eGamer Awards 2012: The Most Disappointing Game
While this year was filled with memorable and awesome games, it wasn’t short of serious disappointments either. We’d say it was a year that had it all. Let’s take a look at what we considered to be our biggest disappointments of this year, and determine which one left the most bitter of tastes.
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Many gamers get confused with this award, because with the most disappointing award, our nominees are often seen as being bad. This is not always the case, and let us assure you that disappointment doesn’t always have to do with the result being bad, but rather ending up as a letdown, and like it could have been more. In order for a game, or anything for that matter, to be disappointing, there has to be a certain level of hype, expectation and anticipation for it. Something can’t be disappointing if no one gives a crap about it, right? Then it’s just crap. Disappointment in gaming usually stems from receiving tons of hype and becoming involved in all the excitement only to discover, once the game is released, that it’s not what you were expecting, and most importantly not what was promised to us, which is increased by the anticipation surrounding the game. So just to clear it up, the games on these list are not all bad (some are of course), but the point we’re making with this “award”, so to speak, is that the following games just didn’t live up to all the hype and promises and were ultimately letdowns.
Resident Evil 6
Resident Evil 6 was as much a disappointment to us as it was just downright depressing. And that’s because it was effectively the death sentence to a once beloved franchise. Many were skeptic of it well before its release due to its Hollywood-like action and large-scale explosive set pieces, and while we adopted the calm and collected attitude of “we’ll play it first”, the result spoke for itself. The game was a letdown to both longtime fans of the series and newcomers, and ultimately failed to even establish an identify for itself, as it was neither a good shooter nor a good survival horror game. With boring and messy gameplay mechanics, bad design choices almost everywhere, an absence of what made the series special in the first place, and an action approach that just didn’t work when the game still tried to hold onto survival horror elements, Resident Evil 6 was extremely unlikable. The new direction, so to speak, really didn’t work out well, and we struggled to find any enjoyment with this title at all.
Street Fighter X Tekken
We’ll make ourselves clear first by saying that Street Fighter X Tekken was actually a decent enough game, but it entirely missed being great and was a little underwhelming given how exciting the concept was pre-release. And that came down to a number of things. We really weren’t happy with Capcom when it came to the twelve characters locked as on-disc DLC, or with the Gem system that was unlikable and gave players a way to buy things they shouldn’t be able to in a fighting game that’s supposed to require skill above anything. Online connectivity was unstable for us when we played, and we had a few issues with gameplay that hurt the playing experience, such as with Pandora mode, the countdown timer and gameplay depth. Admittedly, a lot of our disappointment was because of the significant amount of in-game content locked on the disc, and Capcom’s bad practices, but the bottom line for the game was that it just didn’t blow us away or give us something worth sticking with.
Assassin’s Creed III
Assassin’s Creed III was a controversial one. Between our in-depth review of the game and extensive analysis of it afterward, there really isn’t anything new that we can say here that would further express how letdown some of us were. To avoid being redundant, we’ll summarise the major talking points as succinctly as we can. The game was disappointing because so many of its flaws could have been avoided. It was disappointing because we had two intermediary sequels, Brotherhood and Revelations, and a three year wait, yet it had so many faults especially technically. It was disappointing because the entirety of Connor’s story was irrelevant to the main plot-line, and was poorly paced, especially with the shockingly bad six to eight hour tutorial in the beginning. It was disappointing because key plot themes weren’t explored in greater depth, and the ending was rushed and horribly written. It was disappointing because three years of waiting didn’t result in an improvement jump similar to that of the first two games in the series. It was disappointing because of all the misdirected effort that was put into pointless areas of the game rather than spent on the core experience and the main campaign. It was disappointing because of so many missed opportunities. And it was disappointing because unfortunately we just didn’t think it was the best game in the series.
Syndicate was one of the year’s earliest disappointments. The hype surrounding the game and its highly attractive gameplay and world shown off in all trailers made it look like it would at least be a good game and early highlight for the year, but sadly the result was a letdown. Syndicate was a fun game, sure, but it really felt like it should have been a lot more, and like so much was missing, especially with its main campaign, which lacked variety and was extremely short yet strangely also hugely repetitive. The game was just entirely ordinary and forgettable, and despite it not being all that bad a game, we found it difficult to recommend because its only attractive prospect, namely its co-op mode, wasn’t all that enticing in an era where we’re spoiled for choice with this form of multiplayer. We’ll be honest though. We didn’t regret playing Syndicate at all, and it was actually a nice enough distraction for the short time that it lasted. But it just felt empty, and that so much more could have been done with it.
Diablo III was one of the most controversial releases this year. After a ten year wait, the mere launch of this game set the gaming industry on fire. And that’s not a complement. If we look past the horrific server issues the game had, we were still stuck with the infuriating always-on DRM that prevented gamers from playing the single-player mode of the game while the servers were down. But if we want to avoid technicalities and focus on the game and why it disappointed us, then we’ve got a lot to say about that. For starters it took far too long to get going anywhere, and early on some jarring game design choices already left the Diablo II fans among us more than displeased. With severely dumbed down character and inventory systems, a complete lack of choice involved in levelling up or building your character, a contentious art direction that some would argue made the game look more cartoony rather than dark and gritty, overly simplified areas of gameplay, a predictable plot, improper difficulty scaling, and the Auction House creating a dark cloud of commercialisation that hanged over the experience, Diablo III did a fine job of disappointing. It was also extremely expensive. But really, yes a game probably won’t justify a ten year wait, but it can at least roar rather than merely bark casually.
Max Payne 3
Max Payne 3 was not Max Payne. Sure, it was a decent or arguably even a good shooter, but it was also downright terrible at doing the things that made the original two Max Payne games iconic and epic. Max Payne 3 was an injustice to the story and character of previous titles, and an unlikable addition to it. It tried hard to imitate the writing and characterisation of previous games, but just really didn’t get there, and failed to encapsulate the series’ true spirit. We’d say if you don’t care for that and only wanted to shoot things, then this was a decent enough option, but it was also quite repetitive with some clunky mechanics at work. One of the most disappointing parts of the game was that even though it focused mostly on its shooting, the game forced you to play it like a cover shooter, which undermined the essence of the Max Payne gameplay. As far as we were concerned, the original games far outshine this one, and perhaps the biggest letdown was the massive amount of injustice done to the perfectly fitting ending of Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, and the character of the protagonist.
It wasn’t Syndicate, because it really wasn’t the biggest disappointment we had, and we sort of accepted it as a worthwhile yet underwhelming distraction. We weren’t really crushed.
The loser wasn’t Resident Evil 6 either, and while we do have plenty of legitimate reasons to feel bitter, angry and letdown, the sad truth of the matter is that we had a nagging skepticism about this game before it even released, and for a while before its came out we weren’t even expecting it to be great in all honesty, which significantly eased the disappointment we felt at the end.
Neither was it Street Fighter X Tekken, because after all was said and done, the game was still a fresh and pretty decent fighter, and didn’t disappoint us half as much as the other nominees did.
Max Payne 3 didn’t take it, and that was simply because our remaining nominees let us down so much more, and overshadowed this title completely as far as disappointment went.
Finally, it put forth a strong argument, but Assassin’s Creed III didn’t take this one either, and that came down to the fact that our team was split on this one. Half of us were massively letdown by it, and the other were happy with it. Our loser, however, was unanimously viewed as disappointing.
Diablo III was unanimously voted by us as the biggest letdown of this year. Horrific server issues aside, the ten year wait aside and hell, even the dreadful always-on DRM aside, this comes down to one fact. We expected a certain standard of quality from Blizzard, and they just didn’t deliver. It’s Blizzard, for God’s sake. What they touch used to turn to gold. But coming from them, this game was just massively underwhelming and seriously disappointing. It wasn’t only that everything externally that could have gone wrong with the game did go wrong, but that so much of the actual game itself just didn’t feel entirely right. That there was just so much wrong with it. That the Diablo II fanatics among us felt so letdown by this game. That the ridiculous amount of hype and excitement for this game led to something hardly worth all of it. No other game this year left us feeling so crushed, so bitter and so exasperated. No other game sent us to our knees screaming at the Gods in protest of this sheer cruelty. No game. And this makes Diablo III our choice for the most disappointing game award of 2012.