2013 has been a great year for both the Indie and AAA scene. Scores of great games, from studios big and small, have delighted us all these past 12 months, but it hasn’t all been great. Sometimes a game isn’t up to scratch; it doesn’t quite live up to the hype that preceded it. And sometimes they just downright suck. Here’s a few of Ryan’s most disappointing games of 2013.
Gone Home (PC) – The most boring book I ever played *SPOILERS*
This pick may strike some as odd, after all Gone Home received rave reviews, right? The thing is, I just couldn’t understand the hype. The premise of the game is interesting enough; after returning home from a round-the-world trip, you explore your empty house and try to figure out what has happened in your absence. To cut a short story even shorter, your sister is a lesbian and has run away with her lesbian lover. Quite why the developers thought this was a story worth telling in digital form is beyond me, especially given that you will spend most of your time reading random scraps of paper. Gone Home would have made an interesting short story, as a game, however, it is a bore that tries (and fails) to titillate with its tale of lesbian romance.
Cube World (PC) – Show me the content!
For nearly 2 years, Cube World had us captivated with its delightfully colourful voxel world. The promise of expansive, randomly generated worlds, and loot-filled dungeons, coupled with deep combat mechanics had many of us begging for a release date. And then it came. The alpha finally dropped on July 2nd, with tens of thousands of people rushing to download it. But then things went quiet. The months passed and promised content updates never materialised. The small amount of content the game had, grew stale and repetitive very quickly, and with nothing new to do or explore, we soon forgot about Cube World. Don’t get me wrong, Cube World can be fun with friends for a short time, but long-term interest is dependent on Wollay (the developer) churning out new content. Hopefully, Cube World will see some major updates in 2014 and will drag us back in. For now. though, Cube World is one of the biggest disappointments of 2013.
Guacamelee Gold Edition (PC) – Buy a tortilla instead
Despite dubbing ourselves the so-called “master race”, we PC gamers miss out on a lot of cool titles. Many games simply don’t make their way to PC, or take an age to do so. When Guacamelee was finally announced for PC, I was excited to experience its brand of spicy metroidvania. Boy was I disappointed. Perhaps something was lost in translation, but the much-lauded humour in Guacamelee proved juvenile and irritating. The meme-plastered streets became tiresome, as well as the many stereotypes on display. Similarly, the game’s combat mechanics failed to impress; what should have been calculated and precise, boiled down to a simple button-masher. To my surprise, Guacamelee also featured the most redundant multiplayer I have ever experienced. In a game that relies on quick reactions, multiplayer simply didn’t work. It is a frustrating inclusion to say the least. If all console exclusives were as disappointing as Guacamelee, we’d have nothing to be bothered about.
Beyond Two Souls(PS3) – Beyond comprehension
Despite its shortcomings, Heavy Rain was a great game. Even though its story had more holes than Swiss cheese, it was a gripping experience with memorable characters. With that in mind, I tentatively popped Beyond Two Souls in to my Playstation 3, and came away a few short hours later, completely underwhelmed. For David Cage and Quantic Dream, BTS proved to be a case of “One step forward, two steps back”. It begged the question whether or not they had learned anything from the failings of Heavy Rain? Decisions that fell into the players hands seemed to have no effect on the outcome of any given scenario. As soon as the player realised nothing they did had any consequence, all suspense and interest in the story was lost. In Heavy Rain, your decisions mattered, and had an effect on the outcome of the story. This, sadly, was not the case in BTS. Stellar voice acting from Dafoe and Page, as well as some jaw-dropping visuals could do little to mask the game’s shortcomings. Hopefully David Cage will learn that his skills do not lie in writing, to give his next game a fighting chance of actually being enjoyable.
So, there you have it, my most-disappointing titles of 2013. In truth, this past year has seen more games live up to their hype than any other (IMO), but there are always going to be a few that cause a lump to rise in our throats. Games that simply weren’t as good as we’d hoped. Tell me what you think of my picks, or leave your own disappointments in the comments below.