By: Mike Massotto
2016 is being generally accepted as a bad year for many people. Whether it be the poor choices we had this elections, the deaths of so many well-known music artists and actors, or the generally “blah” ranked movies that were released throughout this year, people are finding things to be disappointed about. But, as an avid gamer and spectator of the video game industry, I can say with confidence that the most disappointing thing this year was the onslaught of unfinished, overpriced, and overhyped video games which plagued the shelves of both physical and online stores. So with the year gladly ending, I will take this opportunity to make a top ten list of the most disappointing games this year.
- Mario Run
Mario Run is actually a great game, which is why it is so low on this dishonorable list. The mechanics are fun, the online competition is stable, and the game looks very good for an app. What’s disappointing about this game is the unrealistically high price wall for an app. Although the game is free to download, you are only given access to the first three levels and online multiplayer for these levels. In order to play the rest of the game, you must cough up an outrageously large $10. This, along with a required constant internet connection, has deterred many potential players from this addictive mobile platformer.
- The Last Guardian
GenDESIGN, the team behind The Last Guardian is known for games with breathtaking environments, touching stories, and usually some kind of extremely large animal or beast (refer to Shadow of the Colossus and ICO, its other two games). The Last Guardian showed us trailers of a beautiful jungle landscape and an animal companion named Trico, an odd but charming bird-dog creature. With the game in development for over five years, we all thought that The Last Guardian had to be good. But in reality, it was just average. The game’s story was touching and the world was beautiful, but The Last Guardian’s potential was restricted by a buggy camera, frame rate drops, and Trico’s frustratingly terrible AI. At least the soundtrack is stunning.
- Titanfall 2
Looks like the developers of Titanfall 2 didn’t learn from the original’s mistakes. The Titanfall series has an interesting concept, combining the run and gun first person shooter template with both parkour and giant mountable robots which can be customized. If you would refer to the first Titanfall game, you would remember that Respawn Entertainment promised us that their new game would feature a multiplayer story mode. Many of us were eager to how this would play out, as “multiplayer” and “story” were usually two separate entities, especially in first person shooters. We soon learned that the story modes did not work, and the original game’s lines between multiplayer and single player were hazy, leading to a confusing launch. But with Titanfall 2, Respawn addressed this issue and said they would give us an actual single player campaign. Well, they certainly did, but it was underwhelming and only six hours long. The multiplayer is still fine, but they yet again failed to deliver the key selling point of the Titanfall games.
- Street Fighter V
It’s hard to imagine that someone could mess up a fighting game, especially one from a franchise that is known for reshaping the genre of fighting games. With the concept of combos sprouting from a glitch in Street Fighter II, it’s easy to say that Street Fighter is the king of competitive fighting games. But this year Capcom managed to spoil one of the most straightforward games of the year. Street Fighter V was a mess at launch, with a terrible online system, a story mode that was literally a slideshow, and no tourney mode, which was devastating for a game with such a hardcore competitive fanbase. Although they added tourney mode later, the game was also besieged with unnecessary downloadable content that required players to dig deep into their wallets. Capcom had the chance to have the number one fighting game on the PS4, but they blew it.
The saddest part about PokemonGO is that it actually started out well, but then the developers were unable to fix some bugs, causing them to remove important features from the game. This app sensation took the world by storm this summer with a concept that had barely been visited before: travelling in real life in the real world to catch “real” Pokemon. Many Pokemon fans, young and old, saw this as a dream come true, and even those who weren’t fans got in on the fun of catching Pokemon in their town. But when the mechanic for tracking Pokemon went haywire, Niantic had to remove the feature from the game, making it much more difficult to catch the desired Pokemon. Many features that were promised in updates were also delayed, including trading, battling, and more Pokemon. It may be worth revisiting in the future, however, as there are glimpses of new Pokemon appearing. Maybe 2017 will revive PokemonGO? Only time will tell.
- Tom Clancy’s The Division
The Tom Clancy games have always been about realism. With the release of The Division, the well renowned author, after whom the franchise is named, must be turning in his grave. Compared to the intense stealthy and tactical first person shooters that were the Splinter Cell and Rainbow Six series, The Division feels more like an RPG, with off screen randomized numbers determining weapon damage and items you receive, and bosses simply being normal characters with ridiculously high health.
- Star Fox Zero
We haven’t had a good Star Fox game in over a decade, and many have declared the Star Fox franchise dead. But the first trailer of Star Fox Zero rekindled the fires of many diehard Nintendo fans. Amazed by the stunning visuals, tight controls, and those quirky one-liners returning to Nintendo’s forefront, many WiiU owners — including myself — preordered the game. The game was ruined, however, by Nintendo’s recent obsession with “innovative controls”, better put as “unnecessary motion controls”, and annoying voice acting. I was unable to play past the third level of Star Fox Zero without giving up on its awkward controls and defacing of one of my favorite Nintendo franchises.
Battleborn is a cartoony, team-based shooter with a diverse and memorable cast. Sound familiar? If you drew parallels between Battleborn and Overwatch, you are not the only one. What’s more is that Battleborn was released very close to Overwatch, forcing it to live in its shadow and destroying its chances at launch. In addition to a poor launch, Battleborn’s in game pacing was slow and trudging, and the game felt more like a match of League of Legends, but stuck in a first-person view. This boringness was in both the single and multiplayer aspect of the game, and Battleborn has been pretty quiet, aside from a few updates, including the introduction of those hated things we know as microtransactions.
- Mighty No. 9
Megaman is a name we haven’t heard in a long time, and when we caught wind that an indie developer by the name of Keiji Inafune wanted to make a spiritual successor to this video game legend, many were quick to donate to the cause. The game displayed amazing 2D visuals, and a difficulty akin to the original Megaman games, which would have meant one of the most challenging 2D platformer since Super Meat Boy or Mark of the Ninja. But, a few release delays later, the art was replaced with a gross 3D plastic look, the difficulty was absent, and voice acting on the same level of Star Fox Zero left many Megaman fans feeling betrayed and confused as to what happened to this game during development that could have turned it so bad so quickly.
- No Man’s Sky
Anyone who has been remotely following video game releases for the past year can tell you about the disaster that was No Man’s Sky. The figurehead of Hello Games, Sean Murray – not to be confused with an actor of the same name – had great ambitions to create a game so large where no two people would have the same experience. Sean Murray’s vision was of a game about space exploration to its fullest, with vast civilizations, raging wars in space, and an expansive multiplayer. He was very vocal with his vision, and he promised too much to the press. When No Man’s Sky released, only the slimmest bit of the game promised was given to the masses. There was no multiplayer, no memorable environments, no expansive civilizations of alien races, and the game just felt overall unfinished. In all honesty, if the game was released for only $20 as opposed to the full $60 and if it wasn’t hyped so much, it would probably would have filled in as a decent space exploration game. But the trailers and the promises Sean Murray fed to his buyers were remembered, and countless people sued him on accounts of misleading advertisement, and an investigation was opened on Hello Games for the same reason. No Man’s Sky will go down in history as one of the biggest disasters in gaming history.
2016 was pretty bleak in terms of video games, and it felt like no good games came out of this year. But with stunning titles like For Honor, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Crash Bandicoot N’ Sane Trilogy, and Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Wild Lands, 2017 may have some good games yet to come. Maybe we will have a much merrier time as participants of the video game industry in the future. That’s all folks!
Categories: Arts & Reviews