Four Games That Should Have Been Awesome (But Weren’t)

Let's take a moment to remember the games that could have been amazing, and were instead just disappointing.

Video games are exciting.  They take us to awesome places to do awesome things while playing as awesome people.  It’s easy to get hyped about a game coming out that looks like it will be incredible.  It also sucks even more when that same game turns out to be terrible, buggy, or just completely different from what was expected.

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These games all had big deals made about them before their release, only to leave gamers disappointed with the actual experience they offered.  Let us start with the obvious.

Duke Nukem Forever

Duke was in development for a full fifteen years, with Forever being canceled and changing teams multiple times.  When it finally did see the light of day, nostalgic gamers practically tripped over themselves to re-experience one of the defining shooters of PC.

What we got was a linear, uninspiring, juvenile shooter with surprisingly generic environments and a decided lack of imagination.  Even the one-liners were less appealing.  While the different times likely has much to do with the humor falling flatter, the final result was disappointing in literally every way, a dismal successor to Duke Nukem 3D.

Aliens: Colonial Marines

A more recent release, Colonial Marines had a solid formula and a public presentation that had blown minds.  The graphics looked incredible, the franchise still had a fanbase ready to go nuts over a new Aliens game, and there seemed to be little that could possibly go wrong.

Then the game came out and surprised everyone by actually looking significantly worse 
than the earlier demo footage had been, with grossly inferior graphics being the most immediately obvious.  Add in an impossibly buggy game where players could spawn without a weapon or be ignored entirely by the xenomorphs and the end result was Sega being legally required to change its ads or be guilty of false advertising.

You know you messed up when your game was even legally short of the mark.

Too Human

Speaking of legally disappointing games…

Too Human was ambitious.  It was slated to be a trilogy reimagining Norse mythology in a science fiction ice wasteland, with the Norse gods as cybernetically-enhanced humans protecting the last of humanity.  The setting was actually very intriguing, with a visual style that made it work.  It showed a lot of promise and after ten full years of development surely had time to realize it.

Trying to actually play the game, however, was a different story entirely.  Unusual controls restricting both camera control and ranged targeting left the combat far more two-dimensional than the original concept promised, essentially turning the games fights (the core gameplay mechanic) into a surprisingly dull experience.

Even more problematic, Silicon Knights and EA spent much of development involved in legal disputes which eventually required Silicon Knights to recall all product made using the Unreal Engine, making this game impossible to purchase through a retailer now.  A thorough waste of a cool setting in all ways.

Diablo 3

There are not many games to have been released in the last year-ish that were as anticipated as Diablo 3.  The defining action-RPG series of the PC, Diablo and its sequel both remain even now some of the most beloved video games of all time.  When Blizzard began making real announcements about a third game, people got hype.

The more they heard, however, the more confused they became.  The art style shifted a bit towards the more cartoony side of things Warcraft had always erred towards, a cash auction house suggested some very unpleasant mindsets in the design team, and the requirement of an internet connection even for single-player all had people weighing their options.

When the game finally came out and former fans found themselves completely unable to play for days and then finally discovering the game to be a simplified grind-fest, too easy on lower levels and a brutally hard gear-check at higher tiers, it is no wonder fans of the older games have made Torchlight 2 such a success.

Lost potential is a sadly inevitable consequence of anticipation.

Even in a world where every game made was actually still a good game in its own right, someone would dislike the way a given game was designed every so often.  So long as video games are made, some will be disappointing, but those disappointments are the price we pay for the games that surprise us pleasantly.

 


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Author
Wokendreamer
Writer, gamer, and generally hopeful beneath a veneer of cynicism.