We’ve all been there: a new game is announced and all the trailers and gameplay videos make it look amazing. A playable demo comes out a few weeks before the game is released and you still think the game is going to be awesome. You buy it and begin playing it, but something isn’t right. You’re not sure what it is so you continue playing it. You beat the game and you feel… regret? Regret for purchasing it? But how can this be? It looked so good!
Yep, that’s the crushing feeling of disappointment. Whether it was industry hype or friends’ excitement, whether it was cool trailers or a fun playable demo, you can’t help but feel the game didn’t live up to expectations. Maybe it just wasn’t for you. Maybe the game was a success overall and you were one of the few who didn’t like it. That’s fine, people have different taste. But maybe everyone felt disappointed after playing the game and it became one of the few, the proud: The Most Disappointing Games Ever. Spore, Daikatana, Enter the Matrix… There are so many games on this list.
I’m not here to regurgitate that list, however. I’m here to share with you the top five games that disappointed me the most and why they did. Maybe most people will agree with me, saying, “Yeah, that game was pretty trash.” Others might disagree, saying, “No, you’re pretty trash.” That’s fine. If I insult your favourite game, I apologize. In fact, if I do insult your favourite game, I would love to hear why you like it in the comments section below. I want to see if there’s any way I can give the game a second chance and enjoy it.
I’ve done enough lead-in to the topic. Here are five games that really disappointed me.
5. Blinx 2: Masters of Time and Space (Xbox)
To be honest, I don’t know why I had high hopes for this game. I remember playing the demo for this on the disc that came with the Official Xbox Magazine back in the day. The demo started off with allowing you to control a user-created cat who could control time. At certain points you could rewind time, pause enemies, and do other time-related actions. It plays very much like a platformer in the cat sections. Once the game allowed you to control a user-created pig, you would use space powers to stealthily make it past cats. It was like Splinter Cell for babies. Well, until Splinter Cell: Blacklist comes out.
The demo was a lot of fun and I thought the game had a good premise. I never played the original, but I figured there wasn’t any need to. I bought the game fairly cheap one day and was really happy — for a time. The first two levels were the ones from the demo. I made ridiculously overweight characters with the weirdest faces possible and played through the familiar scenarios. Once I got to a new level, things took a turn for the worse.
The gameplay mechanics that seemed to work so well in the demo suddenly became my enemy. I wrestled with the camera, fought cheap enemies that could hit you while offscreen, and made my way through the most uninspired levels I’ve seen in a long time. I made it roughly halfway through the game when I decided enough was enough: I snapped my disc and made sure I never touched this game again.
This is a classic case of a demo including the best levels of a game. The game’s developers tricked me into thinking the entire game was comprised of the same quality. Before purchasing any game in a franchise I haven’t played before, I make sure I read enough online to see if the demo is an accurate representation of the final game. Too bad companies don’t put out demos all that much, at least on consoles.
4. Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (Xbox 360)
One of my friends got me and a few other friends really excited for this game. I watched trailers and gameplay videos and it looked fun. I like shooting games and I beat Ghost Recon 2 on the original Xbox and played a lot of Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter at a friend’s place. I knew what I was getting into. Or so I thought.
When the four of us bought the game, we all hopped online and decided to play some campaign mode. The first few levels were a lot of fun. In fact, most of the campaign is fun. I wasn’t disappointed by that. What did disappoint me was the fact the campaign would only save to the host’s file. I didn’t host, so that meant if I wanted to play campaign on my own, I had to start from the beginning. There’s no fun in that. At all.
Then we tried multiplayer. It was alright until it seemed nearly everyone on the opposing team would play the Scout class, allowing them to become nearly invisible when stationary. That, combined with their ability to use a sniper rifle, turned the online mode into a cesspool of players using the cheapest methods possible to win the game. There was no glory in that. We mostly played the Soldier class, which gave us the ability to use rifle grenades. We fought cheap with cheap, but their cheap still beat our cheap.
This was a quick trade-in. I can’t remember what I bought with the money. All I know is I bought something much less disappointing than this game, a game whose only fun could be found in playing the campaign. But if you play with friends, make sure you’re the one hosting, otherwise you can enjoy those very same levels you thought you just beat.
3. Portal: Still Alive Edition (Xbox 360)
I downloaded the standalone version of this game for Xbox 360 years after it came out. In fact, I think I downloaded it just before its sequel arrived. I remember hearing so much about this game. Mostly “THE CAKE IS A LIE!” Occasionally I had heard people talk about the actual gameplay and they said it was great. So I purchased it.
The game is quite short. I thought it would be a longer puzzle game, but I beat it in two sittings, each under an hour. A couple puzzle really tripped me up, but overall I made it through without any huge problems. When I was done, I definitely felt a little letdown. A lot of people made this out to be some kind of revolutionary game that changed the way we play games. To me, it was merely a fun, short little distraction, something you may come back to later to see if you can remember how to beat certain rooms.
The biggest problem was the fanbase. I barely remember the infamous line in the game. Did a character say it? Was it written somewhere? I just didn’t really “get it,” I suppose. And I still don’t. I’m disappointed because everyone who talked about it promised me something greater. I got a fun game, simple as that. It’s not a bad game at all. This is one of the few cases where I actually enjoyed a game despite feeling disappointed.
Maybe I should have ignored the hyperbole. Maybe I should have bought an Xbox 360 first instead of a Wii so I could have enjoyed this when The Orange Box first came out. Or maybe I should have had a decent computer. Either way, I felt letdown. I’m probably not even going to bother with the sequel because it’s probably just as short and just as un-revolutionary despite claims to the contrary.
2. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2 (Xbox 360)
I played the original Star Wars: The Force Unleashed on both Wii and Xbox 360 and loved both versions. The combat was a spectacularly fun, the story was actually well-done, and the Force powers were really badass. So I did what most consumers would do: get the sequel. The same people were making it and all the trailers made it seem awesome. The demo was decent too.
Despite all that, it turned into the same case as Blinx 2: the level featured in the demo was the only fun level, the story was pants-on-head stupid, and it was really short. Or maybe that’s a good thing. Regardless, it copied-and-pasted what people liked about the first game, added a second lightsaber, and threw in a really, really stupid story. I had my reservations, considering the story couldn’t exactly continue with the same main character after certain events in the first game. But I had no idea it would be this bad.
What I didn’t mention earlier was I didn’t exactly “get” the game: I rented it. And thank God for that, because I would’ve been down quite a bit of cash after this abomination. And don’t get me started on the ending. That cliffhanger was completely unnecessary. LucasArts is dead, though, so at least we probably won’t get a third one. Unless Electronic Arts somehow decides to continue on the dark path this game started.
1. Halo 4 (Xbox 360)
Let’s get this out of the way first: I loved the campaign. I liked the overall direction with the story, even if I didn’t fully understand the villain and his motivations until I did some online research (haven’t read any of the newer books). The game looked great for such old hardware, the sounds were the best they’ve been, and the music was still good despite not having the great Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori as composers. But again, the single player content was awesome and I’m sure to buy more Halo titles in the future.
That said, the multiplayer was a mess. An absolute giant, festering mess. The maps were pretty terrible, both on-disc and downloadable content. The idea of an experience system to unlock new weapons and abilities is something I hope is never in a Halo game again. The armour sets were, for the most part, extremely ugly and were missing many of the favourites from past games. The weapons weren’t balanced properly until months later, despite people realizing this within the first month or two. And much, much more.
I enjoyed the multiplayer much longer than most. I think the game’s honeymoon feeling lasted far too long for me and I don’t know why. I didn’t see the numerous problems with game modes, weapon balance, vehicles, maps, and unlocks until much later. By then I gave up. I tried coming back to this game after the recent tweaking update, but problems with maps and their spawns still persist, keeping me from enjoying a game in a franchise that was once king of the video game industry.
The multiplayer was too far from Halo 3, which many consider to have the best online gameplay. The multiplayer was still too far from Call of Duty, despite borrowing so many things from that franchise. It was somewhere in between, yet still couldn’t mix the best of both worlds. Again, it was a mess. And it still is, for the most part. At least Halo 3 will be free on Xbox Live soon, so maybe that community will grow in size again. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Halo 3 community grew larger than the Halo 4 community.
Those are my top five most disappointing gaming experiences. Now I would really like to hear from you guys. What games disappointed you the most and why? Do you disagree with any of the games I mentioned? Let me know in the comments down below because I really want to hear back from all you wonderful people. Thanks for reading and keep coming back every Tuesday and Saturday for more updates!