The Game Effect Editorial
The Five Most Disappointing Games of 2012
When high expectations are too much to match
The year of 2012 has been a good one for video games. Despite reports that sales are down compared to 2011, and that less true hits have released this year, gamers have still been treated to some amazing experiences. We entered 2012 with high hopes for many games, and thankfully games like The Walking Dead, Halo 4, Borderlands 2 and Dishonored lived up to the hype. At least for the most part. Sure some of these games even managed to disappoint the jaded hardcore crowd clamoring for new hardware, but none of these titles managed to bomb as hard as the following five games. These are not the worst games of 2012 (with maybe one exception). They are the games that people expected to be great, but that just fell short of meeting the high expectations placed upon them. These games won't even be remembered for being downright awful, they just won't even be remembered at all. So as one last call of acknowledgment, we present to you, the five most disappointing video games of 2012.
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)When Skyrim released in November 2011, the developers at 38 Studios and Big Huge Games must have been soiling their pants knowing that all of a sudden, the RPG genre had changed forever and their game had very little time to catch up. It's not that Kingdoms of Amalur wasn't a decent RPG. In fact, it did some innovative things within the constraints of the genre including fast paced action combat and addictive loot progression. But ultimately, it couldn't escape a few inherent flaws. The art style was ripped straight out of early 90's fantasy art, the story was cliche and predictable, and the claustrophobic world didn't provide players with enough incentive to explore. Sadly, the game didn't sell well enough to keep Curt Schilling's studio from going bankrupt and closing a few months after release, leaving hundreds of people unemployed.
Twisted Metal (PS3)It's never a good sign when developers leave a company before its game is even released. David Jaffe left Eat Sleep Play a month prior to Twisted Metal's release date, to start up a new mobile game developer. It wasn't a vote of confidence for the car combat title's success and rightfully so. Twisted Metal certainly fits in with the previous games in the franchise. Cars shoot each other until they explode in outlandish battles and over the top arenas. That's about the gist of it. That's been the formula since the original Twisted Metal released on Playstation in 1995 and it hasn't changed since then. I suppose that's why this year's iteration was so disappointing. There was a sense of nostalgia with this release, but also a sense of been there, done that. In an age of Call of Duty and endless replayability, gamers wanted more from Sweet Tooth and crew.
Resident Evil 6 (Xbox 360, PS3)The game that inspired this list. Capcom had promised a return to the glory days of the franchise with Resident Evil's sixth main installment. However, the final product was marred by a too-close-up-it's-scary camera, an over reliance on quick-time events and an abundance of outlandish action sequences that eschewed fun B-movie horror for Hollywood-style cinematic moments. In its rush to catch up to contemporary action games like Gears of War and Uncharted, it seems Capcom forgot to embrace what made Resident Evil great in the first place. And that's why Resident Evil 6 is one of 2012's biggest disappointments.
Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified (PSVita)Maybe this one wasn't such a shock to most people, but it was still nevertheless a disappointment for PSVita owners waiting for a great first person shooter to grace their handheld. Black Ops is one of the biggest names in gaming, and when developer Nihilistic and Activision announced they would be bringing the franchise to the PSVita, fans were filled with a cautious optimism. Imagine being able to prestige while on the go, or play some of the series' spectacular action moments in the palm of your hands. Instead, what fans got was a glitchy game marred by a ludicrously short campaign (even by COD standards), muddy graphics and unremarkable action. Rumors have been swirling that Nihilistic was given less than a year to create the game, which points to a publisher in Activision, who saw this as an easy money-grab and nothing more. Other games like AC: Liberation and Uncharted: Golden Abyss have shown how a great franchise can lose little in translation to the Vita if done right. Black Ops Declassified deserved to be done right and the franchise deserves better.
ZombiU (WiiU)This game was supposed to be a killer app for the newly released WiiU. The zombie survival title from Ubisoft was supposed to be the hardcore gamers' safe haven on Nintendo's first HD console. With a focus on survival and a deadly difficulty level, ZombiU looked very promising. Unfortunately, the game suffered from common problems that often plague launch titles for new hardware. The graphics don't live up to even current gen standards, the item management system is tedious and the melee combat, which the title so heavily relies on, doesn't hold up compared to contemporaries like Left 4 Dead and Dead Island. Some very hardcore gamers may enjoy ZombiU for its challenge and unflinching realism, but the rest of us who actually enjoy having fun, will just wait for the sequel to iron out the kinks.
Those are our picks for the most disappointing games of 2012. Do you have any you would add? Do you disagree with any of our picks? Let us know in the comments.