A Year of Unfulfilled Hype and Disappointments

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This years games rush is quickly approaching and looking to be one of the biggest and most expensive ever. There are games coming out that will be accompanied by huge amounts of hype. For most gamers buying every game they want between now and Christmas is going to be especially difficult.

For this reason I want to take a look back at some games that released this year and didn’t manage to live up to the hype, games that were touted for greatness that just ended up as an average experience.

This isn’t something that only happens on one console either, both Xbox and the PS3 had games which for all intensive purposes ‘crashed’.

First off, lets look at Lair, by no means did this come with Halo-esque hype but most gamers were expecting good things from this game and ended up with disappointment. It managed a 53 on Metacritic :

"Lair, sadly, is a classic example of the apocryphal polished turd. Strip away the HD bluster and the game beneath is little more than a basic PS2 shooter with a makeover." Eurogamer

On the Xbox side, Alone in Dark was touted to be one of the great games this year and only managed an average score of 58 on Metacritic:

"Nice visuals, great fire effects and valiant efforts at innovation don’t make up for boring combat, frustrating controls, poorly designed levels and a hackneyed story." IGN

Another Playstation game to fail the hype test was Haze. It was looking really promising until the reviews started coming in. A Metacritic score of 55 was all it managed:

"The combat’s weak, the storyline’s excruciating, it’s technically deficient – Haze really is this year’s most significant gaming disappointment." Eurogamer

Now to a game over which there has been much debate, Too Human. If you believed the hype, you would have been in for a game that would immediately be propelled to a position next to Gears of War and Super Mario Galaxy and yet it only managed a Metacritic score of 65:

"A perfect example of awesome but unrealised potential." Gamespot

The last game to look at is Facebreaker, this was by no means going to be a great but it did offer something different and the general feeling was that it would become the FIFA Street that never was. It only managed a Metacritic score of 54 and 58 on the PS3 and Xbox respectively.

"Whatever your thoughts are on the finer points of the game, it all boils down to one thing, really, and that’s the fact that you’re essentially mashing the same two or three buttons repeatedly, and largely winging it most of the time." Eurogamer

All of the above games were highly anticipated but once they were released were largely considered as disappointments, but why?

I think a fair share of it may come down to sites such as this one. Every time a new screenshot or a gameplay video is released, it is posted for everybody to see. Now there is nothing wrong with that, gamers these days demand to see the latest screenshots and videos but it also heightens the expectations.

Almost a year before big games are released, you can get hold of trailers and screenshots, videos and previews. All of this is positive but where are the negative views to counter balance the positive ones? They are quashed by NDA’s and embargos. This leaves games with nothing but positive comments a couple months before the release date and by then most people have made up their mind on whether or not they will be getting the game so the negative comments will be generally disregarded as long as they aren’t major problems.

While this may help sell games in the short run, in the long run it is only harming developers because sequels won’t be accepted with such optimism and would then have a higher rate of failure.

Before this long list of disappointments grows, NDA’s and embargo dates should be eradicated. If a company has enough confidence in their game they should leave it out in the open for everybody to see what exactly they will be getting so that they can be happy with their choice.

It’s maybe just something to think about before you go into this period with your wallet open and money flying.

Last Updated: September 12, 2008

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