Now I should put out a disclaimer that I do not own an xbox or a 360 and have played through single player (the whole way through) for only the first Halo, but I've heard countless people essentially say that Halo 3 was awesome because it was "more of the same, 'nuff said" and that type of thing. And while I admit that multiplayer for each of Halo games is incredible, I personally didn't see Halo 3 as standing out that much. In my opinion, for a game to be "great" it really has to achieve something new or really surprise me, and for a game that's prided for it's Multiplayer I didn't really see anything special.
For instance, in my opinion Bioshock was great because, unlike almost any other game I've played for the past few years, I really felt as if I was trapped in Rapture. It was one of, if not THE, most atmospheric game I've ever played.
Additionally, Portal was one of the most innovative games I've ever played, and except for maybe San Andreas, it was also one of the funniest. For these reasons, despite it's short length, I consider it another one of the greatest games of all time.
I think that the gaming industry is becoming lazy and falling apart due to its lack of innovation. Sure, being pretty may make a game more enjoyable, but does it really define excellence? Look at Portal: in almost all respects the game is very very bland visually. Nearly all of the rooms look exactly the same and the exact same textures are used repeatedly but is that distracting? No, because the gameplay is so innovative and perfect
that it hides the monotonous visuals. Think about it, how often do you go back and play games that are 2 or 3 or 5 or 10 years old? I do all the time, and I'd like to think I'm not the only one. Look at how popular games like starcraft and warcraft are - they are by no means up to date graphically, but their balanced gameplay and fantastic replayability keep people coming back. Another example: Heroes of Might and Magic III, one of my favorite games. It was made several years ago, is completely two dimensional, is turn based, and, of course, very old. Yet it is still one of the most balanced, intuitive, innovative, replayable, and fun games I've ever encountered, and for that reason I love loading it up when a friend is over and going at it against each other long into the night.
I'm sick of the gaming industry recycling old garbage, sprucing it up with fancy effects, high resolution textures and DirectX 10 (which, in turn, cause us to waste huge amounts of money on new hardware and the newest consoles), selling it for 60 bucks, slapping on DRM, and then expecting us to beat it in 10 hours and buy some more of their crap.
Now, I know this may sound pretty angry and all, and I will be the first to admit that there have been some great games this year (see: Bioshock, Portal, Assassin's Creed (so I hear), and Mass Effect (again, I don't have a 360 so I haven't played it for myself yet)), but there has been quite a bit of games that were clearly made for the sole purpose of making the industry money, not for entertaining the customer. That's what it's all about, right? Don't we play games to have fun?
Personally, the real reason I haven't bought more than 5 games this year is I find myself consistently turning back to playing older games, such as Warcraft 3 and others that I have mentioned, and consistently not being impressed by the new games the industry is dishing out to us.
PS: It's late and I just finished a LOST marathon with my family, sue me
PPS: THE CAKE IS A LIE!