If there is one thing that stands true about 2012, it is that retail triple-A games raised the ire of many gamers. Going to your local store or going online and throwing down $60 (or whatever your local currency translates to) to pick up a hotly anticipated game just to end the experience with a frown on your face is something that no gamer wants to endure. Unfortunately, it happens every year, and this year was no different.
Recently, the Giant Bomb community had an opportunity to vote for what they believed was the most disappointing game release of 2012. Within that voting process, one thing became certainly prevalent: people are sick of broken games from big publishers that should have been better, especially given their previous iterations. Particularly, it would seem that many of the games people were disappointed with are divisible by the number "three", which is something of an odd occurrence. Now that the voting is essentially done, let's take a look at just what the community felt was the most disappointing game of 2012.
There was a number of games voted on that only received a handful of votes (usually less than three overall votes). Many of these games had a lot of woes groaned about them, ranging from general boredom to just generally not being a solid game overall. That list of games includes:
- Max Payne 3
- Street Fighter X Tekken
- Halo 4
- Hitman: Absolution
- Borderlands 2
- Ninja Gaiden 3
- Darksiders 2
- Diablo 3
- Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning
These games needed to at least be mentioned, despite their minority stance within the general voting process. Why? It should always be noted that people will have different opinions, and sometimes those opinions are slightly different than the overall flock. Personally, I can vouch that I felt at least four of those games were personally disappointing to me in some way.
The Third Most Disappointing Game...
Resident Evil 6 was a game that, upon the release of its initial trailer and first impressions from the press, seemed like they were getting back to some of what people loved about earlier games. While the franchise has constantly drawn criticism from many fans after a certain period (most notably from Resident Evil 4 onward), there have still arguably been saving graces with the releases. Resident Evil 6 did seem like a "middle of nowhere" announcement to a lot of people, and in a year where three Resident Evil games saw release on various platforms (Operation Raccoon City and Revelations were the other two), the road to release for the new proper-numbered entry in the core franchise seemed to get more and more lackluster. Upon release, the general consensus from both players and the press was overwhelming: Resident Evil 6 was essentially a pile of unnecessary shit that should be avoided at all costs. From its action-oriented gameplay to uninteresting story and clunky controls, it epitomized bad game design through every pore of its body. The public spoke and thus the fate of Resident Evil 6 was decided.
The Second Most Disappointing Game...
"...there's a difference between a failure and a fiasco. A failure is simply the non-presence of success. Any fool can accomplish failure. But a fiasco...A fiasco is a disaster of mythic proportions. A fiasco is a folktale told to others that makes other people feel more alive because it didn't happened to them."
Every time someone mentions the words "Mass Effect 3", the words of Drew Baylor ring through my head. As if BioWare didn't already have it hard enough with Star Wars: The Old Republic within the subsequent months after its launch, it also ended up causing two of the largest controversies of the year in the video game industry. The fervor was high for the release of Mass Effect 3, and when it finally came out, the cries of the internet became quickly apparent as people finished out the franchise. Many asked how a monolith of sci-fi epic proportions that offered so much ambition in storytelling over the course of five years could flounder and mishandle a finale so poorly. For those who don't know what we are talking about, the ending to Mass Effect 3 caused an uproar amongst the Mass Effect community, all but crying for the heads of those responsible for the making of the game. By the time the credits on the game were rolling, it felt more like reading an obituary than a list of people who worked on the game. Players felt that their choices over the course of three games meant literally nothing by the time that they reached the "pick A/B/C"-style ending. BioWare's reaction to this was not only a little lacking (it took them close to a week to respond to the fans), but it was alarming and surprising as well: they planned on releasing free DLC for the players that would expand on the overall story and elements in order to give the ending a little more logic and overall sense. This became a controversy within the gaming press, as they viewed it as a weakness on the artistic capabilities of BioWare, a piece of reactionary game design to try and cull the controversy rather than sticking to their guns and standing by what they created. It pretty much sealed the fate for Mass Effect 3 being considered a fiasco in the lexicon of gaming history. However, after the release of DLC, it seems that there are audiences that have found the game to be a very good finale to the franchise with some flaws inherent to the idea of "moral choice player-authored storytelling".
Only time will tell how Mass Effect 3 is viewed in the grand scheme of things, but for the year of its release, Mass Effect 3 remains disappointing to many.
The Most Disappointing Game of the Year...
With almost 35% of the votes (by comparison, Mass Effect 3 garnered only 18%), it seems the jury is out for Assassin's Creed III: how the hell did you get to this point? A promising franchise that became a little sluggish by the time the third Assassin's Creed II came out (yes, Revelations, you were boring as shit), the third proper installment in the franchise saw a change of time period and scenery with the Revolutionary War. We were also put into the shoes of a new character, a native American assassin by the name of Connor. The gameplay was expanded upon, the story promised to be huge, and the overall experience...ended up being broken, filled with bugs, and generally boring to many players. What took a year of hype fell apart so quickly upon release. The multiplayer seems like it has had generally positive things spoken about it beyond the expected complaints of hacking, exploitation, and lag. However, the idea that a game that has been years in the making was released in such a massive unfinished state...to the point that a massive patch for just the single player game within days of release seemed to offer fixes for almost every single quest in the game...is nigh inexcusable.
What seems more disappointing about the game is how Assassin's Creed III leaves people hanging by the end of their adventure. It's one thing to leave people on a cliffhanger like you would find in Assassin's Creed II or Brotherhood, making people say "WHAT THE FUCK?" and then clamor for the release of the next game. It's another to...I mean, are we saying that this is the "end" of a "trilogy"? Are we saying that there is a way to continue this? It's just mind-boggling all together, and it's absolutely insane that this is the way that Ubisoft felt it should end. Could they pull a Brotherhood/Revelations scenario and release some sidesteps in order to lead somewhere else? If anything, with as much ire was drawn around the ending of Mass Effect 3, it feels like the ending to Assassin's Creed III is just...BONKERS! It's not a good bonkers either, but rather than "I don't know what the fuck is going on what the hell am I seeing right now I feel fucking shitty right now" kind of ending.
Either way you chop it, Assassin's Creed III has helped define what seems to be an ever-increasing level of disappointment among gamers in the world of triple-A studio releases. Hopefully, we will start seeing a turnaround on this soon...but let's be honest: that's probably not going to happen ever.