Screen Critics recounts the games that disappointed us most from this generation of videogames. Which titles were disappointing for you?
When Sony and Microsoft announced their new consoles back in 2013, we had high hopes and lots of dreams about the games that would follow. A disappointing game sucks, no matter which way you try and paint it. What makes a disappointing video game is in the eye of the beholder. For some its lack of features. For others it’s the way some games feel huge honking letdowns. We decided to have a stab at ranking the games that we felt have ultimately disappointed us this generation of games. Obviously it’s just an opinion – feel free to offer up your alternative suggestions.
10. Street Fighter V (2016)
Capcom’s Street Fighter franchise is legendary among gamers; widely considered one of the best fighting franchises throughout the medium. The much-anticipated follow-up to Street Fighter 4, a game that came to dominate the previous generation of fighters, was something that many gamers couldn’t wait to get their hands on. Even more intriguingly, the game was moving to PlayStation 4 exclusively – abandoning Xbox gamers in the process.
Why Disappointing?: Capcom took the extraordinary decision to release the game in a “work in progress” state. The reason for this was clear, the developer wanted the game out for EVO 2016 where Street Fighter V was front and center. The bad news however was that in rushing to get the game out the door – they’d forgotten about a number of key modes and additions which left the game feeling exceptionally barebones. The story mode was missing in action while the launch-servers were so broken that Capcom had to take them down for several days. Worst of all though for a full-price AAA-game, Street Fighter V was horribly disappointing for everyone bar the most hardcore fans. Yes they patched in the content later – but that’s little comfort to those who invested full price for what was a work in progress.
9. Batman Arkham Knight
Batman Arkahm Knight was intended to mark the final chapter in the hugely popular Arkham series. Rocksteady were on course to land their franchise with a romp around Gotham City that would deliver the complete experience the series had been building up too since Asylum. Throw in the Batmobile and open world game play and it was a recipe for success.
Why Disappointing?: Two reasons. PC gamers were landed with a version of the game that was neither workable nor did it ever really get fixed. Warner Bros quietly tried to fix it but gave up when it became apparent that the outsourcing team had done such a horrible job. The second and more debatable aspect (and obviously whether you’d put it on this list), the game just felt tired. The story struggled under the weight of all the moving parts to remain compelling, tied to a setting that was just too big in scope to focus on the real emotion of the narrative. This hurts proceedings heavily and makes the game feel like it’s out of its depth slightly; with a narrative that kind of stops and starts throughout. The experience was fine, but considering how grand the previous outings were, we’re not surprised very few people gush about how great Arkham Knight is.
8. Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5
The Tony Hawk series may not be what it once was, but back in the day it managed to capture a huge amount of attention and love from gamers for its easy-to-pickup but hard-to-master game play. The game was a phenomenon and managed to gain huge amounts of mainstream love from gamers who couldn’t get enough of the excitement. So when Activision announced it was returning to the series roots and delivering an updated Tony Hawk game – it seemed too good to be true.
Why Disappointing?: It turns out that Activision only bothered to dust the franchise off as a last gasp money grabbing scheme. The license they signed for the series was set to expire at the end of 2015 and with enough nostalgia hanging over the series – it made sense to rush out a game that played to this crowd. The result was a shockingly broken game, packed to the brim with glitches, bugs and the worst of the worst in terms of gameplay errors. It wasn’t fun offline and it got even worse online, where games descended into a farce. Tony Hawk 5 effectively killed the franchise dead – disappointing many and becoming a benchmark for disappointment throughout gaming.
7. Halo 5
Halo 5 represented the latest offering from Microsoft’s AAA-shooter franchise. After the Masterchief Collection collapsed behind a heap of negative press – and Halo 4 failing to ignite fans passions – there was a lot of expectation for the first Xbox One game. With the promise of an epic showdown and Masterchief being painted as the potential villain, it all seemed too good to be true…
Why Disappointing?: … As it turned out to be. The teaser images showing Masterchief facing off against the player were all PR spin – a deceitful bait and switch to get gamers on board. Never mind the fact that the campaign was a complete bore, labouring under co-op mechanics no one asked for. The game failed to ignite wider passion, and also failed to shift Xbox One consoles – as the games mixed reception cooled interest. The multplayer was better this time around – but oh was this game just tedious.
6. Quantum Break
Microsoft’s experiment with TV and video games promised much upon entry. A compelling story that would leap between the two mediums while throwing in world bending ideas that threatened to seem original in the AAA-landscape. It was the kind of game Microsoft needed to be successful if it was going to get its footing in the console wars.
Why Disappointing?: Microsoft’s commitment to elevating new games shouldn’t be overlooked – but Quantum Break was not the game to do it with. The gameplay was staggeringly tedious while the television episodes dotted throughout killed momentum dead Perhaps most disappointing of all – the much touted world bending features amounted to little more than an afterthought throughout. It was hard to get invested and even harder to remain interested in a world that just didn’t seem well realized. The PC port sold terribly (Being tied to the Windows 10 store probably didn’t help) while it’s struggled to remain relevant in the wider gaming discussion since launch. We suspect there won’t be a sequel.
5. Mighty No.9
When one of the original creators of MegaMan said he wanted to Kickstart a fresh IP-based off that game’s success – gamers couldn’t believe their luck. So enthralled with the idea; they threw over $4million at the project to make sure it was a success. Everything seemed to be on course and as the years ticked by, the release date came tantalizingly closer and closer.
Why Disappointing?: Outside of the horrendous delays and huge graphical downgrades that dogged the games pre-release period – the game just sucked. There’s very little in Mighty No.9 that makes you believe it’s anything more than fan parody on steroids. It relies too heavily on its knowing links to the MegaMan franchise – throwing out tired ideas instead of experimenting with fresh new ones. It also didn’t help that the Wii U version arrived broken beyond sin – with gamers unable to make the game work on Nintendo’s console. So bad was the game that it’s probably tarnished the reputation of Keiji Inafune in the process. Back in June he reportedly told the gaming press “It’s better than nothing”. I’m not sure gamers agree Inafune.
4. Star Fox Zero
By the time Nintendo released Star Fox onto its Wii U, gamers were by and large ignoring the console. That’s probably a good thing really, as Star Fox Zero was a burning trash heap of a title that all but signified the state of the Wii U at the time. Fans were desperate for a great Star Fox game, but this certainly wasn’t it.
Why Disappointing?: Besides the game looking like a mid-tier Gamecube offering, the gameplay itself was monstrously disappointing. Gamers were forced to use the Wii U controller in a cumbersome fashion – handicapping aiming by tying it to the gyro controls. It was a tragic marriage of ideas, as the game struggled to be any fun. While the ability to transform on the slide was a clever one – the game never does it enough justice. Oh and the games incredibly short – so you don’t get much bang for your buck. Not the final footnote many Wii U gamers were hoping for.
3. The Order 1886
Sony really went hard on pushing The Order 1886 as a new AAA-IP. The PlayStation exclusive was shown off at numerous game show expo’s as a steam punk love-letter that blended together supernatural elements and Victorian London. The heavily cinematic experience was supposed to be the kind of game that we couldn’t see on previous consoles
Why Disappointing?: Between the games incredibly short length (Around 4 hours) and some incredibly tacked on item-hunting mechanics – The Order 1886 really didn’t do much for gamers. It didn’t help that the game felt rushed throughout, recycling mechanics and boss battles like there was a fire-sale at the quick time event store. Gamers weren’t impressed with much the game had to offer, shunning it by and large in favor of other offerings. Given the lack of discussion over a sequel, we’re assuming that Sony were equally unimpressed.
Gearbox could easily occupy several spots on this list with its games this generation. Yet where Evolve managed to sell well (Reportedly around 2.5m units) before falling to its non-existent fan base, Battleborn didn’t even get that far. The game was advertised heavily, promising to blend the MOBA and online-shooter genres with a cast of characters that were diverse and varied. The BETA for the game pulled in 2 million gamers – it surely couldn’t mess it up?
Why Disappointing?: Oh but it did. Battleborn was released in the same month as Uncharted 4, DOOM and most importantly Overwatch. The big problem is that the advertising for the game failed to explain what the game actually was – making it seem like a mess before anyone even touched it. Those who ventured in were greeted with a not-so-engaging online shooter that was devoid of the fun and charm they were promised by Gearbox. Things only got worse when the game found itself compared to Overwatch – a game that has since gone on to amass 12 million active players. The reason is simple – Battleborn was a bad idea in general and gamers quickly sussed its lack of depth.
1. No Man’s Sky
Hello Games stunned the world when it unveiled No Man’s Sky back at E3 2014. The game they showed was staggeringly vast, harrowingly beautiful and easily put to shame the efforts of AAA-developers. Here was an indie team creating their own universe and doing so in a way that oozed charm. It wasn’t going to be rivalling Star Wars in the epic space-opera stakes but it certainly had ambition. And gamers bought into that ambition by the bucket load.
Why Disappointing?: As the newest game on this list, No Man’s Sky is easily the game that will gain the most controversy. Yet it’s not entirely undeserved. Gamers have hunted out the promised list of features that never made it into the game. The graphical downgrades, the lack of multiplayer (despite it being teased) as well as limited variety that robbed the game of the vastness that many were expecting. Sure the game is interesting to play – but it’s hard to not feel that it lacks huge amounts of polish and is missing killer features that would have made it more interesting.