The year of 2012 has been rather a disappointing year for gaming so far. After the stellar releases of 2011 (though the disappointment there was they were all sequels), 2012 has come acrop with fan favourites such as Ninja Gainden becoming mediocre thanks to its simplified 3rd instalment & the Resident Evil spin off Operation Racoon City whilst an interesting idea, it failed when it came to the simple gameplay & ludicrous AI. The biggest disappointment in the world of gaming this year has to be with the whole furore over the Mass Effect 3 ending leaving millions of fans (myself included), feeling let down as the credits rolled (the exteneded just added more).
Recently I became a quarter of a century old, and one of my housemates got me a couple of games as a present. One was Mafia II which I like alot & it gave me a chance to try out the dlc that I missed out when I traded in my old copy (it was for Portal 2 so I think it was fair). The other game was Homefront. When this game first came out I was very intrigued by the main story (A unified Korea invading the U.S.), which was quite original for the military FPS genre. However after hearing the reviews of how short the campaign was I decided to leave it. While playing I actually enjoyed the campaign but it just ends. Quite abruptly too. I thought great in one month I've been disappointed by the ending of two games. Then this gave me the idea for a blog and write about these, and the other games that I have been disappointed by this generation.
Oh and before I begin let me give out the obligitory !SPOILER WARNING! For these games.
Home Is Where the War is! But Where is the Rest of the Story?
Let's start with the game I mentioned earlier, Homefront had alot of things going for it when it was annouced. Boasting a massive 32 player multiplayer across massive maps (which is actually quite fun and the leveling system is not as unbalanced as CoD's), and a story which is interesting. After the death of Kim Jong Ill in 2012 (freaky eh?), his successor manages to unify Korea, Annex China & Japan. In 2027 Korea attacks the U.S. with a massive EMP strike and invades. You take the role of a fighter pilot recently recruited into the resistence movement. You spend the game going through different areas of occupied America, Helping the resistence in a number of missions. Whilst the characters you are with aren't that well developed, the landscapes you go through are very well done and set the mood for the game perfectly. The music is also a highlight of the game. The downside is the single player is incredibly short. Even by modern military FPS standards.
When the story was being advertised everywhere I was looking forward to playing a military FPS that actually had an original story to it, and it was written by the man who did Apocalypse Now & Red Dawn. The final piece of the game is where you are fighting for control of the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the hardest fights of the game, and as you get control of the bridge you end up in a jeep shooting at an enemy goliath (remote control tank thing), then you get blown from the jeep, and watch one of your teamates run towards the enemy cavalry holding a flair as a signal for an airstrike and as the enemy gets bombarded, the camera pans out and fades with a voice over saying how they will win the fight. Then the credits appear. All in all it took me about 4 hours to complete the game. FOUR HOURS! All I was left with was the question "Is that it?" It was blatantly left for a sequel which makes me furious as I hate it when developers do that.
Bringing Tedium to New Heights!
Ah the Fable series one constant disappointment after another. Out of the trilogy though its Fable III that takes the 'P' in RPG. Peter Molineux once again claiming that this time you will be flooded with hard and tough choices to make in the game. And once again you're not. Bascially the premise of the story is you're the brother/sister of the current king who has become selfish with his wealth when it comes to the needs of the kingdom.
So you escape the palace and go on a quest to unite the land and overthrow him. Along the way you make promises to each group of people that you need to help overthreow your brother that you are intended to keep once you become king/queen. The game is simple Fable fare where you can fart & flirt with most NPCs and if they take your fancy you can marry them and have kids (the novel aspect of Fable II where now the novelty has worn off). You can also buy properties and take part in pointless & uninimaginative mini games to help earn you some money.
Once you overthrow your brother the game completely changes and you find out that the reason he was being stingy was so he could protect the kingdom from a pending evil, which is now your job to stop. You have a certain amount of time to raise enough funds to protect the kingdom or it will be destroyed. You spend the rest of the game, stuck in your castle, either keeping the promises you made to the people (which means less money), or go back on your word (which means money for the treasury). That's it. Those are the "tough choices" you have to make in the game. Which aren't that tough and if you could actually tell these people what was going to happen im sure they would have agreed instead of calling you a selfish bastard.
What really annoyed me about this game was the 'interactive' pause menu. Instead of pressing start and going into your inventory to see quests and what not, you end up in your "throne room" where all the wepaons you have are on the wall, and all your outfits are in their own room. What entails is bloody tedium which makes measuring the hight of your lawn with a ruler more fun. What's makes it worse is you only have like four weapons & outfits. Armour class and type have no bearing what so ever and your wepons level up or 'evolve' as you use them. As much as I love John Cleese (which I do as i've seen him live), less than half-way through the game I was so annoyed by his voice as he says the same things over & over when you go into the menu. The map is also intereactive which means trying to find a location or something quickly is impossible and just adds to the frustration.
Dissappointment Captured in Full Motion!
I hated L.A. Noire when it came out. That's down to it being my first professional review and I only had two & a half days in which to write it. Anyone who has done a review can tell you that's not alot of time. Especially for a game as large as L.A. Noire. Because of this every negative aspect of the game that I found jumped out at me as this glaring error of epic proportions that hampered my way towards completing the game (which I couldn't do as I ran out of time). Once I was done with it I immediately traded it in for a copy of Mortal Kombat, adn when playing as Scorpion, every enemy I told to "get over here" I imagined to be Cole Phelps. After about a year I got convined to play it again as I had forgotten most of it and hadn't completed it.
To my chagrin the things that annoyed me the first time around were still there (though obvioulsy no where near as hate inducing). Whilst the game looked great & the attention to detail was astounding, it was the gameplay that really got to me. It was so simple. The combat was still unispriring and the gunplay reminded me of the GTA games on the PS2. The detective elements which drove the lure of the game, aswell as the motion captured faces, became boring and predictable. Searching for evidence became an annoyance all its own with far too many red herrings.
To me the story culminated into a frantic mess. Parts of an over arcing story kept coming in an out at convenient times, and the downfall of Phelps towards the end seemed force and was too out of character from what he was for most of the game. What made me disappointed about this game was that Team Bondi seemed to spend more time focused on the motion capturing than anything else and the rest of the game suffered because of it.
If XV Is As Bad As This Then it Will be the Final Fantasy!
Ah Final Fantasy, how the mighty have fallen. Alot of people are contributing the decline in JRPGs to SqaureEnix as they are the industry leaders. I say that's not the case, there are plenty of good solid JRPGS out there, Xenoblade Chronicles & The Last Story are the most recent examples of solid JRPGs. What I found most disappointing about this game (as did many others) was just how bloody linear the game is. It's pretty much just one corridoor after another. Considering how vast the lanscapes were in XII you think they would have expanded on that in a new generation on consoles. Instead we get treated to a film with walking elements.
Whilst the story is still epic Final Fantasy, unlike previous titles the beginning is so confusing you need to spend at least half an hour trying to figure out who is what. It took me ages trying to figure out who or what the Pulse were, and who was a Pul'sie, a Fal'cie or a L'cie. After explaining my confusion to my friend, he told me that it takes a couple of hours for the game to actually explain to you which is which. A couple of hours? Not in those first two hours AFTER them. That is not good story structure. Even then by the end of the first disk I was still trying to figure it out (or maybe that's just me being slow on the uptake).
Whilst the linearity of the levels was infuriating enough the enemies are in the world like in XII and you can choose to fight them or go round them. However, due corridoor design of the levels most of the trime its impossible to evade enemies so you have to fight them anyway! It's pretty much just being able to see the random encounters. The combat goes back from the realtime of XII to a turn based system but you can only control the leader of your group, and the character progression in this game is something called Crystarium, where you unlock new abilities and spells. Later in the game you can pre select how your other party members fight but again, thats several hours into the game. Also the combat system itself is another hurdle to overcome in terms complexity. It took me awhile to get to grips with the mechanics, any by the time I got to grips with them I get new abilities available and have to figure out how to use them (really hope it's not just me that had these problems).
As the game progresses the story does improve and as you come to grips with everything the characters become more likable as you leanr more about them (even that whiny git Hope). But when you get to the third disc, the game switches into cinematic mode and the combat becomes one boss fight after another, which just gets tiresome after awhile. Especially as some boss fights can last 20 minutes or more, and some bosses will require trial and error when it comes to tactics (seriously someone in the comments, tell me you had the same problems so I don't feel like a complete plonker). It's just disappointing that throughout the game you have to endure so many things to experience the story.
I shall leave it there methinks before I become too depressed. These are only the shining examples that I've had the pleasure of enduring/playing. Let me know in the comments the games that have disappointed you the most this generation.
Thanks for reading!
Mario Kart Wii - No co-op grand prix like in ALL the previous console games!
Halo Reach - Poor repetitive, unispiring level designs!
Too Human - Wasn't onen of the people waiting nearly a decade for it so had little expectaitons and even they were dashed!
Devil May Cry 4 - Shut up whiny Nero! Or should I say Dante Jr?
GTA IV - Know im in the minority but boring side missions, horrible driving mechancs, and far too many tutorials!
Aliens Vs Predator - It just can't hold up to the PC clasics!
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II - With so much potential if they just improved on the first game but they miss the goal entirely!
Team Fortress 2 - While not the game itself, when I got the game & tried to play it, the community were the worst i've encountered! They're just elitist pricks , and treated me so badly for being a newcomer I haven't played it since!
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