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Top 10 Games That Take Themselves WAY Too Seriously

VO: Dan Paradis
Script written by Nathan Sharp It’s okay buddy, we all think you’re cool. Welcome to and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Games That Take Themselves WAY Too Seriously. Special thanks to our user “trtwatchmojo” for suggesting this topic using our interactive suggestion tool at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Games That Take Themselves Too Seriously

Ease up, guys. Games are about having fun, remember? Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 games that take themselves too seriously.

For this list, we’ll be looking at video games that took themselves and their stories far too seriously, whether it be through melodramatic narratives, pretentious themes, or overly-moody and edgy characters.

#10: “Call of Duty: Ghosts” (2013)

“Ghosts” was an extremely promising entry in the then-stagnating series, as Stephen Gaghan, the screenwriter behind acclaimed films such as “Syriana” and “Traffic,” was penning the script. Unfortunately for us, the final product was a hokey Roger Moore era Bond romp mixed with the grit of “Call of Duty,” and critics thought that the two were…less than compatible. The story opens with The Federation, whom are made up of South American countries, hijacking a super weapon space station and uses kinetic bombardment to decimate cities, and it only gets goofier from there, including a firefight... in space.

#9: “Assassin’s Creed III” (2012)

The “Assassin’s Creed” series has always been a little too serious given its subject matter, what with its Templars, Apple of Edens and, of course, the animus, but this third instalment ups the contrast between the serious and the outlandish to ridiculous levels. While the setting of the American Revolutionary War is great in concept, it’s all played very straight, with a tone that could be described as too on-the-nose, and we can’t help but smirk at the seriousness of it all. What should feel like an adventure story ends up being derailed by its own convolution. This is an example of gameplay and tone simply not matching up.

#8: “The Witness” (2016)

While there is no doubt that Jonathan Blow a brilliant game designer, he also creates some REALLY dramatic and self-important games. Case in point: 2008’s “Braid,” and his follow-up, “The Witness,” a beautiful game that has you complete line puzzles in a beautiful and lush environment. There isn’t much of a story to be found in “The Witness,” or at least not on the surface. Instead, players are forced to rely on obscure audio logs, clues in the environment, and overly complex puzzles to figure out what the game “means.” Some theories suggest that the story is about epiphanies; others wax philosophical about the ways it explores the nature of humanity. Need we say more?

#7: “The Darkness” (2007)

“The Darkness” follows the story of the emo-looking Jackie Estacado, a hitman who is marked for death by a cliché mobster by the name of Uncle Paulie Franchetti. While on the run, the “Darkness” reveals itself within Jackie, granting him demonic powers and snake-tentacle things, which he uses on his quest to kill Paulie. It’s a very standard mob revenge story; complete with drug shipments and corrupt police officers, only with, you know, demonic snake tentacles thrown in for extra edgy-ness. We understand the anti-establishment, comic book antihero thing they were going for, but they simply didn’t do enough to earn all that darkness – no pun intended.

#6: “Watch_Dogs” (2014)

“Watch Dogs” was a highly anticipated game, as we couldn’t wait for the fun of cruising through Chicago and hacking into machines with our phone. It’s a shame that this brooding mess is what we got instead. Immediately one of the biggest issues that stood out was the protagonist, Aiden Pearce, who was nothing but an overly-moody and boring character with little-to-no development or nuance. The game’s attempts at gravitas also fall considerably flat, as few characters are worth caring about and the story follows the typical revenge drama beats and tropes. Ubisoft tried to remedy the melodramatic tone with the more tongue-in-cheek sequel, but it did little to right the ship of the series.

#5: “Max Payne 3” (2012)

Yes, the previous two “Max Payne” titles were also quite dark, but they were relatively simple and straightforward revenge tales, and the tone felt earned. In this third instalment, we find Max as a dishevelled alcoholic in Sao Paulo working security. When his boss’s wife is kidnapped, we’re thrown into a sprawling and complex web, which ends in… organ harvesting? Honestly the plot was trying so hard to be gritty that it ended up being complete nonsense, and Max’s constant Shakespearian soliloquies only add to the game’s overly serious tone. It’s almost as if the game was trying really hard to be dark or moody, that it threw common sense out the window.

#4: “Fez” (2012)

Man, you’d think this thing would be the be-all-end-all of gaming the way it was hyped up! After being nominated for two awards years before its release at the 2008 GDC Independent Games Festival, “Fez” was riding the hype train thanks to the swelling interest in indie games at the time. Developer Phil Fish was infamous during development for his outspoken and prickly personality, often clashing with co-developers, threatening to kill himself, and constantly attacking others on Twitter, which, as a side note, eventually led to the cancelation of “Fez 2.” The end product was a delight, but was bogged down by the notorious, self-serious and oppositional persona of its creator.

#3: “Homefront” (2011)

The idea of a third World War inspired by the strained relations with North Korea is a frighteningly interesting one, especially due to the fact that the game addresses real-world events as catalysts for its fictional conflict. However, if you think “Call of Duty” is too dramatic, you haven’t seen anything yet. The story is over-the-top, with a Greater Korean Republic launching a space weapon which sends a massive EMP over America, but the game is littered with terrifying scenes, like hiding in a mass grave. The disconnect between the bizarre James Bond-style plot devices and gritty war scenarios led to a tone that was inconsistent, yet always gloomy.

#2: “Beyond: Two Souls” (2013)

Along with David Cage’s other work; “Heavy Rain,” an equally grandiose and somewhat joyless crime story, “Beyond: Two Souls” is an exercise in melodrama set to sci-fi conventions and tropes. Despite the rather absurd premise of a woman sharing a cosmic link to an otherworldy entity, this feels like the Oscar-bait of video games. We’re constantly bombarded with scenarios that would be tear-jerkers in other stories, but the disconnect we have with the characters and the somewhat pretentious plotting and time jumping only leads us to boredom. It’s also constantly changing genres, like the game wants to be a jack-of-all-trades, and it just screams “trying too hard.”

#1: “Shadow the Hedgehog” (2005)

Seriously, what were Sega thinking with Shadow AKA Sonic the “Edgehog?” The game features typical Sonic gameplay, like running really fast and collecting rings, but it also features some ridiculous new mechanics, like shooting at enemies with automatic weapons, while also showing cutscenes of Shadow riding around on a motorcycle, because it’s BADASS or something like that. Many claimed that the voice actors took the material far too seriously for its own good, but honestly the material itself wasn’t doing them any favors either. Oh, and the big-bad looks like something out of a Spawn comic. Talk about losing touch with the tone of a franchise.

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