Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Five Biggest Videogame Let-downs

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.

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Dead Rising 2: not only a let-down, but a poor game in general (image from Steam)

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.

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This game promised so much, but didn’t deliver (image from Huffington Post)

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.

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A good game ruined by a poor protagonist (image from Den of Geek)

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.

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Another game that massively failed to live up to its high expectations (image from Steam)

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!

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Very possibly the worst game I’ve ever played and a disgrace to the hallowed name of piracy (image from Steam)

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!

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Rainbow Six Siege may have just avoided the list of five, but that didn’t prevent it from receiving a dishonourable mention (image from Steam)

12 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Five Biggest Videogame Let-downs

  1. I can only smile when I see your assessment of Watch Dogs the hype for it’s release was insane, if memory serves it was to dethrone the almighty GTA series at the time, I guess the rest is history as far as what followed

    Speaking of sandbox titles what are your thoughts on the Yakuza series, have you had any experience with it?

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    1. Watch Dogs made me die a little inside. Like I say, it was a good game, just nowhere close to as good as I’d expected.

      I haven’t played any of the Yakuza series and I’m not entirely sure why. Do you recommend it?

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  2. You’ll not be shocked, I’m sure, to learn that despite also being a die-hard Assassin’s Creed fan, I had the exact same feeling about AC:III. Pretty much as soon as the narrative and gameplay switched to the Native American lad whose name I can’t pronounce, I lost interest. The whole business of him hunting in the woods for an entire sequence? Boooooring. This post reminds me that I still need to do my review of AC:Syndicate. I can’t say I adore Evie’s personality either, but like you say, at least there’s a personality there.

    If I were to do a similarly fashioned list, one game I know would make my list is Red Dead Redemption. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I loathed it, but it most certainly fell quite flat relative to all the hype that had preceded it. In general, I dislike it when a game forces you to travel physically back to a certain location (like a campground) in order to save your progress. To be fair, though, I knew that it would be set in the wild west, and that’s just not a setting I’m keen on, so perhaps shame on me?

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    1. NOOOOOOOOOOO! Charlotte, take it back about RDR! I absolutely adore that game (and Undead Nightmare). John Marston is an awesome protagonist and the ending is as close as I’ve come to crying at a videogame. I suppose if the Wild West setting does nothing for you then it wouldn’t be up your alley. I thought is was great. It’s one of my favourite games in all honesty. I like it so much that it’s part of the reason I never got rid of my PS3 so I might be able to play it again. Haha.
      Glad you at least agree on the AC3 front. Ratonhnhaké:ton (I pronounce it raton-n-ake-ton) was a proper little tosspiece. I didn’t mind the hunting aspect, but you do know where they lifted that idea from don’t you? The aforementioned RDR.

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      1. Hahaha I’ve just had to go make sure you didn’t unfollow me 😉

        Totally kidding. I suppose it’s true what they say that there’s no accounting for tastes. Although if what you say is true regarding AC:III lifting the hunting aspects from RDR, then no wonder I didn’t care for either! Maybe it’s just an anti-hunting thing. Because the thing is, ultimately it is compelling narratives that suck me into a video game and make them my favorites. So I do have to wonder if I didn’t get RDR enough of a chance and didn’t have the opportunity to get much into the story.

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      2. I was considering unfollowing you, I won’t lie. Haha. No, what would this world be like if we all liked/disliked the same stuff?
        I think the story is one of the strongest aspects of RDR personally. In fact I’d maybe go so far as to say it’s the most complete game I’ve ever played. Either that or Assassin’s Creed II. As I say, the ending to RDR is heartbreaking. You really don’t see it coming. But this is all just my opinion of course and I respect all that differ from mine 🙂

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      3. I really love hearing this! Seriously. I quit playing the game maybe a quarter of the way through because I just hated the mechanics. That’s a tough situation to be in as a gamer, where you want to know the narrative (I’m a very story-driven gamer), but the mechanics are making you want to hurl the controller against a wall. I wonder how I would find it if I were to go back and replay it now? The ending story in ACII is a lot of what makes it my all time favorite game. If you did the feather collection optional mini-game, and you saw the cut-scene at the end of that with Ezio’s mother, you’ll not be surprised to learn that I bawled my eyes out at that scene.

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      4. I as near as 100% completed ACII. I couldn’t get enough of the game. Everything about it was pretty much flawless. And yes, that was a pretty touching moment as you wonder exactly what might be coming where she’s concerned. I wonder why Ubisoft just haven’t quite been able to nail it since that game? Have you read the books? I’ve got as far as Forsaken with those I think

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      5. I agree – I don’t understand why Ubisoft felt the need to start cranking out yearly iterations of the franchise at the expense of quality storytelling. I’ve not read the books — would your recommend them?

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  3. I… cannot agree with your assessment… or disagree for that matter, ha! As I’ve never played these games 😉 I’ve never been big on video game playing personally. Sometimes I hear about games and think they sound relatively interesting, but as a kid I didn’t play much more than the occasional arcade game (primarily like mortal combat and street fighter) and was not spectacular at it …and played the old game Myst? (I think it was called) on the desktop a few times before it bored the ever loving fuck out of me… and that was because my dad bought it and thought it was amazing (I suppose it was technically speaking for the time…) …I just also recalled a game I played a few years ago that I can’t recall the name… but it was creating a civilisation through evolution – you started by creating an amoeba in the water and had it grow/evolve and had to try not to get eaten… eventually crawling out of the muck to live on land. Up to that part it was an awesome game… but by the time your creature became apart of a village it became much more difficult and downright confusing in the aims and actions needed to keep your village from burning to the ground or whatever. Thoroughly frustrating every time! Anyway, hubby plays a lot of video games, as do several other male friends of mine… even my mancunian ex, Andre, used to work for bethelsoft (only just left this past year) in video game development… it was fun seeing him post about new games on fb the day or two before release and knowing my feed would be just about to blow up with excited male friends getting their hands on it. Lol… that being said… I have since left the video games to them to enjoy… sooo I’ll trust your judgement when it comes to the video game enjoyment factor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve essentially grown up with videogames. I shudder to think how much cumulative time I’ve spent on them. The amount of them I’ve played and all I can come up with is six examples of let-downs, that’s not bad really. They were all released within the last decade as well

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup a lot of guys I know are much like you. We just didn’t have a console of any sort when I was a kid so I got limited exposure at friends houses… and when I did I naturally just wasn’t that good at it like they were… no practice and few and far between. But I suppose as long as you don’t do it 24 hrs+ straight then it’s all in good fun and time well spent… makes for good reaction times etc too, no?

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