The annual ‘Disappointment of the Year’ article 2012

December 31, 2012, Author: The TIMJ Team

We’ve done the praise, now lets disperse with the bile. Which games outright disappointed our staff members in 2012?

Well, I’ll let our guys explain for themselves…

Matt Parker (News Editor) – Assassin’s Creed III

With so much potential, there was always the danger that the game would disappoint. That it would be nothing more than ‘more of the same’. By the end of it, I wished I was back playing AC2.

A disappointing climax to the trilogy, with a story full of interesting characters that are introduced and then thrown away at the drop of a hat. Grey areas of morality and right and wrong are touched upon, but never explored. Forcing you to play as a bland and one-note character is a great shame after being in the charismatic shoes of Ezio Auditore.

The mechanics leave a nasty taste in the mouth. Running up walls when you instead wanted to run past them. Jumping off a ledge because you got too near it. The same old problems rear their ugly head yet again. The new mechanics, such as tree running and ship battles offer little in the way of excitement.

Top it off with side missions that are less than pointless and main story quests that quickly become repetitive, and you have a game full of missed opportunities and disappointment.

Phil Ubee (Staff Writer) – 007 Legends

Put simply this is the worst game I have ever played. Devoid of style, class or any degree of fun. It is the worst example of a wasted license you could possibly imagine. Anyone connected with the production and distribution of this game should be ashamed of themselves and never work in the industry again, it is that bad!

Andy Corrigan (Editor & Owner) – Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified

Bit of an easy choice here, and it’s the only one that could see Medal of Honor: Warfighter miss out on this spot.

Since the Vita hit stores, we’ve all been craving a quality FPS to take on the bus, train or to play on lunch times. After the sheer disappointment of Resistance: Burning Skies, all eyes were on Activision and Call of Duty’s Vita debut. What did Activision do? Hire the same team that fucked up Burning Skies to bring us Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified. Because fuck you fans, that’s why!

The writing was on the wall long before it hit shelves. As screenies failed to appear for Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified; as Activision failed to name their developer until a few months before release; as not one review was available before the game was out; it was evident that the game was going to be completely awful. It was.

Still, morbid curiosity overrode my common sense, and I paid $60 on release for a game that I managed to finish in a matter of hours. Buggy, gimmicky and soulless, Activision and Nihilistic provided a game that is simply an affront to the Vita.

Andy Buick (Podcast Co-Host) – Double Dragon Neon

I don’t review games, so I get to be quite choosy about what I buy! This left me happily limited for options here, but the clear winner was Double Dragon Neon. The art style is good and the 80’s rock soundtrack suits it perfectly, but the game just doesn’t play well, or rather it plays too much like an 80’s arcade game. It’s punishingly hard to the point of controller-throwing frustration, which ultimately means it just isn’t fun.

Retro games like this should be an homage, but evolved to reflect the progress that’s been made in gaming beyond shiny graphics and better sound; something the developers don’t seem to have understood here sadly. Even more unforgivable though is the fact that it’s sullied some fond memories of the original games way back in the day. I spent many a happy hour playing Double Dragon 2 on the PC in glorious EGA graphics and now I realise it was probably absolute rubbish (sad face).

I’m just glad I didn’t have to review Double Dragon Neon; after about an hour of playing it I ended the game never to touch it again.

Trent Pyro (Staff Writer) – Max Payne 3

Being an enormous, rabid fan of the first two games, Max Payne 3 was definitely on my must-play list this year. So imagine how crestfallen I was when I discovered that Rockstar had decided to make it an unforgiving, crushingly hard and unnecessarily cheap slab of gaming misery. Even on the easiest setting the game forces you to gingerly leap between cover points and just one rookie mistake can finish you.

I don’t mind a challenge but when you can’t even enjoy the game because every new area is another rock-hard killbox, it just becomes a tedious, boring memory game. An Easy mode that was actually easy would’ve saved this from the bottom of my list but no. What a disappointment.

Paddy X (Community/Social Network Manager) – Need for Speed: Most Wanted

I am going to go out on a limb here, it would have been so easy to say Medal of Honor: Warfighter, but meh.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is certainly not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination and it’s not chock full of bugs either, but this isn’t the worst game of the year category, it’s disappointment of the year. Need For Speed: Most Wanted certainly did disappoint me after so many months of waiting and eager anticipation to the point of frothing at the mouth.

The whole “drive any car in the game from the start” promise wasn’t quite the truth, more find it to unlock it. The cars seemed way too powerful at times for their own good, making the city feel very claustrophobic at times; sometimes I just want to get in and drive for 20 minutes, Burnout Paradise and the like this ain’t.

Long story short, what it boils down to is this: If you’re more interested in the single-player experience than the multiplayer component then you’re screwed. It promised so much, but delivered surprisingly little in the end.

So… Forza Horizon anyone?

Ray Willmott (Site Manager) – Resident Evil 6

Oh, Capcom. Where did it all go wrong? This one had so much potential. Chris Redfield and Leon Kennedy in the same game. Campaigns that intersect with each other. High production values. Multiplayer. This one had all the makings of a Game of the Year. Instead, it…well… fell flat on its face. Riddled with QTEs and a horrible jerky camera, Resi 6 lacked the spark and fun of previous series instalments and instead replaced it with frustration and tedium.

A new title update has just been released which does help alleviate some of the issues players previously had with the game, but I think the damage has already been done.

Resident Evil 6 is a mess. There may be strands of a good game lurking deep in the package somewhere, but those moments are far and few-between.

Adam Boffa (Staff Writer) – Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3 isn’t disappointing solely because of its bizarre ending. It’s disappointing because it clearly misunderstands the strengths of its predecessors and instead focuses squarely on action-oriented gameplay and plot contrivances that undo the incredible accomplishments of Mass Effect 2.

The balance between story, action, and role-playing systems that was so elegantly executed in the series’ second title is absent here, and in its place is a game that has little interest in its own characters and universe. The heart and soul of the Mass Effect series are difficult to find here. It is a gorgeous, luxuriously-produced misstep.

Neil Hickton (Podcast Producer) – Double Dragon Neon

I grew up playing Double Dragon in the arcades (remember those?), and I even enjoyed playing the XBLA version of the original release. When I heard there was going to be a “remake” of sorts, I quickly put on my rose-tinted specs and looked on with excitement.

When the turd eventually appeared it was one of those painful ones, it made my eyes sting. Double Dragon Neon is horrible, it doesn’t handle the subject matter well at all. While the original story was nothing to get excited about, it was all you needed to go and have a fist-fight. Neon should be more capable than its predecessors, but it merely falls flat on its 3D character models.

This game should have avoided 3D altogether and had the same sort of style that Rayman Origins employed. Hand drawn animation has far more character in this context, and of course this also requires skilled artists. The design team should have avoided the overly sexist characterisation of women too. Appalling, avoid.

James Sheppard (Sub-Editor) – Deep Black: Reloaded

This year, small development teams and low budgets have triumphed. Indie gaming has continued to go from strength to strength, with the likes of Fez, Journey and Mark of the Ninja standing tall amongst their AAA blockbuster peers. These titles played to the strengths of the indie scene, with visuals and gameplay that were simple yet impressive. Biart’s Deep Black: Reloaded, on the other hand, showed us why studios shouldn’t try to directly compete with AAA titles using meagre budgets.

Deep Black: Reloaded had the unique concept of basing a third-person shooter around underwater combat. Original? Yes. Good? No. Whereas the graphics were a reasonable effort, everything else screamed sloppy and low-budget. The controls had all the finesse of a sumo wrestler ballet-dancing, combat was a chore and the voice-acting was… I don’t know if I have the words to describe how atrocious the voice-acting was.

I’m not sure that the title ‘Disappointment of the Year’ is strictly appropriate, as I’d be lying if I said I was looking forward to Deep Black or that I believed it would be good. On the other hand, I haven’t actually played many crap games this year. That’s a nice problem to have.

Neil Hughes (Site Manager) – Resident Evil 6

Many will tell you that Medal of Honor: Warfighter was the biggest disappointment of 2012, but anyone with an ounce of sense would have predicted that it was going to turn out as a poor man’s Call of Duty, like its predecessors.

Resident Evil, though is a franchise very close to my heart, and if I hear a man say with a sinister voice saying “Resident… Evil”, the hairs on my neck will stand up on my neck, bringing back memories of my time spent in Raccoon City.

Capcom were incredibly ambitious and took a big risk in splitting Resident Evil 6 across four major story arcs with a value for money 40 hours worth of gameplay between them. Unfortunately this also involved too much repetition and quick time events for even the most hardcore Resi fan.

The latest instalment also abandoned its survival horror genre roots and felt like one, big, time-consuming mess, and the final straw when Chris’s scenario involved Zombies with guns. This was enough for me to hit the eject button and file under disappointing games.