Editorials

The “Disappointing Game of the Year 2010″ Article

December 29, 2010, Author: The TIMJ Team

Okay, we’re done with the nicey-nicey stuff that we produced in our GOTY article, now it’s our turn to dispense with the bile and let you know what our personal disappointments of 2010 were. Hey, we’re harsh but fair, and we gotta offer both sides of the coin, right?

There are some surprisingly big titles mentioned in the following article, so make sure you let us know what you make of it all in the comments!

Normal service will resume next Tuesday!

Well, this was pretty easy in the end, as to be fair, before I played my choice this weekend just gone I was struggling to think of three games that I was really disappointed with. Hell, even a game as revered as Mass Effect 2 nearly made the shortlist, as while I enjoyed it thoroughly, I was disappointed by the absence of the brilliant RPG elements that Bioware made so enjoyable in the first. Instead it’s a recent acquisition that started off so promising, but quickly ended up being such a massive disappointment that I just can’t bring myself to finish it. Step forward Undead Nightmare.

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I love zombies. If I also mention that I was a huge fan of Rockstar’s DLC strategy for GTA IV then this should have been a forgone conclusion for a positive experience, surely? Sadly, for Undead Nightmare, I also loved the main Red Dead Redemption campaign (it was nearly listed in my runners-up for GOTY in fact) but where that had great mission structure, variety and lots to do; this just doesn’t. The characters are still brilliant, the b-movie vibe is fantastic, but this expansion is happy to stick with two samey mission types throughout, and that gets old, real fast. Throw in the fact that it won’t offer up the final mission until I’ve endured enough of the boring, repetitive bullshit it wants me to chore through before it gives me the green light, you have one unfinished game and 800 wasted Microsoft Points.

Runners up: Alpha Protocol, Heavy Rain.

My gaming disappointment of the year was a tough call to make. There were several that didn’t really live up to my expectations, but there was one game that I wasn’t expecting great things from as soon as previews started to crop up, and my doubts weren’t completely unjustified.

Final Fantasy has always been a franchise I have adored. Final Fantasy VII was my very first gaming experience so it’s extremely special to me. After being bitterly disappointed in all Final Fantasy games after X, I was really hoping that XIII would go back to basics and I could finally re-declare my love for the series.

Why on earth Square Enix thought it was a good idea to get rid of all towns, NPC interaction and physical shops I will never know. All my favourite things about this stunning series had been stripped away and replaced with bitter simplicity, a button bashing battle system and a plot that was like riding a train in a straight line to its final and disappointing destination.

There is no doubt that FFXIII is a visually stunning game, but give me sprites and good game mechanics over 3D rendered CGI animation any day.

Runners up: Fable III, Red Dead Redemption.

My biggest disappointment of 2010 is unquestionably PES 2011. Now I know what you’re going to say, “PES has been poor for three years” and you’d be right but stupidly this year I fell for the Seabass charm. I played the demo, a lot, and honestly felt the game had genuine promise this time around. So much so that I went and bought the game on release day at the expense of the latest FIFA title.

Now don’t get me wrong here, there is a genuine improvement in this years addition of PES and as I stated in my review, I did get some enjoyment from the game (not least with the Master League Online mode) but overall I was disappointed that it didn’t reach the level that the demo and Seabass had promised. The biggest issue I have with the game is the fundamentals are all wrong; the basics of the game are missing. The inability to force your team mates to run ahead of the ball is, in my opinion the biggest single flaw of any video game because it continuously leads to a lack of flow and rhythm to the game which any football fan will tell you is probably the key feature of the sport.

Suffice to say have learnt my lesson and regardless of the claims of the developers I will not be fooled again next year!

Runners up: Crazy Taxi, Ninety Nine Nights II.

Over the Years the FIFA franchise has had a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. It started off as a must have game when was first released, I remember FIFA 96 was pretty awesome back in the day. Just like in the real game, dominance is hard to maintain and that is exactly what happened as the dark days came in the form of ISS (or PES as it is now known), which became the must play soccer simulation. EA’s franchise was relegated to a bit of a joke such was its fall from grace, with hardcore console football fans laughing at its ridiculous fast pace, stupidly unrealistic gameplay and cricket like score-lines. The slump lasted until 2007, when FIFA had a major overhaul, and with PES struggling to impress (particularly on the Xbox 360), EA’s soccer franchise unleashed a wicked tackle on Konami’s genre leader and found itself back in the game. The rise has continued over the last few years and FIFA has turned the game on its head to go in front of its rival in almost every area on the pitch.

Sadly, though, last years FIFA game may have been EA’s last stroke of tactical genius, as this years edition seems to have pulled up with a severe looking injury. The problem with FIFA 11 is that it is far to similar to last years instalment and there is no obvious improvement one year on. They’ve added the ability to play as the goalkeeper in the “Be A Pro” mode and added a “Create Your Own Team” option (only if you do so on a PC and then port it your game though), as well as the tidying of a few glitches and issues. For me, though, it just isn’t enough to warrant the tag of a brand new title, and I hate having to pay another £40 for a game I seemingly already brought last year.

I have found FIFA 11 boring and so similar to 10 that I have had no enthusiasm to play it, and that’s really sad when you consider how much I loved last years version. EA need to go back to the drawing board and make that game changing substitution, otherwise they may well find PES drawing level or even going ahead once more.

Runners up: Smackdown vs. Raw 2011, A lot of Arcade titles.

There have been a lot of hyped-up titles this year, and to be fair, many have delivered. One game was really hyped up for one reason though, a number in fact: 256. This year’s biggest disappointment for me is MAG, an online shooter that promised a lot of things; to be a true MMOFPS with kickass tactical gameplay, and most of all to support 256 players at once. What’s more, this was to take place not on the PC but on the Playstation 3, and was in fact one of the main titles I was looking forward to trying out when buying the console as a late-adopter.

Well, they managed to make 256 players work at once, which is undeniably an achievement. The amount of work that they probably put into this was arguably to the detriment of everything else, however. The visuals are muddy and plain, controls and physics are clunky and the maps and weapons are appallingly unbalanced at times. To the developer’s credit, they continue to support the game with patches, new content and even Move compatibility, but to be honest I can’t see any amount of polish helping what is fundamentally frustrating, dull and flawed.

Runners up: Final Fantasy XIII, Bloodbowl: Legendary Edition.

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