It is almost summertime again and whilst E3 may not be going ahead this year, there is still a great deal of anticipation and hype surrounding certain upcoming titles and release dates are coming fast and furious. With that said, one must be careful not to get carried away. Too many times, gaming fans have been burnt by disappointing games being released following years of hype and excitement.
This does not mean that the consumer shouldn’t get excited about a game with an awesome-looking trailer from a studio with a stellar pedigree. It is all too easy to be blinded by that excitement, some publishers rely on it!
As much as we all want to support our favourite developers and enjoy their output, sometimes they make that a hard thing to do. Following our discussion on Episode 114 of the KeenGamer Podcast, what follows is a list of the top 15 most disappointing games released in recent memory.
Any Telltale game Released After The Wolf Among Us
After spending years in relative obscurity, Telltale Games launched their take on The Walking Dead universe in 2012 to universal praise and success. They followed it up with another fantastic comic book adaptation in the form of The Wolf Among Us.
They then began to churn out choose-your-own-adventure style adaptions of near-enough every popular franchise from Game of Thrones to Guardians Of The Galaxy. Whilst the partnership deals got bigger, the games became more and more lacklustre and technically unstable until the studio simply could not keep up with what was being demanded of them.
Frankly, there could be an entirely separate list written for the most disappointing Telltale games. With that said, the sheer disappointment caused by these games should not go unmentioned, given that some of them are amongst the most disappointing games ever released.
The Last Of Us 2
The Last Of Us 2 is a complete betrayal of the beloved character arcs set up in the first game. It is therefore unfortunate that the incredible, viscerally satisfying gameplay is not quite enough to keep the game from earning a spot on this list.
Although it is still hard to accept how Joel and Ellie were treated in this game narratively, taking down a group of Wolves in an abandoned shopping centre was an undeniably exhilarating experience. This goes a long way to allowing the sub-par sequel to earn back a minuscule amount of credibility.
Other intensely engaging gameplay sequences made TLOU2’s gameplay memorable, however they did not quite manage to entirely make up for the game’s lacklustre story. This is why The Last Of Us 2 is considered to be one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Star Wars: Jedi – Fallen Order
After the overwhelming disappointment caused due to the cancellation of Star Wars: 1313, Fallen Order felt like somewhat of a constellation prize for Star Wars fans. Whilst this project sadly didn’t have the creative driving force of Amy Hennig behind it, the trailers made this out to look somewhat similar to what 1313 had teased.
The game looked as though it would include platforming elements and third-person set-pieces similar to those shown in the trailers for 1313. Sadly though, whilst these elements were indeed present in the game, they were not the element which the gameplay revolved around.
Instead, they became tertiary elements to the main gameplay style. This style of game was exceedingly overdone, even at the time. When Fallen Order did release, it had become yet another Dark Souls clone, only this one was set in the Star Wars universe.
No one was asking for a Soulsborne Star Wars game and folks like myself who had been looking forward to an Uncharted-like experience were greatly let down. Add in the fact that Kal Kestis was a whiny, un-relatable protagonist and the game’s multiple technical issues and it all adds up to a hugely disappointing experience.
Whilst I believe that I am in the minority when it comes to this opinion, this is my list and in my eyes, Fallen Order is one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Square Enix receiving the license to create an original Avengers game seemed like a stroke of genius. Fans of Marvel games were still riding high from the triumph that was Insomniac’s Spider-Man game released just a couple of years prior. The idea of a story-based Avengers game, – released off the back of the MCU’s big-screen success, – was an exciting one.
Unfortunately, this is not what Square Enix delivered. Right from the very first trailer released for the game, things seemed off. The character designs all looked like discounted, watered-down versions of their big-screen counterparts. The gameplay, nor the graphics seemed to match the standard set by Spider-Man.
Still, most wanted this game to be great and secretly hoped that the game’s story would be so great that it would make up for its second-rate presentation and mediocre gameplay systems. Although all that was managed was a forgettable plot, followed by a grind-fest of a gameplay loop.
This micro transaction-laden, games-as-a-service title that Square Enix released was not what was promised when they first announced the game. Marvel fans felt betrayed and all they were left with was a husk of wasted potential. Avengers is undeniably one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Batman: Arkham Knight
For Rocksteady not to stick the landing after developing two of the greatest superhero games ever released, was nothing less than baffling. Especially when one considers that this game delivered everything that fans wanted. At least on paper that is.
Arkham Knight brought with it a fully-fledged, open-world Gotham City to explore. It finally gave fans the chance to control the iconic Batmobile. This game should have been a masterpiece. Instead, it is regarded by the majority of the Arkham trilogy’s fans to be the worst of the three. There may even be an argument for it to be worse than Arkham Origins.
The writers at Rocksteady had done such an expert job up until this point of writing an engaging original Batman story, whilst still managing to pay homage to the beloved comic book source material. Yet the plot of this game felt so predictable and crammed full of cliché after cliché.
The reason that I consider Arkham Knight to be a bigger disappointment than Avengers, is simply due to the fact that I am a huge Batman fan. Unfortunately the third game in the Arkham trilogy is one of the most disappointing games released in recent memory.
Fallout 4 is not a bad game. And that statement will likely come up a few times throughout this list as these aren’t necessarily the worst games ever released. Instead, they are the most disappointing games ever released.
Fallout 4 was faced with the insurmountable task of living up to the legacy of both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. The concept of getting an updated version of those classic post-apocalyptic RPGs, being developed by a Bethesda which was still a critical darling at the time, was a thrilling one.
Ultimately, Fallout 4 was a disappointment. This disappointment was not necessarily owed to the quality of the game itself, but because the game could never dream of living up to the vast amount of the hype behind it prior to release. When Fallout 4 was released, it was precisely what fans of the series expected, and nothing more. This was arguably the game’s greatest sin.
That isn’t to say that there weren’t other aspects of the game which were disappointing. The first one that springs to mind is the game’s sub-par graphics. Even for the time, the world of Fallout 4 was tough to look at. Whilst the world of Fallout has always had an intentional, undeniable ugliness to it, the visual shortfalls of the series’ fourth entry went beyond that.
Much of this was owed to Bethesda’s undying persistence to continually use the horribly dated Creation Engine in the development of Fallout 4. This piece of software was out-of-date in 2015. The decision to persist with it was a baffling one when MGS V had dropped the same year using the stunning Fox engine, The Witcher 3 had released the previous summer on the pretty REDengine and Arkham Knight had blown many away with its use of Unreal Engine 3.
The graphics in Fallout 4 paled In comparison to the visuals of these other open-world titles released in the same year. This led to stretched textures, obsolete character models, rigid animation loops, clipping, short draw distances, and a plethora of technical glitches plaguing the game. The shooting was notoriously clunky, even for the time.
There was also a noticeable lack of female companion options in the game. One particular companion was the source of great frustration for many; Dogmeat. The AI across the whole game was questionable, but Dogmeat was on a whole other level of broken. He would constantly block the player in a room by standing in a corridor or doorway. He would refuse to fetch items at times, even when they were literally within reaching distance. That dog went from being extremely cute to exceedingly infuriating in just a couple of short hours.
The other major lacking aspect of the game was the voice acting. It vastly varied in quality across the cast of characters. This was extremely distracting when standing in a room with both a well-voiced companion and a poorly-acted NPC who sounded as though they were locked inside a cupboard.
Although the voice-acting for the male and female protagonist characters was up to a superb standard, the player wasn’t able to choose any voice other than a Caucasian-sounding one. This led to awkward situations where players would choose to play as a person of colour, only for their character to still sound inexplicably white.
As mentioned up top, Fallout 4 is by no means a poor game, nor was it a poor game when it was released in 2015. With that said though, there was clearly a degree of polish absent throughout all aspects of the game. This led to players feeling let down by Fallout 4, with many considering it to be one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Resident Evil 3 Remake
As was the case with the previous entry, the Resident Evil 3 Remake was not a bad game. It was, however, a disappointing one. Again, much of the reason why it felt so disappointing was due to the fact that it directly followed a masterpiece.
The Resident Evil 2 Remake set a new bar for what a remake of a classic game could be. It updated a piece of nostalgia in such a way that it felt modern, but never deviated from the spirit of the original. This was an absolute masterstroke by Capcom and it was simply an achievement that could not be replicated by the follow-up remake.
Alarm bells rang for many when Capcom announced this remake so soon after the previous one, but most fans still trusted them to deliver. At the time they were still riding high off of the double-barreled success of Resident Evil 7 and the RE2 remake. It was due to this that disappointment was felt by so many upon playing the RE3 remake.
Nemesis and Mr. X have always been extremely similar characters. Both are huge, undead, mutants hell-bent on squishing the games’ respective protagonists to a bloody pulp. Although Nemesis has always been the more notorious and well-known of the two creatures, the fights in the RE3 remake pale in comparison to the battles with Mr. X in the RE2 remake.
In the Resident Evil 3 remake, Nemesis never felt like the terrifying, ever-present, unpredictable threat that Mr. X did in the RE2 remake. Instead, the scripted Nemesis battles felt generic and by-the-numbers, as opposed to the more dynamic and engaging Mr. X fights in the previous entry.
Another issue was how bare-bones this remake felt in comparison to the Resident Evil 2 remake. Significant portions of the original Resident Evil 3 game were left out of the remake for some inexplicable reason. This led to a much shorter runtime than many were expecting and left the game feeling rather hollow in comparison to the previous game. This is why the Resident Evil 3 Remake is considered to be one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Duke Nukem Forever
Take a dated, problematic character who was popular in the 1990s and attempt to revive him in the HD era and what do you get? An offensively bad FPS sprinkled with failed attempts at toilet humour, poor enemy AI, lazy set-pieces and so many questionable artistic choices.
Even as a child in the late 90s and early 2000s, I understood the goofy irony of Duke Nukem 3D and Land Of The Babes. Why is it then, that 20 years later the developers of Duke Nukem Forever were not able to capture that same nuance of a lovable, – if vastly out-of-touch, – hero?
Duke Nukem was always a slightly offensive character, but his underlying charm always helped his pig-headedness to feel more palatable. The same character in Duke Nukem Forever is stripped entirely of this charismatic appeal, leaving only the negative parts of what made up his personality all those years ago.
Initially, many put that down to video games and pop culture generally maturing in the years since the glory days of Duke Nukem. However, after going back to hook up an old PS1 and firing up Land Of The Babes, I can confirm that there was a definite affability there, which is noticeably missing from the character in Duke Nukem Forever.
Those that were not Duke Nukem fans in the heyday of the character may not even consider this game to have been a huge disappointment. After all, why does it matter that Duke Nukem Forever was one of the poorest first-person shooters ever released? Who cares that this old has-been’s revival was dead on arrival?
One of the main reasons this game was disappointing was because the project had been in development since 1998 in some form. This entry in the series went through so many different iterations and developers, that anyone who followed its development expected something better than this at the end of it all.
Add that to the fact that the first trailer for the game actually looked fantastic. It managed to create a false hope that Gearbox had managed to capture the spirit of the old games in the series. However, what we ended up getting was sadly nothing like what the trailer had promised and was in fact one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Aliens: Colonial Marines
Speaking of games made by Gearbox which spent years in development hell after releasing an initially awesome-looking gameplay tease, only to eventually release to immense criticism…
Aliens: Colonial Marines is a horrid mess of a game that let down Alien fans all over the world when it was released back in 2013. It was so glaringly awful that Corporal Dwayne Hicks himself, – A.K.A. Michael Biehn, – told GameInformer how the game was doomed to fail long before it was released:
It seemed kind of passionless. I think in movies, television, and the gaming world, you get some people that are really, really passionate and some people that are just going through the paces. They think that because they have a brand name they’re going to get a hit game or hit movie out of it. That certainly was the situation on [Aliens: Colonial Marines].
Like Duke Nukem Forever, this project has also been teased for years, with a version of it being in development since 2007. Unlike Duke Nukem Forever, the Alien franchise still has a significant fan base, who had been looking forward to Aliens: Colonial Marines for years and made their disappointment known upon its release.
Things were not helped by the fact that there was a highly-anticipated Alien game with the exact same title, cancelled by EA back in 2002. Although the two games are officially unrelated, both featured a very similar plot and took place in the same setting within the same time period.
The one-two punch of failures that were Aliens: Colonial Marines and Duke Nukem Forever, felt like the beginning of the end for Gearbox. Suddenly a studio that had enjoyed unbridled success for years due to their Borderlands series, was falling from grace. There aren’t many studios in the world able to survive the immense level of failure of those two back-to-back misfires.
Boring gameplay, a plethora of technical problems, low-quality textures, poor lighting, awkward-looking character models, stiff animations, and screen tearing all made up a sorry excuse for a video game adaption of such a beloved franchise. The infamous coding mistake which led to many of the game’s AI issues is just the cherry on top of the most tasteless cake you can imagine. Aliens: Colonial Marines is undoubtably one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst is proof that sometimes, you should not give people what they want.
The first Mirror’s Edge game was a unique, fresh experience when it came out back in 2008, and fans of the first game wanted more. For years, it did not look like EA was going to deliver as that first beloved Mirror’s Edge game was always more of a sleeper hit than an out-and-out blockbuster.
Mirror’s Edge Catalyst missed the minimalist charm of the original. Instead, it was more focused on trying to expand on the character of Faith by setting up a prequel story following her early days as a runner. Unfortunately, it turns out that Faith was a far more interesting character when we knew virtually nothing about her. The stripping of that mystique only worked against the second game’s story.
The change from the more linear, mission-based levels to an open-world structure was not a welcome one. All that it led to was the game’s objectives feeling less urgent and an overall lack of focus throughout the game. It also led to all of the missions feeling very similar, meaning that the game lacked the variation of the first Mirror’s Edge.
The decision to remove the use of guns from the game’s combat didn’t help matters either. Rather than delivering a more focused combat system, fights in the game instead ended up feeling stale and repetitive.
I went from being so extremely excited to return to The City Of Glass, to playing the game’s last few missions with earphones in, listening to a podcast. I had entirely lost interest by the time the game reached its climax.
That is if you can even call it a climax. The Mirror’s Edge sequel had one of the worst endings in any game from the last ten years. Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was a title that so many wanted and the way that it undelivered ultimately led to it being one of the most disappointing games ever released. It is a shame that this one didn’t work out.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
The fact that Bioware released Mass Effect Andromeda in such an abysmal state is nothing less than unacceptable. In 2017, Bioware was not a mid-tier developer, they were one of the biggest game developers on the planet and they still are. Mass Effect Andromeda had a budget of 40 million dollars and a five-year development cycle and this was what they put out to follow one of the greatest gaming trilogies of all time?
Although Andromeda did sell millions of copies, EA has never actually specified how many copies of the game sold. The publisher has claimed that the game was a success, but the lack of any direct follow-up or even any story DLC would suggest otherwise. CFO at Electronic Arts; Blake Jorgensen, provided the closest thing to a definitive sales number a few years ago in an EA earnings report:
Year-on-year growth was driven by the Mass Effect Andromeda sales, captured in the quarter and by FIFA. Digital net sales were $681 million, a new record for the first quarter, and up $113 million on the year-ago period. The increase reflects strength in live services, together with our mobile business. In addition, Mass Effect Andromeda was a significant contributor. Full game PC and console downloads generated net sales of $111 million, 32% higher than last year. This was driven by Mass Effect Andromeda sales captured in the quarter.
Franchise recognition and the ever-rolling hype train were apparently enough to save the Mass Effect franchise from complete annihilation, but that does not negate Andromeda’s multiple issues. Everything from animation problems, gameplay glitches, storyline issues, performance drops, and multiplayer snags were present in the game at launch, to the point where it was completely unplayable for some players.
Frankly, I am not too fussed with regards to the future of Mass Effect as a franchise, as I have never really been a fan of the series. However, the sorry state that this thing was released in must have left fans of the franchise extremely unhappy. Releasing a AAA game in this condition was unforgivable to many.
Whilst the future of the Mass Effect franchise is still unclear at the time of writing, it is hard to deny that Mass Effect: Andromeda earns its place on this list as one of the most disappointing games ever released.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
As a long-time Metal Gear Solid fan, I took this one personally.
We were first introduced to this title away back in 2012, at the Video Game Awards show for that year. A trailer was shown for a new IP by a fresh young studio called The Phantom Pain. From that first trailer, it looked like some sort of Silent Hill/Outlastesque fantasy/thriller game.
We caught a glimpse of the game’s protagonist, who was a man with a striking resemblance to Kurt Russell on a hunger strike. He was being led around a hospital by another man wearing bandages over his face as the building collapsed around him. The trailer showed a high-tech team of military troops infiltrating the hospital and all sorts of other weird supernatural goings-on, including a familiar-looking demon.
The other main giveaway as to what this game was, was that it looked notably similar to the already announced Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Fans speculated, experts analysed and ultimately the internet decided that this game had to be a new entry in the MGS saga.
The world had never seen anything like this done in video game marketing before. Any MGS fan was acutely aware of the fact that Hideo Kojima is a crazy genius, but even for him, this seemed extravagant.
So that was it, we were getting what seemed like two new Metal Gear games, and fans everywhere were hyped. As time went by, it emerged that this game would be set in the 80s, it was going to show the downfall of the hero once known as Big Boss and it was going to bridge the gap between MGS Peace Walker and the original Metal Gear.
This sounded phenomenal at the time. Yet now, almost an entire decade since the game was first teased, I feel like I am still waiting on that game that we were promised and what we got left me feeling a certain amount of Phantom Pain.
As an open-world stealth game, MGS V was incredible. The gameplay in that game is still some of the best I’ve ever seen in the genre. The controls still feel tight, the underlying systems and features, (such as reflex mode and the buddy system,) are solid and the AI is responsive and fair.
The world is breathtaking as well, especially for a game released in 2015. The graphics that the Fox engine produced are still stunning to look at. The world feels alive, with both enemies and wildlife. Whether it is the textures, the particle systems, or the gun models, every visual in this game was created with an insane amount of attention to detail and all of that combined really paid off.
I have sunk a lot of hours into MGS V over the years and have experienced little to no glitches throughout my time with the game. The presentation overall is great, even in 2022.
However, if you went into The Phantom Pain looking for something more than just great gameplay and pleasing visual presentation, you likely came away from it feeling empty inside. As previously stated, the gameplay element of MGS V is phenomenal. However, my main issue with this game lies with the fact that I have never played MGS for the gameplay.
It was never the gameplay elements that made me fall in love with the saga growing up. If anything, you would always suffer through the stiff gameplay in order to experience the deep and complex story that came along with it. That was why the sub-par gameplay in previous Metal Gear games was never an issue for me because it would always be so worth it in the end. This game throws that entire mentality out of the window.
In a lot of ways, it is almost as if Kojima and his team created this incredible, top-tier open-world stealth game and then thought, “Oh yeah, that’s right this is supposed to be a Metal Gear game… oops. I guess we had better toss some random characters from the other games in.”
“Who can we use? Well, Snake is a given and we can shoehorn Ocelot and Miller in as well because Snake needs commanders for Motherbase. Right, who else? It would probably be silly to have Solid Snake and Liquid in there, but we can just stick Liquid in anyway. Although, instead of writing him into the story in an effective way, let’s just have him randomly show up a couple of times and then never really resolve his plotline.”
“Okay we can chuck in Volgin, but never really explain how he is back from the dead and let’s chuck in a young Psycho Mantis, but never actually call him Psycho Mantis. Okay that should do it, right? Oh wait, we forgot about Major Zero! Ah well, let’s just stick him into a couple of the tapes that you unlock when you beat the game.”
Not only does the game’s story seem thrown together as an afterthought, but the way that it is structured is also awful. After playing through a few main missions in a row the story does begin to hook you. Though, you then realise that you have 4 or 5 side missions that have built up and need to be completed. So, you go and complete those missions. Then, by the time that you come back to the main story, you forget what was going on plot-wise in the previous mission.
The writing in this game is possibly the laziest it’s ever been. One major example of this is the controversial sniper known as Quiet. The Metal Gear series has unfortunately always been notorious for its over-sexualisation of female characters.
With that said, when a main character has been sexualised in the series in the past, it was often done for a narrative reason. An example of this was EVA in MGS 3. The character walked around for the majority of that game with the front of her jacket unzipped showing off her bikini-clad chest. However, the whole point of her mission in that game was to seduce Snake.
Whether you agree with that justification for a male creator objectifying a female character is irrelevant. There was at least, a story-based reason for that character to show off so much flesh. The plot justification for Quiet’s over-exposure in MGS V feels much lazier and comes across as a cheap, tacked-on excuse to objectify the character.
It is difficult to discuss why MGS V was such a disappointment without mentioning the twist at the end of the game. On its own, the twist isn’t so bad. Kojima loves a twist and although he has pulled off better ones than the one in MGS V, I don’t hate the actual reveal itself.
Instead, my problem lies with the way that the twist was presented in the game. There is absolutely no build-up to this huge, game-changing reveal and then it is just kind of randomly put out there. The mission randomly appears after the player beats a certain amount of other missions in the mission list, just the same as any other mission in the game.
After the credits roll, the game displays a half-baked list of events that took place between The Phantom Pain and the original Metal Gear. After this scrawl of text, the game puts you back into the open world of MGS V as if nothing has happened.
Wait, what? There is so much still left unresolved.
The twist also means that all the cool stuff that fans expected to see in MGS V is apparently happening somewhere else wherever the real Snake is, whilst we get stuck with Diet Snake.
Whilst MGS V is a fantastic third-person shooter, with cool stealth elements and some unique gameplay systems, it is still one of the most disappointing games ever released. This is mostly owed to the fact that the story MGS fans were promised was never told. It also inexplicably doesn’t feel like a Metal Gear game after the hospital intro sequence.
It is actually quite impressive just how much of a mess Cyberpunk: 2077’s release was when it dropped back in December 2020. Just prior to the game releasing, the Cyberpunk hype train came to a screeching stop when its review embargo finally lifted, – just a concerning 3 days before the game was made available for purchase.
This was when the realisation first hit players that what was expected of Cyberpunk: 2077 was not the game that we were getting. The game wasn’t going to be the ultra-polished, flawlessly smooth experience that was promised in the game’s marketing and trailers. Instead, it was a largely unfinished, janky experience that was even totally unplayable on certain platforms, with some branding it as one of the most disappointing games ever released.
The next debacle reared its head when Sony announced that they would pull the game from sale on the PS Store following the unprecedented volume of complaints that they received concerning the game’s poor quality. On the day following the game’s release, – December 11th, – refunds of the title on Steam reportedly reached 250,000.
In January of 2020, Jason Schreier published an article via Bloomberg. This article reported that the development team behind the game knew fine well that Cyberpunk was never going to be ready for release in late 2020. In actuality, the team, “expected the game to be ready in 2022,” meaning that they thought they had another two years of development time.
The game became known for its multitude of graphical mishaps, excessive lag, issues with the minimap loading, and repeated crashes. A AAA game of this caliber simply should not have launched with any of those problems plaguing the experience. The technical issues may have been somewhat blown out of proportion at the time. Although, the exaggeration of the game’s difficulties is not an excuse for being present upon release.
One thing worth noting is that in all likelihood, the majority of players would probably have suffered through the game’s technical shortcomings if indeed Cyberpunk was some unforgettable game-changing experience that was worth persevering with.
The problem is though, Cyberpunk isn’t an unforgettable game-changing experience. It is a disappointingly subpar experience that feels more akin to a mid-tier, open-world sci-fi game from 2004 rather than the AAA blockbuster masterpiece that was promised.
The plot in Cyberpunk is average at best. Just because Cyberpunk takes a few aesthetic cues from Blade Runner, it by no means tells a story worthy of comparison to the works of Philip K. Dick. Frankly, the brevity of the story in Cyberpunk is its greatest mercy.
The game’s script contains some of the most cringe-inducing dialogue that has possibly ever passed the lips of a video game voice actor. The mass of try-hard, edgelord quips peppered throughout the game’s dialogue really begins to wear you down after a certain point. This script would lead to anyone rolling their eyes at least once per minute with how poorly written it is.
Unfortunately, this awful writing carries over to Keanu’s character of Johnny Silverhand and aids the game in achieving the impossible. Cyberpunk: 2077 somehow succeeds in turning one of the world’s most beloved actors into an insufferable douchebag.
Johnny Silverhand is astonishingly one of the worst elements of the game. The majority of the dialogue that they have Keanu spout during the game is bottom-of-the-barrel trash which reads as if written by a basement-dwelling teenager who spends too much of their day on 4chan.
It isn’t just the script, Cyberpunk generally believes itself to be far cooler and edgier than it actually is. For a game that includes first-person sex sequences and gives the player complete autonomy to use a katana to decapitate anyone that they please, it still somehow manages to feel pretty tame overall.
The main reason for the absence of any effective grit is due to the fact that the game never manages to make the tone they are pursuing effectively land. Instead, it comes off feeling generally immature and juvenile.
An example of this is the fact that the game’s script contains a lot of swearing, although it never manages to feel natural in the way that it is implemented. All of the explicit elements in the game feel forced and out of place. The adult elements in Cyberpunk feel closer to a 15-year-old’s version of an R-rated plot than they do to the more mature tone that was expected.
Aside from the technical issues, poor story, awful script and an insufferable cast of characters, the structure of the game is also messy. The brief duration of the game’s story wasn’t an issue for me, however the same cannot be said for the way that the story is structured.
The final mission in the game slaps you in the face without warning. There is no significant build-up to the story’s climax, nor is there even any real indication that the game’s conclusion is approaching. Upon accessing the waypoint for what I believed to be nothing more than the next ordinary mission, I was shocked to be greeted with an immersion-breaking ‘point of no return,’ onscreen message.
The complete lack of any attempt to set up any sort of resolution to any of the game’s major plot threads still baffles me. The final main mission in Cyberpunk is upon you before you feel that you have effectively experienced what the game has to offer. Even after playing through all of the game’s different endings, players still came away feeling unfulfilled. All of this makes Cyberpunk one of the most disappointing games ever released.
No Man’s Sky
In 2022, No Man’s Sky is an incredible experience. The game delivers on nearly all of the promises made by the development team prior to its release. However, when the game originally launched back in August of 2016, it was a vastly different story.
No Man’s Sky’s biggest crime was the hype that it created for itself. This is the primary reason that so many consider No Man’s Sky to be amongst the most disappointing games ever released. Had this thing launched without the heavily publicised interviews of Sean Murray over-promising the game’s features, it probably wouldn’t have been received too poorly. It would have just been another decent enough, procedurally generated exploration game set in space.
Just for a second, imagine if you will what could have been if those lofty expectations weren’t set for the game by its own studio before it was released.
Had No Man’s Sky launched without any fanfare and then slowly grown over the years into the astonishing experience that it is today, articles would be written about how it is one of the greatest success stories in the history of gaming.
Instead, the opposite occurred because Sean Murray and other people at Hello Games got carried away and promised the world, even though they could not deliver it in 2016. The amount of previously promised features that were missing upon the game’s release was staggering.
Variation of planetary physics, differentiation in ship classes, varying faction reputation, availability of homogenous resources, asteroid showers landing, destruction of large fleets and space stations, travelling/crashed freighters, joinable large-scale/in-atmosphere battles, NPCs outside of trading posts, planets with rings, sand planets, flying between stars, complex creature AI, rivers, hacking of locked doors and radio chatter were just some of the promised features missing at launch.
It is hard to blame Murray and his team for getting excited to release No Man’s Sky, given the way that the gaming press wrote about it and the pedestal that Sony Interactive Entertainment gave the game. With that said, those articles which were responsible for creating a lot of the hype surrounding the game would never have been written if Murray hadn’t talked up the game so much.
Therefore, although Hello Games may have redeemed themselves to some extent in the eyes of certain gamers, the fact is that No Man’s Sky was one of the most disappointing games ever, when it was released.
There is no way to sugar-coat this one. When Fallout 76 released, to say that it was a grotesque atrocity of modern gaming and an abhorrent insult to its audience would be an understatement. This entry in the once-beloved franchise felt like a personal betrayal to anyone who had previously played a Fallout game. It is undeniably one of the most disappointing games ever released.
When Fallout 76 was announced in the summer of 2017, the prospect of another non-mainline entry in the Fallout series was an initially intriguing one. At the time, it felt odd to be getting another Fallout game so soon after the release of Fallout 4. Many Bethesda fans were expecting to see another entry in the Elder Scrolls series before getting another Fallout game.
At the time when it was first announced, many naively hoped that 76 would hopefully be to a similar standard to the previous interim game in the Fallout series; New Vegas. It was only during Bethesda’s conference at E3 2017, that the bad news was revealed that Fallout 76 would follow the GaaS, (Games as a Service,) model and be set in an open world that would double as an online hub with light PvP elements.
When the game launched in November of 2018, it was met with a plethora of negativity from industry critics and Fallout fans alike. The majority of this criticism was aimed at the vast amount of technical issues which plagued the game at launch.
There were notorious problems with almost every aspect of the game including; connection issues, graphical mishaps, a huge assortment of visual and gameplay-based glitches, an unintentionally eerie lack of human NPCs, strange lighting effects, and jarring instances of textures popping in.
Over the past 20+ years that I have been playing video games, I cannot recall another time that I have witnessed a more egregious assault on my principles as a consumer. There is no merit whatsoever to this thing, there is barely even a game here.
In Fallout 3, 4 and New Vegas, players suffered through the stiff gameplay systems of the dated original Creation Engine, to experience the more positive parts of each respective game. The interesting characters, memorable locations, exciting quests, and engaging plot made the poorer elements of the game more tolerable.
By the time that Fallout 76 rolled around, all of that goodwill was gone and players were no longer willing to turn a blind eye to the game’s negative aspects. In 76, all of the positive reasons that players persisted with those negatives were completely absent, meaning that only the horrible grind elements were left behind.
At launch, Fallout 76 had no real plot, no real characters, and nothing worth seeing or exploring that players hadn’t already seen before in previous Fallout games. If past Fallout games are a meaty leg of lamb, then Fallout 76 is nothing but the dry, barren bone left over after all of the juicy parts have been ripped away.
Looking back now, it becomes abundantly obvious that Fallout 76 was nothing more than a quick cash grab. And that doesn’t just apply to the disgustingly invasive microtransactions present in the game. There is no real reason for Fallout 76 to exist other than for Bethesda to make some easy money based on name recognition.
The fact that Fallout 76 exists is a slap across the face of the gaming consumer. The motive behind releasing this sorry excuse for a Fallout game is frankly an insult, proving that certain video game publishers were born without a conscience. Fallout 76 is without a doubt, one of the most disappointing games ever released.
There you have it; the top 15 most disappointing games ever released. What did you make of the games on the list? Were there any which you don’t think should have been on there? Were there any that we missed? Let us know in the comments section below, or you can Tweet me at the link in my bio below.
Resident evil 3 is super good and I love it
Not a bad list. I think Fallout 4 doesn’t make the cut, though. Seems like the prevailing commentary about that game was the dated graphics engine. For many Fallout fans, that was part of the Fallout charm and of no real consequence. However, completely agree about Fallout 76. That was/is an abomination.
Think you could add Borderlands 3 to the list. A huge drop-off from the first two Borderland games.
Although I have owned a copy of Borderlands 3 for over a year, I have never gotten around to it.
After reading that comment I am not sure if I will bother haha!
“Fallen Order felt like somewhat of a constellation prize for Star Wars fans”
Unless you’re aiming for a cosmic pun there, that’s some bad writing, although I completely agree with Fallen Order being VERY disappointing, playing like it was some kind of beta or draft version. I disagree with TLOU2, as it was the fan reaction that dragged it down for me.
Glad to see that someone caught my cosmic pun 😉