Hey everyone, and welcome to another Controller Crusade Roundtable discussion. Every Friday our team of writers tackle a different gaming question, and the topic this week is biggest game disappointments. This can be anything from a disappointing boss fight, a terrible glitch that ruins the experience, or the game itself not living up to the hype. Let’s take a look at what our Controller Crusade staff had to say.
The biggest game disappointment for me would have to be 007 Legends. I have mentioned 007 Legends in previous roundtable discussions, but I still cannot get over how disappointing that game was. I grew up on James Bond, and I’ve always been generally happy with how the games have turned out. The more recent Goldeneye remake with Daniel Craig’s Bond was a solid game, and I also enjoyed 007 Blood Stone, which was a completely original storyline not based on a film or an Ian Fleming novel.
When 007 Legends was announced I was really excited. Getting to play out famous scenes from many of the best James Bond films sounded too good to be true, and it turned out that it was. The game was full of bugs and was overall just a sloppy piece of work. The moments that particularly annoyed me were the Skyfall scenes. The motorbike rooftop chase scene is one of my favourite scenes in the film, but now I can’t watch it without thinking of driving through the crowds in 007 Legends and having civilians slide out of the way like something out of an N64 game. The final showdown in the Skyfall missions of 007 Legends is the encounter with the sniper, which was way off from the film. The sniper essentially ran around the room like a chicken with its head cut off, and he was able to shoot through walls. That about sums up my disdain for 007 Legends. Hopefully I will never have to mention it again.
When a new game is in development, it’s almost impossible to avoid boarding the hype train especially when it’s a game you’ve been looking forward to play. While most games deliver on the promise, there are a few that end up either falling short or completely crumbling on the weight of its own high expectations. Various older games come to my mind when I think of disappointment. Operation Winback was a title I unfortunately missed out on during the N64 days and was advised by the – now defunct – UK edition of the Nintendo Official Magazine that it was a worthy title. Cut to a few years later and I noticed the PS2 version standing comfortably on a shelf with a half price sticker so I instantly picked it up. Perhaps the game didn’t stand the test of time or I was spoiled by Metal Gear Solid 2 but Operation Winback felt clunky and stale. I never got past the first mission and – to me – it just looked like a stale MGS rip-off. Was this the same version as the N64 version? Should I have given a better chance? These questions still rattle in my mind whenever I hear the game’s title. Thing is, the PS2 had better third-person titles and I was left disappointed. Maybe I should pick up the N64 version someday and give it another go.
Most recently, two games from the last generation left me with a really sour taste. After the success of Gears of War, I was dying to try out the sequel and re-connect with Marcus Fenix. Aside from a few new weapons and the inclusion of the exciting Horde mode in multiplayer, Gears of War 2 story mode was bland and its ending left me with such a strong feeling of dissatisfaction. “More of the same” can be a viable reason to produce a sequel but I strongly believe that new, significant elements have to be introduced to keep things and I personally didn’t any memorable was delivered in the story mode.
The other title that left me disappointed was Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain were two great titles that delivered a gripping story while offering a different way for players to interact. Sure, the quick time events weren’t exactly fresh and the simplistic control mechanisms were not favoured by everyone but I personally felt it was a clever technique that gave players the choice to determine their game’s outcome. And, given you’re a detective trying to solve a murder case, the controls aided in effectively looking for clues and analysing items. I admired what Quantic Dream were trying to do and keep an eye out for any future titles. When the announcement that Willem Dafoe and Ellen Page were involved in their upcoming game, I was going into Beyond: Two Souls with high expectations ready to be amazed but sadly it was never delivered. The game tried so hard to be a gripping, complex and emotional story but its game elements were somewhat weak and there were numerous times where the choices you made didn’t really matter to the overall story. The control mechanism merely provided a simplistic way to simply move the characters around as opposed to having a unique way to solving puzzles and accomplishing tasks. Yes, having the ability to control the spirit “Aiden” allowed us to complete portal-esque puzzles but there were far too few of them in the story. I still look forward to Quantic Dream’s next game but Beyond: Two Souls certainly was a disappointment.
There was one game that I waited patiently for over six years, by a company called Gearbox, made famous for making the popular Borderlands series. It was a game based on a science fiction and horror franchise, promised to capture the suspense and atmosphere of the films which it was based on. Many probably already know what I’m talking about right as I mentioned the name Gearbox, a name now soiled by their over-hyped, broken and humiliating release that was Aliens: Colonial Marines. To be perfectly honest, I still haven’t felt the same since my disappointment of this disaster. A part of my youth and innocence died after that day, and even my interest in video gaming has dwindled in the following years – something I never would have thought possible. What it all comes down to is: life sucks, and sometimes it can suck hard. It’s such crushing disappointments like these that can be really sobering, and can positively give us a new perspective on things. In other worse, never, ever trust or believe what developers or publishers say, regardless of how sincere it appears to be, because whether they get caught up in their own hype, or are just purely motivated by cold hearted greed, it has clearly been proven that it can be nothing more than false promises.
“I think the biggest advantage this game gets is because it’s Gearbox software building it. We’re not settling. A lot of games based on licenses become kind of a work for hire project just milking a franchise.” – Randy Ptichford, CEO and president of Gearbox Software
I was never a huge Halo fan, and in fact I didn’t even own an Xbox until well into the following generation, but I had fun with the game. Gathering with some friends to make an evening out of shooting eachother was fun, and I had a particular soft spot for the game’s co-op. At the time, I thought it was a decent game but not the world changing phenomenon that everyone else thought it was. Despite this, I got caught up in the hype for Halo 2. I read Bungie’s weekly updates and analyzed every screenshot. I quickly became obsessed with the backstory of the game’s universe and I couldn’t wait to see where it would go. The marketing campaign and hype worked on me and I became another person waiting for Bungie’s magnum opus…
… And I hated it. Sure, the mutliplayer was still great with friends, but I’ve always primarily been interested in single player games, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a campaign let me down so much. Between glaring technical problems, confusing, unfocused level design, and predictable, messy story I found myself more let down than I ever have been by a game. There were some good ideas, sure, but the game was clearly unfinished and rushed for the holiday release. What was even more painful was that there was the core of a good game in there – the actual gunplay and core mechanics were as solid as ever, it was just wrapped in a unfinished, broken mess of a shell.
That’s a wrap on this edition of Controller Crusade Roundtable. As always we love when our readers join in on the discussion, so give us your two cents in the comments below. Also if you have any questions that you would like our team to answer for next week, let us know! Check back next week, and each and every Friday for more Controller Crusade Roundtable Discussions.