Disappointment is a common human trait that can be associated with all walks and manners of life, meaning that it can unfortunately apply to video games. There has been no shortage of disappointing video games since the creation of our beloved pastime. Whether they were sequels in a beloved franchise or an Original IP, these games left many of us who played them scratching our heads in bewilderment at best and sorely bummed out at worst.
I should note to you, dear reader that before starting, I will only be including one game from the eighth generation on this list. This is due to a great list by Peter G that we previously published about disappointing games that focused solely on the eight generation which you can read here. I don’t want to repeat anything because let’s face it, you could do plenty of lists about the disappointing games of the eighth generation.
The “This could have been so much better” game – Mafia 3 (Hanger 13/2K – 2016)
Our eighth gen entry. This highly anticipated game should have worked, it had so much promise. Up until Mafia 3s release, the franchise had enjoyed a small but dedicated fanbase. It received acclaim for the characters, attention to time period details and heart-breaking stories revolving around family and friendship. Mafia 3 was to be the game that made the franchise a big-time player in the gaming world.
Long story short, it failed. On top of a broken launch, Mafia 3 was just generic in every department, from repetitive gameplay and mission objectives to a story that while starting strong, falls flat on its face with an abundance of clichés and strange narrative choices. The open world of the game was as empty as its prerelease promises. In the years to come, its status as a disappointing game was the only memorable thing about it.
Most frustrating was that the conclusion to the story of Joe Barbaro, a beloved character from Mafia 2, was not even that much of a conclusion. Mafia 3 should have been a better game, but it was not, so it unfortunately belongs on this list.
The “oh my god, what have they done” game – Aliens Colonial Marines (Gearbox Software/SEGA – 2013)
Bloody hell, this thing. Not only does Colonial Marines stand as one of the most disappointing games of the seventh generation, but it’s also one of the worst of all time, period. Dreadful enemy A.I, a boring, clichéd story and characters and glitches aplenty cemented Colonial Marines as one of the last truly bad seventh gen games.
As if that was not bad enough, the shadiness surrounding this game was like something out of a TV drama. SEGA discovered that Gearbox, the developers of the game, had been moving people and resources off the project and putting them to work on Borderlands and another game we will be discussing on this list. To make up for the mismanagement, Gearbox outsourced a significant portion of the game to various studios, which resulted in the dreadful, final version of the game.
A game that was years in development, but sadly, was not worth the wait.
The “I can’t believe they released this” game – Duke Nukem Forever (Gearbox Software/2K – 2011)
Another entry from our friends at Gearbox, albeit they should not get the blame here. A game that took fifteen years to get released, Duke Nukem Forever holds the Guinness World Record for the longest game in development. According to reports, 3D Realms, the original developers of the game, kept changing the engine and design of the game until it was nearly unrecognizable from the original project.
To be fair, the game is not terrible, it is just the fifteen year wait that doomed it from the start. Gearbox, you could say they had “balls of steel”, decided to finish development of the game on behalf of 3D Realms. Upon release, the phrase “disappointing game” became synonymous with Duke, from its gameplay and graphics to its outdated humour. This YouTube video serves as a humorous look at the game and why its not all terrible.
It’s not a great game, but I still cannot believe they released it. It serves as an example that if you let your passion for something go too deep, it could break you.
The “endings ruined everything” game – Mass Effect 3 (Bioware/EA – 2012)
Mass Effect 3 is a great game. While not as good as the glorious second entry in the series (I would even argue that the first game is better too), it was still a top-notch sci-fi adventure. A top notch sci-fi adventure needs a powerful ending.
Mass Effect 3 however, did not get that type of ending. It was powerful, but for all the wrong reasons. Every decision you had made across the franchise culminated in an either A, B or C ending with little difference between the three except a few different cinematics. The endings were memorable, but not for the right reasons, resulting in a disappointing game experience.
Some of the side missions and story moments were not as strong as what we had seen in the previous two games. It also had a very annoying quest log that made it hard to keep track of what mission you were supposed to be doing. But hey, at least it was not as bad as Andromeda.
The “why did they mess with the formula” game – Dead Space 3 (Visceral Games/EA – 2013)
Out of all the games on this list, this one hurts the most. Dead Space is my favourite horror game franchise, serving up two shocking but brilliant horror games that had me hooked from the second I played them.
So why did EA have to mess with its formula and try and turn it into some sort of weird action/co-op hybrid game with just a little bit of horror? Who Knows. The game failed financially and put the series into stasis, and we have not heard a peep from it since 2013. A cliched and boring story only serves to sadden even more the gamers who were expecting a satisfying conclusion to the journey of Isaac Clarke.
Perhaps it could make a return with the ninth generation of gaming, but I am not holding my breath. Its not bad to try new things in a franchise, but when it’s a complete image change to appeal to gamers who generally don’t play horror games, is best to go back to the drawing board.
Unfortunately, there will be more disappointing games to come, but there will be great ones too. Most of the games that were featured are not bad games, they just could have been so much more. We will just have to wait and see what the ninth generation has to offer us.
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