Gaming Steve

December 31, 2007

Letdown Central: The Most Disappointing Games of 2007

In just about the best year for gaming ever, there were far more disappointments than one would expect. The following are by no means the worst games of the year – those I know well enough to avoid – but these still left quite the perturbing taste in my mouth.

Heavenly Sword (PS3)
Heavenly Sword - Supple, slender curves aside, not even Nariko can save this turkey. Check out these 2D sprite style background dudes for massive laughs.While the PS3 saw its share of top quality titles throughout the year, unfortunately for Sony fans, it felt the brunt of the disappointments too. Unlike the godforsaken Lair – which I won't even waste another word on – Heavenly Sword wasn't completely awful, merely underwhelming and average when held against promises of being The One. It's an incredibly bland and run-of-the-mill button basher in practice – one not done any favours by coming out so soon after Ninja Gaiden Sigma – and a game that'll only be remembered in the years to come for the quality of its graphics and detail of its cut-scenes. Still, pretty damn amazing weren't they?

Lost Planet (Xbox 360/PC)
Planet – like Heavenly Sword – was hardly awful either, but far from the genre defining Jap-o-rific shooting classic many were expecting. In fact, it kicked the year off on a bit of a downer really, rendering January a black sheep of sorts among the bountiful months to follow. My biggest gripe with the game was merely the controls though. After some extensive tweaking in the stupidly hard to find options on offer, it grows infinitely cooler, with far tighter responsiveness and a much better layout; do so, and you'll find a reasonably solid offering in fact. Played on default though? It's pretty bloody rubbish really.

Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (PC)
Much like the PS3, the PC saw its own share of humbling disappointments too, with Quake Wars leading that pack with worrying eagerness. The concept of Strogg versus Human in an epic, online multi-vehicular war game sounds ace in theory, and even in practice there's plenty the game does right. Its emphasis on objectives for one, forming a "front-line" for the action, not to mention of course, the Quake-verse itself, ever spectacular as it always is. Unfortunately, it's all held back by the dreadfully dated Doom 3 engine, truly unsuited for large scale outdoor environments like these, not to mention a conspicuous lack of full-blown alien levels, resulting in intergalactic warfare instead being waged across...New Jersey. Hmmm. Worst of all is the gun handling however, no doubt the poorest combat model seen since...well, the next game on our list. Surprisingly awful art direction and lazy player models don't help either, nor does the capped framerate and general lack of satisfaction to the firefights. Next.

Hellgate: London (PC)
Hellgate: London - For some bizarre reason this screen looks infinitely cooler than the actual game does...To be fair, I only played this for a handful of hours back in beta, but honestly? That was more than enough for me. I can overlook the pitiful job of bringing my home city to life in video game form, but awful combat, laggy controls and randomly generated levels of sheer boredom, I can't. With RPGs like The Witcher and Mass Effect currently doing the rounds, comparisons are flat-out hysterical, and if you truly need yours to be of the online variety, look up Tabula Rasa instead. Insert raspberry noise here.

Two Worlds (Xbox 360/PC)
I don't think this needs justifying.

Armed Assault (PC)
As an Operation Flashpoint die-hard, I had high hopes for its follow-up, unofficial or not. It delivers on the one hand, providing more of that same Flashpoint simming, brutality and realism...but it's all a little too similar, wouldn't you say? Convoluted controls, laughable graphics, awful presentation...why is this stuff not fixed? It's been seven bleeding years, yet Armed looks just as bad as its predecessor did. When played the same year as Crysis, that's sorta giggly I'm afraid. Even as a serious fan of this series, I felt a little embarrassed to show Armed to my mates, and its dated handling failed to keep me engrossed while flying solo too. All hope instead shifts to the real Op Flash sequel, hopefully touching down in 2008.

The Darkness (PS3/Xbox 360)
There's lots to like about The Darkness; the amazing atmosphere, superb voice-overs, and immersive world for one. There's also some stunning use of physics in the ever enjoyable super powers at your disposal too. Ultimately though, it fails as an FPS, with horrid gun control, stale combat and repetition aplenty. The storyline, characters and plot are kinda cool – and almost worth persevering for alone – but after Starbreeze's work on Riddick, I guess I expected more. Shame.

Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men - I actually dug the night club level. 'Til it made me go back and replay the whole bloody thing twice in a rowThe need to rush Kane out for Christmas – scrapping online co-op along the way – essentially killed this game for good, sending him out to war without a metaphorical gun. For what amounts to a buddy game/crime caper, the resulting split-screen mode simply wasn't enough, and the single player campaign left in its wake was pure and utter dreck. That this game has since taken on such a larger than life infamy in light of Gerstmann-Gate renders it even more abhorrent though, and I find its subsequent presence on my hard drive mildly disgusting. Kane and Lynch themselves are what really killed it for me above all else however; murdering cops, beating on women, then muttering the F word literally every single sentence, the guys come off as complete A-holes whom you grow to loathe almost immediately. Rather than save the mongrel’s family as the game kept enforcing, I regularly pondered merely guiding Kane off a ledge and thus making the world a better place instead. Until the fabled Heat game rolls around – courtesy of worryingly quiet Gearbox Software – this'll remain the go-to game for us Michael Mann fans I guess (Lynch might as well be Waingro, after all), but in all honesty? That's quite the depressing fact. This game's Frame City Killer-bad, and like that punch-line of a title, should have been canned a long time ago.

Calling All Cars (PS3)
Conclusive proof that the PS Network reeeally needs demos of all its games by now. After the immense hype from big mouth Jaffe, and how bite-size mini-games hold the future to world peace while providing an endless source of renewable oil, Cars turned out to be a let-down of epic proportions to rival the very best. As a top down Micro-Machines style driving game, with a multiplayer fast-paced tag twist, it's a random, frantic, agitating experience, that wouldn't have garnered a hint of attention as a no-name Live Arcade game. Do not waste your time. Nor money. Its acronym seems suitably apt.

SSX Blur (Wii)
If I had to pinpoint the exact moment I turned on the Wii – dropping wand waggling launch system mania in favour of frown-driven jaded cynicism – it would be the morning Blur arrived on my doorstep. SSX is one of my favest franchises to be found in all of console-ville, and steering a dude around with that ‘mote of white sounded like a match made in heaven to the long-time obsessive within. The absolute worst implementation of waggle controls ever start Blur off on the wrong foot though, while jaggy visuals, redressed levels and humungous frustration seal the soul crushing deal. I've since started to warm to her slightly, but the damage this game did to the franchise took some serious time for me to get over. Make me love her once more, EA.

Stranglehold (PS3/Xbox 360/PC)
Stranglehold - Tequila Time! No thanks.A dumb, skill-less and repetitive game with zero interesting features, only die Hard Boiled fans alone need apply here (like that?). I didn't have the highest expectations for Stranglehold going in, but on the slo-mo third person blow 'em up tip, hoped it'd at least stack up to the Max Payne games of old. In reality, it doesn't hold a candle. It's annoyingly linear, boasts awful dialogue, and for one so explosive and balls to the wall in premise, is almost impressively boring to play or watch. Where's Max 3?

Medal of Honor: Airborne (Xbox 360/PC)
It looked like the one, didn’t it? The true Allied Assault successor. The one to put right all that went in each of the subsequent sequels. Matching its predecessor's brilliance while adding a smattering of originality on top. Airborne was very pretty indeed – no doubts there – but gameplay-wise, was a frustrating, similarly repetitive and even down-right annoying experience at times. Many complained about the game’s pitiful length back on release, but in hindsight I guess we’re all glad in a way; three hours of this was more than enough.

Battlestar Galactica (Xbox 360/PC)
Play Beyond the Red Line instead. Seriously.

And there we are for 2007. Quite the ride, no? What were your picks of the year in video game-ville?

Posted by Matt Robinson at 4:00 PM | Comments (15) | Posted to Feature | PC | PlayStation 3 | Wii | Xbox |  Add this story to del.icio.us  Stumble It!  Submit this story to Digg!
Comments

yes i find it hard to belive halo3 aint there all ive heard for the last 2 months on xbox live is that the maps are to small the car turning sucks the play is sluggish

Posted by tony at December 31, 2007 6:39 PM

Halo 3 is better than Halo 2 so it shouldn't be on this list. I don't get it why do people hate everything that's popular especially if it's a Microsoft product.

Posted by Bosnique at December 31, 2007 7:03 PM

Well... maybe he just didn't enjoy that one, huh?
Besides, that's what Matt asked for specifically, that people state their disappointments of 2007.
Also, Halo 3 is probably not on the list simply because Matt didn't feel that way. That one's his.
Where's yours? :S


I'd post mine, but I feel like I've already answered this question twice already... >.>

Posted by Gauphastus at December 31, 2007 8:03 PM

Sim City: Societies, WTF I admit I didn't expect it to be as good as SC4, but come on, seriously WTF.

Posted by Mr.Extordiar at December 31, 2007 8:32 PM

Bad games are always fun to read about.

I do have one suggestion as we go from having multiple author on the site. At least for the transitional period (from 1 to multiple), can we see the author's name up top? Near the title, so we know immediately who's talking?

I saw "The Darkness" listed, and thought "Didn't Steve like the Darkness?" Aahh... it's not Steve after all.

Confusing.

Posted by Minh at December 31, 2007 11:27 PM

Minh:

The site is currently going through a complete redesign. In the new design it will be VERY simple to tell who posted what right away -- you'll see!

Until then just be patient. :)

Posted by Gaming Steve at January 1, 2008 12:31 AM

Complete redesign, eh? Hmm.
...
Change is scary.

Hope it both looks good -and- is easily accessible.
Then again, I suppose I'm mainly here for the forums anyway, so it's not a big deal.

Posted by Gauphastus at January 1, 2008 12:42 AM

As long as we still have our tacky orange and black color scheme I think I'll be good.

Posted by PatMan33 at January 1, 2008 1:29 AM

I know gameplay is kind, and I've personally never ever ever let graphics dictate anything when it comes to gameplay. But honestly after playing heavenly sword, anything bad about it just slips away due to the facial work of their characters. The subtle nuances of a squint around the eye, or the slight raise of the eyebrow. I mean hell, there were actual moments with some characters (though not all) where you could look at them and tell, actually mentally register, that they're thinking. Now that may sound like a stupid statement, but as someone who's familiar with acting, just "thinking" can actually be an incredibly difficult thing to portray. So when computer animation gets it right. Somebody is doing a fantastic job at something.

But yeah, other than that, it's a mediocre game.

Posted by feig at January 1, 2008 9:11 AM

oh and, that first sentence is "gameplay is king" (not kind). Also, to be on topic; My biggest dissapointment was Supreme Commander. What I feel was a lot of wasted potential.

Posted by feig at January 1, 2008 9:13 AM

Personally, my biggest let down of the year was Halo 3. I was never a hard core halo fan, I'd go to a few lan parties with my friends and play halo 2 back in the day, so when halo 3 came out, I thought it'd be worth picking up. LUCKILY, I bought it at Costco and was able to return the game for a full refund because it was awful! Multiplayer... you couldn't even pick the maps and gameplay you want(seriously, WTF?) Too many times I got stuck playing on the snow map with all pistols or gravity hammers or whatever...lame. But most disappointing of all was the campaign. The story just wasn't entertaining! But the part that turned me off and basically ruined the entire experience happened within the first five minutes of the game. It's those damned little ewoks running around with the most awful voice over and dialog I've ever heard. It was borderline childish!

My second disappointment would be Assassins Creed. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a really fun game, but only for the first 2 hours. After that, everything just felt like a chore and it quickly lost its fun appeal.

Mass Effect was excellent, but disappointingly short. Even going through and maxing your characters, doing every side quest you can find, etc would only take 25 hours of gameplay. The first time I beat it, I actually went to that final planet(Ilos, is it?) thinking it was just another step in the story and before I knew it, I had beat the game. Lame. Fantastic game, just wish it had the length of say any Final Fantasy game or even Oblivion. Real rpg length.

Thats it! Happy 2008! Bring on MGS4!

Posted by Safado7 at January 1, 2008 12:19 PM

YourDaddy619 Said:

On topic, I'd have to include Blazing Angels 2 Secret Missions and Godfather for PS3. Best surprise: WARHAWK. Not perfect at release, but Multiplayer worked VERY well compared to many other games. And it keeps getting better. WARHAWK stands heads and shoulders above Halo3 so if you haven't tried it, give it a go.

Posted by YourDaddy619 at January 1, 2008 2:23 PM

heh you've been saying you were going to redesign the site since 2005;)

I think the worst game of 2007 is me lol I used to be able to get so into a game i thought about it, and i beat it. Now i buy a new game and forget about it after a week or subscribe to a game and never play it until i cancel it in shame.

Shame on me.

Posted by happydan20 at January 3, 2008 10:14 AM

Hellgate stinks, and continues to do so. I enjoyed the first play through with a character, but I can't stomach the thought of going back.

Two Worlds. I loved two worlds.... I know I know. It was clunky as heck, and the voice acting was awful.... But, the open world was great (although clunky), the combat wasn't bad (better than Oblivions), the gear was varied (better than Oblivions), and the non-scaleing world was great. When I was finally able to slay a full sized dragon, its was a result of leveling, not because that dragon was scaled down to my level (I'm looking at you Oblivion!). I did love Oblivion too btw.

That was good list Matt.

Posted by fuzzbee at January 3, 2008 8:47 PM

Matt, what settings must you tweak on Lost Planet to get it to be any good? I'm curious, I want a relatively good experience when I play it.

Thanks!

Posted by Drew at February 13, 2008 7:26 PM
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