character flaws were blown up to comical proportions. In the following fifteen years, however, many shooter games had been released featuring extremely fleshed-out and likable protagonists, and Duke hadn't evolved at all. If anything, he'd become more unlikable, with the elements that had been played for parody in Duke Nukem 3D played straight in Forever.
    • Other criticized elements of DNF's humor, the Take Thats to other franchises and the pop culture references, also hail from 3D. The Take Thats worked back then because 3D was a genuinely innovative game that improved on Doom's formula (and would go on to inspire several more games in the same way Doom did), so a bit of gloating didn't feel undeserved. DNF, however, tried to deliver Take Thats to games that it was outright copying, while bringing very little new to the table gameplay-wise. For example, there is a gag involving Duke insulting the Master Chief, proudly proclaiming that "power armor is for pussies". This joke probably would have been a lot funnier if Forever didn't also use the Regenerating Health and Limited Loadout systems that Halo popularised, much less having that joke lead into a level that's just one or two splashes of orange away from looking and playing almost exactly like the New Mombasa levels from Halo 2. Also, in terms of pop culture, 3D's jokes were either very topical or referencing sources obscure enough that people thought they were original jokes, while DNF's infamously long development cycle meant that many of its jokes or references had long since become Discredited Memes. One particular joke about hunting for keycards is dated not only in that keycards had already fallen by the wayside even when the game was supposed to come out around 2001, but that by the time it actually did come out a decade later, its "unique and original" manner of circumventing the door (by having Duke tear it open manually via quick-time event) had long since established itself as an even bigger cliché than keycards could have ever dreamed of.
    • The hive level, where Duke ventures around an alien hive filled with traumatized women that have been raped and impregnated with alien larvae and beg for death, has been widely criticized for being utterly tasteless, not to mention tonally out of place with the rest of the game, which is mostly a goofy action romp. But there was a very similar hive level in 3D, sobbing violated women and all. The difference came down to a few factors. The much greater tech and graphics Forever was working with showed that this was clearly a horrifying and screwed-up situation, made even more evident by the color palette being incredibly dark and grimy for the whole sequence. More than that, though, Forever made the very unwise decision to try and keep going with the raunchy sex jokes and pop-culture references even in an environment that did not call for them: when you can open a door by fingering it, slap some disembodied boobs on a wall for an ego boost, and proceed past the corpse of Isaac Clarke to find a rape victim who alternates between sobbing as aliens chew through her stomach and making whimsical double entendres about date rape, the game probably isn't treating the whole thing with the weight it warrants. And most importantly, 3D didn't have a scene where Duke, whose one humanizing trait is supposed to be a genuine love for women, nonchalantly tells two women whom he personally knows and who are about to die after being forcibly impregnated by aliens "looks like you're... fucked."
  • Far Cry
    • Far Cry 3 started the process of streamlining many of the more unique gameplay mechanics of the first two games, downplaying the survival aspects in favor of emphasizing the Wide-Open Sandbox. The thing was, some of the gameplay mechanics from Far Cry 2 that its successor abandoned, such as malaria and weapon degradation, were seen by many players as Scrappy Mechanics, and so their departure was welcomed by a significant cohort of the fanbase. It's not for nothing that Far Cry 3 is sometimes held up as the series' creative high point. When this trend continued with the fourth and fifth games, however, fans started to bemoan the continuing simplification of the gameplay, especially as elements of its formula started to creep into other open-world Ubisoft titles like Assassin's Creed and Watch_Dogs.
    • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon was a Mission-Pack Sequel built around recycled content from the third game, foreshadowing how Far Cry Primal and Far Cry: New Dawn would do the same with the fourth and fifth games, respectively. The difference was, it only cost $15, it was marketed as the standalone Expansion Pack it was rather than a full game, and moreover, it converted the game into an '80s sci-fi action Genre Throwback that felt radically different from the base game, with an entirely new map, almost entirely new weapons, and a protagonist who played entirely differently from his base-game counterpart. Primal and New Dawn, on the other hand, were the usual Far Cry formula, just set in prehistoric times and the post-apocalypse, respectively, utilizing as many recycled weapons as possible, the exact same map layouts with a slightly different coat of paint, and protagonists who played exactly like their counterparts, and treated as full games with price points to match. Strangely, Far Cry 5 already had DLC addons that hewed closer to Blood Dragon in terms of tonal shifts from the base game, new maps and weapons (albeit also adding them to the base game if you owned the DLC in question), and price point compared to the base game, which makes New Dawn's status as a game that costs so much more for what feels like much less new content even more apparent.
    • Another key issue fans have had with the series is the increasingly bleaker Downer Endings. However, observation reveals that this, too, was handled well at first before going downhill. The first game is the sole exception to this rule, as the ending for it is a rather typical happy ending (although the game is very much Early Installment Weirdness, as demonstrated by the fact it only has the one ending), but from there, endings began to get worse and worse. 2 ends on your character either sacrificing or just plain shooting himself, potentially after killing off all of his other friends depending on which option you take for the final mission, but it was accepted because the actual purpose of the ending (helping refugees escape the war-torn country, either by blocking off the road to get out after they've passed so the factions can't follow them, or bribing the border guards with diamonds to let them leave) made it, in essence, the single ray of hope in a game that was itself mostly bleak and depressing. 3 had an ending where Jason fully gives himself to the ways of the Rakyat by killing his friends, which was considered bad, but players would outright have to make a bad choice to take it, and the other ending is significantly better, to say nothing that the way the game works means you get to continue playing and exploring the world no matter which ending you take. 4, however, had rather downer endings no matter which one was obtained (whether you kill Pagan Min or not), but they were, at least, both isolated to the game's country and could be rectified after the game was over or during the ending. Then came 5, where all of the endings were bleak, as none of them actually allowed the player to bring Joseph Seed to justice, and one ended with a nuclear war breaking out, largely caused by factors that were both poorly foreshadowed and completely out of the player's control, leaving fans to assume that this might happen for the other endings as well and leading to major controversy, so much so that New Dawn was created in part to alleviate the problems created by the aforementioned nuke ending. This is also a problem exclusive to the mainline games, as the spin-offs end with generally satisfying and less sad endings. The problem has been resolved by 6, which ends without a Downer Ending.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • While William Afton is fairly beloved as a Big Bad, there are also a fair few who want to see him retired. Earlier games established that he was a Serial Killer who worked at the titular Suck E. Cheese's restaurant, and whose modus operandi consisted of dressing as a beloved rabbit character from the very first restaurant in the chain to lure children into the backroom. The third game added a supernatural element to his character, which reveals that he died inside the same animatronic/mascot suit hybrid he used for his murders and became Springtrap, the game's primary antagonist. Then Sister Location came along and marked the point where Afton's skillset became borderline cartoonish, showing that not only was he the co-owner of the Freddy's chain, but was also a Mad Scientist and Robotmaster who created advanced animatronics specifically for the purpose of murder. By the time Help Wanted was released, Afton now has full-blown Joker Immunity; after dying in a springlock accident and being burned alive twice, he now returns as an Virtual Ghost capable of Grand Theft Me and brainwashing. Some fans now feel he has worn out his welcome due to the escalation of his capabilities and repeated deaths, with Elizabeth and Vanny being popular candidates for his replacement.
    • When the first game was released, it was praised for its subtle storytelling about the animatronics' true nature as Haunted Technology and the origins of how they became that way. Because details were often revealed through random events, symbolism or paying close attention to plot points, this was ripe soil for Epileptic Trees, which formed a significant part of the fanbase. As the franchise has gone on, the same storytelling method has continued to be used, which makes figuring out what actually happens more difficult to the point where some fans just wish more things were stated outright.
  • As acclaimed as GoldenEye (1997) is, it is responsible for codifying James Bond video games as action-packed romps lacking the kind of social espionage that the character is perhaps more famous for. With GoldenEye, it was accepted for a variety of reasons. For one, its source material had multiple memorable action scenes that easily translated into fun gameplay. In addition, that gameplay was incredibly novel for the time, in particular its emphasis on completing a variety of objectives like protecting noncombatants, locating information, and destroying specific infrastructure instead of simply finding keycards to open the exit as was the hallmark of early- to mid-'90s FPS games. It also helped that the game let the player use an array of gadgets to give it that Bond flavor. Future games based on the franchise, however, would continue to indulge deeper into the action side of the formula, especially once Pierce Brosnan's on-camera stint as the character ended and adaptations of the movies gave way for entirely new adventures, and felt significantly less innovative, as these games were often indebted to whatever style of shooter was popular when they were made with only a token Bond flavor, typically stuffing a few rarely-used gadgets into Bond's watch (EA's Bond games) or a smartphone that can do everything that isn't solved by just shooting people in the head with your silenced P99 (Activision's Bond games). The final straw was 007 Legends, which suffered from trying to fit less action-packed films like On Her Majesty's Secret Service or Moonraker into the Call of Duty mold like GoldenEye's 2010 remake had done for that film, and then had the typical licensed-game problem of needing to be rushed to meet the release date of an upcoming film on top of it - it did so poorly that Activision pulled it from stores and dropped the Bond license entirely only a few months later, with other publishers refusing to pick it up for almost a decade afterwards.
  • Gradius IV was extensively criticized for recycling level archetypes from previous games, with particular derision being directed at the first level simply being a rehash of Gradius II's opening stage with the flames being replaced with a liquid metal effect. To some extent, Gradius, like many of Konami's action game franchises, has always been a heavily self-referential series: the previous numbered Gradius games shared many of the same biomes and one of the big setpieces in Gradius II was a Boss Rush mostly made up of recycled bosses from the original game and its spin-off Salamander. The difference was that the previous Gradius games made sure to mix up the familiar sights with new level themes, while IV was the first major release in the series to feature no new stage themes (the closest being the magma flow section in the Volcano stage, which perhaps not coincidentally is usually cited as the level design highlight of the game). Not helping IV's case was that the previous major Gradius game, Gradius Gaiden had some very bold takes on familiar Gradius levels, or that the game's conservative nature extended to its base mechanics, with IV not adding any major gameplay feature and actively axing features added in the previous games like Edit Mode: the lack of new mechanics made the "safe" stage selection stand out all that much more.
  • The Guitar Hero series, along with its successor/rival Rock Band, both found themselves plagued with Mission Pack Sequels, a problem that only became acute late in both series' lifespans but was noticeable much earlier on.
    The Original Sin was Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, a poorly-received sequel to the excellent Guitar Hero II, made by Harmonix under contract after Activision bought the series. Neversoft (under Activision) made Guitar Hero III and onward, with Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Smash Hits, Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Decades, Guitar Hero: On Tour — Modern Hits, and two different versions of Band Hero (one for DS and one for consoles).
    Harmonix themselves would continue this trend on their own with Rock Band Track Packs (bare-bones game discs with songs taken from the game's vast DLC library, for players stuck on consoles with no DLC or who want to get the songs for slightly cheaper), a LEGO Adaptation Game, and band-specific sequels. The Track Packs were tolerated due to being explicitly marketed as handy DLC bundles rather than full games, and their game based on The Beatles was critically acclaimed thanks to The Beatles' legendary status (it helps that the game's tracklist could not be exported to the main games, helping it stand as its own game rather than a Mission-Pack Sequel), but their next game, focused on Green Day, was seen as So Okay, It's Average at best.
    Other (poorly-received) imitators such as Rock Revolution and Power Gig: Rise of the SixString only worsened the situation. Eventually, both series, and the entire genre of peripheral-based Rhythm Games, drowned in a flood of Mission Pack Sequels.
  • The Halo series has been criticized for its games being too dependent on backstory from the Expanded Universe, when really, some elements were there from the beginning;
    • For example, Halo 5: Guardians would not make much sense without having seen Halo: Escalation, Spartan Ops, Halo: Nightfall, Halo: New Blood, etc. This reliance on the expanded universe for backstory goes back to the franchise's first two entries: Halo: Combat Evolved and its tie-in novel Halo: The Fall of Reach. Without The Fall of Reach, the player had no clue about where Master Chief came from, why the Covenant were attacking, where Cortana came from, what the Pillar of Autumn was evacuating from, and so on. But the difference was that the plot of Combat Evolved was self-contained to the events on the eponymous Halo ring, so all the missing backstory just gave the impression that you were taking part in a much larger and ongoing story without really mattering to the events in-game. This pattern of keeping the games' and books' plots separate was largely the same until 343 Industries took over the series, making the EU more prominent but with mixed results on its games.
    • Additionally, the complaints about Halo devolving into a Call of Duty ripoff after 343i took over. Many complained about the focus on gimmicks such as Armor/Spartan Abilities, the addition of sprinting, the removal of Elites as a playable model, increasing the pace of the game, blatantly mimicking Call of Duty's class system, and finally, the addition of ADS (Aiming Down Sights) which sparked the most controversy. Many of these things, beside the ADS, were present in Halo: Reach, the last Halo game Bungie created. Reach added Armor Abilities, including the ability to sprint as the basic one, reduced playing as Elites to exclusive modes, and added loadouts for each match for differentiation. Sprinting was even considered for Halo 2 at one point during its development, just before Call of Duty even introduced it with its expansion pack. The difference is that Bungie knew when to draw the line, making sure that it was its own original game. Specifically, the loadouts were pre-determined and could not be customized in matchmaking, the gameplay still felt like Halo despite the Armor Abilities as opposed to being blatantly influenced by Call of Duty, and the emphasis on balanced, map-oriented gameplay was still there (just not as much as before). 343, on the other hand, took it to another level and turned Halo into something that's barely recognizable from the older games, all by doing what Bungie did, but going even further with it than they dared to go. That said, 343i did completely remove the loadout system in Halo 5's classic-style multiplayer mode, and the ADS system turned out to be mechanically identical to the scopes of previous games (with the only non-cosmetic difference being that every weapon could be fired from a zoom).
  • The Last of Us was incredibly dark, but had enough of a sense of hope that players could care about the world without burning out on the dark tone, with a major part of it being Joel and Ellie's growing bond. The Last of Us Part II, however, carries the same bleak tone, but lacking the same hopeful elements of the first game - Joel is killed fairly early on, Ellie kills countless people during her Roaring Rampage of Revenge for Joel's death, Abby is playable for large portions of the game after the story has already given players a reason to dislike her by having her kill Joel, and both Abby and Ellie receive Downer Endings, causing many players to tune out. Not helping matters was the terrible timing - Part II dropped during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many players would not be interested in such an unrelentingly bleak game.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Several of the later 3D games in the pre-Breath of the Wild era, particularly Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword, face criticism for several elements such as slow-paced beginnings, mandatory Fetch Quests that halt the pacing, and over-tutorialization. However, elements of these criticisms appeared in the first two 3D games, where they were little more than minor annoyances compared to the major criticisms they would become later on.
    • Ocarina of Time:
      • One major complaint about post-Ocarina of Time games is being forced to run around previous areas to unlock the next. In hindsight, the trip back to the Lost Woods to learn Saria's Song foreshadows this issue, as there is no real reason as to why Saria couldn't teach Link her song right when they said their supposed "goodbye." This issue is mitigated by putting a shortcut to the Lost Woods in Death Mountain, which is the area which triggers the quest. Also, nearly every dungeon in the Adult arc involves revisiting some previous area, but this sort of Backtracking is largely tolerated since these revisits largely do not involve any lengthy quest required to open the next dungeon, and the seven-year Time Skip where Ganondorf has ruled Hyrule means many of these locations are very different from how they were the first time players visited them, even if just in atmosphere.
      • Many of the later 3D Zelda games are criticized for having an empty overworld with little to see, do and fight. However, Ocarina of Time also suffers from this issue compared to some of its 2D predecessors. Hyrule Field's enemies are limited solely to Stalchildren and Peahats in the past and Big Poes in the Future, and the only places to use items in the field are a few spots where hidden grottoes could be found. The empty field tends to be excused as Ocarina of Time was one of the first 3D games with as much polish as it had, and the other overworld areas such as the Kakariko-Death Mountain area, Zora's Domain, and Gerudo Valley still had a wide variety of things to do.
      • Navi is something of a retroactive example. She was originally the butt of many jokes regarding insistent assistance in video games and was seen as The Scrappy for many. In the years following Ocarina of Time's release, the games that came out after and until Breath of the Wild had what were considered far worse examples of assistant characters when it comes to handholding. Navi is typically seen in a much better light nowadays, especially when compared to the worst example, Fi. While she is still thought of as mildly annoying, her advice is never truly overbearing and her interruptions are generally limited to rooms containing Wallmasters, which even then is considered a very helpful interruption.
      • This was the game that started the timeline debates and eventual canonization of the series splitting into multiple timelines from this game. It was meant to be a prequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past yet contradicted the backstory and events leading up to that game,note  and its enduring popularity with fans meant that Nintendo started making sequels to Ocarina of Time... during a time when they were starting to take continuity seriously. Many fans feel such an explanation is unnecessary and would be perfectly happy to accept each game and its specific sequels as their own story, rather than trying to tie them all together in a confusing way.
    • Majora's Mask:
      • Several of this game's 3D successors get heavily criticized for having long, drawn-out intros that involve fetch quests, various tutorials, and an overly simplistic tutorial mini-dungeon at best, but many of these problems can be traced back to Majora's Mask. The game starts out in a very simplistic mini-dungeon introducing Deku Link's mechanics, but once you leave said mini-dungeon, the game doesn't exactly start there. You are required to do many fetch quests in order to retrieve the Ocarina of Time, including rescuing a Stray Fairy, joining the Bombers, and retrieving the Moon Tear. Unlike later 3D Zelda games, this sequence of events is generally not considered a Slow-Paced Beginning since the three intro quests are done quite briskly, the player isn't handheld through the intro, and the game's tutorialization is limited to the introductory mini-dungeon.
      • As a remake, Majora's Mask 3D is highly contested for most of its changes feeling like downgrades to what was in the original game. Many of these complaints existed in Ocarina of Time 3D in a more understandable form: changes to gameplay and control schemes, and a difference in art direction that changed the visual composition and tone of several scenes. The difference is that Ocarina of Time 3D was still a very faithful remake where most of these gameplay edits were small quality-of-life improvements, while the new art direction was still largely faithful to that of artwork for the N64 original. Majora's Mask 3D, on the other hand, was far more liberal with its edits, significantly changing gameplay mechanics such as the Zora swimming controls and even remaking most of its boss fights to force the use of specific items. Making use of the same bright art direction as OoT 3D instead of reflecting the darker colors seen in official Majora's Mask artwork also clashes with the darker tone and atmosphere that the game tries to present.
      • Americans Hate Tingle because he's a weird, creepy Manchild, but the vast majority of that hate stems from his appearance in The Wind Waker rather than his debut in Majora's Mask, despite the fact that he's basically the same character in both games. Why was he tolerated in one game and vilified in the next? For the most part, it's because he's The Artifact in later games. His weird creepiness was acceptable in Majora's Mask because just about everything in the game is similarly weird and creepy, so he fit in perfectly. Moreover, his primary purpose of selling you maps was both reasonably priced and completely optional. He was then imported into Wind Waker, where he didn't fit in with the brighter, less surreal tone of the game, with the only modification to his character being blowing out his traits to ridiculous proportions - now he sells maps that you have to buy to complete the game, and he charges exorbitant amounts for them, on top of the game halting the plot on other occasions to focus on him for things like getting arrested for petty theft and requiring you to break him out.
  • Life Is Strange and its prequel Life Is Strange: Before the Storm both caught some flack for requiring the player to go along with some morally iffy and occasionally outright illegal actions in order to get the game's central same-sex romances off the ground (respectively, Max/Chloe and Chloe/Rachel). However, this was largely forgiven due to the positive and rounded representation of LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, coupled with the fact that the male romantic options in both games were little more than Satellite Love Interests, while the female options were main characters; so it felt justified that pursuing Warren or Eliot was less dramatic and more incidental to the main plot. Not so in Life Is Strange 2, however, when getting Sean into a same-sex romance with Finn hinges entirely on agreeing to one hugely criminal and stupid suggestion of his; as well as being a more traditional Gay Option in that his romance route is much more easily missable than that of Sean's potential female love interest Cassidy. At this point it's veered into bad connotations, with the (presumably unintentional) message going from the already questionable "the happiness of the person you love is more important than literally anything else" to "you need to be willing to commit crimes if you want someone of the same sex to date you".
  • Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite:
    • The Marvel side of the roster was heavily criticized for almost exclusively focusing on characters featured in Marvel's live-action films, with Nova, Ghost Rider and Venom being the sole exceptions. What people tend to forget is that mainstream popularity and adaptations have always influenced which Marvel characters were included in the Marvel vs. Capcom series, with the huge number of mutant characters in the earlier games largely owing to the massive popularity of the X-Men cartoon that was airing at the time the series began. While there were more adventurous and obscure choices like Shuma-Gorath and M.O.D.O.K., those were always a relatively small portion of the overall cast. It's just that in the case of Infinite, the favoritism shown to the MCU characters came across as far more blatant since characters whose film rights are not held by Marvel, such as the X-Men and Doctor Doom, were mysteriously left out of the game and given, at best, confusing and nonsensical reasons for why (like the infamous "functions" comment where they tried to argue that players don't care about the actual characters in a fighting game so much as what moves and abilities they have, while also insinuating that nobody remembers the X-Men anyway) because they weren't allowed to either use those characters or simply admit "Marvel won't let us use them". In fact, the MCU influence was there earlier but much, much more controlled and less prominent. 3 added Thor, Hawkeye, Doctor Strange, Iron Fist, Rocket Raccoon and Novanote  specifically because they all had planned projects in the works for the MCU. It also downplayed the presence of X-Men, with 2 having X-Men reps make up a whopping 18 out of the 28 Marvel characters but 3 only having 7 out of 25. Only four returning X-Men characters from that game appeared (Wolverine, Magneto, Storm, Sentinel) while the rest got cut in favor of three newcomers (Phoenix, X-23, Deadpool). However, given that it gave more exposure to the general Marvel roster, still maintained the presence of non-MCU and Unexpected Characters, and the three newcomers being fan-favorites, this was something people liked. Unfortunately, this got turned Up to Eleven when Infinite rolled out, removing almost all non-MCU characters just as a spite towards Fox and a blatant promotion of the movies, combined with massive Executive Meddling and a lack of polish that made it feel like the cheap MCU plug that fans widely condemn it for.
    • One of the biggest complaints about the game was the sheer amount of returning characters from Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and other previous games, with the only new characters in the launch roster being Captain Marvel, Mega Man X, Ultron, Gamora, and Jedah. While many fans and critics have accused Capcom of being lazy, the entire Marvel vs. Capcom series was practically built on reusing character models from older games like Marvel Super Heroes and the Street Fighter Alpha series - Darkstalkers' Morrigan in particular was infamous back around the MvC2 days for reusing the exact same sprite set for several games across seven years, long after her sprites had started to clash with the style and even quality of those for the other characters. Another notable example could be found in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter, which was mostly a reskin of X-Men vs. Street Fighter (even using slightly altered versions of the same stages, and even the same boss) with a slightly different (and almost entirely recycled; even Cyber-Akuma was just an edit of Akuma's Street Fighter Alpha sprite) cast, and had several secret characters like U.S. Agent and Armored Spider-Man who were actually just quick Palette Swaps of existing sprites. The amount of brand new characters has always been quite small when compared to the sheer amount of recycled fighters. The main reason this proved so problematic for Infinite was that its immediate predecessor had far more newcomers (20 in the base roster, with an additional 11 in the Updated Re-release), as well as the fact that there were fan-favorite Marvel and Capcom characters fans were hoping for such as Ms. Marvel and Nero who got left out in favor of less-popular returning characters who seemed like they were only included due to laziness (such as Spencer, whose inclusion was met with widespread derision and bafflement). Not helping matters was the announcement that new characters like Sigma, Black Panther and Monster Hunter would be available as DLC, which created the perception that Capcom had purposefully avoided including too many newcomers so that they could charge extra for them down the line.
    • Additionally, the practice of recycling sprites, though still lazy, was understandable as quality sprite artwork, especially starting from the fifth generation as in early MvC's heyday, takes a long time to age. Infinite, in an attempt to cut costs, had to recycle a lot of models from 3, but didn't accommodate for the fact that 3 had a different lighting engine and textures. You could instantly tell which characters were returning veterans because their models just looked so much worse than the newcomers—and as established, there were a lot of veterans.
    • Also, while Infinite's "laziness" was one of the most criticized aspects, this is yet another aspect that was arguably on full display in Marvel vs. Capcom 2, the franchise's most popular entry. Rather than using individual themes for each character, which is what the prior games in the series did, MVC2 used a handful of jazz tracks that usually sounded like something you'd hear in an elevator or at a lounge, most of which clashed badly with their respective stages. Meanwhile, the stages themselves broke from the series tradition of representing specific Marvel and Capcom locations (such as the Blackbird, Avengers HQ, Dr. Wily's lab and Morrigan's demonic realm) in favor of weird 3D backgrounds that had nothing to do with the history of either company, such as a cave, an amusement park and a clocktower. This also meant that these stages lacked any of the cameos or easter eggs that could also be found in older installments. Additionally, MVC2 did away with the individual Arcade Mode endings for each character, much like Infinite would be heavily criticized for doing years later. However, thanks to the large roster, fun gameplay and a pretty large dose of Nostalgia Goggles, many fans tend to overlook this, with some even liking the bizarre soundtrack.
  • Max Payne 3 divided fans over its darker tone, abandoning the Heroic Bloodshed elements, and the treatment of Max as a Failure Hero who drunkenly charges into situations and ends up making things even worse through Cutscene Incompetence. But the seeds for these complaints were already planted in the second game, which was praised where 3 was criticized. The gameplay of 2 presents Max as an nigh-unstoppable force who can kill rooms full of gunmen with ease, but in cutscenes he loses these abilities and is stopped in situations where he would have succeeded in gameplay. The tone is also significantly darker and more dramatic than the first game, with the story playing out as a Tragedy with Max repeatedly failing to stop the plans of the Big Bad. However, fans didn't see these as problems thanks to Sam Lake draping the story in metaphor and the many bits of meta-humor peppered through the game. The writing in 3 ditched the metaphor and subtext of Lake's writing, and combined with the caustic edge to the story and Max's character, it made for a far more divisive reception.
  • MechWarrior's signature MechLab, a form of Design-It-Yourself Equipment for your Humongous Mecha, was never very well balanced to begin with, but as the series went on and more mechanics were added and the games were tweaked, it became more and more broken resulting in massive Gameplay Derailment. Its first incarnation in MechWarrior 2 was bare-bones, and the game's many coding oddities resulted in it being balanced if only because of the byzantine design. Mech 3 is where it started to go crazy, with heavy Complacent Gaming Syndrome of identical loadouts on identical mechs. Mech 4 attempted to fix it, but introduced a slew of unforeseen gameplay consequences. In Online, the game has multiple painfully Obvious Rule Patch mechanics to limit the MechLab's silliness and still fails spectacularly, resulting in players with One-Hit Kill-capable or infinite screen shake autocannon spam mechs. Living Legends avoided implementing the MechLab until the game was feature complete and balanced ("version 1.0"), specifically because the lab fundamentally broke the competitive multiplayer of every previous game, though it was never implemented due to the game being Screwed by the Lawyers in version 0.7.
  • Medal of Honor, as discussed in this article, contained early versions of many of the things that later military shooters would be criticized for — most notably, its desaturated color palette and how that style became associated with "realism" even in settings where it didn't make sense.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man 5 was the first game in the Classic series to not make any substantial change to the series formula (Mega Man 2 had items and eight bosses, Mega Man 3 had Rush and sliding, and Mega Man 4 had the charged buster shot and the Disc-One Final Dungeon). The series became notorious for repetition not long after. It was also the first game to repeat the 'twist reveal' that the Big Bad was Dr. Wily all along and make it completely unsurprising; 4 had the element of Wily supposedly dying in the previous game while introducing a completely new antagonist in Dr. Cossack, making the twist somewhat surprising. For 5 to suggest that Proto Man had suddenly undergone a complete Face–Heel Turn for no real reason, most gamers could easily guess how it was going to turn out.
    • On a related note, Wily always being the bad guy was a prominent joke about the original series, but it generally wasn't seen as a major problem — partly because the designers eventually just started treating it as a Running Gag, and partly because the plots in the Classic games are generally pretty shallow to begin with. People tend to be much less forgiving of his Spiritual Successor Sigma always being the bad guy in Mega Man X, because the X series actually did try to have a story with lots of Grey-and-Gray Morality, and an Obviously Evil villain who constantly hijacks potentially interesting plots by making one side go mindlessly berserk simply by his presence doesn't play ball with that. It's meant to be a joke when "Mr. X" shows up; not so much when the Disc-One Final Boss is reporting back to a perpetually-shadowed figure who clearly has Sigma's silhouette. This might be why X8 changes up the formula, by having Sigma be the Disc-One Final Boss and new face Lumine be the true Big Bad and True Final Boss.
    • One of the most common gripes about later games, especially 5, 8, and nearly every Mega Man X game after the first, is their lackluster boss weapons. Dud weapons are a thing that goes back to the very first game, with the Super Arm and Hyper Bomb being extremely situational and slow to the point of uselessness, respectively. The difference was that the earlier games had enough standout options to ignore the bad stuff; even 2, generally seen as having some of the worst weapons otherwise, had the Metal Blade and Quick Boomerangs to make up for it. The later games tended to either lack standout options (the closest thing in 5, for instance, is probably the Gyro Attack), or repeat archetypes from the older games (how many times do you need to see a shield, a screen-nuke, and something that crawls on the ground?). On top of that, the increasing buffs to the Mega Buster made the other weapons a lot less viable in comparison, to the point of outdamaging boss weaknesses in some games (likely a factor in Mega Man 9 just removing the charged buster, which led to many boss weapons being significantly better). As a result, boss weapons became an increasingly less relevant feature, only being used to resolve Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors.
    • One of the bigger complaints about Mega Man X7 was that X, the protagonist of the series, was downgraded to an unlockable character who has little relevance to the story and Can't Catch Up when he does become available — indeed, by some accounts, he wasn't going to be in the game at all at one point in development. But when you look at the other games in the series, X had always been something of The Unfavorite compared to Zero, being usually depicted as weaker,note  given less interesting gameplay,note  and having less to do in the plot, especially as the games went on.note  X's protagonist status had increasingly become a formality, among both the fandom and the developers — but simply dropping him, and unceremoniously adding an unheard-of Replacement Scrappy, was going too far.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The series has always had problems with its female characters, like holding onto The Smurfette Principle with an iron grip, many of them being Ms. Fanservice, with Male Gaze out the wazoo and often killing them off to give a male character angst, but the earlier games always gave them interesting characterisation as well as at least some vital importance to the plot to make them decent characters in their own right, with a heaping helping of Mr. Fanservice and Female Gaze to go on top of that and act as something of a balance. However, in Guns of the Patriots, the female villains barely act as characters at all, having their backstories told to us by another character after their fight and barely even speaking, other than reminding us of their primary emotion every few seconds during their fights. In the next game released, Peace Walker, a boss battle starts with numerous lingering chest and butt shots of a woman in her underwear, and the same character is killed off in the most gratuitously sexual manner possible in Ground Zeroes to establish the villain as especially bad. This eventually leads to The Phantom Pain, where the only prominent female character almost never speaks, has minimal plot importance, spends her entire screen time in a bikini top and ripped tights, is given a ridiculous justification for that outfit, and has multiple scenes that come completely out of nowhere and serve as nothing but excuses for her to make sensual poses in front of the camera.
    • The series has always had issues with its Kudzu Plot, full of Ass Pull after Ass Pull, numerous Retcons, and Heel Face Revolving Doors. Creator Hideo Kojima, a massive fan of Hollywood films, loved to emulate the movies he loved as much as possible and add as many Shout Outs and nods as he could, even if it didn't make sense story-wise. Early on, this was considered intriguing—during the 8-bit era, players were lucky if games had any sort of plot whatsoever, and even in the PS1 era, it was considered a major innovation that games could emulate film at all, so these quirks merely added to the series' charm. However, repeatedly relying on Rule of Cool within a complex narrative inevitably takes its toll, and fans became much, much less tolerant of these issues in later games as the series became bogged down by Continuity Creep. The lowest point is typically agreed to be Act 3 of Guns of the Patriots, where the true identities of the Patriots are revealed to be Naked Snake and his radio support from MGS3. This one revelation brought all of the series' worst excesses to light in the eyes of its fans; it had become so obsessed with its own continuity that every single minor detail had to be connected, and even minor (but likable) characters had to be thrown under the bus to provide lots of Call Backs to previous games. The Continuity Porn continued with things like Naomi Hunter making ridiculous decisions that require her to change sides once per act, revealing herself to have cancer despite the technology present being clearly capable of making that a non-issue, and killing herself, despite her plan in no way requiring her to die, just so that Otacon could cry over another woman like in previous games. Rose and Colonel Campbell pretend to be a happy married couple so that Raiden can go through another emotional character arc similar to the one in 2, become yet another cyber ninja, and then wind up in the same Belated Happy Ending. The game even ends with Big Boss himself (a character dead since Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, 18 years earlier in reality and 15 in-universe) returning to explain the last few plot threads. In addition to introducing even more twists which may raise more questions than answers, these twists also have the effect of making the entire universe revolve around a small cast of characters that can perfectly manipulate worldwide events across half a century. Many of these problems can be attributed to the fact that Kojima never really intended to continue the series beyond Metal Gear Solid 2 and, as one of the translators from that game stated, Kojima's writing style is too heavily influenced by wanting to create big set pieces and emulate cool things he likes from his favorite movies.
  • Metroid:
    • After eight years in rest since Super Metroid, the series was revived with two well-received games, one of them being Metroid Fusion. Despite the positive reception, a point of criticism from fans was its stronger focus on a story; it was even the first time Samus verbally interacted with another character. This was seen as a turning point for the entire series to shift towards more plot-driven games, like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. Other M brought the debate on whether or not this is a good idea to a flame war-stricken head, particularly due to how it characterized Samus Aran.
    • Samus has also become more and more gratuitously sexualized as the series has gone on. The series has always rewarded good gameplay with an image of Samus out of her armor and in skimpy clothing, but in the earlier games it was much more about the Tomato Surprise than Fanservice (which was kind of hard to do with the pixelated graphics of the time), and most players wouldn't even see it because it required a very good performance. Metroid: Zero Mission introduced a skintight undersuit for her, which just barely skated by with the fanbase (while it was the first time players were guaranteed to see Samus out of armor, it still got a pass because the entire point was that her Power Suit was destroyed, and she was more vulnerable as a result). Ever since then, suitless Samus has become just a thing that happens for fanservice, at times in contexts some fans consider inappropriate and/or degrading. The prominence of Zero Suit Samus in Super Smash Bros. starting from the third game did not help things either.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • The series only completely entered its Dork Age when it smashed into the Polygon Ceiling, but the third game shows at least some of the weaknesses of later installments: over-reliance on dial-a-kombo,note  the complete shattering of the Eastern-ish theme (which resulted in people realizing how ridiculous some of the characters looked), and the bosses suddenly getting cheaper. Yet there's still a lot of fans and defenders of this one because it was the conclusion of the "Outworld Trilogy" and the stakes and tone of the original game were still there.
    • Mortal Kombat II introduced many fan-favorite characters, such as Kitana, Mileena, and Jax, but it also conspicuously took Sonya and Kano out for no real reason other than to have a Damsel in Distress and establish how badass Shao Khan is, respectively. However, as the developers admitted, Sonya and Kano were the least-popular characters, and the real fan favorites (Liu Kang, Sub Zero, Scorpion, Raiden, etc.) remained, so Kano and Sonya's losses were deemed acceptable. The third game, however, is when the absences started getting out of hand. After the departure of Dan Pesina and Katalin Zamiar, who portrayed all of the male and female ninja characters, Midway decided to drop almost all of the characters they portrayed from their lineup. Johnny Cage was killed off, Raiden said Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, and neither Kitana nor Mileena returned in the initial version of 3. Even worse, Scorpion, the most popular character in the series, was left out as well. The team quickly rectified most of these mistakes with the Updated Re-release, Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3, but within the casual market, the damage was done. This problem continued on throughout the rest of the series, as many fan-favorite characters were arbitrarily included or dropped from each installment. Sometimes they're killed off, sometimes they switch sides, sometimes they turn into completely new characters. This has become so ingrained within the fanbase that a common question when a new game is announced is "Will [insert favorite character here] be in it?"
    • Related to absentee fan-favorites (and possibly the cause of it) is the bloated roster, which consists not just of Joke Characters and hidden bosses, but almost every single character that is vaguely referenced, even as a meme. Examples of this include Ermac, Scarlet, Blaze, and Tremor, just to name a few. There are also many bland and forgettable entries with tangential connections to more popular characters, like Mavado, Hsu Hao, Kobra, and so on. Traces of this started all the way from Mortal Kombat II, where the first game's hidden boss character (Reptile) made his playable debut, and characters with tangential connections to older ones like Kung Lao and Jax also made an appearance. The difference is that the series was small enough back then that new characters were a welcome sight, and felt like genuine expansions of the lore. By the time of Mortal Kombat 4, however, several new characters such as Fujin, Jarek and Kai felt like poor replacements for the ones missing (indeed, in some cases, the new faces were actually meant to be older characters who were then reskinned, such as swapping out Kano for his underling Jarek). This continued all the way up to Armageddon, where every single character — even the superfluous ones like Meat or ones they went on-record as hating like Hsu Hao — was part of the roster, in a deliberate attempt to Torch the Franchise and Run. The 2009 reboot dialed down on this, with just about every character included being a fan-favorite. X followed suit, but experimented with a few new faces, as well as a few of the old darkhorses like Tremor.
    • The MK series is known for retconning and revising characters and plot points, starting with the second game—which retconned Raiden into a wise Mentor Archetype instead of an arrogant god, and revised Shang Tsung into a servant of Shao Kahn (amongst many other changes). From that point on, almost every single game in the series has revealed, revised or rescinded some plot detail — especially after the feature film proved popular, and plot elements from it were folded into the games. This became rather confusing for fans of the lore, but it wasn't minded too much because there was genuine interest in seeing where things would go from there. The first decision that truly split the fanbase was the Cosmic Retcon that occurred in Mortal Kombat 9; here, not only are the retcons obvious,note  but the fact that the game was a Soft Reboot meant that the story didn't really move forward in any meaningful way. This, again, was forgiven come Mortal Kombat X because that game introduced a Time Skip that took the story in new and fresh directions never seen before and allowed for several new characters alongside the existing cast... but fans were not so forgiving when Mortal Kombat 11 pulled off another Cosmic Retcon that completely wiped out all timelines everywhere, meaning that not only were the events of every single previous game in the series completely wiped clean, but so was the new timeline, all the various comic books, cartoons, TV and film adaptations, and even offshoot games like Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe — with no indication of how Fire God Liu Kang and Kitana would remake things. Fans, even those who liked 11, were NOT pleased with this direction, and the problem was compounded by the Aftermath expansion, which added more retconsnote  and even retconned the previous ending of 11, leaving every character except either Liu Kang or Shang Tsung dead, with no indication which of the two endings will be canon going forward.
    • The character focused story chapters of the NetherRealm Studios games have been heavily criticized due to things like how characters usually only win fights if they are the chapter's main character, causing inconsistent displays of power, some characters not doing anything or just vanishing for large chunks of the story, some fights occurring just for the sake of padding out the story, or causing the villains to look weak because they lose every fight they are in gameplay-wise, and never get to display their powers. These issues can be traced back to before Netherrealm took over the series with Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, which started the trend by having two story modes, one each for the MK and DC characters, and only allowed for a small number of characters to fight each other. However, the game was pragmatic in addressing these issues and created an In-Universe explanation for the reasons characters would randomly fight each other, or seemed to be stronger if they were the player character, the first being a "Kombat Rage" that caused someone to go berserk and attack anyone nearby, while the second was a power fluctuation, which caused people to rise and fall in power randomly. Once Netherrealm took over the series though, games afterwards repeated the same mistakes but without trying to address them at all, causing all the previously mentioned issues to become more noticeable as each game went on and the series tried to make more complex stories. This lead to things like in Mortal Kombat X where the new "Kombat Kids" are beaten by relatively strong characters like Sub-Zero, but are somehow able to fight several Revenants later on like Sindel without too much trouble despite no story hints that they got stronger, while Mortal Kombat 11 had things like Mortal Kombat II era Kitana somehow defeat Shao Kahn.
  • Nintendo:
    • The company's censorship policies have existed since the beginning of their involvement in console gaming. It was justified during the 1980s as many infamous games that helped crash the industry (such as Custer's Revenge and Beat Em and Eat Em) were glorified porn. Nintendo's family-friendly approach (to the point of calling their first console a Family Computer (Famicom) in Japan) was viewed positively back then. However, their continued adherence to censorship guidelines during the releases of subsequent consoles has followed them in two ways. In the first case, it was what led to Nintendo having the negative reputation of being "kiddie games" at a time when games and the people who played them gradually started to mature in better ways than just making literal porn. The censorship of the original Mortal Kombat was especially infamous, since the Sega Genesis version was released with the gore intact (albeit hidden behind a cheat code), and was much better received by fans despite otherwise being technically inferior to the Super NES version. On the other end, Nintendo's censorship practices also showed the early signs of their strenuous relationship with third-party developers. By the time the fifth generation of gaming came, Nintendo's censorship combined with their refusal to adopt CD technology caused developers like Square to get fed up with their practices and jump ship to Sony. Nintendo's lack of strong third-party support has been a reoccurring flaw in all of their consoles since. Not helping is that censorship (especially when sexual objectification is involved) started becoming more politicized during the 2010s, meaning that reaction to any change that could be seen as censorship went from merely "Nintendo doesn't take its older fanbase seriously" to more intense backlash (leading to boycotts in some cases). With the release of the Switch, this might be changing, especially in regards to Sony's eventual censorship policies, which is by itself nothing short of ironic.
    • Nintendo's consoles past the SNES have often been criticised for being underpowered in comparison to the competition, with many accusing Nintendo of cutting corners on technology in order to save money. This flaw could be traced back to the original Game Boy. It was designed with Gunpei Yokoi's philosophy of "lateral thinking with withered technology", which refers to using technology that is older, cheaper, and well-understood while using it in a new and innovative way (in this case, programming games for what is essentially an LCD calculator with a CPU whose design dates back to 1976), instead of using the most advanced technology available at the time. This gave the Game Boy, despite its primitive hardware and black-and-white screen, a low price point and long battery life that gave it the edge over the Atari Lynx and the Sega Game Gear, both of which were full-color, backlit, and more powerful than the Game Boy but shared the Fatal Flaw of draining six batteries in a few hours (to compare, the Game Boy only got a full-color display in 1998 and backlighting with the GBA SP in 2003, by which point Nintendo was able to implement them without noticeably impacting battery life). It was when that same philosophy was applied to their home consoles that people started to notice a problem. It first showed up on the Nintendo 64, where, in spite of it being a legitimately 64-bit system at a time where games were nowhere close to breaking the limits of even 32-bit hardware, Nintendo was criticized for continuing to use cartridges in an era where CD-ROMs were taking over the marketnote , as well as the GameCube, which used proprietary, lower-capacity optical discs instead of DVDs in order to save money (namely, to prevent piracy and so that Nintendo wouldn't have to pay licensing fees to the DVD Forum), and it continued on the Wii, which was initially seen as the big winner of the seventh generation but whose main innovation, motion controls, showed its limitations early in the console's life cycle. The problem culminated in the Wii U, which ended up a commercial failure and Nintendo's worst-selling home console. A number of people blamed the "lateral thinking" design philosophy for the Wii U's downfall, considering that it got trounced by two consoles, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, that were both considerably more powerful yet barely more expensive on release due to the Wii U's main gimmick, the tablet controller, significantly driving the price up (in contrast, the Wii was the cheapest home console of its generation, giving it an extra point of appeal even towards people who didn't care much about the motion controls). When Nintendo scrapped the Wii U and released the Switch (to considerably more acclaim), they made sure that it had enough power to be competitive with its rivals, if not as a home console then most certainly in comparison to handhelds and tablets.
    • Nintendo has often had problems reinventing the wheel with their controllers, but their controllers have always been unique. One of the NES's main selling points was its four-button controls (Start, Select, A and B), which simplified gameplay compared to the number pads and joysticks of other consoles. Nintendo added four more buttons to the SNES controller (X, Y, L and R) and in the process, codified what many consider to be the perfect controller layout. To this day, the PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo DS, Switch and Valve Steam Deck control layouts all mimic the basics of the SNES controller.note  Other than small tweaks, like the PlayStation's addition of a second set of shoulder buttons and later two analog sticks or the Xbox 360 adding a Home button between Start and Select, the SNES layout is still the apex of design. After this, however, Nintendo kept making radical controller "innovations" which have been far more problematic. The Nintendo 64 controller required switching hand positions between the analog stick and D-pad (most games thus disregard one or the other), had a center trigger in addition to shoulder buttons, and also had four "directional" C-buttons in addition to the A and B buttons The GameCube had another confusing button layoutnote , and the Wii, of course, used "nunchuck" controllers that completely eschewed any form of traditional control layout.note  Fortunately for Nintendo, each of those consoles were still successful, but even then, third-party developers often cited Nintendo's controllers as a reason they avoided making Nintendo ports or exclusives, and popular genres like fighting games were usually more successful on other consoles because of the familiar controls. The Wii U tablet controller was just the last straw, evoking cries of "What the hell are we supposed to do with this?!" from casual gamers, hardcore gamers, and developers alike.
    • Nintendo reworking initially different games to serve as part of one of its own properties goes back to Super Mario Bros. 2, and served them well enough in titles like Diddy Kong Racing or Super Smash Bros.. In those cases, the original game was either already very similar to the franchise it was trying to blend in with, or so radically different that it could be declared a spinoff. However, this completely backfired in the case of Star Fox Adventures, where they tried to rework the fantastical Zelda clone Dinosaur Planet into part of a space shooter series; not only was Adventures too significant and too far distant from the last game in the series to be dismissed as a spinoff, but it was incredibly apparent that it'd once been its own game and any attempts to the contrary (a handful of token Arwing sections, a nonsensical Hand Wave for why Fox can't use a gun) were hilariously obviously tacked-on.
  • Outlast did not include any means to defend yourself against enemies. This trend continues in Outlast II, but many fans think that the lack of a way for the player to defend themselves in the sequel game makes no sense, as there are plenty of weapons lying around: hammers, scythes, crowbars, etc. and the enemies aren't genetically altered super-strong patients like in the previous game, but disease-ridden and weakened rednecks. Similarly, there's the player character's refusal to use flashlights when there are many available. The defenselessness of the player character crosses into Idiot Plot considering how many times the main characters could have been saved by simply using one of the readily available weapons and flashlights.
  • Many of the problems that caused the PlayStation 3 to struggle in its first few years of its existence were actually also present on the PlayStation 2. Like the PS3, the PS2 had a complex and exotic Central Processing Unit that many developers struggled to understand and make the most out of, especially if they were used to developing on other platforms. Both consoles also had a Graphics Processing Unit that was relatively underpowered and required the use of the CPU's more exotic features to make up for it. Last but not least, both consoles served as a showpiece for the latest and greatest optical disc format at the time. In hindsight, it looks like Sony was merely trying to replicate the success of the PS2 with the PS3. So why didn't this work as planned? The first reason probably has to with game development during The Seventh Generation of Console Video Games becoming more complex and difficult in general, which gave developers all the more reason to balk at a non-standard system that added even more complexity on top. The second was that compared to the PS2, the PS3 took Sony's love of exotic and/or brand new tech Up to Eleven. DVD was already a few years old by the time the PS2 came out, which meant that the technology and manufacturing was much more mature, allowing Sony to include it in the console and still sell it at a reasonable price - for a couple years, the PS2 was infamously cheaper than many dedicated DVD players in some areas. The PS3, however, came out mere months after the Blu-ray format itself, which meant sky-high prices for it since the economies of scale had yet to kick in, producing the console's infamous 599 US DOLLARS price point. All of this made the PS3 an expensive console with no games in its early years, and even though it would eventually Win Back the Crowd, it still would go on to be the lowest selling PlayStation console to date. The PS2 also got off easy due to it launching earlier than all of its competition save for the Dreamcast, which didn't pose much of a threat due to Sega's finances and reputation struggling in the wake of the Sega Saturn's poor sales. On the other hand, the PS3 competed against the Xbox 360, which launched a year earlier and was made by Microsoft, a huge Mega-Corp who could and would spend whatever it took to promote its product. With the Xbox 360 having a year's head start that allowed Microsoft's marketing machine to successfully sell its vision of next-gen gaming to both gamers and developers, the PS3 looked unfavorable by comparison. Sony seems to have learned their lesson with the PlayStation 4, which features a highly industry standard x86 CPU with a powerful AMD Radeon GPU.
    • Its sister console, the PlayStation Portable, had problems in its own right—a high price, a focus on graphical power for a handheld, more features than needed, and a heavy focus on Eastern RPGs. But none of these things were truly dealbreakers, and though it was a distant second to the DS, it still carved out a niche. The PlayStation Vita, its successor, doubled down on basically all these problems, resulting in it having comparable graphical prowess to the PS3 (in fact, it was relatively common for PS3 ports on the Vita to be enhanced) but being expensive to own, costly to develop for, burdened with unhelpful programs, and lacking much of anything outside of a handful of genres. On top of this, the Vita launched in a much less favorable market due to the encroachment of smartphones, and lacked the boost of pirates widening its install base, meaning its flaws shone far brighter. Despite the Vita's advantage of being the most powerful handheld on the market at the time, the Nintendo Switch would eventually steal its thunder, leading to its slow demise.
  • What initially helped Ratchet & Clank step out of the pack was the way it satirized the nature of consumerism — Mega Corps supplied most the series staples such as high-powered weapons and arena challenges, the Big Bads were often Corrupt Corporate Executives, people out to make a quick buck were a frequent obstacle, enemies were hired goons and mass-produced Mecha-Mooks — these elements made the series' famous use of destructive ordinance and snarky sense of humor fit well, and so it stands to reason why many fans attribute the franchise's faltering in later years to later installments dropping that angle in favor of a more cinematic, Family Friendly style. However, this refocus started as far back as Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, which had the duo joining the Galactic Rangers to thwart the machinations of a cartoonish super-villain, and even had Captain Quark, previously a cowardly fraud out to make a comeback through Engineered Heroics, pull a Heel–Face Turn at the end. Of course, the humor remained on-point, the characters were well-written, and the game-play was polished, allowing the game to be a classic despite focusing away from the satirical tone of its predecessors.
    Then came the Ratchet & Clank Future sub-series, which fully shifted the series in a more cinematic direction, revolving around the duo discovering their origins and coming into their role as heroes. While the Future series was well-received overall, it ultimately left the franchise without much of a direction to continue on from there, and it struggled to stay relevant even since. The cinematic re-imagining of the first game was where it became clear that the series was missing much of what gave it its charm in the first place — characters like Ratchet and Captain Qwark ironically ended up constrained by the more heroic characterizations they would grow into in the original continuity, the sense of humor was watered down, and series staples were a part of the game simply because they were staples, which ended up clashing with the more whimsical, light-hearted, and some would say generic tone the re-imagining had established. Because of this, many fans are accusing the series of trying to be the kind of Big Budget Cash Cow Franchise that earlier games would have mocked.
  • 2010's Red Dead Redemption was Rockstar Games' first open-world game with actual mid-level checkpointsnote , which allowed the game to have missions that not only were much longer and complex than those found in their earlier games, but also allowed better storytelling in the progress. In three years, their next big open-world game, Grand Theft Auto V, would bring this type of level design to the GTA series, but despite the improved narrative aspects, many players and critics started noticing that the game had a habit of Railroading the player. Then 5 years after that, Red Dead Redemption 2 was openly criticized for its overly-strict mission design that started to feel immersion-breaking; moments such as players being told to remount their horse if they stopped it 3 feet before a waypoint where they were supposed to get off their horse, missions failing instantly if the player wandered off the exact pathnote , their allies complaining if the player stops to clean their weapon, and some plot elements that would have been easily preventable if the player was not tied to the aggressive scriptingExamples (Spoilers) . Effectively, the system designed to improve the narrative was now getting so aggressive it started harming it.
  • This article by Grey Carter for The Escapist argues that RPG Elements are this for action games as a whole, having been the Trojan horse that allowed microtransactions to proliferate in singleplayer-focused games while also allowing developers to get away with sloppier balancing of enemies and combat. The thing was, in the RPGs that popularized leveling systems and loot, those mechanics were the combat gameplay. Many RPGs revolved around constantly pushing players to make their characters stronger by improving their stats and figuring out the best loadouts, the growing power being the goal in and of itself rather than the means to an end, with the actual task of fighting enemies often boiled down to simply clicking on them or going through a menu. When RPG mechanics were combined with other forms of combat gameplay, however, they threw even the most careful balancing out of whack by allowing players to grind their way to a point where they could just curb-stomp every enemy in their path without actually learning the gameplay mechanics and getting better at the game. Worse, the clear-cut stats provided with level and loot systems allowed developers to introduce microtransactions to full-price, single-player games by selling powerful weapons and stat boosters for real money.
  • Saints Row, as a series that underwent a major evolution in style through each installment, is bound to have a few examples of this:
    • The Saints Row games started out as The Rival to the Grand Theft Auto series, focusing on a more ridiculous and over-the-top experience that leaned into the Power Fantasy side of its Wide-Open Sandbox setting, a design formula that many fans felt peaked with the second game. However (as noted by Tyler J. of Cleanprincegaming), given that the first two games had both been overshadowed by competing entries in the GTA series (San Andreas and GTA IV, respectively), Volition decided to go the Denser and Wackier route with the third game in order to more effectively distinguish it from the competition. This move was met with a mixed reception from fans and critics, who felt that the game world was less cohesive and more scattershot than before, though the resulting game still retained enough of the Saints Row series' DNA to meet a positive reception. This problem grew much harder to ignore when the fourth game added aliens and superpowers and turned into more of a clone of Crackdown or inFAMOUS than anything, such that many classic gameplay elements now felt entirely pointless. After all, when your character can run faster than a speeding bullet and leap tall buildings with a single bound, what's the point of saddling yourself with a car outside of missions where you have to? The game's Troubled Production didn't help matters at all.
    • Johnny Gat is a prime example of how a Breakout Character can become a Base-Breaking Character if not handled carefully. Traces of his status as The Ace go back to the very first game, where he was by far the most competent and psychotic member of the Third Street Saints, but what is often forgotten is that he was very much a Deconstruction of stoic action heroes. When not in combat, he was a Hurting Hero due to his devotion to Aisha, and her death in the second game sends Johnny into emotional turmoil. Saints Row 2 was also the game where his reputation began to be played up, but he still wasn't a perfect, undefeatable badass as his reputation would have suggested - a significant portion of his involvement in both games involves him being laid out by an injury and having to rely on the player character to help him. Johnny's death at the start of The Third solidified his popularity in the fanbase, but his return in IV would be controversial for a variety of reasons. The Heartbroken Badass traits from before would be played down, including having him move on from Aisha. The story and every character also treats Gat as a legendary figure, including the villain who saw Gat as more of a threat than the Boss, despite them and other gang members having similar levels of competence and screentime. After IV, Johnny Gat also became the go-to character to represent the franchise, being the main focus of Gat out of Hell and a Guest Fighter in both Divekick and Agents of Mayhem. Overall, by this point many fans who had liked him earlier had gotten sick of the disproportionate amount of focus he would receive, especially as his character became shallower with time.
  • Persona
    • One complaint about the series from the Playstation 2 onward is its overuse of Prolonged Prologue, particularly with its fourth and fifth installments, where the first several hours of the game are made up almost entirely of cutscenes before one is given the full control of freetime that the series is known for. The roots of this problem can be found as early as Persona 2: Innocent Sin. The start of that game begins with the player forced to walk around their high school talking to NPCs looking for one specific NPC, watch a lengthy cutscene where the third party member is introduced and the gang has their first incident with the Joker, travel to the mall, learn how the rumor spreading mechanic works, return to the mall, and then finally get back to the high school where they started, which serves as the first dungeon. All told, it's about 30-45 minutes from starting the game to the first time the player is given actual control in combat encounters, and while that may not be as long as the prologues of later games in the franchise, it was still far from the norm for a roughly 40 hour PlayStation RPG. It seemed as though as the games got longer, so did their prologues.
    • One of the biggest complaints about Persona 5 is that Morgana stops you from going out and doing whatever you want at night, making you go to sleep, such as when you get home from a day of dungeon crawling, a story event takes place earlier that day, or when you have plans the next day. Except this is not new for the series, just the first time another character is preventing you from going out. Even in Persona 4, you are told that you can't go out at night numerous times, such as when you have to check the Midnight Channel (two or three nights in a row per dungeon, plus one time on the night of the deadline). Persona 3 had this problem less often, but the player was prohibited from going to Tartarus at night if both Mitsuru and Akihiko were unavailable that evening. The difference is that Morgana is essentially playing the same role as the fourth game's narrator, so he's easier to blame for this Scrappy Mechanic. Royal addresses this problem, since you can usually do nighttime activities at Leblancnote  even if you're not able to leave.
    • When the announcement came that the Updated Re-release Persona 5: Royal would be released as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, more than a handful of fans and critics decried what they saw as Atlus' attempt to get people to pay for the same game again on the same console three years after release. What these people tend to forget is that this is, in fact, the second time that Atlus has done something like this. Persona 3 FES, an updated rerelease of Persona 3, was released in Japan in 2007 and in the US in 2008 for the PlayStation 2, only a little more than a year after (or the same year as, in other territories like the EU and Australia) its initial release on that same console, and with less substantial changes than the ones announced for Royal. This is also to say nothing of the One Game for the Price of Two treatment of Persona 2 for both the PlayStation release and PlayStation Portable remakes. The rise of DLC/expansion packs and the fact that its two predecessors had both gotten remade for a mobile device had changed what people had come to expect for an Updated Re-release for the series.
    • Persona 3 introduced the running gag of the male characters being in a bathhouse when the female cast came in, causing the girls to go into Pervert Revenge Mode in response. Later games like 4 and Persona 5 Strikers brought it back to much criticism from fans. 3 got away with it at the time because you could avoid it in a mini game, and the party consisted of two well known perverts, so if you did get caught, it made sense for the girls to freak out and get angry (especially with Yukari and Mitsuru being the way they are). 4 and Strikers feature only one character who could be called a pervert, and in both cases the girls' reactions are far less justified because the player has no way of avoiding the issue. 4 in particular is criticized because the girls are the ones who made the mistake, and yet never apologize for it. In addition, the bathhouse scene in Persona 3 was (at least in intention) a comic relief scene in an otherwise very dark, serious toned game. The games that followed, Persona 4 in particular, are far more lighter in tone than Persona 3, making these scenes not just mean-spirited but needless as well.
  • Sierra:
    • One of the most hated characters created by the company is Cedric the Owl, who is viewed as little more than The Scrappy because of how completely and utterly useless he is as King Graham's companion. In some ways this is a bit unfair — Sierra had quite a number of useless companions in older games forcing you to do everything by yourself. For example, Keith Robinson, Sonny's partner in Police Quest II, only occasionally runs back to the squad car to get on the radio for you and otherwise does nothing at any point to help you, whether you are getting shot at, or if a plane gets hijacked by terrorists, or when you scour for clues in a murder site. Pat Morales in the third game is even worse: aside from being little more than The Millstone for Sonny by having him backtrack to assist her in even the simplest of situations, at the last segment of the game, she will reveal herself as one of the villains and kill Sonny unless he successfully got an investigation going with Internal Affairs, and if you miss it, you get no chance to backtrack. Yet neither of them received the hate Cedric got, largely because Cedric, unlike the others, was voiced — not only was he voiced by a complete amateur (one of Sierra's programming staff), but spoke some of the more narmful and hammy lines in the work (like the iconic "Look out Graham! A POOOIIIsonous snake!").
    • Many of their games include oddball puzzles (e.g. an incident in King's Quest II: Romancing the Throne where you must throw a bridle at a snake and turn it into a Pegasus, or guessing the gnome's name in the first game, both of which make little sense even today) as well as unwinnable situations (e.g. losing one of the three treasures in King's Quest I: Quest For The Crown). Most of these are heavily criticized many years later, as the senselessness of the situations were much more exposed to more players. Note that the early games were more open-world (allowing backtracking) and made it obvious you were at a dead end (compare to the fifth game where something you missed much earlier, like a fishhook on a distant island or missing the one shot at getting a moldy cheese will make it impossible to win, and you cannot go back), and that there are often alternate solutions in earlier games that will only penalize your score, such as, well, killing the snake in the second game. You get fewer points and a harder puzzle later on, but can venture onwards.
  • Silent Hill 2, while still remembered as quite possibly the best game in the Silent Hill series, held the origin of a number of trends that plagued the series in the long term.
    • The first was with its monsters. SH2 was acclaimed for its creative enemy design, the two monsters most heavily identified with the game being the chilling figure known as Pyramid Head, an Implacable Man wearing a pyramid-shaped helmet, and the sexy, faceless nurses in the hospital. They weren't the main villains, but they were both incredibly popular, and became unofficial mascots of the series. However, they served a very specific purpose in that game, acting as metaphorical representations of the protagonist James Sunderland's guilt and sexual anxiety. This didn't stop the nurses from reappearing in later games (and in the film adaptations), growing increasingly sexualized in the process, nor did it stop several attempts to try and copy Pyramid Head, be it with similar "icon" monsters (like the Butcher in Origins and the Bogeyman in Downpour) who felt shoehorned in more often than not, or by simply bringing him back straight-up (as in Homecoming, the films, and some of the comics). However, the symbolism of what they represented no longer applied in these new stories. While SH2 remembered to give its creepy, cool monsters a purpose beyond just the Rule of Scary, later games took only those monsters' most superficial elements in the name of fanservice.
    • Secondly, SH2 laid the groundwork for the series' Broken Base. Whereas the first game was about a battle with a cult known as the Order that's trying to bring about the birth of their god, the second game's story, about a man who had lost his wife only to receive a mysterious letter from her, was much smaller and more personal in scope. Outside the setting, the style, and a few Continuity Nods, it had little in common with the original game, and fans were divided between the original and the sequel almost from the get-go. The divide grew wider when the third game went back to having the Order as the villains and acted as a direct sequel to the first, with later games alternating between continuing the story of the Order and telling stories separate from it. Today, there are essentially two Silent Hill fandoms, one which prefers the Myth Arc about the Order and the other preferring the standalone stories.
    • Finally, the game introduced the concept of the protagonist having to own up to a tragic past upon entering the town, a plot point that would not only become increasingly controversial in later installments such as Homecoming and Downpour, but arguably became an Original Sin for the Survival Horror genre as a whole. It's common now for horror games to copy the idea of the horror coming from a dark secret in the protagonist's backstory that turns out to be the reason he or she is being tormented, such that it can be predictable and hard to relate, feeling less scary and more like the player is being Blamed for Being Railroaded — and that's if they even bothered to make the story make sense outside of trying to shock you. Even SH2 wasn't immune to being a bit cheap with that horror, if the wide variety of theories about the actual symbolism of the enemies and whether any two characters were experiencing the same thing in the town are any indication. SH2 managed to pull it off easier, however, partly because it was new and surprising at the time and partly because it focused less on James as a flawed man with a tragic backstory and more on him as an ordinary guy trying to survive against hordes of monsters, making his struggle feel suspenseful and the twist feel unique. This article by Kyle Campbell for Bloody Disgusting discusses it further, arguing that the back half of the Silent Hill series has consisted largely of attempts to recapture the magic of SH2's twist, no matter how much Fridge Logic it produces or how much it wastes a perfectly good plot.
  • Expansion packs have always been a part of The Sims going back to the very first game, whose first expansion Livin' Large released just six months after the base game and mostly added new items as opposed to major gameplay features (today, it would be called a minor "stuff pack"); ultimately, the first game wound up getting seven expansions. At the time, however, they were building on a truly unique base game, and after Livin' Large each expansion added new features that genuinely changed the game, such as parties, shopping, dating, vacations, pets, celebrities, and magic, while Livin' Large was packed with the original at some point after release to make up for not being all that special compared to what came later. It was only with later games when it started to get out of control. Many of these packs often retreaded content from previous games' expansions, with each game since the second having its own separate packs dedicated to college, nightlife, owning a business, pets, seasons, and vacations. This was forgiven with the second and (to a lesser extent) third games due to the genuinely new features added in the base games, but with the troubled launch of the fourth game, many fans grew to suspect that Electronic Arts and Maxis were withholding features from the base games in order to sell them back to the player at a later date. To be fair, The Sims 4 did later receive a lot of free content updates in order to Win Back the Crowd, but the cycle of expansions continued at a higher pace than ever, to the point that as of 2020 The Sims 4 has almost $800 worth of DLC.
  • Soul Series:
    • The use of Guest Fighters that can annoy fans nowadays began with Soulcalibur II, considered by many to be the best entry in the series. While back then it was considered a neat idea, today, virtually every game, especially fighting games, has at least one has made it a little harder to see the inclusion of guests as an "innovative" concept. Meanwhile, Soulcalibur has been front and center as the game where the Guest Fighter is a staple of the series, much to the annoyance of some. Often, fans hold the sentiment that staple veterans, fan-favorites, and other highly requested characters get shafted in favor of a fighter that will only be there in one game, may not have universal appeal, or looks jarringly dissimilar to the rest of the game in either aesthetics and/or gameplay, something that came to a head when Soulcalibur IV included Star Wars characters to hype up The Force Unleashed. It's understandable why you see fans who are adamant about the idea that there should be no guest characters, which would defy expectations, but that often falls on deaf ears. Although Soulcalibur V and VI did alleviate things somewhat by having their respective guests (Ezio and Geralt) be more fitting with the series' aesthetic... the latter game then went back on it and threw in 2B, a Robot Girl from a distant future/post-apocalyptic sci-fi game, as part of its season pass. Then it would zig-zag it by introducing Haohmaru who, while admittedly from a later timeline, still manages to fit in with the aesthetic.
    • The series had been fairly consistent with the roster until Soulcalibur V, which was the first game directed by Daishi Odashima. Many complained about V jumping forward 17 years while removing fan-favorites such as Sophitia, Taki, and Xianghua, while replacing them with considerably less-liked successors. However, a smaller-scale variation of this happened in the earlier games. Specifically Hwang and Li Long, who appeared in the original Soul Edge (Soul Blade in America), were removed from subsequent games and replaced by Yun-seong and Maxi respectively. This caused considerable outcry back then, but had since subsided over time. Additionally, Cassandra was meant to replace Sophitia in II, as she was the only one in the original arcade release. However, due to popular fan demand, Sophitia was brought back. Odashima would later leave Project Soul, being replaced by Masaki Hoshino and later Motohiro Okubo, who appear to have different views over the series. Hoshino's contributions (Lost Swords and Unbreakable Soul), though non-canon and largely deemed to be of middling quality, began to bring back several of the missing veterans (such as Sophitia, Cassandra, Taki, Seong Mi-na, and Amy), while Okubo doubled down by taking things back to basics and rebooting the series with VI—which rewinds to the era of the original Soulcalibur and features a substantial portion of the first two games' rosters (though with a few faces from later installments also along for the ride). Only time will tell if these efforts can undo the damage caused by V's Soft Rebootnote .
    • Soulcalibur VI created one of its own. Namco had done Day 1 DLC as a means to unlock characters before, with Soulcalibur V having Dampierre and Tekken 7 having Eliza (who debuted in the F2P installment between Tag 2 and 7, Tekken Revolution). Those times, there was practically no backlash (or at least, it was very minimal), mainly because they were niche characters who had their own fans but not a super prominent fanbase, and were not highly popular, highly requested series staples. When VI did their go-around at this, they used Tira, considered the iconic Dark Action Girl of the Soul series and a Breakout Character from III who is likely the most recognizable character created post-II. For many, it felt like using a character as well-liked, requested and iconic to the series as Tira for an incentive to increase revenue was a low blow.
    • Also, as the series went on, it began attracting more and more criticism for its increasingly Stripperiffic female character designs and focus on Jiggle Physics (particularly for Ivy and Taki) reducing what had been a serious historical fantasy to borderline sleaze like Dead or Alive, without the benefit of that series' tongue-in-cheek self-acknowledgement. However even as far back as the original Soul Blade there was an Easter Egg you could employ to cause Sophitia's skirt to disappear, or even have her fight in an actual swimsuit.
  • Square Enix's updated re-releases and ports of some of their older games once got a great deal of excitement from many RPG fans, especially those in the US and Europe. It gave many people the chance to play some of Square's classic catalog but with far less of the No Export for You, "Blind Idiot" Translation, Bowdlerisation, and financial difficulties of hunting down certain SNES cartridges that RPG fans dealt with before the very end of The '90s. In some cases, Square even remade entire games for the purposes of re-releasing them. However, during the later half of the 2000s, many of these same consumers started complaining about this practice. It became viewed as oversaturation, partially due to the huge numbers of systems that these games were playable on. Between 2005 and 2011, Square Enix re-released Final Fantasy IV alone 4 times, for example. The Troubled Production of both Final Fantasy XII and Final Fantasy XIII and the lack of a game to really fill that gap did not help either.
  • Some of the problems fans have with the later Star Fox games, primarily Star Fox Command and Star Fox Zero can be found in the earlier entries.
    • Command and Zero were criticized for their gimmicky gameplay and being considered nothing more than glorified tech demos. This was the case of the first game on the SNES. The game was made to show off the graphics possible with the Super FX chip, which were revolutionary for games at that time. This wasn't an issue as its gimmick was mainly in the graphics, and the game was still regarded for its gameplay. Command however used the DS features for its gameplay, primarily the stylus and touch screen, and the game was wildly criticized for its finicky and repetitive gameplay. Zero used the Wii U Pad for a lot of its functions and also came to be regarded as frustrating to use as well for some people. The fact that there's no way to use traditional controls for either of these games also didn't help.
    • Krystal's sudden change in character was also one of the biggest criticisms in Command. This wasn't the first time it happened. Before her debut in Star Fox Adventures, she went from a modestly dressed courageous heroine in Dinosaur Planet to a telepathic Nubile Savage Ms. Fanservice who gets captured in the prologue as we know her today. Fox also received a shift in personality too when Saber's personality and lines were transferred to Fox when the former was axed. While Krystal being reduced to a Damsel in Distress was and is still criticized, she gets rid of that aspect in Assault and Fox's change didn't detract that much from the plot. However, Krystal becomes a Woman Scorned in Command as Fox removing her from the team causes romantic drama between her and him, which ended up consuming nearly the entirety of the game's plot. While she can get together with Fox again and go back to her original self, it only happens if you chose the best possible path in an ending that's considered non-canon anyway and this is currently the last Star Fox game she appeared in, so the point is still moot considering she hasn't had any chance to return to her prior characterization.
    • The main complaint of Star Fox Zero is that it's a rehash of Star Fox 64 and yet another continuity reboot. This can be traced back to 64 itself, as that game was more or less a remake and a reboot of the first Star Fox game. Aside from a few fans, it wasn't that much of an issue as the first timeline barely had any lore to it at all (with an intended sequel not seeing release until more than two decades later) and 64 improved on every aspect of the original game. Zero on the other hand was polarizing for its control system and retconning the 64 timeline which had several defenders despite the controversial sequels to it, particularly fans of Krystal and Panther who were not happy that they were written out. Zero is often held as proof that Nintendo can't get out of 64's shadow.
  • The Star Ocean franchise had long been considered to have fairly standard JRPG storytelling that was nothing to write home about, but was made up for by having good gameplay. When Star Ocean: Integrity and Faithlessness was criticized for its gameplay, it brought the fact of it having a fairly weak story as well to the forefront.
  • Street Fighter fans became rather burned out on the series after Ultra Street Fighter IV came out, adding yet more characters to an already-overcrowded roster and making the combo system even more complicated with Red Focus. Casual fans complained because now they were being asked to spend even more money on what is essentially a single game that cost roughly $100 in total (even more if you purchased all the DLC) and had now become so incredibly difficult to play that getting started now would take months of training just to learn the basics. Fans of Street Fighter since 1991 can tell you that this sounds very familiar. Street Fighter II went through the same problems — although the competitive scene reveres the Super Turbo edition as the series' best, by the time it came out, the casual fans were just about done. Further sub-series in the franchise (such as Alpha and III) increased the complexity of the fighting system, making it nigh-inaccessible for casual players, and by the time the console version of Alpha 3 hit shelves, the roster had expanded to thirty-six. These problems are why the series took such a long hiatus between EX3 and SFIV. Capcom decided to take a "back to basics" approach with Street Fighter V in terms of gameplay, focusing on fundamentals and accessibility, and starting off "small" much like many of the other sub-series' initial iterations (16 characters in the base roster + 6 DLC characters for Year 1) in response to these complaints. Unfortunately, this led to fandom infighting whenever "new" fighters, be they former NPCs Promoted to Playable or actual new faces, were unveiled beginning in Season 2 after the return of Akuma, as many complained about the "missing" characters who were mainstays in previous entries or wanted to see more characters who had been on a Long Bus Trip since their last sightings (in the vein of Karin, R. Mika, Alex, and Urien). Capcom was able to strike a finer, less "controversial" balance with Season 3; only two of the six characters were newcomers, and the first S3 fighter to be revealed was none other than perennial fan-favorite Sakura.
  • Tales Series:
    • The problem with the games relying on DLC over in game rewards all started with the Updated Re-release of Tales of Vesperia, which had costumes that could only be obtained by preorders, and then more that can only be obtained by paying with real money. While this upset some fans, the game overall was still very meaty and had easily the most in-game costumes in the series before or since. The very next game, Tales of Graces, had no more than two in-game costumes per character (to compare, everyone in the rerelease of Vesperia had at least five, with Yuri and Karol having well over that), with the rest only available through DLC. The game after that, Tales of Xillia, had four, not even one for each character, and two of them were for the female lead. Games after Xillia have gotten worse with this, to the point where Tales of Zestiria only offered recolors of the characters main outfits, unless you bought the DLC for it. This reached a tipping point with Tales of Arise, which had only a few in game costumes that weren't recolors of existing outfits, but also had DLC costumes that had gameplay benefits due to each costume giving a title that included skills and Artes, resulting in a lot of criticism of the game for it.
    • From Tales of Graces to Tales of Zestiria complaints arose of the series suffering a Seasonal Rot thanks to the stories suffering from a Cliché Storm, where the game's plot and characters were seen as boring or weak. The series has always had cliché storm issues, but what made the games before this point fine was the intense Deconstructor Fleet each game had. For example: Tales of Symphonia heavily deconstructed The Chosen One from start to end, Tales of the Abyss deconstructed Fate and Prophecy Tropes, and Tales of Vesperia deconstructed Protagonist-Centered Morality and the concept of vigilantism vs following laws. All of them used the cliché storm to create unique stories that used the nature of those clichés to highlight how realistic they would be. Graces onward though played the clichés too straight, such as Graces' themes of The Power of Friendship without deconstructing any of it, with only Tales of Berseria seen as doing a good job of returning to deconstructing themes and characters.
    • Tales of Zestiria received criticism for its use of Guest-Star Party Member in the form of Alisha, who was an Advertised Extra and left the party after only a quarter of the game had been explored, only returning as playable for one small section and the optional DLC. The series always had characters like this, the most notable ones being Leon, Kratos and Zelos, Asch, Flynn, and Richard, all of whom joined for either one fight/dungeon, or joined for a short period in the story before not becoming playable again. However, what made them fine in the eyes of fans was that they all were still important to the story; Leon, Kratos, and Richard all become antagonists some time after you get them (and in Kratos' case, he's in the party from the first boss battle until the end of the first act), while characters like Asch and Flynn are important to the story as foils to the main characters, and Zelos only leaves for good if you choose to let it happen. At the very least, they all had a good justification in the story for being only around for a short time or leaving for the rest of the game. Alisha, however, rather suddenly leaves the party after only a few hours with a justification that comes across as an Ass Pull, and is quickly replaced by someone else who plays entirely differently for the rest of the game. Furthermore, other guest characters were portrayed as important but had their full role kept a mystery until release, so it wasn't very jarring for them to leave; Alisha, meanwhile, had her departure come off as very strange after the game spent her screentime playing her up as a main character.
  • Telltale Games always had a problem with providing players merely the illusion of choice, as seemingly plot-critical decisions only left an impact for a few moments or affected how a subplot would be resolved before the main story simply progressed with little deviation. This problem goes all the way back to their Breakthrough Hit, The Walking Dead: Season One, where, no matter what you did over the course of the story, the Broad Strokes of the ending were basically the same. The difference was that not only was Telltale's style of games still very new and fresh, but your choices did affect the tone of the ending as it confronted you with all the decisions you made up to that point, judging whether or not the protagonist Lee was a good person. As Telltale recycled the formula with subsequent games, however, the seams in the storytelling and branching paths grew easier to spot as players caught on.
  • One of the biggest complaints about the Tekken roster is that the roster has become increasingly unbelievable as the years went on, focusing less on actual martial arts and artists and more on made-up styles that look cool with blatant anime influences. It reached a sort of critical mass in Tekken 7, when Lucky Chloe, an extremely kawaii pop-idol with Gratuitous English who fights by dancing, was made into an official character, leading to unbridled rage in the West. While Harada said that he would replace her with a muscular skinhead in the US, it was confirmed he was only trolling, and so Western gamers shared a Collective Groan over having to deal with her. That's not with mentioning other unrealistic characters, such as Kazumi, Claudio, Gigas, and Akuma. However, this type of unbelievability was there from the beginning. The original Tekken featured Yoshimitsu, a cyborg ninja that seemed completely out of place amongst a roster of mostly martial arts-based fighters. There was also Kuma, a bear as a playable character, which was also out of place. The sequel even added a Boxing Kangaroo and a freaking utahraptor. The primary difference here is the fact that these characters were few and far between, instead of being shoved in as the stars of the game and taking up a sizable portion of the roster. Despite this, Lars, Alisa, and Kunimitsu II (ninjutsu is real but she utilizes a very fantastic style of it) are very popular among the fandom despite their fighting styles being made up as Chloe's. Not to mention that Chloe’s usage was at its highest in North America, the place where she initially received the most hate.
  • Tomb Raider took a lot of beating from fandom for overemphasis on shooting with human combatants, with greatly simplified platforming bits and removal of puzzles by the time Square Enix took over. Lara almost literally ploughs through a small army in the last three games. However, the much bigger scope on combat was present already back in the second game, all the way back in 1997, with introduction of a wider plethora of weapons and numerous humans enemies that were just Mooks instead of plot-sensitive characters. But back in times when Core Design was still making the games, it was still first and foremost a Dungeon Crawling series, putting puzzles and exploration first, second and third, throwing in more combat simply to make the difficulty spike even more steep. When Crystal Dynamics took over, they expanded on combat, while simplifying puzzles and automating a lot of platforming already, but they still tried to strike at least a balance between those and keeping it "true" to the roots. It was only that the 2013 reboot reduced exploration and tomb-raiding to side activities (despite having much better engine and technical capabilities), instead putting full focus on cover-shooting, elaborate combat against a seemingly endless army of mooks and clumsily trying to put focus on characterisation, basically reinventing Laranote  as a character and turning the title into The Artifact.
  • American Wasteland may have marked the exact moment when the Tony Hawk series' franchise zombification became irreversible, but as this episode of {Errant Signal} makes clear, the things that sent it and later games off the rails can be seen as far back as the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games, when the series was still on top of the world.
    • Even in the very first game, the way combos are scored (powerful multipliers awarded for each little trick, losing everything for bailing) helped elevate rail-slides, which created tons of opportunities to perform little stunts, above everything else. The addition of manuals in Pro Skater 2 only added to the combo focus by allowing players to string together different lines, though the game design didn't suffer for it. The kicker, though, was the introduction of reverts in Pro Skater 3. Now you can do air on a quarter-pipe and link it into a manual, making the expected combos longer (and riskier, since bailing cancels out the whole thing) even for relatively casual players who didn't make as much use of the long grind and manual chains in the earlier games.

      Increasingly, gameplay grew more dependent on over-the-top stunt chains than anything resembling real skateboarding, while the intricate level design of the first game, designed to get the player to hunt for the best line, was replaced with a greater focus on level exploration and creating monster combos anywhere. When Underground added the ability to walk around on foot and drive around in vehicles, it was acknowledging this growing shift in focus — and in doing so, it started the series' trend towards over-reliance on gimmicks like Project 8's "Nail the Trick" feature and Ride's use of an expensive skateboard peripheral. Every new feature made the games less focused on actual skateboarding — something that was made readily apparent when Skate came out without any of these gimmicks and proved that they were unnecessary. Indeed, when the Video Game Remake Pro Skater 1 + 2 came out in 2020, it offered the ability to turn off the more recent gameplay innovations of the later games and play them with the classic controls, in recognition of the fact that the new tricks like manuals, reverts, and spine transfers could make the original levels (all faithfully recreated) far easier.
    • Likewise, the juvenile humor and pop culture references that were criticized in later games have always been with the series. The games are rooted in skateboarding culture, which has always had a streak of countercultural irreverence, so it stood to reason that the series would reflect that. It was only around Pro Skater 4 and the Underground games that they really started to take over and, more importantly, degenerate into fratbro idiocy, with the final straw probably being the inclusion of the cast of Jackass in Underground 2.
  • The X-Universe series of games had fundamentally flawed gameplay design — in the developer's own opinion — due to the Singularity Engine Time Accelerator, a device which makes the game run faster to make the long travel times bearable. It wasn't too bad with the simplistic gameplay of X: Beyond the Frontier, but as the games went on, it became more and more obvious to Egosoft that they had built up the entire game around the abuse of SETA. If they were to speed up the slow item production rate at factoriesnote , the economy would implode when the player traveled across a sector with SETA. If they were to make ships faster to reduce travel time, the AI would break (well, break harder than normal), battles would turn into jousting matches, and the economy would implode from traders instantly grabbing every deal. They attempted to rectify the flaw in X Rebirth by introducing a completely different travel system and were somewhat successful, though the nigh-unplayable state of affairs at release brought up a whole slew of new issues.
    • Ironically, SETA was re-added to Rebirth in one of the many Win Back the Crowd patches, albeit not as something necessary to play the game without losing one's mind like it was in the previous games. SETA returns out-of-the-box in X4: Foundations, but the rest of the game has been reworked so extensively that it is mostly a quality-of-life feature for fleet and production management; ships now have an innate fast-travel mode on their thrusters, and the player can unlock the ability to teleport between ships.
  • A major problem fans had with the second entry of the Zero Escape series, Virtue's Last Reward, was the inclusion of Alice and the lack of her role in the story. Major spoiler for the first game, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, follows: In that game, the characters discussed an urban legend about a mummy named All-Ice who was hinted at being the unaccounted person who may or may not be behind the murders. No mummy was discovered but in the epilogue, the cast is shocked when they see a woman wearing stereotypical Egyptian clothes in the middle of the desert. It should be noted that nobody actually knew what All-Ice was supposed to look like. The first game was originally intended to be standalone, but since it became a surprise hit with western fans, a sequel was greenlit which forced the main writer to figure out how to make sense of the Gainax Ending.


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