Games that disappointed in 2012
Games that disappointed in 2012 should be a fairly short list. Surely we’ve come to expected the odd stinker. The slew of “average” and the handful of unique by now… right?
Well 2012 has felt like a year where the Triple A titles you could have banked on just failed to wow us in the ways we’d hoped. Backlash against Mass Effect 3’s ending. Cries of “WTF!” over the torturously slow opening for Assassin’s Creed 3. The open mouthed gawping as EA backed away from Syndicate. It’s been a weird year.
Not to say that any of the listed below games are bad. Indeed some are still great titles. They just should have lived up to their hype/legacy but failed to deliver:
Assassin’s Creed 3
A torturously slow burn at the start seems to have caused the most dismay to long time series fans. The stripping down of things like armour upgrading too has also left many feeling like AC 3 is not the game is should have been. Missions have become simplistic and monotonous and the game appears to have lost focus from its core values. It’s a trip and a wobble rather than a fall, but it still makes you yearn for a better version.
Medal of Honour: Warfighter
EA and Danger Close appear to have learned nothing from the previous incarnation of the game as Warfighter makes all the same mistakes again. It also manages to be duller that the first title too. Nobody expected EA to pull off a Call of Duty over night, but people at least expected the series to make steps forward in this release.
Starbreeze have created some superb games. Some of the best cult classics have been from their studios. Chronicles of Riddick, The Darkness, both unique and great fun games. The Syndicate name is sacred here in the UK. Bullfrog created a superb pair of titles that helped defines genres and entertain millions. The decision to make this an FPS was bizarre in the first place. The whole affair was poorly handled and publicised by publisher EA who just seemed to abandon the poor game in the middle of release-cycle and leave it floundering on its own. A solid shooter with some great multiplayer this one failed to live up to any expectations because the publisher never truly set us any.
Mass Effect 3
The ending was never going to please the hard-core. Having sunk many hundreds of hours in to the game to then face a simple A,B, C, D choice at the end was a little jarring and caused many to think it was a massive cop-out. The move from space explorer to action hero just didn’t sit well with the entire games ethos. Gunplay and action replaced exploration and conversation and a lot of what made Mass Effect so unique and revered was pushed to the side. So much so that you could flip an option and have all the dialogue taken care of for you. Mining, cohesive side missions and proper interaction with people all stripped bare; this isn’t the Mass Effect we all expected to get.
343 Industries made it clear from the start. They were makinga new Halo game. A new story for fans of the series to sink back in to. They were going to push things forward and the teaser trailers and talks at E3 let everyone know that new enemies and creative worlds were on the cards. Then you get the final product and it’s basically a small bit of that and the rest exactly like playing Halo five years ago. Very disappointing and a real missed opportunity to strike out in a new direction.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted
Criterion did the impossible. They showed us a Need for Speed title that was effectively Burnout Paradise 2. The world exploded with rapturous love for the project. Who wouldn’t want an updated Paradise City with some crazy Need for Speed fun thrown in for good measure. The single player aspects to the game have been more than a little off, not to mention talk of frame rate issues on the home console editions. Once again this is not the standard we’d have expected based on Criterion’s track record.
After such a massive wait it was great to finally get our hands on the godfather of all loot-based gaming, Diablo. As fun and RSI inducing as the games was though it quickly became apparent that the game lacked the same randomness the first two titles had. The big draw for the Diablo hard core is to re-run the game over and over. To do this randomisation of the dungeons is an essential part – and a part the new version just failed to nail well enough. As such a massive drop-off in Diablo 3 players happened about six to eight weeks after release.
Such a long wait for this title, but it all felt worth right up until a month or so before… when David Jaffe walked away from the team creating the game. The Twisted Metal titles were never exactly high-concept. All about down and dirty fire fights with wacked out vehicles. Stripped down characters, poor story mode, slightly wonky controls and a lack of after release support have all left TM fans feeling like Sweet Tooth just made sweet love to them with a cricket bat.
Little Big Planet Karting
United Front Games produced one of the better Karting titles of this generation with Modnation Racers. Handing them the chance to make a sequel and slap Sackboy and chums in it should have been a recipe for something special. What happened though was a game that managed to be less than the now again Modnation Racers. Poor enemiy AI, tracks structure, lack of content and badly implemented power-ups all ended this little fellas race before it really began. Expecially annoying when you compare it to what Sega have pulled off with the super Sonic All-Stars Racing Transformed.
I am Alive
This game was in and out of development hell for years… years I tell you! And, it showed. The idea was a great one. Surviving in a post-apocalyptic city. The game was tense, employed a unique art style and actually managed to impart real tension. The trouble is that for an exploration game the control scheme was totally shot in places. Massive glitches for traversal, overly fiddly combat and the frustration levels just rose to a point of crescendo. A real shame as many of the more finer mechanic details of how I Am Alive interacts between the world and the player are superb and should/will be picked up by future developers.
You’ll notice that, despite of these niggles, most of these games appear in one of our Top XX lists. That’s testament to just how good those games are. And just how disappointed we are that they slipped up – they could have been even better. Nothing this year left me feeling amazed, or astounded. Last year I was spoilt for choice. Uncharted 3, Batman Arkham City or Skyrim all could have easily blown me away.