Waaaaaay back in the early days of my blog I ran down what five of my favourite videogames were. It was tough to choose five from the many games that I really enjoy and I have a huge list of potential titles that could have made that list aside from the five I eventually settled on.
I’m the kind of bloke who’ll always give a game a chance before dismissing it as not being any good. Often I’ll get through the whole game before making that judgement call. Very few games I’ve played have ever been what I would refer to as a let-down. Most all leave me feeling at least satisfied even if they weren’t brilliant.
That said, there have been a few games that have left me feeling less than impressed with what I paid for. Not many, but there are some and that’s what this post is all about; those games that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.
Sometimes it’s when a game gets overhyped and doesn’t live up to what was essentially promised. Other times it’s because I was expecting something completely different. Other times it’s because the characters were underdeveloped or just straight up boring. Whatever the reason, there is the occasional game that just doesn’t hit my sweet spot. And now here are the top five games that failed to deliver…
Dead Rising 2 (PS3) – This game let me down more than any other I’ve played. I was so excited to get my hands on it after watching my friend playing on it one day. It looked fantastic, but I hadn’t got long into playing it myself when I realised that it flattered to deceive in the worst way. The commercials had told of how anything could be used as a weapon, you could design your own weapons and there were 500,000 zombies to kill. What doesn’t sound epic about that? What I soon realised though was that to design a weapon you needed a blueprint. Okay, fair enough. I can understand why a baseball bat with nails in would be impossible to build without a blueprint. Then I realised each weapon had a lifespan that wasn’t very long. Uhm…right! Then I realised that you couldn’t just go around slaying zombies for fun. You spent most of the game searching for some medicine against the clock so the protagonist’s daughter didn’t turn into a zombie and it wasn’t easy stuff to acquire. Add to that the tonne of other missions, some of them on a timer too. There was too much intricate and unentertaining stuff going on for me to actually enjoy the game for what it should have been. I’d kill a handful of zombies and my weapons would break. As soon as they broke I’d be surrounded by the swines. So I spent most of the game running away from the things I wanted to kill with the awesome weapons I was promised but couldn’t get to find medicine that was only available to buy off looters at prices I couldn’t afford. In short, this game fucking sucked! It was a good game completely ruined. I’ve never been let down by something more, up to and including dates with women who were hot on photos, but munters in person! I’ll never play a game in this series again. Dead Island has it beaten in every department.
Watch Dogs (PS3) – This was another game that I spent ages coveting. I saw gameplay spoiler videos about two years before its release and it looked absolutely incredible! I told friends about it and waxed lyrical about how amazing it was definitely going to be. The problem was that the game was developed by Ubisoft. Usually that means that it won’t be as good as it should be. That turned out to be the case with Watchdogs. Unlike Dead Rising 2, I actually liked Watchdogs. It was a good game and I really got into it. There were some fun things you could do in terms of hacking and what not that you simply can’t do on other games. The problem was, however, that I was expecting more. I can’t explain what more I was expecting, but I was. The build-up to the game and the promises of how mould breaking it was going to be just weren’t lived up to for me. Not even close. Had I not been led to believe that it was going to be something special then I might have come away from the game thinking it was a really good one, but because I had such high expectations I just felt short-changed. The driving side of the game was naff. The only sandbox games that have ever managed to get the driving mechanics close to right are the Grand Theft Auto games. I fear driving in all other games because it’s just never as good. The hacking was fun, but I thought there’d be so much more you could do to affect your immediate environment. Then there was Ubisoft’s modus operandi; the collectibles. Too many of them and it ended up consuming about two thirds to three quarters of the playing time, just like some Assassin’s Creed titles. Ubisoft need to get over the obsession they have with collectibles! So overall, Watchdogs was a good game, but it wasn’t the amazing game I was expecting and for that reason it was a great let-down.
Assassin’s Creed III (PS3) – Anybody who knows me properly will know that I am a huge Assassin’s Creed fan. I think the series is simply breath-taking. The games are never perfect (what game is?), but the settings, the characters and the abilities of the protagonists just blow everything else out of the water. I liked Assassin’s Creed III. The story was there and it had the ingredients to be an unbelievable game. Set during the American Revolution, you start the game as Haytham Kenway in typical fashion. That is until the swerve when you discover that he’s a Templar (the sworn enemies of the Assassin’s). Then the game changes and you assume the identity of Haytham’s half English, half Mohawk son, Ratonhnhaké:ton; given the much easier to pronounce name of Connor by the Assassin Grandmaster, Achilles. What doesn’t sound cool about a tomahawk wielding Mohawk Assassin picking his way through bad guys in colonial America? There was no way this game could miss. Well I’m afraid to say that it was entirely because of Connor that this game has been the biggest let-down of the series so far. There was so little depth to his character and he just came across as a whining, moody cry-baby. In all other Assassin’s Creed titles I’ve been able to connect with the protagonist. I didn’t especially like Arno in Liberation and Evie Frye in Syndicate was really boring, but I at least got some personality and could connect on some level. There was nothing to Connor at all. He was practically a nonentity. His father, the antagonist, was a miles better character. More rounded and likeable despite his villainous nature. I found myself rooting for the bad guy more than Connor and that should never happen. Thanks to his failings as a character, what should have been a great game ended up being the worst of the series. Even if it hadn’t featured the trademark technical glitches I still feel this game would have fallen short of the others.
No Man’s Sky (PS4) – I don’t want to put this game on the list (ha – inadvertent Chris Jericho-ism there). I want to say that this game is a marvel of gaming technology. I want to say that its sheer size and scale is impressive beyond words. I want to say the diversity is like nothing else I’ve ever encountered. Indeed, all three of those statements are true, but the problem is that those three things are the reason this game has failed me. So much has been put into those three things that they seemingly forgot about everything else! The idea of flying around a galaxy loaded with trillions of stars and countless planets that are all available to discover sounds like utopia to a sandbox geek like me. Indeed, that is what you can do and what I did. I’d spend ages on planets, naming them and all the regions. I’d discover new species and name them too. It really was great at first. The main aim of reaching the centre of the galaxy wasn’t important to me. I just wanted to discover and name stuff. Sadly, I soon realised that the planets weren’t really all that diverse at all. A lot of the species looked the same from planet to planet. The weather conditions, toxicity levels and heat made things interesting in terms of when you could venture outside and discover stuff and some of the species were violent too to spice things up, but it became quickly clear that all I was doing was collecting resources to upgrade my spaceship and watching for how much space I had in my inventory. It got old fast. After a few weeks of giving NMS a chance, I finally lost my rag when I spent ages on a planet trying to discover all the species and one just refused to show up no matter where I looked. I moved onto another game and didn’t look back. I returned to NMS after a while to realise that an update had come along and I wasn’t in the place I’d saved at. That just wound me up even more so I’ve not been back to it since. I probably will go back eventually if just to get the main objective of reaching the centre of the galaxy complete, but in the same way as I was looking forward to the release of Watchdogs for ages and didn’t get what I expected, NMS did exactly the same only worse. While Watchdogs is actually good, but with loads of elements missing that I expected to see, NMS is quite poor, but with a few good elements. I expected so much more than what I got lumbered with.
Port Royale 3: Pirates & Merchants (PS3) – Okay, so I wasn’t expecting fireworks from this game. I picked it up relatively cheap, but I figured because it was a pirate themed game that it simply couldn’t miss. It could miss. It did miss. I expected something similar to Sid Meier’s Pirates: Live the Life, which is one of the very best games I’ve played; perhaps my favourite game on PC alongside the Football Manager series. Indeed it wasn’t too dissimilar to that game and I was initially filled with hope. Unlike Live the Life, you have to choose which career path you’d like to head down; either pirate or merchant (surprisingly…). Naturally I opted for the pirate path. It’s tough to describe what happened from there, but I had to build some kind of homestead and then initiate trade links. That sounds very merchant-esque to me. I persevered though and did as it told me. I began slowly building up money to improve my homestead and, more importantly, my ship. Then it hits me with saying certain improvements aren’t possible because I don’t have access to the right materials and that I either need to set up more trade links or take what I want from merchants. Trading for the items I wanted wasn’t possible because the settlements that had what I wanted either didn’t want what I had or wanted too much of it. Finally; the chance to perform some high seas piracy then. So I found a merchant with a resource I was looking for and entered battle. I lost. Let me rephrase that; I got my arse served to me on a platter with my cock and balls as a side dish. The fighting mechanics were dreadful. The ship didn’t move how I wanted and was so unresponsive. The firepower was pathetic. There was next to no speed. The merchant had an accompanying frigate that I wasn’t made aware of (because I wouldn’t see a ship as big as a damned frigate accompanying a little merchantman), but it would have beaten me on its own anyway. It took just a couple of minutes before my ship was destroyed and my crew wiped out. It sent me back to my homestead without a ship and said I’d need to raise the money to buy one; the very money I was using to improve my homestead and that was trickling in with painstaking slowness. In retaliation, I ejected the game disc, returned it to its box, put the box somewhere dark and never went near it again. It was arguably the worst game I have ever played. It’s a disgrace to the good name of piracy!
There you have it. Five of the biggest videogame let-downs and I’m most (dis)satisfied with the list. Another game that was going to make the list before I decided on No Man’s Sky instead was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege. It’s another game that I do actually like and spent a large amount of time playing, but my problem with the game was that it was hard. I mean pointlessly hard. I like a challenge, but that game took it to stupid levels. It was geared towards online play with other people, but a game immediately loses its appeal to me if there isn’t enough focus on single player elements. I didn’t have the patience to try and get better either. Technically I really enjoyed playing it and the challenge drew me in for a while. For that reason it avoids the indignity of making the list of five and instead gets the comfort of this section. I’m sure it’s very grateful!
So there you have it. Some games just don’t do the job. If you’re an entertainment product and fail to entertain then you fail, end of story. Some of these did entertain, but were let down by their own hype. Others just plain sucked!
Have you played any videogames that let you down? Do you agree with my assessments on the games I’ve chosen? Drop a comment below and let me know what you think and I will be sure to get back to you. Thanks for reading!