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Added by GruntLogic on 21 Nov 2013 12:54
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Gaming Disappointments of 2013

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A list of games that were released in 2013 that I found disappointing.

I used to have to play the games for them to be on this list. I don't know if I'm a more savvy shopper now or what, but I really didn't play many games that I found profoundly disappointing this year. I decided to include some games that I was looking forward to, but didn't buy.
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Understand this, I really enjoyed the other games that this game developer (Quantic Dream) has worked on, namely Fahrenheit/Indigo Prophecy and Heavy Rain. I loved the simple and intuitive control schemes in those games, and I adored the story of Heavy Rain. So needless to say, I was REALLY looking forward to their next game, Beyond: Two Souls. I became more excited when they released their tech demo, "Cara" and also when I heard that both Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page were on board as voice & motion capture actors.

Maybe I was setting the bar too high, but man, this game was just bad.


The above image is taken directly from gameplay and that means yes, there is, in fact, a training montage.


First off, the developer, Quantic Dream doesn't exactly have the strongest grasp on how people interact with each other, at least not here in America. The scenes portraying Jodie's (Ellen Page) teen/young adult years were just painfully awkward to watch, I mean, more awkward that teen years normally are. Maybe teens are different in France (HQ of Quantic Dream), and it just doesn't translate well for an American audience. Also, the "love interest" characters that Jodie can have a "relationship" with are just... nonsensical. She falls in love with a man who was just a complete dickbag to her in the previous chapter? What the hell? I really doubt any woman would fall in a love with a man just because he's there, because there is just a lack of options. Another was one what I had NO idea she was even REMOTELY interested in, until at the end of the chapter they share a hug that lingered on for just a little bit too long to be just between friends. I mean, I don't claim to be an expert when it comes to women, but man, that one just completely blind-sided me. It's just god-awful to watch.

That's another thing, I've never felt more like a passive observer when playing a video game than I did here. I feel it's becoming pretty obvious that Quantic Dream would rather be making movies rather than video games. I mean, I appreciated the simple control schemes in their previous games, but here it's almost entirely limited to moving the analog sticks, and at that, it's barely necessary.

It doesn't help that the chapters are Jodie's life are broken up and played out of sequence, and the damnedest thing is, there's no apparent reason for it. I actually went back and played the chapters "out of order" but IN order, chronologically, and the story, whilst still not overly compelling, at least it made more SENSE. This really feels like something was done specifically to feel more "artsy." And the thing is that effort falls flat.



DO IT! DO IT NOW! For God's sake, just END IT.
It's time to let the Dead Space series die.

I mean, this game was AWFUL compared to the previous game, and especially when compared to the first game, this one is just a colossal disappointment. This series is going from a decline in quality to a free-fall. The merciful thing to do would be to just end it now.


Seriously, this guy is supposed to be some kind of big, bad guy. Yup, the doofus in the parka. If you think that looks dumb, wait there's more! The level of idiocy here is fully apparent when you end up fighting a "Boss" creature that is actually just a really big drill. For Real.

I won't even say that this is even a horror game any more. It's not even trying to be scary. It seems to be going the route of Resident Evil, and going for just bigger, more spectacular, and just MORE enemies to fight and dismember. Horror can be incredibly simple, and I've generally found that the more you add to the mix, the less potent it is. The human imagination can be infinitely more terrifying that what we actually see. The monsters we imagine in our minds, when looking into menacing shadows is far more sinister than anything that could ever actually be shown. Now, granted, I'm not entirely sure how you'd work that into a game, but I think games like Amnesia, Outlast, and Slender are on the right track. Dead Space however, seems to have jumped off the track and is steaming full speed ahead towards schlock territory. Throwing buckets of blood, gore, and all manner of viscera around has a kind of desensitizing effect, and ends up heading towards comedy after a certain point. An example I'd give is in the (awful) Leslie Nielson movie, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, where a character drives a stake into the heart of a sleeping vampire, and a GEYSER of blood shoots up out of the vampire's chest. I mean, it absolutely COVERS the poor man in blood, but oh! It's not quite dead yet! Hit the stake again! And WHOOSH! ANOTHER geyser of blood erupts! It's funny because it's so ridiculous. That's where Dead Space 3 is at.

Man, I haven't even gotten to the story yet. Maybe I shouldn't even bother, because it's certainly nothing worth talking about. If I didn't know any better, I'd think this story came from Capcom, as they seem to be the masters of gonzo-weirdo stories the go 8 ways bananas by the end, and only seem to have the most tenuous grasp on how human beings actually interact with one another, but man, Visceral Games seems to be gunning hard to take that title away from Capcom. Their efforts to shoe-horn in a love-triangle into this supposed "horror" game borders on insulting. I mean, it's really, really bad.

Oh, and in case you realize what a shit game this is, and you just want to get through it faster, you can BUY in-game resources with REAL money to help speed up the process. I used to think that microtransactions were an abomination, but in a game this bad, maybe they're a good thing. It's like they're trying to do everything they can to pull you out of the game at every turn, whether it's presenting you with opportunities for microtransactions or running you past doors that remind you that you need another player to join the party going on inside.


EA is making it rain! With Microtransactions!


Time to boot up Grand Theft Auto V and play a nice couple rounds of golf. Seriously, GOLF. Oh? That's not your thing, how about....


YOGA!

I'm not joking, and yes, these are completely optional activities, but this is what Rockstar Games was talking about when they were telling us about having a huge open world with lots of fun activities to do! What's worse, is these activities are actually tied into your character's stats. Golf makes you physically stronger? Really? Tennis too? Yeah, that's what I think of when I think of someone getting all buff and stuff. Yoga is used to extend the length of Michael's special ability meter, allowing him to pretend to be Max Payne for a little bit longer.

I won't really talk too much about GTA V's portrayal of women, as other writers have already covered that topic pretty well elsewhere, but I will add my two cents here anyways. It's mainly that I'm not surprised in the slightest. This series has never had strong female characters. I don't expect that to change. I don't think it's right, but I feel like part of it is just knowing your audience, and from the sales numbers so far, I'd say Rockstar Games knows their target audience quite well. The portrayal of torture in the game as an effective way to extract information was also quite disgusting, but again, I'm not at all surprised by it either. Yeah, maybe they do need to be called out on it, but I don't expect them to change either.

My biggest sticking points I've already covered in my Best Games of 2013 list, and yes, I do still consider this one of the Best Games of the Year, and I think that still says something about the games that Rockstar makes. They can release a game that sorely disappoints me, and it is STILL one of best games around.


Ya know what? This one is going to be short, sweet, and to the point.

I expect better from Ron Gilbert and Double Fine Productions. Ron Gilbert helped make some of the greatest point-and-click adventure games, of ALL TIME. This effort just seems lazy. C'mon, step it up Ron. I KNOW you can do better than this.



I love the original Baldur's Gate. This one is going to be another simple explanation of why it's on this list.

Simply put, they don't add much at all, and most of what they do add seems to be prone to glitches and bugs. Okay, to be fair, they did add a few characters, but they're a mixed bag that seems to miss far more often than they hit, in terms of quality, and an option battle arena, if you just want to make your characters fight in an arena, without any context.

For the price tag they're asking, you're really just better off buying the original from GOG.com. There's already a large community that has been modding this game for QUITE some time.

Really, the only thing that is enhanced here is the price tag.



I love the universe of Warhammer 40,000. I really do. Now, granted, I never played the original board game that this game is based on, but from what I understand, this is pretty much a direct adaptation, with a slavish obedience to the original rules, no matter how archaic they are. I mean, I guess that's kind of admirable that they did that, but really, it just doesn't make the game very fun or playable, you know, as a video game. It would have been nice to have the option to tweak some of the rules a bit.

There were a few nice touches here and there, like when you select a Space Marine Terminator, you can see what he is seeing, via a fuzzy camera recording in the corner of the screen. And all of the character models are richly detailed, as I fully expect them to be, knowing Warhammer 40k. It's like they started drawing these characters, and then they just couldn't stop adding more and more details.

The thing that really gets old quick is the animations they have. Specifically the death animations, particularly for the alien genestealers. They all have the EXACT same animation, EVERY time they die. And you will be killing a TON of genestealers, on EVERY map for the ENTIRE game, and man, do those animations get old REALLY quick. It doesn't matter if you kill them with a pair of lightning claws, or the storm bolter, or a flamer, they ALL die the EXACT same way. A little more effort would have been nice in that department too.

Another animation that just takes entirely too long is movement, yes, I get that the Space Marine Terminators are great, big chunky bastards, but seriously, there should be an option to just skip those painfully slow animations for walking and turning, because they seem to take AGES to complete. Holy hell.

I mean, I feel like there's not really much to this game to begin with, so I expect a little more effort.



This game does a lot of things right, but it did make a few painful missteps.

First off, jacking into the Matrix (essentially what the internet is called in the Shadowrun universe. It's more complex than that, but I won't bore you with all of the details here) was really disappointing. I really expected more, and I know that the developer (Harebrained Schemes) wanted to do more as well, but they had to scrap those plans once they were unrealistic, given the time they had allotted and the resources available to them. But still, it's kind of an important facet of the Shadowrun world, and it just really feels kinda lame.

Another problem was with creating a character that didn't rely on magic, firearms, or melee weapons. I know, I know, why the hell would you create a character who couldn't use ONE of those? Well, because you CAN, at least you can in the Roleplaying Game that this video game is based on, and those are completely viable characters there! The opportunities for those characters, specifically the characters known as Deckers and Riggers, the opportunities for them to really shine are few and FAR between.

I have to admit, I was also really disappointed with the length of the single-player campaign.

I suppose my disappointment at the length of the campaign is mitigated somewhat by the excellent toolkit that comes with this game. So there is already a wealth of user-made content available.

So, I guess I'd say that as a game, it's kind of lackluster, but as a toolkit, it is excellent.



The Call of Duty franchise is really at the point that they really need to start embracing the parody of themselves that they have become.

Part of me thinks that they already have, because the friggin' DOG, Riley, is the single most compelling character in the entire game.

The story is a bunch of crap, with groan-worthy "plot twists" that are so tired and cliche that it almost hurts to watch them.

And really, I could care less for the multi-player aspect of these games. I know, I know, then why the hell do I even bother? Well, you see, once upon a time, and LOOOOOONG time ago, Call of Duty once had an incredibly satisfying Single-Player Campaign. You might even say it was the primary focus of the game, and man, were they ever GOOD at what they did. I almost feel like some kind of villager in a story, recalling the legends of old, still believing that one day, in the darkest hour, that old legend will ride forth to save the people and lead them into a bright, shining new future. Naive, perhaps, but I choose to live in hope. It's just unfortunate that the current state of affairs is anything but bright and shining. It is, in fact, shit brown and covered in dirt. Things can only get better from here... right? Right?

Also, ya know, for a game that titles itself GHOSTS, I'd really expect more sneaking around, being clever, and not being seeing, leaving no trace of your passing, mean, they did exactly that in a particularly memorable mission in the first Modern Warfare game. But nooooo... this game's idea of stealth is to literally drive a big truck through the front gate, and then hop out, guns blazing. *sigh*



Alright, this one is complicated for me. I think part of it is because I already know what a Killzone game *is*. I've played three Killzone games prior to this one, so I should kind of know what to expect, right? Well, this game defies my expectations, enough to give me hope, and then it dashes those hopes to pieces.

See, Killzone seems to be a game that is composed mostly of intense firefights in relatively close quarters, or in long hallway and corridors, and it consists mostly of varying shades of brown and grey. The enemies you fight are essentially futuristic space Nazis. I mean, just LOOK at the Helghast, how can you NOT think, "That dude looks like some kind of futuristic Nazi." So, that makes it REALLY easy to have a clear-cut, unambiguously evil enemy to fight. That's kind of always how it's been.

This time around though, they seem bent on making your side just as despicable as the enemy. If anything, they seem to be trying to make the Helghast relatable, if only to make the IFA (I forget what it means, it's the "side" that you're on though) seem like bigger dickbags for going after them so ruthlessly. I mean, they really DON'T make the Helghast sympathetic, because they show them bombing the hell out of civilians, so that's out the window, but then they have you interact with your commander, and he's a ruthless shithead too! He's definitely an "Ends Justify The Means" kind of guy. Not exactly pleasant to deal with. So the end result is that it make EVERYONE in this game extremely unlikable, including your character who seems to only exist as a Yes Man to everyone he meets. Ugh.

Also, the game kind of tricked me into thinking that it wasn't going to be all dark, narrow corridors because the first level is a huge, open colorful forest, with many different approaches to take towards completing your objectives. It really gave me hope that this might actually be sort of an open-world sort kind of game, where each "level" was a huge open area with multiple paths to your objectives, allowing you to complete them in any order. But nope, that's the last time they do that. After that level, is right back to dark, narrow hallways. It's really disappointing.

I can't say that I've actually beaten the game yet, because I got to a level where they take away your robot helper droid thing, and I kinda stalled out. Maybe I'll pick it up again and I'll be pleasantly surprised later on when the reintroduce huge, open, gorgeous environments again, but I'm not going to hold my breath.



I feel like one of very few people who would say that the game Aliens vs Predator 2 was one of their favorite games. But, it's true, I loved the hell out of that game. I KNOW that good games can be made that are based on the Aliens intellectual property. It can and has been done before. And well, this one is pretty straightforward. They lied. They showed gameplay footage that wasn't in the game. They completely, and no doubt intentionally, misrepresented the game they were actually making. I was really excited about this game, and I'm just glad that I didn't pre-order/Pre-purchase this game, because, man, what a steaming shitpile. I can't believe that they are even charging anyone money for this. They should give copies away for free at this point. Ya know, just in case someone wants to pick up a game to see just what exactly constitutes a horrible game, just so they'll have a good frame of reference when they want to criticize some other game, they can stop, think back to this game, and the put their criticism into context. "yeah, this game wasn't great, but at least it wasn't as gawd awful as Aliens: Colonial Marines."



I actually liked the first Army of Two game. There, I said it. I liked Rios and Salem's budding bromance. I loved their stupid jokes, I loved the fact that they would fistbump after having murdered hundreds of people (bad guys though, so it's totally okay). It was absurd. I mean, tell me, what other game does that? No one, that's who. It was unique. It was well and truly unique. And all the game critics in the world shot it down for that. What a damn shame. A game where you could bling out your weapons with platinum plating and diamond studs. I mean, yes, it's stupid and impractical, but I mean, what the hell, it's friggin' awesome at the same time! Where the hell else can you do that?

Well, this is what you get. All of your criticisms have been heard and taken to heart. They have transformed Army of Two into a yet another samey, shit-brown, grim, humorless, "realistic" shooter. Congratulations. Now don't try to disown this game as being generic, this is exactly what you demanded. It is exactly what I lament. This game is exactly my disappointment with shooter games of this generation made manifest.


Ya know, just because a game has quick-time events doesn't make it bad. It really doesn't, especially not when it is a central game mechanic. Unfortunately, that is not the case here. They try to mash in QTE's with abandon alongside other game mechanics, and it's just annoying and frustrating. A cutscene should be a place where you can set down the controller and just watch. I mean, if you're going to wrest control away from the player, at least don't do it in half measures. It just seems lazy otherwise. Like you're just trying to make sure that the player hasn't fallen asleep during your precious cutscene. And if they fail? They have to reload and watch that whole damn cutscene again. I mean, that is just shit gameplay there. I mean, whenever you have something in a game that is absolutely unskippable, you really have to stop and think "Hmmm... will that ever get old?" and if the answer is anything other than a resounding NO, then you better make some changes, stat.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Storytelling isn't exactly Capcom's strong suit. They only seem to have the most tenuous grasp on reality, at best. To say that their stories are nonsensical would be an understatement. In every Resident Evil game, except for RE4, I have skipped every cutscene, because they are completely meaningless. The same holds true here.


Alright, I've played an "X" game before. In fact, I played the game in the series immediately prior to this, X3: Terran Conflict (and it's expansions). I tried REALLY hard to get the hang of that game, and you know what? I'm not too proud to admit that I failed. I failed hard. Those games are so incredibly byzantine in their workings that it's ridiculous. There is a huge community for these games, and it's no wonder, people need to rely on a vast network of other people who were just as dumbfounded by these games as they were, and eventually with thousands of minds working together to solve those problems, they came up with ways to start succeeding. Seriously, you need to look up in the online forums just what exactly you need to do, because these games suck ass at telling you what you're supposed to be doing.

Alright, I know all of that, what about this new game? The developer promised to change all of that, strip things down, make them simple, so that you wouldn't have to consult a tome to figure out how to fly your damn ship or set up the most basic of installations. Well, they managed to drop the ball completely. They were aiming for simplicity and clarity, and they missed the mark completely.

I mean, it's a damn shame too, because these games LOOK absolutely stunning! In X3, I would just fly my ship around the galaxy, marveling at the sheer magnificence of the universe. It's too bad the gameplay is actually kinda shit.


I really don't have much to say here.

How the hell do you mess up SimCity? HOW?!

WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE ONLINE?!

WHY ARE THERE LESS OPTIONS THAN IN SIMCITY 4?!

WHAT. THE. HELL.


Alright, I think I'm like most of the known world in the fact that I love The Walking Dead TV show. Like the rest of the world, I think that Daryl Dixon is the most fascinating character in the show.

A game starring Daryl set in the Walking Dead universe would seem like a no-brainer, right?

How do you mess up something that should be so incredibly awesome?

Well you start by handing development over to a shitty game developer. Terminal Reality? Really? The people that are best known for BloodRayne? The studio whose most recent game was Kinect Star Wars? Are you serious?

I really think that whoever was the producer for this game really had no idea whatsoever about video games when they willingly handed development over to this studio. I mean, it had to be a price thing. Terminal Reality was probably the lowest bidder for the rights to develop the game. And you know what? They got what they paid for. You hire a shitty studio to develop your game, and you get a shitty game. Period.


I've had my eye on this console for quite some time. It is currently the second highest funded project on Kickstarter, raising an impressive 8.5 Million Dollars!

My interest was piqued by it's fairly open design process, and the fact that anyone can develop games for it, without the need for licensing fees. Also the hardware can be opened up and modded freely, without risking of voiding the warranty, and it is extremely simple, only requiring a screwdriver to do so.

So needless to say, with such an open, friendly outlook, I was curious as to how it's launch would go. So far, I'd say it hasn't gone that well.

Most prominently, there were numerous criticisms of both it's controller, which really seems kinda rinky-dink, and it's hardware and software, which seems to struggle running apps that can run smoothly on smartphones and tablets.

Also compounding their problems is the fact that there just aren't any really good games out for it. They had a generous system in place to encourage development of games for it with their "Free the Games" fund, to help fund developers who would make games for it, but that seems to have turned into one fiasco after another with multiple fraudulent efforts so far.

I don't think I'm ready to completely write off this console quite yet, as I'm still hopeful. They seem to really be courting an atmosphere of openness that is hopeful and encouraging, and I'd really like to see this console succeed. The thing is though, I have my doubts. A console without any good games is all but dead in the water. But hey, that seems to be Nintendo's model for business lately, and they're still keeping their head above water, so who knows? They seem to be taking all of the criticisms seriously and they are currently working to address and correct all of the main complaints against it. They also haven't given up on their "Free the Games" fund yet, so there's still hope.

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Comments

Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Jan 7 2:26
Great insights on otherwise shit games, comrade!! Always look forward to your new lists, and this did not disappoint... unlike these games... ;)
Posted: 4 years, 9 months ago at Jan 14 16:29
Resident Evil 6 wasn't released in 2013.

Good list though! I'll proper read through it at some point and maybe post something more thoughtful.
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Jul 6 14:22
Man let me comment about shadowrun. I think that Harebrained did a aweasome work here.

Shadowrun returns is better than Shadowrun from SNES and Genesis and NOT ONLY in graphics (that of course SHOULD be better than 16-bits games). Compare this game with others Shadowrun´s games (not the books) and you will see a lot of good improvements.

The single player story have a lot of things that I dislike too, but you can build your own story, one where deckers and riggers can shinny :)

If matrix were more complex a lot of people wouldn´t enjoy play with deckers, then they did a good work in my opinion.

And don´t forget that Shadowrun Dragonfall (also from Harebrained) is even better than Returns. Actually, Harebrained put such interesting dialogs in Dragonfall that it look like Bioware in their shinning days.
Edit: 4 years, 3 months ago
Posted: 4 years, 3 months ago at Jul 6 16:53
But, I loved your review about Dead Space 3 and fully agree with crapcom, ops capcom :)

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