TSA Talks #9: AAA Disappointments & The Genres We Hate

The increasingly cold weather seems to have brought out the bitter side in some of our writers this week. We kick off our ninth instalment by taking shots at 2011’s star-studded holiday line-up, followed up by our least favourite genres and why we dislike them. Views expressed in these articles are entirely personal and do not represent the opinions of TheSixthAxis.

Whether in our comments, on Twitter or even on the TSA podcast its sounds as though everyone has at least one big release that they didn’t think was up to scratch despite the gleaming reviews and mass hype. Was the gunplay in Uncharted 3 really that bad? Did Revelations highlight not only Ezio’s fatigue but that of the series too? Our writing team list off the games that didn’t quite live up to expectations.

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Chris: Uncharted 3 is a huge disappointment for me, not because it’s a bad game, it’s not, but because for me it fails to come anywhere near the previous two titles. I loved Uncharted, never before had I seen such a strong character driven narrative in an enjoyable action/shooter. Uncharted 2 did everything that Uncharted had done well and multiplied it by ten. The graphics and technology underpinning the game were mind-blowing, the story was even better and the set-pieces were immense. Uncharted 3, apart from the capsized ship level, feels like an after-thought in comparison. Not i comparison to other titles you understand, but compared to Naughty Dog’s own standards.

If I didn’t know Naughty Dog better I’d say they’d taken a paint by numbers approach to this game’s design. Sure most of it has great production values and is of a very high quality but some of it inexplicably seems rushed, with Drake appearing to float over the ground rather than walk on being a recurring issue for me.

The action itself between the set-pieces actually drags and as you come across area after area with carefully placed boxes and scenery to act cover it’s obvious that yet another gun fight is about to ensue. Of course I know this is the game but, unlike Uncharted 2, it feels monotonous and the areas noticeably repeat, with just a different arrangement of cover and an added brute or enemy in body armour to differentiate it from the previous area.

I like linear games, the narrative they provide feels better to me than the repetitive missions that populate all the open-world games, but here in Uncharted 3 it just feels overly linear; you’re 100% tied to the script. If you move into an area you can’t start the task at hand until your partner has finished rambling on, which in many cases can take quite a while and leaves me bored. If they’re going to do this then they may as well just have proper cut-scenes rather than leave me watching and listening to the game when I could be playing it, which is half the point of Uncharted’s blurred lines between cutscene and gameplay.

It all adds up to a product which to me feels rushed. Compared to many games it still stands up well, extremely well in fact, but compared to the curve Naughty Dog set themselves from Uncharted to Uncharted 2, in my opinion Uncharted 3 falls woefully short; so much so that I’d think long and hard about buying the inevitable Uncharted 4.

Al: Battlefield disappointed me. All the pre-release stuff made the game look like it would end up being a genre leader but ultimately ended up being ridiculously scripted and as linear as anything before it. It wasn’t bad, just a huge let down, and something that I don’t think I’ll ever play again.

The gunplay in Uncharted 3 was fine, I’ve never really understood the hate, but all power to Naughty Dog for getting it sorted out in the best way possible, by inviting in the community rather than alienating them – very smart. I was bored of Assassin’s Creed before I even finished the first one, I’ve no interest at all in whatever version we’re up to now.

Dan: I found Deus Ex to be a bit of a let down. I’m not saying it was bad, but what I played really didn’t press my buttons at all. The same can be said for Batman: AC, which is another GoTY contender I didn’t think that much of.

Don’t tell Al, but I was also a little disappointed with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. As lovely as the game is to look at, I felt that a few of the gameplay mechanics hadn’t fared so well over the years, and the camera was pretty damn poor.

Peter: Duke Nukem is the obvious disappointment this year but it’s not something I was particularly hopeful for in the first place. Homefront is probably up there with my disappointments of the year. It promised so much and delivered a couple of interesting multiplayer ideas, a strong backstory and a broken mess of a single player game. Call of Juarez also deserves special mention just for being one of the worst games I’ve had to play in a while, although the build up to that was such that my hopes were adjusted accordingly.

Oh, and Dark Souls. Everyone else seems to be raving about that but I thought it was very cheap in the way it strings out its longevity. I can see the underlying RPG is solid but the constant grinding was just so tedious for me. I guess that I was more disappointed with not getting it the way others did though, rather than being disappointed in the game itself.

Aran: LA Noire. I spent a lot of time with the game, even platinuming it but looking back it had a lot of flaws. Graphically it was fantastic and I hope the tech is used elsewhere. However, the story seemed a bit underwhelming. Some of it didn’t make sense and then I was supposed to care for characters that had barely been featured. If you’ve played it then I’ll just say Cole’s family, you’ll know what I mean.

And the interrogations. I have all this evidence and it all makes sense but for some reason it doesn’t make sense in game. Where was the common sense? Also, did it need to be set in an open world. Sure there were a few crimes outside the story you could tackle but apart from that, the world was pretty lifeless.

Kris: I was going to say Uncharted 3, but I’m not quite sure what I expected from it. Thinking about it, it’s almost certainly Sonic Generations. I know that it’s a Sonic title released after the 90s and therefore I probably shouldn’t have expected too much from it, and the demo should probably have re-enforced that.

However, what I played of it at EGX was really good, and the concept sounded interesting. SEGA had really started to get my hopes up about the game, and although I wasn’t sure it would be amazing I was pretty confident it would be solid and pretty enjoyable. How wrong I was. So much of it felt lacking in… well everything really, and the bits that did shine through simply didn’t make up enough of the game to really bring the whole experience up.

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21 Comments

  1. You miserable bunch of bastards! :-P

    • Go back to Hanny mike! ;) And take your happiness with you, you happy bar steward! :P

  2. Totally agree with Aran.
    The game’s selling point was also that the faces reacted to the questions. But it turned out that they pretty much reacted the same way, and made it stale, fast.

  3. Dragon Age 2 was a massive disappointment for me. It felt like a slap in the face. It is not a worthy sequel to DAO.

    All they had to do was copy the DAO formula, fix any problems that DAO had and improve on it but no, they had to throw that out the window, make it hack and slash, recycle the same 5 maps, give us a dialogue wheel which was linear,take away the ability to change our companion’s armour thus ruining any straget you may have had, and half arsed the story.

    The tatics are fecking useless as the AI couldn’t give a damm what you want it to do. Also, why the hell can we play as a human in a RPG that has Elves and Dwarves? They could have made the story work with an elf or dwarf. The menu was copied from ME2 which doesn’t fit into the game and you can’t speak to your companions whenever you like. I mean, WTF? This has to be one of the disappointing games that Bioware has ever made.

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