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What are your problematic favorites?

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
8,279
Before I explain what I mean by problematic, let me make one thing clear: This thread is NOT intended to endorse or normalize problematic content in games, but rather to provide a place for people to shed light on some aspects of their beloved games that they take issue with.

If anyone feels this thread is harmful in any way, let me know (through PMs if you wish) and I'll ask for the thread to be closed.

Content warnings for bigotry of any sort apply in this thread.

--

By "problematic", I don't simply mean "not fun", or "grindy", or other issues that are relatively superficial in a game's messaging. I'm talking about political and moral aspects of a game you find offensive even if you like the game itself.

--

My pick is Persona 4. I absolutely adore many aspects of this game. The music is incredible, the atmosphere is more immersive than any other work of fiction I've experienced, and Inaba is simply one of the best-realized settings in the entire medium.

But the game's homophobic. Like, sometimes-literally-contradicts-the-story's-main-message-to-be-homophobic level homophobic. It's hard to justify praising and recommending the game when it deliberately has such a glaring flaw , in spite of just about everything else (dungeons aside) being a masterpiece in my eyes.
 

hotcyder

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,818
I like Duke Nukem 3Ds Level Design? But at this point most of its gratuity could be modded out and it wouldn’t change what I like about it.
 

Fliviuart

Member
May 11, 2018
1,029
User banned (5 days): Drive-by, history of severe infraction.
I guess 'problematic' is THE buzzword of 2018-2019, eh?
 

Arsenekinz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,784
Canada
Catherine for sure. I love the gameplay and im currently trying to 100% but its definitely got some problematic shit in its story lol.
 

CaviarMeths

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,085
Western Canada
Persona 4 and 5 are good picks, yeah. P4G in particular is one of my favorite games of all time, but you can't deny how Yosuke's shitty bigotry goes completely unchecked throughout the entire game. And Atlus clearly learned nothing because P5 is no better in that department.

I also loved Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates despite quite a bit of creepiness regarding sexualization young or young-looking characters.
 

Redcrayon

Zoinks!
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
6,158
UK
I really like Ys VIII, it’s one of only two 50 hour games this gen I’ve played through twice. However, if I had one criticism of it, Dana’s outfit (and her alternate outfits) in particular is utterly ridiculous combat lingerie crap. Strips of cloth and platemail armoured panties and hips, essentially. The guys get a variety of different gear, she just gets more equally-skimpy and equally-impractical outfits.

On it’s own and viewed in isolation, it’s a minor point compared to stuff like the bigotry and creepy sexualisation of minors listed by others above, but the ridiculously sexualised design is an example of something really pervasive too. I get that fantasy art and fashion just lead to weird choices occasionally while searching for something new and eye catching (Hi Tidus, Lulu, a dozen other FF characters etc). But when the titillation is both predictable and templated, it just stands out when the other cast members have things that speak of who they are, where they are from and their current situation, instead of what they aren’t wearing and the stupid things they are. It‘s like, as a priestess from a primitive society in a hot climate, there are ways that she could have been wearing just as little as everyone else without having a completely different design based around trying to be naked, clothed and armoured all at the same time while having everything pointing to her crotch.
 
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Gakidou

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,421
pip pip cheerio fish & chips
Oh yeah easy

-Danganronpa and Ace Attourney are like massively transphobic and use transphobic slurs but like, they're also about dealing with problematic people and ultimately promote understanding. They both have individual cases that make sense in isolation but contribute to a bigger picture that dismisses body dysphoria as a cultural-driven insecurity to be fixed.

- Every game where you just mercilessly slaughter aliens/robots/wyverns for being not pro-human enough is PROBLEMATIC, so like every platformer, rpg or tower defense or fps ever I guess. Fun tho. When it comes to games like Xenoblade or Monster Hunter I assume there's kind of an implication that someone from your base gathers the rest of the monster's resources and not just like 1x dragon fang and sheepodile liver and just leave the rest of their corpse to rot while you go murder 20 more.

- Again there's too many to name but games that have the LOVEABLE PERVERT trope like some weird older dude or playboy party member who makes inappropriate comments at young women. Prettymuch every square enix game i have played has some kinda character like this somewhere. OH HO HO ITS NICE TO SEE SUCH LOVELY HEALTHY WOMEN AROUND THE TAVERN WITH NICE BODIES yeah how quaint that's not a weird thing to say about 16 year olds who are travelling alone. Hate it. Love FF/DQ/CT/etc tho.

- Hyrule Warriors with Lana who is the good girl and she has pale skin and a youthful physique and Cia is the bAD GIRL and she has dark skin and bigger breasts with more exposed skin. x_x just drop a moon on me already im done
 

NecroTechno

Member
Oct 25, 2017
274
geohell
When it comes to games like Xenoblade or Monster Hunter I assume there's kind of an implication that someone from your base gathers the rest of the monster's resources and not just like 1x dragon fang and sheepodile liver and just leave the rest of their corpse to rot while you go murder 20 more.
This contradiction is so plainly evident in Monster Hunter World. The devs, or at least the localisation team, understood how much the game is a colonialist fantasy where the primary mechanic is the destruction, exploitation, and consumption of the natural environment for the benefit of the humans (and palicoes to some extent, despite occupying some sort of slave class in the social hierarchy of the world - also problematic). Someone during the writing process was clued into how well this might come of in the current climate, so the game is filled with empty messaging about "balancing the natural world" and looking after the environment.
 

Redcrayon

Zoinks!
Moderator
Oct 27, 2017
6,158
UK
Oh yeah easy

-Danganronpa and Ace Attourney are like massively transphobic and use transphobic slurs but like, they're also about dealing with problematic people and ultimately promote understanding. They both have individual cases that make sense in isolation but contribute to a bigger picture that dismisses body dysphoria as a cultural-driven insecurity to be fixed.

- Every game where you just mercilessly slaughter aliens/robots/wyverns for being not pro-human enough is PROBLEMATIC, so like every platformer, rpg or tower defense or fps ever I guess. Fun tho. When it comes to games like Xenoblade or Monster Hunter I assume there's kind of an implication that someone from your base gathers the rest of the monster's resources and not just like 1x dragon fang and sheepodile liver and just leave the rest of their corpse to rot while you go murder 20 more.

- Again there's too many to name but games that have the LOVEABLE PERVERT trope like some weird older dude or playboy party member who makes inappropriate comments at young women. Prettymuch every square enix game i have played has some kinda character like this somewhere. OH HO HO ITS NICE TO SEE SUCH LOVELY HEALTHY WOMEN AROUND THE TAVERN WITH NICE BODIES yeah how quaint that's not a weird thing to say about 16 year olds who are travelling alone. Hate it. Love FF/DQ/CT/etc tho.

- Hyrule Warriors with Lana who is the good girl and she has pale skin and a youthful physique and Cia is the bAD GIRL and she has dark skin and bigger breasts with more exposed skin. x_x just drop a moon on me already im done
Monster Hunter is an interesting one. In it’s defence the cities are built out of all natural materials, huge bones and horns and whatever, and so are all the equipment, consumables, ships and airships etc. However, while the plotlines of ‘malign beast threatens rural village!’ or ‘monsters are infected with a rage-virus, stop them before they wipe out everything and the entire ecosystem!’ are fair enough, when it’s ‘kill twenty of x so I can make a pretty new necklace!’ or whatever, the whole ‘being part of balancing a hostile-yet-beautiful world’ element falls apart.

And yeah, the ‘comedic pervert’ trope is just awful.
 

rochellepaws

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,842
Ireland
Catherine is a great pick. A fascinating game that wades into relationship, maturity and adapting to adulthood themes that gaming rarely tackles but it was loaded with problematic points.

The game is designed squarely for the male gaze between the provocative, sexualised boxart to the way the game constantly portrays Vincent as a "victim" despite him being in a stable relationship and cheating on his girlfriend. Both women are troped to the extreme with Catherine as an object of desire and Katherine an object of fear of responsibility and commitment, neither of them feel like a real person and the game doesn't interested in exploring that.
Ultimately Vincent was a pathetic person with a girlfriend he didn't deserve who was grappling with basic human decency and adult responsibility as a 32 year old but the game seemed intent on framing him as some relatable ordinary hero trying his best which was a bit gross.
 

EarthPainting

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,627
Town adjacent to Silent Hill
I like Japanese games that cover sociological themes, but many of them suffer from the same thing the OP described. For instance there are quite a few writers (See: Persona, Ace Attorney, Danganronpa, etc.) that are interested in LGBT-adjacent stories, but bend over backwards to make sure none of it is actually LGBT when push comes to shove. It can still go to interesting places and have stuff to say, but it's just really frustrating. Maybe these convoluted cop-out twists wouldn't be as annoying if actual LGBT characters were also represented in these stories, since it's pretty slim pickings in general. It also bugs me when they are working towards a point, and then completely crap all over it an hour later, just so they can make a cheap joke or lame fanservice. Persona 5 is the poster child of this for me. They'll dedicate a whole chapter to a teacher abusing his power to abuse his students, and they handle it with the gravitas it deserves. Then the next chapter they'll go back to making sexual harassment jokes to one of the old victims, and even later you can start blackmailing your teacher into starting a relationship with you. It's gross, and it's made twice as gross because the game clearly has shown it understood why these things were wrong earlier.

On the flip side at least, it is nice when you see these problematic things evolve over time though. I enjoy Deadly Premonition quite a bit, but that game dabbles in some unfortunate misogynist and homophobic tropes to ramp up tension and horror. I am glad the author never gave up on female and LGBT characters though, since it's easier to avoid stuff than learning and improving. He was eventually able to work towards something as cool as The Missing, which was one of the more powerful stories about the subjects I had played in a while.
 

HenryEen

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,211
Monster Hunter I assume there's kind of an implication that someone from your base gathers the rest of the monster's resources and not just like 1x dragon fang and sheepodile liver and just leave the rest of their corpse to rot while you go murder 20 more.
For old Monster Hunter games, it was assumed that you only did each quest once, with subsequent replay are not considered canon (especially for Elder Dragons or story important monster).

For MHWorld they kinda try to justify Investigation with “overpopulation” reason.

That being said, lots of the quests description in MH are straight up wacky lol (my favorite is monk that want to replicate Journey To The West with Rajang as Sunwukong), even in the more serious World (someone asked you to capture Odogaron because he miss his dog pet).
 

Clive

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,131
The Dead Rising series has some horrific transgender stereotypes and doesn't exactly tackle mental health issues gracefully. Some parts of these games always make me feel uncomfortable because of how certain groups are treated as a joke.
 

Muskieratboi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
798
Shadow Complex.

One of the best Metroidvanias of the 360/PS4 generation, and the game itself is great, but the world it inhabits has Orson Scott Card and his rather regressive views written all over it.
 

Vague Rant

Member
Oct 28, 2017
34
Melbourne, Australia
Pretty cold take, but: any Metroid game where Samus strips for you if you play well. The games are almost flawless in every other way. I take some comfort in the fact that I prefer to play for completion over speed, so I always end up with a fully-suited Samus at the end of the game. But it's still tacky as hell.
 

Fizz

Member
Jul 15, 2019
81
Ontario, Canada
I find Bayonetta to be a bit heavy with it's male gaze and while the story and the gameplay are a ton of fun, the way it leers at characters on screen makes it difficult for me to play when anyone else is around. This is a good read for anyone interested.
 

yuoke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,734
Pretty cold take, but: any Metroid game where Samus strips for you if you play well. The games are almost flawless in every other way. I take some comfort in the fact that I prefer to play for completion over speed, so I always end up with a fully-suited Samus at the end of the game. But it's still tacky as hell.
It's just done for tradition's sake now. They did it in the original game just as a plot twist thing, so it made sense. Every time after is "fanservice". The prime 2 and 3 ones are dumb because they pan up her body. At least for zero mission, they have shots of her in the world to give some world building.
 

Glass Arrows

Member
Jan 10, 2019
1,413
House of Fata Morgana is probably the best VN I've ever played and it does display some unusual emotional intelligence for a game of its kind. But there is one part of the game near the end that stuck out like a sore thumb to me.

Jacopo's feelings for Morgana being romantic is super gross considering he was 22 and she was 12 when they met. The game acknowledges this is weird but it's just treated as mildly embarrassing at worst. Jacopo says he has no plans to do anything to her until she's older but it doesn't make it any less creepy.

This is on top of the fact that Jacopo arguably does things in the prior story that might stretch sympathy for him already, like being a flat out domestic abuser, but at least the game acknowledges the abuse is wrong and part of his toxic masculinity.
 
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Bobo Dakes

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
21,813
Oh yeah easy

-Danganronpa and Ace Attourney are like massively transphobic and use transphobic slurs but like, they're also about dealing with problematic people and ultimately promote understanding. They both have individual cases that make sense in isolation but contribute to a bigger picture that dismisses body dysphoria as a cultural-driven insecurity to be fixed.

- Every game where you just mercilessly slaughter aliens/robots/wyverns for being not pro-human enough is PROBLEMATIC, so like every platformer, rpg or tower defense or fps ever I guess. Fun tho. When it comes to games like Xenoblade or Monster Hunter I assume there's kind of an implication that someone from your base gathers the rest of the monster's resources and not just like 1x dragon fang and sheepodile liver and just leave the rest of their corpse to rot while you go murder 20 more.

- Again there's too many to name but games that have the LOVEABLE PERVERT trope like some weird older dude or playboy party member who makes inappropriate comments at young women. Prettymuch every square enix game i have played has some kinda character like this somewhere. OH HO HO ITS NICE TO SEE SUCH LOVELY HEALTHY WOMEN AROUND THE TAVERN WITH NICE BODIES yeah how quaint that's not a weird thing to say about 16 year olds who are travelling alone. Hate it. Love FF/DQ/CT/etc tho.

- Hyrule Warriors with Lana who is the good girl and she has pale skin and a youthful physique and Cia is the bAD GIRL and she has dark skin and bigger breasts with more exposed skin. x_x just drop a moon on me already im done
???

Have we played the same Ace Attorney because I don't remember any of that.
 

Astral

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,766
Persona and Catherine. I kinda don’t even wanna buy Full Body, at least not at full price. It’s not even just transphobia. Some of Vincent’s dialogue when you’re going the Chaos Route is super shitty. He’s an asshole.
 

♡♪!?

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,731
Many times in Metal Gear

Raikov and Volgin in MGS3 'Ha ha, look they're gay!"

Metal Gear Solid 4 Beauty and the Beast Unit are a field day. You defeat them, their supermodel form is released from the armour and they try to hug Snake to death, you can also take a phot shoot with the camera, it's like some dodgy sexual liberation metaphor.

Then you have Quiet in MGS 5, a scene where she almost get raped by a soldier (mission 45) and it's treated like nothing, the weird fetish combo of her pulling out soldier's teeth in a bikini.
 
OP
OP
Funyarinpa

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
8,279
House of Fata Morgana is probably the best VN I've ever played (...)

Jacopo's feelings for Morgana being romantic is super gross considering he was 22 and she was 12 when they met. The game acknowledges this is weird but it's just treated as mildly embarrassing at worst. Jacopo says he has no plans to do anything to her until she's older but it doesn't make it any less creepy.

This is on top of the fact that Jacopo arguably does things in the prior story that might stretch sympathy for him already, like being a flat out domestic abuser, but at least the game acknowledges the abuse is wrong and part of his toxic masculinity.
I adore that game, it might be my favorite game of all time as well, and only edited out much of your response because I think it's spoilery, but yeah.

That plot point is such a non-sequitur compared to everything else the game gets so right.
 

Jessie

Member
Oct 27, 2017
7,954
What about Life is Strange is problematic? The ending of the first game is a bit sensationalist and felt kind of out of sync with the rest of the game but generally curious about what else is problematic. For the most part it felt like a really honest exploration of teen feelings.
I don’t think LiS is problematic either, but it does use sexual assault and suicide pretty flippantly. But it’s not as bad as 13 Reasons Why or other teen shows these days.
 

Iggy

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,789
Laura is my favorite new character in SF5. I even like her personality, which is in itself problematic (dumb happy-go-lucky bimbo, who also happens to be extremely good at martial arts at a pure technical level).
Her base outfit is already a bit gross, with her boobs fighting to escape their prison, but I hoped they would eventually give her an outfit that doesn't make me ashamed of looking at the screen.
4 years later, she only received trashier outfits. In this year's top 8 evo, a competitor chose a string bikini that could have been featured in one of the worse DoA5 lewd costume packs.

I think the only female character that has been treated respectfully wardrobe-wise is Kolin (and Falke, but who cares about Falke). At least the game tries to be equal opportunity, with several males (Alex, Ryu, Cody) receiving some stripperific costumes.
Still. I wish Capcom would do better (or if they can't, give porny swimwear to the dudes too).
 

yuoke

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,734
I don’t think LiS is problematic either, but it does use sexual assault and suicide pretty flippantly. But it’s not as bad as 13 Reasons Why or other teen shows these days.
I think they went a little overboard with kate and it kind of is counter intuitive about suicidal people because a lot of the time they won't be that obvious.
 

Hawkster

Member
Mar 23, 2019
596
The Division series and Ghost Recon Wildlands.

Despite the jingoistic and imperialist bullshit The Division 1/2 and Wildlands exhibit, I still have a lot of love for them.
 

Raza

Member
Nov 7, 2017
853
Ohio
The Dead Rising series has some horrific transgender stereotypes and doesn't exactly tackle mental health issues gracefully. Some parts of these games always make me feel uncomfortable because of how certain groups are treated as a joke.
I definitely agree on the mental health aspect. I am trying to remember the transgender issues. Can you elaborate?
 

Gakidou

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,421
pip pip cheerio fish & chips
This contradiction is so plainly evident in Monster Hunter World. The devs, or at least the localisation team, understood how much the game is a colonialist fantasy where the primary mechanic is the destruction, exploitation, and consumption of the natural environment for the benefit of the humans (and palicoes to some extent, despite occupying some sort of slave class in the social hierarchy of the world - also problematic). Someone during the writing process was clued into how well this might come of in the current climate, so the game is filled with empty messaging about "balancing the natural world" and looking after the environment.
Yeah good analysis, I haven't played MH:W yet actually (only 3, 4 and Gen) but I get those exact vibes in Pokemon too so that's another good one. Pokemon seems like its always slyly trying to make up for its battle-slave premise by making narratives about how its only bad in there's no love and friendship ACTUALLY, and anyone who thinks its pure exploitation is just misunderstanding the realities of this universe... but it kind of backfires when it resembles real world political/historical whitewashing and feels like its putting pressure on the player to just go along with the positive interpretations. But I also applaud game narratives for trying to address their own problematic aspects. So... yeah, really mixed view on that I don't know!

???

Have we played the same Ace Attorney because I don't remember any of that.
there is a trans male (or transmasc-coded or resembling a trans male) character called Robin Newman, who is outed as female during court and suddenly does a personality change, going from loud and hotheaded to femme and flirty (with a stiletto prop!), deciding to re-embrace her feminine side now that she has been outed, acts as if she was done a favour because of some inadequacy complex stemming from having a chest brace(??? sorry its been a while does anyone remember better?). It definitely felt problematic with how it glorified forcibly outing someone as trans, and the name "newman" feels like a cheap dig.

There's also a character earlier in the series called Jean Armstrong thats a queer/femme male stereotype that plays into tropes of transvestites as comedically oversexualised.
 

Fizz

Member
Jul 15, 2019
81
Ontario, Canada
I don’t think LiS is problematic either, but it does use sexual assault and suicide pretty flippantly. But it’s not as bad as 13 Reasons Why or other teen shows these days.
That's a very fair critique. It felt kind of shoe-horned into the game, like for a long while it had this cool X-Files vibe and then it makes this hard turn into sexual violence and it does feel exploitative. I wasn't a fan of the final reveal of who did it, but overall I was playing that game for the relationship between Max and Chloe.
 
Jan 19, 2018
84
There's an eerie lack of overly violent games in this thread... For example, I just fucking loooooove Hotline Miami and most of the sequel (screw the jungle missions!), but it's really, really violent.

Maybe this isn't the right kind of thread, but yeah, that's my "problematic" series.
 
May 5, 2018
4,702
Rome Total War. It’s one of my all time favorite games as I loved customizing ancient battles and the campaign was incredibly addicting. However this was something problematic within this game that I didn’t know until this forum brought it up. Rome 1 had homophobic traits for the commanding as a commander could have a trans women as a partner (and it was accounted for as a terrible trait) or you could have a sex slave boy that implied gays were child preying freaks. That broke my heart learning about this and Medieval 2 is guilty of these traits too. Thankfully Creative Assembly today has learned from their mistakes and have been far kinder to the LGBT community with their current games IIRC and publicly in generally
 

PuppetMinion

The Fallen
Nov 1, 2017
754
Tom Clancy games stories always make my eyes roll. It has been an standing joke among my friends since ~2006(whenever rainbow vegas 1 came out) that the story is always basically stop the evil Mexicans or whatever. Have tons of coop hours of division 1 & 2 , have basically no understanding of the story beyond the dollar flu or whatever it was called. But we like the pew pew pew
 

Annabel

Member
Mar 22, 2019
455
You could write a book on all the problematic shit Blazblue and Guilty Gear got in them.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,693
Canada
Persona 3, Catherine, Yakuza 3, Ueda's gender politics, so like all the Team Ico games. Snatcher, all the MGS games, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.

That's a bunch of my all time favorites that come to mind.
 

dlauv

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,062
Hatred is good for a laugh. And Kingdom Come: Deliverance is a neat take for an RPG.
 

shaneo632

Member
Oct 29, 2017
11,699
Essex, UK
Bayonetta has cool gameplay but the sexualised protagonist just makes me cringe. I get that it's sex-positive and self-aware but I just feel like the game is treating me like a horny 12-year-old.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,691
Shadow Complex.

One of the best Metroidvanias of the 360/PS4 generation, and the game itself is great, but the world it inhabits has Orson Scott Card and his rather regressive views written all over it.
Seemed like some standard military coup fiction to my recollection. What stood out to you as being reflective of Card’s unsavoury politics?
 

spam musubi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,712
I guess 'problematic' is THE buzzword of 2018-2019, eh?
I mean, you could contribute to the thread.
Catherine for me. I played it before I was tuned into these discussions, and I can’t make myself unlove it. I was also going through some relationship troubles at the time and it was weirdly cathartic.