The Year In Disappointments

There were so many things to get excited about in 2010! So many things to cherish! Sadly, life isn't all kittens and rainbows, and for every up, there must be a down.

These are 2010's biggest video gaming disappointments. Now, before we go any further, know that few of the things we're listing below were terrible. These aren't the worst things in video gaming for 2010. They're just the things that we hoped or expected would be at a certain level of quality or success, but for whatever reason, were not. In other words, a disappointment!

FINAL FANTASY XIII

There are few game series in the world that can truly be classed as being "AAA". Mario, Halo, Zelda, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto. Oh, and Final Fantasy. Now consider, when was the last time any game in any of those series turned out to be not just a disappointment, but a genuinely poor game?

It's so rare these days that to see Final Fantasy XIII in the state it was released is slightly shocking. It's like the game was never tested to see if people would actually enjoy it.

You can say it's sterile, that its "gameplay" consists of little more than running from point A to point B selecting menus, but surely its biggest crime was in expecting more than a hardcore cadre of consumers to be willing to spend over 20 hours on what is essentially the game's tutorial.

What really qualifies FFXIII as a disappointment, though, was how much of a backwards step it was from Final Fantasy XII. With XII, Square Enix had shown it was capable of shrugging off the baggage of expectation and protocol a decades-old series accumulates, and genuinely experiment with the franchise. Take a few risks! Final Fantasy XIII, in an act of cowardice, undoes nearly all of that.

MEDAL OF HONOR

Medal of Honor as a game was disappointing. We were promised an authentic experience based on a contemporary conflict, and instead got a boring corridor shooter almost entirely reliant on broken scripting.

But Medal of Honor as a statement was an even greater disappointment. By setting its war in Afghanistan, developers Electronic Arts had drawn a political line in the sand. It was saying that it had the guts to set a video game in a politically contentious setting. This was epitomised in the fact you could play as a member of the Taliban in the game's multiplayer component.

It was a shame, then, that under both political and commercial pressure, EA backed down and removed the "Taliban" name from Medal of Honor's multiplayer. Not because anyone really cared about how it affected the game; had it been revealed as a NATO vs "Insurgents" game from the beginning, it would not have been an issue. But it was sad to see a video game publisher commit to such a brave creative decision, then fail to stick to it.

ALAN WAKE

A game that's not terrible by any means, but...did it really take five years to make a Resident Evil clone with such - ironically, given the setting - awful writing? It's clear that developers Remedy would rather be making movies than games, otherwise more time would have been spent making Wake a better game, and less time spent cosplaying in a TV adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

PRINCE OF PERSIA

We're talking about the movie here. While it was an entirely passable piece of fiction, it was still disappointing to find that, despite the involvement of real directors, real actors and real cash money (not to mention the original game's creator), the best we got was a forgettable, drawn-out Summer popcorn flick.

Proof if ever it was needed that Hollywood needs to start writing game movies based on great stories, not great characters or settings.

STARCRAFT II

Most would agree Starcraft II is, at the very least, a good game. Maybe even great. It's slick, it's accessible, it's fun. But even Blizzard's most adoring fans must feel slightly let down that more wasn't done with the game's nuts and bolts in the decade since the first game's release, especially given the advances made in the real-time strategy genre since the year 2000.

The argument can be made that, with so many fans built up over such a long space of time, developers Blizzard couldn't afford to go making wholesale changes to the way the game was played. A counter to that, though, would be to suggest that if people wanted to play a game like the first Starcraft, they can still play the first Starcraft.

— —

And that's it! If you feel we've overlooked anything - and we may have! - let us know, we might add it to the list.


Comments

    I would dispute the idea that SC2 is a disappointment. If you wanted a game other than Starcraft, then you can go and get it. I find the traditional aspects fun, as it's its own style of play, as opposed to DoW2 or Company of Heroes, which, while more advanced, have changed what the base ideas of the genre are (were, something, I'm not trying to criticise them here). Nobody I knew who bought SC2 was disappointed with it, yes, some of them played its single player, got bored, and left, but they still enjoyed it.

    For me, the game was everything I expected, which is no mean feat, so yeah, not a disappointment for me.

    I don't agree with starcraft 2. Starcraft 2 is an RTS and sure, RTS's arn't really a dominant genre anymore, the people who enjoy RTS, would enjoy SC2. For those out there like myself, who are kind of over the whole RTS genre, SC2 still provided a well scripted and thought out campaign, that kept even us interested till the very end.

    I didn't expect StarCraft II to be on the list. What about Force Unleashed II for wasted potential?

    Starcraft 2? Really? I was glued to my seat playing that until it was finished and then enjoyed a lot of time in skirmishes.. While it didnt break the mold it was far from a Disappointment, it lived up to everything I expected it to be.. and then some.

    Metroid: Other M. Metroid went from being a series about a kick-arse independent bounty hunter to one about a chick who needed approval to take a leak! One character even referred to her as "princess" and had to rescue her! WTF!?

      Seconded. I mean, just... what the fuck? I had a bad feeling as soon as I heard Team Ninja had been given the Metroid title, but at least they didn't replace Samus' Power Suit with a bikini and her combat repetoire with exclusive high kicks. But what they did to her in a story sense was arguably even worse.

      Oh, and not letting you control the game with the nunchuck thumbstick, or even making it an option, was an act of outright idiocy.

    Prince of Persia movie and Starcraft 2 are strange choices. Very strange. Who was expecting PoP to be a faithful epic? Starcraft fans got what they wanted with SC2. FF13 is very fitting though, I enjoyed what was there (I rarely moan about what's not) but it was a genuine disappointment.

    Hopes for Alan Wake to live up to the hype was dashed the moment they canned the PC version. Many months leading to release suggested it'd be vastly different from the original demo back in 2005.

    Is it just me or is it hard to get disappointed these days? You know what a game looks and plays like before release with countless gameplay demos. You don't expect FF13 to be epic when those rubbish launch trailers with melodrama were released.

    Star trek online. My personal biggest disappointment of the year. Having said that, I'm still playing it, and the devs seem to be working quite hard on improving it... The foundry ugc is proof of that. Still, for me at least: disappointing.

    "Resident Evil clone with such – ironically, given the setting – awful writing?"

    Words can not express the rage i'm feeling right now, seriously, people bitch about the storylines in games. But when we finally get a good one inspired by the works of Bret Easton Ellis, Mark Z Danielewski (look em up, their books are brilliant) and a bit of stephen king, we've got jackasses ragging on it.

    Attention Game Developers; don't try anything different, remain status quo.

    Also, lack of Fable 3 on the list invalidates it. Horrible, horrible game.

    Luke Plunkett, the Armond White of Kotaku.

    Fable 3. Played it for about 3 days, finished story on the second one, and the 3rd just consisted of me running backwards and forwards buying real estate and doing a few side quests. Game was far too easy and had hardy any sense of progression, if any at all.

    Most would probably agree that Sonic 4 was a huge disappointment too.

    My gripe with starcraft 2, which wasnt listed above, was that it was 1/3rd of the campaign.

    18 months to make an expansion which is basically some levels and cutscenes for a game which has the majority of graphics, programming and multiplayer done is deplorable.

    Then again, people have been waiting 10 years right? And whats the rush? No need to work when you have the behemoth that is WoW raking in millions every month

    You forgot Aliens vs. Predator

    Agree with starcraft 2, plain old rts just doesn't do it for me anymore, think easier strategy games have made me lazy.

    ...really, I think I can only agree with FF-XIII.

    A strange list.

    I stuck with FF13 all the way to the end and was glad I did. I can't help but feel like everyone was just waiting for squeenix to slip up and got too excited when the game started off poorly. bandwagons etc etc. Haters gonna hate.

      Haters will hate indeed.

    I take a few issues with these so called Disappointments.

    1: FF13. It seems everyone hates this game but me so I guess it should be on the list. Personally I found the game great. There was not a single thing not to like about it. It had great graphics, fun gameplay, a great story and great characters. I've gone over and over it in my head how anyone could not like the game and I draw nothing but blanks.

    2: Alan Wake. Now I actually haven't played this so that might give me no right to comment but as I heard it was a very good game with great atmosphere and story.

    3: Prince of Persia movie. I really take issue with this been on the list. I thought it was a great movie. One of the better films to come out this year.

    4: Starcraft 2 . Again like Alan Wake I haven't played this but I do play WoW and both in game and on the forums I've seen nothing but praise from many people for this game.

    I have finished every ff and I still haven't finished 13. So abysmal

    Alan Wake is a Resident Evil clone? Really?

    Short answer: no. No it's not.

    Alan Wake is a Resident Evil clone? The two games are completely different. I also disagree that it's story was awful, it was better than most games at worst. I will agree that story or atmosphere (and hell, overall gameplay) wasn't as great as I was expecting. Guess we can thank Microsoft's marketting stratagey for that.

    You should also add Halo: Reach's campaign to that list. 7 Years latter and Bungie still can't/won't create campaign experience that looked as fun as it's E3 2003 demonstration? Sandbox gameply isn't everything Bungie, Even Halo: CE had some lightly scripted moments. Halo: Reach's encounters felt pretty boring and stale, not to mention it's disjointed and convoluted story.

    But that's totally my opinion man.

    Here's to 2011!

    FFVII was a disappointment and a poor game... so there's a precedent. It's just that FFXIII was one of the best games this year.

    The only disappointment I had with gaming this year was the lack of good games. Hopefully 2011 improves things.

    I liked Medal of Honour... but yeah, FF13 was shite.

    I'd have included Fable3...

      Ditto.... as usual!

        Mmmmaaaaarrrrrrrkkkkkkkkk!!!!!!

        He's copying me.

        Seriously though, what the hell is going on... do we know each other in the real world?

    I'm sorry, But I'll have to disagree with the last three items on this list.

    The writing/setting of Alan Wake was the thing that kept me playing past the sometimes repetitive gunplay. An awesome story in a fully realised world.

    While I won't argue that Prince of Persia was high art, it WAS an enjoyable summer popcorn flick, which is exactly what they were aiming for. I think any disappointment here is a result of unrealistic expectations.

    And Starcraft? I'm pretty sure Blizzard's most adoring fans got EXACTLY what they wanted with Starcraft 2. The only disappointments I'd concede with this game are the single terran campaign and lack of LAN support.

    Well I WAS looking forward to Sniper Ghost Warrior, an entire sniping game with Bullet Cam and awesome stealth tactics, but the game was utter RUBBISH.

      Sniper Elite is a better game, though it's not stellar.

    Another article about how shit FF was and yet still no comment from Jimu???
    I'll try my best...
    "FF13 sucks dogs balls, but FF5 and FF8 are the greatest games ever and you should all play them until your eyes bleed and your fingers are bloodied stumps"*

    *Spoken by Jamesmacusedmyhandle on behalf of the Harpy Party and The Court Of No Handle

    Haven't played Alan Wake but it's getting cheaper and cheaper. Looks great and most reviews were positive....
    Only thing really wrong with SC2 was splitting the campaigns. It's almost as if some money hungry overlord was pulling the strings to manipulate the masses for his own evil intent...

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Activision

      I think he's on leave.

      Also, wasn't SC2 about 30 missions long?
      I think SC1 was about 28 or so... so it's more like Mass Effect (1 story - 3 games).

      My sincere apologies.

      Yes, yes, FF13 is a mega disappointment, almost as bad as the people I can hear singing the New Years song...at 10:30 (Got an early start tomorrow, thought you'd get it over with and nip off to bed?).

      The story goes something like this;
      Final Fantasy was a game invented by a dood name of Hironobu Sakaguchi. HS took some of the features of contemporary RPGs of the time and mixed 'em up, threw in a few of his own ideas and with the last of Squaresoft's moolah created a farewell to his gaming career.
      Turns out it was good and Squaresoft was saved.

      So when many years later the same guy who pulled SS's arses out of the gutter tried to make a movie and screwed the pooch, he decided he'd do the honorable thing and leave SS. He started a new company called Mistwalker that have created two 360 exclusive JRPGs called "Blue Dragon" and "Lost Odyssey". Surprise, surprise these games take FF13 outside and piss on it's sterile, fecal smelling corpse and they do so with class and finesse.
      If you haven't bothered to play these games then you should take yourself out the back right now and do a Kurt Cobain reenactment, the world will be a better place without you.

      I am appalled that the third contractual obligation "CryOn" I believe it was called, was canceled due to the global economic crisis... urrr, money, like time doesn't actually exist, people. It's something we invented so we could mention things during our epicly pointless conversations about
      "what a great price we are getting on that particular piece of junk during this time of year"

      Anyway , I am a little scepticle about the non-turned-based fighting in "The Last Story" but this game is sure to blow the girlie panties off of FF13.
      "The Last Story" is an unoriginal title you say?
      Urrrrrrr, he INVENTED Final Fantasy, people. In a truly fair world he would have taken the name with him, but that would also mean Stan Lee would own Spider-Man which would be a BAD THING, Bendis and Slott are holding the reigns quite nicely at Marvel thank you very much (I mean creatively of course, we all know it was tubby ol' Quesada who saved Marvel's bacon).

      Anyway, stop your whinging about FF13, why give bad shit so much press? Why not start taking people by the hand and leading 'em to the good shit instead of wasting all our time crying about what a disappointment the latest edition of your precious franchise is (and it is, OH IT IS!).

      Take a moment, sit back, relax and go play some Final Fantasy 8(And you thought I wouldn't mention it), if you don't already have a copy I hear you can download it from PSN.

      Was that up to scratch Mr. Nohandle, sir?

    Aliens Vs Predator was a HUGE kick in the nads, I was so excited for that game and so painfully disapointed with the end product.

    I was mainly let down by Prince of Persia getting trumped up online as the best video game film of all time, then when I finally saw it it was a snorefest. Very boring by the numbers film.

    *- Star wars FU: II- showed us great ideas, game play and characters in the months leading to release. Unfortunately everything you saw in the trailers is all there is, repetitive, 10sec cameo from Yoda and the writing and plot fall face first onto a cow pattie. Huge disappointment, thankfully they have decided to kill this one off. Stick to the Jedi Knight series.

    *- Fable 3, same issues as Fable 2, too easy, too short (new things to do, not farming etc), boring plot. Stick to #1.

    *- FF XIV - promised a beautiful innovative new world with great narrative. What we got was a barely tested copy & pasted world, yes the cinematic s look great the rest of the world not so much, and yes the narrative is there in between the repetitive quests that you need to wait 24+ hrs to refresh (may have changed haven't played it since week 3), an impractical UI eg: have to go to a bloody site for a crafting book.

    *- Fallout new Vegas - Great game if you remember to quick save every 10 secs and if you can stomach some of the broken quests. Hope the patch comes soon...

    *- Civilization V - Looks beautiful, just a bit to easy, feels like I'm playing Civilization Revolution on the iPhone. Oh and has anyone figures out how to get past the opening cinematic without having to listening to a 1/3rd of it?

    *- Wii games in general but as that’s what you come to expect can’t really say they are disappointing except for Epic Mickey, Metroid other M and the rehashed Donkey Kong, honestly feels like I’m in 1995 again.

    *- And Kenect, it’s just bad, hope it dies. God please let it die…

    SC 2 disappointing? A little I guess, I was hoping for something new to shack things up, but this little bit of disappointment is overshadowed by how awesome it is.

    All I can think of atm, heres hoping 2011 is better, Happy new year all.

      but... Kinect turned out to be surprisingly good... Well it is good at the moment, but needs some proper games ASAP.

      Dance Central + Friends + Alcohol = Good times.

      At worst, its the best of a bad bunch (wii, move, kinect)

        Really? Better than Wii?
        Better than Metroid Prime 3, Mario Galaxy 2 and Donkey Kong Country Returns?

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