The “Disappointing Game of the Year 2010” Article

December 29, 2010, Author: The TIMJ Team

Oh, God. Why do I have to go back to even thinking about this game? I dropped cash on it, brought it home hoping I was going to play an awesome RPG from Level-5, whom I respect very much. Even the XMB video/music was great looking. However, I got into the game… well, simply put; this is where things got ugly. I slogged through the first few hours of the game, my brain hurting at why this game was so bad. Level-5, creators of Dragon Quest, how could you do this to me? Needless to say, I sold this game back to Gamestop a few days after I realized I was in denial about my badly spent money.

Luckily, I was able to salvage a good thirty dollars from the purchase. Now I can bash all day, but without reason it means nothing. So you ask me why it was so “bad”? Well, there are many reasons; A cliché story, lackluster graphics, clunky online features, absolutely terrible combat sequences and bad voice acting/characters. As much as I love Level-5, as a journalist must be honest and deliver the truth; this game is trash. It belittles the title of ‘Playstation 3 Exclusive’.

Runners up: White Knight Chronicles, White Knight Chronicles.

This is a weird one. Having not played too many fresh games this year and being very tactical about the ones I did play, I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve experienced from the 2010 crop. So my choice for this category isn’t a bad game by any stretch. It’s simply the one that I felt let me down the most throughout.

Not being a massive fan of the first game, Just Cause 2 was not an essential purchase for me but with a fresh student loan in the bank I was tempted by its promise of ‘no vertical limit’ and the expansive demo snatched from the Marketplace. I was expecting a thrilling game from start to finish. How wrong I was. The issue here is length. After a few hours the size of the island becomes a massive issue, forcing you to spend ages crossing vast distances just to pick up missions. At the best of times this involves a lengthy flight in a chopper or plane; at the worst of times, a gruelling grapple/paraglide routine. Soon enough, the endless height and multitude of opportunities ceases to be enough and boredom sets in. The plot also is less than top notch.

After being dropped in with the pretence of deposing the current dictator, the story falls into a common trap; using loads of seemingly pointless, menial missions to waste time until the final showdown, which, incidentally, I never reached. After a point, simply crashing into another car prompts a vastly disproportionate enemy response involving heavily armoured, LMG-toting soldiers and jeeps. All the fun and experimentation of the first phase of the game is rendered unusable, one mistake becoming a tedious problem.

A better story, more balanced difficulty and a smaller playing field may have saved Just Cause 2 from being my biggest disappointment of the year, but even then the ill-thought-out shooting controls and multitude of other tears would’ve still made it a contender.

Runners up: Dark Void, Dante’s Inferno.

I couldn’t have been more hyped for FFXIII at the beginning of the year and, in fact, after Mass Effect 2, it was my most anticipated game. At the start, I wasn’t disappointed. When I finally got my hands on it, I was digesting the story, appreciating the narrative, getting used to the combat, it all seemed to be coming together, but as I continued to get deeper into the game, I just found myself becoming less and less engaged with the whole experience. Final Fantasy XIII feels linear, dumbed down, I felt no attachment to the main cast and I was bored by the midway point, something I’ve never felt from this series before.

I understand the irony of an RPG being both my GOTY and DOTY. I also appreciate how ironic it is that it was the Final Fantasy series that got me into the genre in the first place. This is why I was so gravely disappointed by this offering from Square as it seemed devoid of the heart, soul and quality of previous games in the series. I live in hope for future installments of the series and hope it reaches the amazing heights I’ve become used to for Final Fantasy games. Unfortunately XIII did not live up to my expectations, which admittedly were very high. Regardless, Final Fantasy XIII easily takes the crown as my disappointment of the year.

Runners up: Crazy Taxi, Mafia II.

This year’s disappointment for me is not a game that’s a bad one like Saw 2, but more of a good game that just didn’t live up to expectations. Lego Harry Potter was a game that I was really looking forward to; after all, it’s a Lego game and they are always fun. I was automatically happy with it as a single player game but when it came to co-op this is where it disappointed me gravely. Only offering the ability to play co-op locally, it annoyed me, I didn’t get why there was no online component; it’s not like it wouldn’t have worked.

This, coupled with no co-op achievements meant that I had to play the game twice just to be able to get the achievements for both me and the person I was playing with. In the current market, Telltale should have factored this into the equation as co-operative play is something that the market as a whole looks for, especially in this type of game. When you restrict the audience you are aiming for, it’s not going to end well.

Runners up: Saw II: Flesh & Blood, Mass Effect 2.

My biggest disappointment of 2010 would have to be the much hyped battle between PES and FIFA. Both games promise to re-invent the wheel but deliver what ultimately feels like the same games you have brought and played year after year.

In particular My main criticism would be aimed at FIFA 11 which ultimately feels like FIFA 10 with a few gimmicky tweaks like “Be a Goalkeeper” or “Add Crowd Chants” but after a few weeks of playing you actually realise that you have just paid £40 for FIFA 10 again with a different cover and this is something that is beginning to grate a little.

The biggest concern is that many of the other little changes have been tacked on to offer something different but at the expense of the improvement of gameplay and if this continues it could be the downfall of the much-loved EA Franchise. In fact I cannot help but think that PES are finally starting to catch-up and if they actually had the licensed teams, players and kits people may start to go back, but as this does not look likely anytime soon, I fear Football fans will once again be picking up a FIFA 11 in a fresh 2012 box yet again next September.

Runners up: Kinect, Crackdown 2.

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