Hype goes together with gaming like cheap vodka and regret. But sometimes (usually), the hype around a game’s launch is all out of proportion to the game itself. These are games that promised the world, and dropped a turd instead.
Duke Nukem Forever
Find out why in MyGaming’s Duke Nukem Forever review (PC).
This game was going to totally revolutionise the rhythm genre by swapping plastic peripherals for a real guitar, making this a true, authentic game for true, authentic gamers. Instead, it’s more like a spotty eighth grader offering lunch break lessons in three-chord Nirvana songs. The interface is a mess, the input lags, and the whole thing is basically a Guns N Roses reunion tour – great in theory, and embarrassingly inept in practice.
After announcing that it was going to be “the best game ever” because of this, that, and the other thing, designer Peter Molyneux removed this, that, and the other thing, and after four years of development, finally released an action-RPG where using magic spells made you get old.
A post-apocalyptic war among the cybernetically-enhanced gods of Asgard – what could possibly go wrong here? Everything, it turned out. After almost ten years in development, a dismal reception from critics and gamers, and a lawsuit worth $4.5 million in damages from Epic Games, the only reason anybody remembers Too Human is because it was such a spectacular fail.
Far Cry 2
After the tremendous success of the first game, Crytek handed the sequel over to Ubisoft, who decided to introduce some innovative new features just to keep things interesting. Like malaria.
Tim Schafer’s big comeback put Jack Black and a gigantic, soul-eating axe onto a backdrop of every vintage heavy metal album cover ever, and pressed play to see what happened. The result was clumsy, disorganised mashup of third person action and real time strategy that was more Spinal Tap than Monsters of Rock.
Can’t get enough rock? Check out MyGaming’s Brütal Legend review.
Combining action, strategy, and RPG elements, featuring state-of-the-art procedural generation and emergent gameplay, and promising the entire evolution of species from single-celled, microscopic organisms, through tribalism and complex social and cultural development, and ultimately to interstellar space exploration, Will Wright’s Spore looked absolutely amazing on paper.
When the game finally launched, it was mostly just lumps of stuff vaguely resembling human genitalia flopping around looking for food and getting into fights. So very much like real life, maybe, but games are supposed to be about escapism.
Sony’s Sixaxis motion controller’s killer app that ultimately killed the Sixaxis motion controller. It didn’t help that, when the game started getting bad reviews, Sony mailed out a “Lair Reviewer’s Guide” to every gaming website on the planet, pretty much implying that critics just didn’t get it.
Basically, everything except Fruit Ninja, and Fruit Ninja is really only fun for about five minutes anyway.