2010 Disappointments - Threebie edition

Inspired by Epic Steve's blog about his biggest letdowns of the year, I figured I would put in my own top three disappointments of the year. I have a somewhat up to date list of games I just didn't like, but I think there's a difference between not liking something, and being disappointed in it. Y'know I wanted to like Halo:Reach, but when I didn't, I wasn't really disappointed. On the Flip-side, I wanted to like Transformers: War For Cybertron, and was pretty disappointed when I didn't. I kept much better track than usual this year of which games I played, and why I did or didn't like them. So, here's a list of three games I was disappointed in this year, along with the notes I made as I played through them.
 
Fable III:     
11/01 - Picked up over the weekend. Only a couple hours in. Doing several fetch quests. Have a sword, a gun, and one magic.
I should maybe go back and play part of Fable II for comparison, but otherwise I'm having fun so far. The menu room may get old after a while, but so far I like the ability to move around the map, and zoom in on towns to fast travel there. The interface for changing clothes, weapons, etc. is well done. It's nicer than having to go to a specific shop to try on new pants, or to dye something.
I haven't had any serious fights so far, but the combat seems smooth and easy enough; it's nice having a single attack button that works contextually with a click, press-and-hold, or press-hold and aim with a thumb stick.
Based on the other games I've played so far this year, It's opening at #4, below ME:2, SC:Conviction, and Alan Wake.
11/09 - At a week in, I'm really not liking the inability to look at a list of active quests without going into the sanctuary. It's not bad when following the story, since that quest is always defaulted. When trying to run through multiple smaller quests, it's annoying to have to keep going back to the sanctuary and pick one of those instead of the main story quest.
I can understand that they wanted to not have a standard menu just pop up, but with the design flourishes the game already has, why not have an option where your character pulls out a scroll, and writes things down, or crosses them off?
Still pretty high on my list, but I can see where some of Brad's three-star rating came from. There are parts of the game I really like, so the parts that get in the way stand out that much more.
11/16 - Finished the main storyline, and got a couple of achievements I was hoping for. Still planning to get all the Road To Rule chests open, but that may take a bit of a back seat to Assassin's Creed, which is opening at #4 based on a heck of a good time I had in the first 10-15 minutes.
Moving Fable down at least to 5. 
 
You can see the progression there, where it went over about two weeks. So far I haven't gone back and finished the game, and I guess I'm really not likely to, unless there's a sudden huge dry spell where I've finished all the other games I'd like to check out from this year (While I'm suspicious of scripted events in shooters, I'd like to try cod blops just for the story). 
FWIW, Fable III actually ended up at #5, but I'm disappointed that the things I didn't like by the end seemed so obviously easy to fix. 
 
 
Red Dead Redemption
06/15/2010 - Pretty good. I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this, even though I'm probably not even a 1/4 of the way through the story.
06/18/2010 - On hold for a bit, while I have some other games in from GameFly, and looking forward to Transformers next week.
07/14/10 - Picked back up last night. Very easy to get back in to.
08/16/10 - Picked up again about a week ago after rounding out the first DLC for Alan Wake.
Don't remember his name, but the govt. guy that is holding his family's safety over Marston's head is so hateful that, taken in combination with having finished slogging through Mexico so soon before, I'm having to push myself into playing.
Maybe this is a problem with trying to make a game too much like a movie. I know that guy gets dealt with in the end, but if RDR were a movie, I'd have a reasonable idea that things would resolve in about the next 20-25 minutes. As it is, I'm looking at probably a good hour or two. At this point, the redeeming thing about this game is everything other than the story.
11/09 - Moving down a few rungs. The first part of the game was good. The middle section was not fun, and the mission system really dragged things down. As well, the ending(s) didn't seem too fun.   
 
I think it's telling, the number of times I put the game aside for something else. Also, I suppose you could say that it was good storytelling on Rockstar's part that I had enough interest or investment in a character that I could actually hate the govt. guy who's holding the reins, as it were. My counter to that is I never understood well enough why Marston didn't shoot the guy's deputy dead, then put a bullet in the foot of the offending person as a start to working on 'where is my family'. Marston doesn't seem to have a lot of respect for the law, so why bother with all of these shenanigans? 
This was also the game that helped me realize the criteria for when I shouldn't keep playing a game. If I have to make myself keep playing, it's time to stop. There are too many other things I could be doing to spend my time playing a game that I'm not having fun with. It's interesting. I think If I had stopped before getting too far into Mexico, I probably would have rated this higher than the #10 spot it ended on. 
 
Transformers: WFC
06/28/10 - Been Playing for a few days. Single player, campaign only, so far. Disappointed. lots of nice little graphical touches. The movement of the parts for each character has individuality. I got distracted during one fight just watching Megatron's back and side plates move.
Similar to Dark Void though, having AI buddies that don't seem to hit anything more than 1 time out of 5, nor react to getting hit just seems stupid. I don't want to be able to stand back and let the AI win the game for me, but if I'm playing as Bumblebee, I should NOT be racking up that many more kills than Optimus, even if he isn't a prime yet. There are also a few times where I've felt like I was getting targeted simply because I wasn't an AI. Maybe there's a logic there; the enemy AI attacked me because technically the friendly AI wasn't actually doing any damage.
The targeting also seems intentionally broken. With the exception of a rocket launcher weapon that locks on to vehicles, everything is just a reticule on screen that has to be aimed manually. If I'm playing a robot, I would expect at least some sort of lock-on feature. I could even see having the lock be more or less effective depending on class, but not having one at all makes me wonder what the design philosophy was that made High Moon decide to take it out.
06/29/2010 - Just noticed that having played through about 3/4 of the single-player, and none of the multi, I have a B grade for this game on the GiantBomb scale. 
 
This ended up all the way down at #18 for the year, based mostly on disappointment. Friendly AI that did little to no damage to the enemy, and enemy AI that . . . .this is the weird part, is I can actually understand why the enemy AI attacked me more often than my AI buddies; THEY WEREN'T BEING HELPFUL. 
Also, why not have more of an auto-targeting system? They're all robots, how unreasonable would it have been to have a bit more snap-to on the guns?

10 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by sarahsdad

Inspired by Epic Steve's blog about his biggest letdowns of the year, I figured I would put in my own top three disappointments of the year. I have a somewhat up to date list of games I just didn't like, but I think there's a difference between not liking something, and being disappointed in it. Y'know I wanted to like Halo:Reach, but when I didn't, I wasn't really disappointed. On the Flip-side, I wanted to like Transformers: War For Cybertron, and was pretty disappointed when I didn't. I kept much better track than usual this year of which games I played, and why I did or didn't like them. So, here's a list of three games I was disappointed in this year, along with the notes I made as I played through them.
 
Fable III:     
11/01 - Picked up over the weekend. Only a couple hours in. Doing several fetch quests. Have a sword, a gun, and one magic.
I should maybe go back and play part of Fable II for comparison, but otherwise I'm having fun so far. The menu room may get old after a while, but so far I like the ability to move around the map, and zoom in on towns to fast travel there. The interface for changing clothes, weapons, etc. is well done. It's nicer than having to go to a specific shop to try on new pants, or to dye something.
I haven't had any serious fights so far, but the combat seems smooth and easy enough; it's nice having a single attack button that works contextually with a click, press-and-hold, or press-hold and aim with a thumb stick.
Based on the other games I've played so far this year, It's opening at #4, below ME:2, SC:Conviction, and Alan Wake.
11/09 - At a week in, I'm really not liking the inability to look at a list of active quests without going into the sanctuary. It's not bad when following the story, since that quest is always defaulted. When trying to run through multiple smaller quests, it's annoying to have to keep going back to the sanctuary and pick one of those instead of the main story quest.
I can understand that they wanted to not have a standard menu just pop up, but with the design flourishes the game already has, why not have an option where your character pulls out a scroll, and writes things down, or crosses them off?
Still pretty high on my list, but I can see where some of Brad's three-star rating came from. There are parts of the game I really like, so the parts that get in the way stand out that much more.
11/16 - Finished the main storyline, and got a couple of achievements I was hoping for. Still planning to get all the Road To Rule chests open, but that may take a bit of a back seat to Assassin's Creed, which is opening at #4 based on a heck of a good time I had in the first 10-15 minutes.
Moving Fable down at least to 5. 
 
You can see the progression there, where it went over about two weeks. So far I haven't gone back and finished the game, and I guess I'm really not likely to, unless there's a sudden huge dry spell where I've finished all the other games I'd like to check out from this year (While I'm suspicious of scripted events in shooters, I'd like to try cod blops just for the story). 
FWIW, Fable III actually ended up at #5, but I'm disappointed that the things I didn't like by the end seemed so obviously easy to fix. 
 
 
Red Dead Redemption
06/15/2010 - Pretty good. I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying this, even though I'm probably not even a 1/4 of the way through the story.
06/18/2010 - On hold for a bit, while I have some other games in from GameFly, and looking forward to Transformers next week.
07/14/10 - Picked back up last night. Very easy to get back in to.
08/16/10 - Picked up again about a week ago after rounding out the first DLC for Alan Wake.
Don't remember his name, but the govt. guy that is holding his family's safety over Marston's head is so hateful that, taken in combination with having finished slogging through Mexico so soon before, I'm having to push myself into playing.
Maybe this is a problem with trying to make a game too much like a movie. I know that guy gets dealt with in the end, but if RDR were a movie, I'd have a reasonable idea that things would resolve in about the next 20-25 minutes. As it is, I'm looking at probably a good hour or two. At this point, the redeeming thing about this game is everything other than the story.
11/09 - Moving down a few rungs. The first part of the game was good. The middle section was not fun, and the mission system really dragged things down. As well, the ending(s) didn't seem too fun.   
 
I think it's telling, the number of times I put the game aside for something else. Also, I suppose you could say that it was good storytelling on Rockstar's part that I had enough interest or investment in a character that I could actually hate the govt. guy who's holding the reins, as it were. My counter to that is I never understood well enough why Marston didn't shoot the guy's deputy dead, then put a bullet in the foot of the offending person as a start to working on 'where is my family'. Marston doesn't seem to have a lot of respect for the law, so why bother with all of these shenanigans? 
This was also the game that helped me realize the criteria for when I shouldn't keep playing a game. If I have to make myself keep playing, it's time to stop. There are too many other things I could be doing to spend my time playing a game that I'm not having fun with. It's interesting. I think If I had stopped before getting too far into Mexico, I probably would have rated this higher than the #10 spot it ended on. 
 
Transformers: WFC
06/28/10 - Been Playing for a few days. Single player, campaign only, so far. Disappointed. lots of nice little graphical touches. The movement of the parts for each character has individuality. I got distracted during one fight just watching Megatron's back and side plates move.
Similar to Dark Void though, having AI buddies that don't seem to hit anything more than 1 time out of 5, nor react to getting hit just seems stupid. I don't want to be able to stand back and let the AI win the game for me, but if I'm playing as Bumblebee, I should NOT be racking up that many more kills than Optimus, even if he isn't a prime yet. There are also a few times where I've felt like I was getting targeted simply because I wasn't an AI. Maybe there's a logic there; the enemy AI attacked me because technically the friendly AI wasn't actually doing any damage.
The targeting also seems intentionally broken. With the exception of a rocket launcher weapon that locks on to vehicles, everything is just a reticule on screen that has to be aimed manually. If I'm playing a robot, I would expect at least some sort of lock-on feature. I could even see having the lock be more or less effective depending on class, but not having one at all makes me wonder what the design philosophy was that made High Moon decide to take it out.
06/29/2010 - Just noticed that having played through about 3/4 of the single-player, and none of the multi, I have a B grade for this game on the GiantBomb scale. 
 
This ended up all the way down at #18 for the year, based mostly on disappointment. Friendly AI that did little to no damage to the enemy, and enemy AI that . . . .this is the weird part, is I can actually understand why the enemy AI attacked me more often than my AI buddies; THEY WEREN'T BEING HELPFUL. 
Also, why not have more of an auto-targeting system? They're all robots, how unreasonable would it have been to have a bit more snap-to on the guns?

Posted by EpicSteve

Transformers was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. I wasn't a big fan of Red Dead. Maybe that makes me a bad person? I just got to a point and didn't care anymore despite everything being super high quality. Maybe it's the western setting.

Posted by mrfizzy

i really loved Red Dead, i thought that the way it did the whole movie vibe was really good. Totally agree with you on Fable 3 tho. 

Posted by sarahsdad
@EpicSteve: I have to think that Transformers suffered because I played it right after Dark Void, and when I saw the way the enemies and friendlies were basically window dressing unless I was interacting with them, it re-kindled the frustration I had with Dark Void over the same issue. 
Also, I played about twice as many games this year as last year, and several of them were just so right that others got moved down. If I hadn't taken a chance on Singularity, Bioshock 2 and Alpha Protocol (broken in several places, but I still loved it) it would have probably been a much different lineup.
Posted by sarahsdad
@mrfizzy: Yeah, I remember reading Brad's review, and thinking "Brad is full of sh!t", and continuing to think that for probably the first week I was playing. Then I hit some tipping point with the menu system, and it all sort of went from there.
Posted by KingPossum

Alpha Protocol was a big disappointment for me.

Edited by Willy105

I felt The Force Unleashed 2, Epic Mickey, and FF14 were disappointments for me.
 
One was a rip off, the other was unfinished, and other one was even more unfinished.

Posted by demontium
@Willy105 said:
" I felt The Force Unleashed 2, Epic Mickey, and FF14 were disappointments for me.  One was a rip off, the other was unfinished, and other one was even more unfinished. "
Yes yes and yes.
Posted by sarahsdad
@Willy105 said:
" I felt The Force Unleashed 2, Epic Mickey, and FF14 were disappointments for me.  One was a rip off, the other was unfinished, and other one was even more unfinished. "
Ah. Two games I specifically did not play, and one that I couldn't. The demo of Force Unleashed 2 didn't seem too special, and from everything I read and heard about FF, I didn't want to put in the double-digit number of hours to get to the good parts. 
Really too bad about Epic Mickey; I don't have a Wii, but it sounded like such a cool idea I wanted it to succeed just so there would be a cool Disney Mickey game on the Wii. 
And I like Warren Spector, so it's a bummer to see him do a game that doesn't really hit.
Posted by sarahsdad
@KingPossum said:
" Alpha Protocol was a big disappointment for me. "
I totally understand. If there hadn't been so much lead time to get used to what it was or wasn't going to be, and if I hadn't watched the quicklook before going in, it could have easily been on my Disappointed list. 
 
I suppose I could use that and Epic Mickey to start a list of games/studios/devs I feel bad for because their games didn't live up to their potential.
Posted by fox01313

Just finished Transformers WfC (campaign) & agreed about the AI not being too helpful with the team you have. Not a bad game but just going off the single player part it was average at best but at least better than the movie based (Michael Bay transformer films) games.