The Year In Disappointments

There were so many things to get excited about in 2010! So many things to cherish! Sadly, life isn't all kittens and rainbows, and for every up, there must be a down.

These are 2010's biggest video gaming disappointments. Now, before we go any further, know that few of the things we're listing below were terrible. These aren't the worst things in video gaming for 2010. They're just the things that we hoped or expected would be at a certain level of quality or success, but for whatever reason, were not. In other words, a disappointment!

FINAL FANTASY XIII


There are few game series in the world that can truly be classed as being "AAA". Mario, Halo, Zelda, Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto. Oh, and Final Fantasy. Now consider, when was the last time any game in any of those series turned out to be not just a disappointment, but a genuinely poor game?

It's so rare these days that to see Final Fantasy XIII in the state it was released is slightly shocking. It's like the game was never tested to see if people would actually enjoy it.

You can say it's sterile, that its "gameplay" consists of little more than running from point A to point B selecting menus, but surely its biggest crime was in expecting more than a hardcore cadre of consumers to be willing to spend over 20 hours on what is essentially the game's tutorial.

What really qualifies FFXIII as a disappointment, though, was how much of a backwards step it was from Final Fantasy XII. With XII, Square Enix had shown it was capable of shrugging off the baggage of expectation and protocol a decades-old series accumulates, and genuinely experiment with the franchise. Take a few risks! Final Fantasy XIII, in an act of cowardice, undoes nearly all of that.

MEDAL OF HONOR


Medal of Honor as a game was disappointing. We were promised an authentic experience based on a contemporary conflict, and instead got a boring corridor shooter almost entirely reliant on broken scripting.

But Medal of Honor as a statement was an even greater disappointment. By setting its war in Afghanistan, developers Electronic Arts had drawn a political line in the sand. It was saying that it had the guts to set a video game in a politically contentious setting. This was epitomised in the fact you could play as a member of the Taliban in the game's multiplayer component.

It was a shame, then, that under both political and commercial pressure, EA backed down and removed the "Taliban" name from Medal of Honor's multiplayer. Not because anyone really cared about how it affected the game; had it been revealed as a NATO vs "Insurgents" game from the beginning, it would not have been an issue. But it was sad to see a video game publisher commit to such a brave creative decision, then fail to stick to it.

ALAN WAKE


A game that's not terrible by any means, but...did it really take five years to make a Resident Evil clone with such - ironically, given the setting - awful writing? It's clear that developers Remedy would rather be making movies than games, otherwise more time would have been spent making Wake a better game, and less time spent cosplaying in a TV adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

PRINCE OF PERSIA


We're talking about the movie here. While it was an entirely passable piece of fiction, it was still disappointing to find that, despite the involvement of real directors, real actors and real cash money (not to mention the original game's creator), the best we got was a forgettable, drawn-out Summer popcorn flick.

Proof if ever it was needed that Hollywood needs to start writing game movies based on great stories, not great characters or settings.

STARCRAFT II


We're not disappointed with Starcraft II. Not in the slightest. Just a little disappointed with part of it.

Most would agree Starcraft II is, at the very least, a good game. Maybe even great. It's slick, it's accessible, it's fun. Despite this, there's a tinge of disappointment to be found. Even Blizzard's most adoring fans must feel slightly let down that more wasn't done with the game's nuts and bolts in the decade since the first game's release, especially given the advances made in the real-time strategy genre since the year 2000.

Sure, it's a trivial complaint compared to some of the grave let-downs above, but when you're left with a ten year space between sequels, you like to think something will have changed!

The argument can be made that, with so many fans built up over such a long space of time, developers Blizzard couldn't afford to go making wholesale changes to the way the game was played. A counter to that, though, would be to suggest that if people wanted to play a game like the first Starcraft, they can still play the first Starcraft.

SCOTT PILGRIM vs THE WORLD


This one's a little different. We weren't disappointed with the Hollywood adaptation of Scott Pilgrim at all. While it had its lulls, it did as good a job as could be hoped of translating the comic's quirks to the big screen.

What we're disappointed with was how everyone else felt about the movie. As in, they didn't go. Despite a big advertising push, the film tanked at the box office, leaving everyone who saw it - or put money into it- scratching their heads and wondering where it all went wrong.

SONIC 4: EPISODE 1


Sonic fans, those loyal enough to have stood by the blue hedgehog after years of abuse, have been saying forever that all the world needed was another "proper" Sonic game. No more 3D, no more werehogs, no more kissing. Just Sonic, 2D gameplay and some gold rings.

In 2010, those fans got exactly what they asked for. And it was...yeah. Not so great. That'll teach you all to get so excited you ignore the "Sonic Cycle"!

THE FORCE UNLEASHED II


The first Force Unleashed was an OK title that packed enough quality Star Wars fiction inside that people enjoyed it. A sequel, then, should be a good thing! Keep the fiction, improve what was wrong with the game, and we've got a winner!

Not in Force Unleashed II's case. What should have been Lucasarts' best game in years became one of its more embarrassing, the game clearly lacking polish and shipping in a short, decidedly unfinished state. It even screwed up the story, the only thing the first game had going for it.

CRACKDOWN 2


Crackdown was awesome! It was also released in 2007. Its sequel, released in 2010, somehow managed to be a lesser game, in most cases failing to improve on the original at all, and in the places it did change things they were usually for the worse.

Considering Crackdown was such a cult hit, and that people had been asking for a sequel for years, to get such a half-baked title was one of 2010's bigger disappointments.

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And that's it! If you feel we've overlooked anything - and we may have! - let us know, we might just add it to the list.