The 5 Most Disappointing Games of Last Generation
Hype is a powerful, powerful beast. Sometimes fan excitement for a new game meets a fever pitch, and occasionally we get a masterpiece of a game that meets that buzz. Other times, however, the highly hyped title falls short. Really short. So short that people stop lining up to buy new copies, and instead start returning the ones they have. Back in the day we didn’t have the internet to go to and see what the hottest new titles were. We had to rely on magazines and surprise visits to the arcades and stores. And hope that the title we played or purchased was a good one. It’s a sad thing when the gaming legion has its hope dashed, and we gamers, being the big ol’ pile of crybabies that we are, discover that sometimes our dissent is deserved. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the Most Disappointing Games of Last Generation.
Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale
The Super Smash Bros formula seems like one that would be easy to ape, and yet Playstation All-Stars Battle Royale just couldn’t quite muster up the monkey mojo to copy the fun of Nintendo’s hit fighter. All-Stars is a decent enough game in its own right, but the average brawling and so-so character roster drag the title down from what could have been another cross-over slugfest. Several characters who were influential in the history of the Sony Playstation — like Cloud Strife, Lara Croft, and Crash Bandicoot — are conspicuously missing. In their stead we get questionable choices like two different versions of Infamous’ Cole McGrath, Ape Escape’s Spike, and the atrocious Donte from DmC: Devil May Cry. All-Stars? More like Non-Stars.
Development Hell is never a good sign. In movies, it usually means that there’s in-fighting and scheduling conflicts between the creative elements and the financially-minded people. In video games, however, it often means that the higher-ups don’t know what the hell they’re doing. Too Human was originally slated as a four-disc Playstation one release, then moved on to the Gamecube before finally hitting the Xbox 360 in 2005. While Too Human was hyped as a slick blend of Diablo II and third-person stylish combat, what gamers instead found was that it was a sloppy, half-finished mess. Its final fate? Because of a lawsuit with Epic Games over the illegal use of their Unreal Engine, Silicon Knights ordered all unsold copies of Too Human recalled and destroyed.
Peter Molyneux is the quintessential over-hyping game producer. He dreams up amazing (borderline infeasible), games for his team to create, and spends years getting everyone excited for them. While the first Fable was a pretty solid title, it in no way met the crazy hype he’d built for it. When Fable II hit, so did the feces hitting the Fable fan. While there were a number of improvements on the original, there were also a great many flaws, particularly Fable II’s story, which Molyneux had often touted as being gripping and original. What scores of gamers later found out was that this story was stereotypical fantasy tropes wrapped up in one of the most poorly-executed finales in gaming history.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
There’s no easy way of putting this — Aliens: Colonial Marines sucks. It sucks hard. Years from now it will still probably be a punching bag for gaming journalists to make fun of, alongside other classics like E.T., Superman 64, and Duke Nukem Forever. While its development team promised a game that encapsulated the desperate, claustrophobic horror of the Aliens films, what we got instead was a broken shooting gallery filled with brain-dead, acid-spewing aliens. Game over, man. Game over.
While there are a great many other disappointing games of this generation, 2013’s Simcity is perhaps the most egregious let-down. Thanks to EA’s poorly implemented requirement that the game always be online, its launch was a disaster. Gamers spent weeks trying to log into the game they’d purchased, and were met with a constant stream of errors. Even now, should you try to log into Simcity, it’s a crapshoot as to whether or not you’d be able to play it. Combine these DRM woes with a game riddled with problematic bugs and glitches, inexplicably small cities, and the expectations of a fanbase built on the previous, solidly built SimCity games, and you’ve got yourself a big letdown. It’s a shame, too, because the actual core of SimCity is a fun game. The music’s gentle and appropriate, and city building has never felt so smooth … when the game actually works, that is. Sorry SimCity, you’ve managed to build your way into the #1 slot of our 5 Most Disappointing Games of This Generation.*
*While these five titles are the most disappointing games of this console generation, there were a couple of honorable mentions. These titles are mostly great, but their greatness came at a price.
Honorable Mention: The last ten minutes of Mass Effect 3.
Honorable Mention: Diablo III’s glitchy server launch.