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Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Matt Gardner
BioWare, Crytek, Game of the Year 2011, Gearbox, GOTY 2011, Microsoft, Most Disappointing Games 2011, Nintendo, Silicon Knights, Sony, Splash Damage, Top Ten, Top Ten Tuesdays, Ubisoft

The hype train has had many stops this year, some good, others less so. We've seen big companies laid low through their own lack of caution, undermined by smack talk, and the best laid plans revealed to be sorely misjudged. In terms of games, we've had darlings of the press - games that have won critics over through previews and interviews, buffet spreads and bright lights - only for the end product to be rather lacking.

In the midst of our Game of the Year Season, it is only right the we look back and reflect for a moment upon some of the disappointments of the past twelve months. It should be noted that the games that make this list aren't necessarily bad (although one or two are), but rather proved to dash our hopes in some way. We weren't necessarily cross...just disappointed.

Though there's room for both at the top end.

10. We Dare

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Forget Dead Island...anyone who finds themselves disappointed by a game on the grounds of a CG trailer only has themselves to blame. The worst culprit of any sort of trailer fiasco this year probably has to go to We Dare. Did we get a raunchy party game for adults? No. Did we get girl-on-girl spanking? No. Were PEGI right to give the game a 12+ rating? Yes. The mainstream press went nuts, with the Daily Fail as usual doing absolutely no research into the actual game; but the disconnect between the trailer and the actual game was pertinent. At the end of the day, We Dare failed to launch in this country, with reports from across the Channel being that the game was about as sexy as Salacious Crumb.

9. X-Men Destiny

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

What was it that Silicon Knights did with that multi-million dollar bankroll from the Canadian government? Well it can't all have gone on X-Men Destiny? Can it? Really? Oh dear. Having an X-Men game in which you can't actually play as any of the X-Men was a warning from the start...the awful combat and mind-numbingly boring missions didn't help. We knew it was going to be bad, just not this bad, hence the low position on the list.

8. Crysis 2

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

We gave Crysis 2 an 8 on consoles, so why does it make this list? The answer lies in the PC version. The first game was a title that took the gaming world by storm, a game so advanced, a shooter so exceptionally crafted that only the very best machines would be able to do it justice. It provided a roadmap for the future, one that we've only just managed to catch up with. Crysis 2 was smaller in scope, scale and ambition, and for PC gamers it was the ultimate compromise. God only knows what Crytek might have been able to squeeze out had they optimised instead of diversifying.

7. Kinect

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Microsoft's focus on Kinect has been distressing to say the least. Games make a system, something that another company had to learn (again!) the hard way this year too. Put simply, Kinect doesn't really have that many that you'd rush out to buy. Over a year on from Kinect's release we're still not really any closer to the core experiences promised before the camera's emergence. Motion control, particularly on the Xbox 360, is still the domain of the casual gamer and light fitness buffs. Don't expect much to change, with the new dashboard update gunning more for media lovers than gamers and Kinect integration mandatory for all apps.

6. Brink

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Splash Damage were so close, so very close. Brink was a pretty good game, but that's just the point. It provided a glimpse of exactly what it could be, but kept that grail just out of reach with innumerable, enjoyment-reducing niggles; questionable level design when it comes to choke points; a progression system that's as frustrating as it is rewarding; and that SMART system - as Jon put it, 'functional at best and borderline broken at worst'. Although the bug-ridden netcode got progressively patched and updated, Brink never quite reached the heights to which it aspired and remains, to this day, something akin to Marmite because of its flaws.

5. Duke Nukem Forever

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

So not even Randy Pitchford could save this one, not that we really blame him. Mired in development hell for nearly a decade and a half, the Duke's return couldn't possibly hope to live up to expectation. Perhaps we are to blame ourselves: when Pitchford addressed press last year and regaled us with a shining (and well-rehearsed) sob story, filled with fine rhetoric and a defiant tone in his voice, saying that Gearbox had preserved most of the original code, everyone cheered. A year later and the archaic, creaking mechanics were lamented as the game was proclaimed out of touch, out of date and best left out of sight.

4. Battlefield 3

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Right, let's get one thing straight. I'm not saying Battlefield 3 was a bad game, but it was a disappointment...particularly on consoles. EA made a very big deal about squaring up to Activision and going toe-to-toe with them in the FPS ring. But instead of fighting their own fight, instead of playing to their strengths, DICE presented a package that desperately tried to emulate Modern Warfare. The multiplayer is saved on PC thanks to the epic 64-player battles, but where was the expansive singleplayer campaign. Where, indeed, was the destruction? Instead of looking at Bad Company 2 (the campaign to which easily surpasses that of BF3) and making it better, DICE sneaked a peek at someone else's paper...and chose to copy them instead.

3. Dragon Age 2

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

I'm not entirely sure that there's much more to write on this subject. Dragon Age II was always going to make the list, those of you who follow the site ( and indeed anyone who read my personal Game of the Year highlights roundup) will probably have predicted its appearance as soon as you saw the title. For those of who yet to read the rant of a disappointed and dejected fan, you'll want to click here.

An average game by anyone else's standards. A poor game by BioWare's own.

2. PSNgate

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

Imagine, if you will, the entire population of the United Kingdom lining up outside an enormous theme park, the likes of which have never been seen before. It's a wondrous place and the only catch is that you have to pay for each ride individually...oh, and you have to leave all of your bank details and your personal info at the gate, just to be sure. But it's ok, the people at the front desk look like they know what they're doing.

Except they don't. Someone leaps the security wall, takes down the CCTV cameras and waltzes into the compound to find that all of those 70 million people have had their private information stored in a safe made entirely from cardboard.

Not only did Sony display a worrying naivety regarding the safety of their extensive user base's private information, but it took weeks for them to 'fess up and longer still before an apology was issued. But the worst part, the absolute worst part of this, was that all it took for everyone to roll back over and return to normal was a handful of shrug-worthy free games and a month of Playstation Plus.

It's worth pointing out that hackers hit Nintendo a month later, and they were fine.

1. Nintendo

Top Ten Tuesdays | Gaming Disappointments In 2011

That's about the only good thing we can really say about Nintendo this year, though. Let's start with the 3DS. Why wasn't Pokemon Black/White delayed to be a launch title? Where was Mario at launch? Where was any decent first party game, for that matter. Why did we have to wait until December for a first party title to make the most of Streetpassing?! The future is still looking dicey for the 3D portable console, built as it is on a gimmick that adds nothing. Stereoscopic 3D, as it stands, is about as important to a high gaming experience as a burger van would be to a bunch of starving vegans.

Then, of course, there was the Wii U. As Jon has pointed out already, we're not entirely sure Nintendo could have done more to botch that appearance at E3. Is it a tablet? Where's the actual console? Why can't you tell me how powerful it is? Of course, when I got my hands on it, it was quite pleasant, but the booth was entirely designed around trying to explain the experience rather than actually showing off what it could do. The admittance that the demo footage had been taken from other HD consoles was a little embarrassing too.

Finally, the Wii itself. Why has it taken half a decade for a dedicated Zelda game to appear on the Wii? It's entirely possible that the Big N simply did too good a job with the Wii in the first couple of years, such a good job that for the last few the company hasn't really known what to do with itself. It now faces a difficult 2012: between somehow trying to re-enter the HD console race (the Wii is already the second console in every home....how do they top that?), attempting to hold their own against a vastly more powerful and better-supported (seemingly) handheld in the PS Vita, and having to calm investors down every time Miyamoto publicly reveals he's mortal, the next twelve months will be interesting indeed.

Add a comment19 comments
NornIron Legend  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:15

Battlefield 3!!???

Not even going to start... COD MW3 was the biggest disappointment with my mates. Who have now all turned to Battlefield.

DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:20

I agree with everything but Battlefield 3.

Come on Matt, it's awesome and Dealspwn are wrong on this one.


I am however, really glad to see Kinect in the sin-bin. What a hunk of junk... the eye toy worked better on my old PS2.

Killer2020UK  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:23

Battlefield 3!!???

Not even going to start... COD MW3 was the biggest disappointment with my mates. Who have now all turned to Battlefield.

Completely agree with above^^^^
You can't slate Crysis 2 for not being optimised for the PC due to diversifying, then slate BF3 for not being so great on the consoles, because I can tell you for a fact BF3 on a high end PC is absolutely mind blowing, the sheer scale is enough.

phil16  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:26

Why is Battlefield 3 on here? Its practically all I play now (on PC). My kinect on the other hand has a nice layer of dust on it - should be top of the list. Just wish I could have my money back for it...

DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:49

This is one of the many reasons BF3 is amazing.


JonLester  Dec. 20, 2011 at 13:54

RE Battlefield 3: While Matt will undoubtedly weigh in on the subject down the line, I believe that our beef lies with the singleplayer campaign... which was relentlessly hyped over months of deceptive trailers and press releases only to suck beyond all reason - both in comparison to BFBC2 and Modern Warfare.

Matt praises the multiplayer both here and in the review - with good reason.

MattGardner  Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:06

At no point do I say Battlefield 3 is a bad game, nor do I say its multiplayer component is in any way disappointing (unless you play on consoles after playing on PC). But with the hype train focusing on Faultline, the singleplayer was a huge letdown. I can't say I was disappointed with MW3 because, quite frankly, anyone thinking Activision would suddenly jeopardise their billion dollar franchise by changing things up is misguided at best. EA chose to focus their marketing efforts on the least impressive aspect of their game. Does that mean the multiplayer sucks? Not at all...it's far better than its peers in that respect. But that's not surprising considering the series' history. BF3 makes the list because it stepped up to the plate to deliver a comprehensive package and failed...no matter how good its MP component.

Last edited by MattGardner, Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:16
DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:07

Some of the guys at work have completed the single player campaign and loved it. Sure it's linear but they all said it was great. There is way more to the game than just that though, the co-op and the multiplayer more than make up for and shortfall so many times over.

I will be playing though the single player soon and I know it's going to be awesome as I will do it in 3D and with the Novint Falcon.

Tsung  Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:17

I agree with Battlefield 3, whilst the fans will defend the game too death, they just don't see it is just a tarted up BF2. I even think Multi player isn't all that great an experience, spawning seems random to the point I have several times spawned in front of enemies or their vehicles. It hasn't advanced nor matured.

As for COD:MW3 it didn't promise anything more than it delivered. Same game, new maps, renamed perks, tweaked levelling system. That is what I was expecting, that is what was delivered. I might be angry at it being the same old, but it certainly did not disappoint.

DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:34

Name me one multiplayer game that has got the spawning right? if you spawn on squad and they are under fire, you will probably get shot. If you spawn at a base being taken you will probably get shot. That's the idea.

BF3 had a new engine with jaw dropping new graphics along with a load of other tweaks and new ideas introduced. It has new game modes and followed up what it was good at with squad and team work. Since BF2 you have laser sights, Tactical torches, sniper lens flare to deal with pesky camers.

Not sure how you think it has not advanced in any way from BF2.

Last edited by DivideByZero, Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:35
fanpages  Dec. 20, 2011 at 14:55

@DivideByZero; Spawning in multi-player gaming: "Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception"?

@Matt; "PSNgate": "...all it took for everyone to roll back over and return to normal was a handful of shrug-worthy free games and a month of Playstation Plus."

If you did not want to share your credit card details with a third party why did you leave them with somebody else in the first place? It was never mandatory to store payment information after a transaction was completed.

Those affected by the security breach had their details stored outside of their control because of convenience/laziness... they then complained when a similar lazy attitude towards security was highlighted.

PS. It isn't just Sony & Nintendo that are affected by cracking/fraudulent use of online accounts:

[ http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/04/how-i-was-hacked-a-tale-of-hijack-xbox-live-and-fifa-trading-cards/ ]



Quietus  Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:04

I completely agree about the Nintendo thing. They got complacent when they realised everyone's granny wanted to play rubbish party games, and failed to remember their true gaming fanbase. I only hope that Microsoft don't follow suit.

Soulreape  Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:33

I don't agree with you on most of your points for this, it is all personal opinion, or the opinions of a particular section. I am a gamer (some may call me a "core" , personally I prefer gamer). I play games to enjoy them, I have enjoyed some Kinect games amongst a group of friends. BF3 and Crysis 2 (on PC) are both fantastic games also in my opinion. I dont play a game based on what could have been, I play it for what it is and if I enjoy it then fine, if not, then I dont play it.

There are far too many people nowadays trying to make this industry more than it is, at the end of the day it is entertainment and I have been entertained, so it has done it's job in one way or another. I could care less whether I couldn't play on PSN while it was down, I just did other things instead. And good on Nintendo for at least trying something new.

This is also just my opinion. But from a serious gamer for 30 years now, I believe I have a right to one.

DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:41

Torolololol... 'what everyone says is just opinion, but my opinion is right.'

I do agree that games are supposed to be fun, no matter what type of fun that is... but this whole article is about games (things) that COULD have been great and fell short.

(Also a gamer for over 30 years now)

Last edited by DivideByZero, Dec. 20, 2011 at 16:42
MattGardner  Dec. 20, 2011 at 17:01

@Soulreape: I dont play a game based on what could have been, I play it for what it is and if I enjoy it then fine, if not, then I dont play it.

Speaking personally, and indeed this whole top ten (as with all of the others) is a subjective list, there is a difference I have discovered between playing a game for work and playing a game for pleasure. I love games, I really do, I love playing them, but when you review a game you're constantly looking, judging and appraising as you go along, particularly when doing so for an online publication. Moreover, that review is conducted after 12-24 months of previews, news splurges, hype train tidbits and publisher propaganda. By the time you get to review the game you already have some idea of what to expect...or rather what the publisher is aiming for. It is against that expectation that value judgements are partially created. I'm not saying for a minute that we look to review what a game could be rather than what it is, but reviews are essentially comparisons - against precedent, against peers and against publisher-set expectation.

There are far too many people nowadays trying to make this industry more than it is

Perhaps. But then again the range of 'games' these days is arguably far greater than it was thirty, twenty or even ten years ago. We play for more than just competition now.

DivideByZero  Dec. 20, 2011 at 17:28

"but reviews are essentially comparisons - against precedent, against peers and against publisher-set expectation."

So, why was MW3 not on this list? It's peers are BR3 and Killzone 3 and the publisher set massive expectations with its XP event and the biggest gaming launch in history, all the hype of how new and great it was going to be and how well polished. Yet it released as practically a map-pack for MW2, same engine, same textures, same problems.

meh, grumble grumble.

Soulreape  Dec. 20, 2011 at 22:10

Both of you have made good points and made them well, I appreciate the responses.

I think the point I was trying to get to was that this culture of over-hype and marketing is killing the industry as no game, no matter how well it is made is ever going to live up to the unrealistic expectations set by these companies who are in it mainly for the numbers nowadays, and force the people who are passionate about gaming to cut corners because of strict deadlines.

You can tell that every one of the games above could have done with more development time (well except duke lol) , so I guess I agree with you on that point.

theslickmeister  Dec. 21, 2011 at 08:25

I find it interesting that Kinect made the list and PS Move didn't - when the latter has probably had a rockier start tbh...

DivideByZero  Dec. 21, 2011 at 11:20

I see what you are saying Soulreape and agree with the hard deadlines being bad for gaming. But the hype and publicity SHOULD be ok. It would just move to make gaming a more powerful medium and so we SHOULD see better games... (note the shoulds!)

theslickmeister - Having used both I have to say the move is amazing and kinect is pants... utter utter pants. After using Kinect I really wasn't expecting much from Move, but I found it worked so well technically that I was pretty much blown away with it. I genuinely believe that move delivers what it offers whereas Kinect, which was presented as the future of proper gaming is nothing more than a gimic for non-gamers.

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