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27 Years, 27 Games - Printable Version

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27 Years, 27 Games - Maniakkid25 - Jun 11th, 2019

So, a while ago, a friend of mine got me thinking, and decided to note on how I can be so cynical when it comes to hype culture in gaming. As such, I decided to chronicle an adventure of how I came to be this way starting with the first year I ever started gaming: 1997, the year Star Fox 64 came out. I was all of 4 when I bought it for my friend's birthday, and I've been gaming ever since, so let's take a look at 22 27 years of gaming through the eyes of games that never lived up to their own hype. A note though: while many of the games are arguably bad, I do have a few surprises in store if you're just expecting this to be a list of bad games.

1997: Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero

A bad idea from start to finish, this game tried to make a platformer out of a fighting game engine. Because that was going to work. (Then again, they did it with Batman, and I actually remember that being a lot of fun) Janky controls and cheap death traps combined to make a game nearly unplayable, and then you add on the fact that this game was meant to be a story about Sub-Zero's past despite not telling us much about Sub-Zero (or even being about the right Sub-Zero!)

1998: (Jurassic Park) Trespasser

I want you to cast your mind back to 1998. Just try to think of the technology that was just coming out. Could it have built lush, open, explorable landscapes? Complex AI that had multiple emotions it kept track of? Hell, the ability to follow you into buildings without breaking the game engine! Given that this would have been difficult ten years later, Trespasser was a game that just set its goals too high, and came out as a tragedy as a result. And the less said about the arm, the better.

1999: Superman (64)

HOO, DADDY! The myth. The legend. The undisputed king of bad games! A terribly coded, poorly thought-out mess, this is what happens when you mix Warner Bros. meddling with Titus incompetence. This was leeching off the Animated Superman series, too, so it's not like this wasn't a big deal when the game came out. And yet, it is now legendary as one of the worst games of all time, though not without stiff competition!

2000: Daikatana

"John Romero is about to make you his bitch." That was an actual ad that was taken in an actual magazine, as well as telling you to "Suck it down." One of the father's of Doom, his leaving Id Software to do his own thing was watched with the world's eye, wondering what masterpiece he would come up with. It ended up being a poorly written mess of an FPS with AI so brokenly terrible, it made the game almost impossible to play. Needless to say, John Romero got a much needed sobering up from this splash of cold water.

2001: Black and White

Oh, hi, Peter Molyneux! I'm sure we won't be seeing you again! This one is actually different, because this was, by all accounts, a good game! But, the gaming community soon turned on the game, realizing it wasn't really the hottest thing since sliced bread when it came down to it. It promised a lot, and it admittedly delievered some of it, but it was another case of Molyneux hype: promising the world, and only delievering a scrap of it.

2002: Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly

The first Spyro game not developed by Insomniac, and the first sign of trouble on the horizon for a great series. Short, buggy, bad controls, everything about it seemed WRONG! It didn't help matters that it actually messed up a kid to the point of the publishers being sued after he had an epileptic seizure because of the game bugs. Thankfully, the series has gotten past those trying times...right?

2003: Batman: Dark Tomorrow

This one is another one of those tragedies of gaming. Starting out as an open-world exploration game on the Gamecube, the problems started when Microsoft said they also wanted to publish the game. This meant that they had to completely scrap what they were doing, and they ended up making a static camera monstrousity of a game. Poorly designed thanks to the rush job, and the good ending never even being hinted at lead to one of the worst games ever made.

2004: Fable

It all started with an acorn. Yet another case of Molyneux hype, this game promised to be the epic RPG people were waiting for. You could play anyway you want, and your class would change to accomdate it. A complex morality system. The game would age as you played, where you could plant an acorn and watch it grow into a tree. And then it came out, and it was...alright. It was pretty good, actually, but it wasn't the awe-inspiring RPG we were promised. He aimed for the stars, and landed right on the Sun.

2005: Advent Rising

Imagine if Mass Effect came out 2 years before it did. Because that's basically what Advent Rising was trying to be. It was going to be an epic trilogy about your ascencion into literal godhood, and it even had a million dollar prize attached to it for finding all the game's hidden glyphs. And then the game came out, and it was mediocre. Soon, it was eclipsed by Mass Effect, and was eventually forgotten.

And I remembered that.

2006: Sonic the Hedgehog ('06)

Another legend of bad games, this was Sonic's 15th anniversary. And to celebrate it, we got the worst Sonic game of all time. Broken, unpolished, badly executed, and the LOADING TIMES. This poorly optimized joke of a game wasn't helped by its story, and the less said about that, the better. It's actually incredible that the series survived such a killing blow, but it seems to have recovered. At least it did, right up until the Sonic movie trailer came out.

2007: Bioshock

I still remember one of the promo videos that came out for this game. It was an epic fight with a Big Daddy that used all the mechanics the game had to offer, and it culminated in a bone-chilling moment where you slowly approached the now-defenceless Little Sister, as the screen slowly fades to black. And this is another great game, but it committed an unforgivable sin: It wasn't System Shock 2. The very fact that it was a spiritual successor to one of the most revolutionary FPSes of our time damned it before it could ever make it out the door.

And I remembered that.

2008: Spore

Will Wright's baby. After making the beloved Sims series, he wanted to make this God game where you can create and evolve your own creatures from microbe to spacefaring. When it came out, it was well enough received, but it wasn't what it promised to be. The gameplay loop was shallow, the creature creator was just bad (to say nothing of the porn), and OH YEAH, it ended up being one of the most pirated games of all time thanks to its SecuROM DRM. It was good, but it wasn't great, and that was the sin it committed.

Honorable Mention: Too Human

Yeah, I'm skipping 2009. Screw you, it's my list. Besides, I think this gaming coming out of Development Hell is worth talking about. Originally announced in 1996, it didn't see the light of day until 2008, after multiple console changes, redesigns, and the less said about the Epic lawsuit, the better. Even without that problem, the weird "control-stick combat" controls and mediocre gameplay put the nail in the coffin for this one the moment it was released.

2010: Final Fantasy XIV

"But Final Fantasy XIV is good now!" I can already hear you cry. Yes, yes it is. But it wasn't when it first came out! Boring, grindy, repetetive, and lackluster, SqueEnix actually issued an APOLOGY for how crap the game was! No one apologized for the other games on this list! This would have been the worst Final Fantasy game ever released if Final Fantasy 13 didn't exist!
But this list isn't about my petty grudges.

2011: Duke Nukem Forever

Yet another legend, this time from Development Hell. Spending 11 years in development, Duke Nukem Forever was the long-awaited sequel to the Duke Nukem series that had the eternal problem of Chasing the Dragon. "The Dragon" being the concept of the "Perfect Shooter". Sent back to the drawing board every time it was close to finished because a new game would come out, 3D Realms soon folded before the game could come out, and it's only thanks to the "generousity" of Gearbox Software that the game finally saw the light of day. We WILL be hearing from them again...

2012: Medal of Honor: Warfighter

The end of the first World War II FPS series, Medal of Honor Doorfighter was another victim of "Chasing the CoD" that went modern after Modern Warfare dropped, and everyone was trying to do what Call of Duty did, thinking it would make them gobs of money. This is the way the game series ended: not with a bang, but with a whimper.

2013: Aliens: Colonial Marines

Oh, yeah. You knew this was coming. The game that has at least one reviewer still personally offended about being lied to about it, Gearbox thought it was a good idea to off-load most of the development to a studio no one had heard of, and hope for the best. Poor AI (later discovered to be caused by a typo in the source code), mediocre gameplay, and a terrible story combined to create what can only be described as a stab in the gut to fans of the series. Battleborn was karmic retribution for this game...

2014: Destiny

Remember when I said this list wasn't about my petty grudges? I'm making an exception here, because of what this game did to me. I remember the beta coming out, and deciding to give it a go. I still remember talking with my friends while playing the game, and saying "I feel like I'm going through the motions; this game just feels like Borderlands." I still remember them saying how I was wrong, and how this game was one of the greatest things ever, and how I just was looking at it the wrong way! And then, within 6 months, you know what they were saying? "Eh, it was okay. It got boring after a while."

...And I remembered that. And yes, I'm still bitter.

2015: The Order 1886

I want you to imagine a game where the Knights of the Round Table fight werewolves and vampires with steampunk weaponry designed by Nikola Tesla. Now I want you to make that game boring. Because that's what The Order is: a boring game that is only barely even a game, because it tried too hard to be a "cinematic" experience, and came off more as an interactive movie because of it. It's actually almost funny how bad this game is. At least, it would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

2016: Mighty No. 9

I actually had a tough call to make, and I decided to go with this instead of No Man's Sky, mainly because I didn't want to reference Peter Molyneux again, but also because of the debacle of a schedule this game had from Kickstarter to coming out. What was promised to be a spiritual successor to Megaman Legends eventually twisted and morphed in front of the world's eyes into a lackluster Megaman clone that was NOT what the backers were promised. It remains, to this day, a stain on the very idea of crowdfunding, and not many games I've referenced have done that much to destroy something.

2017: Mass Effect Andromeda

Oh boy, what can I even say about this game? Well, thanks to EA's mandate that their games use the Frostbite engine (which is notoriously crap for any thing not an FPS), this game was screwed from the word go. In fact, it's actually impressive that the game came out as well as it did, but bugs combined with a mediocre gameplay loop and a stupid story to create a game that immediately nuked a Bioware subsidiary just as it was starting, and put the entire company on thin ice with EA. And it's only gotten worse...

2018: Fallout 76

It had to be. Of course it did. Despite being a game that nobody wanted, Bethesda decided to make an online-only survival/crafting game out of Fallout, and failed to even do that much. What can only be described as a perfect measure of Bethesda's incompetence, this bugged nightmare of a game didn't even have the gloss that it's other games had to keep people from hating it for the bugs. This game is terrible, and the fallout from the various controveries surrounding it continues to entertain to this day!

What do you guys think, though? Am I being unfair to a few games? Can you think of other contenders? I did skip 2009 because it was a BANGING year for game releases (when I was discussing potential releases to talk about, the best we could come up with that fit the criteria was Halo 3: ODST!) I'm also not including 2019 because, well, we're in it. After all, Borderlands 3 still has a chance to disappoint me after Anthem. Well, it's been 2 years, and we're almost done with 2020, so I think I can add to this list. So, two more games, and I can think of no other two to honor than these.

2019: Anthem

Of course it would be this. Of course it would be Bioware's inadvertant attempt at making Destiny in 1 year despite 7 years of pre-production; it will never not be this. Yes, after Anthem came out a dull mess of a game and we learned just how troubled the production was, I'll be honest: I was laughing. I was whole-heartedly laughing, because I told my bastard friends what was going to happen. My name is now Cassandra, and I can see the future! Repetitive gameplay, a hackjob of a story that seems re-cut to pieces to salvage what was made, and the Tombs of the Legionnaires! This game managed to fail upwards into being one of the highest-selling games of the year, and I will never understand how that could happen...

2020: Cyberpunk 2077

HAHAHAHAHAHA! It's Fallout 76 all over again! The buggyness, the controversies, the unending fallout that continues to slap us in the face! I LOVE IT! Please, continue to course correct, CDPR! There's no way you could make it any worse than the dumpster fire that is currently happening, between the character customization options not living up, to the graphical problems, to being refunded and removed from storefronts. It's a beautiful thing, and you're bringing a tear to my eye...

2021: Balan Wonderworld

I had friends who told me a different game should be here, but I have to go with my heart on this. Balan Wonderworld, the platformer that Yuji Naka was championing for SqueEnix, cratered so hard and so thoroughly that it has single-handedly killed any other platformer SqueEnix would ever make. This was his one shot, and he threw it away on an attempt to "simplify the controls" to the point that there's only one friggin action button, and all the face and shoulder buttons do it! Not to mention the development time wasted on making over 80 outfits. It's honestly a Tragedy.

2022: Overwatch 2

The sequel that no one asked for, Overwatch 2 is legitimately impressive because of how well it cratered itself. Over-monetized with Battle Passes and an IMPRESSIVE amount of grind, things weren't helped by forcing players to hook a cell phone with an active contract (no pay-as-you-go allowed), and the game in general being completely unnecessary given that, you know, Overwatch existed and was summarily murdered to force everyone to play it. The only good news about it is that it's free to play. Whatever. Pokemon SV almost won over this, until a friend brought up an important point: people actually ENJOYED Pokemon SV on release!

2023: Atomic Heart

You're probably looking at me like I'm crazy right now, given the number of games that thoroughly cratered this year, but this one is different. This one actually has pathos. A Russian-developed game that wasn't smoke and mirrors, Atomic Heart was a shooter that took place in a retro-sci-fi 1950s, where the Soviet Union is collapsing amidst a robot uprising. It had an actual ad campaign with advertisements on TV and even Youtube! I actually knew about this game before it released, and once it finally dropped... silence. It was warmly receieved, and then promptly forgotten about. That is a fate that the Redfalls and Gollums of 2023 wishes they had happen to them, but also makes Atomic Heart, in a way, far more overhyped than any other, because even negative hype is still hype.

RE: 22 Years, 22 Games - queenzelda - Jun 11th, 2019

Some games I've come across over the years have surprised me. I bought them cause they were on sale & they were just great impo. Like: Mushroom Men, Skylanders franchise, & yes even Blue Dragon which I played, loved & beat.

Though some newer games have diasapointed me, like KH3 minus the SE characters ISN'T KH impo. Octopath Traveler is good but it could be SO MUCH BETTER if all of the characters actually interacted with each other instead of acting so nonchalant. =_=

RE: 22 Years, 22 Games - Kyng - Jun 16th, 2019

Yeah, I've learned not to buy into gaming hype. The last game I was really excited for was Civilization: Beyond Earth, back in 2014. I'd played the heck out of Civilization V, and I thought the concept of a sci-fi version sounded really great. I was even more excited when people began reminiscing back to Alpha Centauri - a game which I'd never played myself at that point, but had heard a lot of praise for. So, for me, it was the must-have game of the year.

When the game came out, it turned out not to be the must-have game of the year. Sure, it was playable, and it was possible to have some fun with it, but after a few playthroughs, I found that there really wasn't that much depth to it: rather than reacting to the situation, I was just making the same automatic choices every time. Furthermore, it didn't really feel like its own game: it was more like a well-done total conversion of Civilization V. The Rise and Fall expansion the following year was a promising first step towards fixing this: it added some new mechanics, which actually made it feel like its own game. Unfortunately, these were very poorly-balanced - and, by this point, so many people had abandoned the game that the developers simply never bothered to fix them Sad .

So, now, I no longer get 'hyped' about games, even if I think the concept sounds wonderful. I'm still hopeful, but always skeptical - especially if the promises sound too good to be true.

RE: 22 Years, 22 Games - Moonface - Jun 25th, 2019

Shocked Watch Dogs didn't get into this thread yet, considering how vastly different its E3 presentation was from the final release. On the note of E3, I think that is a prime place for companies to promise more than they can deliver, because they make these wonderful vertical slices that are perfected in every way possible in an attempt to show what they want to do, regardless of whether it's possible to do. Even games that didn't disappoint me, like The Last of Us, have shown footage and ideas at E3 that were nowhere to be found at release.

Generally, I base my hype on two things: is the company/developer behind the game known for putting out games that I don't find disappointing, and is it a sequel to a new IP from a new studio that knocked it out of the park on their first run, i.e. Hollow Knight. If you have an iffy track record, or make things sound too good to be true, or you're a new studio, then I'll be more skeptical. Same for being too secret about things. Death Stranding could be good, but I feel it's relying heavily on the hype of Kojima and it has been doing a terrible job of showing us what the thing actually is for a very long time. Dying Light 2 is another, I'd love to be hype for it, but the showing it had at this past E3 was worrying and although I'm sure it will do everything right the first game did right, I'm iffy on how well it can pull off the new things or improve on what needed improving.

RE: 22 Years, 22 Games - Maniakkid25 - Jun 26th, 2019

I mean, I always thought the Watch Dogs thing was overblown and related largely to the graphical downgrade the game took upon release, which I think is stupid. As well, it had to compete with Destiny, and I still haven't forgiven Destiny for what it did to me. I otherwise tried to keep away from my personal grudges (Final Fantasy 13 WOULD have ended up on the list otherwise), and stuck to games that other sources also agreed were overhyped (and not just bad). Some years, I was spoiled for choice (like 2016); others, I actually struggled (like 1997). Some were just an obvious choice (I had to include Advent Rising), others not so much (Maybe I should have gone with Haze instead of Spore?). And some of these games are actually pretty interesting; Advent Rising has a cult following (and its available on Steam for about 10 bucks, so why not pick it up?), Black and White and Fable are generally agreed to be good games that promised too much, and Final Fantasy XIV is actually really good now. I've kind of wandered off at this point, so back to Watch Dogs: I played it, and thought it was just fine. The name did cross my list, I'm sure, but Destiny seemed like a much stronger choice thanks to how that game's plan turned out in reality (10 year roadmap my ass!).

I can't even get hyped for as much as you can. Hell, I love Atlus, and I know they know how to throw together great RPGs, but I can't say I'm hyped for SMT V. Even after the MASSIVE hit that Persona 5 became, after such promising games like Advent Rising, Trespasser, and the Order 1886? I'm left completely jaded by hype culture, and E3, and all things like it, and the only thing I can ask is when I can make a list like this is "how can I NOT be jaded"?

RE: 22 Years, 22 Games - Moonface - Jul 27th, 2019

Oh, there are definitely more games than not where I sit on the fence until release about how good they'll actually be. Like, I'm excited about the concept of Watch Dogs 3, but at the same time I know WD2 had shortcomings and I'm also very iffy on buying into the big promises Ubisoft can make for their games. I'm excited for what it hopefully turns out to be, but until I see otherwise from anything that isn't blatant PR I will remain skeptical about how diverse and well done the "play as anyone" concept the game has really is.

The same went for Insomniac's Spider-Man. After the release of Ratchet & Clank 2016, and the knowledge of how their games involving real life characters have gone (never really that great), I really didn't expect that game to even look good, let alone anything else. I've not played it yet (I got it recently) but I will admit they pulled it off and I'm excited to play it.

I'd say if you can't be excited for a game at announcement (which is fair and understandable) then it would be best to just be interested in the idea being proposed, and then get excited when you can see things that are trustworthy to inform you on how the game is actually turning out. The CTR remake excited me as an idea, but I was very on edge about how well the physics would be pulled off until I played it at PAX, which let me see first hand how well it actually was. Had I not played it, then I would have relied on the testimonies of those who did play it instead, as a regular fan generally isn't being paid to say things and will just be honest with it.

So long as it isn't impacting your enjoyment of the end products you do play, then I'd say it's a fine idea to be jaded about how much being said is actually true about games in development. I think it would be bad for anyone to not have some degree of skepticism about any game. I've enjoyed every Naughty Dog game, but I know that TLOU2's animations and character interactions shown in the footage released so far is no guarantee because it wasn't for the first game. It's not enough to make me lose so much excitement for the game that I wouldn't consider a day one buy, but it does sit in the back of my mind as a matter of wait and see due to past instances.

RE: 24 Years, 24 Games - Maniakkid25 - Dec 20th, 2020

So, since it's nearly 2021, I figured it was time to update the list, so I edited the original post to add 2019 and 2020 to the list. I think you guys will understand why I added these particular games to the list...

RE: 24 Years, 24 Games - ShiraNoMai - Dec 25th, 2020

You know, I forgot this thread existed and I'm happy to see you were able to update it with the two games I had in mind for this ROFL

Glad to see games can continue to be trainwrecks year after year

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - Maniakkid25 - Dec 11th, 2022

Now that it's nearing 2023, it's time for me to necro this thread and say I added 2021 to the list. 2022 is still TBD, because I have what is honestly a coin flip between two games. God help me...

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - ShiraNoMai - Dec 19th, 2022

Ooh, can I take a guess at what those two games might be? Sonic Frontiers and Stray ?

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - Maniakkid25 - Dec 19th, 2022

Neither of those were my personal contenders, though I will admit I completely did not think about them. That said, I don't really think one of those is really a contender. I'll let you decide which one you th-- it's Stray. Stray doesn't have a hope in hell of belonging on this list.

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - Moonface - Dec 30th, 2022

(Jun 11th, 2019, 07:34 AM)Maniakkid25 Wrote:
2021: Balan Wonderworld

I had friends who told me a different game should be here, but I have to go with my heart on this. Balan Wonderworld, the platformer that Yuji Naka was championing for SqueEnix, cratered so hard and so thoroughly that it has single-handedly killed any other platformer SqueEnix would ever make. This was his one shot, and he threw it away on an attempt to "simplify the controls" to the point that there's only one friggin action button, and all the face and shoulder buttons do it! Not to mention the development time wasted on making over 80 outfits. It's honestly a Tragedy.
What sucks about this one is if, by some stroke of chance, Balan had turned out to be an amazing game, Naka would have still pissed this whole opportunity away due to the case against him for insider trading. The man wasn't coming out of this one good no matter what way the game went, and all the outcomes are entirely down to his actions alone.

I'm trying to figure out what the two games could be that you're deciding between for 2022. I feel like Pokémon SV could have a good chance, considering the number of issues it has and is probably the most notably shoddy AAA release this year. Diablo Immortal is apparently a god awful nightmare of microtransactions and such, so maybe that but I feel like that isn't gonna be one for you. Overwatch 2 could be one, given it really has no reason to exist and my impression is it's a step back from the original in every way. Oh! Saints Row could totally be one I can see being considered because oof, that was a rough one that managed to please no fans of that series on either side of the fence. I'm sure I've probably missed one or both of the games you're actually deciding between though. LOL

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - Maniakkid25 - Jan 5th, 2023

The wait is over, and the dishonorable winner of 2022 is...

Overwatch 2!

Give a round of applause for Activizzard, people. We all know they earned it.

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - ShiraNoMai - Jan 6th, 2023

...was there really that much hype around that game? I feel like it had a very lukewarm response from fans when announced and they hadn't done much to hype it up until release IIRC Hmm

Still, interesting choice. Pokemon fans will eat literal dogshit branded as Pokemon before they'll ever not have fun with playing it. I say that as a fan myself. LOL

RE: 26 Years, 26 Games - Maniakkid25 - Jan 6th, 2023

I'll be the first to say I felt like this was a coin flip. If you go back, you can find plenty of journo hype for it, but whether that counts as "overhyped" is the exact same argument I had with my friends over picking Balan Wonderworld or D&D Dark Alliance for 2021, hence why it took me so goddamn long to do 2021. Plus, like I said, people enjoyed Pokemon IN SPITE of the bugs and chaos. People did not enjoy the controversies that littered OW2.