By Bryan Smith on December 30, 2015 at 6:47pm
WARNING: I strongly urge everyone to read the reasons why I have placed games on this Top 10 Disappointing Games list instead of jumping to any form of conclusions. No one likes when you jump to harsh assumptions and you know what happens when people assume...
Now that the good has been taken care of, let’s get to the disappointing games. These are the games that failed to live to their greatest potential.
For what I’m judging as disappointing, it means that these games had something geared right at them to ruin the experience. Whether it’s anti-consumer features added or removed, contented locked behind obvious paywalls (regardless of what developers/publishers say), rushed to meet deadlines/holiday time, or anything else, these games turned people, along with me, away from possibly buying the game. I’m not saying these are bad games, but there are negatives that drag the experience down.
Same rules apply for this list. Game has to be released this year (mostly anyways) and can’t be remakes/re-releases.
10. "The Order: 1886
This will be the video game industry’s reminder that just because your game is ultra pretty, doesn’t mean it’s ultra pretty in the inside. Funny how “Bloodborne” has a surprising amount of setting and lore similar to this game, yet… well, here we are. I guess hype for the game paved way for the game’s less than stellar reception, but I have a feeling other things factored in as well.
The game is rather short for what it is, there are plenty of quicktime events that would feel more at home in a game like “Heavy Rain” and “Until Dawn,” the cover-shooting gameplay is just fine as it is, and there’s not much else going for it. In short (ha, pun!), “The Order: 1886” is probably a good equivalent to “Ryse: Son of Rome.” Though, to give “The Order: 1886” credit, the premise of werewolf hunting in Britain is more origin than what is basically God of Rome: Mortal Edition.
9. "Rise of the Tomb Raider"
This was the one that my warning directly relates to, and I firmly stand by this decision. I can already feel the anger dripping from the keys as people angrily tell me how wrong I am and this is the best game ever and- look. I wanted to love this game, but Microsoft and Square Enix made it clear they don't want people to, especially looking at the sales. It's very safe the game suffered quite a big flop. The budget on this game must be somewhere in the high millions, and the game has yet to break 1 million units sold. That is a big problem.
If you are a regular reader for Player Theory, you may notice that I’ve been rather harsh with “Rise of the Tomb Raider.” Had it been released for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One at the same time this year, this could have been on the Top 10 List easily, like it’s predecessor before it. However… Microsoft happened, and both they and Square Enix had the biggest brain lapse I think companies have had in a long time. I would like to think companies aren’t this evil and greedy and are just short sighted, but their PR doesn’t do a good job convincing otherwise.
Over 300 microtransactions for what accounts to cheat codes, a $30 season pass pretty much on Day 1 with what is a harder difficulty mode stripped out, a timed exclusivity that is and has damaged sales (whether you want to believe it or not, the sales took a hit), and an overall anti-consumer air for those who don’t want to get a Xbox One for just one game. Say what you will about “Street Fighter V,” at least people have the option to get it on PC and “Street Fighter” has been a pretty consistent title on PlayStation systems. “Tomb Raider” has been a heavy hitter for PlayStation, and this business deal screams nothing more but cheap business to try and push the Xbox One... which didn't work. People buy consoles for games like “Halo,” not “Tomb Raider.”
I’ll repeat: had “Rise of the Tomb Raider” not been forced to be a timed exclusive, this would not be on this list. I pray that this is the last I speak ill will of this stupid exclusivity deal. I'm sick of this shit, and I hope Microsoft and Square Enix learned very well not to anger its customers like this again.
8. "Mortal Kombat X"
Otherwise known as “Incomplete Kombat Q- On the Road to X.” We have 5 characters as DLC well before the game even turned half a year old, and one of those characters doesn’t even come with the season pass that was released around when the game launched. There’s plenty of costumes that are both in and not included in the season pass as well. Don’t forget that there’s 2 season passes with four more characters and probably more costumes.
Of course, the PC version was crap as well, something that Warner Bros. is infamous for as of 2015. You can argue that the core gameplay is crisp and refined to the nth degree, but the surprising amount of content not included in the game (i.e. characters you can fight in story mode but can’t play as) is baffling, especially for a fighting game. At least “Super Smash Bros.” for Wii U/3DS waited after the game was completed to work on DLC.
7. "Halo 5: Guardians"
No split screen. A “Halo” game that doesn’t have split screen is naked at an elementary school as far as I’m concerned. The campaign was also rather lackluster, with Locke being more wooden than Master Chief (and that's saying something) and... well, as to avoid spoilers, there's something that makes the writer in me vomit that 343 Studios even pulled off in the first place. Oh, and those microtransactions... while they make DLC for maps free (supposedly), its a slipper slope that we accept them now, they'll become mandatory later on. I rather not see a full retail game where I need to pay a wall just to proceed.
6. "Battlefield: Hardline"
A functional shooter is one thing. “Call of Duty,” while it’s functional and doesn’t offer too much new, at least feels like it’s more than an expansion. I’m hearing a lot of good things from “Call of Duty: Black Ops III,” and a friend of mine who doesn’t like “Call of Duty” is having a blast with it, so that’s something. “Battlefield: Hardline” doesn’t get that distinction of trying at least something new. It really just feels like “Battlefield: Cops and Robbers,” which should have just been a new game mode for “Battlefield 4.” I think that if this was something completely new and EA let the developers go nuts with the idea of a cops and robbers game, this could have been interesting. Instead, it’s just “Battlefield” with cops and robbers painted on.
The sad thing is that Visceral, the guys behind “Dead Space,” are the ones who made this game. DICE were busy with “Star Wars Battlefront (2015),” which was already feared that that it would be “Battlefield” with “Star Wars” painted on as well. When games tend to under perform with a developer under EA’s watch, bad things happen to them (Pandemic, Maxis, Origins, Bullfrog, etc.). Let’s hope that’s not the case here. Then again, we have no word what on the status of “Dead Space 4” is…
5. "Assassin's Creed: Syndicate"
When a game in a series just doesn’t have the excitement from the fans and the causal onlooker, I think it may be time to give the series a break. There was quite a bit of apathy when “Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate” came lumbering about. A lot of people were either cautiously optimistic at best or outright burned out from the last game. Gee, it’s like releasing a game ultra broken like “Assassin’s Creed: Unity” will make gamers pissed off or something.
Then there’s the fact that there really isn’t much new to this game that previous “Assassin’s Creed” games haven’t done. This series seriously needs to shake things up like they did with “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag.” They need to focus on something fans really want to see, like a Japanese setting. That’s just begging to be made, but no, Ubisoft is content with sticking to Europe still. It's only a matter of time until even the die-hard fans get tired and move on to something newer.
4. "Need for Speed (2015)"
Well, looks like EA hasn’t learned from “SimCity (2013).” Now don't get me wrong, the new “Need for Speed (2015)” didn't have a disastrous launch like “SimCity” did, but trying to have an always-online connection for single-player stuff is just going to send red and black warning flags for those who would show interest. It's also like EA is the reputed king of pumping out disappointing games or something, which (SPOILERS) means EA isn't done yet with this list.
Rubber-banding AI is one thing, but when the AI abuses it, things get out of hand. The fact that this game, which has single-player content mind you, doesn't let you pause is astonishing stupid. Then there's the little nuances like the constant always raining/dusk to dawn settings, and no manual transmission just sours the experience more than it should.
Otherwise known as the game with the community that died out after about two weeks. When you have pre-order bonuses for a game that hasn’t even been revealed yet, things aren’t going to end super well. Disregarding pre-order bonuses (which can be rather stupid to begin with for content locked away), there was a lot of content missing to begin with from the core game. Monsters, hunters, skins. Some have guessed that getting everything may have been as expensive, if not more, than the game itself. Cosmetic or not, that’s inexcusable.
If you thought “TitanFall” didn’t last long with its large community, people playing “Evolve” just vanished. Forums and gaming sites just stopped talking about “Evolve’ because there wasn’t much to discuss afterwards. For a AAA game, I haven’t seen a game that’s been forgotten so quickly. I surprised myself that “Evolve” even existed when “The Witcher 3” came around when I was doing research. I said, “Oh wow. That existed,” and that thought left as quickly as it came. The theme for this list is “Wow, the gameplay is tight and fun, but it doesn’t hold my interest for long.”
2. "Batman: Arkham Knight"
This one hurts me, as this was originally my most anticipated game for 2015. Looking back at my review, I think I was a bit too generous. With the bugs and problems not ironed out yet to the lackluster story and tank gameplay dominating the game, this was a disappointing sendoff to the “Batman: Arkham” series. Oh, of course I’m talking about the PlayStation 4/Xbox One versions.
The PC version is an utter disgrace for gaming. How Warner Bros. felt content with releasing such a broken game is beyond me. Thank god that Steam finally allowed refunds just prior to the game, otherwise this would have ended far worse than intended. The one positive I found in all of this is that “Batman: Arkham Knight” will prove to other publishers who think this is an ok thing to do might want to think twice. Those refunds can come at a great price.
1. "Star Wars Battlefront (2015)"
EA, I’m starting to see a pattern. For your sake, I hope “Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst” and “Unravel” turn out fairer. You might be thinking, “Hey, wait a minute. I’ve having a blast this game. The gameplay is so fun! This idiot doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Stop blah, blah, blah, blah.” The best word to describe the disappointment here is “content,” or lack thereof.
Releasing a multiplayer-heavy game without much to do, if anything at all, with single-player stuff at full price isn’t going to sit well with a lot of consumers. Take a look at how fast “Evolve” and “TitanFall” (hey, another EA game! What a coincidence) was abandoned when players got bored. The reason why “Call of Duty” and “Battlefield” last so long, ignoring that they still have single-player campaigns, is because there are a plethora of modes and things to do with multiplayer. Even with the core game of “CoD” and “BF,” seeing they have an obnoxious amount of DLC, the core gameplay still offers quite a bit for multiplayer. I’m not seeing that with “Star Wars Battlefront.”
This game looks and feels bare. I’m hearing people getting burned out already. There’s simply not enough for players to do to keep the game constantly engaging before it becomes monotonous. Oh, and there’s that pesky little thing called the $50 season pass- the season pass that’s almost worth an entire retail game. That might have something do to with the lack of interest right now.
Hey, we all love to game. It’s why we’re here. I really want to be excited for just about every game that comes out, but when games like these stroll out and tell me that there’s something missing or that quality isn’t up to standard, I just shake my head. I think being disappointing is worse at times, because at least you can laugh at the bad and enjoy it still. I can laugh at something like “Air Control” for how terrible it was. Can’t do the same with something like “Evolve.” There’s a competent game in there, but I’m not dealing with the DLC bullshit to try and get to it when an ultimate edition is around the corner.
Oh wait… it exists already, and the game isn't even a year old yet.
So what are your disappointing games of this year? Hopefully 2016 is more full of awesome games than mediocre. No one likes half-assed attempts, right?