Ever since I started working at Gamestop in 2007, I dramatically increased the quantity of games I both played and purchased. This was largely due to the fact that I finally had an income and could procure any game I wanted, because who needs to make responsible purchases when there are new games out almost weekly. In my travels of gaming, I have come across some games that were true let downs. This could be attributed to an excellent trailer building the game up, or, possibly, the previous iteration was an excellent game. Here are seven games that especially dropped the ball.
One of my first purchases with my Gamestop discount was Hellgate London. A coworker built it up and garnered enough excitement to instigate a purchase the Halloween night it came out. The promise of hack-and-slash combat and Diablo quality looting led me to the game. The dull art style, and lack of any real enjoyment, saw me putting the game down after about two sessions. In addition to these complaints, the coworker also stopped playing almost immediately. From my understanding, the game did not survive even a year after its release.
Brink broke my heart. Boasting a unique design, parkour gameplay, class-based FPS combat, and one of the most in-depth player design interfaces, it should have been one better shooters on the market. With intriguing trailers and development diaries coming out every week almost leading up to its release, my body was ready to delve into Brink. With a financial obligation coming up the week of launch, I had to wait to pick it up. I was lucky. Horrendous reviews showed up, highlighting the lack of content and boring combat. The game was dead on arrival, and thus Brink will remain in my mind as what could have been. I picked it up later for $5 at Gamestop and had to bare witness to the lifeless husk that was its multiplayer. I returned it the next day out of disappointment, using that money on some other game that likely was better.
I have to admit that I am a fan of Suda 51 and his style of weird stories and awkward game design. He is excellent at making a bad game feel… “right.” With James Gunn collaborating alongside Suda 51, Lollipop Chainsaw had the weird narrative and awkward gameplay, but it was missing whatever touches Suda 51 could include. An example is what he did with the No More Heroes games. The over-sexualization was strange in this game, which is saying a lot when compared to Suda 51’s other games. I lost interest in this game pretty quickly. I only pull it out to show friends how bad a game can get.
When it came to EA’s reboot of the Syndicate games, I had never played the previous ones. But, I saw the setting and the intense trailer they had put out, accompanied by a new track from Skrillex, and was already a fan of the game. I actually enjoyed the title, but felt like EA had wasted so much potential. Corporate warfare and the cyberpunk technology could be so much more, but was thrown to the wayside for a generic story. Maybe I just wanted the chance to be a badass corporate spy and not some valiant hero fighting “The Man”. Here’s to hoping that a shooter is able to capture that feeling more later on. Deus Ex: Human Revolution came close.
Mass Effect 3
Bioware found something special in developing the Mass Effect Universe. I am one of the few people I know who enjoyed the first game the most, but Mass Effect 2 was still an excellent game. Preparing myself for the trilogy’s end, I closed off any social interaction until I finished Mass Effect 3 after it’s release in 2012. My Shepard made hard choices, watched friends die, and rekindled love with Liara. At first, I liked the ending of the game. But, as I thought about it more and more, I began to resent Bioware. This was not an uncommon feeling, and I share it with many. They had released an apparent tweak to the ending, but after my hours of gameplay, I did not reinstall to try it. This was the only Mass Effect entry that I did not play through multiple times. One was enough for me.
Grand Theft Auto 4
Believe me when I say, I tried on this one. Grand Theft Auto was a game series I enjoyed for many years. While I am not an advocate of children playing violent games, I was one of those kids. It may be hypocritical, but the games were fun. Each entry had its own unique setting and themes. I was a fan of the series the second I entered Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto III. The fourth numbered entry is the only one I did not complete. I could not stand the supporting characters, and the narrative and world took itself too seriously. I missed the days of doing crazy shit and pushing the limits of the game. Niko Belic was an interesting character, but his serious personality and backstory kept me from wanting to go on the trips to insanity that the other games encouraged.
Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
As avid a gamer I may be, Nintendo is a weak spot for me, and handhelds were even weaker. I never owned a Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance, so I missed out on Pokémon growing up. After brief stints into the Diamond/Pearl games, I finally became hooked with X/Y. The refreshing change of design and very deep combat system grabbed me, and my playthrough was well over the 100 hour mark. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire came out, and I grabbed it on a whim. I abandoned my Chespin and Xerneas for Mudkip and Groudon. I barely obtained 3 badges in a year. There was not enough in the game to feel new, and while I enjoyed the story of battling Team Magma, I lost interest and went on to other games.
There are plenty more titles that let me down since I started hoarding games. I have only beaten a quarter of my collection, and played maybe half of the games total. So, if I come across more disappointments, I will be sure to document my findings.