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Six Games that Failed to Deliver

15 Comments | posted

A lot of gamers like to hold on to the image of being cold, salty bastards that never let their guards down, but let’s face it: we’ve all gotten our hopes up just a little too high for a game. The Hype Train is a tough thing to stop when it’s at full steam, and it’s not difficult to get swept up once in a while. When that train crashes just short of your expectations for one reason or another, it can be pretty disappointing.

There’s an unfortunate amount of games that fall squarely into this category, but without that misfortune there would be little to write about. With that said, let’s dig into some mediocrity.

Brütal Legend

Thinking about this game recently is what inspired this article in the first place. By all accounts, this should have been one of my all-time favorite games. I’m a pretty big metalhead AND Tim Schafer fan, so all of the pieces were there – the heavy metal setting was one badass album cover after another, the characters were at the same time over-the-top and believable, and the dialogue was nothing short of brilliant. This was written by the guy who worked on The Secret of Monkey Island and Psychonauts, after all.

The problem I had with the game was actually having to play the damn thing. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the pseudo-RTS mechanics made the game unplayable, as I soldiered through to the end just to experience the rest of the game. After the demo showcased the rather fun hack-and-slash part of the combat without alluding to the awkward Stage Battles that made up most of the game, though, I felt a little lied to.

Apparently the strength of everything else was plenty to sway most game critics, as the game averaged pretty well on Metacritic. What I took out of it was the best game I never want to play again. If you haven’t played it, I’d recommend just watching this instead:

Too Human

The tale behind this game is quite the epic. Unfortunately for developer Silicon Knights and founder Denis Dyack, that more adequately describes the too-long development cycle that ended up producing a rather shoddy product.

Development started on the title in 1999 for the original PlayStation, shifted over to the Gamecube shortly after, then finally ended up being snapped up by Microsoft for release on the Xbox 360. Along the way they ended trying to use Unreal Engine 3 for the game, but ended up ditching it after the game didn’t show well at E3 2006 and putting themselves in a legal battle with Epic Games over the use of UE3.

Three different platforms over the course of the decade and an inability to use a commonly used game engine should’ve been pretty big red flags, but people snapped up the demo to see for themselves. While the story was fairly interesting, what greeted them was awkward to control and overall not a lot of fun to play. Probably the biggest annoyance of all was the unskippable death sequence that took way too long to unfold:

It’s far from the worst game out there, but the amount of time developing the title was disproportionate to the quality that resulted. This was a damn shame, as SK had done such a great job on Eternal Darkness and MGS: The Twin Snakes on the Gamecube.

Lair

Lair had a lot of people excited during the early years of the PS3’s existence. It was an easy sell during development: you fly around on a dragon decimating all of those below you and it was being developed by Factor 5, responsible for the excellent Star Wars: Rogue Squadron games on the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube. What could possibly go wrong?

Much like Brütal Legend, Lair was undone by having to play the game. The game looked and sounded amazing, but having to control your dragon with the Sixaxis motion control was a disaster. Sony was convinced that reviewers were playing the game wrong and sent them guides on how they thought they should be playing it. This is of course a fairly shitty thing to do, to be frank, as the consumer doesn’t get the benefit of a pamphlet when they go out to buy the game.

What trying to fly in a straight line gets ya.

What trying to fly in a straight line gets ya.

In any case, Sony ended up cracking and offering a patch to be able to play the game with a standard analog scheme, but the damage had already been done. This pretty much marked the beginning of the end of Sixaxis control in most games, with the only notable exception being Heavy Rain.

And thank goodness for that.

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Comments (15)

  • One-Shot

    Seriously don’t get the inclusion of 360 games on a list on Playstation University.

    As for the list ODST had one of the best campaigns in the halo games.

  • Farzan

    ODST shouldn’t even be on the list. It had an awesome story. Other than ODST, list seems pretty spot on.

  • The Dean

    @One-Shot

    Because Editorials and Opinion Pieces are open to all topics within the industry. We don’t report on 360-exclusive news, because we’re a PlayStation new site. However, an opinion piece/editorial is open to the entire industry.

  • One-Shot

    I see.

    Just really seems out of place.

  • hacker13sacker
  • diceking18

    i dunno man too human was a good game the deaths seen’s were hell tho took way to long but it did has a good story even tho it was a little short and their should of been a part 2

  • War Machine

    I agree that you have the liberty to write whatever the hell you want, I wouldn’t say you can’t do it, but talking about games that are not on the Playstation on a Playstation news site is really out of place.

  • TRF

    I completely agree with Too Human, and you know how I feel about Brutal Legend and ODST. :lol:

  • wampdog29

    I thought Silicon Knights, at that time, were either partially or wholly owned by Nintendo (I.E. 2nd party to Nintendo)? What I mean is that I thought Too Human started development on GameCube?

  • daevv

    Glad to see Lair and Haze there, both video game stinkers. If you ever want to play a Lair demo (just to see for yourself) the Hong Kong PSN store has an almost 2gb demo you can download. XD

    Personally Little Big Planet failed to deliver for me. Great concept and direction but horrible play control. I hope the platforming controls are more Super Mario World for LBP2.

    ~d

  • zero

    Brutal Legend is a fucking awesome game, and listing it among those other shitty games is a travesty. You weren’t “lied to”, there were videos and details about the RTS combat system for at least 6 months before the game’s release. It isn’t the game’s fault that you can’t learn a basic system that works surprisingly well on a console.

  • Joe Garcia

    @wampdog — SK had a short exclusivity contract with Nintendo, but were never owned by them.

    @zero — Again, from the demo available on PSN and XBL, there was NO indication of the RTS gameplay. Personally, I didn’t hear much about the game until it was picked up by EA, and I don’t read a lot of previews anyway. A demo should say “this is what to expect for your $60. And the notion that I couldn’t learn the game is ridiculous, and so is your qualifying statement of “surprisingly well on a console”. I beat the game and thought it controlled like ass, for any game. It’s an opinion piece, not a fact sheet.

  • Kal

    I admit I might be in the minority here, but I found ODST fun the whole way through. Maybe it’s just because I like pistol-sniping grunts, though.

  • Reigen

    i gues its a matter of any individuals taste, but i found lair one the best aviation game ive ewer played, not just because it wasent placed in a nother endles desert, but because the controls just worked, and i newer got lost in battle(witch hapens to me a loot in aviation games)
    but i agre that sixaxis dosent do much for games exept flight controls, melle and reloading, but for what it does do good, its more than worth being implemented into a dualshock3

  • doozer17268

    I enjoyed ODST Firefight and the Campaign wasn’t too bad either. Bungie could have supported the game with new Firefight maps!

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