Game Of The Year 2016 – Biggest Disappointment

Whether expectations have been set too high or developers have failed to live up to their promises, 2016 was a year in which it feels like every high point was matched by a crushing low. Overwatch’s brilliance was balanced by the mediocrity of Battleborn, Doom’s return to old school shooting and Battlefield 1’s WWI setting were matched by the campaign against Call of Duty’s futuristic setting and the way that Modern Warfare Remastered was handled.

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was not the sequel that I yearned for, Mighty No. 9 was not the spiritual successor to Mega Man that it promised to be, and then there was No Man’s Sky…

No Man’s Sky

Put simply, No Man’s Sky didn’t live up to the impossible expectations that were heaped upon it by the feverish fan following and the years long hype train that led up to its release. This was meant to be the science fiction universe of so many children’s dreams, filled with rival empires, a grand sweeping narrative that you could uncover as you explored an endlessly

Sadly, that’s not what we got, but here’s the thing: No Man’s Sky at its launch was not a bad game – the first eight to twelve hours we fantastic – it just wasn’t what people thought it would be, missing many of the features that seemed to have been promised, and with many of the planets turning out to be similar looking barren rocks filled with bizarre procedurally generated monstrosities.

The backlash that Hello Games felt was difficult to watch unfold, especially as Sony seemed to stand back and wash their hands of a game that they had held up as a poster child for indies on PlayStation 4. Thankfully, Hello coming out the other side of it now, and fulfilling their promise to keep developing the game. Things like base building, which were notably missing from launch, are now in the game, and there’s bound to be more on the way.

Mighty No. 9

Making their backers “cry like an anime fan on prom night“, Mighty No.9 was a game that should have been decent. Instead it took all the good faith generated by the fans who backed it and put it into a game with half baked mechanics and a soulless mess of a game that did little to meaningfully evolve the tried and tested Mega Man formula.

As such, it was widely seen as a knockoff more than a spiritual sequel. What’s more disappointing though is just how the game’s controversy was handled. A suspect mistranslation from Kenji Inafune’s translator which essentially said “it’s better than nothing” didn’t help, but the constant delays, further campaigns for other projects, and much more make this certainly a contender for one of the worst handled Kickstarter games that actually launched.

– Dave

Mirror’s Edge Catalyst

On paper, Mirror’s Edge Catalyst was the perfect sequel reimagining of the 2008 original. Where Mirror’s Edge was excessively linear, this would be a grand open world of rooftops, where the original let you pick up guns, this one would eschew armed combat. Sadly, Catalyst wasn’t the sequel that fans desired.

On some levels, the shift to an open world worked quite well, and simply learning your way around the city of Glass was actually quite enjoyable, as were taking on and perfecting routes for the game’s many time trials. Yet where Catalyst truly stumbled was in having unarmed combat as core pillar of the game, with far too many missions devolving into tedious fights.

It came to a head at the end of the story’s poorly designed final level, as you work your way up a crumbling tower, only to encounter two of the game’s toughest melee enemies at once. Cue Yakety Sax as you run away for the next ten minutes and occasionally turn and try to hit them.

Sadly, our award for 2016’s Biggest Disappointment quite inevitably goes to:

Other disappointments in alphabetical order:

  • Mighty No. 9
  • Tom Clancy’s The Division
  • Mirror’s Edge Catalyst
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
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  1. Had to be No Man’s Sky, no contest really.
    I don’t really get why Deus Ex is up there, I really enjoyed that, was not even slightly disappointed by it.

    • For some reason, Tuff and (I think it was) Aran were both rather bored by it, which is why it’s on the list, but when we got to discussing things it wasn’t really in contention.

    • Surprisingly Deus Ex wasn’t received well by some people, apparently due to content variety, length, and the ending. Seems like a good game personally, one of a few with HDR too.

  2. I agree with Tony, Deus perfected everything that was wrong with the last Deus.

    For me Recore was the most disappointing game of 2016, so much potential wasted along with homefront, I mean homefront should be there next to no man sky

    • but was anybody expecting Homefront to be good?

      • Err… Me!
        But then again I’ve been unrealistically hoping for great things from the studio that made Timesplitters for way too long now.
        I got to try a free weekend on Steam a while back and there’s promise in the ideas they show but the AI can too easily be cheesed ruining the illusion of an all powerful occupying force.
        Considering I love Far Cry style shooters, I was bored and gave up way before the trial ended.

  3. I’d agree with that list, although Deus Ex and The Division would be at the bottom of the list for me, and Overwatch at the top simply because it does not live up to the dynamic and varied multiplayer mash up I thought it would be. But then that probably sums up biggest disappointment, people are going to pick those games they followed but where expectations got dashed. I’d add CoD Infinite Warfare to the list too, didn’t follow it, but expected something half decent when I got it cheap.

    The game that probably surprised and surpassed expectations to date was Gears of War 4. Little changes made for something with more variety, same goes to F1 2016 too.

  4. I’ve enjoyed NMS since release,, in fact I would say it’s my favourite non racing game out this year. I like games where you can take your time and explore.

  5. I loved no mans sky. Also bought it for my god son for Xmas I liked it so much. I enjoy the chilled out vibe and it’s one of the only games I can play with the kids. All my other games are 18 rated.
    I was actually more dissapointed with unchartered (don’t shoot me). Still thought it was great just didn’t get close to last of us to me and that was my level of expectation.
    Feels very odd as I know unchartered is by far the better game, I just enjoyed NMS more. Is there something wrong with me!

  6. This is surprising as finding out water is wet.

    No Man’s Sky was too ambitious for Hello Games and whilst I can believe what Sean Murray said was out of his belief the studio could get those features up and running before launch, they cocked up with the marketing. Sony failed to intervene or surprisingly, did a bad job of it. I think Sony’s fairly hands off and just goes “Right, tell us what it is. We’ll market it.” But NMS has damaged Hello Games’s reputation and i think it should have been delayed until November judging by the features they’ve just patched in. Sure, it would have annoyed people but better to delay and annoy then release and become the disappointment of the year.

    Hopefully, HG have learnt from this and will avoid their next game being well, NMS.

    Mighty No9 destroyed itself by using the pathetic sterotype that all anime fans are basement dwelling nerds who can’t get a date on prom night. “Make bad guys cry like an anime fan on prom night.” Did anyone think about that? Or did they throw it in because they felt it was “Edgy” and “Funny.” Most anime fans are everyday folks. The rest was the corpse of the game being beaten up after launch. How the heck did they cock up NotMegaman? It seems like a simple game to replicate.

    The Division, I keep forgetting this is a game. Need I say more?

    Shame about Mirror’s Edge. They should have just done it the same as the first one, tightened up the gameplay, more content and viola, there’s the prequel? Sequel? Presquel? I don’t know, i forget what it is.

    Oh and Konami should be on the list. Why? They always find new ways to disappoint people. THEY FECKING REMADE MGS3 INTO A PANCHINKO MACHINE! FFS! #feckKonami

    • i don’t think you can call konami a “disappointment”

      “disappointment”: sadness or displeasure caused by the non-fulfilment of one’s hopes or expectations.

      i think pretty much everybody expected konami to be shit this year.
      especially after the bullshit they pulled with Kojima at last years game awards.
      people expected the worst from konami and they delivered, oh boy did they deliver.

  7. NMS was the biggest cock up this year, but was a unique and actually rather special game, or more accurately – experience. As is well documented, the build up to the let down to the mop up was about as bad a job as could have been done – THAT is the disappointment. For me, my most enjoyable gaming time this year, delivering something close to what I wanted from it, but sadly the updates are a case of too little to late as the universe has lost its appeal now.

  8. Whilst i can’t agree with NMS as being the most disappointing personally – i’m approaching 300 hours played already and it’s taken over most of my available gaming time – i do appreciate that for the reasons you pointed out above plenty of folks found themselves disappointed.

    I would have chosen RotTR as my most disappointing game if it was in the list – it was both the worst and the least TR game i’ve ever played.

  9. Overwatch for me. Paid full price and found it so lacking in content, it was like a full price beta. Luckily got a decent trade in value for it.

    • That’s fair – it’s not for everyone.

      Sounds like it just wasn’t your cup of tea as opposed to Blizzard falling short though, eh?

  10. Can I be disappointed with a game I still actually enjoy? Mafia 3 is a game I’m still having fun with today but I was disappointed that the ‘dynamic and reactive’ open world that was promised turned out to just be a game of clearing icons on a map.
    It has some great story missions but to get there requires a bit of grinding and repetition with the game world not remembering you’ve already cleared out that factory twice before another mission pops up in that location.
    Still it’s nice to see the devs still working on the game adding missing features to the world that were a decent part of the previous game.
    As for TSA’s list I’m surprised to see Deus Ex and The Division on there but it seems to be a year where expectations weren’t met in quite a few big games.

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